updated 02/26/2001 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/26/2001 AT 01:00 AM EST

Gold medal-winning Olympic ice skater Tara Lipinski recently took a break from her Target Stars on Ice tour to visit the set of Vanilla Sky, the Tom Cruise-Cameron Diaz film currently shooting on the Paramount lot in Hollywood. The budding actress—she's appeared on The Young and the Restless and other shows—wanted to watch the stars work and exit quietly, but director Cameron Crowe spotted her and promptly cast her in a party scene in which she made small talk with Diaz. (The 5'1" Lipinski stood on a box to match more closely Diaz's 5'9" frame.) Crowe must have a thing for skaters: Katarina Witt did a cameo in Jerry Maguire.

Rumors have been swirling that Michael Bolton and Pamela Anderson are dating. But I spoke to Bolton, who says they are "just new friends." They met at Michael Jordan's charity golf tournament in the Bahamas last month. When the singer was in L.A. recently working on his latest album, he invited the actress, along with her V.I.P. costar Natalie Raitano, to the studio. "I think people have misconstrued a few meetings as dates," says Bolton, adding that Anderson has invited him to guest star on her TV series. So who is he dating? Deborah Yates, the star of Broadway's Contact.

The 150th episode of ER, airing Feb. 22, promises to be a doozy. Centered on a train wreck, the NBC show used 100 extras—80 of whom are "injured." Six makeup artists (normally there are two) went through eight gallons of fake blood. There will be a lot of story payoffs as well, including a resolution to the relationship between Goran Visnjic's Dr. Kovac and the Catholic bishop played by Oscar nominee James Cromwell.

On Sunday, Feb. 4, Caroline Rhea of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch threw Camryn Manheim a baby shower, which was attended by 65 friends including Manheim's costar from The Practice Lara Flynn Boyle. Brooke Shields and Sharon Lawrence showed up, as did new moms Calista Flockhart and Marlee Matlin. The focal point of the tea party at Rhea's L.A. home was a lesson by Hollywood knitting guru Edith Eig. She taught the guests how to knit 6-in. multicolored squares for a baby blanket that Eig will put together. Manheim is due to give birth to a boy in April.

On Feb. 25 Annabeth Gish makes her debut on The X-Files, playing an FBI agent who specializes in ritualistic crimes. Casting the role wasn't easy. Series creator Chris Carter had a tough time choosing between Gish, former Melrose Place star Daphne Zuniga and Stacy Edwards (Primary Colors). I hear that three great auditions and a certain X-emplary quality ultimately won Gish the part. But don't be surprised if you see Zuniga and Edwards in future episodes of the FOX hit or its spinoff The Lone Gunmen, which begins airing March 4.

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