FROM THE NEWS DESK: Bahamas, Sinbad & The King (March 16, 2007)

by McKay Heim & George Larrimore

BAHAMA DRAMA: Even before everybody could get into court in Nassau today (to deal with the matter of Dannielynn’s custody) there was drama outside. The rumblings of trouble between Larry Birkhead and his fiery attorney Debra Opri finally erupted and now they have gone their separate ways. He told our Tony Potts, exclusively, that he’s a man who makes his own decisions. For her part she coolly wished him and the baby well. There were signs that Larry had been chafing under the force of her forceful personality.

Meanwhile, Tony Potts tells us Larry left the Nassau courthouse today to cheers and adoration suitable for a rock star. And signed autographs.

NOT SO SECRET: Word leaked this morning that Larry King had undergone surgery at Cedars-Sinai Hospital yesterday to unblock a carotid artery. We’re told that Larry didn’t want anyone to know about it at all but that someone very close to him called a reporter and told her. CNN was only giving out info if reporters asked for it. Ironically, last night Larry was talking live with the doctors for his buddy Regis Philbin, who underwent a bypass this week. The King of CNN is expected back in his suspenders on Monday.

MAKE UP YOUR MIND: March Madness has arrived with a bit of media turmoil. Earlier in the week, Viacom chief, Sumner Redstone, filed a billion dollar lawsuitaccusing YouTubeof illegally posting video owned by Viacom entities, including CBS. So explain this: Thursday, CBS Sports, also a part of the Viacom empire, made a huge deal with YouTube. A bit ironic, don?t you think? The deal is to launch the NCAA Tournament Channel, which will feature NCAA tournament game, clips and highlights. So if Viacom wins the suit, will they be getting paid back with their own money?

Photo: Sinbad! He’s alive (AP)

THE DEPARTMENT OF IRONY: Sinbad expected on the red carpet at the movie premiere for Hoax this weekend. Earlier this week the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, said that he had died of a heart attack.Wrong.Sinbad says the phone calls and emails were pouring in and he found out about his premature death from his daughter. Maybe this dying thing was all a HOAX publicity stunt? Naah, just a coincidence.

RELEASE OF THE DAY: Ex-Supermodel Naomi Campbell expected to begin her five days of community service on Monday, somewhere in NY. Among her jobs will be sweeping halls, mopping floors. You know the drill. Today we were advised, in a Media Alert, that “Professional Cleaning Expert Available To Provide Insight on the Real Rigors of a Janitor’s Job.” The expert, Mike Weber, will be available by phone or in person. We have his number if you need it.

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