The big "X Factor" premiere last night fell way short of Simon Cowell's expectations -- earning just over half the ratings "American Idol" got during its premiere in January.
Simon's new show averaged an 8.7 rating, while the tenth season premiere of "Idol" pulled in a 16.4 -- and in last night's head-to-head ... "Modern Family" and "Criminal Minds" won out.
Simon called in to TMZ Live yesterday -- telling us, he desperately wanted to beat out his alma mater in the ratings department ... but based on last night's performance, that's gonna be an uphill battle.
To be fair -- the first ever episode of "American Idol" only scored a 6.1 in 2002 ... and has since had years to build a loyal audience. Then again, singing competitions were new back then.
The producer of "Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father" has lashed out at Joe Pesci, claiming he's a has-been who is desperately seeking attention by trying to force himself into the movie.
The flick -- which will star John Travolta -- is now the basis of a suit filed by Pesci, who claims he had an iron-clad, $3 million deal to play the role of Angelo Ruggiero, Gotti's close friend and enforcer. In fact, Pesci says the deal was so firm, he actually gained 30 pounds for the role, only to be 86'd from the film.
As we previously reported, Pesci has sued Fiore Films, and now the movie company is fighting back in its answer to the lawsuit, saying, "It has been over 20 years since Mr. Pesci has been able to gather the attention he has by merely interjecting his role in this film."
Fiore claims it never had a deal with Joe ... there were discussions but no commitment. Fiore says sadly, "[Pesci] desperately wants to be part of this film project."
The mob has ways of dealing with these disputes, right?
Minka Kelly proved too much for the "Charlie's Angels" crew member who got fired after slapping her ass last month -- he violated Rule 1 in the workplace ... look, but don't touch.
As TMZ reported, Minka told the guy never to do it again, but ABC got wind of it and immediately 86'd the guy.
The pic (above) shows Minka outside David Letterman's show yesterday.
The big "X Factor" premiere isn't competing head to head with "Idol" -- but Simon still wants to outrank his big competition, telling us, "You don't compete for the silver or the bronze ... You may not get the gold, but you die trying."
When we asked how X will measure up against similar singing competitions -- Simon responded, "It's definitely going to be better than the other shows."
As for what to look out for tonight -- Simon says the show is full of "nutcases" ... and one audition is especially terrifying.
Oh, as for what Simon thinks of "American Idol" without him -- well, he says, "It's not my cup of tea."
A crew member on the "Charlie's Angels" set has been fired after slapping Minka Kelly's butt.
There's a report out that the guy was holding a $100 bill when he slapped her, and that she retaliated later by slapping him, but our sources say that's NOT true.
What did happen ... according to sources directly connected to the production ... is that the man did indeed slap Kelly, and sources at ABC tell us, she responded by telling him, "Please don't ever disrespect me or any other woman like that again."
Some of the witnesses told ABC honchos, and given the network's zero-tolerance policy on sexual harassment, the dude was immediately banned from the set and subsequently fired.
We're told Minka did not want to get the guy fired and had nothing to do with the decision -- she was friendly with the man and upset that he lost his job after moving his family to town for the job.
And, ABC sources say, this was not an isolated incident -- the guy had done it before to other women.
TMZ has learned, Mendes was so freaked out, she drove into the nearest safe harbor ... a police station.
We're told cops hit the streets but couldn't find the culprit. But ... for safe measure, we're told cops escorted Eva home.
It's unclear whether it was a renegade paparazzi or a zealous fan.
Where is Ryan Gosling when you need him?
Homer Simpson just sold his Pacific Palisades home to none other than Duff Beer peddler Moe Szyslak ... for $5.5 million.
Voice of Homer -- Dan Castellaneta -- knocked $200 thousand off the listing price of his 4,414 square Tudor -- before Hank Azaria -- who voices Moe -- snatched it up.
The house has 4 bedrooms, 3 and a half baths, a studio and a saltwater pool.
The only thing the house is missing -- a friendly neighborhood tavern and an endless supply of Duff.
Sources tell TMZ ... Halle was on the property where she's staying and simply took a misstep. She heard a crack and then felt the pain. Halle went to the hospital, where doctors put her foot in a cast. She was taken out of the hospital in a wheelchair.
As for the movie she's currently shooting -- "Cloud Atlas" -- sources say the immediate plan is to shoot around her. We're told that will be a combination of things -- shooting her from the waist up, using a stunt double, and shooting scenes for the next week or two in which Halle does not appear.
The plain in Spain creates intense pain. We just had to.
Denise Richards tells TMZ ... she doesn't want a dime from Charlie Sheen's $125-million-dollar settlement with Warner Bros ... well, other than the $50,000 he's paying her for child support every month.
Denise -- who was shopping in Malibu Tuesday -- seemed way less interested in Charlie's cash than Brooke Mueller, who's been walking around with dollar signs in her eyes.
Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell are trying again to dump their enormous Malibu Beach mansion -- listing the Balinese-themed palace for $14.749 million.
The 4,300 square foot beach house has 4 bedrooms, and comes with a meditation room, a movie screening room, and a gym.
The couple bought the Malibu home back in 1989 -- and have put it up for sale several times in the last 15 years ... to no avail.
Fun Fact: There are roughly 50 other Malibu Beach homes currently listed for more than $10 million -- so Goldie and Kurt have some stiff competition.
So if you had any doubt about whether Gayle King is a lesbian scratch that, because Gayle is being sued by a famous matchmaker who claims she hooked Gayle up with a bunch of "attractive, fit, and wealthy men," but Gayle reneged on her promise to put her on "Oprah."
Orly Hadida -- aka Orly the Matchmaker -- claims 2 years ago she made a deal with Gayle to provide her with matchmaking services. According to the lawsuit, Orly waived her $500,000 fee, and in return Gayle promised to get Orly a guest spot on "Oprah."
Orly alleges she spent hundreds of hours hooking Gayle up with 5 men -- all fabulous. Orly claims Gayle went on several dates with more than one of the men.
According to the lawsuit, back in May Orly panicked, realizing Oprah's show was coming to a quick end. So she says she sent Gayle an email, saying since she clearly wasn't going to appear on Oprah she wanted to get paid.
Gayle's rep had no comment.