Scoop: Academy Awards Secret Weapon? M.I.A.

The production team behind the Oscars was hoping that choosing Hugh Jackman to host and keeping some presenters shrouded in secrecy would ramp up the show’s ratings. As it turns out, rapper M.I.A. might be the show’s real secret weapon.

According to producers Larry Mark and Bill Condon, they’ll do whatever it takes to have M.I.A., who gave birth to a son Feb. 11, perform “O Saya” from “Slumdog Millionaire,” even if it means having her do it from a bed.

“We are happy to bring some sort of fabulous bed on stage if that means M.I.A. can be there to perform her song,” said Mark and Condon.

In addition to the bedside performance rumors, another possible Oscar myth was making the rounds. According to some well-connected insiders, there was a considerable amount of chatter about a possible appearance by miracle-on-the-Hudson pilot, Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, at the Feb. 22 show. “No, Captain Sullenberger is not a presenter,” the producers said.

Hayden learns nothing from breakup with Milo
Maybe the age difference between Hayden Panettiere, 19, and “Heroes” costar Milo Ventimiglia, 31, was to blame for the recent demise of their year-long relationship. “She’s young and likes the scene,” Us Weekly is reporting. “But that’s not his style.”

That didn’t stop Panettiere from flirting with Gerard Butler, 20 years her senior, at a Victoria’s Secret shindig in New York on Feb. 11, the magazine reports. Wondering how it might all play out on the “Heroes” set? Hopefully without much unscripted drama. “They’re still on friendly terms,” the source said.

‘Project Runway’ shrouds itself in secrecy
The end of Fashion Week looms and thus so does the traditional runway finale for “Project Runway.” The show’s future has been uncertain due to a legal battle between Bravo and Lifetime over rights to the brand, but the entire sixth season has been shot and on Feb. 20, finalists will display their collections for the judges and an audience wholly unfamiliar with the designers. How will the production pull it off?

“You’ll see collections from extremely talented people, but you won’t be able to place the designer with the collection,” Tim Gunn told New York magazine.

Gunn also has some unsolicited advice for Meryl Streep. “I am her biggest fan and I can’t get enough of her. But wearing my fashion hat, I want to say to Meryl Streep, ‘You need to accept responsibility for what you are wearing. I don’t know that you do,’” he said. “The message she’s sending is, ‘I’m too smart for this and it doesn’t matter to me what I’m wearing.’ I want to say to her that it should matter to you.”

‘Housewives’ creator talks about Edie’s untimely death
From the better-late-than-never files, “Desperate Housewives” creator Marc Cherry has spoken out on Nicollette Sheridan’s departure from the show.

“Nicollette Sheridan has immortalized Edie Britt from the first moment she stepped foot on Wisteria Lane as the deliciously seductive and strong neighbor. The creative decision to place this character in a perilous storyline was driven by the need to continue to keep the drama fresh. It has been our great pleasure to work with Nicollette — we are all going to miss her very much,” Cherry told TV Guide.

Very diplomatic. Incidentally, rumors of Edie’s death have surfaced during prior seasons. According to some cast members, it was often a negotiation tactic. “Funny how talk of her character being killed off always coincides with her contract being negotiated. A little bit of death can go a long when in those situations,” one cast member said.

Courtney Hazlett delivers the Scoop Monday through Friday on

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