ARLEN SPECTER has been hospitalized with a serious illness, friends of the former longtime U.S. senator have confirmed. One Specter friend asked people to keep him in thoughts and prayers.
Specter, 82, announced in 2005 that he had Hodgkin's disease, for which he underwent chemotherapy. He was treated again in 2008, after the disease returned.
Friends declined to comment Monday afternoon on the nature of Specter's hospitalization.
Specter had been scheduled to appear as a surprise guest at last Wednesday's Stu Bykofsky Candidates Comedy Night, but his secretary canceled his long-booked appearance several days earlier, Bykofsky confirms, adding that Specter's assistant referred to the cancellation as "personal."
"I'm sorry I can't provide any information to that effect, you'll have to ask somebody else," replied a woman who answered the phone at Specter's office Monday when asked to confirm that Specter was in the hospital.
Specter's son, attorney Shanin Specter, promptly returned our email Monday, but declined to comment for this report.
6ABC takes over PHL17 news
6ABC will take over MyPHL17's 10 p.m. newscast from NBC 10 starting Sept. 15.
NBC 10 has anchored and reported news for PHL17 since 2005, but its last broadcast with PHL17 will be Sept. 14.
"NBC 10 has been a great partner with us for almost seven years. I believe it was time for both sides to refocus," PHL17 spokesman Travis Brower said Monday.
"We are proud to partner with 6ABC, the leading news provider in the Delaware Valley," PHL17 vice president and general manager Vince Giannini said in a station announcement Monday.
"I want to share with you that we have decided to stop producing WPHL's 10 p.m. news," NBC 10 GM Eric Lerner emailed his staff Monday. "We enjoy our partnership with WPHL and will continue to work with them on projects, but decided to put additional focus and resources into our newscasts."
The weekday newscasts will be anchored by Brian Taff and Shirleen Allicot, with Adam Joseph as meteorologist and Ducis Rodgers covering sports.
Rob Jennings will anchor weekends with meteorologist Melissa Magee, and Jeff Skversky doing sports.
Jennifer Carroll back on TV Oct. 3
Bravo has announced that "Life After Top Chef," starring Somerton native and fan favorite Jennifer Carroll, will premiere at 10 p.m. Oct. 3. The show follows Carroll and three other "Top Chef" veterans as they work on opening their own restaurants.
Carroll had planned to launch a restaurant in town called Concrete Blonde, but later decided to move the project to New York, where she has secured a location.
Filming for "Life After Top Chef" took place last spring, and follows Carroll's private cooking ventures after leaving 10 Arts Bistro & Lounge by Eric Ripert at the Ritz-Carlton, which she left last October after working there for several years.
Richard Blais, Fabio Viviani and Spike Mendelsohn are the other former "Top Chef" contestants featured in the new series.
Diddy wins her Eagles tix
Willow Grove's Kristin Lee won Eagles season tickets by having Sean "Diddy" Combs call in to Mike Missanelli's 97.5 The Fanatic show last week. The station and AAA sponsored a contest offering the tickets to whoever had the biggest celebrity call in to Missanelli's show. Diddy edged out Donald Trump, Alicia Keys, Anne Hathaway, ?uestlove, Marshall Faulk, Jerry Rice, Rob McElhenney, Buddy Watson and a dozen more entertainers/athletes. The hip-hop mogul also ingratiated himself to Missanelli by posting to his 7 million Twitter followers that they should follow Missanelli, too.
OUT AND ABOUT
Actor Anthony Heald, known from "Silence of the Lambs," "Boston Public," among other credits, celebrated his 68th birthday Wednesday over dinner with his father-in-law at Ruth's Chris Steak House (260 S. Broad).
* Dance ensemble Jabbawockeez showed kids at the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City some of its moves Friday. The group, which won MTV's "America's Best Dance Crew," completes its monthlong residency at Harrah's on Sunday.
Contact Dan Gross at email@example.com or 215-854-5963. Follow him on Twitter @PhillyGossip or at Facebook.com/dangrossphillygossip. Read his blog at PhillyGossip.com, or for his latest columns see philly.com/dangross.