Pop Culture

Ashlee Simpson: Pregnant!

Newly engaged couple Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz have more good news to share: the two have a baby on the way, according to OK! magazine.

A friend of Simpson’s confirmed to the magazine that Simpson is due in October, and that they are now putting together their wedding as quickly as possible, with nuptials planned for May. Simpson, 23, will also be juggling the demands of her pregnancy with the promotion of her new album “Bittersweet World,” which drops on April 22. Her line of shirts for Wet Seal hits stores the same day. Wentz, 28, who is part of the band Fall Out Boy, also just released a new CD, “Live in Phoenix.”

The couple appears to have plenty of support from friends and family.

“These two love each other so much, are so happy about becoming parents and are fortunate enough to have really supportive families on both sides. They’ll figure it all out,” the friend told the magazine.

Jessica’s best friend and former assistant concurs. “Pete’s great. He’s a good guy and he loves her to death. Ashlee’s always been like a little sister to me. I’m so excited for her.” Simpson’s rep did not respond to requests for comment.

Trouble brewing for Dr. Phil's show?
A new chapter in Dr. Phil’s publicity crisis was written over the weekend, and some sources close to the show wonder whether he’ll survive his latest stunt. The host and his show is under scrutiny for posting $30,000 bail for Mercedes Nichols, one of the eight teens arrested for severely beating another teenager in Florida.

The “Dr. Phil” show issued a statement saying “certain staff members went beyond our guidelines (re: the bail being paid),” but a source close to the production fears that this incident could be the final straw for the show.

“It’s getting desperate behind the scenes. Dr. Phil is so demanding, and there’s a feeling anyone will do anything for the get. But it creates chaos. I don’t know how much longer everyone can take it,” said the source. (The talk-show host earlier this year came under fire for spreading word that he’d visited Britney Spears at Cedar-Sinai at the request of the family, and was going to be the one to save the troubled pop star.)

Does that mean Dr. Phil’s days with the show are numbered? Harpo no longer owns Dr. Phil's show, so credibility concerns seem to be front and center at the moment. “People don’t trust him like they used to,” another source revealed. “The Britney incident was beyond embarrassing for the entire show. How do you bounce back from this?”

Neil Patrick Harris does want Britney back We take it back! Last week on “Morning Joe,” I relayed news of an AP story about Neil Patrick Harris not wanting Britney Spears to return to “How I Met Your Mother.” Harris has since issued a statement saying that his words were taken out of context.

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“Britney did a great job on the show. She really did. In fact, we are all hoping that she returns rather soon to reprise her role as Abby,” he said.

Some wonder if the 180 is because there could be negotiations underway with Spears, but a source close to the Spears family says that the majority of her camp isn’t interested in her returning to television work soon. “It’s about her health right now,” said the source. “Turning her into a television star really isn’t on the agenda.”

Weekend box-office victoryLet the winning streak begin again. As predicted, more people made a date to see “Prom Date” this weekend than any other film at the box office. The widely panned horror flick made $22.7 million, and handily beat Fox Searchlight’s “Street Kings,” which made $12 million. “21” continued its slow and steady march toward $100 million, and came in third place with another $11 million, which brings the blackjack caper to $62 million total over three weeks. “Smart People” didn’t fare so well. It made only $4.2 million and came in seventh.

Celebrity sightingsIn Las Vegas … Eddie Murphy celebrated his 47th birthday at The Bank Nightclub at Bellagio. Murphy arrived around 12:30 a.m. with an entourage that included washed up talk-show host Arsenio Hall. One spy said Murphy made a habit of having security walk him through the club so that he could meet ladies he’d spotted from afar. … Dina Lohan swung by Moon Nightclub on April 3 and celebrated the birthday of a friend.

In L.A … Kim Kardashian and Danity Kane arrived together at Jonathan Cheban’s Kritik Clothing Launch at Lisa Kline in Beverly Hills. ... Nicole Richie and dad Lionel stopped into Il Sole for a family dinner April 7. On April 10, crooner Robin Thicke had dinner there with friends.

In NYC … At the April 7 Food Bank for New York City event at Pier 60, Mario Batali presented Gwyneth Paltrow with an award for her involvement with the organization. Upon accepting, Paltrow planted a big kiss on Batali’s cheek, informed the audience that she’d been drinking for five hours, then switched to sipping Evian for the rest of the night. … Lydia Hearst attended the Gen Art Film Festival’s premiere of her film “Frost” on April 7. The socialite gave the audience a bang for their buck with her topless cameo in a nightclub scene. “Frost” was one of the seven premieres at this year’s Gen Art Film Festival, Presented by Acura. … Taylor Dayne performed her new single, “Beautiful,” at Tenjune's Model Tuesdays. … Rumor Willis hung out at 30 Rock while stepfather Ashton Kutcher rehearsed for “Saturday Night Live.”

We hear …
Zooey Deschanel
and M. Ward will perform at Barneys New York in Beverly Hills on April 15to help kick off Sundance Channel’s “The Green” programming. Surfer Kelly Slater is also attending, and DJ Paul Sevigny will be spinning.

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