Will Matt Lauer Replace Dan Rather?
Plus: Martina McBride expecting, Michael Jordan's brother deployed, and more
WOOED: NBC News stars Matt Lauer (Today), 46, and Tim Russert (Meet the Press), 54, are reputedly among those on CBS’s wish list of “outsiders” to replace Evening News anchor Dan Rather, 73, who announced that he will leave the top spot next March. Newsweek reports that both men were approached by the rival network, though their responses are not revealed. CBS newsmen John Roberts and Scott Pelley are also said to be in the running for the Rather spot.
EXPECTED: Country music star Martina McBride, 38, and her husband John are expecting their third child, the family has announced. The baby, due next June, will join siblings Delaney, 9, and Emma, 6. “We’re so blessed and thrilled to be having another baby,” said Martina. “Emma and Delaney are very excited and it will be great to share this whole experience with them.”
DEPLOYED: Basketball great Michael Jordan’s brother, Army Command Sgt. Maj. James R. Jordan, is heading to Iraq, the Associated Press reports. The 47-year-old Army veteran has served in the military for 30 years and could have retired this April. However Jordan, who stands 5-foot-7 (his brother is about 6-foot-6), asked to stay in the Army for a year beyond his mandatory retirement to complete a yearlong deployment to Iraq with the 35th Signal Brigade. His request was granted. “People ask ‘Why?’ The answer is, he is completely selfless,” says Col. Bryan Ellis, the brigade commander.
LAUNCHED: Supermodel Heidi Klum is the latest celebrity to head up a reality show – though the 31-year-old beauty prefers to call it “a documentary,” the Associated Press reports. Project Runway, which premieres on Bravo on Wednesday follows 12 aspiring fashion designers looking for a chance to make a start their own line. “I think people will be interested to see what it’s really like, how talented designers are. What we’re looking for is who is talented, not who is the funniest, not who is good-looking,” says Klum, who is also executive producer of the show. Most of the episodes have been pre-taped, but in the finale the last three contestants will compete in a live runway show. The prize: $100,000 in seed money to start a fashion line.
SOUGHT: Alicia Keys, 23, is calling on fellow music stars to raise their voices to help those suffering from AIDS in Africa. “Just for a moment imagine the media hysteria and global outrage if 25 million Americans, many of them children, died from a treatable disease because the medicine was too costly,” Keys writes in a commentary for Billboard magazine. “Imagine if another 42 million people were infected and had no hope of paying for life-saving treatment. … This is exactly what is happening throughout sub-Saharan Africa.” Keys encourages support of Keep a Child Alive, which has established treatment programs in Kenya, South Africa, Uganda and Rwanda. Other recording stars affiliated with the group include Avril Lavigne, Rod Stewart, Good Charlotte, Cher, Nelly and Josh Groban.
RECUPERATED: Former Cheers star Shelley Long, 55, celebrated “a nice Thanksgiving” after being briefly hospitalized because she took a dose of medication to treat back pain and the drug made her ill, her manager tells USA Today. “Shelley took an extra pain pill for her back, which she hurt when she fell on the set of Cheers many years ago,” said Martin Mickelson. “She had a reaction to it … but she is now home, and she is fine.” He denied published reports that suggested Long had apparently taken an overdose of painkillers brought on by the breakup of her 22-year marriage to stockbroker Bruce Tyson.
HOSPITALIZED: Australian rock star-turned-Labor-Party-lawmaker Peter Garrett, 51, was hospitalized after collapsing on a Sydney beach following a morning swim early Saturday, authorities said. Garrett, former lead singer of Midnight Oil, was taken by ambulance to Prince of Wales Hospital, then discharged Saturday evening, saying he would undergo further tests to determine why he had collapsed. “It’s good to be back on my feet again,” he told reporters outside the hospital. “(There are) no obvious causes as to why this happened and we’ll get some more tests and checks done next week.”
DIED: King of Hearts and That Man From Rio French filmmaker Philippe de Broca, 71, died Friday in Paris. Among other distinctions, the stylish De Broca gave Catherine Zeta-Jones her first film role in 1990’s Scheherazade (also known as 1001 Nights).
WANTED: London police have just revealed they are searching for a woman suspected of breaking into the home of George Michael, following a break-in at his Hampstead house on Nov. 4, reports AP. In a similar incident on Oct. 27, a 28-year-old woman was found inside the mansion in possession of a book from the house, the Metropolitan Police said. Police said Michael, 41, “did not wish to pursue the burglary matter, but reported harassment from the same woman.”
RUSHED: With its star Jamie Foxx all but assured of an Oscar nod for Best Actor, Ray is being sent to DVD just in time for Oscar balloting Feb. 1, only 13 weeks after its theatrical premiere, reports Variety. The film bio of Ray Charles, who died earlier this year, has so far grossed a modest $60 million. The single-disc DVD will be priced at $29.98, with a limited two-disc special edition also available for $44.98, says the trade paper.