American Idol

gives all six contestants a reprieve this week. Big deal. The talent pool is so shallow and scummy this season that it's hard to care who stays or goes. You just want it to be over.

But what really rankled on Idol was that House of Wax "duet" between Elvis Presley and Celine Dion. Somewhere Col. Tom Parker must be smirking. Thirty years after the King's death, they're still finding shabby ways to sell off pieces of his soul.

Yes, it was tacky when they used footage of Fred Astaire for a vacuum-cleaner ad. And annoying when John Wayne became a posthumous beer salesman. But pairing Elvis with Dion is downright sacrilegious.

It's true they both ended up as Vegas headliners, but that's where the similarity ends. Elvis was a stark refutation of everything Dion represents. He was dark, dangerous, and radiantly charged with charisma. She is a plastic figurine with a freakish voice.

Legend has it that whenever Elvis saw singer Robert Goulet (whose parents were French Canadian) perform on television, it would offend him so deeply, he would grab a pistol and shoot out the picture tube.

Celine Dion is just a waifish contemporary replica of Goulet. She's perfect for Idol, but anathema for Elvis.

Scenic turnout. Now that I got that off my chest, on to some happy showbiz news: Rosie O'Donnell is leaving The View. Both sides are rejoicing. And why not? Each got exactly what they wanted.

ABC bit off far more than it could comfortably chew when it hired O'Donnell, the Big Bertha of loose cannons. But in one year, she pumped up ratings 17 percent and got people talking about a show that had become so boring it put even Charlie Rose to sleep.

Meanwhile, O'Donnell was able to revive a career that had flatlined. Just as important, The View provided her with a bully pulpit.

Of course, it couldn't last. O'Donnell is constitutionally incapable of being a panelist. Like her nemesis, Donald Trump, she cannot and will not share the spotlight.

Fickle fans. Heroes returned to the air this week - with nearly 14 percent fewer viewers than when it left for a seven-week hiatus. Can we all agree that the networks' programming strategy has failed miserably? They decided that because serialized shows like Heroes and Lost and Jericho do not repeat well, they would simply pull them off the schedule for months at a time and save the fresh episodes for sweeps.

The only problem is that large portions of their audiences wandered off in the interim. So I'm printing up bumper stickers for all the TV honchos as a helpful reminder: Out of Sight, Out of Mind.

Let them eat protein bars. Good to see Regis Philbin return this week from triple-bypass surgery. Just in time. Like Alexander Haig, his cohost Kelly Ripa tends to get a little carried away when he's not around.

Just before Reege's comeback, Ripa was gloating about her cover shoot on the beach in Turks & Caicos for Shape magazine. Fill-in Bryant Gumbel asked her what prompted her to share her workout secrets.

"Well," she said, like the Marie Antoinette of morning TV, "I realized that not everyone can afford a personal trainer."

Honey, a lot us can't even afford a gym membership.