COURIC COUNTS: Monday’s job swap between “Today” host Katie Couric, 47, and her “Tonight Show” counterpart, Jay Leno, proved a ratings bonanza for her, and something of a letdown for him. The a.m. sweetheart drew 42 percent more viewers than usually tune in for Leno’s late-night antics and the highest numbers for “Tonight” since May 2000, according to Nielsen Media Research. At the same time, Monday’s ratings for “Today” were barely affected by the appearance of Leno, 53.
LOVE, INDEED: “Everybody Loves Raymond” star Ray Romano closed a deal that will make him the highest-paid actor on TV with a nearly $50 million paycheck for the upcoming eighth season of his CBS sitcom, revealed the Hollywood Reporter. The salary boost will reportedly take Romano, 47, to about $1.7 million to $1.8 million per episode, compared to his current $800,000 per episode. At the moment, the highest paid sitcom star — with $1.6 million per episode — is Kelsey Grammer, 48, of “Frasier.”
TOBEY TRIPS: “Spider-Man” star Tobey Maguire, 27, found himself fired from the sequel, he told the Los Angeles Times. He reportedly was axed after trying to dictate how and when “The Amazing Spider-Man” would be shot, primarily because of a bad back. In one incident, sent his neurosurgeon to tell the head of the studio and director Sam Raimi what stunts he could and could not do, the Times reported. But the story has a happy ending: “The Amazing Spider-Man” is currently shooting in New York, with Maguire — after he apologized to all concerned.
MOORE ACCUSATIONS: Lawrence Bass, 43, who filed a lawsuit last week accusing Demi Moore of sexual harassment while he was the manager of her Idaho ranch, has a questionable past, according to the Smoking Gun Web site. Bass reportedly has been the subject of seven restraining orders, was arrested in 1998 for domestic abuse, and is wanted for failing to answer a five-count criminal harassment complaint against him. Some of Bass’s restraining orders, issued by the Los Angeles Superior Court, were granted after he allegedly threatened the co-workers of a woman who cancelled a date with him.
MARTHA’S MOVES: Martha Stewart and the U.S. Justice Department are working together in the hopes of reaching a settlement in the federal government’s yearlong investigation into her possible insider-trading activities, reported London’s Financial Times. The newspaper says that a possible deal could require several additional weeks of negotiations, but that lawyers for the domestic diva, 61, met with prosecutors about the matter last week. Stewart has long denied any wrongdoing.