COMMEMORATED: Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera" celebrated its 7,000th performance on the London stage on Tuesday, having grossed more than $2.6 billion worldwide and played to more than 70 million people. The producers said in a statement that the show has made more money at the box office than any other film or show, including "Titanic" and "E.T." Production is due to begin soon on the film version, to star Scottish actor Gerard Butler.
QUOTED: "For the first year and half of the show, you know, you could almost see me thinking, you could see me trying to be a good talk-show host. It wasn't fun to watch." -- Conan O'Brien, 40, who celebrates his 10th anniversary as host of "Late Night" with a primetime special to air Sept. 14
EARNED: "Lord of the Rings" director Peter Jackson, 41, will take home one of the biggest-ever paychecks for a movie when he remakes "King Kong," reports Variety. His fee: $20 million, although part of that is to be shared with his screenwriters, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. Only Steven Spielberg and M. Night Shyamalan ("The Sixth Sense") previously commanded such large fees, says the trade paper.
TEAMED: The Smoking Gun, which has been aggressively reporting on celebrities (especially contestants on reality TV shows), will now be found in the pages of PEOPLE, reports USA Today. The magazine has struck a deal with Court TV, which owns the Web site, to publish Smoking Gun exclusives. The column, which will kick off in the Aug. 25 issue that hits newsstands this Friday, will run in the magazine's Scoop section.