E!'s puzzling puzzle: Sad news for those who like their red-carpet hosts a little saucy: Comedian Kathy Griffin won't be doing the E! show at the Golden Globes this year. Griffin found out she was fired only when her lawyer called E!'s president and CEO, Ted Harbert, to find out why Griffin hadn't heard anything just weeks before the awards show. Griffin told Page Six, "Apparently Ted told my reps that the E! red carpet is a puzzle and I am a piece of the puzzle, which is a wonderful puzzle piece, but I don't fit this particular puzzle and that when I see the puzzle, I will get it. I am a piece that doesn't understand only because they can't tell me who will take over." As fans of her Bravo show, "Life on the D List," know, Griffin had gotten into trouble for being too acerbic on the red carpet. One joke, that Dakota Fanning was in rehab, prompted Fanning's reps to threaten to sue E! Interestingly, Star Jones, who used to work the red carpet with Griffin, was accused of being too soft on the celebrities, and her contract wasn't renewed earlier this year. So it's not quite clear what kind of puzzle the folks at E! are trying to construct. (Page Six)
Jackson's woes continue: Debbie Rowe, Michael Jackson's ex-wife and the mother of Prince Michael I and Paris, is accusing Jackson of "abducting" their two kids and has filed a motion asking a judge to order Jackson to bring them back to the States. Jackson went into self-exile with the kids after he was acquitted of child-molestation charges; they're now biding time in Bahrain and Dubai while Jackson's lawyers try to get a handle on his $272 million loan default. In related news, it looks like Jackson has defaulted on another, $2.2 million loan, secured against his family's Encino, Calif., estate -- where Jermaine Jackson and some of his children live. (N.Y. Daily News, Fox 411)
Elton John gets civil-unioned: Today's the first day of Britain's new law allowing same-sex civil unions (though not "marriages"), and Elton John and his longtime partner, David Furnish, got hitched this morning in a quiet civil ceremony, with only a small group of friends and the couple's parents there to witness. But hundreds of fans were outside waiting for them when they emerged, including two women who presented them with a wedding cake. (Aw!) The couple's reception at John's estate for 700 of their friends starts this evening. (Reuters)
Gwen Stefani is expecting her first child with husband Gavin Rossdale. (Us Weekly) ... Huey Lewis joined the owner of a karaoke bar onstage after he heard the man, as he was passing by outside, doing his hit song "If This Is It." (Gatecrasher) ... Moby is set to be the first pop star in outer space; he has reportedly shelled out $207,000 for a seat on Virgin Galactic for a flight sometime in 2010. (NME) ... An "unidentified Russian oligarch" gave two $9,000 furs to Mariah Carey, who promptly forwarded them to PETA. (Lowdown) ... Paris Hilton's trash talk about Nicole Richie got her kicked out of a Los Angeles nightclub. (The Scoop) Sharon Osborne, who had her breasts enlarged to a 34DD in July, has decided to have them reduced. (UPI) Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber may be ready to get married, or at least someone talking to Star magazine thinks so. (The Scoop) Charlize Theron has apparently become the latest, after Angelina Jolie and Scarlett Johansson, to reject an offer to be the next Bond girl. (Sydney Morning Herald)
Political satirist Mo Rocca on how the New York City transit strike has affected him: "I thought it would draw New Yorkers together more than it has. I imagined hopping into a rickshaw with a Latina and an African-American." (Lowdown)
It's the season (and series) finale of "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart" (NBC, 9 p.m.), so tune in and find out what the nonfuss was about. Then, Larry David's on "Sitdown Comedy With David Steinberg" (TV Land, 10 p.m.).
-- Priya Jain