Let's Get This Party Started: Top Stories for Friday 07/07/06

7/7/2006 9:04 AM PDT

Let's Get This Party Started: Top Stories for Friday 07/07/06

Star Jones' triumphant return to television next week will come ... on a cable house-hunting show.

The fired "View" co-host finally moved her stuff out of her offices at ABC yesterday, and took down the contact information for Barbara Walters and other ex-bosses that she'd put on her website.

Starting July 10, according to PEOPLE, Star's next gig will be on HGTV's House Hunters, where she'll be helping prospective home buyers try to buy a house in New York City, and she'll be on the show for a week. But after that, says the mag, her calendar is open.

Meanwhile, she cleared out her desk and office up at ABC headquarters in Manhattan yesterday, reports the New York Post's Michael Starr, and did some housecleaning on her website as well, taking the addresses and phone numbers of Barbara Walters and two ABC executives off starjones.com yesterday after she had encouraged her fans to send them correspondence for the past week.

ABC, for its part, wiped itself clean of any Star residue, removing photos, framed magazine covers, and the like from its walls. And it has lined up an intriguing slate of guest-hosts for the next few weeks on "The View," including Shannen Doherty, songstress Katharine McPhee, "Dancing with the Stars" champ Kelly Monaco and judge Carrie Ann Inaba. The permanent replacement will be named in the autumn.

Could Zach Be The Next Nick?

It seems like a slightly unlikely pairing, but Zach Braff and Jessica Simpson have been seen cavorting together recently, and gossipista Mario Lavandeira of perezhilton.com reports that the newly single Braff, who just broke up with Mandy Moore, is "aggressively pursuing the recently divorced singer."

The two shared a cabana together at Hamptons hotspot Pink Elephant last weekend, while also hanging "innocently" at Manhattan's Bungalow 8. "He was flirting with her hardcore," according to a witness.

Kelly Clarkson Gets Her Own Water

Following in the footsteps of 50 Cent, Kelly Clarkson will be putting her name on a flavor of Glaceau's vitaminwater, according to Page Six. The "American Idol" songstress' beverage doesn't have a name (Fitty's is called Formula 50), but before the deal is made public, Clarkson has to shed a few pounds, says Page Six, since the vitaminwater line is all about health and fitness. It should be noted that Clarkson has already made promotional appearances on behalf of the company, but not for her own line.

Nicky Hilton Gets Into The Family Business, Sans Family

We just couldn't make this stuff up: Lodging heiress and famously overshadowed younger sibling Nicky Hilton is getting into-what else?-the hotel business, and the first two hotels will be opening in November in Miami and then Chicago.

Hilton tells PEOPLE that the hotels will have showbiz news tickers in the elevators, a signature scent, and rooms designed by her friends, like the fashion designer Roberto Cavalli, who's doing the $5,000-per-night penthouse.

"I've been around hotels my whole life," says Nicky, "and I know a good hotel when I see one." Oddly, however, Hilton, 22, says her family isn't involved in the project at all.

Russell Crowe and Wife Welcome Their Littlest Gladiator

Aussie actor Russell Crowe and his wife Danielle Spencer celebrated the birth last week of their second son, Tennyson Spence Crowe, at Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital. It's the second child for the couple, and a younger brother to their first kid, two-year-old Charlie. Crowe had said he was planning on being in the delivery room with a video camera during the birth.

Kidman and Keith Cause A Stir in Nashville

The newlywed couple of Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban watched the July 4th fireworks from the roof of a pool hall in their new home of Nashville, Tenn., and apparently the locals were fascinated by their new celebrity neighbors.

At Buffalo Billiards on Nashville's riverfront, Nicole and Keith took in the pyrotechnics in a private room, but civilians in the club were "text messaging friends and leaving giddy voice mails" upon noticing the famous couple. Later, Keith enlisted the help of the club's owner to help confront, according to the AP report, "some men taking pictures with long lenses," known in larger urban areas as the paparazzi.

Gwen Decides to Do Watches, Too

Pop queen and new mother Gwen Stefani has a new release, coming soon: timepieces. The New York Post reports that Stefani's watches, which will come out under her L.A.M.B. brand and will retail for $195 to $675, appear in Nordstrom department stores next month. Another line, cheaper and for younger fans of the No Doubt singer, will follow later this summer under the Harajuku Lovers line. The Vestal Group will actually make the watches.

Movie Biz Clears Out for "Pirates"

The summer's most-anticipated film, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," rolls out in theaters today, and the rest of Hollywood has decided to steer well clear of its release. The Hollywood Reporter notes today that the expectations are that the film will open in the $100 million range, and no other new release is going up against Johnny Depp and the gang.

Still, "Pirates" is going to have to beat some tepid – and downright bad-reviews. The New York Times' AO Scott, while calling it "a glistening, sushi-grade chunk of franchise entertainment," also says it has "no particular interest in coherence, economy, or feeling." And Entertainment Weekly's Lisa Schwarzbaum calls it "a hellish contraption" and gives it a grade of D+, while Slate's Dana Stevens says that the film's storylines are "both convoluted and utterly dispensable." Of course, as "Da Vinci Code" proved earlier this year, the critical response isn't terrifically important to the box-office bottom line.