DEAR FAKE DIARY: Why would Jessica Simpson, who purports to hate the tabloid press, agree to document a week of her life for a celebrity gossip magazine? She didn’t, of course, but that’s not at all the impression conveyed by In Touch, whose current cover screams “Exclusive: Jessica’s Breakup Diary.” The story is a first-person account of the days following the public announcement of her split with husband Nick Lachey. “Am listening to Madonna‘s new CD a lot,” reads one entry. “Spending time with Mom, getting words of wisdom from Dad, support from Ashlee. Family is everything.”

According to Simpson’s spokesman, however, the singer did not supply any of the material in the “diary,” either in writing or in an interview. The spokesman declined further comment, but a different publicist, whose clients are also regularly featured in the weeklies, said the story represented “quite a low” in the none-too-proud annals of celebrity journalism. “This is a blatant attempt to take advantage of the public,” he said. “The average person reads this and thinks Jessica handed over her diary.” (He declined to be quoted by name, expressing concern about retaliation.)

An editor at a competing magazine agreed the story was uniquely misleading, even by the standards of a category where a one-sentence quote obtained on a red carpet constitutes an “exclusive interview.” “Even Bonnie [Fuller] wouldn’t do this,” said the editor, referring to the editorial director of Star and Celebrity Living, two titles known for taking liberties with the facts. In Touch editor in chief Richard Spencer did not respond to messages.
Jeff Bercovici

SECOND LOOK: Sarah Gray Miller and Alex Bhattacharji have finished up their stint at Entertainment Weekly, at least for the time being. Their witty edition of the EW spin-off Look, widely seen as a shot across the bow of Premiere, went out to a limited number of subscribers and newsstands this week. In it, there’s an interview with George Clooney, a list of the 50 most dysfunctional families in movie history and a tour of Jeff Daniels‘ schlumpy Michigan screening room. Time Inc. insiders said executives are awaiting newsstand numbers to determine if Look gets another encore.
— Sara James

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