NEWSMAKERS

Bobby Brown

Bobby brown knows a thing or two about drama. Starting June 30, the R&B star, 36, will take his troubled existence completely public in his own reality show on Bravo. He spoke with NEWSWEEK's Allison Samuels.

So why a reality show? Haven't you had enough of cameras following you around?

I needed to do something to stay out of trouble. Too much free time ain't too good for someone like me. And now that I'm feeling healthy and off the drugs and other stuff I was doing--I feel like getting myself back on track. But honestly, the main reason I wanted to do this is really for my kids. They're always saying, "Daddy, why do they always make you look so bad in the press?" You know? They don't see their father as a screw-up.

In one of the first episodes, you make some really crude jokes about celebrities--like when you talk about Eddie Murphy wearing dresses in his downtime. Any worry that that might come back to haunt you?

No, no worries. I didn't censor myself at all while the cameras were on because that wouldn't be real. I don't mean anybody harm, but I've spent most of my career being the butt of somebody's joke, so I don't have too much concern about somebody's feelings getting hurt. If you can't take a joke, then you need to go somewhere and die--and definitely get out of this business.

What was Whitney's response to the show?

She wanted no part of it. (Laughs.) But then once the cameras started rolling and she saw how much fun I was having, I couldn't get rid of her. I had to tell her, "This is 'The Bobby Brown Show'--not 'The Whitney Show'!"

How is Whitney's health now?

She's doing fine. It's been three months and she's feeling good and is getting better day by day. This struggle with [substances] is an ass-kicker. But we're both fighting it with all we have. I think we can make it.

The Fork in Destiny's Road

Destiny's Child is finally taking its own advice--the group announced last week at a Barcelona concert that they are becoming "independent women" and leaving the group for solo projects. Is anyone really surprised? While Beyonce has had plenty of success with a four-times-platinum solo album, efforts by Kelly and Michelle... haven't. Expect Beyonce to devote more time to her film career--she's got two movies in the works, including "The Pink Panther"-- and to being what boyfriend Jay-Z calls "the hottest chick in the game." And Kelly and Michelle? No hot new movies, but no embarrassing fodder for "Behind the Music," either.

Rematch Made in Heaven

Hollywood can't resist a sequel. Last summer, after his Los Angeles Lakers were crushed in the NBA Finals, Zen-master coach Phil Jackson pointed the finger at Kobe Bryant, writing a memoir in which he called the superstar "uncoachable" and "a callous gun for hire." Then he got fired. Then Shaq got traded. Last week, after Bryant's Lakers missed the playoffs, it was Jackson's turn to play gun for hire. For a reported $10 million per year, he agreed to return as the uncoachable player's coach. Clearly these two have some talking to do. Publicly, though, both men say they're kosher. And what about Shaq? Asked by ESPN if he could ever reconcile with Bryant, the big man answered, "Who?" Guess that's a no.

Boys of Summer

Anyone can try a comeback. The question is, How do you look after all those years? Our utterly superficial take at some returning music men.

Backstreet boys

WHAT THEY'RE DOING A new album, wishfully titled "Never Gone."

HOW DO THEY LOOK? Still boyish, but what's A.J. hiding with the hat?

Joey McIntyre

WHAT THEY'RE DOING Hoofing on "Dancing With the Stars."

HOW DO THEY LOOK? If only we could all age, and dance, this well.

Vanilla Ice

WHAT THEY'RE DOING Singing on "Hit Me Baby One More Time."

HOW DO THEY LOOK? Almost as cheesy as he was in the '90s.

Tommy Lee

WHAT THEY'RE DOING A reality show, "Tommy Lee Goes to College."

HOW DO THEY LOOK? Not too haggard; must use night cream.

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