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SHOW BIZ TONIGHT for April 27, 2005, CNNHN

Aired April 27, 2005 - 19:00:00   ET


A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: Keeping an eye on "American Idol."
KARYN BRYANT, CO-HOST: And inside "People`s" "50 Most Beautiful" issue. I`m Karyn Bryant.


BRYANT: American shocker. Tonight, the allegations, the expose, the denials, the lawyers. Things heat up as the clock ticks down to a "Primetime" special that`s promising you`ll never watch "Idol" the same way again.

HAMMER: These are the beautiful people. "People" out with its "50 Most Beautiful" issue, and SHOWBIZ TONIGHT takes you behind the scenes.

HAMMER: Seth Green in the "SHOWBIZ Sitdown." Let`s get animated because "Family Guy" is coming back. Seth Green joins us live.

HAMMER: Another "SHOWBIZ Sitdown." Country music star Travis Tritt - - he joins us live to talk about his honky-tonk history, and he`s got news about his future.

BRYANT: Welcome to "House of Wax."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is wax, literally.


BRYANT: Paris Hilton waxes poetic at the premiere, and SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is there.


PARIS HILTON, "HOUSE OF WAX": Hi. It`s Paris Hilton. 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.

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

HAMMER: So what does ABC know about "American Idol" and when did they know it?

BRYANT: Tonight, there`s big buzz about an upcoming ABC News special that is promising to lift the veil of secrecy that may leave some wondering whether they were worshipping false idols. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s David Haffenreffer here with the very latest -- David.

DAVID HAFFENREFFER, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT: And the clock is ticking down to the air day, too, Karyn and A.J. ABC News has discovered what it`s calling "startling information" about Fox`s hit show, "American Idol." And guess what? It comes just in time for the May sweeps.


(voice-over): It`s the television special that claims you`ll never watch "American Idol" the same way again. ABC started airing this advertisement this week, promoting "Primetime Live" special, "Fallen Idol." Details of exactly what`s in the special report are sketchy. ABC`s not talking. Fox has no comment. 19 Entertainment -- nothing, either. That`s the company that created "Idol." The "Primetime" show could be juicy. ABC is airing the special next Wednesday, putting it right in the middle of the important May sweeps period, where the networks pull out all the stops to get ratings.

BOB THOMPSON, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY: What`s been promised is not an explosive expose, but explosive claims. Maybe some of the judges play favorites both behind the scenes and in front of the scenes, as well. But you know, this isn`t really a shock. This is a show that is designed from the get-go where you can stack the deck. I have a feeling that at the end of this thing, the "American Idol" juggernaut will be just as powerful as it was before the expose played.

HAFFENREFFER (on camera): We may not know much about the show, but one thing we do know is that ABC is moving this episode from its usual Thursday night slot to Wednesday. Wednesday also happens to be "American Idol" night on Fox.


RANDY JACKSON, "AMERICAN IDOL" JUDGE: You were just under, like, almost the whole song. I don`t know. It just never quite...


THOMPSON: What a coincidence. They changed the scheduling. Of course, you know, it`s a sweeps stunt thing practice pure and simple. But you know, as we look at what ABC is doing, we shouldn`t forget that this kind of stuff goes on across the board. You take the success of "American Idol" and you use it for your own network`s purposes. And I`ll bet you that that report gets a higher rating than most of the "Primetime" reports get from ABC throughout the rest of the season.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The stars come out for the idols!


HAFFENREFFER (voice-over): "American Idol" continues to be red hot in the ratings. Last night`s show drew huge numbers. More than 24 million people watched the remaining six contestants duke it out. Whatever the "Primetime" special reveals, it probably won`t do much to "Idol`s" ratings. Numbers didn`t dip earlier this season when someone put the wrong phone number on screen for three contestants. It also came out unscathed after the media learned that contestant Scot Sabol was arrested and charged four years ago with hitting his girlfriend.


And "The LA Times" reported today that Paula Abdul`s lawyer has sent a letter to ABC threatening legal action if the network airs the hour-long special. Our calls to attorney Martin Singer were not returned -- Karyn.

