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Interview With Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul; VH-1`s Save the Music Concert Raises Money for Arts Programs in Public Schools

Aired April 15, 2005 - 19:00:00   ET


A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: The taxman cometh.
KARYN BRYANT, CO-HOST: And Paula and Randy in the "SHOWBIZ Sitdown." I`m Karyn Bryant.


BRYANT: Not even the stars can escape the taxman, and we`re guessing they don`t use the short form. Tonight, celebrities and taxes, facing the music.

HAMMER: Also facing the music, here come the judges. The competition heats up on "American Idol." Paula and Randy here for the "SHOWBIZ Sitdown."

BRYANT: He`s fired. The sneers, the tears, it may be the most emotional boardroom yet.


CHRISTOPHER SHELTON, "THE APPRENTICE": Because I don`t lose in life at all. I don`t know why I keep losing. I don`t know.


BRYANT: The latest "Apprentice" cast-off joins us live.

HAMMER: Saving the music, one note at a time. We`re backstage at the VH1 Save the Music concert.

BRYANT: Tonight`s "SHOWBIZ in Depth": Religion on TV. "Joan of Arcadia," "Seventh Heaven," now "revelations." We have a look at why there`s more praying in primetime.


DAVID DUCHOVNY, "HOUSE OF D": Hi. I`m David Duchovny. If it happened today, it`s on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


HAMMER: Hello. I`m A.J. Hammer, and you are at the top of the show.

BRYANT: I`m Karyn Bryant. We are live with you from Headline Prime studios in New York City for the next hour.

HAMMER: Well, if it was a movie, it might be called "The Attack of the Killer Taxes."

BRYANT: This is it, April 15, tax deadline day. And not even lifestyles of the rich and famous can change one cold, hard fact: Fame and fortune does not make anyone immune from the sting of the taxman.

HAMMER: Right.

BRYANT: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s David Haffenreffer is live right now with the bottom line -- David.

DAVID HAFFENREFFER, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT: That`s too bad, isn`t it, A.J. and Karyn? Just because you don`t run into any big name stars at the Post Office today doesn`t mean that they`re not paying the piper. We`re down to the wire on the April 15 deadline now, but as you might imagine, TV`s most famous boss -- he`s good to go.


DONALD TRUMP, "THE APPRENTICE": Actually, I have done my taxes, and I`m well prepared.

HAFFENREFFER (voice-over): OK, so the Donald got his taxes done on time. Have you? It`s tax day, and it doesn`t matter how rich or famous you are, you still have to file. We haven`t seen Teri Hatcher`s tax returns, but you can be this "Desperate Housewife" isn`t feeling so desperate this year. She got a raise, going from $38,000 up to $285,000 per episode. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT checked in with a CPA, who says if Hatcher sets up what`s known as a loan-out corporation -- don`t ask, it`s for rich people -- she could save a bundle.

EVAN BELL, CPA: The pension contribution that Teri could make this year is huge (UNINTELLIGIBLE) an IRA is limited to $2,000.

HAFFENREFFER: Maybe Richard Hatch, the winner of the first "Survivor," should have called a CPA. He`s facing federal charges that he failed to pay taxes on the $1 million he won on the show. Hatcher`s claimed he thought CBS was taking care of it. And wouldn`t you just love to look at the W-2 of these two, newly married Britney Spears and Kevin Federline? Our CPA guy says if he were the pregnant Britney, he`d be careful.

BELL: Knowing Kevin and his history and his prior romances and prior children, I would do everything I could to protect the children. Right now, I`d set up trust funds for the children, so in case there were a split, in case there were a difference of opinion, the children would be taken care of.

HAFFENREFFER: Even the not so rich and famous have to be careful this year. Remember all those folks who got a free Pontiac G-6 from Oprah Winfrey on her show? Oprah took care of the sales tax, but they have to pay around seven grand apiece in income tax on the gift that keeps on giving.

BELL: You might not be expecting it, but the IRS code is specific, and there`s no question about it. Any winnings are ordinary income, if you do anything to win them.


HAFFENREFFER: All right, so what have we learned here today? Big winnings mean a big bill from the IRS. But the company that produces "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" for ABC does have a way to get around some of the taxes. It leases the property for two weeks, making all the improvements made tax-exempt -- A.J.

HAMMER: All right. I didn`t know that. They figured a way around it. Very nice. All right, thanks very much, David Haffenreffer.

Well, it is time now for "SHOWBIZ Shorts," a look at more stories that are making news tonight. And tonight, we have one of the very first looks at Britney Spears since she announced her pregnancy earlier this week. Today, "People" magazine released a photo of Britney on the balcony of her apartment in Destin, Florida. She`s holding up a picture of her husband, Kevin Federline, in Italian "Vogue." The exclusive photos will be in next week`s issue of "People" magazine.

More celebrity mom news. Gwyneth Paltrow says motherhood is doing a number on her memory. In a speech to drama students in London, Paltrow said that she used to be excellent at learning lines. But, quote, "Now I have a baby, and I couldn`t tell you what day it is."

