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News 04/29/2007

In reality TV news: Stefani Schaeffer was hired by Donald Trump as his latest Apprentice in the live season finale of NBC's "The Apprentice 6: Los Angeles" at the Hollywood Bowl Sunday night. Schaeffer, an 32-year-old attorney from Southern California, beat out Web entrepreneur James Sun, a 29-year-old Internet entrepreneur from Seattle, WA, for the "Apprentice" victory, and chose to take a position working on Trump's new resort development in the Caribbean. Frank Lombardi, a 27-year-old contracting company founder from Bronx, NY, and Nicole D'Ambrosio, a 25-year-old commercial real estate corporation owner and broker from Chicago, IL, were the runners' up to Stefani and James. On Tuesday, former model, charity campaigner, and Paul McCartney's ex Heather Mills and her partner Jonathan Roberts were the fifth couple sent packing on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars 4." Also on Tuesday, Chelsea Korka, a 20-year-old waitress/singer/dancer from Cooper City, FL, and Melissa Reyes, an 18-year-old performer from Cypress, CA, lost out to Asia Nitollano, an 18-year-old Knick City Dancer from Mt. Vernon, NY, to become the seventh member of the Pussycat Dolls on the season finale of CW's "Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll." On Wednesday, the "Idol Gives Back" special raised more than $30 million for young people in the U.S. and Africa, according to early estimates. After a night of all-star performances by the likes of Kelly Clarkson, Annie Lennox, and Josh Groban, FOX’s "American Idol 6" skipped the elimination round in keeping with the week's charity theme, but not before making Jordin Sparks sweat a bit. The show promised to make up for not sending anyone home by booting two contestants next week. Also on Wednesday, Lacey, the 22-year-old owner of a Vidal Sassoon Salon in Miami, FL, and Theodore, the 22-year-old owner of the Theodore Leaf in L.A., were both eliminated on Bravo's "Shear Genius." On Thursday, Mookie Lee, a 25-year-old loan manager from Wheeling, IL, got his torch snuffed on CBS's "Survivor: Fiji" Thursday, leaving seven players in the game.

Joe Francis sobbed in a Panama City courtroom Monday as he pleaded guilty to a charge of criminal contempt of court and was sentenced to 35 days in jail and fined $5,000. The "Girls Gone Wild" founder was returned to the Florida prison where he has already spent 13 days to finish out his sentence.

Paris Hilton's spokesman Elliot Mintz called Shanna Moakler's decision to post the hotel heiress' phone number and email address on her MySpace page "a childish, mean-spirited thing to do," and denied that Hilton did anything to provoke the privacy invasion. Moakler claims that she posted Hilton's info, as well as Lindsay Lohan's, because she suspected they were behind a post on Lohan's ex-boyfriend Harry Morton's MySpace page that gave out her contact info.

A Los Angeles judge has signed an order formally releasing Debra Opri as Larry Birkhead's attorney, more than a month after the duo announced they were parting ways amid reports of tensions. The camera-friendly attorney told reporters there are no hard feelings between her and Birkhead, even after her bill to him for more than $600,000 was made public. Meanwhile, Birkhead and Dannielynn remained in the Bahamas over the weekend after Birkhead was unable to secure a passport for the infant on Friday due to a celebration at the Bahamian Embassy that kept all the top-ranking officials otherwise occupied. Also, Bahamian Supreme Court rejected Virgie Arthur's last-minute appeal to block Birkhead from leaving the Bahamas with his biological daughter Dannielynn, calling it "weak" and ordered her to pay $3,000 in attorney's fees for wasting the court's time.

A Florida judge who briefly heard arguments in the fight over control of Anna Nicole Smith's body pled not guilty to misdemeanor marijuana possession. Broward Circuit Judge Lawrence Korda was given a citation last month after police spotted him smoking pot under a tree in a city park.

Regis Philbin is slated to return to "Live with Regis and Kelly" Thursday after undergoing triple bypass heart surgery six weeks ago. David Letterman is scheduled to be his first guest...a fitting choice, considering Philbin subbed for the "Late Show" host when Letterman underwent heart bypass surgery in 2000.

NBC Sports and U.S. Figure Skating announced a multiyear deal under which NBC will broadcast live coverage of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, including Saturday night primetime coverage of the ladies' free skate. The deal runs through the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Sanjaya Malakar read off the Top 10 "Things I Learned From American Idol" on the "Late Show with David Letterman" Monday. Highlights included number 10, "The camera adds 10 pounds to your mohawk"; number six, "On camera, Simon is a bit nasty. But off camera, he's a total jerk"; and number two, "Nothing."

Activist groups dropped a federal lawsuit against Viacom Monday after the company acknowledged it made a mistake in demanding that YouTube remove a parody of "The Colbert Report." The clip in question contained footage from the Comedy Central show, but the groups successfully argued their use was protected under "fair use" provisions of copyright law.

Bob Woodruff will head to Havana this weekend to cover Cuba's May Day commemorations for Sunday's "World News." The trip marks his first overseas assignment for ABC News since he was severely injured in a roadside bombing in Iraq last year.

The cremated remains of James Doohan, who portrayed Scotty on "Star Trek," blasted into space Saturday aboard a rocket also carrying the remains of 200 others. After a brief suborbital flight, the rocket returned to Earth and landed at New Mexico's White Sands Missile Range.

Tracy Morgan copped a plea to avoid jail time on a drunken driving charge, instead agreeing to complete five days of community service and wear an alcohol-monitoring ankle bracelet that will test his skin for alcohol vapors every 30 minutes for 90 days, per TMZ.com. If he tests positive, he'll have another 90 days to go; failing a second time will earn him 30 days in county jail. The "30 Rock" star, who will be fitted for his new bling May 25, was busted in New York in November, violating his probation on a prior DUI conviction.

NBC making the covert, online-only announcement that "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" will return to the airwaves...after a months-long, brink of cancellation hiatus...on May 24. Fans shouldn't rejoice yet just: the return date for the series is the day after the all-important May sweeps period ends, making its time slot a less than solid vote of confidence from the network .

Pamela Anderson announced that she'll replace Carmen Electra as a special guest star in the Las Vegas show The Beauty of Magic for its three-month run at Planet Hollywood. Electra pulled out of the gig due to "scheduling conflicts." Anderson's run begins on June 2.

All news gathered from E! Online and other sources

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