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Stewart`s Probation Officials Question Domestic Diva`s Attendance of `Time`s` 100 Most Influential Party; Interview With Leann Rimes

Aired April 25, 2005 - 19:00:00   ET


A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: Martha Stewart under the microscope.
KARYN BRYANT, CO-HOST: And Leann Rimes in the "SHOWBIZ Sitdown." I`m Karyn Bryant.


BRYANT: Tonight, Martha Stewart is under investigation again. Did she mix business with pleasure?

HAMMER: A fashion show, an auction and a star-studded audience. It`s all for a good cause, and SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is there.

BRYANT: Tonight, in the "SHOWBIZ Sitdown," Tamara Tunie. From "Law & Order" to "As the World Turns" to Broadway, she`s everywhere, and she joins us tonight, live.

HAMMER: Every dog has his day, but the stars` dogs never have to "ruff" it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is good stuff.


HAMMER: Tonight, a look at celebrities` pampered pooches.

BRYANT: Also in the "SHOWBIZ Sitdown," Leann Rimes. The host of "Nashville Star" joins us live.


LEANN RIMES, "NASHVILLE STAR": Hi, everyone. I`m Leann Rimes. If it happened today, it`s on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


HAMMER: Hello. I`m A.J. Hammer, and you`re at the top of the show. (INAUDIBLE) as we begin here tonight!


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

HAMMER: Well, tonight, Martha Stewart is waiting to see if a night on the town is going to send her on a trip back to prison.

BRYANT: We got confirmation today that probation officers are investigating whether Martha`s recent night out was on the up-and-up. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s David Haffenreffer is here with the very latest.

DAVID HAFFENREFFER, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT: Indeed, A.J. and Karyn, that night on the town in question took place last Tuesday night at "Time" magazine`s party honoring its list of the "100 Most Influential People." Martha Stewart was on the list and at the party. I happened to be at that party when Martha Stewart showed up. Little did we know that the Martha sighting would launch the beginnings of Stewart`s latest legal headache.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Martha walked in herself, garnering her own share of flashbulbs and whatnot.


HAFFENREFFER: That was the scene last Tuesday, when Martha Stewart walked in, in front of the world media, right behind me, to the "Time" magazine party. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT cameras were inside the event, rolling as Martha gave a toast.

MARTHA STEWART, MARTHA STEWART LIVING OMNIMEDIA: It`s a pleasure to be here, as you can imagine.

ANDERSON: And took her share of ribbing from fellow honoree Jon Stewart.

JON STEWART, "THE DAILY SHOW": Sitting here with her tonight really makes you appreciate how well our prison system is rehabilitating people. She was polite, demure. She did, I will say this, fashion a shiv out of the lamb shank.

HAFFENREFFER: But probation officials who gave Stewart permission to attend the event aren`t laughing now. They tell CNN, quote, "We are looking into whether Martha violated the conditions of her release." Martha`s been popping up at several events in New York lately. She announced her deal with Sirius satellite radio just days after she attended the National Magazine Awards. Apparently, probation officials were OK with those appearances. So what`s the big deal about the "Time" event?

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT getting some answers. I asked securities attorney and former prosecutor John Lawrence Allen.

JOHN LAWRENCE ALLEN, SECURITIES ATTORNEY: This was questionable now as to whether this was a work-related event.

HAFFENREFFER: That`s the $100,000 question here because the terms of Stewart`s release from prison last March included five months of house arrest. Her huge estate in Bedford, New York, isn`t exactly Shawshank prison, but Martha`s only allowed to leave for 48 hours a week for religious services, food shopping, medical appointments and work. And that`s what probation officials are looking into, whether going to a star- studded gala really counts as work.

Allen believes Martha may be able to argue that it was.

ALLEN: If I were Martha Stewart, I would certainly argue that publicity is part and parcel of what she does for a living, that the event promoted her, that she was considered one of the most 100 influential people in America at the time, and that anything that can promote publicity of her or Omnimedia is going to be work-related.

HAFFENREFFER: That`s exactly what Martha Stewart`s company is saying. In a statement released today, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia says, quote, "Having Martha present at industry events where she is honored and recognized for her achievements, whether or not they hand out awards, is valuable to us," unquote.

Now, if authorities decide Martha violated her probation, they could really clamp down on her. She could be kept at home, with no exceptions, until her house arrest ends in August. Or she could be sent back to prison. But that`s not considered likely.

This whole "Time" party flap may end up as nothing more than a warning to Martha Stewart to make sure that her efforts to wheel and deal her way back to the big stage don`t land her back in the big house.


HAFFENREFFER: And we should also tell you that "Time" magazine, the company that sponsored the event in question, is owned by CNN`s parent company, Time Warner. One thing we don`t know for sure is why probation officials are investigating Stewart for going to an event that they already had given her the OK to attend in the first place. John Lawrence Allen, that attorney that we spoke with today, says that they may be looking into whether Stewart misrepresented the nature of the event when she asked for permission to go. You`ve got to get that permission slip signed.

HAMMER: Yes, you do. We`ll be buzzing about that a bit later. Thanks very much, David.

Well, whether or not Martha Stewart violated the terms of her house arrest is for probation officials to decide. But here at SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, we want to take it to the court of public opinion, and that leads us to our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Martha Stewart: Does she have too much freedom? Let us know what you think. Go to the Web to take our poll at You can e-mail us more of what you have to say at And we will share some of your feedback later on in the show.

