"Jessica left of her own accord," said AllMediaPlay president Jeff Mullen from a trendy Chatsworth break room.
"She was fired," said an anonymity-craving Hustler source.
It was probably a combination. "Promoting these things is off da hook," said Britney Rears director Will Rider. "With 10,000 titles coming out a year, you have to be up in people's grills all the time. Jessica wasn't feeling that."
So Britney Rears 3, a time-travel epic that started filming weeks after its predecessor was released, features Hillary Scott in the title role.
I noted all the parallels this Britney would make to other series in which a major character was replaced by another actor, like On Her Majesty's Secret Service's James Bond (George Lazenby stepping in for Sean Connery) and Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban (Richard Harris/Michael Gambon). Or would it be more ominous, like in The Godfather Part III in which George Hamilton replaced Robert Duvall as the consigliore?
"I don't know what you're talking about," Rider said.
"It's like this:" Mullen interrupted. "Hillary might stay for one episode or she might stay for three or ten. There's no end to the adventures Britney Rears can have."
I asked Scott if the Britney shoes fit, if she could go the distance, if she could go to the mattresses with this Britney phenomenon.
"Oh yeah," she said.
Perhaps the best comparison is that Britney Rears will become like Dr. Who, with different regenerations and assistants. Indeed, Britney Rears 3 involves our heroine going back in time to 1974.
It would be great if Houston played a Dalek.