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People in the News : Would you buy a cell phone from this woman?

No business like shill-business

How could the most beautiful woman in the world (at least in the opinion of Real magazine and, of course, Michael Douglas) stoop to being a shill for something as annoying as cell phones? We're talking about the lovely Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Mark Caro of the Chicago Tribune sees it clearly as a bad career move for the 33-year-old actress.

"How could she do it?" he wrote. "How could she have been so short-sighted? Don't these rich folks pay advisers to steer them away from such self-sabotage? Honestly, she'd have been better off if she'd been caught shoplifting or something."

Caro put the question to Zeta-Jones' agent at the William Morris Agency, who naturally declined to comment. Money, Caro speculates, couldn't have been the motivation. "Reports have Zeta-Jones getting paid a minimum of $1 million for her two-year ad deal, which would be a lot of money to most of us but seems a bargain for someone who could command eight-figure paychecks if she could cement her movie bankability. Plus, she's married to Michael Douglas, so that household isn't hurting."

Maybe, as Caro suggests, beautiful people do as they wish.

Today, "American Idol," tomorrow, the Oscars

Apparently it doesn't hurt to have "American Idol" contestant on your resume.

Kristin Holt, a semifinalist on the show last summer, will be back for "Idol's" second edition in January, Zap2it reports. Instead of singing, however, she'll join Ryan Seacrest as a co-host of the show. She replaces Brian Dunkleman.

Holt, a Texas native and onetime Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, returned home after not making the final 10. After hearing that the show was still without a co-host for Seacrest, she says she decided to give the producers a call.

"I said, 'I know you're looking for a new co-host, so since I can't be the American Idol, can I have a job?'" Holt said. "A couple weeks later I got a call to come on the road for auditions, and it looks like I'll be here for the season."

If you don't have the talent, it helps to have the chutzpah.

Is it "West Wing" or Left Wing?

Sean Hannity, the conservative media star who has an afternoon radio show, a nightly Fox News Channel talk program ("Hannity & Colmes") and a current best seller ("Let Freedom Ring"), doesn't see "The West Wing" much, Newsday reports.

Apart from obvious political differences, his FNC show has the same time slot as NBC's Wednesday-night White House drama. But he does have some thoughts on why the show ratings have dipped this season.

"Friends of mine who used to watch it say the show has gone so left that they find it offensive," he said. "They feel like they're being insulted as conservatives. It's supposed to be a drama. It's supposed to be an entertainment show. I think the greater drama is if you have two great candidates, two smart guys slugging it out. In (star) Martin Sheen's world, they have one dominant, brilliant leftie and one dopey conservative. There's no conservative that's going to want to watch that."


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