BRYANT: Time for "SHOWBIZ Shorts," a look at more stories making news tonight. Check your wedding registries. Elton John is engaged. The singer`s publicist said today that John intends to marry his long-term partner, David Furnish, sometime either this year or next.

Paris Hilton says the next season of "The Simple Life" will be hotter and cooler. Hilton says "The Simple Life 4" will be in Hawaii with her new best friend, Kimberly Stewart. She is Rod Stewart`s daughter. Hilton isn`t commenting on what happened between her and Nicole Richie, saying only that she hopes Richie is happy and healthy.

HAMMER: Well, Karyn, it turns out Nicole Richie is happy and healthy, and she turned out this weekend in Los Angeles to raise some money to help others be the same way. She and dozens of other celebrities made it out for the Race to Erase MS. It was a benefit to raise money for those with multiple sclerosis. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT was right there as the stars found a pretty creative way to do it.


HAMMER (voice-over): They strutted, they flaunted, they were passionate about raising money for multiple sclerosis. Carmen Electra and Dave Navarro were just a few of the stars who took to the celebrity catwalk decked out in one-of-a-kind Tommy Hilfiger rock-inspired fashion. Hilfiger, who co-chairs the Nancy Davis Foundation for MS, says the cause is one that hits close to home.

TOMMY HILFIGER, NANCY DAVIS FOUNDATION FOR MS: My sister has MS, and 10 years ago, Nancy asked me to join her in raising money for her foundation. So I`ve been a part of it every year. Every penny goes directly into research, which is unusual for a charity.

HAMMER: Nancy Davis started the foundation soon after being diagnosed with MS more than a decade ago. The daughter of tycoon Marvin Davis, Nancy is dedicated to finding a cure for the disease, which destroys the central nervous system.

NANCY DAVIS, NANCY DAVIS FOUNDATION FOR MS: I am so thrilled. I`m so excited with the turnout of everybody. Everybody`s so amazingly wonderful, generous, and giving to this fabulous cause. And it`s really helping us do what we need to do. We`re really bound and determined we`re going to find a cure.

HAMMER: Also out to support the cause, actress Virginia Madsen, pop star Lindsay Lohan, "Simple Life" star Nicole Richie and "Desperate Housewife" Nicolette Sheridan.

NICOLETTE SHERIDAN, "DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES": I`ve been a friend of Nancy Davis`s for many years, and I love to support her and her fight and her foundation for what it does.

NICOLE RICHIE, "THE SIMPLE LIFE": Nancy Davis is my godmother, and she obviously has MS, and this is just a really important place for me to be tonight. I`m here every year, and I`m on the board, so it`s a really good thing.

HAMMER: Richie helped out her godmother by strutting her stuff at the fashion show. And Earth Wind and Fire and Natalie Cole gave special performances for the benefit. Plus, celebs indulged in a silent auction featuring a signed sax by Kenny G and Kobe Bryant`s jersey.

VIRGINIA MADSEN, "SIDEWAYS": I get really competitive at auctions. The bottom line is, it`s really easy to give your time, and it`s exciting, the, you know, discoveries that are being made every day. And so I`m just glad to lend my support.


HAMMER: So all that star power paid off big-time. This year`s Race to Erase MS raised an incredible $2.7 million.

BRYANT: A grand old surprise. Dolly Parton invited Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on stage at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville on Saturday night as members of the U.S. military were watching via satellite from Iraq.


DOLLY PARTON: You know, I introduced secretary of defense, Mr. Rumsfeld, a few minutes ago. And I think it would only be good if he came up here and talked to the folks. Won`t you? So how about a nice welcome for the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld! Come on up here and be part of our Grand Ole Opry family! How are you, sir?


BRYANT: I love Dolly`s voice. Well, the Opry is part of a Pentagon program called America Supports You, which highlights projects that support U.S. troops.

HAMMER: Well, right now, we are taking you to Nashville for a "SHOWBIZ Sitdown" with Leann Rimes. She has sold more than 20 million albums and is the host of the country music talent show "Nashville Star." The season finale airs tomorrow night. And Leann joins us now live from the very set of that show in Nashville. Nice to see you, Leann.

LEANN RIMES, "NASHVILLE STAR": Thank you. Nice to talk to you guys.

HAMMER: Are you up there on the stage with your golden microphone?

RIMES: I am. I am on the stage. I`m so excited to be hosting this show. It`s been a wonderful season, and I`m just kind of sad to see it end tomorrow night.

HAMMER: And you were a little nervous, you told us when you were on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT a couple of months ago, about the idea of being a TV host. How have you enjoyed that role? I mean, it looks like you`ve done an excellent job.

RIMES: Oh, thank you. You know, I have -- I was totally nervous the first time I did the show, but it feels like home to me now. It`s something I really, really enjoy doing.

HAMMER: Along the way, as the show was first going on the air and throughout the season, the obvious comparisons were made to "American Idol." They`re both music talent shows. There was one article I saw today which was saying how much better a show "Nashville Star" is than "American Idol." But there are really some important differences to point out between the two shows.

RIMES: Absolutely. I think "Nashville Star" is an incredible show. I mean, we have great talent. We`ve had incredible talent this season. A lot of the artists here, some of them play their own instruments, write their own music. And they`re all singing live with live bands, you know, every Tuesday night. So they really have got -- they`ve got a lot of great experience and a lot of great exposure being on the show. And they`re all very talented musicians and artists.

