Time yesterday announced that its much sought-after P.R. prize, the Person of the Year, this year goes to U.S. President-elect

Barack Obama

. Said the mag: "In one of the craziest elections in American history, he overcame a lack of experience, a funny name, two candidates who are political institutions and the racial divide to become the 44th president of the United States."

Other finalists were Treasury Secretary

Henry Paulson

, French prez

Nicolas Sarkozy


Saturday Night Live

sensation (and GOP veep candidate)

Sarah Palin

and China's

Zhang Yimou


POTY - which pales next to People's more prestigious Sexiest Man Alive - began in 1927 as a result of a gaffe. The editors forgot to get

Charles Lindbergh

on the cover following the aviator's trans-Atlantic flight (


). They made up for it by calling him man of the year.

Vladimir Putin

won in '07, while


got it in '06 for your postings on user-generated sites such as Wikipedia and YouTube.

Kendra: I was just kidding . . .

Kendra Wilkinson,

the Playboy Playmate and fiancée of the Eagles'

Hank Baskett

, is backpedaling furiously from her comments about the Eagles, made Monday on a podcast of Fox Sports'

Best Damn Sports Show


In sum:

I was kidding. I am sorry.

"I just jokingly said stuff," Wilkinson, 23, said yesterday. "I didn't have any intentions of causing any problems." Wilkinson said producers cornered her before the Eagles-Browns game with the "intention of twisting my words around, to make me look like a Jessica Simpson. I am


not a Jessica Simpson."

Among Wilkinson's gaffes on the podcast: That she had cornered coach

Andy Reid

and QB

Donovan McNabb

at the Eagles' Christmas party last weekend and suggested that McNabb throw "fade" passes more often to Baskett. Yesterday, she said she had said this jokingly to Reid at the party.

"Everything I said was just joking," said Wilkinson, who was one of

Hugh Hefner's

girlfriends on the E! reality series

Girls Next Door

. "But now that everyone on the team is on Hank about it, I feel worse. I am so sorry. It came out like I am bashing the Eagles. I swear that I am not. . . . You won't hear my voice talking about football again."


- Michael Klein

Bon Jovi postpones Soul party

So what's up with the free Bon Jovi concert which

Jon Bon Jovi

had promised Philadelphia Soul fans? Jon, who co-owns the Soul, told WMMR (93.3) listeners in February he'd do a free show if the Arena Football League team won ArenaBowl XXII. (It did.) Things went sideways with news that the Arena's entire 2009 season has been canceled. Yesterday Bon Jovi rep

Ken Sunshine

said the show will be rescheduled once the Arena's 2010 schedule is announced.

- M.K.

Akon avoids jail

Hip-hop star


yesterday avoided jail by pleading guilty to harassment for throwing a fan off stage at an Upstate New York concert last year. He was given 65 hours of community service and a $250 fine.

Affleck's Congo film

The UN's refugee agency says it has made a 23-minute film, directed by

Ben Affleck

with help from Sir

Mick Jagger

, about the state of refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Gimme Shelter

, which features the Rolling Stones tune, was shot in the North Kivu province, where 250,000 civilians have become homeless since fighting resumed between government forces and rebel troops in August. Info:

» READ MORE: www.youtube.com/user/unhcr


Mamma Mia, indeed!

Universal Studios Home Entertainment says

Mamma Mia! The Movie

has become one of the fastest selling DVDs in modern history. More than 2.25 mil copies were sold on its first day of release on Tuesday.

Piven show grounded for good?

Jeremy Piven

is too sick to perform in his Broadway show,


, according to TMZ, which says the


actor missed Tuesday night's show and was expected to skip yesterday's matinee and evening curtain times. Piven's rep confirmed he's ill, but would not elaborate. TMZ says there are rumblings the show could be yanked for good.

Judge rules on Sweetin

An Orange County, Calif., judge yesterday ruled in an emergency hearing that

Full House


Jodie Sweetin

cannot see her 8-month-old daughter without supervision, says TMZ. The hearing was called after Sweetin's estranged hub,

Cody Herpin

, accused the thesp, who is an admitted meth addict and alcoholic, of being an unfit mother. He claimed Sweetin has driven drunk with the baby in the car. No comment from either party.

Madonna & Ritchie deny settlement


is denying a statement from her own rep,

Liz Rosenberg

, that the pop star paid

Guy Ritchie

between $76 mil and $92 mil as part of their divorce settlement. Madge and Guy yesterday said in a joint statement that financial terms of their split will remain private. "We have tried to maintain a dignified silence regarding the details of our divorce for the last few months," the duo said.

London's Daily Mail says Liz's statement was issued to counter pro-Guy gossipers who had suggested the


director is so noble he has refused to accept any money. The former soulmates have yet to finalize custody arrangements for their kids,


, 8, and


, 3. (Madge also has a daughter,


, 12, from a previous relationship.)

Speidi faked it?


Heidi Montag


Spencer Pratt

, who had a faux elopement last month in Mexico, really married? Monday's episode of

The Hills

ended with a teaser for an episode which showed


being joined together in a courtroom ceremony. But the Associated Press learned the MTV show was filmed outside court hours, in a room rented by the show's producers.

Kiddie TV to cover inauguration

Child-centric cabler Nickelodeon TV said it is sending a team of special news correspondents to cover Barack Obama's Jan. 20 inauguration "from a pint-sized perspective," to quote the A.P. The veteran journalists who will help the kids include

Phil Collins

' 19-year-old willow o' the wisp of a daughter,


, who made headlines earlier this month for her tasteful, yet smoldering, photo spread in the new issue of In Style. She'll be joined by some mystery dude(tte) Nickelodeon will identify only as


Nick says kids totally dig the election. The cabler drew 2.2 mil kids for its own online faux-election. (Obama won it with 51 percent to

John McCain

's 49 percent.)