James Brown announces he has prostate cancer

James Brown, the "Godfather of Soul" and a legend in rap, rock and funk, has announced that he has prostate cancer.

In a statement released to the Associated Press yesterday morning, Brown, 71, said that he will undergo surgery for the ailment Wednesday.

"I have overcome a lot of things in my life. I will overcome this as well," Brown said.

Brown, best known for seminal hits like "I Feel Good," "Please, Please, Please" and "Cold Sweat," is also a diabetic. Dubbed the hardest-working man in show business, he just finished a two-week Canadian tour Thursday night. He is expected to spend three weeks recovering from the procedure.

Peace Prize concert

Tom Cruise and Oprah Winfrey will continue the tradition of bringing a superstar shine to dark December nights in Norway when the pair hosts the annual Nobel Peace Prize Concert.

The concert today, held to honor Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai, will also feature musical artists such as Joss Stone, Andrea Bocelli, Diana Krall, Cyndi Lauper and Patti LaBelle.

The 64-year-old Maathai, Kenya's deputy environment minister, was honored as founder of the Green Belt Movement, which has sought to empower women, improve the environment and fight corruption in Africa for almost 30 years.

Winfrey said it was a "great pleasure" to celebrate "the first African woman recipient of one of the most meaningful awards of our time."

Richie's punishment

The Billboard Music Awards were broadcast live from Las Vegas - but reality TV star Nicole Richie was beamed out taped-delayed.

"I'm not actually allowed to do the show live because I cursed last year," Richie told syndicated entertainment TV show Access Hollywood before Wednesday night's awards show, which was broadcast by Fox television live on the East Coast.

Scott Grogin, a spokesman for Fox, told the Associated Press that the segment was taped minutes before the show. He wouldn't comment on the reason for the caution.

We miss you, Ken

Jeopardy! remains one of the highest-rated syndicated shows in the country. But in the wake of all-time champ Ken Jennings losing, the show's audience has shrunk noticeably.

The Nov. 30 episode of the game show, on which Jennings finally lost after 74 consecutive wins that earned him $2.5 million, scored an impressive 13.0 rating, according to preliminary metered-market figures from Nielsen (final numbers aren't out until next week). If those numbers hold up, that would mean more than 14 million homes were tuned to the show that day (one ratings point represents about 1.1 million households).

In the days after Jennings' loss to California real estate agent Nancy Zerg, though, ratings for Jeopardy! steadily declined. The Dec. 1 episode, which saw Zerg lose her first title defense, posted a 9.7 rating. The numbers slipped to 9.1 on Dec. 2 and 8.1 Dec. 3.

Today's birthdays

Nobel Prize-winning author Alexander Solzhenitsyn is 86.

Actress Rita Moreno is 73.

Actor Ron Carey is 69.

Actress Donna Mills is 62.

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) is 61.

Singer Brenda Lee is 60.

Actress Lynda Day George is 60.

Actress Teri Garr is 56.

Actress Bess Armstrong is 51.

Singer Jermaine Jackson is 50.

Rock musician Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue) is 46.

Rock musician Darryl Jones (The Rolling Stones) is 43.

Actor Gary Dourdan (CSI) is 38.

Rapper-actor Mos Def is 31.

Actor Rider Strong is 25.

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