Janet Jackson has been removed from the Grammy show Sunday night:
- Sources tell ET that Miss Jackson was scheduled to present the tribute to LUTHER VANDROSS, but since Luther is unable to attend the event due to his health, Jackson has been told her services are no longer needed. Vandross' publicist tells ET he was unaware that Jackson was going to have any part in introducing the homage to the R&B singer. Vandross is nominated for five awards for his album Dance With My Father, but suffered a severe stroke in April and is still in a wheelchair. Jackson's withdrawal comes after an emotional videotaped apology released Wednesday in which she admitted that she alone decided to do the ill-fated reveal at last Sunday's Super Bowl halftime. So far, Jackson's representatives have had no comment. JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, who was onstage with Jackson during the performance, is currently still scheduled to perform at the 46th annual Grammy Awards, airing on CBS. [ET]
- JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE told KCBS TV he wanted to get something off his chest about the Super Bowl halftime controversy --and did he ever. Reporter MARK COOGAN caught up with Timberlake as he was leaving the rehearsals for this Sunday's upcoming Grammy Awards and he launched into a heartfelt speech, saying, "I do understand how unfortunate this is. I do understand that there were a lot of people that were completely offended by what happened, including my family." Timberlake reveals he has been on tour when the request for him to do the Super Bowl came. He says he initially turned down the gig, but accepted when he got a personal call from JANET JACKSON. Because he was busy in Spain, Timberlake says he couldn't attend most of the halftime rehearsals. He had one day's notice of Janet's plan to do a "costume reveal" and says he was under the impression that the move would only expose a red bustier. "When what happened happened," says Justin, "I was shocked and appalled. I was completely embarrassed." As for CBS' decision to add a video delay to the Grammys, Justin says, "It's a great idea." [ET]
The fallout is spreading outward from the blast zone:
- Even NBC's Emmy-winning drama "ER" is feeling the heat from JANET JACKSON's revealing half-time stunt at the Super Bowl. Thursday's episode was reportedly to have featured a scene that showed an elderly woman's breast during treatment. However, the network announced Wednesday that it was pulling the shot after consulting with its Affiliate Board. "Though we continue to believe the shot is appropriate and in context, and would have aired after 10:30 p.m. Eastern and Pacific time, we have unfortunately concluded that the atmosphere created by this week's events has made it too difficult for many of our affiliates to air this shot," NBC said in a statement. ... "ER" executive producer JOHN WELLS was reportedly not pleased with NBC's decision. "This type of network behavior is one of the primary reasons that so many of today's producers and viewers are increasingly turning to HBO and other cable outlets that do not censor responsible story telling," he responded. "Adult viewing audiences at 10 p.m. who have been warned appropriately of a show's adult content are more than capable of making the distinction and adjusting their viewing habits accordingly." [ET]
Of course there will be overreactions to this as all players strive to convey the seriousness with which they take this, the MOST SCANDALOUS INCIDENT IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD.