PLAYING IT COOL
Nick Lachey and Kristin Cavallari meet again, renewing talk of a possible romance

Last week after Nick Lachey and Kristin Cavallari were spotted together, she said they were "just friends." But there they were again on March 12, just the two of them, having a drink together at Stanley's restaurant in Sherman Oaks, Calif. Is it turning into something more substantial than "just friends"? "Eventually it might turn into something more serious," a pal says of Cavallari, 19, who recently split from reality star Brody Jenner. "But right now it's not. They're at that stage when they're getting to know each other." That seemed to be what they were doing over drinks. "They were talking to each other. They weren't being overly touchy-feely; he was playing it pretty cool," says a patron standing nearby. "But she was definitely flirting. She was laughing and flipping her hair back. They seemed to be enjoying the conversation." A buddy of Lachey's admits that Cavallari "actually is his type: blonde, a little ditzy, a sweet girl. It makes sense, but I just can't imagine he would follow through with it."

According to Cavallari's friend, she and Lachey, 32, "have not hooked up." And a source close to Lachey insists, "Nick's not looking for a girlfriend. He's not exactly healed from [Jessica]." Besides, on March 13 Lachey began an 11-city radio tour to promote his CD. Says the source: "That's what he's focused on."

Lindsay's Old Friends

At 19, Lindsay Lohan is the paragon of youthful energy. She works, she shops, she club-hops all night, on both coasts and points in between, all the while text-messaging furiously. So why does she like to hang out often with people twice her age? On a recent night out at the N.Y.C. club Butter, for example, Lohan table-hopped with men from another generation: Sting (54), Lenny Kravitz (41) and Axl Rose (44). "She attracts older people," says a friend, "because they think she is an older soul." Among her soulmates:

DEBORAH HARRY, 60. (above) Lohan claims to be enraptured by her band Blondie.

JON BON JOVI, 44. They met at Butter last May. She bummed a smoke, he lit her cigarette.

BELINDA CARLISLE, 47. Lohan was thrilled to meet the '80s girl group the Go-Go's at a party in November of '05.

BRUCE WILLIS, 51. Last April Lohan and family stayed in his cottage on Turks and Caicos.

BRYAN ADAMS, 46. Earlier this year he lent her his (empty) London home.

VIRGINIA MADSEN, 44. Became friends while filming A Prarie Home Companion. "There's something about her I adore," Madsen told PEOPLE. "She was like a wild pony."

24: TONY'S TURN TO DIE

The latest character killed off 24, Tony Almeida, was done in by lethal injection on the March 13 episode. (Just minutes after Sean Astin's character died from nerve gas poisoning.) But don't feel sorry for Carlos Bernard, who played him. "The beauty of the show is that actors come to do their best because they know it might be their last day—literally," Bernard, 43, tells Scoop. Still, Peter Weller, who plays Tony's killer, didn't take his death so well. "Peter's a huge fan of the show. He was disturbed by the fact that he had to kill my character," says Bernard. "I felt like I was counseling him through it."

Alec the Author

Alec Baldwin—who has been involved in a ferocious custody battle with ex-wife Kim Basinger since their 2002 divorce— signed a deal with St. Martin's Press to write a book about divorce. A guide to what splitting spouses may expect, legally and emotionally, it will also, notes the publisher's press release, reveal "the unimaginable pressures involved in fighting a high-conflict custody battle while continuing to function as a busy actor and public advocate."

Sienna, Hayden: Onscreen and Off?

Could the new man in Sienna Miller's life be Hayden Christensen, her costar in the upcoming Andy Warhol biopic Factory Girl? The two were seen in Toronto (he grew up nearby) on March 8. At the French bakery Bonjour Brioche in the city's out-of-the-way Leslieville neighborhood, the pair, both 24, hugged and nuzzled one another affectionately while waiting for a table and held hands throughout their meal, according to a fellow diner. Though they were also spotted together recently in London, the actress's rep would not discuss their offscreen status.

CSI: Romance

Case solved. The man making the heart of CSI: Miami's Sofia Milos beat faster is San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom. "Gavin is not just a handsome, charming mayor; he's also passionate," says the Italian-bred Milos. They have enjoyed trips to his Napa winery and Elton John's Oscar party. "He speaks Italian and is a Libra, like me," says Milos. "He's perfect!"

