Hillary Clinton | Jennifer Lopez | Michael Jackson

Barbara Walters Scooped by Wire Service

Well, we don't have to wait until Sunday for Barbara Walters' big interview with Hillary Rodham Clinton. The cat, as we say, is out of the bag.

Walters competed mightily with the likes of Diane Sawyer, Oprah Winfrey and Katie Couric to get Clinton's first interview from her book, Living History. Indeed, the book is embargoed by Simon & Schuster until the day of its publication, so as to give Baba a head start.

But late last night the Associated Press, thanks to some intrepid reporting, released the highlights of the book, which offers some details on the former first lady's tumultuous years in the White House.

We now know -- and will no doubt be hearing a lot more in the next few days -- how President Clinton didn't come clean to his wife about Monica Lewinsky until the last minute. The book purports to be candid on subjects regarding the Clintons' marriage, as Hillary tries to clear the air as she prepares her political future.

For Walters and ABC, though, the Associated Press release should cause no end of headaches. By Sunday, the story will be five days old and fully saturated in the press. Perhaps ABC will make a last minute switch and move the Walters interview up to Friday on 20/20. Still, it has to hurt. My guess is that Walters is angrier than Hillary was in 1998 -- and that's saying a lot.

J-Lo's Career-Maker With Ja Rule Almost Didn't Happen

Jennifer Lopez's career-making record, her remixed version of "I'm Real" with rapper Ja Rule, almost never happened.

In court testimony during the contentious lawsuit which TVT Records recently won against Def Jam, some interesting tidbits spilled out. They should of most interest, in fact, to Mariah Carey. I'll tell you why.

Lopez, it was revealed in the last year or so, was actually given the "I'm Real" music from Carey's work-in-progress Glitter album by Sony's then chief Tommy Mottola. This caused no end of trouble for Carey, who had to scramble and re-record a single when she realized her idea had been pilfered.

In an interview last year, Ja Rule's manager/producer Irv Gotti revealed that Mottola had asked him to make the Lopez record. But what's coming out now is that other forces almost halted Mottola's plan.

In court two months ago, Def Jam president Lyor Cohen revealed that he had tried to put a stop to Ja Rule working with Lopez when he found out the project was moving ahead.

"Irv in the middle of [recording a] Ja Rule album went and was asked to do a record for J-Lo. And then he put Ja Rule on it, stripped Ja Rule on it. And I said, you know, this could be devastating to our release. I don't think you should do this. He went ahead and did it anyhow. I did send Epic [J-Lo's label, overseen by Mottola] a letter not to allow them to do it."

Ultimately, pressure was brought to bear on all parties, presumably by Mottola, to let the Ja Rule/Lopez track proceed. The rest is history: The remixed version of "I'm Real" was a smash No. 1 hit in 2001.

Carey, who'd recorded her own track with Ja Rule, had to scrap everything she'd done at the last minute.

But it's not like Ja Rule comes out of the TVT/Universal trial with his head held high. Rapper DMX might like to know that Ja Rule had plans for him, according to Cohen.

In his testimony, Cohen recalls that Ja Rule asked for the same release date for his album as DMX's new album. Both acts record for Def Jam...


"So he could sell more records than DMX," Cohen says, "and almost squash the beef of who is more popular."

Nice, huh?

There's more from the TVT/Universal lawsuit, in which TVT was awarded $132 million in damages. Half of those damages were assigned personally to Cohen, who seemed incoherent during much of the testimony. More tomorrow...

Jacko Has a New Manager, Sort Of

Michael Jackson has yet another new manager, or not, depending on whom you speak to. Charles Koppelman, the veteran record industry mover and shaker, is now at least advising if not actually managing Jackson in some capacity.

Ironically, it was Koppelman who tried to help Jackson out with his finances a couple of years ago with a "Bowie Bond" kind of deal. The project never came together, and it was thought that the two weren't so friendly.

But now Koppelman, who was in the securitization business for a few years after a successful run with SBK Records, is back in the music scene. He's said to have signed several acts and will probably start a new label before the end of the year. At SBK he had huge hits with Wilson Phillips and Nelson (the long-haired blonde sons of Rick Nelson).

Koppelman's plan is to somehow maximize Jackson's assets and show the world the Odd One is not bankrupt -- financially or morally. We can only wish him the best of luck.