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Talk in Hollywood continues that Tom Cruise forced Viacom to cancel their Comedy Central showing of the South Park episode that ridicules Scientology by threatening to sit out promotion of his upcoming Mission: Impossible 3, which considering his Oprah antics last time for War of the Worlds, might not be such a bad idea.

MONDAY MORNING RECAP: MEDIA NEWS FROM ALL OVER

George Mason, High School Musical, James Blunt, Tim Bowen, Neverland, Tom Cruise, Arianna Huffington and the Wachowskis Are Buzzing
Anybody else pick George Mason, Wichita State and Bradley in their brackets?

Look for Walt Disney RecordsHigh School Musical and Custard/Atlantic’s James Blunt to battle it out for the top spot on tomorrow’s album chart in the 120-125k range, with WB rapper E-40 appearing like the top debut in the 100k, "mas but probably menos" area.

The L.A. TimesCharles Duhigg reports that the appointment of Tim Bowen as COO of Sony BMG Music Entertainment, replacing the departed Michael Smellie, is seen “as part of an effort to heal a rift in the joint venture between Sony and Bertelsmann.” In fact, Germany and Japan haven’t seen such a mutual love since World War II. See his full story here.

The L.A. Times also reports that Clear Channel will announce that it is joining Cox Radio Inc., CBS Radio and Radio One Inc. in testing an electronic measurement system devised by the Media Audit and Ipsos, an international polling and market research firm, to replace the traditional paper logs of the Arbitron system.

The N.Y. Post’s Tim Arango quotes Lyor Cohen as denying speculation that Atlantic Records boss Craig Kallman and deputy Julie Greenwald were on the bubble after last week’s 1-2 chart finish for rapper Juvenile and James Blunt. "We've got a team here that is signing stars, building careers and developing a culture of creative excellence," he insisted in Arango’s Sunday On the Money column. "Craig and Julie have my full support and together we're going to do great things in the years to come." Can you say, "vote of confidence"?

Fox's Roger Friedman reports that Michael Jackson has shut down his Neverland Ranch for good here. Employees were summoned to the ranch last Thursday, given back pay for 12 weeks and told the ranch had been shut down by the California Department of Labor.

Talk in Hollywood continues that Tom Cruise forced Viacom to cancel their Comedy Central showing of the South Park episode that ridicules Scientology by threatening to sit out promotion of his upcoming Mission: Impossible 3, which considering his Oprah antics last time for War of the Worlds, might not be such a bad idea.

The blogging world is still buzzing about Clooneygate, in which blogmistress Arianna Huffington pieced together a bunch of quotes from the Oscar-winning actor, bon vivant and noted liberal, added her own twist, sent them to his publicist for approval, then ran them on her blog site as if the Lake Comomeister penned them himself. As Clooney pointed out: "These are not my writings — they are answers to questions and there is a huge difference.” Arianna finally admitted in a post titled "Lessons Learned" to a "big mistake" for failing to source the quotes and writing the post for Clooney in the first place. See the full story here.

The Wachowski brothers’ V for Vendetta was the weekend’s top-grossing film with $26.1 million, followed by last week’s #1, Failure to Launch, at $15.8 million, Shaggy Dog at $13.6 million, the Amanda Bynes-starring She’s the Man at $11 million, the horror remake The Hills Have Eyes at $8.1 million, 16 Blocks ($4.7m), Eight Below ($4.2m), Madea’s Family Reunion ($3m), The Pink Panther ($2.5m) and Aquamarine ($2m).

ON THIS DAY:
In 1964: The Beatles performed on English TV’s Ready Steady Go!, which achieved its highest rating at the time.
In 1968: Eric Clapton was arrested in Los Angeles along with Neil Young, Richie Furay and Jim Messina, charged with “being in a place where it is suspected marijuana is being used.”
In 1969: John Lennon married Yoko Ono in Gibraltar.
In 1990: Gloria Estefan injured her vertebrae in a tour bus crash in Scranton, PA.
In 1991: Michael Jackson signed a one-billion-dollar record and film deal with Sony Music and Columbia Pictures.
In 1991: Eric Clapton’s four-year-old son Conor died after falling out of an apartment window, and became the subject of the song “Tears in Heaven.”
In 2000: Madonna announced she was pregnant with her second child.
In 2002: The #1 album in America was the soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou?
In 2003: The South Carolina House of Representatives passed a resolution urging the Dixie Chicks to make a public apology for derogatory statements about President Bush.
In 2003: The day America began bombing Iraq, Bruce Springsteen opened his show in Melbourne, Australia with an acoustic version of "Born in the U.S.A." followed by a cover of Edwin Starr's "War (What Is It Good For).”

 

HITS LIST: AMPERSANDS
Dynamic duos (12/3a)
TAYLOR'S TREMENDOUS YEAR
She'd make one helluva CEO. (12/3a)
THEY CALL THE WINDFALL MARIAH (HOLIDAY EDITION)
Ch-chingle bells (12/3a)
SONG REVENUE:
BOWS OF HOLLY
Adele is money. (12/3a)
UTA MUSIC EXPANDS IN NASHVILLE
Reshuffling the deck (12/3a)
CHESTNUTS
Roasting.
STOCKINGS
Stuffing.
PIPERS
Piping.
SANTA
Coming.
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