Deal Could there be a new king of late night? Riding high with an Emmy and much-improved ratings, Jay Leno, 45, inked a deal on Oct. 24 with NBC to continue hosting The Tonight Show until 2000. ”I am grateful to NBC for letting me fall on my face a few times before dusting myself off and getting it right,” Leno said in a statement.

Exit Mike Ovitz’s former stomping ground takes another hit. One of Creative Artists Agency’s biggest clients, Kevin Costner, 40, announced Oct. 19 that, after six years, he’s leaving the agency. Costner’s flight was reportedly prompted by Ovitz’s departure to become president of Walt Disney Co.

Lawsuits Sonji Shepherd, a former receptionist and assistant at Madonna’s Maverick Records, filed a $750,000 suit against the label on Oct. 20 in Los Angeles. Shepherd, in her mid-20s, alleges Maverick failed to ”protect its female employees from unwelcome sexual advances,” a situation she says worsened when she became pregnant (one coworker made ”comments about his interest in a sexual relationship with a pregnant woman,” the suit says) and led to her being fired in October ’94. ”[It was] a simple extension of the corporate policy, which apparently was to build Maverick by providing sexual favors to executives, employees, and radio program directors,” the suit says. Shepherd cites office parties with strippers and regular visits by convicted madam Heidi Fleiss. Says a Maverick spokeswoman: ”We unequivocally deny all improprieties and wrongdoing.”

Expecting Singer and Copycat star Harry Connick Jr., 28, and his wife, ex-Victoria’s Secret model Jill Goodacre, 31, their first child, in April.

Birth An 8-pound 3-ounce girl, Ireland Eliesse, to Alec Baldwin, 37, and Kim Basinger, 41, on Oct. 23 in L.A. ”Mother, father, and daughter are all doing wonderfully,” says a spokesman for the couple.

Deaths Maxene Andrews, 79, the high voice of the Andrews Sisters, on Oct. 21 in Cape Cod, Mass., after suffering a heart attack. In the ’40s, the trio she had formed in 1932 with her sisters serenaded a nation at war with such swing hits as ”Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and ”Apple Blossom Time…”. Prolific British writer Sir Kingsley Amis, 73, following a fall, on Oct. 22 in London. Amis, whose fiction was compared to that of Swift and Twain, was probably best known for 1954’s Lucky Jim.

— Casey Davidson and Jessica Shaw