Howard Stern is in such a good mood, he got all touchy-feely with Today host Matt Lauer Thursday on live TV, jumping into Matt's lap and gifting him with a big wet smooch.
Stern, 58, later said he's dead serious about his new job as a judge on America's Got Talent, which returns Monday. Stern, who reportedly pockets $15 mil a year for the gig, joins Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel at the judge's table.
"You know I love playing God," Stern told the crowd at a recent New York audition. "This is my fan base times 12," Stern tells USA Today.
Never one for modesty, Stern says he's perfect for the show. "I've been in show business for as long as can be now, over 35 years," he says. "The type of work I do is take people all the time and make stars out of them."
Osbourne says look for an explosive mix in the new season. Does she think Stern will take over the show? "You expect him to come and just sit there?" Osbourne says.
Stern is solo happy, he even offered to comfort an audition rejectee, says USA Today. When pint-size 7-year-old Philly rapper Mir Moneycried after he was given the push, Stern jumped up on stage and gave him a hug.
J.Lo is Casper's sun, his moon, & soul
"He treats her like a queen." So testifies Anonymous Source to People about the hottest couple this side of The Graduate, Jennifer Lopez, 42, and her 25-year-old post-Marc Anthony beau, Casper Smart.
"Casper centers everything on Jennifer."
That's, like, huge, and after only six months together. The couple are playing house: Casper moved into J.Lo's Hidden Hills, Calif., manse this winter. It's a good move. This way J.Lo's 4-year-old twins, Max and Emme, get a new playfriend. But omg! London's Daily Mail has pics of the couple bickering as they pull up to the American Idol studios in a convertible.
Today in EntBiz news
Marvel and game maker Ubisoft are joining forces to create the motion-control game based on blockbuster pic The Avengers. Called Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth, it'll pit Iron Man,Thor, and The Hulk against an invading horde of Skrull aliens.
Beloved Mad Men star Jon Hamm has landed his first leading role in a major, A-list motion picture. Deadline.com says Hamm will star in Disney's true-life story Million Dollar Arm as a sports agent who recruits two cricket players from India for Major League Baseball.
Newly single funnyman Russell Brand will host the MTV Movie Awards on June 3. Brand "brings the funny but he also has that rock `n' roll aesthetic," says the kudosfest's exec producer Jesse Ignjatovic.
'Fresh Air' turns 25
Congratulations to Terry Gross and the Fresh Air staff: The NPR show, which is beamed out of Philly's WHYY (91-FM) is 25 years old. It'll celebrate Friday at 7 p.m. with a special edition featuring clips from Gross' best interviews over the years. Info: www.npr.org/programs/fresh-air/.
Chanting soothes Courtney Love
Hole alum Courtney Love says she has managed to stay out of trouble and tabloid headlines for so long because she has discovered the healing powers of chanting.
"I chant," Love, 47, tells Access Hollywood. "You can tell when I'm not doing it, I get in trouble and then [when] I am doing it, I don't get in trouble." What does she chant? Is it like the basic Buddhist mantra, "Om Mani Padme Hum"?
Or does she recite Hole lyrics ("The sky turned violet / I want it again / And violent more violent")? Love doesn't say. She does say she's organizing a group chant for other troubled souls, including Lindsay Lohan.
Tidbits 'n' pieces
The new edition of Architectural Digest has a splashy feature on Ravenswood, Philly filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan's rambling 27,000 square-foot country estate in Chester County. The Georgian Revival manse has been given a face-lift by Richard Cameron of the Brooklyn architecture firm Atelier & Co. ... British rapper Wretch 32 will perform shows around his native land along the route the Olympic torch will take as it winds its way to London. ... In Touch Weekly says Canadian singer and Degrassi: The Next Generation alum Drake, 25, who previously has romanced Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, and Amber Rose, is secretly dating Rashida Jones, 36. They say they're friends. ITW says he's also been spotted eating ice cream with Tyra Banks, 38.
Nick Lachey: Hire me, Kelly Ripa!
Live! with Kelly is still a solo affair: The syndicated gabfest has yet to appoint someone to take up departed cohost Regis Philbin's vital post. There is one hyper-eager candidate though: Nick Lachey, who has guest cohosted recently, really, really wants the job. Nick, 38, made his case to Kelly Ripa on Thursday's edition, serenading her to a tune adapted from Barry Manilow's "Mandy." Sang Nick:
"I remember all my life, I dreamed of hosting here on Live!
I'd lie awake at night, and stare at the ceiling/ And looking in your eyes, keep fighting this feeling
Oh Kelly, all the cohosts that you have been dating/ Just send them away
Oh Kelly, there's just one you know should be in/ It's me, Nick Lachey."