HAMMER: And past seasons have seen some of the winners go on to big, big success.

RIMES: Absolutely. Buddy Jewell, who was our first winner on the first season, has gone on to have some great hits. And hopefully, you know, the new "Nashville Star" this season will be bigger than ever.

HAMMER: And Nashville, obviously, one of the biggest music talents in this country. And the show is really -- has become an important thing to people in the Nashville community, hasn`t it? I know they`re always trying to get on your show.

RIMES: Absolutely. We had thousands and thousands of people audition for the show. And it really has become a huge part of the Nashville scene. And you know, like, we really do have a lot of great talent off of this show. And I think it`s the place to be. It`s one of the great places to get your start here in Nashville.

HAMMER: And some big, established artists also on the show. In fact, tomorrow night, I know, on the finale, you`ve got some big-timers.

RIMES: Yes, we have Big & Rich in the finale tomorrow night, which is going to be a blast. And we`ve had a lot of great people throughout the whole season. Sarah Evans was on the show, Jamie O`Neal. We had the Charlie Daniels band. I mean, it`s just been some really cool people to kick off the shows.

HAMMER: And they`ll be looking for -- looking at three finalists tomorrow night. So what does the winner get of "Nashville Star"?

RIMES: The winner gets a record contract with Universal South Records and coveted appearance on the Grand Ole Opry stage. And they`ll also be performing -- doing a lot of performances, obviously, after this, you know, on TV. And I think, really -- I think this is really the big year for whomever -- whomever wins this.

HAMMER: Well, we`ll be watching. It looks like you`re also feeling better, so congratulations on that...

RIMES: Thank you.

HAMMER: ... and congratulations on you first season as a TV host, Leann Rimes.

RIMES: Thank you so much. Nice to speak to you guys.

HAMMER: You, too. And of course, you can catch the finale of "Nashville Star" tomorrow night on the USA network.

BRYANT: It is the swag that makes tails wag. We`ll take a look at how celebrities pamper their pets and get the gifts (ph) to do it. That`s coming up.

HAMMER: Plus, stars on line. Moby`s got a blog, Rosie is pretty prolific herself. Tonight`s "SHOWBIZ In Depth," celebrity blogs. That`s coming up.

BRYANT: Now tonight`s "Entertainment Weekly Great American Pop Culture Quiz." Al Gore shared a room with which popular actor when they were both students at Harvard? Was it A, Harrison Ford, B, Tommy Lee Jones, C, Kevin Costner, or D, Dennis Quaid? We`ll be right back with the answer.


HAMMER: Welcome back. So again, tonight`s "Entertainment Weekly Great American Pop Culture Quiz." Al Gore shared a room with which popular actor when they were both students at Harvard, Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner or Dennis Quaid? The answer is, B, Tommy Lee Jones.

BRYANT: Now, in "Showblog Tonight," Rosie`s not so weighty decision. In a new post up on her blog today, Rosie O`Donnell says if Jenny Craig offers her a deal, she`s not interested. Rosie writes on her blog, "Apparently, Kirstie Alley had brokered a deal for me, convincing Craig -- or Jenny -- they needed me. Oh, no. Maybe they haven`t heard. I am on maintenance. Yes, this is it, pretty much give or take a swing 15."

And knowing Rosie is often tongue-in-cheek, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT called and checked today with Jenny Craig. They said it is not true that they`ve offered Rosie a deal.

HAMMER: Well, you know, Rosie is certainly not the only celeb blogging these days. That`s what we`re looking at tonight. It`s "SHOWBIZ In Depth," the rise of celebrity blogs. Britney Spears does it. In fact, that`s where she put the rumors to rest and finally announced that she was pregnant. She did it right there on her Web site. And then there`s "Scrubs" star Zach Braff, who blogs about everything from breaking news to the rather mundane. And finally, in Moby`s latest entry, he went from discussing the spring snow in Chicago to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay being a source of embarrassment for the GOP.

Joining us live to discuss the rise of celebrity blogs, Elizabeth Spiers, who`s the editor-in-chief of, and Arik Hesseldahl, who`s the technology columnist for "Forbes" magazine.

Arik, I want to start with you. Some people don`t know what the heck a blog is. Give us the 20-second definition.

ARIK HESSELDAHL, TECHNOLOGY COLUMNIST, "FORBES": Basically, a Web site that acts like a diary. You write a little entry every few days or every day or every few hours. And it`s basically keyed to time. Whenever you feel like publishing something, you publish on your blog.

HAMMER: And the word stands for...

HESSELDAHL: The word comes from...

HAMMER: ... Weblog, which...

HESSELDAHL: Yes, Weblog. Yes, that`s correct.

HAMMER: ... which most people don`t know.

So Elizabeth, a few years ago, a lot of celebrities were afraid of the Internet. Yes, they`d have their PR companies do Web sites for them, but they wouldn`t get involved themselves. Why now? Why are celebrities so active in beginning this blogging craze?

ELIZABETH SPIERS, MEDIABISTRO.COM: You know, I think celebrity culture has changed a lot, and now celebrities really want to get in touch with their fan base on a much more intimate level. And the blogs sort of allow them to do that. I mean, when you`re reading a celebrity blog, you get a sense of really who they are in a way that you don`t from, say, public statements or even public appearances on the red carpet.

