T OM HANKS, Sting, Lily Tomlin, Al Green and ballerina Patricia McBride were feted at this year's Kennedy Center Honors on Sunday night, in Washington, D.C.

For the first time, the show was hosted by Stephen Colbert, although it did perfectly fine without a host in the years since Walter Cronkite was emcee.

But Colbert is coming to CBS, and CBS airs the show (Dec. 30), so it was either him or the cast of "NCIS."

David Letterman, Steven Spielberg and filmmaker George Stevens Jr. saluted Hanks. Lady Gaga, Esperanza Spalding, Bruno Mars and Bruce Springsteen sang Sting songs. Tomlin was celebrated by Jane Lynch, Reba McEntire, Jane Fonda and Kate McKinnon.

Tomlin said she couldn't believe she was receiving the Kennedy Center Honors.

"I've never been privy to the insider's circle," she said, "but here I am."

Usher, Jennifer Hudson and Earth, Wind & Fire sang some of Green's greatest hits, and Whoopi Goldberg lauded Green for his unmistakable sound.

"Al Green can caress a lyric like no one else," Goldberg said.

Dancers from ballet companies in Boston, New York City and Charlotte, N.C., where McBride runs the ballet with her husband, performed in McBride's honor.

Actress Christine Baranski recalled seeing McBride dance years ago. "She was the one," Baranski said, "the one you could not take your eyes off of.

"Brava to our prima American ballerina."

* In sort-of-related Tom Hanks news, his wife, Rita Wilson, has been reeled in by comedian Larry David for his Broadway writing and acting stage debut, "Fish in the Dark."

Producers said Sunday that Wilson will star in the "Curb Your Enthusiasm" creator's play about a death in the family. Previews will begin Feb. 2 at New York's Cort Theatre.

"Fish in the Dark" also will star Rosie Perez, Jayne Houdyshell, Jake Cannavale, Jonny Orsini, Ben Shenkman, Lewis J. Stadlen, Marylouise Burke, Jenn Lyon, Jerry Adler and Molly Ranson.

TATTBITS

* An Iowa venue says that a Bill Cosby performance scheduled for next year has been postponed indefinitely.

The Des Moines Civic Center said yesterday that it notified ticketholders that they will receive a refund for the planned March 7 concert.

Cosby stage shows have been canceled in several other states. The actions follow renewed allegations by women claiming decades-old sexual assaults by the 77-year-old comedian.

Cosby has denied the allegations.

* According to London's Daily Star, "Dancing with the Stars" judge Len Goodman is going to retire after the spring season, the show's 20th.

"I've got my wife, I've got my son. My mother is still alive - she's currently in hospital. I've had virtually no time to visit her," Len, 70, elaborated. "So I need a bit of time off to get on with a normal life."

Len, who resides in the U.K. and commutes to L.A. during the fall, is also a judge, with Bruno Tonioli, on the U.K.'s "Strictly Come Dancing."

* E! News reports that Diddy hit Drake at the back entrance of a Miami nightclub Sunday night.

It's unclear whether the pair fought over a woman or a song. Drake said all will be told soon.

- Daily News wire services

contributed to this report.

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