NEWS BRIEFS: Did J.Lo Talk About Ben?

01/29/2004 AT 11:05 AM EST

QUESTIONED: Jennifer Lopez's publicist is denying that J.Lo, 34, made the following statement to Star magazine executive editor Victoria Gotti: "I am extremely broken-hearted. I put enormous effort into my relationship with Ben. ... In the end, I realized I needed to put my personal and professional life back together." The quote appears in the tabloid's current edition, and a spokesman for the publication tells USA Today that the Star stands behind its story "100 percent." But J.Lo's rep insists, "Ms. Lopez has not and will not talk to the press."

RATED: With a staggering 29.6 million viewers overall in the 8 p.m. timeslot, FOX powerhouse "American Idol" continued its dominant run Tuesday night, outdrawing the combined viewership of the Big Three networks and hitting a new high for its target audience of young adults, according to early Nielsen numbers, the Associated Press reports. In overall audience, the "Idol" ratings tied the season-high episode of the CBS hit "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" as the No. 1 entertainment program of the season.


QUOTED: "Somebody is going to get fired." -- Matthew Perry to Courteney Cox after she repeatedly flubbed a line during last Friday's filming of the final episode of "Friends," as reported in the new issue of PEOPLE


PROTESTED: Little People of America president Matt Roloff tells New York's Daily News that his Oregon-based organization is not pleased with FOX's upcoming reality show "The Littlest Groom," which pits average-sized women against little women for the affections of a 23-year-old 4'5" bachelor named Glen. Roloff fears that if Glen picks an average-sized woman, "the little women will feel inferior." The show's producer responds that Glen's selection will reflect the sort of choices little people must make in real life.

DIED: Pro football Hall of Famer Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch, 80, who later became athletic director at Wisconsin, died Wednesday of natural causes at an assisted living facility, according to Wisconsin assistant AD Steve Malchow. Hirsch earned his nickname for his running style as a halfback and receiver for the NFL's Los Angeles Rams from 1949-57.

CONTESTED: Art Garfunkel, 62, apparently is contesting a marijuana possession charge he faces in upstate New York, reports AP. Rather than simply playing a $100 fine to settle the matter, Garfunkel's attorney Michael Federoff appeared in court and the judge set a Feb. 11 hearing. Garfunkel's camp would not comment. The singer was charged with marijuana possession Jan. 17 after state police stopped his limousine for speeding in Hurley, 55 miles southwest of Albany.

MARRIED: "Married ... with Children" costar David Faustino, 29, married actress Andrea Elmer over the weekend in Las Vegas, says his publicist. Friends and family attended the ceremony. Faustino played Bud Bundy on the 1987-97 FOX sitcom.

REPLACED: Democrat Howard Dean shook up his faltering bid for the White House on Wednesday, replacing his campaign manager Joe Trippi with Roy Neel, a former Washington lobbyist tied to Al Gore, says AP. In a further sign of distress, the one-time frontrunner implemented cost-cutting measures as he looked ahead to a series of costly primaries and caucuses, asking staff to defer their paychecks for two weeks.

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