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News 01/20/2007

In reality TV news: Dustin Wilkes, a 26-year-old from Jefferson, GA, was eliminated Thursday on USA's "Nashville Star 5."

Just two episodes into the season and already "American Idol" has its first contestant with a criminal past. According to tmz.com, Seattle contestant Thomas Daniels was convicted of drunken driving in Oregon in 2004, then was arrested again for hit and run in December 2005 and failed to show up for his arraignment hearing. Though Daniels made the cut to Hollywood, it's unclear whether his record will affect his Idol status.

Rosie O'Donnell is moving on from her feud with Donald Trump and attacking Paula Abdul on Thursday's View, claiming that the "American Idol" judge was "probably intoxicated" during Wednesday's show. O'Donnell also blasted the show for being overly harsh on wannabe contestants during the audition process.

Bill O'Reilly and Stephen Colbert traded appearances on each other's shows Thursday in a meeting Colbert hyped as "the greatest TV crossover since the Flintstones met the Jetsons." When O'Reilly questioned his imitator about his reasons for doing his Comedy Central show, Colbert replied, "I want to bring your message of peace and love to a younger audience, people in their 50s and 60s, who don’t watch the show."

Former "Six Feet Under" star Lauren Ambrose and her husband, Sam Handel, welcomed their first child together, a boy named Orson, on Tuesday in New York City.

Isaiah Washington has agreed to meet with members of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation early next week to discuss his use of an anti-gay slur at the Golden Globes, a choice of words called "unacceptable" by ABC that the actor has since apologized for. "His acknowledgement of his actions—and the hurt and harm his actions have caused—is an important first step toward healing his relationships with his cast mates, his fans and the [gay] community," GLAAD president Neil Giuliano said in a statement.

Jenna and Bodhi Elfman are expecting their first child together later this year, a source close to the couple confirms to "E! News."

A Bahamian law firm is suing Anna Nicole Smith for $113,000 in unpaid legal fees. Smith apparently hired the firm to handle matters surrounding her son's death in September, but never made good on the payments. The law firm obtained an injunction from the Bahamas Supreme court prohibited the former Playmate from reducing the balance in her local account below $125,000.

Keri Russell is pregnant with her first child with fiancé Shane Deary, her rep confirms to "E! News." The baby is reportedly due this summer. Russell and Deary currently have no wedding plans.

The CW has given the Chris Rock series "Everybody Hates Chris" a full-season pickup order for the 2007-2008 season, network chief Dawn Ostroff announced Friday.

Palm Beach officials have voted to fine Donald Trump $1,250 a day for flying an enormous American flag atop an 80-foot flagpole at his Mar-a-Lago club in violation of town codes. Trump is refusing to take down the flag and is suing the town for $25 million, arguing in part that officials are infringing on his expression of free speech.

The LAPD's internal affairs division are investigating an allegation by Robert Blake's attorney that the lead investigator in the murder case against the actor withheld evidence from the defense and that police wrongly assumed Blake was guilty because of his celebrity status.

News 01/18/2007

In reality TV news: Matt Herman, a 22-year-old M.I.T. graduate from Boston, MA, and Andrea Ciliberti, a 23-year-old student and bartender who competed in the Miss USA pageant from Kansas City, MO, were eliminated Wednesday on the CW's "Beauty and the Geek 3." Also on Wednesday, Cliff Crooks, a 28-year-old executive chef at the Salute! restaurant in New York City from West Caldwell, NJ, was disqualified for showing aggressive contact toward fellow chef Marcel Vigneron on Bravo's "Top Chef 2." The other four were still judged, but no one was eliminated.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation have demanded an apology from Isaiah Washington for his comments at the Golden Globes, where he denied calling his "Grey's Anatomy" costar T.R. Knight a "faggot." In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres that aired Wednesday, Knight confirmed that Washington had used the slur, and said that hearing it prompted him to publicly come out as gay. Washington made a public apology backstage at the Golden Globes Monday where he denied that he once called Knight the same thing during a scuffle on the set of "Grey's Anatomy" in October. "I know the power of words, especially those that demean. I realize that by using one filled with disrespect I have hurt more than T.R. and my colleagues. With one word, I've hurt everyone who has struggled for the respect so many of us take for granted. I welcome the chance to meet with leaders of the gay and lesbian community to apologize in person and to talk about what I can do to heal the wounds I've opened." In response to Washington's comments at the Golden Globe Awards, ABC issued the following statement: "We have a long-standing policy to create and maintain respectful workplaces for all our employees. We dealt with the original situation in October, and thought the issue resolved. Therefore, we are greatly dismayed that Mr. Washington chose to use such inappropriate language at the Golden Globes, that he himself deemed "unfortunate" in his previous public apology. We take this situation very seriously, and his actions are unacceptable and are being addressed."

NBC is adding a fourth hour to the "Today" show, which will debut in September.

A judge has ruled that Jerry Seinfeld owes a real estate broker $100,000 as commission on a $3.95 million home he and his wife, Jessica, bought in Manhattan in February 2005. Seinfeld had argued that the broker did not deserve the commission, as she failed to show the brownstone on the Jewish Sabbath, the day the Seinfelds wanted to see it.

HBO and the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival will honor Stephen Colbert with the inaugural Person of the Year award at the 13th annual gathering of comedic minds taking place in Aspen from Feb. 28 through March 4. "I am humbled to be part of the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival's tireless efforts to bring joy to the wealthy," Colbert said in a statement.

