There's an old adage in showbiz: All publicity is good publicity, as long as they spell your name right. But even old adages may need updating.
Paris Hilton is a name in the news every ten seconds. But it did not help sales of her "book" — a term used loosely — called "Confessions of an Heiress: A Tongue-in-Chic Peek Behind the Pose."
Released a mere six weeks ago, on Sept. 7, to much hoopla, this hard-bound object is currently ranked at No. 276 on Amazon.com and No. 135 on the list of USA Today bestsellers. Ouch!
Apparently, American consumers of actual books realized pretty fast that Hilton is merely an adult porno star and a one-note joke from TV's "The Simple Life."
You can fool some people all of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time. That's another adage.
Meanwhile, published reports say that Paris' sister's marriage is over after about six weeks.
Nicky Hilton, who's younger than Paris at 20, married a 33-year-old named Todd Meister around the time Paris' book came out. Now both projects look like duds.
Here's a suggestion for both girls now with such early failures: Please retire.
But they won't, you know. Paris is getting ready to launch her God-awful record, "Screwed," any moment now. Some people just don't take a hint.
Life after being king is never easy. Former Sony Music chief Tommy Mottola is finding that out right now.
On Friday, R&B sensation Usher dumped Mottola as his manager. Reportedly Usher's mother, who was co-managing her son, did not see eye to eye with Mottola on how best to navigate his burgeoning career.
Mottola couldn't have been too surprised, though. Of the nine producers listed for Usher's next movie project at Dimension/Miramax Films, his does not appear.
Artists' managers usually get a credit somewhere on their clients' movies. Usher's mother, Jonnetta Patton, for example, is listed as a producer.
For Mottola, who once ruled the world as Mariah Carey's husband and head of Sony Music, the Usher news was the latest in a series of disappointments.
His other job, which was supposed to be reviving Casablanca Records at Universal Music Group, has not produced much success.
The only act really signed to the label, a singer named Tarralyn Ramsey, has been a non-starter. Casablanca's Web site is still "under construction." Not much seems to be happening there otherwise.
Mottola did announce a few weeks ago that he and Miramax would be producing a Broadway musical version of Pink Floyd's "The Wall." But there isn't a person left in the Western world who doesn't know that Miramax's fate is iffy at best, thanks to Michael Eisner's intransigence.
"That — the musical — won't be happening any time soon," a Miramax source said recently. Casablanca was also supposed to release a soundtrack for Miramax's current release, "Shall We Dance." Mottola recently said in an interview that the movie was supposed to have Oscar buzz.
But "Shall We Dance" has had mixed reviews and middling box office since it opened last Friday. Miramax does have three Oscar contenders — "The Aviator," "Finding Neverland" and "Proof." "Dance" is not one of them.
The last time I wrote about Mottola, he was unhappy with me because I didn't stress his other big triumph — a multimillion-dollar deal for his wife, Mexican singer and soap-opera star Thalia Sodi, to market and design her own clothing line for Kmart.
Indeed, a number of Sodi's clothes are available at Kmart.com for prices ranging from $4 (a pink tank top) to $24.99 (dark wash jeans with heart emblem). A Peruvian bedding ensemble can cost up to $109.99.
But without Usher, Mottola finds himself in a precarious position.
He is still the official manager of Marc Anthony, but the decision to release Anthony's most recent album in the Latin market only has proven dubious. Even though Anthony has good sales in Latin America, in the U.S. that album is ranked at No. 14 on Billboard's Latin chart. It's below other albums that have been on the same chart for a longer time.
That would leave teen movie star Lindsay Lohan as Mottola's true ace in the hole. He's been planning her album for some time with producer Rodney Jerkins.
The latter has been off the radar in the pop world for over a year, but did have lots of hits a few years ago with Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston, among others.
Thanks to her rambunctious father, Lohan is a staple of the tabloids. If Mottola can turn all of her previous press into a gold record, he will have a comeback.
But the Universal marketing team will have to be there for him. So far they haven't been, and the result is a Web site that's been started for Tarralyn Ramsey by her fans, who've got an online petition going to get her on "Oprah."