MTV’s 20th Will Go On Without Madonna

 Madonna | Michael Jackson | Sex and the City | Janet Jackson   

MTV’s 20th Will Go On Without Madonna

Madonna has all but passed on participating in tomorrow night’s MTV 20th anniversary concert.

Liz Rosenberg, Madonna’s intrepid spokesperson, told me yesterday that Wednesday is the singer’s only day off on her grueling concert tour. She will not be able to appear live at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York to celebrate the occasion.

“We’ve talked, and they’d like it even if Madonna would tape something telling the audience to go f--- themselves. Which she might do at the last minute if she can. But with this schedule, it seems impossible.”

Madonna, of course, is probably the unofficial queen of MTV, and certainly the music video era. Rosenberg says, “I know there will be some kind of tribute to her over the years, but that’s about it unless we can work something out in the next 48 hours. We’d be happy if they just wanted to come backstage at Madison Square Garden and pick something up on tape.”

Meanwhile, Rosenberg tells me that Madonna is not surprised by some of the backlash she’s gotten with The Drowned World Tour. “Really, it’s her saying I’m taking this journey, and if you want come along great, but if not enjoy the view.”

The Material Mom has no plans to add older songs to the controversial 105 minute show although, Rosenberg told me, “she will change some the costumes. Madonna has a short attention span, so she has to do that.”

The MTV show will feature a host of other acts like Bon Jovi, Janet Jackson and P Diddy aka Puff Daddy.

Jackson Concert: No Charity So Far

"There is no charity selected." That's the word from Michael Jackson's camp as tickets to his 30th Anniversary shows go on sale this morning at Madison Square Garden. With all-star lineups for September 7th and 10th, and ticket prices ranging up to $2,500, it was expected that Jackson would choose to give some part of the proceeds to charity. One of the sticking points in getting Jermaine Jackson to join the show was exactly the issue of where the money is going. But now it seems clear: the money is going to pay the guest artists (who I'm told will receive $1,200 apiece), to the Garden, and to Michael himself.

And this postscript on the subject of Mr. Jackson for today: I think everyone is pulling for Michael to release a hot record and surprise the world. All the carping and gossip are very amusing, but in the end, it would be very hard to believe he could put out a bad record. As one Michael watcher reminded me the other day: "Michael always puts out a weak single first to test the waters. On Thriller, it was "The Girl Is Mine" with Paul McCartney. On Bad, it was the duet with Siedah Garrett." So whenever Rock My World is released, it's unlikely that Michael will be showing his best cards first. He's got to keep that poker face.

Sex and City Girls Get Down At Dinner

Is it just mid summer publicity or are those Sex and the City girls not getting along? You’d think so if you read some other gossip columns.

I’m told that on Saturday night three of the four actresses — Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon, and Kristen Davis — were quite chummy at the Hamptons premiere of Dinner with Friends.

Sarah Jessica Parker, so say HBO, had tickets to see Madonna. (Madonna’s office didn’t have any record of that, but hey SJP didn’t have to go through them.)

Also at the screening were the films’s stars: Dennis Quaid, whose blonde date met with unfavorable comparisons to his ex, Meg Ryan; Andie MacDowell, who is now engaged to her childhood sweetheart and last night showed the movie at a benefit in Charlotte, North Carolina; and Greg Kinnear, still the luckiest man in show biz.

As for SJP: maybe she’s at war with her castmates, but previous experience says it’s hardly believable. There may be some else going on here. We’ll have to wait and see.

Janet Jackson’s Old ‘Lover’

Color me a little behind the curve. But isn’t that America I hear?

Indeed, Janet Jackson’s new single “Someone to Call My Lover,” is based largely on a sample from “Ventura Highway” by the chestnutty 70’s soft rockers America.

I always had a soft spot in my heart for America, even though they were considered the poor man’s Crosby Stills and Nash. “Horse with No Name” ? “Tin Man” ? You can’t beat ‘em with a stick!

Terry Lewis and Jimmy Jam, who wrote “Lover,” have to share credit with America’s Dewey Bunnell. America’s manager told me yesterday that the producing pair licensed “Ventura Highway” for the Janet single. I hope Bunnell, who is out of the country, was paid well.

Meanwhile, Janet is not shy about lifting and mixing other people’s works. Carly Simon’s clear as crystal voice can be heard on another track, called “Son of a Gun,” based on Simon’s “You’re So Vain.” Knowing Carly, Janet did not get the song or the singer for a bargain price.