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NEWS BRIEFS: Jada Opens for Britney

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PREPARED: For the past few months, Jada Pinkett Smith, 32, has been quietly honing her vocal prowess performing with her rock-soul band, Wicked Wisdom, in small clubs around L.A, PEOPLE reports. Now the group has scored its biggest coup yet: opening for Britney Spears’s Onyx Hotel Tour for eight dates in Britain come April and May. Pinkett Smith put the band together a year or so ago. “She’s been singing her whole life but chose to focus on acting,” says a source, who tells the magazine that Wicked Wisdom is working on a CD.

BORN: Cheryl Hines, 38, who plays Larry David’s wife Cheryl on HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” gave birth to her first child Monday, daughter Catherine Rose. Dad is Hines’s husband Paul Young, a talent manager she married in December 2002. A statement from a publicist says both mother and baby are doing fine and the two parents are “overjoyed.”

QUOTED: “It would be a mixture of politics, news and business. … I keep talking about ‘branding,’ which is one of the lessons I learned from Mr. Trump, and I would like a project that would further my brand.” — Last week’s fired “Apprentice” contestant Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, to the New York Post on Tuesday, after announcing on “Live with Regis & Kelly” that she’s been approached about having her own show

RATED: Preliminary ratings for Monday night’s “Charlie’s Angels” NBC movie and ABC’s “Judas” movie fell flat (with 7.86 million and 9.15 million viewers, respectively, according to Nielsen) while NBC’s “Fear Factor” drew an impressive 15.2 million. On HBO Sunday, the return of “The Sopranos,” after a 15-month absence, attracted estimated 12.1 million viewers, which is being called a success, despite those numbers being lower — by a million viewers — than last year’s premiere. By further contrast, the Feb. 22 series finale of HBO’s “Sex and the City” drew about 10.6 million viewers.

NAMED: Oprah Winfrey appears for the first time on Vanity Fair’s 2004 International Best-Dressed List, which is being released Wednesday. The media queen, 50, says Jackie Onassis and Coco Chanel are her fashion icons, and names Gianfranco Ferre as her favorite designer. Also on the list, according to the Associated Press: Cate Blanchett, Sofia Coppola, Kate Moss and Aerin Lauder Zinterhofer, Estee Lauder’s vice president for global advertising. On the men’s list: George Clooney, Jude Law and news anchors Brian Williams and Anderson Cooper.

ARRESTED: Alice Regina Pike, 35, tried to pay for her more than $1,600 in purchases at a Florida Wal-Mart with a $1 million bill last Friday, according to news reports from the Sunshine State. Rather than receiving change, she was arrested. The U.S. Treasury doesn’t even mint $1 million bills. Pike reportedly told police that her husband had given the bill to her before he left town on a trip.