Sideshow: Team Robin 1, illness 0

Robin Roberts is back on "GMA" five months after undergoing a bone-marrow transplant.
Robin Roberts is back on "GMA" five months after undergoing a bone-marrow transplant. (HEIDI GUTMAN / ABC)
Posted: February 22, 2013

How big a deal was Robin Roberts' return, after a six-month sick leave, to ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday? So big, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama marked the event in a taped message. "Welcome back, Robin!" said the president, who called the news anchor "an inspiration to all of us."

Roberts, 52, who received a bone marrow transplant as part of her treatment for myelodysplastic syndrome, was elated. "I have been waiting 174 days to say this: 'Good Morning America,' " she said. "I keep pinching myself and I realize this is real. This is actually happening, and I don't have my froggy slippers on, or do I?" Roberts said, laughing. "Faith, family and friends have brought me to this moment, and I am so full of gratitude."

Royal Kate is bland?! Plastic?!

The London tabloids went blooey this week, apoplectic over a pitiless, razor-sharp critique of beloved Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge by acclaimed British novelist Hilary Mantel, 60, at a Feb. 4 lecture. (Why the delay? Guess the tabs needed time to figure out what the big words mean.)

Mantel, a two-time Booker Prize-winning author of historical novels set in the Tudor court, said Kate is an empty doll.

Kate "appeared to have been designed by a committee and built by craftsmen, with a perfect plastic smile," Mantel said. ". . . as painfully thin as anyone could wish, without quirks, without oddities, without the risk of the emergence of character." London's Daily Mail characterized Mantel's talk as a "venomous attack."

Even British Prime Minister David Cameron joined the fray, calling Mantel's words "hurtful" and "completely wrong."

Boys no more! . . . but not yet men

It's true! There's a new album out from manchild-band 98 Degrees. (It's hardly accurate to call them a boy band after all these years: cofounder Nick Lachey is pushing 40!)

"We are really excited to bring our fans new music," said Lachey, a husband and dad, of the CD called 2.0. "This is a long time coming."

This summer the band will go on a joint tour with fellow geriatrics New Kids on the Block and Boyz II Men.

They'll hit the Wells Fargo Center in Philly on June 15.

Michael Moore saves Palestinian

Michael Moore on Tuesday night rallied Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences officials to help extricate Palestinian filmmaker Emad Burnat from detention by officials at LAX airport. Burnat, a farmer-turned-director, was flying in to support his Oscar-nominated docu, 5 Broken Cameras, at Sunday's Academy Awards. Moore says Burnat, his wife, and 8-year-old son were placed in a holding area and interrogated. "Although he produced the Oscar invite [that] nominees receive, that wasn't good enough," Moore tweeted. "He was threatened with being sent back to Palestine."

Seems it was Moore's rep that got Burnat let go. "I told Emad to give the officers my phone number and to say my name a couple times," Moore tweeted.

Saturn nods to 'Hobbit,' 'Fringe'

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was all but snubbed by the Academy Awards, but it's done well for itself at the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films' Saturn Awards. Peter Jackson's pre -LOTR saga picked up a leading nine nominations. Ang Lee's Life of Pi, which has 11 Oscar nods, nabbed eight Saturn nods, while Fringe rocked the TV category with six. Awards will be handed out in June.

Gossip petits fours

Rihanna marked her 25th b-day Wednesday with an Instagram photo showing her smoking what looks like a marijuana joint. . . . Brandi Glanville unloaded the ultimate woman-hating epithet on her Real Housewives of Beverly Hills costars on Howard Stern's show. She topped that by asserting that her ex-, Eddie Cibrian, stays with her archnemesis LeAnn Rimes only for the money. . . . Lil Wayne's claim he dissed NBA star Chris Bosh by sleeping with his wife, Adrienne, isn't exactly true (?), says website GlobalGrind.com and the New York Daily News. Lil dated Adrienne before she met Chris. What's more, the site claims that right before breaking up with Lil, Adrienne duped him into giving her a pile of cash to pay for her cancer treatment - only she didn't have cancer. . . . Yes, Scarlett Johansson wore a pear-shaped diamond ring in New York City on Monday, but it doesn't mean she's engaged to beau Romain Dauriac, says People. Hey - it was just a ring.


This article includes information from Inquirer wire services. Contact "SideShow" at sideshow@phillynews.com.

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