BRYANT: In tonight`s "SHOWBIZ Sitdown," Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson. More than 20 million viewers tune in to see them critique contestants on Fox`s "American Idol," and now they`re ready to help the vocally challenged with their new DVD called "Ultimate Voice Coach: Learn to Sing Like a Star." Well, I chatted with them earlier today about "American Idol" and their instructional video.


PAULA ABDUL, "ULTIMATE VOICE COACH": This has been in the works for a couple of years. I mean, it`s amazing that we haven`t think of it earlier. We`re vocal coaches, two of them, the best in the world -- I mean...


ABDUL: Ron Anderson and Gary Catona, between the two of them, they have coached everyone from Andrea Bocelli to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Guns `n Roses...


ABDUL: ... Kelly Clarkson.


ABDUL: ... Leann Rimes, you name it. Anyone who has ever achieved greatness has had one of them on tour with them, but...

JACKSON: Somewhere.

ABDUL: ... you know, if you live outside of Los Angeles or New York - - and out of the thousands of kids and parents that come up to us and say, How do we get better as a singer...

BRYANT: Right.

JACKSON: How do I help my kid? How do I...

BRYANT: Right.

JACKSON: ... learn to sing better? This is the tool.

ABDUL: And they don`t have the availability to get to the coaches. I mean, these guys charge a lot of money.

BRYANT: Right. Right. Right.

JACKSON: Five, six hundred bucks an hour...

BRYANT: Exactly.

JACKSON: ... each. One of the things is that, you know, even if you`re a pro, I mean, every pro athlete still has coaches.

BRYANT: You guys claim that you can help anybody sing with this, right?

ABDUL: With this DVD, absolutely.

JACKSON: With this DVD. The best tool ever.

BRYANT: OK. Well, we want to take a look at a clip from somebody auditioning for "American Idol." I`m getting the feeling that you don`t think this guy can be saved.

ABDUL: No, it`s not -- this guy actually has a tool.

JACKSON: He has a voice. He has a voice.

ABDUL: And this would help him choose a better key and teach him to sing in a different part of his register.

JACKSON: And you can hear he`s only singing in the falsetto now, you know?

BRYANT: Right.

JACKSON: He is not really embracing his real voice, you know what I mean?

BRYANT: I want to talk about the critiquing a little bit because, Paula, you are very often more positive than Simon, we know for sure, and when you say something like, you know, You made it your own and you really went out on a limb, while that can be positive, sometimes I wonder if that`s giving them false hope.

ABDUL: So you`ve seen me grow differently as a judge.

JACKSON: Right. That`s true. That`s true.

BRYANT: That`s true. That`s true.

ABDUL: There`s no mistaking that all of those contestants know whether or not I`m digging their performance or not.

BRYANT: Yes. That`s true.

ABDUL: And you know what? It`s -- my job, I think, is the hardest job out of all the judges because I am the only one that is a performer.

BRYANT: Right.

ABDUL: And as a performer, constructive criticism is all about finding something good and positive to soften the blow to the real critique of what really went on.

BRYANT: Right.

ABDUL: And you know what? They know what they did wrong. And I`m going to get there, but I`m also going to let them know what they did right.

BRYANT: Right. Right. Right.

JACKSON: And I think also, you know...

ABDUL: We invited them -- we invited the finalists to get there.


ABDUL: At this stage of the game, to tell them that they suck is absolutely insane.

BRYANT: Right.

JACKSON: Well, I think also, you have -- you know, we all have three distinct styles, so you have Simon that`s going to be the bludgeoner because he just must love that. I think he got his lunch money taken from him every day at school when he was a kid.


BRYANT: He`s getting even!

JACKSON: But anyway -- but anyway...

BRYANT: Sure. Sure.


ABDUL: He has no clue what it`s like to be a performer...

BRYANT: Right.

ABDUL: ... to have that vulnerability and that bravado.


ABDUL: He also represents the harshness of this business.

BRYANT: What`s also been a little bit exciting is the Mario Vazquez factor because...

JACKSON: Who? Who`s that?

ABDUL: When you say exciting -- like, I thought he was exciting in the competition.

JACKSON: Who is that?

BRYANT: Right.

ABDUL: I miss not having him in the competition. But we got over that really quickly because...

JACKSON: I miss not having Nikko now.

ABDUL: Because -- I miss not having Nikko now.


ABDUL: Nikko was very special. There`s always something that`s going to happen. I think Mario is an extremely talented guy...

JACKSON: Yes, a talented kid.

ABDUL: ... that`s going to go on with his career...


ABDUL: ... and have success. I hope so, for his sake.

BRYANT: Do you know why he left, though?

ABDUL: I have no clue.

JACKSON: No, we have no idea, but I mean, you know, it doesn`t really matter.

ABDUL: That`s his...

BRYANT: Who would you say right now has been the most improved singer this season?

ABDUL: Vonzell.

JACKSON: Probably Vonzell and Constantine...

ABDUL: Constantine.

JACKSON: ... at this point. They`ve both really come on...

ABDUL: They`ve both, like, shot through like shooting stars.


BRYANT: Paula and Randy also told me what makes this season different is that the finalists have the ability to, quote, "pull rabbits out of their hats."

