NEWS BRIEFS: Helen Hunt Pregnant

EXPECTING: Helen Hunt, 40, and her boyfriend, producer Matthew Carnahan, are about to be parents, a rep for the “As Good As It Gets” Oscar winner and former “Mad About You” star confirms. Spokesman Stephen Huvane says the baby is due in the summer. Hunt has reportedly been dating Carnahan (whose credits include being a consulting producer on TV’s “The Fugitive”) since 2001, following the collapse of her 17-month marriage to “Friends” and “The Simpsons” regular Hank Azaria, now 39.

HURT: Russell Crowe, 39, suffered a dislocated shoulder while training in the ring for his upcoming role as 1935 world heavyweight champion James Braddock in “Cinderella Man,” says Universal Pictures. The mishap, which occurred in Sydney, Australia, is expected to delay the start of production on the film by about a month, with principal photography now set to begin in early April, the studio said. Crowe is expected to undergo arthroscopic surgery to repair the injury, followed by intense physical therapy.

QUOTED: “With the early (Oscar voting) this year, we fell short. There’s a lot to do for Academy members, and I don’t know how many members we got to. We just plain ran out of people who had seen this movie.” — Miramax chief Harvey Weinstein, 51, to Time magazine, on why his “Cold Mountain” didn’t get a Best Picture nomination

HOSPITALIZED: Barry Manilow, 57, remains in a Palm Springs, Calif., hospital after being rushed to the facility on Saturday for chest pains related to stress, reports the Associated Press. Manilow had just returned from New York, where he is engaged in a nasty legal battle over control of his Broadway-bound stage musical, “Harmony,” which closed out of town due to lack of funding. Publicist Jerry J. Sharell says Manilow will “remain in the hospital under doctor’s orders for various procedures and tests to bring his heart rate to normal.”

DIED: Mary-Ellis Bunim, 57, the TV producer whose “The Real World” introduced America to reality television, died on Thursday in Los Angeles, after a battle with breast cancer, said MTV. With partner Jonathan Murray, Bunim/Murray Productions most recently struck gold with Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie on FOX’s “The Simple Life.” The producers’ other shows included the syndicated life makeover “Starting Over” and the music series “Making the Band.”

DROPPED: A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit accusing rap star Snoop Dogg (real name: Calvin Broadus), 32, of using an answering machine message in a song without permission, reports Reuters. The lawsuit was filed last March on behalf of a man who kept his name secret because of safety concerns. The man claimed his one-minute message appeared in a song released as part of the 2002 album “Paid the Cost to be Tha Boss,” but the judge said that by leaving the message the man lost his right to privacy.

ANNOUNCED: Double Oscar winner Tom Hanks, 47, will be among the presenters at the Feb. 29 Academy Awards ceremony. It will mark his 11th appearance as a presenter, says the Academy.

CAST: “Saturday Night Live” alum Chris Kattan, 33, will star alongside Nathan Lane, 47, in Stephen Sondheim’s “The Frogs” at New York’s Lincoln Center Theater this summer, says the Hollywood Reporter. The play, based on Aristophanes’s 405 B.C. play, will be directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman (“The Producers,” which also stars Lane). In other Broadway casting, Variety reports that “A Mighty Wind” star Michael McKean, 56, is in talks to replace Tony winner Harvey Fierstein, 49, as Edna Turnblad in “Hairspray.”

SAVED: “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek, 63, will resume taping his Emmy award-winning quiz show Tuesday after escaping serious injury when he fell asleep at the wheel of his pickup truck on a rural road in a coastal central California town, reports AP. His truck drifted off the road, sideswiped a bank of mailboxes and sailed over an embankment into a ditch. Trebek was not hospitalized and was not cited.

PREDICTED: Rotten news — the groundhog saw his shadow in Punxsutawney, Pa., Monday morning, Groundhog Day. That means there will be six more weeks of this winter. And what a winter it is.

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