"Today" Says Goodbye to Rita

9/4/2007 1:49 AM PDT

"Today" Says Goodbye to Rita

TMZ has learned the "Today" show has pulled the plug on the Rita Cosby interview about her book in which she claims Howard K. Stern and Larry Birkhead had a "relationship."

The cancellation comes after "Today" received a bristling, threatening letter from attorney Lin Wood, Howard's lawyer. Wood, who represented John and Patsy Ramsey, made it clear he would sue the "Today" show for any falsehoods that spewed out of Rita's mouth. Birkhead has also vowed to sue Cosby and others who he claims are in on a plot to "smear" him.

As far as we know, Cosby's assertion of a relationship is rooted in the testimony of Jackie Hatten, a known wacko whose brother served prison time for stalking Anna Nicole.

Make no mistake about it -- this cancellation is a big, frickin' deal.