Britney Spears "should just go ahead and kill herself . . . and go out like Marilyn [Monroe]." Thus decrees talk-show host Tyra Banks according to E!Online's Ted Casablanca, who wrote in his column yesterday that Tyra was overheard making the death wish at some social do. Brit may be just about the most annoying celeb around, but to wish her dead? (What's more, how could one possibly compare her to Marilyn? What nerve!) A rep for Tyra's reality show, America's Next Top Model, said the E!Online report "is absolutely not true." Meanwhile, Brit did not show up yesterday for a court-ordered deposition in her ongoing custody dispute with her ex, Kevin Federline, over their two boys, Sean Preston, 2, and Jayden James, 1. Brit, who was to be deposed by K-Fed's attorney, Mark Vincent Kaplan, kept everyone waiting for an hour before informing them that she wasn't . . . like . . . um . . . like, you know . . . feeling so good.

Alba's dearest creation

She can turn invisible in Fantastic Four and kickbox bad guys back to hell in Dark Angel and Sin City, but Jessica Alba's greatest role is about to begin: She's about to become a mum. The ridiculously sultry thesp, who has been dating Cash Warren, 28, since fall of '04, has confirmed to People.com that she is expecting the couple's first baby in late spring or early summer. Alba, 26, recently announced she's in talks to make her Broadway debut this summer in David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow. Last April, FHM readers voted her the sexiest woman in the known galaxy.

Josh Groban's big 'Ho-Ho-Ho'

Josh Groban has become as big, if not bigger, than Elvis. And no, I'm not talking about his girth, weight or body-fat percentage. According to Billboard.com, the scraggly singer-songwriter's holiday-themed album, Noël, has been No. 1 on Billboard's best-seller album chart for the third week in a row. It has thus matched a most important milestone set by The King: the most consecutive weeks at No. 1 with a Christmas album. Elvis' Elvis: A Christmas Album rode atop the album charts for three weeks in a row in December 1957. Noël has sold 2.1 mil copies since it was released nine weeks ago. Alicia Keys, as (hot) as ever with As I Am, climbed over The Eagles to go from No. 3 to second place this week with 234,370 copies sold, which means the classic rockers have skidded to third place, moving 204,490 units.

Terry's sad news

Terry Pratchett, best-selling author of the Discworld fantasy series, has announced that he's been diagnosed with a rare form of early-onset Alzheimer's disease. Pratchett, 59, has published more than 35 Discworld titles, which have sold more than 45 mil copies and been translated into 31 languages. He made the announcement in a post on the Web site of Paul Kidby, who illustrates his books. Pratchett, whose latest novel, Making Money, came out in September, wants his fans to keep upbeat. "Frankly, I would prefer it if people kept things cheerful, because I think there's time for at least a few more books yet," he wrote. "I know it's a very human thing to say 'Is there anything I can do,' but in this case I would only entertain offers from very high-end experts in brain chemistry."

A war over Callas

The Sotheby's auction house in Milan, Italy, was bracing itself yesterday morning to face a fierce bidding war over memorabilia belonging to opera diva Maria Callas. The items were to be auctioned later in the day. The sale pits private collectors against the government of Greece, which wants the 330 lots of goodies once owned by the American-born Greek singer to fill up a museum devoted to Callas' memory in Athens. The collection features furniture, musical scores, china, designer dresses and wigs, but is especially sought after for a cache of 63 love letters Callas wrote to her husband, Giovanni Battista Meneghini, between 1947 and 1950. The missives have a reserve price of $72,000, but are expected to fetch more than $500,000.

Kiefer: One popular dude

Kiefer Sutherland, who is serving a 48-day jail sentence for DUI, is reportedly being deluged by fan mail. "The guy's been getting a ton of fan mail," says Officer John Balian, a rep for the Glendale City Jail, which serves Los Angeles County. "Easily more than 100 letters a day." The thesp could use some human affection: As the AP notes, he'll be behind bars through his birthday (Dec. 21), Christmas, and New Year's Eve and Day.

'Daily Show' scribe on local radio

WNJC (1360-AM) says Steve Bodow, the head comedy writer on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show, will appear on the radio station's Greenberg News show today at 5 p.m. Bodow will share tips on how you could get yourself invited to appear on Stewart's show.

Contact "SideShow" at sideshow@phillynews.com.
This column contains information from Inquirer wire services.