Joan Rivers has a new slogan for "Fair and Balanced" Fox News: "Liar, liar, pants on fire."
New York's doyenne of comedy accused the cable network of doing "damage control" after she went public with the story that she and daughter Melissa had been unceremoniously booted from Thursday's "Fox & Friends" guest lineup because of acid remarks she'd made about Fox News contributor Sarah Palin.
"Joan says they're a bunch of dirty liars and they're backpedaling," Rivers publicist Judy Katz told us Wednesday. Her comment was the latest in a war of words that erupted after her client was cut from the show. Prompted by media coverage, "Fox & Friends" executive producer Lauren Petterson stated that due to "the volume of news topics," a booker had "mistakenly canceled Joan's appearance instead of rescheduling her for Friday's show." She added that "Fox & Friends" was "in the process of booking" Rivers on an upcoming show.
But Katz said Petterson called to rebook only after Rivers had raised the media ruckus. According to Katz, Petterson admitted to Rivers, "We should have never canceled" and said the booker was "never supposed to tell" Rivers she was cut because of the Palin comments.
Rivers made the remarks about the Mama Grizzly at the Critics' Choice Movie Awards on Friday in L.A. She bluntly replied "yes" when a reporter asked if Palin was to blame for the Jared Lee Loughner shootings in Tucson, Ariz. She also called Palin "stupid and a threat." A video of Rivers' rant ended up on TMZ.com, and a media firestorm was born.
Rivers, 77, has been making the talk-show rounds to promote her WEtv reality show, "Joan and Melissa: Joan Knows Best?," which premieres Tuesday at 9 p.m.
The duo were supposed to be on "Fox & Friends" this morning, but yesterday, Rivers told us, the booker informed the comic she was "canceled and banned" from the show and the network. (When we asked if the word "banned" had actually been used, Rivers replied "yes.")
Katz added that when Petterson called after the media maelstrom, she wanted to rebook Rivers and her daughter on Friday's show but was told by Katz that Melissa was not available that day.
A Fox News spokeswoman responded to our story by saying it was "no problem" if "Joan doesn't want to come on our program." She added, "We have plenty of people begging for a spot on cable's top-rated morning show."
But even before the Fox flack gave us that response, Katz left us with little doubt that Joan and Melissa would return to "Fox & Friends" if asked.
"Joan and Melissa would do it again. They're promoting their show," Katz said. "It's a PR blitz!"
A rep for Palin didn't get back to us by deadline. Rivers says she doubts Alaska's former governor is even aware of her catty comments because the remarks had "too many syllables in each word."
Mama Grizzly, take note. New York Alley Cats have sharp claws, too.