ENTERTAINMENT/GOSSIP

Hot Hollywood Happenings

MARIAH AND NICK CANNON … ENGAGED?
Okay, maybe it’s me and I’m not wearing beer goggles or something. But I swear Nick Cannon is still 12 years old. A cute 12, but 12 nonetheless. Yet, he continues to put a ring on premium “power u” (if you know what I mean). I know … he’s got fat pockets, which will make any man hot on the charts. HOWEVER … Mariah & Nick … a couple … and supposedly engaged? If only you could read the bubble over my head.

No wonder the word “festive” is so heavy in Mariah Carey’s vocabulary these days. Ms. Mimi ignited engagement rumors to boyfriend (yeah I said “boyfriend”) Nick Cannon after wearing a shiny new ring last weekend. Mariah and Nick were spotted together holding hands at the after party for her new film “Tennessee” on Saturday night at the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC.

Now, whether Nick bought the diamond boulder (‘cause you know he couldn’t half step with Ms. Thang), or it’s from Mariah’s own private collection, you know the rock has got to be hot. She not only was sporting the huge ring on her finger, but was super cozy with her “man” Nick, which then set off the rumors that the two were engaged.

You know we had to hit up their official representation, and of course, Nick’s rep was mum’s the word and Mariah’s folks were missing in action.

In Mariah’s new film, she plays Krystal, a troubled diner waitress and aspiring singer who tackles personal demons while on a road trip to Tennessee. This is her first role since 2001’s “Glitter.” Brace yourself!

WORD ON THE STREET: COLUMBIA RECORDS GAVE OMARION THE BOOT
The scandal of the week seems to be that the Sony imprint decided to drop the former B2K lead singer. Now you know, Chris Stokes will be right there to make sure his boo, I mean his boy, lands on his feet.

Omarion became a solo artist on Columbia Records right after B2K broke up in December 2003. B2K was actually signed to Sony’s Epic division. He undoubtedly has been doing his thang. With his 2 solo projects that went gold, his duo joint with Bow Wow, and film work like “You Got Served, “Feel the Noise,” “Fat Albert” & horror flick, “Somebody Help Me.”

At 23, Omarion is still a pup in the game. He could end up at Motown Records since his management team has a deal with that label. Regardless, I think O will be just fine.

CHAKA KHAN MUST PAY $1.3M JUDGMENT
Damn, weren’t there just rumors that the Queen of Soul’s house was going into foreclosure back in March? Well, no matter what, all storms must come to an end. It seems that Chaka and her son Damien Holland must compensate the family of the teen who was killed in their home during a dispute in 2004. They have been ordered to shell out more than $1.3 million bucks.

Damien apparently shot 17-year-old Christopher Bailey in the face with an M-16 assault rifle on Sept. 24, 2004. During the trial, he admitted that he had arranged for a friend to punch him in the face, and that he initially lied to the police to make it seem as if Bailey attacked him. He also testified that he was upset because Bailey was having an affair with his girlfriend, and the gun went off accidentally.

Christopher was on a mission in pursuit of a rap career, and moved in with Chaka and Damien to work in their studio.

According to court records, Superior Court Judge Bob Height approved a default judgment against them in November for more than $1.3 million, plus interest, after Khan and Holland failed to respond to the lawsuit.

Chaka’s manager, Tammy McCrary, said Friday that she never received the lawsuit and knew nothing about the judgment.

Bailey’s family filed a wrongful death and negligence lawsuit against Chaka and Damien, 29, after a jury acquitted Damien of Christopher’s murder back in May 2006.

While Chaka and Damien never responded to the lawsuit, Chaka’s mother, Sandra Coleman, settled with Bailey’s family for $500,000, which the court records clearly show.

However, the family contends that was only half of what they agreed to. If you’re like me, you’re scratching your head wondering, whose signature is on the $500,000 court documents?

ANGELA BASSETT JOINS MEKHI PHIFER ON NBC’S ‘ER’
Angela Bassett will become a regular cast member on NBC’s “ER” next year, during its 15th and final season. After all of these years, this role will be her first full-time gig on a television series.

Angela will play a tough attending physician with a troubled past, who returns to Chicago from Indonesia, where she was involved in tsunami relief. You know she can play tough in her sleep. Those original cast members better step up their game, cause Angela is gonna bring it - biceps and all. She arrives in the second episode next season, and is guaranteed to shake up the staff at County General.

Get ready, because Angela just finished shooting the biopic of the Notorious B.I.G, “Notorious.” So, I’m sure she bought some of that gangster swagger with her to the set.

Also, original cast member Noah Wyle will join “ER” next season in at least four of the upcoming 19 episodes.

FINE ASS GARY DOURDAN: DID THE STUDIO GIVE HIM THE BOOT OVER DRUGS?
“CSI” supa-star’a Gary Dourdan was cold busted in Palm Springs for suspicion of possessing the illegal substances heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and prescription drugs. Oh noooooo, say it isn’t so! Not my Gary ….

At the same time on the “politically correct” news circuit, word is that Gary Dourdan is bouncing from CSI, by his choice ….

Hmmmm, is the studio doing damage control & keeping this mess clean and letting Gary bow out gracefully from this fiasco or did they threaten to sue him for some sort of behavioral clause in his contract?

For real y’all, if he is leaving t