HAMMER: Now, if it`s a celebrity themselves who`s actually writing these blogs, writing these journal entries, it sounds to me like a PR nightmare. You know, a publicist, which is usually sort of the middle person between the celebrity and the audience at large, is usually there to buffer anything. But there`s no gate, is there.

HESSELDAHL: Well, I would imagine that a lot of the celebrity blog -- and I`ve taken a look at several of them today -- they probably do have a PR component into them. I can`t imagine that -- you know, these celebrities are multi-million-dollar commodities, and I can`t imagine that they would be allowed necessarily to say just whatever the heck they want without a little bit of oversight from...

HAMMER: Seems like it would be a little dangerous.

HESSELDAHL: Exactly. Yes, because somebody could, you know, have a few too many drinks and say something they wished they didn`t in the morning or something like that. So I would imagine that there`s a little bit of control from the publicist, and most of them look like they have that -- that imprimatur.

HAMMER: You read a big celeb blog like Rosie`s, and you get the impression she`s got to be writing this herself. But I imagine it`s also gotten to the point where they`re having ghost writers do these, as well. Is that what`s going on.

SPIERS: I think that`s possible. I think -- and especially in Rosie`s case, her advisers are probably looking at the blog after the fact and maybe giving her some advice about what to do and what not to do. But you can tell a little bit, especially on her blog, from the way that she writes, that a lot of it is -- if not all of it, is authentic because she`s talking about things that are sort of deeply personal. And in a lot of cases, she`s talking about the business, which is fairly unusual, if you do have that sort of publicity buffer in between.

HAMMER: Yes, you`re getting a lot of insight you otherwise...

SPIERS: Right. Exactly.

HAMMER: ... wouldn`t get. But there`s really no way to tell if it`s actually the celebrity or somebody writing for them.

HESSELDAHL: Oh, I don`t know. It seems to me -- like in the case of the Britney Spears case, it seemed to me that that was more than likely written by a publicist.

HAMMER: Pretty well crafted letter was put up there.

HESSELDAHL: Yes, I thought so.

HAMMER: Right.

HESSELDAHL: I thought so. But in the case of Rosie, I think you`re probably right. I think she -- she`s the type of person who has a lot of opinions, has a lot to say and certainly wouldn`t shrink from writing it.

HAMMER: So how do you find these blogs? Is there an index out there somewhere? How do you stumble upon them?

SPIERS: I think -- you know, there isn`t, but is probably your best resource. You know, if you`re just googling your favorite celebrity, blogs tend to rank very high on that search engine. So if a celebrity has a blog, chances are it`s going to come up really close to the top.

HAMMER: OK. Elizabeth, Arik, thank you both for joining us for "SHOWBIZ In Depth" -- Karyn.

BRYANT: Well, you may not know her name yet, but you`ve definitely seen her on the big screen, the small screen. Right now, she`s even on Broadway. Meet Tamara Tunie when we bring you another "SHOWBIZ Showdown." That`s coming up live.

HAMMER: Plus, puppy love. It`s a dog`s life for the pets of the stars. So stay where you are. We`re coming right back.


HAMMER: It`s the chimp who`s really smoking. This is very unfortunate. This primate is primed for a smoke. We`ve got the chimp at the zoo who has picked up a pretty bad habit. That`s coming up in "Laughter Dark."

BRYANT: It was a Los Angeles pet-pampering party, and SHOWBIZ TONIGHT got the invite. The Silver Spoon Dog and Baby Buffet raised money for rescue dogs, and it also raised a few eyebrows, as well. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson is live in Hollywood with all the doggie details. Hey, Brooke.

BROOKE ANDERSON, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT: Hey, there, Karyn. Yes, there was no shortage of outrageous pet paraphernalia for the four-legged crowd. The Silver Spoon swag event showcased the hottest dog fashion, food and fads, and drew a crowd of Hollywood pets and celebs. Karyn, a dog`s life is not what it used to be.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, I`m Elle Woods (ph), and this is Bruiser Woods, and we`re both Gemini vegetarians.

ANDERSON (voice-over): No worries, Bruiser. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s got you covered. Farm-fresh food, doggie delicacies, Stairmasters, personalized plates, a dog mag and couture galore, all in Hollywood this weekend at an event for LA`s most pampered pets.

MELISSA RIVERS, TV GUIDE CHANNEL: I`m Melissa Rivers. This is Birthday. She`s a rescue dog, and I thought maybe it would be fun to take her shopping today. So let`s go check this out. Come on.

ANDERSON: It was a birthday for Birthday.

RIVERS: Oh! Scarves. Dog scarves. You think? Is that her color? I think that looks good.

ANDERSON: Perfume.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stinky butt spritz.

ANDERSON: Got to wear some birthday blitz.

RIVERS: Jewelry!

ANDERSON: No interest in the birthday treats.

RIVERS: Typical Hollywood girl, watching her weight.

ANDERSON: But loving the fashion. Chinese silk, a velour track suit, perfect for both coasts, Salmon tweed, that will get some dates. Got to wear the Von Dutch. Maybe this color is better. Not so sure about the carrying case. The poncho and matching hat are a winning combination.

We ran into Oscar nominee Virginia Madsen once again. She was there checking out the scene with her handsome pooch.

MADSEN: This is Spike. He is a French bulldog. Therefore, he is a man of love. I took him to one of these tables, and they had, like, all- natural dog treats, just made with all-natural ingredients and no pesticides. And I was, like, Spike, check this out. He almost retched! He was not into the health food thing at all. He`s a steak and potato guy.

