Top Stories for 08/14/06

8/14/2006 9:09 AM PDT

Top Stories for 08/14/06

Are they or aren't they? As the world awaits word on the true story behind Vaughniston's supposed engagement, there's one guy who definitely isn't happy about the big "announcement" – and it's not Brad Pitt.

Word is that Jen's bigshot rep, Stephen Huvane, is hopping mad at the "Today" show for spreading what he says is a totally false rumor, and he's pulling his other A-listers from the show indefinitely.

Gwyneth Paltrow, Demi Moore, and Kirsten Dunst are just a few of the roster of stars that PMK/HBH, Huvane's firm, is said, according to Page Six, to be sending over to "Today" competitor "Good Morning America" as punishment for announcing the couple's engagement (with the help of Us Weekly editor Janice Min) last Wednesday. "The timing couldn't be worse," says an insider cited by the Post. "September is when the ratings war traditionally heats up, and Huvane's clients have some big movies coming out."

Us Weekly's Min, by the way, stands by her scoop, and has even taken to chronicling the various vehement denials of Huvane's that ended up not being so vehement.

Cruise and Holmes To The Rescue


On their way home from a weekend trip Saturday night to romantic Salt Lake City, Utah, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes spotted a couple on L.A.'s 101 Freeway who had just been in some form of accident.

The couple, reports People.com, pulled over by the side of the road and checked with the passengers, Jon Henningsen and his wife, to make sure they weren't injured. The stars then waited with them until the police and the fire department got to the crash site.

No word on if Henningsen and/or his wife spotted four-month-old Suri. And, in case you were wondering, Cruise and Holmes were in Salt Lake to watch pal David Beckham and his team Real Madrid play against their namesakes from Utah, Real Salt Lake.

"Step Up" Steps Up Huge While "Talladega Nights" Wins Again


"Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" crossed the weekend box office finish-line first once again with $23 million, but Disney's "Step Up" surpassed all expectations, coming in second with $21 million.

The movie's surprising performance – it had been tracking somewhere in the mid-teens, says Variety – proves how crazy people are these days for anything dancing-themed (see: "So You Think You Can Dance?") and the fact that early tracking polls may undercount female audiences, as they did in the case of the early summer Vaughniston comedy "The Break-Up."

Meanwhile, despite fears that the recent terrorist scares would compromise business for Oliver Stone's "World Trade Center," the film did a robust $19 million, the best opening for a Stone film ever. On the other hand, a big marketing blitz couldn't help Sony's "Zoom," starring Tim Allen, which managed a paltry $4.6 million.

Martha Still Trying To Get Out of Westport


We may have heard her several years ago when she said she was leaving her tony suburban enclave. But this time, Martha Stewart is serious – she's put her famous house up for sale, and the town's residents are sniffing that she's doing so none too soon.

Her 19th century federal-style farmhouse, as much a star of her TV show and magazines as any guest or crochet demonstration, has been on the market for more than two months, which isn't unusual for such a high priced (i.e., $9 million) property. But her neighbors – including Paul Newman and Michael Bolton -- don't seem as though they'll miss her a great deal. "There was certainly no real sense of loss," says Cristin Marandino, editor of Westport Magazine. "I think 70% of the people who live in Westport have a Martha story. She just wasn't very easy to live with."

Goodie Bag: Billy and Christie's Kid Releases Album, Simpsons Banned in China


The progeny of Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley, 20-year-old Alexa Ray Joel, releases her first record tomorrow, called "Sketches." She won't be going through the usual record-label channels, choosing instead to issue it through her own indie label. But listeners will no doubt be parsing the lyrics for references to her mother's recent marital woes, says FOX News' Roger Friedman. . . The Chinese government has banished "The Simpsons" from 5 to 8 p.m. on the country's TV channels in order to help protect China's struggling animation industry. Foreign cartoons are apparently hugely popular with the country's 250 million children, and the hundreds of hours of programming the locals do just don't cut it. Pokemon and Mickey Mouse are also getting the axe during those hours.

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