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Kathie Lee Gifford My Replacement's All Up to Hoda ...

12/12/2018 10:01 AM PST

Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb can't seem to decide who has more word in choosing a replacement for KLG on the "Today" show ... but it's definitely one of them.

We got the NBC morning show anchors Wednesday in NYC, the day after Kathie announced she's leaving "Today" at the end of her 11th year. Our photog asked who's in line to fill Kathie's shoes, and she enthusiastically says, "Whoever Hoda wants, Hoda gets." 

For her part, Hoda played it coy, saying ... "This is all about KLG." Kathie immediately refutes that, though, but Hoda insists it is. It's like an Abbot and Costello bit here, really. 

Our camera guy throws out Jenna Bush Hager as a possibility -- who's said to be in the running -- but Hoda and Kathie are definitely playing this close to the vest. 

Meghan Markle Dad Did Tell-All to Clear His Own Name ... Not to Bash Her

12/10/2018 3:06 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Meghan Markle's dad is catching flak for bringing up his daughter in a new interview -- but the tell-all was aimed at clearing his name, and not tarnishing hers ... TMZ has learned.

Friends of Thomas Markle tell us the interview he did with Daily Mail over the weekend was set up for the purpose of disproving false rumors he faked a heart attack earlier this year ... right before Meghan and Prince Harry got hitched.

Thomas revealed medical receipts for his heart surgery. As we first reported, he got 3 stents implanted. Our sources say Thomas keeps tabs on what people say about him on the Internet, and was offended to read haters claiming he faked the medical emergency.

Of course, while defending himself ... Thomas described Meghan as "demanding but never rude." He was attempting to squash British rumors about his daughter being difficult to deal with and feuding with Kate Middleton.

We're told he didn't intend to bash Meghan, and he doesn't want to say anything that could harm her. In fact, we're told that's why he's been under the radar for several months. 

Tekashi 6ix9ine DJ Akademiks Says ... I'm Not the Feds' Snitch!!!

11/29/2018 9:22 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

The confidential informant the feds are working with in Tekashi 6ix9ine's racketeering case is still a mystery ... despite online rumors that it's a popular hip-hop blogger close to the rapper.

DJ Akademiks has been accused by another hip-hop blog of being the "snitch" in 6ix9ine's crew ... but Akademiks tells TMZ it's completely untrue.

He says he "has zero connection to this criminal case against Daniel Hernandez & other co-defendants. I view them as good people to me." He adds ... "All these charges are a shock to me and do not involve me. I have never been questioned or much less cooperated in this. I am just a news reporter."

The outlet accusing Akademiks of snitching claims to have gotten its info from the lawyer of Tekashi's former manager, Kifano Jordan, aka Shotti. However ... Shotti's lawyer, Scott Leemon, also denies the allegations.

Leemon tells us ... "I never made any public statement relating to this matter. Any statement attributed to me is false. I have not given anyone an interview about this case."

We broke the story ... Shotti is one of the voices heard on federal wiretaps revealing Tekashi's former crew members talked about killing him. These recordings are separate from the ones feds say are possessed by the confidential informant ... which have yet to be disclosed.

6ix9ine's lawyer told us feds having an informant is concerning, but he believes any recorded convos with the rapper will help prove he's innocent.

Richard Simmons Not Sweatin' Defamation Case Anymore ... Case Settles

11/27/2018 7:15 AM PST

Richard Simmons has struck a deal with "National Enquirer" in his transgender defamation lawsuit that will put the legal drama behind him ... for the most part.

Simmons has agreed to drop his appeal against American Media -- which owns 'Enquirer' -- after a judge ruled against him last year. If you don't remember, the fitness icon sued for defamation over a story published claiming he was in the process of sexual reassignment.

The judge sided with American Media, though, saying being misidentified as transgender does not inherently expose someone to "hatred, contempt or ridicule." Simmons filed an appeal shortly thereafter.

The 2 sides have now come to an agreement to drop it and move on ... but the terms are confidential. So, it's unclear if Simmons is still on the hook for American Media's legal fees.

Not everything related to the case is wrapped up -- he's still got a lawsuit out against the private investigator who allegedly planted tracking devices on him to try and prove the sex change rumors.

That P.I. was charged with the crime of unlawfully using a tracking device in July.

Corey Lewandowski I Didn't Fight John Kelly But, Here's Who'd Win If We Ever Did

11/25/2018 10:27 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Corey Lewandowski denies that Chief of Staff John Kelly got physical with him in the White House, but if that were to ever happen ... he suggests he could take the general.

We got President Trump's former campaign manager Sunday in D.C., where we first asked him who he believes is scheming against DT in the WH ... which he teased with a plug for his new book, "Trump's Enemies: How the Deep State is Undermining the Presidency."

