TMZ Entertainment News 9-22-2011


The big "X Factor" premiere last night fell way short of Simon Cowell's expectations -- earning just over half the ratings "American Idol" got during its premiere in January. Simon's new show averaged an 8.7 rating, while the tenth season premiere of "Idol" pulled in a 16.4 -- and in last night's head-to-head ... "Modern Family" and "Criminal Minds" won out. Simon called in to TMZ Live yesterday -- telling them, he desperately wanted to beat out his alma mater in the ratings department ... but based on last night's performance, that's gonna be an uphill battle. To be fair -- the first ever episode of "American Idol" only scored a 6.1 in 2002 ... and has since had years to build a loyal audience. Then again, singing competitions were new back then.
 
The producer of "Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father" has lashed out at Joe Pesci, claiming he's a has-been who is desperately seeking attention by trying to force himself into the movie. The flick -- which will star John Travolta -- is now the basis of a suit filed by Pesci, who claims he had an iron-clad, $3 million deal to play the role of Angelo Ruggiero, Gotti's close friend and enforcer. In fact, Pesci says the deal was so firm, he actually gained 30 pounds for the role, only to be 86'd from the film. As we previously reported, Pesci has sued Fiore Films, and now the movie company is fighting back in its answer to the lawsuit, saying, "It has been over 20 years since Mr. Pesci has been able to gather the attention he has by merely interjecting his role in this film."  Fiore claims it never had a deal with Joe ... there were discussions but no commitment. Fiore says sadly, "[Pesci] desperately wants to be part of this film project." The mob has ways of dealing with these disputes, right?
 
Call him Ron Artest, Metta World Peace, Mr. Peace -- or just ... First Guy Voted Off "Dancing With the Stars." The Los Angeles Lakers star lost with grace -- unlike his Cha cha -- and tipped his hat to "Jerry Maguire" on his way out the door Tuesday night. Ron Ron was joined by Nancy Grace in the bottom two. Yeah, we know ... they were both on TMZ Live. Coincidence.