Hang in there, Bret Michaels

I’ve got my fingers crossed for Bret Michaels.

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Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s explanation of Bret’s hemorrhage on “Larry King Live” last night  – which also featured commentary by Bret’s “Celebrity Apprentice” castmate Darryl Strawberry and “Rock of Love Bus” winner Taya Parker – made it sound like he might pull out of this OK.

But from the sound of reports today, the Poison frontman and reality-television star is in really, really bad shape. According to an Entertainment Tonight report I just read on Twitter, Bret will soon be undergoing surgery to relieve swelling around his brain. The entertainment program’s unnamed source also claims that Bret’s condition is “deteriorating.”

Of course, until this information is confirmed by Bret’s people, we should really take it with a grain of salt. Still, the fact that Bret’s reps haven’t supplied fans with an update yet today (which they’ve been doing religiously on Twitter and Facebook) is quite worrisome.

At this point, it sure doesn’t hurt to send him good vibes.

Though I’ve never met Bret in person, I interviewed him in 2008 for an article about the second “Rock of Love” season. (Read my article here.)  He was gregarious and jovial, just like he seems on TV. Watching Bret on TV is like seeing an entirely different side of him – and I’m glad he was given the opportunity to continue doing that on “Celebrity Apprentice” this season. That show has been downright entertaining, and Bret is the main reason for it. Just check out this clip from this week’s episode:

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I hope we get to see more of Bret working with teammates Sharon Osbourne and Maria Kanellis. They make a great team.

And before I forget, did anyone see People’s recent story about Bret? It featured great photos of him with his daughters and their mother, Kristi Gibson. Bret seems like a very involved, sensitive father, judging by the way he talks about his daughters on “Celebrity Apprentice.” Just a couple of episodes ago, Bret was despondent at the thought that his daughter, Raine, might be diabetic:

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In the meantime, here are some photos from the People magazine article:

Bret shares custody of his daughters, Raine (top) and Jorja, with their mother, Kristi Gibson./All photos by Justin Stephens for People

If you have a Bret Michaels story to share, please do!

“Larry King Live” tackles Jersey girl Chelsea Handler

“Larry King Live” devoted an entire hour recently to Jersey girl Chelsea Handler, who was promoting her new book, “Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang.”

(Chelsea’s dressing down of Kate Gosselin, above, is just one of the reasons I like her.)

Not surprisingly, at least if you are familiar with the three-time author and host of E!’s late night talk show “Chelsea Lately,” her conversation with Larry turned to the Garden State and the plethora of television shows about it. Their discussion went something like this:

Larry: What do you make of this Jersey thing?

Chelsea: Well, I mean I’m from New Jersey so I’m proud to be from New Jersey. I’m from a nice part. But there are parts of New Jersey that look like the “Jersey Shore” and what’s depicted on this show. It can be pretty crazy. So when people from New Jersey get mad about the depiction, and they say “Oh, how can you say that?,” well, I’m from there and it is like that.

Larry: Do you think it’s because it’s between New York and Pennsylvania?

Chelsea: Yeah, somebody told me that the other day. It’s kinda like a middle child of those states. Maybe. I didn’t see all of New Jersey like that. But these reality shows are all ridiculous so why not get New Jersey in the mix?

Larry: Where are you from in New Jersey?

Chelsea: Livingston.

Larry: Oh ohhhh. That’s upper class.

Chelsea: Well, it was upper class. But my parents were just below middle class.

Johnny Weir isn’t just good, he’s all over the place

Since I first started watching Johnny Weir’s reality show “Be Good Johnny Weir” last week, I have seen the U.S. figure skater (and Jersey boy) all over the place. And that’s a good thing!

First, I caught up on an interview Johnny did for HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” where he hilariously pointed out that figure skating and football aren’t all that different (except maybe figure skaters keep their hands to themselves):

I think he really hit it off with correspondent Frank Deford (himself a Princeton University graduate), don’t you?

Then I found this outtake from “Be Good Johnny Weir,” in which Johnny does one of his hilarious impressions of his Ukrainian coach Galina Zmievskaya:

Then last night Johnny appeared (all too briefly) on CNN’s “Larry King Live,” in which he was thrown the ridiculous *Facebook* question “How does it feel to be so fierce?”

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Johnny was back on the tube this morning, visiting “Regis & Kelly.” Kelly Ripa, herself a Jersey girl, is evidently a huge fan.
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Johnny also is featured in a Vanity Fair spread on athletes of the 2010 Olympics. The caption accompanying Johnny’s photo includes his revelation that after competing in this month’s World Figure Skating Championships in Italy, he plans on a little sojourn to Mongolia, of all places.

One thing you can definitely say about Johnny: He's comfortable in his own skin./Photo by Vanity Fair

“I’m going to take a vacation to Mongolia because I want to ride a yak,” he told the mag. “…and then maybe (I will) continue skating, but if not, I want a career in fashion.”

Alas, not all of the Johnny-mania lately has been positive.  People reported that two insensitive and clueless Canadian sports broadcasters stuck their feet in their mouths when they made inappropriate remarks about Johnny during the Olympics.

“This may not be politically correct, but do you think he lost points due to his costume and his body language?” Claude Mailhot of RDS, a French-language sports channel in Quebec, is quoted as saying.

Fellow broadcaster Alain Goldberg said he thought that Johnny’s mannerisms might hurt other male figure skaters.

