Mel Gibson, move over. Today's Jesus controversy is over a special on ABC tonight, "Jesus, Mary and da Vinci," which takes off from the bestseller "The Da Vinci Code" and its theory that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and had a child. The book is a work of fiction, but it's used as the basis for a documentary-style discussion of religious history, which caused the New York Times to say it is "both amusingly audacious and profoundly irritating." But at least reporter Elizabeth Vargas got a trip to Europe out of it. (New York Times)
Helen Gurley Brown may be of a certain age and she may have edited a magazine that is slightly less intellectually stimulating than the New Yorker, but she's got balls. When asked what Rosie O'Donnell should edit next, the Cosmo gal said, "I respect Rosie as a performer, and like her as a person, but I am not sure she should be editing any magazine." (New York Magazine)
Speaking of magazines, Spy co-founder Kurt Andersen is taking over the reins at Colors magazine. The publication, known for its edgy, art-directed takes on social issues, is going quarterly in April and its new editor says he's not bothered about working for a pub that's put out by a clothing company (Italy's Benetton). "It's more like cultural philanthropy than it is about promoting their own things. It's never, ever been about promoting shirts and sweaters and pants." If that's true, it's one of the few magazines that isn't ... (Washington Post)
Like Virginia Woolf in so many ways, supermodel Heidi Klum has decided she wants a room of her own. Instead of cohabiting with boyfriend Flavio Briatore, the gorgeous gal will move into a Greenwich Village apartment "where all my things will be." (Ananova)
Reality shows are in an interesting phase -- tricking people in ways you could never imagine. There's the "Joe Millionaire" version where they fool European women about a regular guy being rich, assuming the gals haven't seen American TV. Tonight we get "Average Joe," where they fool a former NFL cheerleader cutie into thinking she's going to meet hotties by telling her she's going to have to pick among "wonderful, desirable" men. The theory behind it? Women rank physical appearance way below personality and charm on their list of musts. Girls also learn to lie to appear "nice" at an early age. (Boston Herald)
P. Diddy didn't take to it: Sean "Puffy/P. Diddy" Combs, who finished the New York Marathon squarely in the middle of the pack yesterday, with an official time of 4:14:54, on whether he intends to marathon again: "No, no, no, no, no." (N.Y. Daily News)
O woe is me: Hale Dwoskin, author of "The Sedona Method," on results of a survey he commissioned in which half of the American adults surveyed who claim they are extremely stressed out watch "Oprah": "Either watching 'Oprah' leads to anxiety, or severely stressed Americans are drawn to her show to look for solutions." (The Louisville Channel via Drudge)
Best of the Rest
Page Six: Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync mastermind Lou Pearlman backs away from teen-model scam, claims to be "a victim" of conniving ex-cons; Lance Armstrong not seeing Sandra Bullock after all, said to be seeing Sheryl Crow instead; Bianca Jagger sues landlord, who's in jail for murder, for $20 million over apartment building mold infestation; Monica Lewinsky spotted hanging out eating fries and onion rings in bowling alley; Amy Sedaris bakes 400 cupcakes for charity; Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos hobnobs with fashion bigwigs at Women's Wear Daily CEO Summit; Puffy/P.Diddy loses his flack and his personal assistant in one-two punch.
Lloyd Grove's Lowdown: Howard Dean talks about getting drunk, playing baseball and stealing potatoes during feckless youth, says he hasn't had a drink in 22 years, claims to agree with Prez Bush that "his younger days were his younger days"; LisaRaye pissed that King magazine gave Mya a cover, not her; Vanity Fair writer claims "Friends" is "TV's gayest show"; Mike Tyson spotted riding Segway in Miami Beach, denies that he's Mike Tyson; Us Weekly editor Janice Min on what Rosie O'Donnell should do after she finishes up her fight with old publisher: "I hear there might be an opening at 'Martha Stewart Living' soon."
Intelligencer: Paris Hilton's "Simple Life" costar Nicole Richie, daughter of Lionel, not promoting show because she's doing time in rehab after heroin arrest a few months back; at "Shattered Glass" party, Chloë Sevigny declares her admiration for the New Yorker, adds caveat, "I think they go on too long," and Hayden Christensen admits to "newfound respect" for unbiased journalists; Shirley MacLaine insists on separate release for her co-author dog, Terry, during appearance on "The Charlie Rose Show," comes prepared with Xeroxed imprint of puppy's paw; Geri Halliwell caught dancing and flirting with self in bathroom mirror at L.A. restaurant Table 8; dueling hipster authors Robert Lanham and Josh Aiello still dueling; Kathleen Turner trades in 3,138-square-foot NYC apartment for cheaper 2,000-square-foot river-view digs at Trump Place.