Hark! Colbert sings in new Christmas special
New York — The permanently suit-clad Stephen Colbert has traded in his pinstripes for a cardigan sweater, red turtleneck and furry boots.
Following the tradition of Andy Williams and Bing Crosby, Colbert hosts his own holiday special in “A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All.” The hour-long special airs Sunday at 9 p.m. CST on Comedy Central, and will on Tuesday be released as a DVD, complete with a Yule log of burning books.
Clearly in the Christmas spirit, at the first mention of old holiday specials, Colbert launches into renditions of Williams’ “Little Altar Boy” and Crosby and David Bowie’s “Little Drummer Boy.”
The latter was the inspiration for a duet between Colbert and Willie Nelson, who appears — in one of the more bizarre numbers — as a tiny wise man in a miniature nativity scene.
“This is just some good fun to watch during your eggnog-induced dementia,” Colbert joked in an interview Wednesday.
While he’s snowed in and a bear lurks outside, Colbert is visited by Nelson, Toby Keith, Jon Stewart, John Legend, Feist and Elvis Costello to sing Christmas songs that were penned by “Daily Show” executive producer David Javerbaum and composed by Adam Schlesinger.
Bruni-Sarkozy would welcome Obama advice
New York — Carla Bruni-Sarkozy thinks she could learn a thing or two from Michelle Obama.
In an interview on NBC’s “Today” show, France’s first lady said she’d rather take Michelle Obama’s advice than the other way around.
Bruni-Sarkozy, who’s never met the wife of President-elect Barack Obama, said Wednesday: “She looks like she’s a great, strong, intelligent woman.”
The model-turned-songstress hasn’t scrapped her musical career since marrying Nicolas Sarkozy in February. She performed music from her latest folk-pop album, telling interviewer Matt Lauer to call her by her first name instead of her formal title.
Said Bruni-Sarkozy: “I thought that maybe for a woman nowadays, it’s important to have a job and to keep it.”
Hugh Jackman People’s ‘Sexiest Man Alive’
New York — Hugh Jackman says wife Deborra-Lee Furness teased him after finding out he’d been named People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive.”
Recalling Furness’ reaction, Jackman says: “God bless her, she said, ‘I could’ve told them that years ago!’ And then she said, ‘Obviously Brad (Pitt) wasn’t available this year.’ And I said, ‘That was a joke, right?’”
The magazine’s executive editor, Jess Cagle, said Wednesday on NBC’s “Today” show that Jackman is a “surprising choice,” but he’d been on the editors’ minds “for a long time and it seemed like this was the year to do him.”
Cagle pointed out that not only is Jackman’s career at its peak, with the “X-Men” movies and his upcoming epic with Nicole Kidman “Australia,” but he’s “built like a tank.”
Publicist: Winona Ryder hospitalized in UK
London — Actress Winona Ryder was briefly hospitalized after falling ill on a flight to London’s Heathrow Airport Wednesday, her publicist said.
Mara Buxbaum said the 37-year-old was taken to a west London hospital “as a precaution” and had been released.
“She’s fine now,” Buxbaum said. She declined to go into details of Ryder’s illness.
British Airways said a flight from Los Angeles to Heathrow requested priority landing after a female passenger “required medical attention” and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
“Our cabin crew looked after the female passenger as much as they could onboard and our passenger services staff also accompanied her to the local hospital,” the statement said. “We wish her well.”
Van Der Beek back creekside
Raleigh, N.C. — James Van Der Beek is back creekside.
Five years after his star-making turn as the center of “Dawson’s Creek” came to an end, Van Der Beek is back on one of Wilmington’s sound stages — working with some of his former crew colleagues — for a guest appearance on the CW’s teen drama “One Tree Hill.” The episode airs Monday night.
“This is just a real nice homecoming for me,” he said.
Van Der Beek has tried to distance himself from his days as Dawson Leery, a film-crazed teen with aspirations of becoming a director.
He returned to North Carolina to play a director on “One Tree Hill” who is interested in turning a book written by Chad Michael Murray’s character into a film.
Van Der Beek will appear in three episodes, with the rest airing in January after the show returns from a holiday break.
Paris Hilton, Benji Madden split amicably
Los Angeles — Paris Hilton and her boyfriend of nine months, Benji Madden, have broken up.
Hilton publicist Alanna McCarthy said Wednesday that the two “remain very good friends.” She wouldn’t say more.
Hilton and Madden have been photographed wearing rings with each other’s initials. The 27-year-old socialite also joined her boyfriend when he toured with his rock band, Good Charlotte.
The 29-year-old Madden plays guitar, and his identical twin brother, Joel, is the lead singer.