Keri Russell (Felicity), 30, and contractor fianc?hane Deary, 30, will welcome their first child this summer…. Jenna Elfman (Dharma & Greg), 35, and actor spouse Bodhi Elfman, 37, are prepping for baby No. 1 later this year…. And in late summer, Sarah Wayne Callies (Prison Break), 29, will give birth to her first child with husband Josh Winterhalt.
Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under), 28, and photographer husband Sam Handel, 29, greeted son Orson on Jan. 16…. Indie rocker Ani DiFranco, 36, welcomed a daughter, Petah Lucia, on Jan. 20.
Project Runway contestant Kara Janx, 30, wed real estate broker Sharone Sohayegh, 27, on Jan. 14 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Lindsay Lohan, 20, checked into a California rehab facility on Jan. 17. Said the actress in a statement: ”I have made a proactive decision to take care of my personal health.” Production on her latest movie, I Know Who Killed Me — which was put on hold when Lohan’s appendix was removed on Jan. 4 — will resume when doctors give her the okay…. A special-effects assistant on the set of the Universal drama Charlie Wilson’s War (starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts) was seriously injured on Jan. 18. The 34-year-old, who’s expected to recover, suffered face lacerations after a mock Stinger missile prematurely exploded on set. Officials say that several safety regulations were violated, but no citations have been issued. Says Universal: ”We are cooperating with investigators.”
Starting in March, the Motion Picture Association of America will update its appeals process by allowing filmmakers to cite past rulings as precedents when arguing their cases. Additionally, the MPAA plans to publish demographic information about its ratings board.
It turns out Hollywood-bound American Idol contestant Thomas Daniels, 21, did more than just pump gas back in Oregon. In 2005, he was convicted of DUI. ”I was young and dumb,” Daniels has said. Idol reps would not comment about his future on the show.
HarperCollins announced that it will shutter ReganBooks — the imprint behind O.J. Simpson’s aborted tome If I Did It, Here’s How It Happened — on March 1. This decision comes one month after ReganBooks founder Judith Regan, 53, was fired.
Keira Knightley, 21, is suing a British tabloid for implying she has an eating disorder. The Jan. 11 issue of the Daily Mail ran a photo of the actress in a bikini alongside a story about a teenage girl who died from anorexia…. Lawyers for Diego Pillco — the 19-year-old construction worker charged with the Nov. 1 murder of actress Adrienne Shelly (Factotum) — filed a motion on Jan. 17 asking a judge to suppress his confession. They allege that police failed to read Pillco his Miranda rights and entered his home without a warrant…. On Jan. 16, a judge sentenced Usher, 28, to 20 hours of community service. Police arrested the singer in July 2006 for speeding, after he was found driving 103 mph on a Georgia interstate. Noted the probate court: ”He honored requests for autographs upon leaving.”… On Jan. 17, director Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting), 54, pleaded not guilty to drunken and reckless driving. He was arrested on suspicion of DUI Dec. 21 in Portland, Ore…. Paris Hilton, 25, was given 36 months’ probation on Jan. 22 after pleading no contest to reckless driving. The singer/model/heiress was arrested Sept. 7 in L.A. on suspicion of DUI…. A Manhattan judge ruled that Jerry Seinfeld, 52, owes broker Tamara Cohen at least $98,750 for a townhouse he purchased in 2005. Lawyers for Seinfeld say the comedian had offered to pay Cohen $50,000 and plan to contest the decision.
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, 39, signed a new contract with the network, guaranteeing him a reported $4 million per year. The deal more than doubles his salary and allows him to continue as a contributor to CBS’ 60 Minutes.
Barney Miller actor Ron Carey, 71, also a regular in Mel Brooks’ films, of a stroke, Jan. 16, in L.A.
Denny Doherty 1940-2007
Lead singer and one of the founding members of the 1960s folk-pop group the Mamas and the Papas, Doherty (far right) died Jan. 19 in Ontario, Canada, after suffering kidney problems following surgery in December. ”Denny loved life, he loved women, and women loved him,” says Lou Adler, who produced hits like 1965’s ”California Dreamin”’ for the quartet. ”He was this dashing guy with a beautiful, romantic voice. It fit perfectly within the group’s harmonies.”
Art Buchwald 1925-2007
A Pulitzer Prize-winning political satirist known as the ”Wit of Washington,” Buchwald, 81, died Jan. 17 in Washington, D.C., of kidney failure. The WWII vet began his career as a Paris correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune before becoming a D.C.-based syndicated columnist in 1962. Buchwald also gained notoriety in Hollywood as the man who successfully sued Paramount for breach of contract in 1988, after claiming that the studio stole his idea for the Eddie Murphy-Arsenio Hall comedy Coming to America. But Buchwald’s legacy is undoubtedly his humor. As the writer recently said, ”I was put on earth to make people laugh.”
Crestfallen soap fans are busy cooking up hexes as they react to NBC’s Jan. 17 announcement that it will cancel kooky daytime drama Passions in August to make way for a fourth hour of Today. The eight-year-old Passions became a cult hit with young viewers who dug its campy, supernatural plots. (Who will ever forget the town’s resident witch, Tabitha — played by Juliet Mills — and her beloved talking doll, Timmy?) But Passions remained a tough sell among old-school soap fans, and was consistently the least watched of TV’s nine remaining daytime dramas (averaging just 2 million weekly viewers this season). NBC may yet try to appease fans by offering new episodes online if a cable network like SOAPnet doesn’t pick up the show. (NBC’s other soap, Days of Our Lives, will air through at least 2009.) For now, devotees will have to take comfort in knowing that there will never be another soap like Passions. ”Tabitha and Timmy were iconic,” says NBC Daytime chief Annamarie Kostura. ”Passions made people ask, ‘What are they doing now?”’