Scandal and Death Spell Showbiz Success for Letterman and Michael JacksonS

Somewhere out there in Hollywood, there are a few dozen people who made bets that "scandal was never the way to win over audiences" kicking themselves, hard.

• Having his tawdry personal life ripped wide open for the world to see isn't doing David Letterman any harm ratings-wise. The Hollywood Reporter writes, "Far from hurting the host's popularity, the sex-and-extortion headlines seemingly have had little impact on his late-night show and possibly even helped the series grow its viewership compared with last year." Season to date, The Late Show is up four percent in viewership, compared to its main competitor NBC's Conan O'Brien who has taken just a tiny 47 percent drop this season compared to Leno's performance in the slot last year. [Hollywood Reporter]

• In the end, Michael Jackson came through. After a back and forth over the past two weeks over whether the hype machine was properly calibrated to the public level of enthusiasm for the rehearsal documentary, This Is It earned a decent $21 million at the US box, although this morning's write-ups focus on the more impressive sounding world tally of $101 million, ample to earn Sony back its $60 purchase price. (Which is odd in that Monday morning box office write-ups almost never mention international grosses, generally taking the US box office as the whole magilla.) The consensus view seems to focus now on the stat that This will become the highest grossing concert film in history. Which is not quite the "Biggest Movie of All Time Ever In History" the media seemed to be heralding a week ago, but still nothing to sneeze at. [Box Office Mojo]

• Elsewhere at the box office, Paranormal Activity continued its run, taking the number two slot and bringing its total domestic haul to $84 million. Saw 6 fell off 60 percent from its already unimpressive opening weekend numbers giving faint hope that the series' day may be drawing to a close (but don't count on it.) [Variety]

• The NBC/Universal drama is on the brink of resolution. Comcast is said to have reached a tentative agreement to buy the studio and network, with an announcement expected at any time. [NY Times]

Katie Holmes will star in and earn her first producing credit for The Romantics, a film about eight college friends who reunite for a wedding also starring Anna Paquin, Elijah Wood and Malin Ackerman. [Variety]