NEWS BRIEFS: Affleck to Sit in with Regis

03/19/2004 10:00AM

SCHEDULED: Continuing his publicity blitz for his new movie "Jersey Girl," Ben Affleck, 31, will sit in for the vacationing Kelly Ripa on Monday's "Live with Regis and Kelly," reports the Associated Press. He and guest Darrell Hammond of "Saturday Night Live" are scheduled to compete in a "Reege-off" to see who does the best impression of Philbin. On Wednesday Affleck will appear on Ellen DeGeneres's show.

RENEWED: "The Daily Show'"s Jon Stewart, 41, has renewed his contract with Comedy Central for four more years, the cable channel announced Thursday. "A lot of people like to get out when their show's still going well," said Stewart, who was believed to be headed for a big network job once his Comedy Central contract expired at the end of this year. "This gives me the opportunity to beat this thing into the ground." Stewart joined the program in January 1999, taking over for Craig Kilborn. It premiered in 1996.


QUOTED: "Here is my answer: None of your business." -- Madonna spokeswoman Liz Rosenberg, on reports that her client, 45, visited a Los Angeles fertility clinic last week


DIED: John "J.J." Jackson, 62, who two decades ago helped usher in the music video era as one of the first MTV on-air personalities, died of an apparent heart attack Wednesday while driving home from dinner in Los Angeles, reports the Associated Press. Most recently, he was hosting an afternoon slot on L.A. radio station KTWV. In a statement, MTV said: "He was a big part of the channel's success, and we are sure he is in the music section of heaven, with lots of his friends and heroes. He will be greatly missed."

DIAGNOSED: Former televangelist Tammy Faye Messner, 62, announced Thursday on CNN's "Larry King Live" that she has inoperable lung cancer. Messner, who divorced convicted TV minister Jim Bakker in 1992, told one caller that she "believes in miracles" and told another that she is considering holistic medicine in addition to chemotherapy to treat her cancer.

REPLACED: When Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick leave Broadway's "The Producers" on April 4 after their record-breaking return to the roles they created, they will not be replaced by Kelsey Grammer and Jon Lovitz, as had been mentioned, or by Larry David and David Schwimmer, as was shown on HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm." Instead, show veterans Brad Oscar (who originated the role of "The Springtime for Hitler" star) and Roger Bart (who played social secretary Carmen Ghia) will take the parts, reports The New York Times.

FINED: The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday issued a maximum fine ($27,500) against Infinity Broadcasting for apparently willfully broadcasting indecent material on "The Howard Stern Show" on Detroit's WKRK-FM. The commission, which also called Bono's utterance of the F-word during NBC's airing of the Golden Globes last year both indecent and profane, based its action on an investigation triggered by a complaint concerning material in which the show's cast discussed sexual practices and techniques, the AP reports. Stern, 50, accuses the FCC of following unclear, arbitrary guidelines in determining "offensive" material, and has attacked President Bush of pushing "the agenda of the religious right." No fine was made for Bono's outburst, but the AP notes the commission made it clear the F-word is unacceptable on airwaves.

TANKED: Former New York Times reporter Jayson Blair, 26, who received a six-figure advance for "Burning Down My Master's House," which details how he made up at least three dozen stories for the paper, has flopped. His book, published March 6 with a reputed first printing of 250,000 copies and high-profile coverage from Katie Couric, Larry King and Cindy Adams, has sold only about 1,400 copies, according to Nielsen BookScan. "Jayson Blair's book is currently not selling particularly well, but frankly I don't think that comes as much of a surprise," Daniel Blackman, vice president and general manager of Barnes & Noble.com, tells AP. Blackman says Blair's tale offered nothing new because it's already been covered to death -- especially in The New York Times.
MORE ON: Ben Affleck

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