Dwight Yoakam's plane was on fire ... IN THE AIR! That mayday call from the pilot triggered an emergency at Van Nuys Airport, where the runway was cleared and the fire department nervously waited.
Yoakam and 9 others were on board the twin-engine Hawker 800 jet when the pilot called the tower to report an engine fire.
The plane landed safely ... turns out there was a lot of smoke but no fire.
Yoakam was on his way home after playing a small, private gig in a tiny village in Canada's Northwest Territories -- about 1,300 miles due North of Great Falls, MT.
The event was a 50th birthday party ... thrown by a woman who had more than enough to pay the country singer ... because she just won a $7.6 million dollar lottery jackpot.
In the end Dwight was lucky too ... his plane landed.
I Want Basketball
Not Crack As My Legacy
12/18/2013 12:50 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Lamar Odom can't be that torn up over his impending divorce, because he was out training hard yesterday for what he still believes will be an NBA comeback to save his legacy.
We know what Lamar is saying ... he believes he could be back on an NBA court by New Year's Day. It sounds improbable and maybe even impossible, but he's convinced he can quickly make a comeback and that's why he's training like an animal.
And this is interesting ... he wants back on a team not just to play basketball again ... he's worried about his legacy. He doesn't want people to remember him as a crackhead ... he wants to go out as the 6th man -- a basketball star.
As for the photo ... Lamar was leaving a training facility in the L.A. area. We're told he's there everyday for hours.
I'm Not Fired
But My Ass Is On the Line
12/18/2013 12:40 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Porsha Williams has NOT been fired from "Real Housewives of Atlanta" ... but she may be on life support ... TMZ has learned.
Reports are swirling that Porsha is toast, but we're told she will absolutely stay on the show for the current season and she'll also be part of the reunion special.
But sources close to the production tell TMZ ... they're not THAT into her, because she's on the bubble for next season. Producers haven't decided whether they want to keep her or give her the ax.
Our sources say they'll wait till the reunion is taped before making their decision.
Message to Porsha -- act like a crazy bitch and save your job.
Listen Up White America ...
We Ain't 'Ni**as'
12/18/2013 12:30 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Public Enemy frontman Chuck D has a message for anyone buying into Suge Knight's take on the n-word -- tossing around that epithet is vile and disrespectful to the Civil Rights movement ... no matter how much it's overused in popular music today.
As we reported, Suge proposed a controversial idea this week -- eliminating the term "African-American" ... because he feels it's inaccurate ... and instead going with "ni**a."
Chuck D agrees "African-American" isn't a perfect term since a white person could technically be African-American too -- but insists the n-word ... with an 'a' or 'er' ... is too rooted in bloody history and oppression to be used loosely.
Put more poetically by Chuck -- "Being called Black in America is the struggle to keep us moving and breathing over bloody water. Being a Nig**r or [Ni**a] without the context of history is like drowning in bloody water, dragging down those yet knowing to swim."
Chuck D, a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, added -- he thinks rappers show a lack creativity when they use the n-word "more than 3 times a song. It's lazy. Especially when out of context."
In other words ... don't believe the hype.
on a Beach
12/18/2013 12:20 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Guess Who This
SMILIN' LITTLE LADY
12/18/2013 12:10 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Before this grinning girl was the biggest "B*tch" in Hollywood -- she was just another little lady growing up in Pennsylvania. Can you guess who she is?
Legless Hopeful Has Right (Zombie) Stuff
12/18/2013 12:02 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
12/17/2013 4:45 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Justin Bieber is done with show biz ... so he says -- thing is, we don't believe him.
Justin was at Power 106 in L.A. today, and said after his next album drops he's retiring. The album comes out next week.
We talked to people in Bieber's camp and they said he was joking. As one source put it, "The kid's got ambition."
Since Justin appeared at The Laugh Factory last Friday, apparently he thinks he's on a comedy roll.
He already needs new material.
