Monday, June 17, 2024

Showbiz411 Scoops: Kabbalah, Madonna, Paula Abdul


It’s Sunday night, and time to take stock of the week.

First: I told you last August that Paula Abdul would be a judge on Simon Cowell’s “X Factor.” It was known then, but this latest contract stuff was contrived for publicity. A lot is going into “X Factor.” Sony Music is counting on lots of hits from as yet undiscovered talent. That helped Paula when it came to her contract with CBS for her failed dance show. The reunion of Simon and Paula is the only real publicity hook for “X Factor.” When the show starts airing, get ready for lots of stories about Simon and Paula fighting, and no one getting along with host Steve Jones. It’s all a PT Barnum like machine, designed to stoke tabloid headlines. And the public falls for it more often than Charlie Brown reaches in vain for Lucy’s football.

Second: So nice that the L.A. Times acknowledges a grand jury investigation of the Kabbalah Center. I told you this three weeks ago. I’ve been writing about malfesance at Kabbalah for years, about the Raising Malawi fundraising and Madonna’s role as the group’s patsy. The IRS and grand jury will do well to look into the vast real estate holdings of the Centre, and into an explanation for how the Berg family lives if they don’t have earned income.

One explanation will be that as leaders of Kabbalah, they’re entitled to parish houses. That argument has been tested in the past, mostly with failure as a result. Soon Hollywood will be owned by Kabbalah and Scientology–sort of wall to wall cults in a real estate monopoly.  Only in Hollywood kids, only in Hollywood.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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