Oprah Winfrey has been named America's favorite TV personality for the fifth year running, according to a recent Harris poll. Jon Stewart came in second and Bill O'Reilly finished third. Meanwhile, past favorites Jerry Seinfeld, George Lopez, and Tim Allen failed to rank in this year's top 10.

News 01/17/2007

37.3 million...the number of viewers who tuned into FOX for the sixth season premiere of "American Idol" on Tuesday. 35.5 million...the number of viewers who tuned in for the premiere of the fifth season. 10,000...the number of hopefuls who auditioned in Minneapolis. 17...the number who actually made it through to Hollywood. One...the number of hopefuls who did impressions of the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz in an attempt to impress the judges. Zero...the number of judges actually impressed by said impression.

T.R. Knight told Ellen DeGeneres in an interview set to air Wednesday that hearing Isaiah Washington call him a "faggot" on the set of "Grey's Anatomy" in October prompted him to come out of the closet. Washington raised the issue again at Monday's Golden Globes, where he denied ever using the slur, leading costar Katherine Heigl to tell "Access Hollywood" that he "needs to just not speak in public. Period."

Olivia Newton-John is set to appear as a guest judge on the first two-hour live performance episode of NBC's "Grease: You're the One That I Want" on Jan. 28. The original Sandy also offered commentary and advice to contestants in the first two audition episodes of the series. NBC is pleased enough with the talent competition's ratings to order two additional live episodes, bringing the total number of episodes to 11.

NBC is showing its faith in "The Office," "My Name is Earl," "Heroes," and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" by ordering early full-season pickups of all four series through the 2007-08 season, the network announced Wednesday.

Paris Hilton will attend Vienna's exclusive Opera Ball on Feb. 15 as the guest of 74-year-old Austrian businessman Richard Lugner and his wife, the real-estate mogul said at a news conference Wednesday. Lugner, who makes an annual tradition of inviting stars to the gala, has asked Carmen Electra, Pamela Anderson, and Geri Halliwell to escort him in years past.

Michael J. Fox will attend President George W. Bush's State of the Union address next week as the guest of Rhode Island Representative Jim Langevin, a fellow supporter of stem-cell research.

Jennifer Lopez is developing "Ayuda," a new Showtime series set in the world of Latina nannies, Daily Variety reports. Lopez will executive produce, along with former "Friends" producer Alexa Junge, who will also serve as a writer on the show.

David Caruso's divorce from third wife Margaret Buckley Caruso was finalized Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court. Buckley filed for the split in February 2005 after almost nine years of marriage. The couple had no children together, but Caruso's son with girlfriend Lisa Marquez was born Sept. 15, 2005.

"That's So Raven" star Anneliese van der Pol pled no contest to two misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence and driving with a blood alcohol level of more than 0.08...0.19 in this case...stemming from a July 10, 2006, arrest. Per the police report, van der Pol drove into a parked car that in turn hit two other vehicles. The L.A. City Attorney has offered her 36 months probation, $2,844 in fines and an alcohol education program. Sentencing is scheduled for Mar. 19.

News 01/16/2007

In reality TV news: Carey Sherrell, a 25-year-old marketing and promotions firm owner from Atlanta, GA, was fired during Sunday's broadcast of the second episode of NBC's "The Apprentice 6: Los Angeles." On Monday, Laeticia Guzman, a.k.a. Misfit Dior, a 27-year-old from London, UK, was the second rapper to step off on VH1's "ego trip's The White Rapper Show."

Donald Trump received the 2,327th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Tuesday and celebrated by offering more soundbites on his feud with Rosie O'Donnell in a radio interview with Ryan Seacrest. Perhaps weary of taking jabs at O'Donnell, Trump instead focused on Barbara Walters, implying that her days on television are numbered. "I think this is a terrible way for Barbara to finish off her career and I think she will go out like Dan Rather went out," Trump said.

The death of Anna Nicole Smith's son, Daniel Smith, will be investigated by a Bahamian court in an inquest beginning March 26, officials said. The 20-year-old died suddenly in September while visiting his mother in a Bahamian hospital, shortly after the birth of his sister, Dannielynn.

Rachael Ray's syndicated show has been re-upped through the 2010 season, CBS announced Tuesday. The freshman talk show from the cookbook queen racked up the highest ratings of any new syndicated show this season.

Naomi Campbell pled guilty to misdemeanor assault Tuesday for hitting her former maid, Ana Scolavino, with a cell phone over a missing pair of jeans. The supermodel called the incident "an accident," claiming she was not aiming for the maid when she threw her phone . In exchange for her guilty plea, Campbell will have to pay Scolavino's medical expenses of $363, attend an anger management class, and do five days of community service.

"Survivor" and "Amazing Race" veterans Rob and Amber Mariano are returning to compete on CBS's "The Amazing Race: All-Stars," premiering on Feb. 18.

The producers of "Lost" announced Sunday that they have been in talks with ABC about setting an end date for the island series, now in its third season. While the series finale may not come anytime soon, having a date in mind will help the writers decide how to wrap up the convoluted storyline, executive producer Carlton Cuse said. "Lost" returns to the schedule next month after a lengthy hiatus.

All news gathered from E! Online and other sources

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