July 30, 2002 01:00 PM

UNRESOLVED: ABC won’t confirm or deny news reports “Live With Regis and Kelly” host Kelly Ripa, 31, is seeking to reduce her role on the daytime soap “All My Children” when her contract expires, reports USA Today. In a statement released Monday, Ripa said, ” ‘All My Children’ has been and will continue to be a big part of my life. I hope to continue to appear as Hayley Santos for many years to come.”. . . SIGNED: Celebrity paralegal Erin Brockovich has closed a deal with Lifetime TV to host a reality drama series to be called “Final Justice,” scheduled to debut early in 2003, reports Variety. The program will present true stories of real women who encounter injustice and decide to buck the system. Julia Roberts won an Oscar for playing the iconoclastic Brockovich. . . . ANNOUNCED: MTV fixture Vanessa Carlton, 21, fresh from the success of her debut album, “Be Not Nobody,” plans to resume her studies at Columbia University in the fall of 2003. She describes her hiatus from her studies to the Associated Press as “a nice little break.” As for her newfound fame, “I don’t see myself any different than I was before,” she said. . . . DIED: Grammy and Oscar-nominated composer and arranger Buddy Baker, 84, who provided scores for some 200 Disney films, TV shows and theme-park attractions, died of natural causes Friday at his Los Angeles-area home, the studio told Reuters. His music could be heard on the original “The Mickey Mouse Club” as well as in “It’s a Small World.”

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