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News 09/29/2006

In reality TV news: "Survivor: Cook Islands" merged its four ethnically separated tribes into two larger mixed-race groups in the third show of the season Thursday night. Cecilia Mansilla, a 29-year-old technology risk consultant who currently resides in Oakland, CA, became the latest castoff.

Honolulu judge has allowed "Dog the Bounty Hunter's" Duane "Dog" Chapman to temporarily remove his electronic monitoring ankle bracelet to better facilitate the TV star's business travel to New York.

"Twin Peaks" star Sherilyn Fenn was sued for $15,200-plus-interest by her former landlord, who's claiming she entered into a six-month lease extension in June but took off after only two months. The actress had been renting the L.A.-area home in question since 2003.

Reps for Eva Longoria and Tony Parker are denying reports that the couple have called it quits, with the actress' rep saying "Eva and Tony are going through a very difficult time right now, just like any other couple with extremely demanding careers." Parker's rep is painting a far rosier picture of the twosome's couplehood, saying that "everything is great with Tony and Eva...their relationship is as solid as ever...in fact Eva will be joining us for part of our trip to France."

Amanda Peet told David Letterman she's set to tie the knot with screenwriter fiancé David Benioff this weekend. The couple is expecting their first child together.

The sportsbook Website BetUS.com is in final talks to acquire the online distribution rights of a 50-minute homemade sex tape featuring Dustin "Screech" Diamond and two unidentified ladies.

TrimSpa CEO Alex Goen told In Touch magazine that Anna Nicole Smith and lawyer Howard K. Stern participated in a commitment ceremony Thursday aboard a boat in the Bahamas but did not, as reports have suggested, get married.

CBS has renewed "The Amazing Race" for an 11th season, set to kick off next spring.

"C.S.I." came back from last week to win the second Thursday night showdown against "Grey's Anatomy," beating out the medical drama by just 180,000 viewers.

Liza Minnelli has signed on to star in an episode of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" as a former beauty queen whose daughter was found murdered more than a decade ago. The case moves back into the media spotlight after a pedophile confesses to the murder.

News 09/28/2006

In reality TV news: Actor Harry Hamlin was voted off ABC's "Dancing with the Stars 3" Wednesday night, in what producers described as the most shocking elimination yet. Also on Wednesday, Megan Morris, a 23-year-old bartender from San Francisco, became the second amateur model to be ousted from the runway on the CW's "America's Next Top Model 7." Third on Wednesday, Tiffany Hernandez, a 27-year-old single mom from Kingsville, TX, was eliminated on NBC's "The Biggest Loser 3." She lost 33 pounds when she arrived at the ranch, and she has a goal of losing an additional 50 pounds. Finally on Wednesday, no one got the boot on Bravo's "Project Runway 3" (other than models Lindsay Bien Aime, Amanda Fields, and previously-eliminated model Javi Hairston), leaving Uli, Michael, Jeffrey, and Laura to show their collections during Olympus Fashion Week.

Tony Danza and wife Tracy have announced that they're separating after 20 years of marriage. The couple have two teenage daughters, Katie and Emily.

Bahamian officials are saying that they won't be influenced by the findings of Anna Nicole Smith's private pathologist that claim her son Daniel died from a lethal combination of medication, saying their investigation is still pending another round of toxicology tests.

Comedy Central has picked up "The Showbiz Show with David Spade" for a 13-episode third season. Meanwhile, Spade has also signed on to star in CBS's midseason replacement, "Rules of Engagement," looking at relationships through the eyes of five different friends.

Charlie Sheen is close to finalizing a new salary contract that would earn him $350,000-$400,000 an episode, per the Hollywood Reporter, making the "Two and a Half Men" star the highest paid actor on TV.

The season finale of MTV's sports docu-drama "Two-A-Days" will be made available for viewing exclusively on MTV.com beginning Oct. 11.

News 09/27/2006

Pathologist Cyril Wecht is saying that a lethal mix of methadone and the antidepressants Zoloft and Lexapro caused the cardiac dysrhythmia that led to the Sept. 10 death of Anna Nicole Smith's 20-year-old son, Daniel. National Medical Services in Willowgrove, Pa., prepared the latest toxicology report. Meanwhile, paparazzo Larry Birkhead is disputing Howard K. Stern's claim that he's the father of Smith's weeks-old daughter and is seeking a paternity test to prove it, posting the following message on his Website: "HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! In case there is any confusion, I am not laughing at myself!"

Naomi Campbell failed to appear in court to face charges of assaulting her former maid with a cell phone Wednesday, causing the Manhattan Criminal Court judge to issue, and later retract, a bench warrant for her arrest. The hearing has been rescheduled for Nov. 15.

Honolulu District Court has dismissed charges of driving without a license and disobeying a police officer against "Lost" star Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje stemming from a Sept. 2 traffic stop. Attorneys for the actor were able to prove he did in fact have a license.

Regis Philbin, Rachael Ray, James Denton, Neil Patrick Harris, Christopher Meloni, Drew Lachey, and Carson Kressley are among the boldfaced names taking part in "Celebrity Jeopardy!," set to air during November sweeps.

London Metropolitan police are warning Claudia Schiffer to contain her two dogs on her estate's property after receiving neighbor complaints that the canines were intimidating passers-by and had bitten a smaller dog.

Olivia Newton-John sat in as a guest judge during the third round of "American Idol" auditions in Los Angeles Tuesday.

Brad Pitt is making his first foray into television, exec producing the FX drama "4 oz." with "Nip/Tuck" creator Ryan Murphy. The series will follow a married sportswriter who also happens to be a transsexual.