ANDERSON: Sorry, Bruiser Woods. Not everyone`s so finicky.

MADSEN: One time, I got him a sweatshirt and I tried to dress him up, but he just sat there trembling, looking so humiliated. So I`ve never been able to dress him up.

BRYANT: But it looks like Spike decided to wear some Von Dutch in the end. Justin Berfield from "Malcolm in the Middle" brought his two dogs, Bean and Fooze.

JUSTIN BERFIELD, "MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE": Fooze loves going to the spa. Once a week, I take her to go to the spa, and she`ll, like, you know, get her nails done, not colored, but just, like, trimmed. And then she`ll get spa treatment. She`ll get a cut. I get her a puppy cut.

ANDERSON: And like Spike, Bean prefers Von Dutch.

Dogs in Hollywood have long gotten the star treatment. Here`s Frank the pug from "Men in Black." Britney Spears`s pooch joined her on the carpet at the Billboard Music Awards. Paris Hilton`s Tinkerbell is practically a household name. But the common dog deserves some love, too. Luckily, Birthday the rescue dog did OK.

RIVERS: Birthday looks amazing for her debut on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. What do you guys think? I think she looks great, red carpet-ready, if I do say so myself. Man, we scored some good stuff! We scored some good stuff, huh. Huh? You know, generally, she doesn`t talk to press.


ANDERSON: Thanks for talking to us, Birthday. And by the way, red carpet-ready, and Melissa Rivers should know, right? The pet products industry is one of the fastest-growing market segments in the U.S. today, generating nearly $35 billion annually. Karyn, big business.

BRYANT: Yes, looks like a lot of fun there, Brooke. Thanks very much.

BRYANT: Shar speaks. Kevin Federline`s ex opens up about Britney`s baby news. We`ll tell you what she said, coming up.

BRYANT: Plus: We told you about Martha Stewart`s party time and how there`s a new investigation. We`ll take that to the "Buzz Bench," coming up.


HAMMER: Shar shares. Kevin Federline`s ex speaks out about Britney.

BRYANT: And tuning in for Tunie. From daytime to primetime and to Broadway with Denzel. A "SHOWBIZ Sitdown" with Tamara Tunie.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. I`m Lisa Shaber (ph) 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: I`m A.J. Hammer. Here are tonight`s "hot headlines."

Race to erase. Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie and Virginia Madsen were among the stars that came out to fight multiple sclerosis this weekend. Organizers told us today the race raised $2.7 million for MS research.

BRYANT: Did Martha mess up and could it send her back behind bars? We learned today that the Feds are investigating Martha Stewart for possibly violating the terms of her house arrest. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT was there last week when she attended a party for "Time`s" 100 most influential people. Probation officials cleared her to go but now they say they are taking a second look at whether it was proper.

And Martha Stewart is the subject of our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day.

HAMMER: I`ll go for that.

BRYANT: Go for it.

HAMMER: Or you take it, Karyn.

BRYANT: Martha Stewart -- does she have too much freedom? You can keep on voting at and you can also share your thoughts at We`ll let you know what you said at 55 past the hour.

Earlier this month just before she confirmed her pregnancy, Britney Spears and her husband Kevin Federline said they would be going down the Jessica Simpson/Nick Lachey road with a reality show and now here is a first look at it.


BRITNEY SPEARS, ENTERTAINER: I want to introduce you guys to my friend Kevin.

ANNOUNCER: Inside the private life of Britney Spears and Kevin Federline.

SPEARS: It`s controversy. That`s what they all want and that`s what they want to see.

ANNOUNCER: The exclusive never-before-scene videos.

SPEARS: You`re sexy.

ANNOUNCER: The true story of their relationship revealed.

SPEARS: How do you feel about marriage and commitment?

ANNOUNCER: The moments that only the two of them share. Until now.

SPEARS: Can you handle my truth?

ANNOUNCER: Britney and Kevin.


BRYANT: Britney and Kevin`s yet to be titled reality show premiers Tuesday, May 17th on UPN.

HAMMER: Well, Kevin Federline`s ex-girlfriend and the mother of his two children Shar Jackson hasn`t really spoken about - spoken out about the whole Britney Kevin marriage until now. She recently spilled the beans to MTV about everything from Britney and Kevin`s relationship to her thoughts on Britney`s pregnancy.


SHAR JACKSON, KEVIN FEDERLINE`S EX-GIRLFRIEND: It was bound to happen. It was a goal. Moving on. You know, I don`t have any bad feelings. I`m not bitter. I`m not any of that stuff. Congratulations and I`m moving on. Kevin is a cool dude. And when I see him, he`s still cool. But to know who he is, deep down inside now, (INAUDIBLE) He lied. He left. He cheated. He lied. He left. There you go. In the short form, cheated, lied, left. That order. And that`s it. It`s cool though, whatever, man. Like I said, everything happens for a reason.


HAMMER: Well, Shar has an album coming out. "People" magazine reports that she plans to release a single this summer called "You Make Me Feel Good."

BRYANT: It`s time now for another "SHOWBIZ Sitdown." Time for a sitdown, this time with Tamara Tunie. You may not know the name, because I can barely pronounce it, but you`ve probably seen her. By day, she plays Jessica Griffin on the CBS soap "As the World Turns." Then, at night, she`s medical examiner Dr. Melinda Warner on NBC`s "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." If that isn`t enough Tunie for you, she`s currently co- starring with Denzel Washington in the role of Calphurnia, Julius Caesar`s wife, in of course, "Julius Caesar" which is on Broadway. Tamara, you found time for us? Thank you.