HAMMER: Well, the season finale of "American Idol" airs on May 25, which is shaping up to be a big night on television. The season finale of "Lost" also airs that night, and today we learned that CBS has scheduled its Martha Stewart movie for that night, as well. Cybill Shepherd is once again playing Martha, as she did in NBC`s movie back in 2003.

BRYANT: A love of music and a desire to share it with the next generation brought an all-star team of performers to VH1`s Save the Music concert. The show airs on VH1 on Sunday night, but SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is giving you a sneak peek of the concert, where we also talked to some of those artists who turned out for a good cause.


L.L. COOL J., SAVE THE MUSIC: Obviously, I`m living proof that without music, a lot of dreams wouldn`t be coming true.

BRYANT (voice-over): L.L. Cool J. is just one of the stars trying to save the music dreams of thousands of school kids. Some of music`s biggest names turned out in New York City for VH1`s Save the Music concert, which raises money to restore music programs in public schools, and SHOWBIZ TONIGHT was there.

Alicia Keys told our David Haffenreffer it`s a cause near and dear to her heart.

ALICIA KEYS, SAVE THE MUSIC: For me to be a part of something like Save the Music and really showing people how important music is in our lives and kids` lives, just to inspire us, is so important to me.

BRYANT: Alicia got the ball rolling with first a solo set and then a hot duet. She and Matchbox 20 lead singer Rob Thomas had the crowd on its feet with the old Bill Withers` song "Use Me." In fact, match-ups were the order of the night. Teen sensation Josh Stone had three of them. She grooved with John Legend for "Tell Me Something Good." She showed off her own hot legs while singing the classic Rod Stewart song with Hot Rod himself. And she tried a little tenderness with disco legend Donna Summer.

After their duet, Summer had a surprise for Josh.

DONNA SUMMER, SAVE THE MUSIC: Could you help me in singing "Happy Birthday" to Josh? It`s her 18th birthday!

BRYANT: She lead the crowd in singing "Happy Birthday" to the shocked teenager, who turned 18 that night. That impromptu serenade for the young music star was a nice, fitting moment for a night dedicated to preserving school music programs for perhaps the next Josh Stone.

L.L. COOL J.: You have to take care of the kids. And I think the way to take care of the kids is to not take away music and take away the arts from them. Reading and writing is important, and math is important, of course. But art has its place, too.


BRYANT: Save the Music has been a huge success for VH1 and for talented school kids. VH1 says since it began the effort in 1997, Save the Music has provided nearly 30 million new musical instruments to 1,200 public schools.

HAMMER: So have you noticed a little more God on TV lately? Here`s a revelation, a whole genre of TV that relies on religion. That`s coming up in "SHOWBIZ In Depth."

BRYANT: Plus, new TV musical "Reefer Madness." Let`s just be blunt. Ana Gasteyer joins us live in the "SHOWBIZ Sitdown."

Now tonight`s "Entertainment Weekly Great American Pop Culture Quiz." Which rap impresario ran the 2003`s New York marathon and raised $2 million for the city`s children? Was it, A, P. Diddy, B, Jay-Z, C, 50 Cent or D, Eminem? We`ll be back with the answer.


BRYANT: Welcome back. So again, tonight`s "Entertainment Weekly Great American Pop Culture Quiz." Which rap impresario ran the 2003 New York marathon and raised $2 million for the city`s children? Was it P. Diddy, Jay-Z, 50 Cent or Eminem? The answer is A, P. Diddy.

HAMMER: Well, it is now 15 minutes past the hour and time for "SHOWBIZ In Depth." Religious-based shows in primetime. NBC is the latest big winner. It`s faith-based miniseries "Revelations" is a slick mystery, and it`s loosely based on the New Testament`s Book of Revelation. It debuted with very strong ratings on Wednesday night, coming in second place behind "American Idol." But "Revelations" is not alone. The WB`s "Joan of Arcadia" is another example of religious-based shows. That is also attracting a solid audience, and so is the WB`s "Seventh Heaven." And there is yet more to come. Why the growing interest in such shows?

Well, joining us live for "SHOWBIZ In Depth," from Los Angeles, Gavin Polone. He`s the co-executive producer of NBC`s "Revelations." And Gloria Goodale from "The Christian Science Monitor" newspaper. In Seattle tonight, Michael Medved, nationally syndicated radio host and veteran film critic. Great to have you all with us.

And I`d like to start with you, Gloria. Why the sudden interest, seemingly sudden interest, in religious-based shows? Is this coming from the big success of "The Da Vinci Code" and "Passion of the Christ"?

GLORIA GOODALE, "THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR": Well, I think there`s really several things going on. Obviously, the big success of "Da Vinci Code" and "The Passion of the Christ," which was to a lot of mainstream audiences unexpected. But there`s deeper trends going on. For instance, the maturing of the Baby Boom generation. You have a lot of people who get to the point -- a certain point in their life where they start to ask larger questions. And some of the shows like "Joan of Arcadia," "Seventh Heaven," "Touched by an Angel," "Highway to Heaven" -- those are the things that kind of benefit from that, as a general kind of spirituality.

But a show like "Revelations" and some shows that are coming up, "Book of Daniel" on NBC is in development -- you`re going to begin to see more specific religious themes as networks begin to say, Look, you know, we want to see if we can take some of that apple and get a little bit of that audience.

