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NEWS BRIEFS: Nicole Tops Rich List

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NAMED: Nicole Kidman, 36, more than doubled her annual income in 2003, earning an estimated $18.6 million, making her Australia’s richest entertainer, Business Review Weekly magazine reports Down Under. Her income in 2002 was reported at $8.63 million. The other name on the list familiar to Americans, other than the rock group AC/DC (in third place, with $14.9 million), was “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” director Peter Weir, 59, in fifth place with $7.4 million.

DROPPED: A New Jersey judge has dismissed a $100 million breach of contract lawsuit filed against Whitney Houston by an entertainment company that her late father John Houston (who died in February 2003) had founded, reports the Associated Press. The suit, filed in September 2002, claimed Whitney, now 40, failed to pay her father’s company for representing her interests beginning in fall 2000. The lawsuit said the singer was in financial straits and facing marijuana possession charges in Hawaii until her father’s company stepped in.

QUOTED: “Kwame will win, but shockingly will announce he’s firing The Donald and rejecting the job and the $250,000, making him an overnight celebrity.” — MTV host Carson Daly, 30, to the New York Post, predicting the winner on “The Apprentice”

SOUGHT: In continuing to seek a new trial, Martha Stewart ‘s lawyers said on Wednesday they uncovered more evidence that Chappell Hartridge, one of the jurors who convicted her last month, lied about his past, according to court papers. Stewart’s side charges that Hartridge failed to disclose his son’s conviction on attempted robbery charges in 2000. They also say Hartridge was “investigated by his employer and terminated either for expense account padding or drug abuse.” Hartridge has not commented on the claims.

RATED: President Bush’s prime-time press conference Tuesday night (when it bumped top-rated “American Idol”) attracted an estimated 41 million viewers on eight cable and broadcast networks, an increase from the 31.6 million who tuned into his press conference last September, according to Nielsen Media Research.

SOLD: Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill –Vol. 1,” starring Uma Thurman, sold more than 2 million DVDs during its first day in release this past Tuesday, studio executives tell the Hollywood Reporter. While the figure is not a record (that distinction belongs to “The Matrix Revolutions” DVD, starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne and Carrie-Anne Moss for the week ending April 11), it does bode well for Tarantino’s film, whose sequel opens in theaters Friday.

REVEALED: TV host and producer Dick Clark, 74, has had type 2 diabetes, formerly called adult-onset diabetes, since 1994, but kept it a secret from everyone except close friends and family, according to a press release announcing Clark’s new role as a spokesman for the American Association of Diabetes Educators and the pharmaceutical maker Merck & Co. … And in news of another TV veteran, Kathie Lee Gifford, 50, returned to morning talk TV Wednesday for one day only, co-hosting FOX News Channel’s “FOX & Friends” with Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade, sitting in for E.D. Hill, who returns from maternity leave on Monday. Gifford talked about “American Idol”‘s William Hung, saying: “He’s lovable. … And if he gets his teeth fixed, his career is over.”