Judge Does NOT Have contempt for Him
12/17/2013 4:25 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Charlie Sheen just dodged another bullet -- the judge in his guardianship case decided NOT to hold him in contempt for yapping on TMZ Live.
Charlie violated the gag order the judge imposed by railing on Brooke Mueller, the L.A. County Dept. of Children and Family Services and the judge himself, calling him "dishonorable judge douchebag."
But we've learned there was a private hearing today where Brooke said she had no interest in pushing the issue so the judge gave Charlie a pass,
And more good news for Charlie. The judge said he was going to grant Sheen 2, 2-hour monitored visitations with twins Bob and Max, and assuming DCFS gives him good reviews, Charlie will incrementally get his custody restored to 50/50.
We got video of Brooke as she was leaving court. She was mum on everything.
I'm Having Identical Twins!
12/17/2013 3:15 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Michael Jordan is on his way to creating a basketball team of his own ... TMZ Sports has learned he's having IDENTICAL twin girls.
Michael's wife, Yvette Prieto, is pregnant, though we don't know how far along. They were married in April.
Michael already has 3 kids -- 2 boys and a girl. The kids are all in their 20s.
The people we've been speaking with in Jordan's world are being super secretive/scared stiff. But we're told so far ... the pregnancy is progressing just fine.
$110K Offer For My Painting
I'm A Regular Picasso Now
12/17/2013 3:00 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
George Zimmerman has found a new outlet for his emotions ... NOT involving a gun. Now he's brandishing a paintbrush ... and he stands to make a bloody FORTUNE.
Zimmerman is selling a signed painting on eBay ... and get this -- the high bid thus far ... $110,100. So far ... 108 bids and counting.
The painting features a portion of an American flag -- painted in shades of black and white -- with the words, "GOD -- ONE NATION with LIBERTY and JUSTICE FOR ALL." It's signed George Zimmerman.
GZ says it's his very first artistic work, adding, "[it] allows me to reflect, providing a therapeutic outlet and allows me to remain indoors :-)"
Zimmerman could benefit from an art class or two. He says he didn't use oils or acrylics. He used regular old household latex paint. "I know it's not the fanciest, but it is what we had."
'Walking Dead' Creator to AMC
I'll Cremate You
12/17/2013 2:28 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The creator of "The Walking Dead" -- one of the most popular shows on TV -- wants his pound of flesh from AMC -- to the tune of TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS.
Frank Darabont was the mastermind who adapted the popular comic book into a series back in 2009. He claims in his suit he would get 12.5% of the profits, but he claims AMC unceremoniously fired him in 2011 and he hasn't received a penny.
Here's what he says is especially galling. The show is a juggernaut, sometimes even beating Sunday Night Football. Yet AMC tells him the show is operating at a deficit. Darabont says AMC has outright defrauded him by producing and distributing the show to itself and essentially cooking the books to screw him out of his share.
What really pisses him off ... Darabont says the creator of "Mad Men" -- which also airs on AMC -- gets a huge cut of a $3 million fee PER EPISODE, even though "Mad Men" gets less than 1/4 of the viewership of "The Walking Dead."
Darabont wants 10s of millions of dollars. And this is kinda funny. He also wants a cut of "The Talking Dead," the talk show that follows each episode.
Rent, More than a Play
It's What You Owe
12/17/2013 12:30 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Terrence Howard -- who was evicted from Broadway -- has now been nailed with a huge amount of back rent.
Allow us to explain ... Howard lived in a fancy apartment building on Broadway in NYC. He fell WAY behind in rent and his landlord evicted him in May.
But there was some unfinished business. The landlord claimed Howard owed a whopping $51,907.85 in unpaid rent, so he sued for that amount.
Howard didn't show up for the court date, so the judge entered a default judgment in the landlord's favor.
Now here's the weird part. The judge didn't automatically accept the landlord's figure for back rent. Hizzoner has scheduled yet another hearing to determine exactly how much Howard owes.
Tenants can be such a pain in the ass.