Our photog then asks about a reported incident between him and the CoS earlier this year, where Kelly supposedly grabbed Corey by the collar and tried to have him ejected from the West Wing. Corey says it never happened, but admits something like that COULD go down within the White House walls. Apparently, it can be a high-tension workplace ... so they say.

Just for the hell of it, we go all hypothetical with Corey here to see if he thinks he'd be able to handle Kelly if push came to shove. Check out his answer ... it says a lot.

Post Malone Airport PDA with Hot Yacht Chick ... She's a Fly Girl Now!!!

11/21/2018 12:40 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Looks like Post Malone's sticking with his good luck charm -- the chick he was cupcaking on a yacht right after his near-death experience on that private jet ... and ya can't blame him one bit.

We got this shot of Post walking through George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. He was jetting off to Dubai Sunday, and his germ-deflecting surgical mask wasn't all that caught our eye. His cute travel buddy looked real familiar. 

When last we saw her, Post was spraying her down and canoodling with her back in August on a yacht off Saint-Tropez. Good times.

Of course, that was one week after his terrifying emergency landing, and shortly before he survived a major car accident. Safe to say, she was the best thing to happen to him this summer.

As for the nature of their relationship -- a source close to Post says airport/yacht babe is just a friend. That may be, but that's a pretty tight grip between friends. Just sayin'. 

We reached out to Biz Markie for comment ... no word back.

'L&HH' Star Lyrica Anderson My Maternity Shoot After Deading Safaree Cheating Rumor

11/18/2018 3:54 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

'Love & Hip Hop' star Lyrica Anderson finally put a monster rumor to rest over whose baby she's carrying, and now ... she's ready to spill the rest of the tea(l) with mommy shots.

Here are Lyrica's first maternity photos after a rough season of 'L&HH: Hollywood' -- where she faced accusations of cheating on her husband, A1, with Nicki Minaj's ex, Safaree Samuels. A1 and his immediate fam demanded a very-preggo Lyrica take a paternity test, which was revealed in last week's reunion episode. Turns out ... A1 IS the father. OHHHH!

Safaree doubled down during the reunion episode, denying he'd ever slept with Lyrica ... despite seemingly admitting to Ray J earlier in the season that they had, in fact, smashed. Those words never actually came out of Safaree's mouth, but he let Ray put 'em there for him without protest.

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Ray J questions Safaree about him and Lyrica. #LHHH #LHHHollywood #LoveAndHipHop #LoveAndHipHopHollywood #RealityTV

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Lyrica and A1's kid -- who's been dubbed Baby Bentley -- is due at the end of the month. 

Congrats to the parents-to-be!!!

Condoleezza Rice I'm Not Ready to Coach the Browns ... But, I Will Say This

11/18/2018 1:33 PM PST

The Cleveland Browns are reportedly mulling over interviewing George W. Bush's former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, for a head coaching job ... but she says she's not quite there yet.

ESPN reported Sunday that the Browns' front office was interested in possibly bringing Condi for an interview to replace recently-fired head coach Hue Jackson. She's a huge Browns fan, and met with some of the owners during a game earlier this year.

Aside from that though ... it's unclear what, if any, professional experience she'd bring to the table ... when it comes to football, that is. She's got a pretty decent resume, otherwise.

The Browns' general manager, John Dorsey, issued a statement shortly after the news spread like wildfire, saying in part ... "Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is a great leader, possesses the highest possible character and also happens to be a Browns fan." 

He fully shot down the speculation, though, by adding ... "Our coaching search will be thorough and deliberate, but we are still in the process of composing the list of candidates and Secretary Rice has not been discussed." 

As for Ms. Rice ... she offered her own statement on the rumor, saying "I love my Browns -- and I know they will hire an experienced coach to take us to the next level."

After going on to advocate for the hiring of more women in coaching positions, she seemed to shut down the notion of a head coaching gig by saying ... "BTW -- I'm not ready to coach but I would like to call a play or two next season if the Browns need ideas! And at no time will I call for a "prevent defense."

Sounds like she's NOT saying no to another role in the organization. From Dubya ... to Dawg Pound??? Maybe ...

Khloe & Tristan Still Together ... Doing Thanksgiving as a Family

11/15/2018 1:00 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Khloe Kardashian and Tristan Thompson are NOT broken up or on the rocks, contrary to reports -- but they could very well be breaking up a turkey wishbone very soon ... TMZ has learned.

Sources tell us ... rumors that Khloe and TT have split or are no longer talking in the wake of his cheating scandal are simply false -- they're still together and going strong. 

