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NEWS BRIEFS: Mama Kate Off to 'War'

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CAST: New mom Kate Hudson, 24, will produce and star in a comedy for Miramax in a deal that closed on Friday, two days after the birth of the actress’s first child with hubby Chris Robinson, reports Variety. The baby weighed in at 8 lbs. 11 oz. and was named Ryder Russell Robinson. The movie, about best friends who turn into enemies when their weddings clash, will be named “Bride’s War.”

RETURNED: Sharon Osbourne, 50, will be back on the air Monday as host of her syndicated “Sharon Osbourne Show,” reports the Associated Press. It will be her first appearance since hubby Ozzy Osbourne was injured in an all-terrain vehicle accident in England Dec. 8. Sharon’s show, taped on Friday, includes her message to the audience: “We heard from Prince Charles and — never let anyone say he’s a bad guy ’cause he’s all right by the Osbournes — he sent my husband a bottle of scotch, which of course he’s not going to drink.”

QUOTED: “Our responsibility is to be the smartest, funniest show we could possibly be. We have no delusions of importance.” — Jon Stewart, 41, to reporters on how “The Daily Show” will be covering this year’s Presidential election

DONATED: “American Idol” star Clay Aiken returned to his alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, on Saturday to present a $20,000 donation to the school and perform during halftime at a men’s basketball game (against East Carolina), reports AP. “It’s great to be back here,” Aiken told the crowd of 9,105. Aiken, 25, waived his appearance fee in exchange for the donation, which was paid by private sponsors. … Paul Newman, 78, has given $10,000 to help build an 18-mile trail system for runners, bicyclists, walkers and skiers in central Maine, reports the Associated Press. The veteran actor, food king and humanitarian made the gift in response to a letter from Peter Garrett, president of Kennebec Messalonskee Trails Inc., who explained what opening up the trail would mean to the public. Newman spent much of last year in central Maine filming “Empire Falls,” an HBO movie based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Maine author Richard Russo.

RATED: The Thursday-night debut of NBC’s new reality show “The Apprentice,” starring magnate Donald Trump, drew the biggest audience of any series premiere on any network since FOX launched “Joe Millionaire” last January, according to Nielsen Media Research. The heavily hyped show, which followed the top-rated “Friends,” averaged nearly 18.5 million total viewers. Still, “The Apprentice” was nothing but an also-ran next to CBS’s “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” which attracted 27.5 million viewers to rank as Thursday’s most-watched show on TV.

LISTED: “The First Wives Club” author Olivia Goldsmith, said to be in her early 50s, is in critical condition in a Manhattan hospital after a negative reaction to anesthesia she was given while preparing to undergo a facial plastic surgery procedure on Wednesday, reports The New York Times. She has remained unconscious, and a spokesperson for Lenox Hill Hospital declined comment due to patient confidentiality, The Times reports.

SELECTED: Nicole Kidman, 35, has been named favorite movie star in a survey of 1,200 visitors to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in London, say British press reports. Last year’s Oscar winner for “The Hours,” who is now starring in “Cold Mountain,” topped Renee Zellweger and Julia Roberts for the honor. Justin Timberlake, 23, was chosen as favorite pop star. Favorite male actor was Brad Pitt, followed by George Clooney. On the down side, President George W. Bush was chosen as the most feared person, followed by British Prime Minister Tony Blair and al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.