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Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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People briefs | Lionel sensitive about Nicole's weight

NEW YORK — Lionel Richie, father of size-zero Nicole Richie, says he's hurt by media chatter about his daughter's weight loss.

"I'll be honest with you, it hurts me more than it hurts her," the 57-year-old singer tells "Access Hollywood" in an interview that was to air Monday. "I must tell you, I'm the basket case."

Richie says he has talked to Nicole, 24, about her weight.

"I think the good part of it is she is aware of it. ... She has heard this all of her life from me, so this just a continuation of the reminder," he said.

Is The Hoff leaving "Talent"?

NEW YORK — David "the Hoff" Hasselhoff saw his star rise again as a judge on NBC's "America's Got Talent," produced by pal Simon Cowell. Still, he says he might not return for another season.

"I don't know," Hasselhoff tells Newsweek magazine in its July 31 issue. "This is not my cup of tea. I signed on for one season, and Simon Cowell conned me into it: 'Here's a lot of money,' and it's like "The Gong Show.' "

The 54-year-old former "Baywatch" actor is also writing his memoirs.

"It's about growing up since I was 7 and realizing a dream," he said. "But when I was out trying to save the world, I forgot to save myself."

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Congressman says coke was a joke

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler says he was just playing along with the joke when Stephen Colbert prodded him in an interview to say: "I enjoy cocaine because it's a fun thing to do."

The Democrat who is unchallenged for re-election appeared on Colbert's Comedy Central show and was asked to say a few things that would "really lose the election for you if you were contested."

Colbert asked the congressman to complete this sentence: "I enjoy cocaine because ... "

A bemused Wexler looked into the camera and said, "I enjoy cocaine because it's a fun thing to do."

A follow-up in the complete-the-sentence questioning led to this comment: "I enjoy the company of prostitutes for the following reasons ... because it's a fun thing to do. If you combine the two together, it's probably even more fun."

Wexler told The Palm Beach Post after his interview aired last week that he had never seen the show before and only agreed to appear at the urging of his younger staffers.

Asked what his teenage children thought of his performance, he said: "They thought I was foolish."

Pavarotti intends to resume tour

ROME — Luciano Pavarotti says he has no intention of letting the curtain fall yet on his singing career despite recent surgery for pancreatic cancer.

"I have every intention of returning to singing," the 70-year-old tenor said in an interview published Monday in the Italian newspaper La Stampa.

"I want to finish my tour. I can't give precise dates because I'll have to discuss it with the doctors, but I think I'll start again next year," he said.

Pavarotti was preparing to leave New York earlier this month to resume his farewell tour when doctors discovered a malignant pancreatic mass.

He underwent surgery in a New York hospital, and all his remaining 2006 concerts were canceled.

Pavarotti's representatives have said his cancer was contained and doctors were able to surgically remove it, offering improved odds for survival.

"Better, better, better," Pavarotti said when asked how he was feeling. "I'm finally at home, my home, finally out of the hospital. What can I say? It's a marvelous feeling."

De Palma's "Dahlia" to open Venice fest

ROME — Brian De Palma's "The Black Dahlia" will make its world premiere at the Venice film festival on Aug. 30.

The movie, starring Scarlett Johansson, Hilary Swank and Josh Hartnett, is based on James Ellroy's novel about the mysterious killing of a fledging actress, nicknamed Black Dahlia, in 1940s Los Angeles.

The festival will run from Aug. 30 through Sept. 9.

ALSO: "Survivor" Richard Hatch has been sent to a federal prison in Oklahoma as he serves a 51-month sentence for failing to pay taxes on the $1 million he won on the show. It wasn't immediately clear why Hatch was moved or whether he will serve out his prison sentence at the facility, which is a hub for prisoners transferring through the federal system.



• Irish rocker Bob Geldof canceled two shows in Italy this weekend due to few ticket sales. Known for his anti-poverty efforts, Geldof had been set to play Milan on Friday night and Rome on Saturday. Both shows were canceled, but La Stampa daily reported Geldof promised to give a free concert for Italian fans in September.

The Associated Press

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