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April 3, 2012 at 2:02 PM
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Sarah Palin co-hosts NBC's 'Today' show

NEW YORK, April 3 (UPI) -- Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin Tuesday spoofed her image by writing on her hand and reading newspapers to prepare to be guest co-host of NBC's "Today" show.

In the opening segment of Tuesday's morning program, the charismatic 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee mocked her reputation for being ill-informed and unprepared.

"I see she's doing her homework," the New York Daily News quoted "Today" host Matt Lauer as saying in the segment.

On a more serious note, Palin said she will be happy with any candidate in the 2012 election who isn't President Barack Obama, the Democrat who trounced her running mate, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, four years ago.

She also talked about what aspiring candidate Mitt Romney should look for in a running mate if he secures the GOP presidential nomination.

"I would advise Mitt Romney not to play it safe," she said. "Don't get someone to go along to get along."

Palin's stint as "Today" guest co-host comes during the same week former "Today" star and ex-CBS News anchorwoman Katie Couric is filling in for longtime anchor Robin Roberts on ABC's "Good Morning America" this week.

Couric famously conducted a 2008 interview in which Palin showed some gaps in her knowledge of geography and foreign policy.

White says tantrum reports 'exaggerated'

LOS ANGELES, April 3 (UPI) -- Actor Jaleel White says reports claiming he angrily yelled at his "Dancing with the Stars" partner Kym Johnson in Los Angeles are "completely exaggerated."

"It was completely exaggerated," White, 35, told People.com after Monday night's performances.

Show sources said White stepped on Johnson's foot during a rehearsal last week, then screamed at her because he thought she was overreacting about how much it hurt.

"Jaleel definitely was out of line," an insider told People.com. "It basically didn't have anything to do with Kym or her foot -- he was just stressed out and ready to snap."

People.com quoted the source as saying fellow "Dancing" contestant Donald Driver, wide-receiver for the Green Bay Packers, and pro dancer Mark Ballas "wound up having words with him. ... mostly trying to get him to realize that he needed to just get a grip already."

"This has been a stressful week for us, and people have stressful weeks. [Today] was horrible. I thought we got through it really well, and our dance tonight will show everyone that we really have a great connection," Johnson told the celebrity news Web site Monday.

When asked about the alleged incident, Ballas replied: "These things happen. This show is a competitive show. Things get heated. ... This got severely twisted. We've been in the same room all night, and everything's fine."

White starred on the 1990s sitcom "Family Matters" as a child and teen.

Cissy Houston calls media 'awful'

NEW YORK, April 3 (UPI) -- U.S. gospel singer Cissy Houston says the media has been "awful" in the wake of her daughter Whitney's accidental drowning death Feb. 11.

"The media are awful. People have come from here and there, [and they] don't know what they're talking about. People I haven't seen in 20 years. ... Here they come, [they] think they know everything, but that's not true," Cissy Houston told New Jersey television station WWOR about attention-seekers who have spoken without authorization about her daughter. "But God has his way of taking care of all of it, and I'm glad I know that. They really chopped on her."

Houston, 78, also slammed published reports claiming her Grammy Award-winning daughter was nearly out of money when she died in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton hotel shortly after using cocaine.

"She's not broke. She's not anything, none of that crap," she said in the interview.

After Whitney Houston's death at age 48, much of the media's coverage was devoted to her battles with drug and alcohol abuse, as well as her erratic behavior and stormy relationship with her ex-husband Bobby Brown, who left her funeral after minutes because he allegedly got into an argument with her family.

The National Enquirer also published a photo showing the pop icon lying in her casket and reported details about valuables supposedly buried with her.

Bobbi Kristina, Whitney Houston's 19-year-old daughter with Brown, has been in the spotlight since the singer's death, as well. Some media reports have said she, too, is abusing drugs and alcohol, while others claimed she is romantically involved with a young man she lived with most of her life and was raised to regard as her brother.

Neil Patrick Harris to host Tony Awards

NEW YORK, April 3 (UPI) -- Actor Neil Patrick Harris is to serve as host of the Tony Awards ceremony in New York for a third time, CBS said.

Harris is best known for his work in the TV shows "Doogie Howser, M.D." and "How I Met Your Mother." He made his Broadway debut in the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama "Proof," and subsequently starred in "Cabaret" and "Assassins."

The actor will preside over the 66th annual Tony Awards ceremony honoring the best new productions on Broadway June 10 at The Beacon Theater. Harris previously served as host of the 2009 and 2011 editions of the prize presentation.

"I'm thrilled to be a part of this year's Tony Awards," Harris said in a statement. "Not only will I be shining a spotlight on the best that Broadway has to offer, but hopefully I'll score some free house seats to a show -- or five!"

"We are excited to have Neil Patrick Harris return as host of the Tony Awards," said Jack Sussman, executive vice president of specials, music and live events for CBS Entertainment.

"Neil is the ultimate showman. He brings great talent, energy and creativity to the Tony stage and usually a surprise or two. I can't wait to see what he has in store this year."

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