TAMARA TUNIE, ACTRESS: I`m exhausted just listening to that.

BRYANT: Exactly. What is the deal? Are there any jobs that you don`t have out there in Hollywood? Now you`re working hard.

TUNIE: I`m working hard. It`s an embarrassment of riches. It`s fantastic.

BRYANT: Because you also do a lot of voiceover work.

TUNIE: I do voiceover work as well. So sometimes I have four jobs.

BRYANT: Wow. So what does your day planner look like on a daily basis?

TUNIE: It depends. One particular day, the night of our first preview actually, I did the show, and then "Law & Order" picked me up from the show at 10:30 that night and then we went and shot an exterior scene down by the Vietnam memorial downtown. And then I got home at about 2:00 or 3:00, slept for a couple hours, had to get up and go to the studio to shoot "As the World Turns". And of course, that was Wednesday. So from the studio, "As the World Turns", I went back to the theater for the Wednesday matinee and did a performance. In that particular day, I did all three jobs in like a 12-hour span. That`s pretty amazing.

BRYANT: That is incredible. I want to know, because we`ve said, you know, people must see you and go, I know you. Why do I know -- what`s the first thing people say they know you from?

TUNIE: "Devil`s Advocate."

BRYANT: You were fantastic in that. I don`t know if you guys remember that. There`s a scene where they`re getting dressed and you talk about the plastic surgeon`s work.

TUNIE: Those were mine.

BRYANT: Good girl. But there`s this freaky scene -- that was a great movie, too.

TUNIE: It scared a lot of people.

BRYANT: The thing is, though, playing a medical examiner on SVU, obviously it is acting. But what`s your comfort level with dead bodies, with morgues, with that type of thing?

TUNIE: I grew up in a funeral home. Both my parents are morticians or funeral directors and so.

TUNIE: Really?

TUNIE: I mean, from birth I was born in a funeral home. So I`ve been around dead people. I see dead people. I`ve seen dead people. So, you know, going into the morgue for "Law & Order", it was like going home.

BRYANT: So when you watch a show like "Six Feet Under", for example, set in a funeral home, how close to home does that hit? Is it close, you know?

TUNIE: I love "Six Feet Under", first of all. It`s one of my favorite shows. And I put it this way. You know, that`s basically it`s about a dysfunctional family who happens to live in a funeral home, you know. And, you know, our family, we had different dysfunctions than that family. But, you know, it`s just -- it`s similar and yet very different.

BRYANT: Well, I can`t imagine growing up in a funeral home. That`s incredible. Did you ever used to act with the.

TUNIE: act with the bodies? Well, they`re inanimate.

BRYANT: Have you seen actors in Hollywood?

TUNIE: Ouch!

BRYANT: Sorry, got a little catty there for a moment. "As the World Turns", are you going to keep doing that because it seems like.

TUNIE: Yeah, I am. I`ve been on "As the World Turns" off and on for 15 years now. You know, I enjoy the role that I play on the show. I`ve been on the show so long, the people on the show are like family.

BRYANT: Right.

TUNIE: And it`s a very comfortable situation. And as long as I still have the ability to do other things, you know, which is always kind have been my situation on "As the World Turns". I was doing primetime. I was doing movies and as long as I can continue to do that, I`m really happy to be there. Why not?

BRYANT: You bet. And what`s it like working with Denzel? You know everybody`s going to ask you that.

TUNIE: I know. Inquiring minds want to know. It`s fantastic. He`s great. Mind you, Denzel plays Brutus in the play which is actually the larger role. So I`m Caesar`s wife. So I really don`t have much interaction with Denzel. There`s a moment where, you know I nod at him and he nods at me. There you go.

BRYANT: There you go. Tamara, thanks for joining us. It`s been a pleasure. I would so where to see you, but you`re everywhere, so people, just keep watching television.

TUNIE: Just open your eyes and look around, I`ll be there.

BRYANT: There you go. Thanks, Tamara.

TUNIE: Thank you.

HAMMER: All right. It`s time now for more "showbiz shorts," more stories that are making news tonight. Will Farrell is lost. He is signed up for the "Land of the Lost" movie. You might remember watching that TV show when you got home from school back in the 1970s if you got back home from school in the 1970s. It was about a family that was caught in a time warp. They end up in prehistoric times. The movie is scheduled to come out in the summer of 2007. The "Land of the Lost" DVD is out today.

Everybody loves Raymond at King World. "Broadcasting and Cable" magazine says any world which sells repeat of the show - TV stations is running both weekend and weekday marathons of Raymond leading up to and after the finale. "Everybody Loves Raymond" ends its nine-year run on CBS May 16th. CBS and King World are owned by Viacom.

BRYANT: 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. On live with Regis and Kelly, actress and now author Jenny McCarthy candidly discusses the downsides of pregnancy, perhaps a little too candidly for some.


JENNY McCARTHY: Nine months after I had the baby, I was still not in the mood. One of the chapters is called sex, yeah, right, go poke it in a light socket.

REGIS PHILBIN, CO-HOST, "REGIS AND KELLY": Did your husband see this?

McCARTHY: I would not let me see me, not at all. I told him, I know you have the worst case of (EXPLETIVE DELETED) imaginable, but -- can I not say that?