BRYANT: Thank you very much, David Haffenreffer.

Well, this latest controversy leads us to our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. "American Idol": Is it scandal-proof? We want to hear your thoughts, so you can vote at Or if you want to tell us more, e-mail us at We`ll put some of your thoughts on the air later in the show.

Well, we have this story just in to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It is a story that will definitely have people buzzing. Tom Cruise has a new girlfriend, and it is actress Katie Holmes. Cruise`s rep tells "People" magazine it is true Cruise and Holmes were photographed together in Rome last night. Tom Cruise is 42, Katie Holmes 26. And she recently broke off her engagement with actor Chris Klein.

As for summer plans, both Cruise and Holmes have blockbusters in the works. Cruise stars in Spielberg`s "War of the Worlds," while Katie Holmes appears in the upcoming "Batman Begins."

HAMMER: I hope you`re ready because it`s time now for all the pretty pictures. "People" magazine is out with its annual list of the "50 Most Beautiful People." You won`t be able to get this issue for another couple of days, but tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT takes the lid off the cover, which features the always beautiful Julia Roberts.


(voice-over): This is not the first time Julia made the cover of "People`s" "Beautiful" issue, it`s the third, but certainly, the first since becoming a mom. Julia also ties Halle Berry for making it the most times. Berry is back for number nine. Lindsay Lohan, who made the list last year, is back again, and this time poses with a screen legend she`s been compared to, Ann-Margret, who`s made the issue for the first time. Hilary Duff is another teen queen called oh, so beautiful by "People." This is her first time. Another teen first-timer, tennis champ Maria Sharapova. Also dazzling on "People`s" "Beautiful" list, "Desperate Housewives" hunk Jesse Metcalf, who joins Josh Holloway, who stars in that other big ABC hit, "Lost."

But who`s the most beautiful of all? Brad Pitt, according to an on- line "People" poll that names him Most Beautiful Man. And voters called his "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" co-star, Angelina Jolie, the Most Beautiful Woman.


And joining us tonight from "People" magazine is senior editor Robin Micheli. Robin, thanks for being with us. What I want to know is how you guys come up with this list. Do you kind of just sit around, toss some names out over lunch, or do you have all these celebrities campaigning to be in the magazine?

ROBIN MICHELI, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: No, we`re thinking about it all the time. We`re just looking at pictures all year long and thinking, Who is the most beautiful of all?

HAMMER: Well, let`s talk about a few of the people who made the list. Martha Stewart is on there. And a lot of people have been saying that prison really was a good thing for her. I guess you guys agree.

MICHELI: You know, she went into prison and she came out looking like she`d been to a spa. She gave us an exclusive interview, and she really dishes about her beauty routine, her exercise routine. She looks fantastic.

HAMMER: Well, let`s talk about a couple of the newcomers on the list this year that I mentioned a moment ago. Jesse Metcalf, of course -- he`s always running around shirtless on "Desperate Housewives" -- and Josh Holloway from "Lost." Why`d they wind up here?

MICHELI: Well, Josh Holloway, you know, he grew a beard for the series, and he says now he feels naked without it. So the whole imagery is just irresistible. And of course, Jesse Metcalf, with his shirt off -- he`s an important part of that show, and we had to make him an important part of the issue.

HAMMER: All right, well, sports represented here by David Beckham. Surprisingly, I think a lot of people would find it unusual that this is his first time in the magazine.

MICHELI: Well, you know, he`s always been gorgeous, but he`s really in the news a lot lately. And you know, he`s married to Victoria, who was Posh Spice. And she says that it`s his firm bum that she likes the best.

HAMMER: OK. Moving on from that -- and you mentioned he was in the news a lot lately, and you tend to have people who have made the news quite a bit. Jamie Foxx certainly had a huge year.

MICHELI: It was totally his year, and he exudes confidence, which makes him very attractive.

HAMMER: Couple of people who made transformations this year, including Drew Barrymore, who lost some weight, and she made your list.

