Todd Peterson
April 02, 2004 01:00 PM

A NEW MARTHA? Martha Stewart won’t be sentenced until June 17, but CBS is already trumpeting its plans to find a new domestic diva. The network is planning a 10-episode series that will pit extreme bakers and interior decorators against one another in a crafts-based fight to the finish. And since the competition is open to men, the next Martha might be a Martin. In other Stewart news, attorneys for the embattled mogul filed papers for a new trial, after it was revealed that one of the jurors lied to attorneys about his own troubled past.

JANET’S RETURN: For the first time since her breast-baring Super Bowl stunt, Janet Jackson returned to the stage and television with appearances intended to promote her new album, “Damita Jo.” Jackson, 37, kicked off the week with a spot on David Letterman’s “Late Show” Monday night, where she and the cranky host disagreed as to how much the public wanted to hear about the so-called “wardrobe malfunction.” “Damita Jo” was released Tuesday, and on Wednesday Jackson performed on “Good Morning America,” her first TV concert since the Super Bowl.

DREA’S ‘FRIENDS’: “Sopranos” Mob rat Drea De Matteo is taking the safe way out and making a move to network TV. De Matteo, who plays Adrina, the floozy-turned-informant fiancee of Tony Soprano’s cousin Christopher (Michael Imperioli), on the HBO series, will reportedly star opposite Matt LeBlanc on his NBC “Friends” spinoff, “Joey.” The sitcom will be set in Los Angeles, where De Matteo will play Gina, Joey’s hairdresser sister. De Matteo’s role on the network show reportedly will not interfere with the sixth and final season of “The Sopranos,” which has yet to be shot. That is, of course, if loose-lipped Adriana lives that long. Early news about this week’s episode of “The Sopranos” hints that Adriana may find herself in a bit of trouble. The Mafia drama airs Sunday night.

JACKO’S HUSHED JURY: It was another crazy week for Michael Jackson, as a grand jury convened in Santa Barbara while the Gloved One himself met with lawmakers in Washington. On Monday, the grand jury met secretly to hear witnesses related to the child-molestation case. No matter what the jury decides, Jackson already has been charged and will likely face trial. On Friday, a separate pretrial hearing was held in Santa Maria, Calif. There, the judge reportedly issued a ruling allowing Jackson’s defense team to subpoena school and psychiatric reports about the 14-year-old accuser.

A ‘GRACE’-FUL EXIT: “Will & Grace” star Debra Messing has been forced to sit out the final four episodes of the NBC sitcom due to her pregnancy. The 35-year-old star, who is expecting her first child, is not in any danger. But a physician for the redheaded actress ordered her to stay off her feet. No word on how the series will handle her absence from this season’s last show, which features the marriage of Grace’s friend Karen (Megan Mullally) and a guest appearance by Jennifer Lopez.

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