Wednesday, March 5, 2003

Who wants to be a co-host?

New York -- Regis Philbin has found a way to feed off "American Idol" and mark time until co-host Kelly Ripa returns from maternity leave.

"Live With Regis and Kelly" has launched a talent search for a co-host that will culminate with the winner working as Philbin's partner on the talk show's April 16 edition.

The winner also gets a $10,000 contract with Buena Vista Television to work on possible TV projects and a one-year contract with talent agency N.S. Bienstock.

A panel of judges that includes former "American Idol" co-host Brian Dunkleman will judge the entrants and come up with 10 finalists. Phone-in votes from viewers will determine the eventual winner, just like Fox's hit prime-time show.

MTV goes to the Dogg

New York -- The TV network that brought you "The Osbournes" is banking on Snoop Dogg as a variety host, a practical-joking Ashton Kutcher and surfer girls.

MTV's new series for the spring and summer include "Doggy Fizzle Televizzle," the rapper's variety show. A pilot that aired in December featured Snoop Dogg working as a substitute teacher and at a fast-food restaurant's drive-through.

Kutcher ("That '70s Show") will be the host of a comedy show where he plays practical jokes on celebrity friends, while the reality series "Surf Girls" will follow amateur surfers competing for a sponsorship deal at some of the world's hottest surfing spots.

If that's not enough, "The Osbournes" show returns on June 10.

Fonda recuperating from crash

Malibu, Calif. -- Actress Bridget Fonda was recovering at home after being hospitalized with a back injury from a car crash late last week.

Her publicist, Nancy Seltzer, said Monday that Fonda "suffered a slight fracture of two thoracic vertebrae," and was expected to make a total recovery.

Fonda, 39, was released from the hospital Sunday.

She's part of a performing dynasty that includes father Peter Fonda, aunt Jane Fonda and the late Henry Fonda, her grandfather.

U.S. House honors Mr. Rogers

Washington -- The House on Tuesday honored Fred Rogers, who taught and inspired several generations of children on his TV show "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood."

Rogers died last week of stomach cancer at his home in Pittsburgh. He was 74.

On the House floor, Rep. Michael Doyle, D-Pa., changed into a cardigan, just as Rogers did during the 33 years -- 1968 to 2001 -- he hosted his show.

The resolution, passed 412-0, "honors Fred Rogers for his legendary service to the improvement of the lives of children, his steadfast commitment to demonstrating the power of compassion and his dedication to spreading kindness through example."

President Bush last July presented Rogers with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contributions to children.