Marc Jacobs may have given a Cartier engagement ring to his on-again, off-again boyfriend, Jason Preston. Tyra Banks dropped her manager, either because he was a prima donna or because her investment-banker boyfriend told her to. Britney Spears backed out of recording a Timbaland-produced duet with Justin Timberlake. It's unclear why. No cameras or cars are allowed at the fund-raiser Oprah is throwing for Barack Obama at her California ranch, which is expected to draw George Clooney, Halle Berry, and Jamie Foxx. Harvey Weinstein is offering $100,000 to anyone who can identify the Upper East Side mom who inspired The Nanny Diaries. (Some speculate it's Preppy Handbook author Lisa Birnbach.) Marc Ecko's CEO threw $500 in cash around during a company-sponsored booze cruise. Norman Reedus, Helena Christensen's baby daddy, is making a movie in which Richard Nixon sleeps with a hooker and then kills her. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon dined at Le Cirque with two tables' worth of security guards.
And the lucky publisher who gets to publish O.J. Simpson's tell-all book, If I Did It – guaranteed profits! At only the low, low cost of your soul! – has finally been announced. It's Eric Kampmann of Beaufort Books! Wait, who? Upon a bit of investigation, we discovered that Beaufort is a small, independent house that frequently "guides the publishing process" and "shares in the risk." In other words, it's a vanity press where writers put up some of their own money to see their work in print. The Goldmans won't have to put up any cash for this effort, but according to Publisher's Weekly, "the manuscript is believed to have gotten a cool response from major houses," which may be why it found its way to a smaller company. "Eric came forward and he is really a well respected, fine Christian man who totally understands why this book should be published," the book's agent, Sharlene Martin told PW. "Obviously, I wanted to find a publisher who could react quickly to the situation and the beauty of a publisher like Beaufort is that the buck stops with Eric Kampmann." Ooh, maverick Christian bookselling – just what this whole murderous drama needed.
If I Did It Sold to Beaufort's Eric Kampmann [Publisher's Weekly]
Beaufort Books [Official Site]
Earlier:O.J.'s Book Set To Drag Us Through the Whole Mess Again, Again
In a discomfiting turn of events, the family of murder victim Ron Goldman has decided to publish O.J. Simpson's book If I Did It, the fictionalized tell-all from Simpson's perspective about what happened the night Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson were killed. We've been waiting all day to hear which New York publishing company will reap the benefits, but thus far, no announcement. Last month, the Goldmans were awarded the rights to the book by a federal judge, since they are owed $33.5 million in damages by the former football star. It will be published with "commentary" from the family. The book's agent is Sharlene Martin, who made a name for herself by repping celebrity tell-alls like You'll Never Nanny in This Town Again (by Michael Ovtiz's angry former nanny) and the unsold This Used to Be My Playground (by Madonna's angry former nanny). Whatever publishing house prints the book should hire Martin, because she understood what Judith Regan never did: You can't write books about killing people unless the surviving families get in on the deal. Duh.
New York Company to Publish O.J. Simpson Book [Reuters]
Sony chairman Howard Stringer called Steve Jobs "greedy" at the Allen & Co. conference. The main character of Doug Stumpf's Confessions of a Wall Street Shoeshine Boy may be based on pervy billionaire Jeffrey Epstein. Katie Holmes and Suri Cruise went to the Biography Bookstore in the West Village and then to Magnolia. Joe DiMaggio's brother Dom is not pleased the Yankee Clipper's diaries are for sale. Stone Phillips is leaving Dateline, and he bought his longtime assistant an Audi as a parting gift. Matt Damon wants Al Gore to run for president. Ashlee Simpson helped beau Pete Wentz conquer his fear of flying so Wentz could get to the Hamptons via seaplane. Democratic Leadership Council Chairman Harold Ford Jr. hung out with Jay-Z, Nas, and Kid Rock in Southampton. Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany brought their 4-year-old to the Children's Museum of Manhattan.