MICHELI: She did. She lost about 20 pounds, very sensibly, and she feels really happy about it. But she still eats carbs.

HAMMER: And real quickly, also Jessica Simpson, who has toned up for her "Dukes of Hazzard" movie.

MICHELI: Yes. She`s going to be Daisy Mae and look fabulous.

HAMMER: All right, Robin Micheli, thank you very much for joining us.

MICHELI: Thank you.

HAMMER: We`ll be looking forward to the issue. It`s the "50 Most Beautiful People" issue from "People" magazine, which will be on newsstands on Friday -- Karyn.

BRYANT: Time for "SHOWBIZ Shorts," a look at more stories making news tonight. Here`s a weekend update for you. Tina Fey is pregnant. "People" magazine says that the "SNL" star and her husband are expecting their first child in September.

Reese Witherspoon and husband Ryan Phillippe came out for the premiere of Phillippe`s new film, "Crash," in Los Angeles last night. "Crash`s" star-studded cast includes Don Cheadle and Matt Dillon, who were also on hand at the premiere. And "Crash" opens in theaters May 6.

HAMMER: Well, there was another LA premiere last night, and Paris Hilton, usually a guest at these kind of things, was the guest of honor. It was for the slasher flick "House of Wax." And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson was right there on the red carpet. Brooke joins us now live from Hollywood. What happened, Brooke?

BROOKE ANDERSON, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT: Oh, A.J., it`s another scary movie aimed at the under-21 crowd, and I got all the great details from the "House of Wax" stars last night on the red carpet. Paris Hilton, Elisha Cuthbert, best known for her role on "24," and "One Tree Hill`s" Chad Michael Murray were there, along with other "House of Wax" stars and friends. The film`s young actors told us this is one a must-see.


PARIS HILTON, "HOUSE OF WAX": This movie, if you want to be scared and have a good, fun time, go with a bunch of friends or on a date, you`ll scream and you`ll laugh, and there`s sexy parts and there`s like, so many different elements of the movie. It`s a great cast, and it`s fun.

CHAD MICHAEL MURRAY, "HOUSE OF WAX": We kind of cornered the market on gore, so anyone who wants to see a little blood and guts, this is the one to see.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the genre of film is just so much fun, you know what I mean? You come to the cinema and you watch -- watch on the big screen, and it`s just exciting, you know?


ANDERSON: A.J., when I saw the movie, people were actually leaving the theater because it was so gory and scary that they just couldn`t watch. And yes, a lot of people clapped when Paris Hilton died on screen. I thought that was pretty mean. Paris is most famous for her antics on Fox`s "The Simple Life," but word is her co-star, Nicole Richey, is leaving the reality show. I spoke to her rumored replacement, Kimberly Stewart, at the premiere.


Girl, you`re about to be a star on "The Simple Life," aren`t you.


ANDERSON: Come on!

KIMBERLY STEWART, FRIEND OF PARIS HILTON: I know. I know. But I`m not allowed to talk about it.

ANDERSON: Nicole has been such a great friend for Paris on the show.

STEWART: Yes. Yes.

ANDERSON: Do you feel intimidated about possibly stepping into those shoes?

STEWART: Of course, because she`s hilarious on it. But I don`t really think it`s a replacement. I think, you know, if it happens, it`s more of, you know, a different -- you know what I mean? Freshening up the show and that kind of thing.

ANDERSON: Do you three hang out together?

STEWART: Yes. Yes.

ANDERSON: So you`re all buddies, you`re all friends?


STEWART: It`s all good!



ANDERSON: Paris told me that Fox is making the decision right now, but that Kimberly is her number one choice. "House of wax" hits theaters May 6 -- A.J.

HAMMER: Shame on people for making fun and taking pleasure in Paris Hilton`s demise. That`s awful.

ANDERSON: I know! Very mean, right?

HAMMER: Thanks a lot, Brooke Anderson, joining us from L.A. -- Karyn.

BRYANT: Well, we have some great guests coming up tonight. Seth Green joins us live in the "SHOWBIZ Sitdown." He is back in "Family Guy," and he has some very animated adventures to share.

