More than ever, Europeans love Michael Jackson. His comeback is box office gold.
Met by massive presales, organizers of his "This Is It!" Tour — his first in 12 years — have expanded his 10-concert deal at London’s 02 Arena to a total of 50, all the way to February 2010.
According to his Web site, MichaelJacksonLive.com, "The figures speak for themselves — 360,000 tickets sold in 18 hours during the presale so far. That is 20,000 tickets per hour, 33 tickets per minute!"
So great was the demand, Jackson could have done 100 shows in London, Randy Phillips, CEO of AEG Live, told Billboard. But Jackson has other goals, including making films and recording, Phillips said. Jackson, a Las Vegas resident much of the last two years before recently moving to Beverly Hills, has been recording at the Palms recording studios.
Jackson’s Web site said the superheated ticket sales guarantee:
• The biggest audience ever to see an artist in one city.
• The most people to attend a series of arena shows.
• The fastest ticket sales in history.
"By the end of the 50 concerts, 1 million fans will have witnessed one of the greatest musical events in history," the site said.
Jackson last performed three years ago, when he sang only a few lines of "We Are The World" at the World Music Awards in London.
Rumblings out of Phoenix indicate the new evening anchor at Las Vegas’ KVVU-TV, Channel 5, will be Olivia Fierro, who has been at KTVK-TV, Channel 3, in Phoenix since 2003. A native of Whittier, Calif., she’s gone through the ranks at KTVK and currently co-hosts the station’s "Good Morning Arizona’" program. Look for an April arrival. She is moving into the anchor chair vacated by Shelley Bruner, who gave notice last summer that she was not re-upping. …
KTNV-TV, Channel 13, anchors Tricia Kean and Casey Smith have cameo appearances in "Race to Witch Mountain" as, umm, TV anchors. The film is being released today. …
My try-anything-once "Fear and Loafing" colleague, Corey Levitan, may be in over his head on this one: He’s going to be a tag team midget wrestler at Lucha Libre II on April 19 at the Star of the Desert Arena in Primm. …
KDWN-radio, 720 AM, news talk host Heidi Harris is going to four hours of morning chat. Beginning Monday, she’s on from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. She’s been in the 8 to 10 a.m. time slot. … Alan Stock, morning host at KXNT-radio, 840 AM, has been named to Talkers magazine’s "100 Most Important Talk Show Hosts in America" for the eighth year in a row.
THE SCENE AND HEARD
The "U2360" tour, scheduled only for stadium settings around the world, will include an Oct. 23 stop at Sam Boyd Stadium. The announcement coincided with word that U2 had scored its seventh No. 1 album on the U.S. pop album chart. But the Irish group took a hit from the recession. "No Line on the Horizon" sold 484,000 copies during the week ending March 8, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That’s well down from the band’s best opening of 840,000 in 2004 with "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb." …
Maybe it’s the Las Vegas vibe. Former Spice Girl Mel B, who co-stars with Kelly Monaco in the upcoming "Peepshow" at Planet Hollywood Resort, wasn’t thrilled, we hear, while trying on a few of her costumes. Too sexy? No, actually, they weren’t suggestive enough. A spy says the singer immediately began taking parts of the costume off and hiking the hemlines to make it even skimpier. The adult show opens for previews March 30.
MAY I RECOMMEND
The Bellagio Conservatory is celebrating spring with horticulture tributes and displays from England, France, Italy and Japan. The latest transformation lasts until mid-May. Dominating the setting: daffodils, jonquils, butterflies, an armillary sphere once used by French astronomers to chart the night sky, a villa re-creation with travertine terrace and ancient stone sculpture and a Japanese Zen display. Best of all, it’s free.
THE PUNCH LINE
"Insurance companies are a lot like hospital gowns. Chances are your ass isn’t covered." — Bill Maher
Norm Clarke can be reached at (702) 383-0244 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com.