O.J. Simpson had a ghostwriter for his never-released memoir, If I Did It (who'd have thunk it!) and even practiced a crying scene for his TV interview with Judith Regan. Barry Bonds's ex-mistress, who has alleged that the slugger has used steroids, is shopping a tell-all and nude pictorial. Enrique Iglesias wishes he were gay. Nathan Lane wants to start a heterosexual pride parade, with George W. Bush as grand marshal. Jay McInerney is sick of telling people he broke his foot chasing after a taxi. Madonna didn't invite Janet Jackson to sit at her booth at Butter, though she did hang out with Shakira. Also: Ashton, Demi, and Penélope were there. The flowers at the Waldorf-Astoria wedding of billionaire Russian heiress Angelina Anisimova and real-estate developer Ryan Freedman cost $1 million. John McCain didn't wash his hands before leaving a restroom in East Hampton.
It seems the O.J. Simpson If I Did It saga still won't die. (Ha! No? Sorry.) The latest news: A Canadian publisher, Barclay Road, has declared its interest in publishing the pulped fiasco. Employees of the publishing company were "initially disgusted by reports of the book's topic," according to a Bloomberg News report, but now, "in the name of free speech" — and, we suspect, in the name of a silly, attention-getting gimmick — "it wants to give it a try." Isn't it lovely to see foreigners so dedicated to our Bill of Rights? And to our shameless marketing?
Barclay Road Says It Would Consider O.J. Simpson Book [Bloomberg]
As pleasingly intriguing as it is to realize that a few stray copies of O.J. Simpson's If I Did It are floating around, we're even more pleased that one landed in the capable hands of Vanity Fair columnist James Wolcott. So, James, was the ReganBooks fiasco worth the ensuing scandal? His answer, it seems: Not so much. In a review-cum-condemnation posted to VF.com today, Wolcott is most struck by the banality of the allegedly incendiary material, noting that O.J.'s story is a "suave void" in which the running back turned movie star presents himself as a passive figure in his marriage and the murders, only slightly less inert than ghostwriter Pablo Fenvjes's prose. Don't think that means you shouldn't read the review itself, though. Even if O.J. isn't able to spin more than a yawn-yarn from his story of a wife-beating marriage, double murder, and Trial of the Century, Wolcott's toss-offs, like his gloriously alliterative contortion — "a shameless yet ingeniously opaque cockteaser of a cash-in confessional (who knew a book about a double homicide could be so flipping coy?)" — are the closest this case will ever get to poetic justice.
Murder, He Wrote (Sort Of) [VF.com]
The owner of former meatpacking S&M club–cum–celeb hangout the Vault is shopping a dishy tell-all. James Wolcott got his hands on the O.J. Simpson book, wrote about it in Vanity Fair. Naomi Campbell is leaving her agency to join IMG. (She was also named ambassador to Rio by the Brazilian city's mayor.) Being Anna Wintour's assistant really is as difficult as Emily Blunt made it seem in The Devil Wears Prada.
Okay, there's one more O.J.-Judith wrinkle today worth mentioning (and, boy, do we hope it's the last one). Court TV got hold of Simpson's If I Did It contract with HarperCollins, part of a lawsuit Fred Goldman filed to try to recover the money Simpson owes after losing the 1997 wrongful-death suit. Slate's Timothy Noah, together with some unnamed literary-agent friends of his, examined the document and finds some interesting points. According to Noah, under the terms of the agreement, Simpson is already owed at least $780,000, even though the book was pulped. He may be due $95,000 more, depending on whether a book is considered "published" when it's shipped from the warehouse or when it's rung up at the cash register. He's also owed $400,000 for the unaired If I Did It TV special, because the contract stipulated he would be paid for being interviewed, whether or not the interview aired. Finally, Simpson apparently wanted to sign the contact under an assumed name and stipulated he would sign as "Sam Jones," perhaps taking the name from the sixties Celtics star. Despite that clause, the contract doesn't actually bear that signature: In what might have been the company's only smart move in this transaction, they insisted O.J. sign his own name.
O.J.'s Book Contract [Slate]
Hollywood Heat Exclusive: Contract Details Payments Between Simpson and HarperCollins [Court TV]
The O.J. book project — and forgive the metaphor — will seemingly never die. Publisher Judith Regan may have left the building, but the Juice's coterie is still shopping a page turner from the disgraced football has-been. The old "fictional" aspect of the If I Did It Regan deal seems to have been scrapped; now publishers and agents are, says O.J.'s lawyer, "clamoring" for a memoir. (We don't know if receiving three e-mails in one day, as attorney Yale Galanter says he did, necessarily constitutes "clamoring," but prevarication-wise, it's progress.) Galanter claims he's got a profit-sharing deal worked out between O.J. and Ron Goldman's family — to which Simpson owes millions on a civil judgment — but Fred Goldman, Ron's mustached dad, doesn't seem too hot to get on board. (Astonishing!) Still, we understand why agents and publishers are so eager to follow in Regan's footsteps. Sure, the first deal was an unmitigated disaster, but the ruthless, delusional psychopath at the helm managed to weather the media assault and the eventual unraveling of the project without killing anyone — so it's probably safe to enter the room now. Oh, and, also, he seems like such a nice guy to work with, doesn't he?
There's Plenty of Juice for O.J. Book, Att'y Sez [NYDN]
One of the few courtesies the press can accord the deceased — other than not parking satellite trucks on their families' yards, which is of course out of the question — is to keep coverage of the departed respectfully free of playful rhetorical flourishes. You'd think this applies even a decade later, but, then, you don't work at Time magazine. The stalwart newsweekly has reported that rights to If I Did It will revert to O.J. within twelve months, which means it's likely we'll see the book in stores — overseas, at least — by next Christmas. We're glad for the info — but less glad for some of those flourishes:
But the title itself, like a bad penny, may resurface, perhaps before the end of 2007.
Murdoch's high-profile rejection has only made the book more attractive. (Imagine the cover blurb: "The book that Rupert Murdoch doesn't want you to read!")
And so, alas, we will have to expect new chapters in the history of the crime of the last century.
Of course, it could have been worse. Herewith, some phrases we presume were included in the first draft but left on the cutting-room floor at the Time & Life Building:
But the title itself, like someone jumping out to murder you when you least expect it, may emerge from the hedge before the end of 2007.
Murdoch's high-profile rejection has only made the book more attractive. (Imagine the cover blurb: "Okay, Rupert: The gloves are off!")
And so, alas, unlike Ron and Nicole, this project just won't die.
News execs are desperate to get O.J. Simpson to do a primetime interview about his canceled primetime interview with Judith Regan, his lawyer says. Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock are breaking up over, um, Borat. Really. Owen Wilson was diamond-ring shopping. Quoth Britney Spears: "I gave birth for 2 1/2 years, and now I want to party" (with Paris Hilton, no less). In other Hilton news, Lindsay Lohan is mad at rumors that Paris dumped a drink on her, despite the fact that she's the one who spread them. Despite the hype, Bobby didn't do so well at the box office over Thanksgiving. Jay McInerney offers Dan Aykroyd wine advice; Aykroyd to sing at McInerney's wedding in return. Longtime Brooklyn lovebirds Michelle Williams and Heath Ledger might soon be getting married. Who will be the 2006 "Media Person of the Year"? (Our money's on Stephen Colbert.) Former Post editor-in-chief Ken Chandler to quit the newspaper biz and get into consulting. The lovely folks of Darien, Connecticut, bid on a bunch of stuff from Moby's youth at an estate sale. Busta Rhymes booked a hotel room in Miami, was a no-show. Derek Jeter is still hitting on Jessica Biel; Jay-Z is still hating on Cristal. Cindy Adams's criticism of the new Bond flick: The first ten minutes are "unrelenting shoot-em-up" (uh, Cindy, it's a James Bond movie). Also, Adams is the only person in the world who doesn't find Daniel Craig sexy. Kiefer Sutherland's kill-count on 24 last season: 38.
Word is just out that News Corporation has canceled both O.J. Simpson's scheduled book, If I Did It, set to be published by Judith Regan's imprint of News Corp.'s HarperCollins publishers, and the accompanying two-part television special, to be hosted by Regan, for News Corp.'s Fox network. Because, of course, any time you have O.J. Simpson, Judith Regan, Rupert Murdoch, and Roger Ailes involved in a decision, you've got to expect them to take the high road.
News Corp. Cancels O.J. Simpsons Book and TV Special [FoxNews.com]