Tuesday night at 8 p.m. EST, Fox kicks off the next season of "American Idol." Also at 8 p.m. EST, the History Channel presents the first installments in a series -- based on James McPherson's book "To the Best of My Ability" and running through Thursday -- that looks at U.S. presidents from George Washington to George W. Bush. Tonight's episodes focus on Washington through James Monroe and John Quincy Adams through James K. Polk.
The finest wedding in the world: Donald Trump's P.R. machine is all cranked up and sputtering out details about his upcoming nuptials to Melania Knauss, to be held in Palm Beach this Saturday. And though Knauss has reportedly passed on NBC's offer to broadcast the wedding, the model is not exactly shying away from the camera lens. In fact, she appears in her Christian Dior gown (estimated value: $100,000, though whether she's actually paying for the dress -- 98 yards of hand-embroidered satin -- is not at all clear) on the cover of the February issue of Vogue and shares that she'll wear a special girdle underneath because "it needs to be . . . really tight, so you see my body, you see my behind." She's declining to carry a bouquet down the aisle, but then, she'll have other things to focus on. "The problem is, how do I walk around in this?" Knauss is said to have asked Vogue editor-at-large Andre Leon Talley, who is acting as her wedding advisor. "You just do," Talley is said to have said. She'll change into a -- presumably less confining -- Vera Wang number for the reception. And at least she'll have the good wishes of both of Trump's ex-wives to ease her way to the altar and the knowledge that her groom has publicly vowed to "be a very good husband for a change." (N.Y. Post, Access Hollywood, N.Y. Daily News, Lloyd Grove's Lowdown, Boston Herald)
Going once ... They may not look the same on you, but if you'd really like to own the silver, custom-made Donna Karan gown that Teri Hatcher wore to the Golden Globes (current bid, $3,000) or Liam Neeson's awards night Armani tux (current bid, $1,500), you can bid on them now through Jan. 30 at the Clothes Off Our Back Web site. Proceeds from the auction will be donated to victims of the tsunami. (Bidder beware: Items come replete with their original wearers' stress sweat unless dry cleaning -- for a $20 fee -- is specifically requested.) You can also own the Armani sunglasses Star Jones and her husband, Al Reynolds, sported on the red carpet (current bids, $256 and $190, respectively -- reserves not yet met). And one lucky bidder can take home William Shatner's Golden Globe shoes (current bid, $150). (ClothesOffOurBack.org)
Lip service: It's a little late, but Nick Lachey has stepped up to defend his sister-in-law Ashlee Simpson against all the flak she's taken for her infamous "Saturday Night Live" lip-syncing snafu. "I think it is very, very unfair, what's happened to her," Lachey said in a Television Critics Association press conference the other day. "And having done 'Saturday Night Live,' I know that you finish dress rehearsal at 10:50. You go live at 11:30. If you blow your voice out in dress rehearsal, there's not time to get a new artist in there. There's nothing you can really do except go out there and do the best you can ... And trust me, she's not the only person that's done that on 'SNL.'" Names, Nick ... names. (N.Y. Daily News)
Also: Ruth Warrick, the veteran actress who got her start playing the first wife in "Citizen Kane" and finished up her career with a decades-long stint as the conniving Phoebe Tyler Wallingford on "All My Children," died in New York on Saturday from pneumonia-related complications at the age of 88. (N.Y. Times) ... It's come to this: Fox is blurring the naked buttocks of a cartoon character on a rerun of the "Family Guy" because they're afraid of reprisals from the FCC. (Associated Press) ... A woman who once published a book about an alleged sexual encounter with Alec Baldwin is now planning another on Colin Farrell, with whom she says she had phone sex and whom she is now suing for $4,750 in damages for "breach of contract, return of erotic tape and art, cost of dress, shoes and accessories" after he allegedly stood her up at a face-to-face meeting. (Rush and Molloy) ... Peter Bacanovic, the stockbroker convicted alongside Martha Stewart in the ImClone scandal, will report to a prison outside Las Vegas today to begin serving his five-month sentence. (N.Y. Post) ... Despite his heavy scent of scandal, Bernard Kerik has been invited to Bush's inauguration -- as well as the attending parade and an inaugural ball -- by the Bush administration because, as one Republican strategist put it, "he was somebody who worked tirelessly to re-elect the president, went above and beyond the call." (N.Y. Post) ... Fat actor? Word is that Tobey Maguire was scheduled to introduce the clip of "The Aviator" at the Golden Globes on Sunday night but was yanked by his handlers at the last minute because he looked too fat. (Page Six) ... Angelina Jolie has reportedly denied that she was the catalyst for the Brad Pitt/Jennifer Aniston split, saying she merely offered Pitt "a shoulder to cry on." (ANI)
-- Amy Reiter