HAMMER: OK. And Gavin, could you have imagined the massive success that "Revelations" had? I`m sure you had hoped for it, but did you see this coming?

GAVIN POLONE, CO-EXEC. PRODUCER, "REVELATIONS": I absolutely did. I`ve been looking for a long time for a project to do that would really resonate with America in a way that most television doesn`t. I think that we were looking to try to hit something that was specifically religious, with a specific religion, and have it based somewhat on the New Testament and the teachings of Jesus Christ, so that it seemed different from shows like "Joan of Arcadia" or "Highway to Heaven," which didn`t really offer any kind of religion and didn`t really correspondent to the way most Americans worship.

HAMMER: Michael, I know you`ve been paying attention to this trend, as well. Some of these are just good television shows, but is it based on escapism, or is there actually some real religiosity involved in the fact that there`s such a large religious sector of this country that`s making this trend move forward?

MICHAEL MEDVED, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, basically, Hollywood has been practicing escapism for years by escaping from the obvious reality that America is a very deeply religious country. Every single weekend in this country, five times the number of people go to church or synagogue as those who go to the multiplex to go to a movie theater. And this is a country where 70 percent of us pray every day. And what`s been astonishing is how few shows have attempted to connect with that.

And I do think it`s very important to make a distinction between "The Passion of the Christ" and "The Da Vinci Code" because "The Passion of the Christ" was an attempt to connect with orthodox Christianity...

HAMMER: Right.

MEDVED: ... and to provide a faithful recounting of the New Testament. "The Da Vinci Code," obviously, is a work of deep religious skepticism that basically treats the entire Catholic Church as a conspiracy and a lie. I think that you saw with the funeral of the Holy Father, of Pope John Paul II, just how much religion does touch people and animate people and can unite people, when it`s properly addressed.

HAMMER: So Gloria, is Hollywood now just catching on? Did it have its blinders on for a few years, and now it`s sort of opening up to this and warming up to this more?

GOODALE: Well, I think it`s a little complicated by the fact that broadcasters have always been a little leery of specific religion because they didn`t want to offend any segment of their -- any niche in their populations. But as, you know, TV is -- broadcasters have faced dwindling audiences, and they need to reach out to audiences that are clearly there, as Michael said, the -- you know, a huge population that has an appetite for this and has demonstrated they will pay money to both go to the theater and watch it on TV.

HAMMER: And Gavin, as a producer, what direction do you see religious-themed TV programs taking? Are we going to have a religious- themed reality show before long?

POLONE: You know, actually, someone pitched that to me today.


POLONE: And I said that I really didn`t think that a religious-based reality show would work if it was anything like most of the things that you see.

I think the important thing for television right now is to really boldly break out of the rut of crime shows, legal shows and medical shows. What is great about "Revelations," aside from the fact that we have a very clear expression of a specific religion on it, is the fact that it`s very different from all of the "CSI" and "Law & Order" knock-offs.

HAMMER: Right.

POLONE: I think "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" also fall into that mode. So I would hope that television would go in a direction of trying to find something that really is different from everything else on the air and that the broadcasters try to originate, as opposed to replicate, which is really what`s been going on for about the last 10 years.

HAMMER: I see you nodding your head, Michael. Real quickly, what do you think about that?

MEDVED: Well, I think -- I`d like to pitch Gavin on a religious- themed reality show. My wife and I study with a wonderful orthodox rabbi with 18 children who has still managed to write 30 books. That`s a reality show in the making, Gavin. You`ve got to do it.

HAMMER: All right, I`m sure...

POLONE: You already have a large audience of 18 that would watch it.


HAMMER: There you go! You got a built-in audience. I want to thank the three of you, Gavin, Gloria and Michael, for joining us tonight...

GOODALE: Thank you.

HAMMER: ... and really appreciate your insight, as well.

And now, of course, we would like to know your thoughts. It is our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Religious-themed TV shows: Would you like to see more of them? Maybe with 18 kids involved? Vote at Got more to tell us, e-mail us at We`ll share some of what you have to say later in the show.

BRYANT: "House of D" is out in theaters today. Will critics give it an A? We`ll find out coming up in "People" magazine`s "Picks and Pans."


HAMMER: Well, Friday night`s finally here, so it is time now for "People" magazine`s movie "Picks and Pans." And we`ve got two very different films to talk about tonight. "The Amityville Horror and "The House of D" both arrive in theaters today. And joining us from "People" magazine, movie critic Leah Rozen. Nice to see you, Leah.


HAMMER: Ryan Reynolds on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT a couple of days ago said it was a bit scary on the set of "Amityville Horror." Is the movie as scary as the 1979 original?

ROZEN: It`s probably a little scarier because now they have all kinds of special effects. But you know, this is one of those haunted house pictures. And I don`t want to spoil it, but you know, there are no ghosts, but bad things happen. This nice couple moves to a house, where the son of the house had murdered -- it`s allegedly based on a true story -- had murdered his entire family. This nice young couple and their kids move into the house, and rapidly, horrible things happen. It`s pretty much your standard-issue horror film. At that, it does pretty well. But there really is no reason teenagers and -- teenagers -- anyone besides teenagers...

