'Disturbing' subject

London -- Michael Jackson is a "disturbing individual" with a love of multimillion-dollar shopping sprees and a desire to live forever, according to a journalist granted unrivaled access to the pop star.

Martin Bashir spent eight months making a documentary on the normally reclusive singer. "Living With Michael Jackson" -- which aired Monday night in Britain -- will air in America at 8 p.m. Thursday on ABC's "20/20."

Bashir went with Jackson, 44, on a shopping trip to Las Vegas in which the star spent almost $6 million without once glancing at any price tags.

"It was more like a multinational corporation buying furniture for all its worldwide premises," Bashir said. "He is a disturbing individual whose financial power enables him to do what he wants."

Potter gets Vatican's blessing

Vatican City -- Harry Potter fans, relax. The Vatican says the kid is all right.

The question of whether J.K. Rowling's books and the films on the boy wizard have a positive influence came up at a news conference Monday where the Vatican presented a document on New Age spirituality, which contain elements of the occult, reports CNN.

"I don't think that any of us grew up without the imaginary world of fairies, magicians, angels and witches," said Father Peter Fleetwood, a Vatican official who worked on the document. "They are not bad or a banner for anti-Christian ideology. They help children understand the difference between good and evil," he said in response to a reporter's question.

Awards by request

New York -- Carson Daly will be host of the first-ever "TRL Awards," which take a wacky look at celebrity appearances on MTV's "Total Request Live."

The awards will be given out live at 3 p.m. Feb. 17, the new time slot for the afternoon video countdown show. Viewers can log onto MTV's Web site,, to vote for winners through Feb. 10.

Categories include Best Live Performance, the Most Revealing Moment Award and The Gridlock Award, for drawing the biggest crowds outside MTV's Times Square studio.

Nominees in various categories include Jennifer Lopez, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Shakira and Eminem.

Whitney Houston's father dies

Newark, N.J. -- John Houston, the father of singer Whitney Houston and a theatrical manager since the early days of rhythm and blues, died Sunday after a long battle with diabetes and heart disease. He was 82.

Relations between Houston and his daughter, who has acknowledged having drug problems, took an especially awkward turn recently when his company, John Houston Entertainment LLC, sued hers for $100 million.

The suit sought compensation for helping to get a marijuana charge against her dismissed and for getting her a new record contract.

Houston even made a public appeal to his daughter in an interview with the syndicated news magazine "Celebrity Justice" in December: "You get your act together, honey, and you pay me the money that you owe me."


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