TATTLE KNEW the mortgage crisis was bad, but we didn't expect it to hit America's sidekick,

Ed McMahon

.

The former "Tonight Show" second banana, "Star Search" host and American Family Publishers pitchman is fighting to avoid foreclosure on his Beverly Hills home.

McMahon, 85, was $644,000 behind on payments on $4.8 million in mortgage loans when a unit of Countrywide Financial Corp. filed a default notice Feb. 28 with the L.A. County Recorder's Office, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

(Why does an 85-year-old man have a $4.8 million mortgage?)

McMahon, unfortunately, has been unable to work much since he broke his neck 18 months ago, according to his spokesman, Howard Bragman.

(Isn't it kind of ironic Ed McMahon having a spokesman? He is a spokesman.)

"There are plenty of people affected by the weak economy, bad housing market or bad health," Bragman said.

McMahon has been in "very fruitful discussions" with the lender to resolve the situation, Bragman said. But it's unclear whether McMahon and his wife, Pamela, will remain in the home.

The 6BR, 5BTH house is in a hilltop gated community overlooking Mulholland Drive called The Summit and is listed for sale at $6.25 million. It has been on the market two years, according to real-estate agent Alex Davis, who has the listing.

One reason the home has had a hard time selling, in addition to the bad market, is it's near the home of Britney Spears.

"When we were trying to sell the house one time, there were about 100 paparazzi there," Davis said.

Noted Tattle: "There are plenty of people affected by Britney Spears."

Time for a reunion

If the New Kids on the Block can get back together, isn't it time for The Time?

The original members of the funky group - Morris Day, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Jesse Johnson, Jerome Benton, Jelly Bean Johnson & Monte Moir will get groovin' for the first time in 20 years at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas from June 24-July 5 and July 29-Aug. 2. (Tickets available at flamingolasvegas.

com.)

Said Day at the start of rehearsals: "We don't know what the show will be yet. It's just like the beginning of sex. You know what the goal is, but you don't know what the path is to get there."

If that's the case fans may not want to sit too close to the stage.

* Speaking of Ve-

egas, granted the rich get richer but this is ridiculous.

TMZ.com reports that Candy Spelling, the richer-than-Midas widow of Aaron Spelling, was playing the high-limit slots at the Bellagio this weekend when she won $180,000 (aka tip money).

More frustrating for average shnooks, on a Vegas trip a year ago, Candy won $200,000 at the Bellagio slots.

(TMZ says she was up $350 large but couldn't stop herself.)

Candy is worth a reported $600 million.

Tattbits

* New Tattle fave Katy Perry

(whose hit "I Kissed a Girl" mixes a little Pink, a little Joan Jett and a little Avril) will be doing that thing new artists do to promote CDs these days - appear on a soap opera.

Katy will make her acting debut (playing herself so it's not really acting), on "The Young and the Restless," Thurs., June 12. Her debut album, "One of the Boys" drops June 17.

* Gillian Anderson ("The X-Files")

and her boyfriend, Mark Griffiths, are expecting their second child, her manager, Connie Freiberg, said yesterday.

They have an 18-month-old son, Oscar. Gillian also has a 13-year-old daughter, Piper, with ex-husband Clyde Klotz, a production designer.

* Daredevil prankster Steve-O (aka

Stephen Glover) has pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine.

As part of Tuesday's plea, the case against Steve-O will be dismissed after he completes drug rehab, his attorney, Barry Gerald Sands, said.

"He is already in a program as we speak," Sands said.

Just wait until he's sober and goes, "I did WHAT?!?"

* The Hollywood Reporter says Ma-

donna hubby Guy Ritchie has signed on to write and direct a reimagining of Sherlock Holmes based on the reimagining of Holmes in Lionel Wigram's forthcoming comic book.

The new Holmes will reportedly be more adventuresome.

"Watson, the game is afoot. . . . Bring your parachute."

* Michelle Obama

will be a guest host on "The View" on June 18, and co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck is already trying to figure out how many times she can say "Reverend Wright" during the show's "Hot Topics."

Michelle had originally been invited to be a guest this month, but sent back word that she would like to be a host like Cindy McCain did in April, said Bill Geddie, the show's executive producer.

"Equal time - that's hard to argue with," he said yesterday.

Bill Clinton, meanwhile, is still not willing to concede he will no longer get to guest host "The View."

* Michigan native Madonna will

make an appearance Aug. 2 at the Traverse City Film Festival, hosted by Michael Moore.

Madonna will be there for a screening of "I Am Because We Are," her documentary about Malawi.

* Christie's auction house in London

says the writing desk and chair Charles Dickens used to write "Great Expectations" has sold for just over $850,000.

The buyer of the mahogany desk and walnut chair says he made his money in the tarot-card psychic-readings business.

So he could see into the future but he couldn't see Ikea? *

Daily News wire services contributed to this report.