HAMMER: Need to go.

ROZEN: ... and adults who like horror films have to go.

HAMMER: OK. Let`s move on to the directorial debut of David Duchovny, who was here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT last night, "The House of D," opening just in New York and LA this weekend.

ROZEN: Right. I think David Duchovny shows more skill as a director than as a writer.


ROZEN: He has written himself a rather slight, very sentimental story, I mean, casting Robin Williams yet again as a retarded man. So the film, though there are some nice scenes, he -- it is not self-indulgent in the way that many directors -- many actor-turned-directors` films are. It`s OK, not great.

HAMMER: OK. Not a lot of places to see it this weekend, in any event. Thanks for your insight, Leah.

ROZEN: You`re welcome.

HAMMER: Appreciate it. And of course, for more "Picks and Pans," you can check out "People" magazine, which is now on newsstands everywhere.

BRYANT: It`s a first for "The Apprentice." Chris breaks a record by losing seven times in a row, and last night was the final straw. He joins us live, coming up.


HAMMER: Reaper madness. Ana Gasteyer in a new movie musical and she`s smoking and with us live.

BRYANT: And driven out. Chris` car ad doesn`t cut it, so he`s cut. The latest fired "Apprentice" live.


ABDUL: Hi. I`m Paula Abdul.

JACKSON: And I`m Randy Jackson.

ABDUL: And if it happened today, it`s on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


BRYANT: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It`s 30 minutes past the hour. I`m Karyn Bryant.

HAMMER: And I am A.J. Hammer. Here are tonight`s hot headlines.

BRYANT: The tax men and women cometh. Today is April 15th and that means it`s time for everyone, including celebrities to get those files out to the IRS. The Donald did his 1040. Trump tells us that he`s quote, "well prepared."

HAMMER: And tonight, one of the first pictures of Britney Spears since she confirmed her pregnancy. Today "People" magazine released a shot of Britney on the balcony of her apartment in Destin, Florida. And that`s hubby Kevin Federline in Italian "Vogue" she`s holding up. More exclusive Britney photos will be in next week`s issue of "People" magazine.

BRYANT: We`ve been asking you to vote on our "showbiz question of the day," religious themed TV shows. Would you like to see more of them? Keep voting at and send us your e-mails at We`ll share some of what you had to say at 55 past the hour.

HAMMER: It is time for more showbiz shorts. Happy Diddy day, everyone. Yes, the city of Las Vegas has declared today, April 15th, Diddy day. The mayor and the city council are recognizing P. Diddy`s achievements, everything from albums to clothing to reality TV and a voter registration campaign.

Well, 1985 is coming to 2005. "The Wedding Singer" is heading to Broadway. The 1998 film set in 1985 starring Adam Sandler as the front man of a band is being turned into a musical. Expect to see "The Wedding Singer" on the great white way sometime in the next year.

BRYANT: It is Showtime`s first movie musical and it just happens to be about marijuana. It`s the remake of the 1938 cult classic "Reefer Madness." It was a documentary of sorts meant to show the dangers of smoking marijuana.

"Reefer Madness" was made from parts of a church propaganda film that delivers a stern warning about the dangers of smoking pot. Just one puff can lead to lewd behavior, mania and even death. It languished in obscurity, but in the `70s, a pro-marijuana group picked up the rights for about 300 bucks, and a cult classic was born which eventually was made into a musical.

Well, now Showtime premieres what it`s calling a network theatrical motion picture, "Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical." Ana Gasteyer stars and joins us here live. Welcome, Ana.


BRYANT: So much fun. I watched it today. Tell me a little bit about your character first off.

GASTEYER: Well, I play May the reefer den matron and the girlfriend with the heart of gold to the dealer. So, she`s actually in the old one. She`s the one that jumps out of the window. But in this one, they take a little artistic liberty and she actually just beats her boyfriend to death with a garden hose. So it`s a little twist on the old one.

BRYANT: And Steven Weber plays.

GASTEYER: Steven Weber plays Jack, the dealer, and.

BRYANT: We have a clip, actually. We want to take a look at this. I think this is where -- he said something about you can`t -- you have to have your toke the morning and you`re in your lingerie.

GASTEYER: Yeah, he sort of knocks me about, but I am hooked on the reefer. So there`s nothing -- my hands are tied. So I`m an addict to the funny cigarettes, as they say.

BRYANT: So funny. And you did your own singing, very commendable.

GASTEYER: Thank you.

BRYANT: Was there ever a point, because obviously this is very melodramatic and over the top. Did you ever go too far?

GASTEYER: I don`t think it`s possible. The original is so over the top and so extreme in its depiction of marijuana. It characterizes it on a completely different level. So it`s very campy. It was meant as sort of a send-up, a historical send-up. It`s kind of like I say, Andrew Lloyd Webber meets Mel Brooks meets Roger Corman. It is essentially a musical comedy and it`s a very campy comedy with this sort of back story of the original movie.

BRYANT: What is it, though, that defines the line between bad, just bad and bad campy fun classic?

GASTEYER: Well, I think time has helped us and having perspective on, you know, I think understanding that it`s an outrageous depiction of, you know, of the effects of pot.