McCARTHY: Sorry.


BRYANT: Well, tomorrow on live with Regis and Kelly, "Will and Grace" star Eric McCormack and R&B singer Jill Scott.

HAMMER: Well, Martha`s been out and about, but is it a "good thing"?

And the new movie`s not out yet, but the "Star Wars" merchandise empire is in warp speed. The force is with our "buzz bench."

BRYANT: Plus, a Matchbox 20 star strikes out on his own. And does a country star have the right stuff? It`s "People" magazine`s picks and pans.


PAM ANDERSON, "STACKED": I`m watching Nickelodeon. I`m watching that (ph) with my kid. I`m watching sports, actually. What am I saying. They don`t even watch cartoons anymore. They watch baseball. They watch basketball. And I think I`m going to start watching AMERICAN IDOL.



BRYANT: Time for the "Buzz Bench," where today`s entertainment chatter takes center stage. Tonight, is Martha taking advantage? Is the "Star Wars" hype to much? And is Katie really a diva?

HAMMER: Joining us on the buzz bench tonight, celebrity stylist and basketball fan Mark Alan Harmon, MTV host Damien Fahey and the "New York Times" Lola Ogunnaike. Let`s get right to question number one. The U.S. probation department is looking into whether or not Martha Stewart`s appearance at the bit "Time" 100 party last year of the most influential people violated the terms of her work release program. Lola, what do you think about all this?

LOLA OGUNNAIKE, "NEW YORK TIMES": Everyone, I think, in New York and LA knows that most of your work is done after hours. I think this was a totally legitimate event. She`s working the room. You`ve got at least 100 influential people. What better please to be than at this time event. I don`t think they should be giving her such a hassle for this. She`s definitely working. I don`t think she was there just drinking champagne and chilling out. I can guarantee she was probably glad handing, exchanging business cards.

MARK ALAN HARMON, CELEBRITY STYLIST: I don`t know she still has a business card, but even if she did, I`m like, hi, I`m Martha Stewart. But I just -- she should be out there. That`s her job. She`s not going to sit at a desk.

OGUNNAIKE: She is not her business and she is served by sitting at home just lamenting her fate. She needs to be out there working, letting people know that she`s still a viable commodity.

DAMIEN FAHEY, MTV TRL HOST: And there are other criminals out in the world, you know what I mean? This is Martha Stewart. Arrest some real criminals, like the people who make the Old Navy commercials. What is the deal with those commercials?

BRYANT: The most annoying ads I`ve ever seen.

FAHEY: Get rid of them. These tunic people need to be put in prison.

BRYANT: Don`t do it.

HARMON: She`s hot. She looks beautiful, great, thin. That whole (INAUDIBLE) diet, bring it on.

BRYANT: It`s working. All right. Well, we want to move on to topic number two. This is "Star Wars, Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith" it doesn`t hits the screens until May 19th, but we`re already getting bombarded with promotions, collectibles, toys. This past weekend`s celebration three convention was the largest one ever held -- more than 30,000 fans showed up. Damien?

FAHEY: I`m so excited for "Star Wars." Being a virgin, it really gets you excited for this kind of stuff or being nine years old also gets you very excited for "Star Wars." There are toys. Apparently there`s like an advertising blitz. There`s T-shirts. There`s sweatshirts.

BRYANT: Is it too much?


FAHEY: M&Ms, right. The marketing slogan is, I think three month countdown to disappointment. There`s no way. That`s what`s going on.

OGUNNAIKE: It`s like this giant buffalo. And all these advertisers are descending upon it. And each one is determined to get their piece. It really is too much. Kellogg`s, Burger king, Pepsi.

BRYANT: But they do it for every "Star Wars."

FAHEY: It`s like a trek thing.

HARMON: It`s only too much if people stop buying it and all those people are still buying it and buying into it. So it`s business.

FAHEY: All right.

OGUNNAIKE: May the force be with you, because I can`t deal with that.


HAMMER: We`ve got to move on to topic number three, an article in your newspaper, the "New York Times" this morning, writer Alessandra Stanley rips into NBC`s TODAY SHOW host Katie Couric. Couric was given $60 million in a contract to keep her on for four-and-a-half years. That happened back in 2001, wanted to keep her cheery persona around and it says that because she is the morning diva, that is a lot of what is taken away from the show. What do you think?

HARMON: Well, I don`t think that she is getting the PR that she might be needing right now. There`s a lot of people that really feel that she is overstepping her boundaries and she`s no fun. And you wake up in the morning, you`re having your coffee. You want something that`s fun and light. You watch and you`re kind of like -- she makes you want to go back to bed.

FAHEY: Every time I put this show on it`s like -- I always see like a surgical procedure. I feel like every time I put it on, they`re going inside Al Roker`s pancreas and it`s enough with that kind of stuff.

BRYANT: It`s a little early for that kind of stuff.

FAHEY: It`s ridiculous.


OGUNNAIKE: Pancreas and Cheerios go hand in hand.


OGUNNAIKE: It`s "The Today Show." Right now, you can blame it on Katie. But also, ABC is really hot right now. You`ve got "Desperate Housewives," and when you`ve got a show like that, you can throw anything on the back of that thing and it`s going to ride you home. So, I mean, you know, Katie, she`s got her issues, but definitely ABC`s doing really well right now.

