Watch someone walk a highwire between the balconies of Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall and the New York State Theater live on your TV at 5:30 p.m. ET, when ABC airs Lincoln Center's "15th Annual Holiday Tree Lighting." Later, check out Nick at Nite's new reality show "Nick at Nite's Family Face-Off: Hollywood" (9 p.m. ET), in which families undertake various challenges in hopes of winning a vacation.
Buh-bye, Dan Rather. Hello, Matt Lauer? Newsweek magazine reports that CBS is considering "Today Show" cohost Matt Lauer and "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert as possible candidates for slipping into Rather's soon-to-be-vacant anchor chair. The network suits are also said to be considering two internal candidates: John Roberts, CBS's chief White House correspondent, and "60 Minutes Wednesday" correspondent Scott Pelley. Though CBS's entertainment division has taken an upswing in recent years, its news division, once a leader, has been limping along in third place. The consideration of big names from other networks (both Lauer and Russert are NBC property) may indicate plans for a big overhaul -- but CBS is not commenting. (Newsweek)
Meals with Martha? Nun better: The lawyer for a Roman Catholic nun serving time alongside Martha Stewart has told the Rocky Mountain News that Stewart is very popular with her fellow prisoners at the Federal Corrections Camp in Alderson, W.Va. "She's in great demand for people to visit with at lunchtime," the lawyer, Sue Tyburski, whose client is serving 33 months in the clink for partaking in an antiwar protest at a U.S. missile silo in 2002, said of Stewart. Aside from the company, however, Tyburski said, the lunch itself leaves much to be desired: "We're not talking about a tea party. We're talking about a big cafeteria setting with the terrible food." (Associated Press)
Don't mess with Al: Liza Minnelli isn't the only big name with a problem with David Gest. Al Green has filed a cease-and-desist order against Minnelli's concert-promoting ex-husband and current nemesis, alleging that he used Green's name to promote a concert in Memphis -- "David Gest's All-Star Holiday Extravaganza" -- without his permission. "Al never agreed to do this, and his name is on it," J.R. Rich, head of publicity at Green's label, Blue Note Records, told Page Six. "Al lives in Memphis. He doesn't want people to think he agreed to do this and then just didn't turn up. William Morris [Green's booking agent] has sent a cease-and-desist order to Gest." (Page Six)
Roberts wrapup: The good news: Julia Roberts has given birth to twins -- a boy, Phinnaeus Walter Moder, and a girl, Hazel Patricia Moder -- finally ending once and for all the incessant speculation about when she would procreate that kicked into high gear as soon as she married her husband, cameraman Danny Moder, two years ago. The better news: She's going to take some time away from the big screen to concentrate on motherhood. The best news of all: She's vowed to stay out of the tabloids for the foreseeable future, saying, "I have got to a place in my life where I've learned to really appreciate security and love and confidence. I'm an old lady ... I don't need to seem cool and interesting and crazy and on the edge." (USA Today)
Also: Despite previous denials from her rep, Nicole Kidman actually does seem to be dating producer -- and father of Elizabeth Hurley's baby -- Steve Bing. The two were spotted together in L.A. on Thanksgiving, "laughing, giggling and snuggling" (Page Six)
Mystery solved: A childhood friend and neighbor of Ozzy Osbourne's, Paschal Donoghue, on the origins of all that bleeping: "I used to tap on their door and ask his mum Lillian for a sandwich. She'd say, 'Come in, you look so ****ing thin!' I reckon that's where Ozzy got his swearing from. His mum had a colourful way with the language." (News of the World)
Sister, Sister: ReganBooks honcho Judith Regan's sister, Maureen, on how Regan "loved to shock" even as a child: "She would come home to this Irish-Sicilian Catholic family and just shout out 'penis' to get my father. Or she'd mold her mashed potatoes into big penises, and then she'd say, 'Maureen, look!'" (Vanity Fair via Lloyd Grove's Lowdown)
Who said he had no standards? Jerry Lewis on reality TV: "If I see one more advertisement for a reality TV show, I'm going to rip the set out of my house. I mean, how bad can our society be and what happened to our creative process that we have to resort to reality TV? Where are all the creative people? Where did they run or who scared them off?"
-- Amy Reiter