A book about Anna Nicole Smith that had been rejected for being too boring is now going to be published anyway.
Michael Viner, a publisher with a checkered past, is going to do the honors as soon as April. The book is by Donna Hogan, Anna Nicole's estranged half-sister who may not have really even known the late ex-Playmate very well.
It doesn't matter. Viner is not exactly Alfred A. Knopf, Richard Simon or Bennett Cerf (they were the founders of Knopf Books, Simon & Schuster and Random House, respectively).
Viner is the former owner Dove Audio Books. He became famous for non-literary tomes like a scandalous memoir by Nicole Simpson's "friend," Faye Resnick, and a tell-all called "You'll Never Make Love in This Town Again." The former husband of actress Deborah Raffin, Viner is so classy he once lost a libel suit he brought against Heidi Fleiss.
The weird thing about this book, tentatively titled, "Train Wreck," is that it was announced on Oct. 23, 2006, in the New York Daily News by the esteemed George Rush and Joanna Molloy, thanks to their talented colleague Michelle Caruso.
In that column, they wrote that Smith might have used frozen sperm from her dead billionaire husband J. Howard Marshall II to create her baby, Dannielynn. No one cared that much at the time.
Fast forward to this past Sunday, when news of the book and the frozen sperm again appeared on the front page of the Daily News, this time cast as a breaking-news headline that had just been discovered. There's no mention of the previous story from October, which had the exact same news.
And — hello — there is also no mention that back in October, Viner, according to former book collaborator Stacy Brown, thought the book was ultimately boring and decided not to publish it.
The project languished, and Brown, who co-wrote Bob Jones' self-published expose about working for Michael Jackson for 30 years, dropped out.
"But all of a sudden, two days after Anna Nicole's death, the book is suddenly interesting and hot," he told me last night.
Brown has nothing to do with it now and said he didn't promote it to the Daily News.
"Back in October, when I was writing it for her, it was pretty clear that Donna Hogan wasn't close to Anna Nicole and didn't know much. She was a fringe person," he said. "It was sad. She might have known her before Anna Nicole was famous, maybe as kids or teens. But there's been nothing since then."
The Grammys pre-telecast ceremony is one of the stranger elements of the awards weekend.
Since the Grammys only feature fewer than a dozen awards over a three-hour broadcast, the rest of the Grammy world is relegated to an afternoon of apathy and humiliation.
Few nominees actually show up, but lots of Academy members come, eat pretty good buffet hors d'oeuvres in the lobby of the Los Angeles Convention Center and then drift in and out of a huge ballroom to see what's up.
On this stage, in front of several hundred stiff metal mostly unoccupied chairs, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences hands out awards for classical music, country, R&B, folk, polka, spoken word and comedy recordings.
It's quite a scene. The polka winner, for example, has won 16 times in a row. Who knew?
The whole deal is a little like a cattle auction. As the number of their category gets closer, nominees negotiate forward with hopes of winning. There is no assigned seating.
Tony Bennett, his manager son, Danny, and their posse appeared nearly before their category was called — Traditional Pop Album — so Tony could bound forward when his name was inevitably announced. He made what sounded like a proposal to his long-time girlfriend and thanked Target, his corporate sponsor.
Bruce Springsteen won best folk album, but wasn't there. Neither was his fellow nominee in that category, Bob Dylan.
Mary J. Blige didn't take the stage to explain how she could win Best R&B song for "Be Without You," a reworking of Patti LaBelle's "Love & Need & Want You." It was just as well.
There were touching moments, though. A whole bunch of Hawaiian musicians showed up to win Best Hawaiian Music Album. They all wore leis, and they were really moved by the proceedings.
The biggest surprise of the event: Peter Frampton, 30 years after the phenomenon of "Frampton Comes Alive," took the stage to accept an award for best pop instrumental album, "Fingerprints."
Sporting short, neatly combed gray hair with a side-part, wearing a blue blazer and gray slacks, Frampton looked like someone's dad coming home from his job as an insurance adjuster.
He wasn't bringing sexy back, that's for sure. Justin Timberlake, this is a warning.
News of the reunion tour by the Police — a story broken here — has been good business.
If album sales are any indication, the international tour should have no trouble selling tickets. All of the Police's remastered CDs, as well as a greatest hits compilation by Sting, have jumped into the top 200 on Amazon.com.
"Synchronicity," the final Police album released in 1982, has catapulted up to around No. 110. If this doesn't make the trio think about releasing a new CD, I don't know what will.
The folks at Mickey Fine Pharmacy in Beverly Hills are still waiting for the balance of $50,000 to be paid on their outstanding bill from Michael Jackson.
The drug store mixes up the whitening cream that Jackson uses all over his body. This highly expensive potion, which runs around $100 for a small container, is composed of acids that insiders say "make you feel like it's burning right through the skin."
It's so incredibly sad that Jackson feels he has to live like that.