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News 04/22/2007

In reality TV news: On Tuesday, former NBA star Clyde "The Glide" Drexler and his partner Elena Grineko were the fourth couple eliminated from on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars 4." Joey Fatone hot-footed it into the results show as the leader of the pack. Also on Tuesday, Melissa Smith, a 24-year-old singer/dancer/actress from L.A., was eliminated on the CW's "Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll." On Wednesday, Sanjaya Malakar was sent home from FOX's "American Idol 6," despite the best efforts of Howard Stern, votefortheworst.com, and an army of Fanjayas. The country-themed week proved to be the chameleon-coiffed contestant's downfall, with Simon Cowell calling his performance of Bonnie Raitt's "Something to Talk About" "utterly horrendous." In an interview with Ryan Seacrest Thursday morning, Malakar indicated he has no hard feelings towards Cowell. "I'm gonna kind of miss him telling me I'm horrible." Also on Wednesday, Jael Strauss, a 22-year-old band manager from Detroit, MI, was sent packing on the CW's "America's Next Top Model 8." Finally on Wednesday, Jim, 49-year-old Buffalo, New York New York-based freelance stylist and make up artist, was the second one eliminated on Bravo's "Shear Genius." On Thursday, Edgardo Rivera, a 28-year-old advertising exec from Miami Beach, got his torch snuffed on CBS's "Survivor: Fiji" Thursday, leaving eight players in the game.

Isaiah Washington withdrew his name from Emmy consideration, probably assuming he would have a hard time winning votes after the "Grey's Anatomy" gay slur debacle with T.R. Knight, Daily Variety reports.

Sanjaya Malakar attended the White House Correspondents' Dinner on Saturday as the guest of People magazine, where he will mingle with fellow attendees including Jane Fonda, Henry Kissinger, John Cusack, and Sheryl Crow, according to the Washington Post. Meanwhile, Sanjaya continued on his nationwide publicity blitz on Monday with appearances on "Live with Regis and Kelly," "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," and "The Late Show with David Letterman," where he will present the Top 10 list.

Simon Cowell is shooting down reports that he rolled his eyes after Chris Richardson sent thoughts and prayers out to the victims and families at Virginia Tech on last night's "American Idol 6," telling Ryan Seacrest on his radio show that he had "switched off at that point" and was rolling his eyes over Richardson's defense of his nasally performance, not his call for prayers. "I think Chris was right to have said what he said because he's from that neck of the woods...This is a very, very sensitive thing, and I don't like it when these fake rumors start."

TV Guide Channel have dropped Joan and Melissa Rivers as its red carpet hostesses and replaced them with Lisa Rinna, the network said Wednesday. Rinna, who called the gig her "dream job," is due to make her debut at the Emmy Awards on Sept. 16. Meanwhile, Joan Rivers issued a statement indicating that the split was less than amicable. "I will tell you my true feelings and experiences as soon as we finalize our new deal," she said. The mother-daughter duo previously worked at E! Entertainment Television for almost a decade, but departed in 2004.

Neil Patrick Harris told Ellen DeGeneres in an interview airing Thursday that he decided to come out publicly last year because he sensed a "witch-hunt brewing." The erstwhile Doogie Howser said he elected to simply make a statement about his sexuality in order to avoid any brush with scandal.

Organizers of Rosie O'Donnell's gay family cruise has cut Bermuda from the itinerary because of fears about possible church group protests on the British island territory, the charter company said. The cruise, which departs from New York in July, stops in two Florida ports instead.

Rip Torn pled no contest to driving while impaired Monday and paid a $380 fine and agreed to give up his license for 90 days. The actor was arrested in December when he crashed his car into a tractor-trailer and refused a sobriety test on the scene.

Larry Birkhead told OK! magazine that he has no hard feelings for Howard K. Stern and that his former rival has been helpful with regard to his daughter. "He's been with Dannielynn the last several months. He knows her likes and dislikes and things that could help me," Birkhead said. The proud papa also claims he and Anna Nicole Smith tried to have a baby while they were dating and had chosen the names Annabella or Marilyn Nicole for a girl and Niko for a boy.

Donald Trump sent Barbara Walters a framed set of undergarments worn by Rosie O'Donnell in Exit to Eden to hang on her office wall, his rep confirmed to "E! News." Trump obtained the girdle-like getup from a fan who purchased it at a charity auction and had it delivered to the mogul. "I sent it to Barbara to hang in her office because I didn't want it in mine. It was funny, except that it was really gross. It's disgusting," Trump told the New York Post.

Erik Estrada received the 2,336th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Thursday, honoring an acting career ranging from his role in "CHiPs" in the '70s and '80s to his more recent reality show appearances in "The Surreal Life," "Armed & Famous," and "Discovery Health Body Challenge."

NBC announced that Sharon Osbourne will replace Brandy as a judge for the second season of "America's Got Talent," joining David Hasselhoff and Piers Morgan on the panel. Brandy issued a statement claiming she "felt she couldn't give the new season the attention and commitment it deserved."

CBS is targeting China as the site for the 54th edition of "Survivor," setting up the reality competition to be the first American production to film an entire series in the communist nation, Variety reports. No word on when or where the project will begin filming. The move marks the fifth non-island setting for the show.

"Pirate Master," a new CBS reality series from Mark Burnett in which contestants will live as modern-day buccaneers on the high seas and search for a total of $1 million in treasure, will premiere on May 31.

In the wake of Monday's mass shooting at Virgina Tech, FOX pulled a new episode of "Bones" that centered on the discovery of human remains on a college campus from its Wednesday lineup and filled the gap with a repeat, Variety reports.

Former "Dallas" star Victoria Principal is planning to blast off into space as a passenger on the first commercial spaceflight aboard the Virgin Galactic, she told ABC's Diane Sawyer on Monday.

CBS Radio fired Don Imus' longtime producer Bernard McGuirk over his role in the Rutgers situation, a network spokesperson said Friday. McGuirk, a frequent on-air sidekick, participated in the infamous "nappy-headed hos" exchange with Imus that sparked outrage and led to both of them being pink-slipped.

Recently fired "Apprentice" contestant Kristine Lefebvre will grace the cover of the June issue of Playboy, which will also feature nude photographs of the 37-year-old attorney. Her publicist says that Lefebvre, a cancer survivor, wants to use the opportunity to send a supportive message to others struggling with the disease.

All news gathered from E! Online and other sources

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