Divorce No. 2: Michael Jackson’s wife, Deborah Rowe Jackson, filed for divorce from the pop star Friday, seeking to end a nearly three-year marriage that produced two children. The L.A. Superior Court petition, which cited irreconcilable differences, said the couple has been separated since July 15. The petition said the parties had reached a confidential settlement agreement regarding property and debts but did not indicate any custody arrangements for their children, Prince Michael Jackson, 2, and Paris-Michael Katherine Jackson, 1. In a statement, Jackson’s spokesman said: “Michael and Debbie remain friends, and they ask that the public respect their desire not to further comment or speculate upon the reasons for their decision.” He added that the couple “mutually agreed to end their marriage.” Jackson, 41, married Rowe, 40, a nurse in the singer’s doctor’s office, in Australia on Nov. 15, 1996, the same year he and Lisa Marie Presley ended their 20-month marriage. Both unions were the subject of rumors and press reports questioning whether they were merely business arrangements executed for appearances’ sake. There were also persistent reports about Jackson and Rowe living mostly apart, with Rowe having little involvement in the children’s upbringing. In April, however, Jackson told a London newspaper: “I love my wife, and we have a happy marriage.”


Carey Takes Singles Crown: Songstress Mariah Carey has topped a record previously held by the Beatles for garnering the most weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart. With “Heartbreaker,” now in its second week as the nation’s No. 1 single, Carey has notched her 60th week at No. 1. The Beatles held the No. 1 spot for 59 separate weeks. However, the Fab Four still have the most individual songs to hit No. 1 (20), followed by Elvis Presley (17) and Carey (14).


Whole Lotta Drew: ABC is expected to air its live editions of “The Drew Carey Show” on Nov. 10, during the important fall ratings sweeps. The cast will perform three live versions of the episode--one each for the Pacific, Mountain and Eastern time zones--with improvised portions that will be different in each rendition. The show’s producers are also planning an episode for later in November that will feature a live Internet component.



Barcelona’s Liceu Reopens: Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu, one of Europe’s largest and most famous opera houses, reopened Thursday night, five years after the hall and backstage area burned to the ground. The rebuilding cost $120 million, split about evenly between public funds and corporate donations. Thursday’s initial performance, attended by King Juan Carlos, was Giacomo Puccini’s “Turandot,” which had been scheduled to open in 1994 when the fire broke out. Venice’s La Fenice, which suffered a similar fire in 1995, has not yet been rebuilt.


Staying Put: Theatre 40, which was threatened with expulsion from its longtime home on the campus of Beverly Hills High School last week because of safety and handicapped accessibility issues, is back in the 99-seat theater after health and safety inspections. The company is continuing plans for its upcoming production of “Nicholas Nickleby,” though the campus brouhaha caused the first preview to be delayed by a week, to Nov. 3. The future of the space and the company’s use of it is slated for discussion at a school board meeting Monday.


Former “Chicago Hope” star Christine Lahti will star in a cable adaptation of Pulitzer Prize-winner Wendy Wasserstein’s acclaimed play, “An American Daughter,” for Lifetime. The political drama is scheduled to premiere in the spring. . . . Cable’s FX network has ordered six episodes of “Son of the Beach,” a half-hour series to be executive produced by Howard Stern. The series focuses on a lifeguard (Timothy Stack) described as a “lovable idiot,” as well as his “very sexy sidekicks”. . . . UPN has given full-season orders to its new Monday night comedies, “The Parkers” and “Grown Ups”. . . . The brick three-bedroom Texas home where Elvis Presley lived while stationed at Ft. Hood as a soldier is for sale on the Internet auction site eBay. The auction closes today, and at least one potential buyer has already matched the minimum bid of $200,000, according to the home’s owner, M.J. Craig. . . . Former KCBS News weekend anchor Kyra Phillips has joined CNN, where she will co-anchor the cable network’s Saturday and Sunday morning newscasts, starting today. . . . The dispute over a controversial art exhibition featuring an elephant dung-marked portrait of the Virgin Mary moved to a New York federal courtroom on Friday, where Brooklyn Museum of Art officials tried to stop Mayor Rudolph Giuliani from withholding city money from the museum. However, the judge said she would reserve her decision until next week, asking lawyers for both sides to submit further legal arguments.