Bits & Pieces

The most useless news story in history

    NEW YORK – Tim Allen, who donned 75 pounds of costuming and makeup for the Santa Clause movies, says the four hours of preparation required to become the big guy weren’t easy.

    "I don’t like it any more than the first time," the 53-year-old actor told AP Television at Sunday’s world premiere of The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, in Los Angeles.

    "But, you know what? I’m getting old. I dig this business. I’ll do what I can to stay in this business. At my age, [John] Travolta and I just finished a movie together and he said, `It’s amazing people are still calling us. You know, this age group gets younger.’

    "And I said, `Look, I’m the same way. If I’ve got to get into a fat suit to work, I love crews and grips and this stuff. I just love working.’ So, I’ll get in that fat suit. I got it so they’ve got a chair that reclines and there’s somebody to rub my feet a little bit. It goes by. Four hours goes by."

    Allen first played Santa in the 1994 blockbuster The Santa Clause and returned to the big red suit for 2002’s hit The Santa Clause 2. The third installment, in which nemesis Jack Frost (Martin Short) tries to usurp Santa, hits theaters Friday.


Jacko and Will.I.Am get it on

BURBANK, Calif. – Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas can count the King of Pop among his fans.

    Michael Jackson invited the rapper/producer to collaborate on some new tracks for an upcoming album. That led to the two getting together at a recording studio in Ireland, Jackson says in a two-part interview with Access Hollywood set to air Thursday and Friday.

    "I like what he is doing and thought it would be interesting to collaborate or just see how the chemistry worked," Jackson says. "I think he’s doing wonderful, innovative, positive, great music."

    Jackson hasn’t released a new record since 2001. But he says he never stopped writing music.

"I am always writing a potpourri of music," he says. "I want to give the world escapism through the wonder of great music and to reach the masses."

    In recent years, Jackson has promised various projects that he has yet to deliver, including a benefit single for Hurricane Katrina victims. He has also said he plans to release a new album in 2007 produced by a Bahrain-based record label.


You aren’t reading this

    NEW YORK – Circulation declines accelerated at major U.S. newspapers for the six-month period ending in September, according to figures released Oct. 30, in the latest sign of struggle for an industry that is continually grappling with changing reader habits.

    Average paid circulation fell 2.8 percent on weekdays and 3.4 percent on Sundays, the Newspaper Association of America reported, an even worse showing than the last time figures were released, in May. Then, the NAA said average weekday circulation fell 2.5 percent in the six months ending in March, while Sunday circulation fell 3.1 percent.


Reese Witherspoon finally admits husband is a douche

    LOS ANGELES – Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe, who started the year on an Oscar-winning high, are ending it on a low note: The couple have separated.

    "We are saddened to announce that Reese and Ryan have decided to formally separate," publicist Nanci Ryder said in a statement issued Monday on behalf of the couple.

    "They remain committed to their family and we ask that you please respect their privacy and the safety of their children at this time," the brief statement concluded. Ryder said she could not elaborate on the split.

    Witherspoon, 30, and Phillippe, 32, have two children, 7-year-old Ava and 3-year-old Deacon. The couple, who co-starred in the 1999 movie Cruel Intentions married that year.

    In March, Witherspoon won a Best Actress Academy Award for her role as June Carter Cash in 2005’s Walk the Line. Phillippe co-starred in the best-picture winner, Crash and is starring in Clint Eastwood’s latest film, the World War II drama Flags of Our Fathers.