BRYANT: Even just in general, some movies are just horrible and then some are so bad they are campy fun.

GASTEYER: I don`t know. I think probably that heavy commitment to melodrama and playing it as real as you possibly can in absurd situations helps people to understand how absurd they are. I think the fact that it was in the `30s we played very intensely with the idea of that genre in film and the sort of tortured heroine and those characters, those women in particular are just sort of south of feminism. They really want to break out but they don`t really know about the options. It gives you a lot of limits and I think playing those as real as you possibly can hopefully is what becomes funny about it.

BRYANT: Now I want to quickly talk about what you are doing. You have your own one-woman show, right?

GASTEYER: I do. I really focused on the singing. I mean this was a great opportunity since I left SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE and wrote a one-woman show cabaret act that I do here in New York. I`m doing it April 24th at Joe`s pub. I`m also leaving, I`m heading to Chicago to play Elphaba in the musical "Wicked."

BRYANT: Wicked good. I`m from Boston, that`s wicked good.

GASTEYER: There`s going to be a Chicago production of "Wicked," and that`s what I`m going to be doing for the next little while.

BRYANT: Great, well, congratulations to you, Ana Gasteyer. It is "Reefer Madness" premiering on Showtime tomorrow.

HAMMER: Well, they`ve been talking all day and we`ve been listening now as we do every night on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. The best from today`s talk shows. Earlier this week I had the great pleasure of chatting with the lovely Mariah Carey. Well, today, on LIVE WITH REGIS AND KELLY, Mariah took some ribbing from Regis about her outfit. But Mariah didn`t take it sitting down of course and neither did her dog Jack.


REGIS PHILBIN, CO-HOST, "LIVE WITH REGIS AND KELLY": You are a little Swiss miss here.

MARIAH CAREY, SINGER: You are ruining my day, Regis. Can`t we just go back to the beach and we were jogging. I didn`t discuss your ensemble. He had on a very hot speedo. It was wonderful.

KELLY RIPA, CO-HOST, "LIVE WITH REGIS AND KELLY": Regis was wearing a speedo?

CAREY: No, he wasn`t.

PHILBIN: Usually I jog in the nude, but, anyway, no wonder you didn`t forget me. But, OK.

RIPA: It`s mommy. Jack. Jack. Jack. I will bite you back, Jack.

CAREY: Be careful. I don`t want to be responsible, darling. Just one second, Jack. Please for TV. Get it. One, two.

RIPA: You`ve got a Jack Russell named Jack?

CAREY: Yes, isn`t that original?


BRYANT: Cute pup. Mariah doesn`t sing at weddings, but as we told you, "The Wedding Singer" is coming to Broadway. Our buzz bench time warps to the 1980s.

HAMMER: And last night, Chris` apprenticeship came to a screeching halt. The latest to be booted from the board room, live.

BRYANT: And now the very latest "Entertainment Weekly" must list just out today. Five things EW says you must do in the coming week. They say make sure to check out Weezer`s Beverly Hills video shot at the "Playboy" mansion. Another must, the "Sideways" DVD with really funny commentary by the stars Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church. And in theaters, "Fever Pitch," as Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon take the field. Another must suggestion, "Kung Fu Hustle." This is Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and the Loony Tunes, all wrapped up together. And on TV, "Gray`s Anatomy," ABC`s hospital drama where the doctors play doctor with each other. Well, there`s much more on the must list and you`ll find it in the new "Entertainment Weekly" on newsstands.



ALEXIS BLEDEL: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and Jimmy Choo (ph) shoes. I chose it because it has a vintage feel that I like, and I like the color a lot. So .


BRYANT: It is time for the "Buzz Bench," where we chat about the stuff you are talking about. Tonight, "The Wedding Singer" gets a new gig. Gotti goes Broadway and Diddy honored by a city.

HAMMER: Joining us on the Friday night "Buzz Bench," "Rolling Stones`" Joe Levy, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT contributor Amy Kean and the "New York Times`" Lola Ogunnaike. Let`s get to topic number one which is all about "The Wedding Singer." Everybody saw the movie back in 1998, a romantic comedy. Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. It`s coming to Broadway. It`s coming to Broadway. Drama. Lola, you`re on.

LOLA OGUNNAIKE, NEW YORK TIMES: It`s coming to Broadway, and -- I just don`t know what to make of that. What`s next? "50 First Dates"? "Mr. Deeds."

JOE LEVY, ROLLING STONE: I want to see "Happy Gilmore." I think "Happy Gilmore" could be a fantastic - he could.

AMY KEAN, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT CONTRIBUTOR: It`s disgusting. There`s clearly such a huge drought with talent in musical theater. I just saw "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" not long ago and it was an OK movie. Is it worthy of a musical on Broadway? No.

OGUNNAIKE: But the thing is now more than ever you need a huge hook to draw a Broadway audience, and if you.


LEVY: These Broadway shows are tremendously expensive to produce and the tickets are expensive, over $100 for a seat. They got to have a property that people know about, which in this case is "The Wedding Singer."

KEAN: Also, tourists are the ones are going to these. If they see someone`s name and they say, oh, he`s on "Everybody Loves Raymond," then they`ll go see it.


