EXPLAINED: Forget the computer company and the Beatles’ publishing company as influences. Gwyneth Paltrow, 31, and Coldplay’s Chris Martin, 27, were inspired by a friend to name their new baby girl (born Friday) Apple, reports Access Hollywood. Apparently, Martin’s North American booking agent, Marty Diamond, has a daughter named Apple, and the couple asked his permission to give their child the same first name if they had a girl. As previously deciphered, the baby’s middle names, Blythe and Alison, are the names of Paltrow’s and Martin’s mothers, respectively.
PENNED: Billy Joel, 55, has agreed to write two children’s picture books for Scholastic, the U.S. publisher of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels, the company has announced. The first, Goodnight My Angel, is due in September and will be based on a song of the same name that came out in 1993, as Joel and Christie Brinkley were divorcing. Joel wrote the song for their daughter, Alexa Ray, who was 7. His second book, New York State of Mind, inspired by one of Joel’s songs, is tentatively scheduled for fall 2005.
JUMPED: After getting the boot from ABC for lackluster ratings, Drew Carey and his pals, including Kathy Kinney, are heading over to the youth-oriented WB network with a new improv comedy show. Drew Carey’s Green Screen Show is one of six new programs the WB introduced as part of its fall lineup this week. Other new shows include Jack & Bobby, starring Christine Lahti as the single mother of two boys (one of whom is destined to become president of the U.S.), and The Mountain, a family drama set in a posh ski resort.
PITCHED: Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Randy Johnson, 40, tossed a perfect game Tuesday night as the Diamondbacks beat the Atlanta Braves, 2-0, at Turner Field. It is the first perfect game in the National League since July 28, 1991, when Dennis Martinez did for Montreal against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
SET: ABC News on Tuesday appointed Elizabeth Vargas, 40, to replace Barbara Walters, 72, as co-host of the newsmagazine 20/20, and hired British celebrity interviewer Martin Bashir (best known for his Michael Jackson documentary). Vargas will be teamed with John Stossel on 20/20, which retained its Friday time slot in the fall schedule announced by the network this week.
PREPARED: Don Johnson’s 17-acre Colorado ranch is for sale for $21 million amid a bankruptcy filing and lawsuits that claim the ex-Miami Vice star, 54, or his company, owes more than $948,000, says the Associated Press. The spread in Woody Creek includes a house, guesthouse, office studio, outbuildings and 1,250-square-foot swimming pool.
ENDED: Wednesday’s night episode of NBC’s Law & Order will be Jerry Orbach’s last. As detective Lennie Briscoe, Orbach, 68, was the senior member of the cast and starred for 12 of the series’ 14 seasons. His exit is being blamed on the show’s grueling shooting schedule. He’s jumping to the spinoff Law & Order: Trial by Jury, which will only require him to work two days a week. He will be replaced by veteran actor Dennis Farina, 60.
WANTED: Firehouse.com is teaming up with ABC’s The Bachelor in their search for “America’s next bachelor,” says an ad on the Web site for firefighters. “We are at the end of casting, but still think there must be a great guy out there, so please send your nomination right away.” Last year, Bachelorette Trista Rehn picked Ryan Sutter, a Colorado firefighter. Meanwhile, the season finale of the current The Bachelor ends Wednesday, with Giants quarterback Jesse Palmer choosing between Tara and Jessica B.