News 09/26/2006

Howard K. Stern, Anna Nicole Smith's longtime lawyer and confidante, told "Larry King Live" that he is the "proud father" of Smith's baby girl, who was born three days before her 20-year-old son's sudden death. Stern said that he and Smith "love each other and it's been going on for a very long time and because of my relationship as her lawyer, we felt it was best to keep everything hidden." Smith's ex-boyfriend, Larry Birkhead, who has said that he "believes in his heart" that he's the newborn's father, has asked for a paternity test, according to TMZ.com.

Steve Irwin's widow, Terri, told "20/20" that the video footage of the Crocodile Hunter's death will never air on TV. "No. No. What purpose would that serve," Terri Irwin said in her first interview since her husband was killed by a stingray Sept. 4 while filming a documentary. The tape in question reportedly shows Irwin being stung in the chest by the stingray's barbed tail.

Paris Hilton was officially charged with two misdemeanor counts, stemming from her arrest earlier this month. The heiress was charged with driving under the influence and driving with a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent with her arraignment set for this Thursday.

Mario Lopez's "Dancing with the Stars" partner Karina Smirnoff injured her back during practice Tuesday and requiring a physical therapist to be called to the set. Despite some wait-and-see, Smirnoff was set to perform during the evening's broadcast.

Dr. Phil McGraw has agreed to settle a $10.8 million class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of thousands of plaintiffs claiming his Shape Up! diet products failed to result in dropped pounds.

"Girls Gone Wild" mastermind Joe Francis has agreed to fork over $500,000 in plea deal Monday, after pleading guilty to charges of failing to properly document the ages of the coeds in his videos.

Chevy Chase has signed on to guest star in "Law & Order" this November as a celebrity who gets pulled over for drunk driving and lets loose his religious intolerance.

Lawyers for Star Jones has demanded that the National Enquirer print a front page retraction to an Oct. 2 story titled "Star Jones' Husband Walks Out!" in which the tabloid claims Al Reynolds is gay and that the marriage is a sham. Reynolds' reps call the allegations "false and defamatory."

The much-hyped third-season premiere of "Desperate Housewives" racked up lower than expected ratings, averaging 5 million fewer viewers than last season's kickoff.

Milan fashion week officials has opted not to ban underweight models for use in their runway shows.

"NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams" has put an end to Katie Couric's ratings reign of terror, edging out the "CBS Evening News" by just 490,000 viewers.

The late Peter Jennings was awarded a posthumous News & Documentary Emmy for his 2005 ABC report "Iraq: Where Things Stand." "NBC Nightly News" received an Emmy for breaking news coverage in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, while Anderson Cooper took home an award for his coverage of Rwanda.

A Denver TV station is threatening to cancel the scheduled airing of PBS' "Marie Antoinette" documentary amid threats of six-figure indecency fines from the FCC, per the Denver Post. Officials reportedly took issue with 200-year-old pencil drawings of couples having sex and a discussion of Louis XVI's alleged impotency.

News 09/25/2006

In reality TV news: Actor Cheech Marin and "Queer Eye's" Jai Rodriguez were eliminated Friday on FOX's "Celebrity Duets." On Sunday, Kellie Patterson, a 22-year-old student majoring in broadcast journalism, and Jamie Hill, a 22-year-old recent college graduate, cheerleaders from Columbia, SC, were "Philiminated" from CBS's "The Amazing Race 10."

A lawyer for "Dog the Bounty Hunter" star Duane "Dog" Chapman said his client is prepared to make a deal to avoid extradition to Mexico, where he was arrested in 2003 for "deprivation of liberty" after capturing convicted rapist Andrew Luster and returning him to the U.S. against Mexican authorities' wishes. According to attorney Brook Hart, Chapman has offered to formally apologize, pay a fine, forgo reimbursement of the $1,300 bail he posted in Mexico, make a charitable donation, and, of course, stay the heck out of the country, where bounty hunting is illegal.

Oprah Winfrey made her debut on XM Satellite Radio today with her own channel, Oprah and Friends, featuring programs by several familiar faces from her talk show, including BFF Gayle King who'll co-host "The Oprah and Gayle Show." Meanwhile, Oprah's lawyers are demanding a retired Missouri math teacher stop campaigning for Winfrey to run for president in 2008. Winfrey herself is "flattered" and says her attorneys "overreacted" by ordering Crowe to remove her name and image from his Website.

Star Jones Reynolds' attorney has penned a letter to the National Enquirer demanding that the tabloid print a front-page retraction to an article in the Oct. 2 issue entitled "Star Jones' Husband Walks Out!" Lawyer Robert Chapman called the story's implications that the couple's marriage isn't a happy one "completely false."

David Hasselhoff's 14-year-old daughter, Hayley, was taken to a Los Angeles hospital Sunday night after she was severely scratched by the family cat. Hasselhoff called 911 and his daughter has since been treated and released.

The body of Anna Nicole Smith's son, Daniel, has remained at a funeral home in the Bahamas more than two weeks after his sudden death. Family friends have told the Associated Press he'll likely be buried on the islands.

George Takei has agreed to reprise his role of Prim Sulu for a 50-minute one-off episode of "Star Trek" produced by Trekkie fans. "World Enough and Time" features Sulu finding himself aged 30 years on an alien planet when only a few minutes have passed on the Enterprise.

Marcia Cross has disputed the original claim that her real life pregnancy would be written into "Desperate Housewives," telling "Regis and Kelly" that her character, Bree, would not be with child this season.

"Scrubs" star Judy Reyes was released from a Los Angeles hospital Monday after undergoing surgery to repair a fractured pelvis, stemming from a fall at her home last week. The actress will likely take six weeks to fully recover.

Prince Lorenzo Borghese has been tapped to dole out the roses when "The Bachelor: Rome" premieres Oct. 2 on ABC to 25 love-hungry women.

All news gathered from E! Online and other sources

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