People: Dec. 12, 2005

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Bill Nye the Science Guy has inspired lots of middle schoolers to take apart their clock radios. It turns out the PBS host has also inspired a couple of TV executives to try an experiment. The CBS drama Numb3rs, which stars Rob Morrow as an FBI agent and David Krumholtz as his crime-fighting mathematician brother, was sparked by a lecture Nye gave 10 years ago on the subject of turning kids on to math and science. Now the show's creators, husband and wife Nick Falacci and Cheryl Heuton, have enlisted their hero to guest-star Dec. 16 as an engineering professor from the fictional Cal Sci University. As the closest thing scientists have to a pop-culture ambassador, Nye has one script note to suggest: "More romance," he says. "Smart men get women--at least that's what I hear."


All we know for sure is that this child will hate the Yankees. Red Sox fans BEN AFFLECK and JENNIFER GARNER have welcomed their firstborn, a girl, to the world, but reps for the couple have not revealed the precious child's name. The actors, both 33, who co-starred in 2003's Daredevil, married in June. Apparently nesting appealed more than acting this year. Affleck didn't appear in a single film--perhaps still atoning for 2003's Gigli--and ABC announced the cancellation of Alias, the show that made Garner a star. The good news is, everybody will soon be free for diaper duty.


When the 16-year stalemate between daytime queen OPRAH WINFREY and late-night jester DAVID LETTERMAN ended last week, somehow anything seemed possible. In 2003 Winfrey told TIME she felt "uncomfortable" on the Late Show and vowed she would never return. But after years of Letterman's on-air cajoling and with a new Broadway musical to promote, Winfrey at last relented and appeared on his show. All Letterman had to do to score the interview--and his best ratings in 11 years--was squire Winfrey across the street to the opening of The Color Purple. Maybe we can all get along.


Paul Rudd appears in The 40 Year-Old Virgin, due on DVD Dec. 13.

In this movie, your character associates liking the band Coldplay with being gay. Any backlash? A lot of people had a very strong reaction to the Coldplay thing. I met Fran Drescher a few weeks ago, and I was a little nervous to see her 'cause in another scene I kind of insulted her voice. But she thought it was hilarious, as did her parents. Meanwhile, I am a little bit nervous about running into Gwyneth Paltrow--or Apple.

What's your position on chest waxing? It should only be done for something important. The actress who played the aesthetician [in The 40 Year-Old Virgin] claimed she came from a long line of chest waxers. She really did almost take off Steve Carell's nipple. Maybe she embellished her waxing background.

This spring you'll co-star with Julia Roberts in her Broadway debut. How will you welcome her to the theater? With a dozen roses and a dance belt.

A what? A dance belt. It's kind of like a G-string male dancers wear to keep everything intact. I had to wear it in acting school. I don't have it anymore. I just stick to leg warmers.

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