HAMMER: And in another live "SHOWBIZ Sitdown," country music star Travis Tritt is here. He`s got a lot to tell us about -- a really big upcoming show and a whole lot more.

BRYANT: Now tonight`s "Entertainment Weekly Great American Pop Culture Quiz." In the 2003 film "American Splendor," Harvey`s Pekar`s friend, Toby, becomes obsessed with an early `80s film. Which one is it? Is it, A, "Revenge of the Nerds," B, "Purple Rain," C, "National Lampoon`s Vacation" or D, "Top Gun"? We`ll be right back with the answer.


BRYANT: Welcome back. So again, tonight`s "Entertainment Weekly Great American Pop Culture Quiz." In the 2003 film, "American Splendor," Harvey Pekar`s friend becomes obsessed with an early `80s film. Which one is it, "Revenge of the Nerds," "Purple Rain," "National Lampoon`s Vacation" or "Top Gun"? The answer is A, "Revenge of the Nerds."

HAMMER: Well, tonight, Pam Anderson`s fighting mad over chickens, the kind you eat at Kentucky Fried Chicken. Anderson has hooked up with the animal rights group PETA and is fronting a new ad campaign for them.


PAM ANDERSON, PETA: Hello. I`m Pam Anderson of PETA. You probably have heard of the Colonel`s secret recipe, but you probably have no idea what goes into making a bucket of KFC chicken. Sadly, the main ingredient is cruelty. We need your help to convince KFC to take steps to reduce the (INAUDIBLE) suffering inflicted on these animals.


HAMMER: Well, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT called KFC for a response. A spokesperson said, quote, "We believe that Pamela Anderson has been misinformed. KFC and its suppliers, who also service top supermarket chains and other companies in the quick service industry, are committed to the humane treatment of chickens."

BRYANT: It is time now for tonight`s first "SHOWBIZ Sitdown" with Seth Green, one of the voices on "The Family Guy." This weekend, the animated show returns to Fox. Now, this is the first time ever that a major broadcast network has revived a show that it canceled. "Family Guy" became a huge hit on DVD, selling over three million copies, and it also developed a cult following thanks to reruns on cable. All of this led Fox to call for the "Family" reunion.

Now, Seth is the voice of the 13-year-old son, Chris, and he joins us here live in New York. Thanks for coming, Seth.

SETH GREEN, "FAMILY GUY": Thanks for having me.

BRYANT: So what happened when you got the call and you heard that the show was revived? Were you surprised?

GREEN: I was shocked. I mean, that`s not the kind of thing that happens. And also, this is not the typical show that you`d expect to get back on the air. But you know, it was a fairly successful thing when it first came out. It just didn`t get good ratings. But the show won three Emmys and was canceled twice, and then just people found it on DVD and watched it over and over again.

BRYANT: All right. Well, we said you play Chris, and we`re going to take a look at a clip of you in the animated show.

GREEN: This clip is hilarious!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you think you were cool? Did you think you were grown up? Huh?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn`t actually drink any of it. Besides, Jake Tucker gave it to me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we are going to have a talk with Jake`s parents tomorrow after my burping.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And in the meantime, you`re grounded, Chris.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, come on! That sucks!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you want to us pull over?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t care what you do!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ll pull over. We`ll pull over. Pull over! If your teachers ask about your bruises, what do you tell them?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got hit by a baseball!


BRYANT: And of course, we should say that Chris there, he -- you had gotten caught drinking at a school dance in that, right?

GREEN: Yes. Not actually drinking, just holding a bottle.

BRYANT: Holding the bottle.


BRYANT: So can you give the folks who haven`t seen "Family Guy" a quick rundown on what the show is about?

GREEN: It`s just a show about a family, a really weirdly dysfunctional family and -- it`s hard to explain the specifics of it. They just got to get...

BRYANT: Well, that was a baby...

GREEN: ... involved...

BRYANT: ... though, that was spanking you.


BRYANT: So there`s a little bit of a funky dynamic going on.

GREEN: Well, the baby...