We're told the reason Khloe hasn't been in Cleveland lately is that she's filming a new season of 'KUWTK.' Meanwhile, he's in the middle of his NBA season with the Cavs. Our sources say Khloe was supposed to fly out to Cleveland last week, but stayed in L.A. on account of the fires that were ravaging hers and surrounding communities. 

And besides, would a couple on the verge of a split be spending time together on Thanksgiving? Probably not ... which is exactly what we're told Khloe's doing for the holiday. Sources say Khloe's going to Cleveland next week to be with Tristan and baby True as a family.

As we reported ... Khloe was at Tristan's game in Cleveland a couple weeks ago cheering him on. Her visit must've left some magic behind, 'cause Tristan's been on a tear lately. He racked up 21 rebounds in the Cavs' win over Charlotte Tuesday night. 

Juan Gabriel Cálmense, Dad's Definitely Not Alive ... Says His Manager Son

11/12/2018 12:46 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

If you were one of the people who thought "No puede ser" after a rumor surfaced that Juan Gabriel is not actually dead ... congrats, you were 100% right.

One of Juan's sons, Ivan Aguilera, who actually served as his dad's manager for the last 8 years of Juan's life, tells us the claim -- made by a man named Joaquin Munoz that Juan faked his death and is alive and well -- is complete BS. Ivan tells us squarely ... his dad is deceased.

He held his father's cremated remains at a memorial service back in 2016.

Munoz claimed to be Juan's ex-manager and told a Mexican news outlet last week the Latin singer was alive at home and had faked his sudden death. That story was picked up by other outlets ... and, suddenly, the buzz was Juan was going to surface by the end of 2018.

Juan's former attorney and rep for his estate, Guillermo Pous, backs Ivan's account ... telling us Munoz never managed Juan. He was just a pal.

Pous thinks Munoz is only peddling this conspiracy theory to sell a new book. Needless to say, Juan's family is pissed, and Pous says they're considering legal action.

FWIW, we obtained Juan Gabriel's death certificate back in 2016. Juan's official cause of death was arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

So, sorry Juan Gabriel fans ... he will NOT be in the studio recording a Tupac collab anytime soon. 

Melania Trump Stories About Donald Cheating ... Just Gossip

10/12/2018 6:10 AM PDT

Melania Trump brushes off allegations that her husband, Donald Trump, has had affairs with women ... saying it's just gossip orchestrated by the media.

The First Lady sat for an interview -- her first solo interview since taking up residence in the White House -- with ABC News. She dismissed claims, notably by Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, that the Prez has strayed during their marriage.

Melania says, "I'm a mother and a First Lady, and I have much more important things to think about and to do."

She added, "It is not concern and focus of mine."

Melania also said there are people currently in the White House she doesn't trust and who do not have her husband's best interests in mind.

The full interview airs Friday night at 10 PM ET.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic AC Milan Wants Me?? ... Duh.

10/4/2018 2:45 PM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

With rumors swirling that AC Milan has interest in bringing 37-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic back to Italy ... we had to ask the L.A. Galaxy star straight-up -- true or false? 

Good news -- we got an answer! 

Bad news -- well, here's what he said ... 

"There is always rumors. The whole world wants me. It's okay."

Keep in mind, reports suggest Zlatan has serious interest in going back to Milan -- where he scored 56 goals between 2010 and 2012. But, he didn't seem like he was bursting with excitement when we asked him about it. 

The issue ... most people thought Zlatan came to L.A. to wind down his career with the Galaxy, where he's got a pretty good thing going -- 20 goals in 24 games.

So, think he's ready to give it up for one last ride in Serie A?

There's more ... 

Remember that 7-year-old singer Malea Emma who impressed Zlatan with her national anthem performance before a Galaxy game last month? 

We asked Ibra if he considered her a "lucky charm" and wants to bring her back. 

Ya gotta hear his answer ... classic Zlatan. 

Kourtney Kardashian Younes 2.0 Revealed ... He's Just a Friend

9/28/2018 12:40 AM PDT
EXCLUSIVE

No, Kourtney Kardashian's not hooking up with a guy who looks almost exactly like her ex ... but now we know the ID of the doppelganger.

Sources close to Kourtney tell TMZ ... the Younes Bendjima look-alike she was spotted grabbing a beverage with Tuesday in WeHo is Fai Abu Khadra. We're told the 2 are just friends ... definitely NOT dating.

After Kourtney and Fai picked up their matcha lattes, our sources say they went and met with some other pals. Fai is also close with Kendall and hangs in the same crew with Anwar Hadid and Luka Sabbat ... who Kourtney's also been rumored to be dating.

As we reported ... Kourt dumped Younes back in July amid rumors he cheated on her. They were seen together once after that, but that was just for closure.

And, this case is closed too ... for now.

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