“They’ll think all the boys who skate will end up like him,” he said. “It sets a bad example.”

The mocking didn’t stop there, though. The pair also joked that maybe Johnny should be required to take a gender test and that perhaps he should compete against women instead.

In his typical style, Johnny rose above the fray.

“It wasn’t these two men criticizing my skating, it was them criticizing me as a person, and that was something that really, frankly, pissed me off,” Johnny said. “Nobody knows me. … I think masculinity is what you believe it to be.”

Vanity Fair hits the nail on the head with “Jon & Kate Plus 8”

This month’s online Vanity Fair article about Kate Gosselin confirms something I’ve suspected all along: Both she and Jon are addicted to all of the attention.

I am almost embarrassed to admit I own every one of these issues. Sheesh.

I am embarrassed to admit I own almost every one of these issues. Sheesh.

And, I suppose, in some sort of sick way, it’s understandable: Since March of this year, Kate and her husband of extremely poor judgment have appeared on the cover of celebrity tabloids over 50 times (15 times each in In Touch Weekly and Star Magazine alone). Vanity Fair says that number is more than any other celebrity, Brangelina included.

Star Magazine editor Candace Trunzo points to those photos of Jon partying at a bar with college coeds in Pennsylvania as the beginning of the insanity.

“It was the beginning of this incredible phenomenon known as Jon and Kate Gosselin,” Trunzo tells Vanity Fair. “Everybody wanted to talk about them. They had become a real-life soap opera. The show was never as interesting as the two of them in real life.

“They were doomed to be exposed,” Trunzo continues, “because they put themselves out there in the first place. And now they’re addicted to the limelight.”

And are they ever. “The View,” the “Today” show, “Larry King Live,” “The Insider”… it’s endless.

Not surprisingly, the Jon and Kate scandal has drastically benefited these magazines, all of which have been suffering the effects of the slowed economy. Vanity Fair says that unlike other celebrity stories, the Gosselins are easy to produce, partly because the price of paparazzi shots of them run a lot less.

It also helps that Jon and Kate either don’t know how to control their image or don’t want to.

“Brad and Angelina try to be discreet,” explains In Touch Weekly editor Richard Spencer to Vanity Fair, “whereas Jon and Kate, they serve it daily to you on a platter.”

And if you had any doubt that Kate isn’t lapping up all this attention, check this out: During a shopping trip the Vanity Fair writer took with Kate to FAO Schwarz in New York City, a paparazzo sneaked photos of Kate as her purchases were rung up. He explains, “She’s a massive story at the moment.” When the Vanity Fair reporter relays that news to Kate, guess what her reply is?

“At the moment?”

This whole exploration of addiction to fame reminds me of what Kate said on the “Today” show a couple weeks back – about how her kids are upset that the TLC show isn’t taping.

“Over the weekend I told them that we’re not filming at this point,” she told Meredith Vieira. “And actually, times eight, there was wailing and sobbing. They love our crew, they love the interaction, they love the events. There is nothing harmful about it. They are angry.”

Based upon her statement, I’d argue the Aaden, Alexis, Hannah, Leah, Joel and Collin are addicted to the attention, too. And how could they not be? It makes perfect sense: Their parents probably pay more attention to them while the show is filming than at any other time. Plus, they have other people (the film crew) whom they can turn to when their parents are distracted.

Dr. Drew Pinsky should forget about celebrities addicted to drugs, alcohol and sex, and instead focus on those who are addicted to media attention. He’d have more clients than he’d know what to do with – and he’s already got 10 in Pennsylvania.

Balloon Boy: We’ve all been taken for a ride

Like many other people, I was fixated on the news networks for much of yesterday afternoon, watching as the “Balloon Boy” supposedly flew through the sky, hoping like heck he would be OK.

Once you tuned in to yesterday's drama, it was impossible to tune out.

Once you tuned in to yesterday's drama, it was impossible to tune out.

Thankfully, the Balloon Boy (aka 6-year-old Falcon Heene of Fort Collins, Colo.) was OK. But last night, during an interview with Wolf Blitzer on “Larry King Live,” precocious little Falcon made what just might be the ultimate faux pas, suggesting it may have all been a publicity stunt.

(Note: I had posted all five segments of the Heenes’ “Wife Swap” episode from YouTube, but ABC yanked them all – save for this one below – a few hours later.)

And after sitting through an agonizingly unwatchable episode of ABC’s “Wife Swap” featuring the Heene family, I have little doubt that yesterday’s events were exactly that.

The Heenes – father Richard, wife Mayumi and their three sons, Ryo, Bradford and Falcon – were clearly mugging for the cameras the entire time. They came across as completely boorish, ill-behaved and offensive (with burping, farting and cursing amongst their favorite dinnertime activities).

Of course, ultimately Richard and Mayumi Heene are to blame for their children’s behavior. And it is obvious from watching “Wife Swap” that Richard eggs them on, encouraging their loathsome and repulsive actions.

After subjecting myself to this horrible episode (the final clip of which is below), I am convinced that little Falcon did not misspeak when he said to his dad, “You had said that we did this for a show,” during “Larry King Live.”

And that is why I take comfort that the “Balloon Boy” story ends with Falcon being safe and sound – and satisfaction in the fact that it was the tike who ratted his father out on national television.

Payback is a b*tch, isn’t it?

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