Borat is dead. Long live Borat.

It's a scandalous idea (the sort that makes you want to pull your hair out and weep like they do in the movies): Borat creator

Sacha Baron Cohen

tells Brit paper the Daily Telegraph that he is putting down his two best-known characters, the lovably ignorant, racist and generally heinous Kazakh journalist Borat, and the equally clueless, sexist rapper Ali G.

"When I was being Ali G and Borat I was in character sometimes 14 hours a day and I came to love them, so admitting I am never going to play them again is quite a sad thing," said Cohen, 36. "It is like saying goodbye to a loved one. It is hard."

Colbert, bigger than Lincoln

In a blow to the nation's already gloriously decrepit body politic, Comedy Central's fake pundit

Stephen Colbert

has been named AP's Celebrity of the Year.

Colbert, who beat out gazillion-selling author

J.K. Rowling

by a nose, was chosen by newspaper editors and broadcast producers who said he had the biggest influence on pop culture in all of 2007.

Apparently, Nobel winner

Al Gore

- who this year also won an Oscar

and

an Emmy - didn't do enough for the culture. He's No. 3 on the list.

"In receiving this award, I am pleased that I was chosen over two great spinners of fantasy - J.K. Rowling and Al Gore," Colbert told the AP by e-mail.

Britney Spears

,

Hannah Montana

's

Miley Cyrus

, rapper

Kanye West

, and country singer

Kenny Chesney

were some of the other shining lights - beacons of hope, you might say, in a society gripped by moral turmoil and uncertainty - who made the list.

Shirley MacLaine as Chanel (No. 1)

Shirley MacLaine

, 73, has signed on to star in cable channel Lifetime's

Coco Chanel

, a two-part mini-series that will chart the rise of the world-renowned designer, who transcended her childhood in an orphanage outside Paris to conquer the fashion world. (Chanel died in '71 at age 87.)

Variety reports that the mini, to run next year, will be directed by

Christian Duguay

, who helmed the powerful, haunting mini-series

Hitler: The Rise of Evil

.

"It's a love story," Duguay said. "It's a rags-to-riches story, it has some strong social statements about women and about how the world has changed."

Publisher: Spears book A-OK!

The president of publishing house Thomas Nelson went on the offensive yesterday to correct reports that the company will no longer publish

Lynne Spears

' book

Pop Culture Mom

. The publisher initially said it would be indefinitely delayed amid speculation it would be embarrassing to publish a parenting manual following revelations that Lynne's daughter

Jamie Lynn

, 16, is pregnant.

Nelson prez

Michael S. Hyatt

said the book was not a handbook, but Lynne's "memoirs." He said, it's not a how-to, "it's a warning." (Like "Learn how

not

to raise your kids"?)

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