Plus: Sheryl Crow testifies, Ron Artest plays basket-brawl, and more

By Todd Peterson
Updated November 24, 2004 11:00 AM

STUDDARD FALLS ILL: American Idol winner Ruben Studdard was admitted to an Alabama hospital Monday for exhaustion. His new gospel album, I Need an Angel, hit shelves Tuesday, and Studdard, 26, was scheduled to start promoting the disc with concerts in Atlantic City on Nov. 26 and 27. Those shows have been postponed, his rep tells PEOPLE. The beefy star has reportedly packed on the pounds since winning the second season of American Idol. The Soulful singer currently tips the scales at 449 lbs. Idol’s second season runner-up Clay Aiken was also knocked off his schedule due to illness. He is expected to be back on the road Nov. 26.

RATHER RESIGNS: In a lengthy career that has seen its share of good news and bad, veteran journalist Dan Rather announced Tuesday he’s stepping down from the top anchor spot on CBS News. Rather said that he would continue to serve as a correspondent for the network’s 60 Minutes, but that he would be leaving the desk in March 2005, on the 24th anniversary of his taking over the role from Walter Cronkite. Rather came under fire recently for a 60 Minutes report that questioned President Bush’s service in the National Guard. That report was allegedly based on forged documents. Rather said his decision to step down is not related to the report.

PARIS IN PICTURES: In case you haven’t seen enough Paris Hilton, here’s another chance to catch the hotel heiress-reality TV star in one more compromising position. Hustler magazine announced its plans to publish pictures of Hilton, 23, and another unnamed female locking lips in what the magazine describes as “a hot, passionate serious makeout session.” Although the two women are fully clothed, representatives for the raunchy men’s mag say the photos are not just shots of “two girls kissing each other hello.”

SHERYL CROW: Sheryl Crow and members of her family took the stand Monday in the trial of a man accused of stalking the 42-year-old pop star. Ambrose Kappos is a former Navy diver who was charged with stalking and burglary when he turned up outside Crow’s dressing room at a New York venue where she was performing in October 2003. Kappos allegedly was bothering the singer and her family for more than year, prompting Crow to get a restraining order against him. Crow’s sister, Kathryn, and her father also testified.

BASKET BRAWL: A bench-clearing battle at the close of an Indiana Pacers-Detroit Pistons game on Nov. 19 in Detroit resulted in a season-ending suspension for Pacers forward Ron Artest. After getting shoved by the Pistons’ Ben Wallace, a fight broke out that spilled into the stands with just seconds left in the game. Members of both teams mixed it up, as did Pistons fans who pelted Artest and other members of the Pacers with cups and foreign objects. In all, seven members of the Pacers were suspended for at least one game, with Artest getting hit with the largest fine, a 73-game suspension. “I just wish the situation hadn’t turned out the way it turned out,” Artest told PEOPLE after his suspension.