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Something Fishy

Big Pussy Bompensiero got whacked during The Sopranos ‘season finale in April, but that hasn’t stopped fans from speculating that Vincent Pastore will somehow return for the show’s third season, which begins next March. “Saturday night I was with Steven Tyler from Aerosmith, who had a T-shirt on that said, ‘Pussy’s alive,’ ” says Pastore. “No, I’m dead. I’m sleepin’ with the fishes.” Perhaps he should let his Sopranos castmates in on the news. “They started rehearsal today, and I missed the fact that I wasn’t there,” says Pastore, 54. “Tony Sirico [who plays Paulie Walnuts] called me up and said, ‘Vinny, where were you?’ I said, ‘I’m not on the show anymore. Why am I supposed to come to rehearsal?’ ”

Big Finish

Someone else just got booted from Big Brother—field reporter Ian O’Malley, who after six weeks was dropped from the CBS reality show when producers retooled the weekly live broadcast to focus more on interviews conducted by studio host Julie Chen. “These things happen,” says O’Malley, 36. “This is the television business. If I wanted job security, I would have gone to the post office.” One thing O’Malley (who has returned to his weekend deejay gig at New York’s Q104) won’t miss is hearing from Big Brother-hating critics. “They were torturous,” he says. “I read it all. They were getting very personal. I had some goofball reporter here in New York City making fun of my hair. Critics have to realize, this is just a TV show. Big Brother is not trying to re-create Masterpiece Theatre.”

Livin’ La Vida Lopez

With both her movie and music careers going at full throttle, Jennifer Lopez isn’t kicking back anytime soon. “I figure I’ll stop when I get pregnant or something,” says Lopez, who stars in the new psychological thriller The Cell as a therapist who literally enters the mind of a serial killer. And yes, Lopez, 31, says she’s ready to become a mother. “I’m at that age,” she says. “I want a family. That would be the ultimate goal for me.” The only hitch: Lopez, who divorced club manager Ojani Noa in 1998, has to get hitched first, but has “no plans” to marry boyfriend Sean “Puffy” Combs. “I wouldn’t have a baby out of wedlock,” she says. “My parents would kill me.”

Better Late Than Never

After finally getting his first Emmy nomination—for supporting actor in a comedy series—for playing Ray’s (very) big brother on Everybody Loves Raymond, how does Brad Garrett rate his chances of winning? “I’m working with Peter Boyle on writing his acceptance speech, that’s how confident I am,” says Garrett, 40, about his TV dad and fellow nominee. Last year, when nominations came out and he was the only Raymond cast member unrecognized, Garrett recalls, “When we got to work, all of a sudden a hundred balloons come out of the ceiling, and Bob Barker walked out from backstage and presented me with the Most Overlooked Actor Award. So this whole year, I was saying, ‘God, I hope I don’t meet Wink Martindale when we go back in August.’ ”

Hit Me Baby One More Time

Filming the football comedy The Replacements with Keanu Reeves and Gene Hackman left its mark—a black-and-blue one—on Orlando Jones, who plays a butterfingered wide receiver.” ‘Don’t hit the actors’ meant ‘Don’t hit Keanu!’ ” says Jones, 33, who is best known as the “Make 7 Up Yours” pitchman. “They didn’t give a damn about me. Every time I went to get the ball, somebody would come across the middle and lay me out. And invariably, the football coach would come over and say, That didn’t look like a real drop; What you mean? It felt real to me!”