KEAN: But the truth is, I think it`s gotten really ridiculous. I think.

OGUNNAIKE: Adam Sandler is one of the finest actors of our times and just because they want to interpret one of his works .

LEVY: This is the same producer who put "Hair Spray" on Broadway, awesome movie and a good show, good Broadway show. So I mean, you know, maybe.

BRYANT: You never know, you never know. Doing another show, let`s move on to topic two, Victoria Gotti. You see her on "Growing Up Gotti." She is the mother of the boys on the show and she is the daughter of John Gotti. And she is actually prepping for a role in an off Broadway show called "We`re Still Hot." And that`s going to debut April 30th. She will be singing and dancing. Amy?

KEAN: Yes. First of all, I make it a point to never say anything negative about somebody with mob ties ever. So I think she -- the thing is that, first of all, it`s off Broadway. So it`s not that big a deal and, you know, who knows. You know, people -- a lot of people were very horrified when Tony Danza was in "The Ice Man Cometh" a few years ago and he got great reviews.

LEVY: I`m horrified just finding out about it now.

KEAN: I was walking through Times Square a few years ago and Cheryl Ladd was in "Annie Get Your Gun." Tom Wopat was in "Annie Get Your Gun." I mean, Broadway is not what it used to be.

OGUNNAIKE: That`s what we were talking about earlier. You need a marquee name. You need a draw and she has a lot of fans. There are people who read her book. There are people who like her columns.

LEVY: Can we distinguish between Victoria Gotti and Tony Danza? Actor, not actor.

HAMMER: These are all names that for better or for worse they are all actors. Victoria Gotti was - she was an actress when she was in third grade I think was the only other credit she has.

KEAN: On one hand we should be open minded, but on the other hand I feel sorry for all these kids at Juilliard who are slaving away trying to get on Broadway because that isn`t necessarily --


HAMMER: Let`s move on to a happy occasion. Happy Diddy day everyone.

Of course, Las Vegas has declared April 15th, today, P. Diddy day. That`s right. We`re of course wondering why. And, you know, who else would you give a dedicated day to? There`s nothing wrong with Diddy getting a day in Vegas.

LEVY: You know what, in New York, every day is Diddy day, am I right?


OGUNNAIKE: What does it mean to have a day after you?

LEVY: They give you the key to the city or they thank you for being there.


KEAN: .giving money to the city. No one really celebrates these things.

OGUNNAIKE: What do you do on Diddy day? Do you like shave your hair into a Mohawk? Do you run a marathon, what do you do on Diddy day? Shout out to Biggie? Like, what do you do on Diddy day?

LEVY: I`d like to see a day in Vegas dedicated to the two of you.

BRYANT: Thank you, I`ll take it. With that, we`re going to wrap it up. Joe, Amy Kean and Lola Ogunnaike. Thanks for joining us here on Friday night`s buzz bench.

Well, networks thought they had shifted into high gear but the Donald put up the stop sign and sent an apprentice wannabe to the street. Chris joins us live.

HAMMER: Plus, Jon Stewart heads to "Sesame Street." That`s coming up in "Laughter Dark."


HAMMER: NBC`s THE APPRENTICE had a strong showing but came in second in the ratings to CBS` "CSI" last night and "Net Worth" came in second to the Magna (ph) team as the drama hit a breaking point in the boardroom. The task was to design this brochure for Pontiac`s brand new convertible. Well, in the end, Magna`s flashy brochure was the clear choice, which led to the perhaps most emotional boardroom ever. And joining us live in our studio tonight, the "Apprentice" cast-off Chris Shelton from last night. Nice to see you.


HAMMER: It was an emotional boardroom last night and not only did you get canned or fired, but you also got a little pep talk in the end. We`re going to take a look at that right now. Roll the clip.


DONALD TRUMP, HOST, "APPRENTICE": You were the team leader. The team was a mess. The project was no good, and, Chris, you are fired. Don`t take it so hard. Get over here. Get over here. Two things. I want you to promise me. You got to watch your temper. You got a lot of emotion. Sometimes that gets into temper. Number two, stay away from that damn tobacco. OK, you promise?

SHELTON: Yes, sir.

TRUMP: OK. You got a lot of potential. You`re going to be a big success.


HAMMER: Now seven weeks in a row we`re seeing you in the boardroom and normally as the very strong, rather verbose individual that I assume you can be some of the time, but last night you actually had the anger a bit under control and you were shedding some tears, Chris.

SHELTON: Yeah, it was definitely emotional for me. You know, you go through this entire thing and the ups and downs. You don`t know if you are winning, you`re losing, you`re getting fired. When it`s finally over, it`s like this major emotional release. Everything off your shoulders and it`s done and that`s really where that stemmed from.

HAMMER: Because several weeks in a row and particularly last week I thought it really looked like you were going to get it and then he kind of let you weasel out.

SHELTON: Yeah, we definitely had somewhat of a rapport, Donald and I. He`s a great guy. I guess he really sees a younger him in me.

HAMMER: It is not the first time you made headlines this week of course. It was all over the news about the fact that you got busted down in Tampa I guess it was last Sunday. You want to clear this up for us? Something about the fact that you had a $20 cover charge to pay and you didn`t want to pay it and it got kind of out of control.

