Whitney kin TV pay ‘dirt’
By ANDREA PEYSER
Last Updated: 5:04 AM, May 21, 2012
Posted: 1:37 AM, May 21, 2012
The celebrity apocalypse has come.
What’s more stomach-churning than a season of “Toddlers & Tiaras’’? More allegedly pornographic than a John Travolta rubdown?
Fresh from the cemetery where drug-addled diva Whitney Houston rests fitfully comes word that her attention-starved relatives — from mother Cissy to cousin Dionne Warwick to gospel-singer pal CeCe Winans, all the way down to troubled daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown — are ready to grab fame and riches off a corpse.
The Houston clan is appearing in a reality show for Lifetime, a network hugely popular with voyeuristic women. That’s right! I can just see the first episode:
“Crack is wack,’’ as Whitney once said joyfully.
It’s wack — unless crack can make you a buck. Then it’s cool.
Maybe it’s sign of the times. Or maybe these fame-mongers can’t stand that Whitney, in her downward spiral, got hordes of attention while her family suffered in penurious silence.
Truth is, handlers, toadies and hangers-on watched silently as self-immolating Whitney selfishly killed herself. Not one of these ghouls who lived off her hide ever lifted a finger to save her.
Or maybe Whitney’s downfall was not so selfish. It’s become a cottage industry for her greedy family.
Three months to the day after Houston died, miserably, in a Los Angeles bathtub, a hole burned through her nose from neglect and cocaine abuse, and scald marks marring her once-perfect body, her loved ones have decided there’s no time to waste.
Now that Kevin Costner and casts of bona fide celebs have fled Houston’s memorial/peep show in Newark, it’s time to act. Now that the New Jersey flags are back to normal, after the death of the state’s first official drug addict prompted Gov. Chris Christie to lower the banners to half staff, there’s no time to lose.
And now that Bobbi Kristina, who was said by relatives to have followed her mom’s lead by getting high after her funeral is no longer drawing attention to her excesses, it’s time to get moving.
The reality show, to be called “The Houston Chronicles,’’ set to premiere later this year, will center around the singer’s now-unemployed sister-in-law and manager, Pat Houston, as she helps raise Bobbi Kristina, a woman of 19.
“The tragic loss of Whitney Houston left a void in the hearts of people all around the world, but certainly none more so than her beloved family,’’ said Rob Sharenow, executive vice president of programming at Lifetime.
“In this series, the multigenerations of the Houston family will bravely reveal their lives as they bond together to heal, love and grow.’’
The network crowed in a disingenuous release that Pat Houston and her husband, Gary, will “take on their greatest challenge, supporting and guiding Bobbi Kristina as she faces the world alone, without the one person she relied on the most, her Mother.”
“With the certainty of a microscopic lens focused on this young woman and her every move, Pat, Gary and their tight-knit group of family and friends are committed to seeing that Bobbi Kristina can grow and experience life unscathed.” Who writes this schmaltz?
Pat Houston said she planned to do a “project’’ with Houston’s family for some time. Now with Houston’s passing, she’s hit pay dirt!
It could not have escaped this horrid clan that Bobbi Kristina’s interview with Oprah Winfrey in March drew the highest ratings — ever — to Oprah’s OWN network.
Whitney’s ex-hub, Bobby Brown, has not been invited to appear. But the exploitation of Whitney has angered some of her faithful fans.
“These people are vultures,’’ said my friend, Kate. “The body is barely cold, and already they’re picking at it to make a profit. Disgusting!
Of course, Kate said she might tune in. Well, once.
Clearly, the reality crew cares little about Bobbi Kristina. The attention, I fear, will only increase the fragile girl’s worst impulses. And then what’s to become of her?
I can see a new show now — “The Houston Tragedies, Part II.”
Espada wealth at ‘expense’ of health
Everyone loses in the case of piggish Pedro Espada Jr.
Convicted of four counts of theft by a Brooklyn federal jury last week, the former state Senate majority leader, who enjoyed lush Caribbean vacations and gorged on five figures worth of sushi and lobster feasts, robbed the Bronx medical clinic he controlled, Soundview Healthcare Network, of nearly $500,000. He faces up to 40 years behind bars.
But prosecutors aren’t done.
They’ll hold a new trial to determine if Espada is guilty of four more charges on which the jury deadlocked. Espada’s greedy son, Pedro Gautier “G’’ Espada, will face a new trial for all eight counts the jury failed to decide. It’s a hollow victory.
Now the state Department of Health is shutting down the Espada-ravaged clinic that provided poor folks with sorely needed medical care.
As a final insult, as The Post reported, perhaps $1.5 million in Espada’s legal fees were paid by Soundview.
The unspeakable Espadas can live on baloney for a few decades.
If only it were Camelot
Could this Kennedy tragedy have been prevented?
Depressed, discarded and in financial and personal turmoil, Mary Richardson Kennedy, estranged wife of environmental activist and Hollywood habitue Robert Kennedy Jr., hanged herself in a barn at her Westchester home.
Facing the loss of her dream house and a custody battle with her hub, who was making the rounds of La La Land on the arm of actress Cheryl Hines, Kennedy’s wife of 16 years felt trapped. She turned to alcohol and prescription drugs to deal with rejection.
RFK Jr. “was kicking her while she’s down, all alone in this house that she built,’’ a close friend told The Post.
My heart breaks for Mary and her four children. She did not deserve this. A kind word, a truce in their legal fight. Could this have saved Mary?
The Kennedy curse lives on.
We’ve come a long way, Bammy
When President Obama gave the commencement address at Barnard, the city’s top women’s college, he repeated old saws: Females fill fewer than one in five congressional seats. They account for less than 3 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs.
But the prez ignored the fact that we’ve come a long way, baby. Gals today earn more college diplomas and advanced degrees than men. (Boys are four times as likely as girls to be autistic.) Some women actually chose to leave the workforce to have kids.
I guess tales of gloom and victimization are better for luring women voters.
It may end Brad-ly
Angelina Jolie’s risky $1.6 million gift of a helicopter and flying lessons to fiancé Brad Pitt caused vast concern over Brad’s health.
“Wow — is she trying to get rid of Brad?’’ wrote one online commentator.
Maybe Brad should stick to Mother Earth.