In Brief

Oprah Visits Desperate Housewives Set

Oprah Visits Desperate Housewives Set
Oprah Winfrey
Albert Ferreira/Reuters/Landov

01/25/2005 AT 08:00 AM EST

VISITED: Call her Oprah Winfrey of Wisteria Lane. The TV mogul, who turns 51 on Saturday, got an early birthday present last weekend: filming on the California set of the ABC hit Desperate Housewives for some segments to air on her own talk show. "I wouldn't mind moving into the neighborhood temporarily," said Winfrey, as quoted by her hometown paper, the Chicago Sun-Times. "I hadn't really acted since 1998 with Beloved and I thought I was done with my acting days, but I loved being part of Desperate Housewives so much that I'm thinking I might do something else soon. So I'm open. You got any ideas?" Says Housewives creator, Golden Globe winner Marc Cherry: "Oprah can do anything she wants, and I'll write anything she wants. I just love Oprah."

CHARGED: West Wing actress Stockard Channing has been charged with drunk driving, New York's Daily News reports. The 60-year-old star is scheduled to be arraigned in California Superior Court on Feb. 9, after she was pulled over on Dec. 14 when police saw her driving on the shoulder of the road on a Hollywood freeway, according to court papers. A spokeswoman for the actress, who's also known for her role as Rizzo in Grease, has not commented on the misdemeanor charges.

POSED: Former teen pop idol Deborah Gibson has taken it all off for the March issue of Playboy, columnist Liz Smith reports. It's a departure for the 34-year-old singer and actress, who has starred in Broadway shows such as Cabaret and Grease. Though she's tried to move past her teen stardom, Gibson previously told USA Today in 2001 that she had refused requests to pose nude. "I was born in the wrong era," she said. "I'm not comfortable with showing everyone everything. I never say never though. I've said I'd never get a tattoo and I got one."

ANNOUNCED: Oprah, move over. Actress Tyra Banks's new The Tyra Banks Show will debut this fall on 19 FOX-owned TV stations in such major markets as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Dallas and Washington, says the Hollywood Reporter. The chat show's target audience will be women 25-35. The Sports Illustrated and Victoria's Secret pinup, 31, starred in the films Coyote Ugly and Love & Basketball and most recently created UPN's hit reality series America's Next Top Model.

REFUTED: Sheriff's investigators in Santa Maria County, Calif., deny they are the source of recent leaks to the media in the Michael Jackson child-molestation case and added an investigation has been started to find who might be responsible, the Associate Press reports. ABC News recently reported on secret transcripts of grand jury testimony given in the molestation case. Jackson's accuser described the pop star's alleged crimes in graphic detail, including an incident when Jackson allegedly molested him on a bed. Jackson has pleaded not guilty.

GAMBLED: Clint Eastwood isn't only expected to make an appearance at the Oscars, but also in casinos, as he stares at players of slot machines featuring his Fistful of Dollars movie character from the late 1960s, The New York Times reports. The Eastwood machine is part of an entire array of nostalgia-themed slot machines. Other inspirations include Star Wars, I Dream of Jeannie, Austin Powers and The Creature from the Black Lagoon.

TESTIFIED: Robert Blake's former assistant Cody Blackwell testified in his murder trial Monday that she unwittingly helped the actor kidnap his baby daughter from the girl's mother, telling the jury that she didn't go to police because she was afraid of being arrested. Blackwell wept uncontrollably as she told how Blake asked her to pose as a nurse in 2000 and take the baby, Rosie, to her house while he took his future wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, to lunch, the Associated Press reports. Blake, 71, is accused of shooting Bakley, 44, to death after they dined at a restaurant a year later. He has pleaded not guilty.

SELECTED: Lori "Chick" Sardinha-Costa, 32, has been named America's Sexiest Plumber, winning over a dozen hunky males with plungers, in a contest run by American Standard, the company that manufactures toilets. "It's not quite the beauty contest I intended winning as a child," the blue-eyed blonde from Massachusetts tells the Boston Herald, "but it's definitely still a honor." No word on whether she will hike her rates in light of this honor.
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