Plus: McGraw 's nominations, Leno wants to joke about Jacko, and more

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated March 03, 2005 08:00 AM

DIAGNOSED: Ellen DeGeneres, 47, was forced to withdraw from hosting a charity event in Beverly Hills on Tuesday when physicians discovered polyps during a routine gynecological exam, New York’s Daily News and New York Post report. (Robin Williams subbed for her at the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Women’s Cancer Research Fund, sponsored by Saks Fifth Avenue at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel.) DeGeneres is said to be scheduled to have the polyps removed this week in what is described as a routine procedure.

NOMINATED: Country singer Tim McGraw got a leading six nominations, including entertainer of the year, for the 40th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards on Thursday. Crooners Kenny Chesney, Alison Krauss and Gretchen Wilson each received five nods, while Toby Keith, Brad Paisley and Keith Urban got four apiece, the Associated Press reports. Most of McGraw’s nominations stem from his hit “Live Like You Were Dying,” a song inspired by his father, former Mets and Phillies relief pitcher Tug McGraw, who died of cancer last year. The awards show will be broadcast live May 17 on CBS.

REACHED: Both sides in the Kobe Bryant sexual assault case have confirmed that they have reached an agreement for a settlement. A Colorado woman who worked as a concierge at a Vail-area resort hotel had claimed that the star Los Angeles Lakers guard, 26, had raped her on June 30, 2003, while he insisted the sex was consensual. In a one-paragraph statement released Wednesday, lawyers for Bryant and his accuser said the matter has been “resolved to the satisfaction of both parties,” reports PEOPLE. “No further comments about the matter can or will be made.”

HONORED: George W. Bush presented a posthumous Congressional Gold Medal to Brooklyn Dodgers legend Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball’s color barrier in 1947. A tearful Rachel Robinson, widow of Jackie (who died in 1972), accepted the medal at the ceremony inside the Capitol building. Of Robinson, the president said: “This is the guy who inspired little 7-year-olds to dream of wearing ’42’ and dashing home for Brooklyn, and a 7-year-old like me hoping to get his Topps baseball card, even though I was an avid Giants fan.”

REQUESTED: Tonight Show host Jay Leno, 53, who has been subpoenaed for Michael Jackson’s child molestation trial, wants Judge Rodney S. Melville the judge to lift the gag order in the case so that the comedian can continue his jokes at Jackson’s expense, reports the Associated Press. Leno’s motion (“made on the grounds that this court could not possibly have intended its gag order, which was issued more than a year ago, to limit public personalities like Mr. Leno from commenting on public proceedings in this case,” it states) was filed Feb. 18, a day after his lawyers said his subpoena was served. A speedy ruling by the jurist was also requested.

OPPOSED: Ministers from 20 churches have banded together to protest rapper Nelly‘s March 12 performance at Arkansas State University, AP reports. “When we started seeing some of the vile and filthy lyrics … we thought we should get involved,” said the Rev. Adrian Rodgers of the Fullness of Joy Church. “Jonesboro is a wonderful city because of what does not come here.” Rodgers added: “Tear the tickets up.” In response, Tim Dean, director of the concert venue, said, “With ticket sales over 5,000, many others have expressed their right and find Nelly’s music entertaining and worth spending their time and money on.”

IMPERSONATED: An oversized New York drag queen calling herself Flotilla DeBarge is the subject of a possible lawsuit by Star Jones, 42, whom the TV host’s lawyers reportedly accuses of “misappropriating” Jones’s identity, says the New York Post. DeBarge, age unreported, is set to appear in a series of anti-fur ads on behalf of the activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which says it is targeting Jones for wearing fur at her wedding last year. Regarding the possibility of being sued by The View star, DeBarge tells the paper: “I think people know I’m not Star Jones and she’s not me. She better not be.”