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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

This spray of Pam proved too slippery for the censors

The Spokesman-Review

SO YOU MISSED seeing Pamela Anderson pole dancing on Elton John‘s TV special the other night? You weren’t alone. NBC dropped the number from “Elton John: The Red Piano” Monday night after deciding it was too steamy for family hour.

In one segment of the Las Vegas extravaganza taped at Caesars Palace, included in preview copies sent out to critics, John sang “The Bitch is Back” while an oversized screen behind him displayed a scantily clad Anderson moving suggestively around a dance pole.

But after an assessment by its standards and practices department the network decided the material didn’t exactly mesh with the 8 p.m. time slot.

Left intact was another big-screen video that featured Justin Timberlake as a young Elton.

Timberlake is no stranger to TV controversy himself; he was part of Janet Jackson‘s “wardrobe malfunction” during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show, in which her breast was briefly exposed when Timberlake yanked on her costume.

Down the hatch

“Lost” star Michelle Rodriguez has settled two other traffic cases in Hawaii while awaiting a court hearing on a drunken driving charge.

Rodriguez was fined $357 and $300 in two separate speeding incidents, for driving 83 mph in a 55 mph zone and 90 mph in a 35 mph zone.

She and “Lost” co-star Cynthia Watros both are scheduled to appear Dec. 29 on drunk driving charges. They were driving separate cars when they were arrested Dec. 1 within 15 minutes of each other in Kailua.

Rodriguez previously pleaded no contest to drunken driving in Los Angeles in June 2004 and completed a three-month alcohol treatment program.

Following from Grace

CNN talk show host Nancy Grace has obtained a court order directing a mental patient she says is stalking her to leave her alone.

According to court papers, the man is “apparently obsessed with Ms. Grace, believes that he loves her, insists that she can solve all of his problems and will help him to meet with Osama bin Laden.”

Hey, Chappelle – show me the money

One of Dave Chappelle‘s former employees is suing him, claiming the comic reneged on a deal to make the man his manager.

Mustafa Abuelhija says he was told in September 2004 that he could be Chappelle’s personal manager, receiving 5 percent of revenue from personal appearances and 10 percent of entertainment deals, but never got it in writing.

Abuelhija is seeking his cut of an initial payment of $4.5 million from Comedy Central for the third and fourth seasons of “Chappelle’s Show.” The deal was reportedly worth $50 million, but Chappelle walked out after doing half of the third-season episodes.

Come on, there’s nothing real about Michael

Michael Jackson‘s family is again pitching a TV reality show – this one about the sons of Tito Jackson, already popular in Europe as the boy band 3T, taking another shot at pop stardom in the U.S.

They receive help not only from dad but other Jackson siblings, including LaToya, Jermaine and, yes, Michael.

In June, the family offered up a show chronicling the support the family gave Michael through his trial on child molestation charges.

The birthday bunch

Actress Liv Ullman is 67. Journalist Lesley Stahl (“60 Minutes”) is 64. Writer-producer Steven Bochco is 62. Singer Benny Anderson (Abba) is 59. Singer-guitarist Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) is 56. Actor Benjamin Bratt is 42. Singer Michael McCary (Boyz II Men) is 34.