DESK QUEST Many stars have been politicking to sit in for David Letterman during his recovery period from heart surgery… some realistic, some just weird. Reuters reports that Dave’s executive producer Rob Burnett has had good friends of the show — like Regis Philbin, Rosie O’Donnell, and Jerry Seinfeld — come forward to offer to keep Letterman’s seat warm. But some other celebrities who have come forward seem less about helping Dave’s recovery and more about getting some camera time. ”There’s one celebrity who’s never agreed to be a guest on our show, and now he’s rushing to be a guest host,” said Burnett. ”Is he really doing that for Dave or for himself?” Although Burnett wouldn’t name names, other sources identified the star as Burt Reynolds, although the actor’s spokesman said he didn’t know that Burt made the offer. Right now it’s still undecided whether the show will even have guest hosts. Burnett is also thinking about repackaging reruns by having guest stars introduce their favorite segments.
AND BABY MAKES THREE Any doubts that it was going to be a white wedding for Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas have now been eradicated: The couple has announced that Zeta-Jones is pregnant. The news was first broken by London’s Sun, which reported that she had to back out of presenting duties at the Golden Globe Awards because of morning sickness, and nothing can endanger a good Versace dress more than that.
SUNDANCE SCRAP High altitude hasn’t affected Courtney Love‘s manners: They still stink, even without enough oxygen. She got in a scuffle at Sundance with the Hollywood Reporter’s head critic, Kirk Honeycutt, on Wednesday night when his wife tried to snap her picture. Mira Honeycutt said a publicist had given her permission to snap Love’s pic when the singer-actress was leaving a Park City restaurant (where there was a party to celebrate her movie ”Beat”), but apparently Love wasn’t feeling photo-friendly: She grabbed the camera and threw it on the ground, according to Variety. Honeycutt reportedly got in the middle and looked like he was about to punch Courtney, but her boyfriend broke it up. The two later made up, but when she asked the critic whether he’d be reviewing ”Beat,” he said, ”Under the circumstances, no.”
DUETING ‘N Sync has enlisted TLC’s Lisa ”Left Eye” Lopes to join them on the song ”Space Cowboy” for the group’s new album ”No Strings Attached” (out March 21), according to MTV News. ”I think it would be cool to have a female’s perspective on a male album,” said J.C. Chasez. ”You got five guys on one record, and then just to throw a female perspective in there for a second to see what they’re thinking about — it’s cool.” Yeah, and here’s what SHE’S likely thinking about: ”My God, these are the whitest boys I have ever seen in my life.”
REEL DEALS Warner Bros. is thinking of enlisting indie director Darren Aronofsky (”Pi”) to direct a fifth ”Batman” movie, according to the Hollywood Reporter, presumably as part of a search to find the Bizarro-World version of Joel Schumacher to do the complete opposite of what he did…. For actor Tim Roth‘s second directorial effort, he’s under pressure to do justice to not one but two daunting writers: It’s William Shakespeare’s ”King Lear,” with a screen adaptation by playwright Harold Pinter. What’s the matter, Rothy: Not enough guts to have Arthur Miller do a polish?
CASTING Val Kilmer will play a widower who goes undercover to find the man who killed his wife in ”The Salton Sea.” This is what you get when you put the scripts to ”The Fugitive” and ”The Saint” in a blender and press ”puree.”
BIRTH Oasis’ Noel Gallagher welcomed a baby daughter, Anais, Friday morning. His wife Meg Matthews gave birth to the 7 lb. 2 oz baby two weeks early, and Gallagher said that he was ”delighted,” a sensitive remark which gives optimism that he won’t one day lose control during an argument with brother Liam and hit him over the head with the infant.
AXED Third Eye Blind fired its guitarist Kevin Cadogan, who cowrote 10 of 14 songs on the band’s eponymous first hit album. The band reenlisted its former guitarist, Tony Fredianelli, for its Wednesday appearance on ”The Tonight Show.” Cadogan reportedly had tried to file an injunction to stop the band from playing the TV gig, on the basis that he had been unlawfully terminated, but the show went on. Perhaps that’s where the ”semi” in ”Semi-Charmed Life” comes in.
ON TRIAL Mark Bailey, the man accused of stalking Brooke Shields with a firearm, has been ordered to stand trial, thanks to evidence that indicated he had been harassing the actress for 15 years, according to Reuters. A detective testified that Bailey, 41, had sent Shields numerous threatening letters over the years (one which referred to her as his ”mail order bride”) and nude photos of himself. Bailey has two prior arrests on his record, one for stealing a truck and another for robbing Shields’ New Jersey home, which forced her to get a restraining order against him. Bailey’s lawyer says there was no evidence that he would hurt Shields.
INJURED Oscar-winning director Sydney Pollack (”Tootsie”), 65, broke his hip early this week in a bike accident, and was scheduled to undergo surgery on Wednesday.