Cher Says She'll Replace Celine in '08 | Alicia Keys' Mom in 'The Swim' | Capitol File

Cher Says She'll Replace Celine in '08

Cher, the mighty mighty Cher, has not retired after all. She told me on Friday night it's definite: she will replace Celine Dion at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

As with Celine, Caesars will build a unique palace for Cher, with a launch date in 2008.

Ironies abound here because Cher, of course, used to mimic Cleopatra on her old TV series. Now she's moving into Cleo's house, so to speak.

This news came to me when I ran into Cher at the Friday night after-party for Jake Kasdan's much-in-demand spoof film, "The TV Set."

Sigourney Weaver steals this film as a clueless, narcissistic network exec whose goal it to thwart any quality in an upcoming series.

Sigourney is so dead-on hilarious that I predict she will be nominated for (at the very least) a Golden Globe award and probably much more when the winner of much-spirited bidding releases "The TV Set" this fall.

But Weaver isn't the only standout in this 87-minute send-up. David Duchovny is outstandingly droll as the creator-writer of a new TV sitcom trying to make the fall schedule.

Judy Greer is a hoot as his yes-woman agent who cannot break bad news to her client without sugar-coating it to the point of exasperation.

Ioan Gruffudd — better known as Hortatio Hornblower from A&E and Reed Richards of The Fantastic Four — shows off surprising straight-man comedy chops as a BBC exec who's been imported to class up the network — just what Weaver doesn't want.

"The TV Set" had such good buzz — thanks to a splashy piece in The New York Times — that the premiere at The TriBeCa Performing Arts Center was jam-packed.

But nothing prepared us for the Q&A session with the filmmakers that followed. One audience member told Kasdan that she thought there was too much use of the "F" word in the movie. That prompted the next speaker, who was seated in the balcony, to say: "I thought you didn't use it enough!"

That, of course, was Cher, who'd come with talent agent Risa Shapiro. Her comment got the biggest laugh of the night.

Later, at the post-party at the Soho Grand Hotel, Cher told me even though her wildly successful Farewell Tour was over, she was not going into retirement.

You do understand that Cher — who looks like a million bucks — will turn 60 in exactly 20 days.

It doesn't seem possible. She will be 62 by the time she hits the Caesars stage, and when she does, the former Mrs. Bono Allman and mother of two will have released a new album and probably had a couple of hits to add to her collection.

"And I'm moving to New York," she told me.

Cher has already set her sights on a major pad in the West Village, with river views. Is she leaving Hollywood?

"I've been here for three weeks, just hanging out with friends, and I love it. You don't have this excitement in the streets in Los Angeles."

The fact is, New York needs Cher. Just the mention that she was at "The TV Set" screening sent the whole place abuzz.

But I don't know if the excitement reached the room of Johnny Knoxville, star of MTV's "Jackass" series and movie.

On our way down to the lobby in the Soho Grand elevator on Friday night, Knoxville stepped in around the 12th floor. He was holding a bunch of white sheets wadded up into ball. Little did he know he'd joined not one but three journalists in their descent to the exit.

We thought perhaps he was going to the laundry, but he helped veer the conversation to discussion of the movie "Jackass 2" and a controversial billboard he's rented on Sunset Boulevard.

Did we really care? Not really. And guess what? Knoxville got off in the lobby and headed out into the dark night (it was about midnight) clutching his ball of white sheets like they were the crown jewels.

Cher, welcome to New York!

Alicia Keys' Mom in 'The Swim'

I almost did a double take the other day watching "The Big Bad Swim," an entry in the Tribeca Film Festival.

There was a familiar-looking lady playing one of the characters in this unique and extremely well-executed ensemble drama. There was my old friend Terria Joseph, aka the mother of superstar singer Alicia Keys, fitting right in and doing a terrific job.

Joseph is just one of many fine actors who turn in terrific performances in this little gem directed by Ishai Setton, whose IMDb biography says he grew up on an experimental science base far into the Arctic Circle.

"As a child he would often spend hours playing with polar bear cubs while his parents studied the animal's behavior and reaction to Ishai."

OK — maybe that's true, and maybe it's also true that Hunter McCarthy, one of the funny young people in the film, is the first cousin of Sen. Joseph Lieberman.

More importantly, "Swim" stars Jeff Branson, an actor currently stuck on the soap "All My Children" and left stuttering because of brain damage. His manager had better get him out of there in a hurry. Branson is disarmingly good as an adult swim instructor in New London, Conn., his Olympic career cut short by a bad knee.

Branson has not one but two fine female co-stars — Paget Brewster and Jess Weixler — each of whom is well-drawn by screenwriter Daniel Schecter (who is not well-known documentary filmmaker Danny Schecter, in case you were wondering).

Schecter — working in the field of Robert Altman and now Paul Haggis — is exceptionally good at balancing a lot of characters and stories. He ties them up pretty neatly at the end, but you never feel manipulated. "The Big Bad Swim" could be a sleeper hit for Tribeca. I only wonder why it wasn't at Sundance.

Capitol File Scores a Niche

Jason Binn wasn't going to let Bloomberg News have the White House Correspondents Dinner to themselves anymore.

Binn — whose Niche Media now publishes the monthly Capitol File in our nation's capital —threw a soiree of his own Saturday night with Franco Nuschese at his hot spot Café Milano.

The event — sponsored by Charlie Merinoff, CEO/Vice Chairman of the Charmer Sunbelt Group — pulled a coterie of stars, I'm told, including Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, ousted CIA Agent Valerie Plame and her husband Joe Wilson, Christopher Buckley, Ron Silver, FOX News' Bill Hemmer, Georgette Mosbacher, Ann Coulter, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R Villaraigosa and Patricia Duff, BET founder Bob Johnson and president Debra Lee and the one and only Morgan Fairchild.

Jason now has glossy mags in New York, the Hamptons, Aspen, Miami, D.C., Los Angeles, Boston and Chicago. I hear that Hartford, Akron and Cincinatti are next. Hey, just kidding!