HAMMER: We`ve got to wrap it up. Lola, Damien, Mark, thanks for joining us on the buzz bench tonight.

Attention all fans of `80s synth pop bands like Erasure and New Order. We`ve got a CD you`re going to want to check out. We`ll talk about it in "People`s" picks and pans. That`s coming up.

BRYANT: And smoking simians. You`ll go ape for this, some real monkey business. That`s the last of my puns. I won`t punish you anymore. Just stay tuned for laughter dark.

HAMMER: First, we`re going to take a look at the top films at the weekend box office. "The Interpreter" translated into big money this weekend. The movie starring Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn debuted at number one. "The Amityville Horror" was number two, and "Sahara" slipped one spot to number three. The Ashton Kutcher-Amanda Peet romantic comedy "A Lot Like Love" debuted in fourth place and "Kung-Fu Hustle" which I heard was fantastic, (INAUDIBLE) in number five.


BRYANT: Time for "People" magazine`s music picks and pans, three new CD`s to talk about tonight from Rob Thomas, The Bravery and Chely Wright. Joining us here in New York, "People" magazine`s senior editor Julie Dam. Julie, we want to start with Rob Thomas, the former front man of Matchbox 20.

JULIE DAM, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Right. Of course Rob Thomas has had a lot of success on his own, apart from his band, like the big hits move with Carlos Santana. This is his first full-fledged solo album. He has songs that are just as catchy as Matchbox songs like "Unwell" and "3:00 a.m.," the new single called "Lonely No More." But for the Matchbox fans out there, don`t worry, the band hasn`t broken up. Three of the four members are working on solo projects right now but they will be back together.

BRYANT: Rob was on our show. Nice guy, too. We want to move on to The Bravery. We mentioned for people who are fans of that late `80s sound, they might like this

DAM: There are two things you need to know about The Bravery. One, there`s so much hype around them that the other neo new wave band of the moment, The Killers started feuding with them.

BRYANT: A little beef?

DAM: And two, the lead singer used to be in a ska band called Skaba the Hut going back to the "Star Wars" movement. Aside from all that, they`re a great band. It`s a great album. It`s a little bit of The Cure, a little bit of Modern English thrown in and New Order thrown in.

BRYANT: All right. And what about Chely Wright? This is country. It`s her eighth album.

DAM: Chely Wright is actually our critic`s choice this week. She`s been around Nashville for about 10 years, but this album really puts her over the top. She does a great cover of "C`est La Vie." And she also had a big hit in the heartland called "The Bumper of My SUV."

BRYANT: Well, great, so your favorite out of the three would be?

DAM: I love The Bravery.

BRYANT: The Bravery. All right. Well, thank you Julie for joining us here and of course, for more picks and pans, you can check out a copy of "People" magazine. It`s on newsstands everywhere.

HAMMER: It`s time now to get your laugh on in laughter dark. As we do every night, we bring you the late night laughs you just might have missed. Do smokers have attitude? Jay Leno thinks so. Check it out.


JAY LENO, HOST, "TONIGHT SHOW": Here`s a very odd story. There is a chimp in a zoo in South Africa who smokes cigarettes, a chimp that smokes cigarettes. And the staff is trying to get the chimp to quit smoking and the chimp is addicted to the cigarettes. And he doesn`t want to quit. Show the footage. You`ll see the chimp`s reaction. Typical smoker reaction when you tell him to put out the cigarette. What`s what the chimp. There`s the chimp smoking. They`re yelling at him to put out the cigarette. Look. See what I mean?


HAMMER: A little bit of attitude there. Tonight actor Noah Wyle from ER and former GE CEO Jack Welch stop by the TONIGHT SHOW.

BRYANT: We`ve been asking you to vote online in our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Martha Stewart, does she have too much freedom? The votes so far, 54 percent of you say yes, she does have too much freedom, 46 percent of you say no. Martha does not have too much freedom. Pretty close call tonight and you`ve also been sending emails. Scott from Kansas writes, Martha Stewart has been harassed enough by the Federal government. This is just more harassment on its part.

And Chris from Texas writes, "Martha Stewart has been given way too much freedom. This is ridiculous and is setting a horrible example. You can, of course, continue to vote at or send your thoughts our way at

It is time now to see what`s playing on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT tomorrow.

HAMMER: Let`s take a look at the showbiz marquee. Marquee guy, take it away.

ANNOUNCER: Ethan Hawke, he`s in a new play and a little birdie tells us he`s showing some booty, Ethan Hawke soars into our studios, fully clothed I might add, tomorrow on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. So, who`s the boss? Sorry Tony, we`re talking Bruce Springsteen, and Bruce has got a new album out. "Devils and Dust," tomorrow, on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. This is the marquee guy, and I`m dancing in the dark. Oh, say, can you see?

HAMMER: Marquee, can you sing a little dancing in the dark?

ANNOUNCER: Not really.

BRYANT: You don`t have the rights to that one.

HAMMER: Ethan Hawke on the program tomorrow. You saw his new play.

BRYANT: I did, "Hurlyburly." It was exciting. All the ladies here tomorrow going to be looking really good, a lot of big Ethan fans in the building.

HAMMER: There`s one in particular.

BRYANT: Yeah. Yes. Yes. All right. She`s a big fan. It`s going to be fun.

HAMMER: We`ll look forward to that. And that is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m AJ Hammer.

BRYANT: I`m Karyn Bryant. Stay tuned for the latest from CNN HEADLINE NEWS.


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