Seems

Howard Stern

is still a valued entertainer. (

You People

really adore him that much?)

The 56-year-old Schlock Jock announced on Thursday that he has signed a new five-year contract with Sirius XM radio - for unspecified millions (and millions . . . and millions) of $.

Stern joined Sirius in '05 with a sweet $500 mil, five-year contract.

Recently, there were rumors Stern planned to jump the XM ship for iTunes. (Wonder how much extra $ those rumors got him.)

"Howard is a great talent, and we are thrilled that he will continue to provoke, engage, and entertain on Sirius XM," Serious Sirius Suit Mel Karmazin tells the Hollywood Reporter.

"Our agreement is good news on all fronts."

Cancer diagnosis for Franklin

Rumors that

Aretha Franklin

, 68, is suffering from pancreatic cancer are true, says the Detroit Free Press, citing "a variety of reports and [an anonymous] source." Franklin's camp has yet to confirm. The singer's cousin

Brenda Corbett

will say only that the Queen of Soul is recovering after undergoing surgery.

Facebook genius to share wealth

Facebook demiurge

Mark Zuckerberg

, 26, whose personal worth is an estimated

$6.9 billion

, is one of 16 gazillionaire tycoons who have agreed to join Giving Pledge, an org created by

Bill Gates

and

Warren Buffett

to help part the rich from their money for charity.

According to USAToday.com, pledgees vow to give away the majority of their wealth. (No specific dollar amounts have been announced.)

Giving Pledge pledgees include Steve Case, junk-bond king Michael Milken, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Star Wars' George Lucas.

Nicole Richie has just a few days left . . .

. . . as a single woman. So says E! Online, which claims

Lionel Richie

's daughter will wed

Joel Madden

Saturday at her dad's Beverly Hills estate. E! even has the scoop on the dress - a Marchesa number that Nicole chose with the help of personal stylist

Simone Harouche

.

The guest list will be limited to only a few thousand intimes, including Joel bro Benji and pals Samantha Ronson and Khloé Kardashian. "Richie's former BFF Paris Hilton will apparently not be in attendance," says E! Poor Paris!

Prince William? Adorably klutzy!

Kate Middleton

curtsied - as is the custom - when the Brit beaut first came upon

Prince William

on that fateful day when the beloved couple met. The prince, it seems, was so taken by Kate's breathtaking beauty, he spilled his drink all over himself.

This is one of the apocryphal tales lovingly related in biographer Christopher Anderson's William and Kate, due Dec. 21. Alas, the book, excerpted by People, shows the royal relationship wasn't all highs: Prince William dumped Kate for a while - via cell phone. "It just isn't going to work," he allegedly said. "It isn't fair to you."

Christina's overexposed bod

Naughty

Christina Aguilera

pics that hit the Web Wednesday were never meant for public consumption, the diva's rep tells UsMagazine.com, but "were illegally obtained by a hacker who tapped into Christina's personal stylist's account." The snaps were shot before the diva announced her split from hub

Jordan Bratman

and were "used in a personal exchange between the star and her [unnamed] stylist."

What a lucky puppy!

(BTW, Popeater.com says Xtina is dating Matthew Rutler, a set assistant from Burlesque.)

Armie, a man, to kiss Leo, another man

Entertainment Weekly and E! News are afire with news that

Armie Hammer

, 24, the square-jawed all-American thesp who made such a nice impression as the

Twins

Winklevoss

in

David Fincher

's

The Social Network

, will have the honor of touching, holding, and kissing

Leonardo DiCaprio

in

J. Edgar

, a biopic of FBI boss

J. Edgar Hoover

that features Leo in the title role.

Penned by Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, the Clint Eastwood-helmed project will explore suggestions that the nation's greatest (alleged) cross-dressing cop was lovers with his protégé, Clyde Tolson. Will Armie + Leo snuggle? I mean, was J. Edgar a snuggler?

In other EntBiz news . . .

Variety says

Jessica Biel

is in talks to join

Garry Marshall

's comedy

New Year's Eve

, starring

Robert De Niro

and

Ashton Kutcher

.

Michelle Pfeiffer

,

Hilary Swank

,

Lea Michele

, and

Abigail Breslin

also are in talks to costar.

Funnyman Russell Brand has signed to star in RentaGhost, a remake of the '70s BBC sitcom, says Variety. It's about a recently deceased 27-year-old layabout who sets up a temp agency for the dead.

The Chicago Tribune says daily comic strip Brenda Starr, Reporter will cease as of Jan. 2.

"There's sadness about stopping, but no regret and no ambivalence," says Starr scribe Mary Schmich, who has been writing Dale Messick's pre-WWII creation for the last 25 years. "It came to me really clearly that I was done."

This article contains information from Inquirer wire services and websites.

Contact "SideShow" at sideshow@phillynews.com.