REPORTED: CBS has approached Today host Katie Couric, 48, to take over Dan Rather’s Evening News anchor chair after the veteran newsman retires in March, according to Time magazine. Other news sources, jumping on the story, point out that Couric, who currently earns a reported $17 million a year, still has 17 months to go on her NBC contract. A spokesman for NBC declined comment on the Time report, other than to say there have been rumors circulating around Couric for weeks. Time also says that other contenders for Rather’s seat are CNN’s Anderson Cooper, ABC’s Ted Koppel and CBS’s John Roberts, Mika Brzezinski and Scott Pelley.
LOST: Mel Gibson, 49, has failed in his bid to have 17 of his 75.7 acres in Greenwich, Conn., classified as a farm in an effort to earn a tax break, the Greenwich Time newspaper reports. “Anyone can have a few pigs in their back yard, but a viable farm is more than having something for personal use,” town Assessor John “Ted” Gwartney said. “It’s about producing a viable product.” Gibson would have saved about $10,000 per year in property taxes on his $17.7 million estate if granted the exemption for owners of working farms. His annual property tax bill is about $137,000, said the Time. No comment from the actor-filmmaker.
BORN: Retired Romanian university professor Adriana Iliescu, who will be 67 in May, is believed to be the oldest recorded woman to give birth, say reports. Her daughter, Eliza Maria, weighed 3 lb. 1 oz. at birth on Sunday (after a Caesarean operation), and mother and daughter are both doing well at the Giulesti Maternity Hospital in Bucharest. Iliescu is unmarried and reportedly became pregnant through in vitro fertilization.
DIED: Oscar-winning Jimmy Griffin, 61, who was also former guitarist for the 1970s pop group Bread, died Tuesday in Nashville of complications from cancer, says the Hollywood Reporter. The Los Angeles-based group’s hits included “Make It With You,” “Baby I’m-a Want You,” “If” and “Everything I Own.” After Bread broke up in 1977, Griffin recorded solo and as a member of the country groups Black Tie and the Remingtons. He reunited with Bread for a 1997 world tour.
ERECTED: A bronze statue honoring late punk guitarist Johnny Ramone has been unveiled at Southern California’s Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where Cecil B. DeMille and the man behind Bugs Bunny’s voice, Mel Blanc, are also buried. Ramone, cofounder and guitarist of The Ramones, was 55 when he died of prostate cancer in September at his Los Angeles home. The $100,000 statue sits near the grave of bandmate Dee Dee Ramone, who died of a drug overdose in 2002. Tommy Ramone, the only surviving member of the original band, said at Friday’s unveiling of Johnny’s memorial: “He wanted the fans to have a place to come and a way to feel in touch with this music that got so many things right.”