Mon, Jun 25, 2007 - Page 13 News List

Planet Pop

AGENCIES

Sick and tired of hearing about Paris Hilton? Then pack your suitcase and head for a desert island because the US' most famous celebrity inmate is about to be a free woman again.

After a brief lull in headlines following her early release and dramatic re-imprisonment on June 8, the media circus that surrounds Hilton will hurtle into overdrive once more when inmate 9818783 is released tomorrow.

Hilton, a one-woman pop culture phenomenon, said in an interview from behind bars at the Los Angeles Century Regional Detention Facility this week that she will emerge from incarceration a changed woman.

"In a way, I'm really glad this happened because it changed my life forever," said Hilton, who was jailed for violating probation in an alcohol-related driving offence.

"I just realize that the media used me to make fun of and be mean about. Frankly, I'm sick of it. I want to use my fame in a good way."

But whether Hilton's desire for a more simple life will lead to fewer appearances in the media spotlight remains doubtful, experts say.

"If you want to not hear about Paris Hilton then you should try and find the island where those people on the television show Lost are trapped," said Robert Thompson, a professor in pop culture at the University of Syracuse.

"No-one is safe from this stuff."

CNN television confirmed Saturday that its veteran newsman Larry King had won the race to secure the first Hilton post-prison interview, in a one-hour special on Wednesday. She will not receive payment for the interview.

NBC was initially reported to have secured an interview with Hilton for one million dollars, despite company rules prohibiting payment to interviewees. But the network denied a Hilton interview was planned.

Media experts say television networks jostling for the Hilton scoop could sidestep their rules by paying the multi-millionaire for the right to use private photos or videos, which she could then be interviewed for under the guise of promotional work.

Thompson said Hilton's travails were in keeping with a long-established need for the occasional shaft of light relief amid the doom and gloom of weightier headlines.

"On one level the amount of coverage Hilton gets is absolutely absurd in that it is not news of any kind," Thompson said. "But there is always a vacancy in society for frivolous nonsense."

Speaking of which, US actor David Hasselhoff demanded Friday that a UK tabloid newspaper publish an apology for writing that he was intoxicated and acting inappropriately at a Hollywood nightclub - and his lawyer said the actor wants it published next to the paper's daily photo of a topless woman.

Hasselhoff denies the allegations, which were published by the Sun newspaper last Tuesday.

The article, which had the headline "Hoff is Back on Sway Watch,'' claimed a "boozy'' Hasselhoff, 54, was knocking over tables and demanding drinks from strangers at Les Deux nightclub in Hollywood the previous weekend. The article claimed he was celebrating winning custody of his two daughters the previous day.

Hasselhoff is demanding a printed apology stating the article was false run on Page 3 of the Sun, which features a daily photograph of a topless woman.

The star wants the apology to appear on that specific page because that was where the original article ran.

On a more positive note, US film star George Clooney has joined a protest to stop construction of parking lots and a promenade in the northern Italian lakeside town where he owns a villa because he fears his presence is turning the quiet town into a tourist attraction.

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