RENEWED: “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell, 43 has signed to remain with the talent show for another three years, the FOX network said on Monday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Cowell told the Associated Press, “It’s not a difficult show to do.” He reportedly also secured help in establishing his own production company (called Simcow Ltd.) and a first-look agreement with FOX to run a new reality-TV series.
ADMITTED: Britney Spears, 21, after years of vowing she would remain a virgin until her wedding night, has confessed to W magazine that she had sex with former boyfriend Justin Timberlake, now 22. “I’ve only slept with one person my whole life,” she tells the publication in its August issue, according to quotes from her interview published by the Associated Press. “It was two years into my relationship with Justin, and I thought he was the one. … But I was wrong! I didn’t think he was gonna go on Barbara Walters and sell me out.” As for her rumored fling with Irish actor Colin Farrell: “Yes, I kissed him. … He’s the cutest, hottest thing in the world — wooh! … But it was nothing serious.” Meantime, she says, “Seriously, I haven’t had a boy in a really long time, and I’m really craving … just a kiss, man. Just a kiss would be nice.”
QUOTED: “I detest Jerry Springer. I detest Sally Jessy’s and Jenny Jones’s shows. They’re demeaning to people, just degrading and humiliating.” — Sharon Osbourne, 51, who is launching her own TV talk show this fall, to the Ladies’ Home Journal
DIED: Laleh and Ladan Bijani, 29-year-old conjoined twins from Iran, died in a Singapore hospital Tuesday shortly after neurosurgeons separated them in the third day of surgery. AP reports that news of their deaths were greeted by screams of shock and weeping in their homeland. This was reportedly the first attempt to separate adult twins, and the women had been warned of the dangers they faced but still chose to move ahead with the operation, reported NBC News.
DETERMINED: Sunday’s death of Buddy Ebsen, 95, best known to TV audiences as Jed Clampett on “The Beverly Hillbillies,” was caused by respiratory failure, reports the Associated Press. Earlier reports did not list a cause of death. Ebsen died at California’s Torrance Memorial Medical Center, where he was hospitalized last month for pneumonia, according to his daughter, Connie Ebsen-Jackson, who said on behalf of her family: “We choose to not grieve Buddy’s passing but to celebrate the life of this extraordinary man.”
AXED: Arch conservative MSNBC talk-show host Michael Savage, of “Savage Nation,” was fired Monday for labeling a caller during Saturday’s program a “Sodomite” and “a piece of garbage” who “should only get AIDS and die, you pig!” A network representative, in a statement picked up by AP, said, “Savage made an extremely inappropriate comment, and the decision to cancel the program was not difficult.” The network’s action was applauded by GLAAD, which has long been protesting Savage’s remarks. There has been no comment from Savage.
LAUNCHED: Tommy Mottola, former CEO of Sony Music (and former husband of Mariah Carey), said on Monday that he and Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company, would jointly launch a new label, Casablanca Records. The New York Times pegs Mottola’s deal as being worth $40 million. “My goal is to have probably at least two records out before September,” Mottola tells Reuters. He said Casablanca has already signed three or four new artists in deals he plans to announce soon.
OVER-DOUSED: Actor Anthony Andrews (“Brideshead Revisited”), 55, is recovering after becoming ill by drinking too much water, reports the BBC, which diagnosed his condition as hyponatraemia, caused by the dilution of sodium in the body. It has reportedly similar symptoms to dehydration, such as headaches, nausea and cramps. An agent for Andrews, who is now appearing as Henry Higgins in a London revival of “My Fair Lady,” says: “He’s out of the clinic now, and we expect him to be back in the show in the next few days.”