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Little Ben on the way? Chiklis takes on Magic.

BABY ON BOARD? Two weeks after they were allegedly engaged, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are allegedly expecting. That's right. The estimable news outlet E! is reporting that the Cambridge-bred actor is going to be a daddy. Citing multiple unnamed sources close to the celebrity couple, E! says J.Gar is three months pregnant, which means the little Sox fan could show up in November. The 32-year-old Affleck has made no secret of his desire to start a family, but finding the right woman has proved difficult. (Who can forget his hot and heavy relationships with Gwyneth Paltrow and J.Lo?) Garner, previously married to actor Scott Foley, will reportedly start shooting a film in Vancouver next week, but her ''Alias" schedule is up in the air. The ABC spy thriller, which frequently features Garner's bare midriff, is supposed to resume production in July. The pair apparently became friendly on the set of ''Daredevil" in 2003 -- he was the blind superhero, she was Elektra -- and they came out as a couple last fall at Fenway. Two weeks ago, tabloid reports swirled that Affleck gave Garner a rock on her 33d birthday, but, wisely, their reps have remained mum.

LIFTING BOXES, NOT WEIGHTS He hasn't said if he'll pick up the pigskin again, but Pats linebacker Tedy Bruschi is making moves off the field while he recovers from a mild stroke suffered in February. Bruschi and his wife, Heidi, have purchased a new place on Jeffrey Drive in North Attleborough with about a half acre of land. The Bruschis, who already live in North Attleborough, bought the spread for $1,335,735.

ON THE REBOUND Proving it's never too soon to hype a summer blockbuster, ads featuring the cast of ''The Fantastic Four" have begun airing during the NBA playoffs. (In the spot, ex-Laker Magic Johnson challenges the comic book heroes to a pick-up game.) One of the stars of the new movie is Lowell native and BU grad Michael Chiklis, who plays The Thing in the movie. ''Being a bigtime Celtics fan growing up, getting to tool on Magic in the ad was pretty cool," said Chiklis. The star of FX's ''The Shield" said he doesn't get back to the Bay State often, but he's watching with interest the state's efforts to attract more movies and TV shows. ''The state would be very wise to give huge tax incentives to entice the film industry," Chiklis said. ''If they don't, they're being penny wise and pound foolish." Asked to quantify the economic value of a movie shoot, the actor replied, ''I just think of my wife at the shops, and multiply that by tens of thousands of dollars."

ROLE PLAYING Anyone who watched ''The Pretender" knows that Michael T. Weiss is a versatile actor. (His character on the NBC drama was a ''human simulator," so Weiss played dozens of different parts.) Tonight, he'll tackle the role of MC as he hosts the Huntington Theatre's annual Spotlight Spectacular. ''Really, the theater is my favorite place in the world to be," said Weiss, who won raves for his performance last year in Lanford Wilson's ''Burn This" at the Huntington. ''And this theater is a treasure, respected in Hollywood and on Broadway." The studly good guy on ''The Pretender" shows his dark side in a gritty new film costarring Rosanna Arquette and John Savage. ''It's a primer on why not to abuse crystal meth," said Weiss. ''It should be mandatory viewing for every teenage kid." Other notables expected to attend include ''Alias" costar Victor Garber, and actresses Andrea Martin and Debra Monk.

THROW DOWN Tinseltown temptresses Shannon Elizabeth, Jennifer Tilly, and Gina Gershon were just a few of the boldface names who showed up at a Beverly Hills benefit over the weekend for the Boston-based nonprofit Peace Games. Hosted by film producer and financier Sam Nazarian at his lavish LA digs,the charity poker tournament also attracted Chris Heinz, Jason Alexander, Allison Janney, Mimi Rogers, celebrity Scientologist Danny Masterson, Paris Hilton's new ''Simple Life" costar Kimberly Stewart, and actress Rashida Jones, a Harvard grad who serves on the board of Peace Games. The event raised over $100,000.

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