Stephen M. Silverman
January 26, 2005 09:00 AM

CAST: Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria and ex-supermodel Cindy Crawford will appear in a 30-second commercial for Diet Pepsi scheduled to debut during the Feb. 6 Super Bowl broadcast, the New York Post reports. The soft-drink company and a rep for Combs would not confirm the scoop, though the ad reportedly shows Diddy en route to an awards show when his car breaks down and he is rescued by a Pepsi truck.

RATED: Johnny Carson helped ignite ratings for Monday night’s The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, which scored near-record ratings with its tribute to the show’s host from 1962-92, who died of emphysema Sunday at age 79. Variety calls this the fourth-highest score since Leno took over, trailing only the night of the 1993 Cheers finale, Leno’s premiere as host the year before and the night of the 1998 Seinfeld finale. CBS rival David Letterman is showing reruns this week.

JOINED: Just call him “Super Ringo.” Former Beatle Ringo Starr has joined Stan Lee‘s POW! Entertainment to participate in a franchise – to be released first on DVD – where the musician will play a superpowered animated version of himself. Starr will voice the character and contribute songs to the project.

ARRESTED: Singer Lynn Anderson, who won a Grammy for 1970’s “(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden,” is accused of shoplifting a Harry Potter DVD from a New Mexico supermarket and then punching a police officer as she was being put into a patrol car, reports the Associated Press. Anderson, 57, was arrested Monday night at Smith’s Food & Drug Center, said Police Chief Neil Curran. At police headquarters she refused the option of a written citation, he said. Anderson has been released on her own recognizance. An arraignment is scheduled for later this week.

DESIRED: The new play by In the Company of Men filmmaker Neil LaBute, This Is How It Goes, is gaining star power. The production, due to open this spring at New York’s Public Theater, already has Meet the Fockers star Ben Stiller and Angels in America award winner Jeffrey Wright set for its cast. Now, reports, the Public is seeking to add Renee Zellweger, who starred in LaBute’s 2000 movie, Nurse Betty.

REACTED: Jamie Foxx, considered the likely Best Actor winner for Ray, got the news of his Academy Award nomination Tuesday – as well as his Supporting Actor nod for Collateral – from his manager. “I was actually at the L’Ermitage (Hotel) right around the corner from where we were going to be doing some work” on his new movie Jarhead, he tells USA Today. As for the contest now being official, Foxx, 37, says: “I never look at it as a competition. In between the words ‘action’ and ‘cut’ you just do the best job you can and let the chips fall where they may. I think we already won by having Ray Charles’ movie made, by having the nominations.”

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