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With Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince set for a Saturday midnight release — at a massive print run of 10.8 million copies — hardcore security measures are being taken to prevent bootleg sales and plot leaks. In fact, so little news is coming out of J. K. Rowling headquarters, NBC’s Today was forced to run a report this morning on the lack of information available about the book, just to get in on the Potter action. At PopWatch, however, we’re so obsessively committed to keeping you entertained and informed, that we prefer to just make stuff up in the absence of real news. In that very spirit of hotly anticipated fiction, here’s three totally fabricated factoids about the Half-Blood release:

* PotterParties.com has hired Lizzie Grubman and her team of publicist-bots to work the guest list at its 1,800 parties nationwide, screening out rogue Canadians who’ve scored advanced copies of Half-Blood and refuse to keep nasty spoilers to themselves.

* Rowling has reportedly signed a deal with Dawson’s Creek creator Kevin Williamson to obtain rights to his character Joey Potter (made famous on The WB in the late 1990s by Katie Holmes). The doe-eyed tomboy will appear as Harry Potter’s American second cousin in 2008’s Harry Potter and the Motor-mouthed Teenagers.

* On the strength of a single Saturday Night Live skit, Lindsay Lohan will replace Emma Watson in the role of Hermione in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, due in theaters later this year. Reshoots have already begun, according to director Mike Newell, mainly because producers felt the movie’s marketing campaign lacked Brangelina-style tabloid heat.

Okay, that’s enough imaginary news. Have you heard any real news about the book?

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