PEOPLE

How about a birth with breakfast?

When a television executive producer says something like, “I can promise you good taste will prevail,” you’re just wondering when Judge Judy will throw open her robe and start doing a pole dance to perk up her ratings. All right, nothing that horrid has happened yet, but we’re getting there. To wit: A birth will be televised on ABC’s “Good Morning America” to kick off its weeklong focus on maternity trends. A cup of joe with your postpartum depression?

Who the newborn will be, no one knows yet, but cameras will be at Dallas’ Parkland Memorial Hospital maternity ward, which apparently boasts the nation’s highest birth rate. The chosen airdate Tuesday is also the day of the week when most births occur. Just in case, there will be backup cameras at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and The Methodist Hospital in Houston. As for the executive producer, Shelley Ross, she also assures an appalled public that “no one will be induced for our benefit.” All right, everyone, breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

NO CHOCOLATE FOR MANSON: Goth metal shock rockers, we’ve been snookered. Time to take down your Willy Wonka pictures from your altar Marilyn Manson says he won’t be brewing up any bittersweet chocolate. After newspapers in London and New York reported that Manson would be in a remake, the studio in charge huffed out a statement: “Contrary to a false and misleading report published in the Jan. 31 edition of the New York Post, singer Marilyn Manson has not been cast in a role in the upcoming Warner Bros. Pictures film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. ‘ Neither (director) Gary Ross nor Warner Bros. Pictures have any intention whatsoever of casting Marilyn Manson in the revered role of Willy Wonka’ or any other role in the film.”

SITE FOR SORE EYES: While Microsoft was falling and dot-coms were laying off workers, a quieter storm was raging through cyberspace. Last week, anyone who felt the need to find “dumb (expletive)” on the Google search engine would find www.georgewbushstore.com, which sells Bush merchandise. E-mails exposing the link were being circulated to highlight the connection.

According to Wired, Google initially professed itself baffled over the “anomaly” and mumbled something about its “ranking algorithm,” which analyzes links on a page to determine if the link text says anything about a site the site itself doesn’t have to contain the search words themselves.

Meanwhile, the store’s “infuriated” owner Ted Jackson declared the link “malicious” and “illegal.” The site posted a message on its home page disclaiming the obscene path and proclaiming that their staff of attorneys was on it. The store also tracked down the possible miscreant: HugeDisk Men’s Magazine, which had somehow linked the president, the obscene phrase and the store.

“This seems to be a problem with the way Google ranks pages,” said Danny Sullivan, the editor of SearchEngineWatch. This has happened before: A few years back, when people who typed some combination of “Satan,” “evil” and other maligning terms, were getting links to Bill Gates in Google. Google has since removed the connection, the Bush store has removed its disclaimer and all is well in cyberspace.

TIME FOR SOME TRIPLES, ANYONE?: Boris Becker has had a full schedule lately. First, he divorced his wife of seven years, Barbara. Secondly, he stopped by the Medical Express Clinic in London last Thursday to do some DNA testing. Russian model Angela Ermakova claims the three-time Wimbledon champion is the father of her 9-month-old daughter, Anna. A legal action forced the paternity testing, and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for Monday in London. Thirdly, confronted by a German newspaper reporter outside the New York hotel where he was staying, Becker confirmed that he has been involved with a German rapper, Sabrina Setlur, since December but disputed rumors that she was pregnant.

“I am a grown-up man. I am separated and single. Sabrina is also single. We aren’t doing anything forbidden,” he was quoted as saying. “Should we book separate hotels and at night sneak over to each other?” The publicity has apparently made Becker poetic, but not in a good way. “Our relationship is a young plant that must be fed.” Stick with the tennis, my boy.

Today’s People Column was compiled by Vera H-C Chan from staff and wire reports. Comments? Write to us c/o the Times, P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94596-8099. Or call 925-943-8262, fax 925-943-8362, or e-mail spin@cctimes.com.

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