Howard: The Single Guy

What's one sure sign that a guy is unattached? When his dating mentor is George Clooney. "He tried to give me some tips," Terrence Howard told Scoop at a March 10 awards show in D.C. But Howard, 37, won't reveal what nuggets Clooney passed on. "Men don't divulge that information," he says. He did, however, disclose his relationship with Marc Anthony's ex Dayanara Torres. Despite reports of an engagement, "we were never dating," he says. "She's a dear, close friend of mine.... I'm still single." At least one other guest at the show was pleased to know he's available. "He sure is fine," said Aretha Franklin of the Oscar nominee. "Twenty years ago, I would have hustled and flowed with ya!"

BLACK WEDDING

Jack Black may be loud, but he can keep a secret. The comedic actor recently eloped with musician Tanya Haden, 34, exchanging vows in a private ceremony in Big Sur, Calif. They reportedly became engaged shortly after Christmas. The two met as teens at a private high school in Santa Monica but only began dating last April after he quietly split from his longtime girlfriend, former Saturday Night Live actress Laura Kightlinger. "I had a crush on her," Black, 36, told January's GQ about their high school days. "We weren't, like, close buddies. She was too pretty, and I was scared to talk to her." And now? "I'm really crazy about her." Both are also musicians. Haden, an animator, is a triplet who has played cello in a trio with her sisters Rachel and Petra; Black belongs to the rock group Tenacious D. Says the bride's father, renowned jazz bassist Charlie Haden: "They love each other very much. We're thrilled."

FAMILY STYLE

John Gotti Jr.'s racketeering trial ended March 10 in a hung jury. (A retrial is set for July 5.) Scoop asked Juliet Polcsa, costume designer for The Sopranos, to judge the fashion sense of the accused, his sisters and his niece

THE GOTTIS
THE SOPRANOS

THE BOSS "I think Tony looks better. Gotti's suit is custom-made, but it's too tight across his arms. He needs better-fitting suits." Or, as Tony once advised a chunky Mob pal: "Try a salad."

THE FASHIONISTA "Victoria has a sense of personal style; she has her own look going, with the long hair." (In the same shade, by the way, as Carmela's new Porsche.) "I might cut a foot off of her hair."

THE SISTER "It would be great to see Angel with more open neck lines for a sexier look. She's really not dissimilar to Janice.... I hope she doesn't have a Rolling Stones tattoo on her breast."

THE PRINCESS "Meadow is a little bit more anti-Mob princess; Meadow is not as flashy. Victoria is the complete opposite. She's absolutely adorable." With a touch of bada-bling.

BRAD AND ANGELINA: HOUSE HUNTING

It appears Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie just can't get enough of France. After spending most of February nesting in a Paris apartment, the power pair moved south to a borrowed four-bedroom villa in Provence, known for its privacy. "The Riviera is for the maxi-seens," says one local. Provence "attracts people just as rich and famous, but who are never seen." Since arriving on March 8 with kids Maddox, 4, and Zahara, 1, the couple hopscotched the region by van, small plane and helicopter—they were spotted landing in nearby Cannes as well as Saint-Tropez March 11—reportedly searching for a house to rent or buy. As the couple both like to take the pilot's seat, they've also flown themselves around the countryside. According to a local pilot, they ran into some bumpy moments when a storm with 60 mph winds blew through the region. But onboard to help out was their favorite flight instructor, whom they'd imported from Los Angeles.

SECRETS OF DA VINCI

Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code, took the stand in his publisher's copyright-infringement trial March 13 and 14 in London's High Court to answer charges that he stole the main idea from the 1982 book Holy Blood, Holy Grail. Brown, 41, also revealed that he arises at 4 a.m. to write but watches an antique hourglass and stops every hour to do push-ups and sit-ups; that he and his wife, Blythe—his chief researcher—once sold books out of a car; and that "I have a short attention span and I write short chapters for that reason."

SEXIEST LEANING MAN

Modern male Matthew McConaughey isn't afraid to be supported by a woman—as he demonstrates in posters for two recent films.

  • Contributors:
  • SCOOP CONTRIBUTORS Olivia Abel,
  • Rennie Dyball,
  • Tom Cunneff,
  • Mark Dagostino,
  • Jed Dreben,
  • Maria Eftimiades,
  • Sara Hammel,
  • Maureen Harrington,
  • Julie Jordan,
  • Marisa Laudadio,
  • Elizabeth Leonard,
  • Susan Mandel,
  • Peter Mikelbank,
  • Pete Norman,
  • Gail Nussbaum,
  • Ryan Pi.