- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Giving credit

Ali Wentworth, star and producer of the new program “Head Case,” which premieres March 20 on Starz, says she got the idea for the show from none other than musician Marilyn Manson. Miss Wentworth plays Dr. Elizabeth Goode, a shrink who hosts various celebrities playing themselves as the patients on her couch.

“I saw [Mr. Manson’s] picture on a magazine one day when I was in the checkout aisle. I asked myself how a kid from the suburbs turns out like that,” Miss Wentworth says.

Asked if she plans to host any political figures on the show, Miss Wentworth told The Washington Times that she is not holding her breath.

“Oh, come on. They are so cautious. Maybe I will put a call in to [former Vice President Dick] Cheney, though.”

Miss Wentworth should know a thing or two about interviewing politicos - she is married to ABC newsman George Stephanopoulos.

Newlywed convicted

Jack Tweed, husband of cancer-stricken British reality-television star Jade Goody, was convicted Tuesday of assault and told he could face a new jail term. They were married Feb. 22.

Tweed, 21, who wears an electronic tag since his release from prison for an earlier offense, was found guilty of attacking a taxi driver for refusing to take him where he wanted to go. He was released from jail this year after serving part of an 18-month sentence for attacking a teenager with a golf club, according to Agence France-Presse.

Tweed wept in the London court as his lawyer said Tweed’s 27-year-old wife has less than four weeks to live and claimed her illness had changed his lifestyle and he is unable to work.

Star talk

• Associated Press cited British media reports Tuesday that Michael Jackson will play his first live concerts in years in London this summer. Sky News and others said the troubled King of Pop will perform a string of dates at the city’s 02 Arena. His last live performance in Britain was at the 2006 World Music Awards, where he was to perform “We Are the World” but only managed a few lines before leaving the stage.

Rihanna may have spent the weekend in Miami with Chris Brown, but her family isn’t ready for the tumultuous couple to reunite. According to people.com, a relative told People: “Everyone wants them to take a break, to cool off. No one wants them back together.” The couple returned to Los Angeles early Monday.

• When French actress Juliette Binoche and British choreographer Akram Khan took to the stage in their show “In-l,” in London in September, the Times called it “intermittently excruciating.” Miss Binoche credits continued work by the couple with the success it has had in Paris, Montreal and Sydney, Australia - and now opening in Hong Kong, AFP reports.

Gondola cola

Massimo Cacciari, mayor of Venice, has backtracked on a plan to let Coca-Cola install 38 vending machines throughout the lagoon city after the $2.6-million, five-year deal left critics in a fizz, Italian media reported Tuesday.

The city is opening up the proposals to other offers by launching a tender process, AFP reports. “All those who publicly said they would have made more advantageous offers than Coca-Cola will now have the possibility to prove it,” the mayor said.

The contract sparked fears that the historic city, with an ever-dwindling population, was being sold out to commercial interests.

• Compiled by Richard Slusser from staff, wire and Web reports

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