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Oops ... Spears does it again

Britney Spears, 24, stumbled outside a Manhattan hotel, nearly dropping her 8-month-old son and further fueling the ever-growing media scrutiny of her parenting skills. In photos splashed across the front page and inside the New York Post yesterday, the pop star is shown exiting the Ritz-Carlton hotel with Sean Preston in one hand and a glass in the other. As her bodyguards walked Spears to her car, she stumbled — her long pants apparently getting tangled in her open-toed shoes — and bent low as Sean Preston's head flung backward, knocking off his orange hat. Spears, though, was able to keep her balance and hold on to her son, with help from a bodyguard, who reacted quickly. A call to Spears's publicist yesterday seeking comment was not immediately returned. The baby bobble was the latest public incident involving the safety of Spears's child. Earlier this week she was photographed driving with Sean Preston in a car seat facing forward rather than facing backward, which some safety regulations say is best. Spears, who recently announced that she's pregnant with her second child, was visited by a sheriff's deputy at her home in Malibu, Calif., last month after Sean Preston slipped from his nanny's arms as she was lifting him from a high chair and something in the chair snapped. In February, authorities visited Spears’s home after photos showed the singer in a car with her son in her lap, instead of being strapped to a car seat in the back seat. She first blamed pursuits by the paparazzi, but later said it was a "mistake."

O'Brien gets nod to host Emmys again

The assignment for hosting the awards show honoring television's best work is going to NBC's Conan O'Brien. The comedian will host the "58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards" Aug. 27. The show will air live from the Shrine Auditorium on NBC. O'Brien, 43, hosted the Emmys in 2002 and did "a tremendous job," Dick Askin, chairman of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, said yesterday. "We're thrilled that he's returning." O'Brien, host of NBC's "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" since 1993, will take over the ‘‘Tonight’’ show from host Jay Leno in 2009.

Runaway bride, fiance call it quits

The runaway bride from Georgia who generated a media storm with her phony tale of abduction and the fiance who took her back have broken up for good, the man's friends and family told People magazine. "We're just glad there's a final resolution," John Mason's father, Claude Mason, told the magazine. He had planned to be his son's best man at the wedding. Jennifer Wilbanks, 33, told the magazine: "John and I have some things to work out." Wilbanks would not confirm or deny a breakup, the magazine said on its website. She, her attorney, and a family spokesman did not respond to requests seeking comment yesterday. Her mother, Joyce Parrish, declined to comment. Wilbanks disappeared four days before the scheduled wedding in April 2005. Hundreds of police officers and volunteers searched for her for three days before she called Mason from Albuquerque, claiming to have been abducted and sexually assaulted. She later recanted, saying she fled because of personal issues and pleaded no contest to telling police a phony story.

Comedian Rock tweaks Moonves

CBS Corp. chief executive Leslie Moonves is the most powerful executive in television, but he's still involved in some of the smallest programming decisions. Chris Rock, 41, said it was Moonves who picked the young actor who portrays the comic as a boy in the UPN sitcom "Everybody Hates Chris," vetoing the person who had been first choice. "Les said, ‘I know how to pick black kids,’." Rock, the actor-comedian, said. "He’s picking them for Angelina Jolie now." Rock spoke at a sales presentation to advertisers by the new CW network, where "Everybody Hates Chris" will air Sunday nights this fall after UPN shuts down.

Skynyrd frontman has appendectomy

Lynyrd Skynyrd frontman Johnny Van Zant had his appendix removed in emergency surgery, the band's manager said. Van Zant, 46, came out of surgery at Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, Calif., Thursday night, said manager Ross Schilling. ‘‘He had been feeling bad the past couple of days,’’ Schilling said. On Thursday morning, the singer went to see a doctor, who determined through an ultrasound that the appendix was severely inflamed, and emergency surgery was needed, Schilling said. The surgery was successful and Van Zant is expected to need at least a week to recover.

Braxton to follow Newton in Vegas

After her first road tour in 10 years, Toni Braxton has found a new place to call home. The six-time Grammy winner will take over as the headliner at the Flamingo hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip in August, replacing Wayne Newton, whose run wraps up July 1. Beginning Aug. 3, the R&B singer will perform six nights a week through March 2007 in a full-scale musical production.

Garrett's stand-up not so funny

The Fox network may not be the happiest of families now that Brad Garrett (inset) has channeled his inner Don Rickles. Garrett, whose new sitcom, ‘‘.’Til Death,’’ will be on Fox in the fall, did a quick comedy routine before thousands of advertisers gathered to see the network's schedule announcement. Noting the presence of Paula Abdul, who has seemed slightly unhinged this season on ‘‘American Idol,’’ Garrett, 46, said: "Bellevue [Hospital Center] has a shuttle bus." "Nice dress," he said of Abdul, a judge on the talent competition show, who wore a shiny outfit. "Maybe it’s time to get back in the lamp.’’ To increasing groans from the audience, the actor then made a profane reference to "Idol" host Ryan Seacrest’s sex life. "Ooh, it’s going to be a long night," said Fox Entertainment President Peter Liguori as Garrett walked off the stage.

FROM WIRE REPORTS

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