SHELTON: To start with, I was probably a little out of line raising my voice. I live in Las Vegas, where hospitality is, you know, very important at the hotels and in this specific situation, I had spent $2,000 for two nights in a hotel. In Las Vegas I would have been treated a little differently than they treated me there. And the situation escalated very quickly and it was a bad situation.

HAMMER: A lot was made over the course of your series of the "Apprentice" about your anger management issues. Are you getting that under control? Are you seeing anybody about that?

SHELTON: I don`t think that I would need to see anybody about it. I`m a very passionate individual. On the show, everybody has their ups and their downs. They just showed a lot more of my downs than my ups.

HAMMER: And they also showed Donald railing on you quite a bit. He laid into you, man. So the question is would you work for him if you had the chance?

SHELTON: Would I work for Donald? I`d work with him and I will in the future.

HAMMER: And do you think he would take you up on that?

SHELTON: I know he will.

HAMMER: All right. Well, Chris Shelton, good luck to you. Thanks for stopping by.

SHELTON: Thank you so much.

HAMMER: And of course you can catch the "Apprentice" Thursday nights on NBC.

BRYANT: And another "Survivor" cast-off. Here`s one more showbiz short. Coby gets clipped. The hairstylist from Texas was voted off "Survivor: Palau" last night. His teammates felt he was too much of a threat. Coby is the tenth person to get booted and he will be the first member of the jury that will determine this SURVIVOR`S winner.

HAMMER: Jon Stewart is heading to where the air is sweet. You know where that place is and it`s coming up in laughter dark.

BRYANT: And there`s still time for you to vote in our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Religious themed TV shows. Would you like to see more of them? You can vote at or email us at


HAMMER: I am A.J. Hammer. Karyn Bryant will be along shortly. Time for more showbiz shorts. Slim Shady`s sued. I`m glad I didn`t screw that up. This afternoon, a Michigan appeals court dismissed a lawsuit against the rapper. An ex-schoolmate had said Eminem`s 1999 song "Brain Damage" falsely depicted him. In the lyrics, Em says the man beat him up in a school bathroom. The court said the words were not meant to be taken literally.

BRYANT: Well, it is time to get your laugh on. I`m back. It is time to get your laugh on in laughter dark. As we do every night, we bring you the late night laughs you may have missed.

HAMMER: We`re going to go to "The Daily Show" right now. On "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart, Jon highlights "Sesame Street`s" latest effort to program for their audience. Take a look at this.


JON STEWART, HOST, DAILY SHOW: A growing number of today`s children are overweight. In fact, today`s bullies no longer have time to beat up every fat kid after school. So a concerned "Sesame Street" kicked of its 36th season with an entire episode dedicated to healthy eating, featuring such guest stars as Alicia Keys, "Jeopardy" whiz Ken Jennings and Wyclef Jean, who rapped a tune called (UNINTELLIGIBLE). All went well on the set until Wyclef and Elmo got into a contest to see who could over-refer to themselves in the third person. Elmo left in tears.


HAMMER: They both do tend to do that, referring in the third person.

BRYANT: Jon Stewart is fantastic. That show is funny every single night.

HAMMER: And he`s coming to TV in another venue.

BRYANT: That`s right. Stewart is getting set to make his debut appearance on "Oprah" and we`ve got a sneak peak and he chats with the daytime host about Martha Stewart, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston`s breakup and Michael Jackson.


STEWART: Somebody 15 years ago should have said once you pay $20 million to someone to settle a child molestation suit, that`s when the sleepovers end, as far as I can say.


BRYANT: Oprah adds that Stewart is one of the quote, funniest, smartest men I`ve ever met, end quote and of course, you can see the rest of the interview on "Oprah" on Monday.

HAMMER: Throughout the show, we`ve been asking you to vote online on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Religious-themed TV shows. Would you like to see more of them? Here`s how the voting is going so far, 22 percent of you said yes you would like to see more religious themed TV shows, which means 78 percent of you said, no, you would not. Some e-mails on the subject as well. One from Tony says, I think that people are responding to the mystery behind these shows rather than the religious content.

Also, heard from Samantha who lives in Oxnard, California. She simply says, I would like to see more shows with a religious theme on prime-time TV. Please remember, you can continue to vote simply by going to the world wide web at

BRYANT: It is time to se what`s playing on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on Monday.

HAMMER: Let`s take a look at the showbiz marquee and kick off our weekend with the marquee guy.

ANNOUNCER: OK. Here`s the story. Guy meets girl. Girl and guy don`t click. So that`s it, right? No. This is a movie, people. Ashton and Amanda sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g. It`s Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet in "A Lot Like Love" and you are going to love when we`re at the premiere Monday, live.

OK. Here`s another story. Your house is about to be demolished and your best friend is out of this world. So you hit the road and grab "The Hitchhiker`s Guide to the Galaxy," Monday. This is the marquee guy, and I am feeling perky and hitting the road, Jack.

BRYANT: OK. Well, that does it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. We`ll see you here tomorrow.

HAMMER: Nancy Grace coming up next right after the latest from HEADLINE NEWS.


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