BRYANT: Wouldn`t you say?

GREEN: It`s all kind of hard to explain, a talking dog nobody really is bothered by, this talking baby no one`s really concerned about.

BRYANT: The baby`s sort of the mastermind of the family, right?

GREEN: Yes, the baby somehow has the personality of a British diabolical mastermind.

BRYANT: Cool. That`s cool. Well, I want to talk about another animated thing that you do, and it`s called "Robot Chicken."

GREEN: "Robot Chicken."

BRYANT: Tell me about this. I find this hysterical. It`s stop- motion...

GREEN: Well, apparently, so does America! We -- yes, my partner, Matt Senreich, and I developed this stop-motion sketch comedy show with Doug Goldstein and Tom Root. We are making this really silly 15-minute crazy, irreverent sketch comedy show with a bunch of toys.

BRYANT: Wait. Well, we`re seeing some of this right here. You -- it`s great because it`s fast. You rip on pop culture things.


BRYANT: You bring -- there`s a -- there`s Pikachu.

GREEN: Yes. We`re all over the place. We`re just parroting and lampooning pop culture and current events because there`s so much stuff that we were force-fed when we grew up. It was just so silly, and we`re kind of just bringing that to life. Yes. But we got -- not to brag, but we got over a million viewers last Sunday.


GREEN: We beat "The Shield."

BRYANT: Oh, and that`s a good show!

GREEN: No offense, Glenn Close.

BRYANT: Not even close.

GREEN: Michael Chiklis, hope that "Fantastic Four" thing works out...


GREEN: I`m joking.

BRYANT: Look who`s coming up!

GREEN: It`s just really exciting.

BRYANT: So tell me about this. You`re also -- are you working on a comic book, too, a graphic novel?


BRYANT: What are you doing?

GREEN: My friend, Hugh Sterbakov, and I are making a comic with (INAUDIBLE) called "Freshmen," which is all about a bunch of kids in their freshman year in college who get afflicted with superpowers.



BRYANT: You`re a busy guy.

GREEN: I`m real busy, yes.

BRYANT: Well, and very successful, too.

GREEN: But I`m getting to do things that I`ve always wanted to do, so I`m kind of thrilled about it.



BRYANT: Feels good, then. All right, well, thanks for joining us, Seth Green. You, of course, can catch "Robot Chicken" on the Cartoon network`s "Adult Swim." And "Family Guy" re-premieres on Fox this Sunday.

HAMMER: Treat those chickens humanely.

Well, just in time for May sweeps, we`ve got the TV highlights of the year and a few lowlights, as well. The highs and the lows coming up.

Plus, rock trivia with Huey Lewis. It`s a pretty big milestone for Huey Lewis and the News. He`s going to be live on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. And now, that`s news.


BRYANT: In with the new, out with the old. Singer Joss Stone is the new face of The Gap. And we will take a look coming up.

HAMMER: It is 23 minutes past the hour and time now for "The Show`s Biz," the highs and lows of the 2005 TV season. Well, you know the May sweeps ratings period starts tomorrow, and "USA Today" came out with an article of its highs and lows for the season so far. Among the highs, ABC`s "Desperate Housewives," which "USA Today" is saying the hit led the show -- led to a revival of scripted shows. Another "USA Today" high is Fox`s hospital drama "House," which also made a splash by coming on right after "American Idol," of course. And a "USA Today" low, TV sitcoms drought, exhibit A, the "Friends" spin-off, "Joey," which came in at number 53 in the ratings.

Well, "USA Today" TV critic Robert Bianco wrote the "highs and lows" article, and he joins us now live from the newspaper`s office in McLean, Virginia. Thanks for being with us, Robert.


HAMMER: One of the highs that you mention is the fact that we had failed reality shows this year. "The Benefactor" was a good example. Why is that a high?

BIANCO: Well, I think that we were in danger for a while of reality going from alternative programming to pushing out, you know, these scripted series that I think television does best. But you know, the great thing about being a television critic is that you never have to actually try to kill a trend. You sit back and wait, and the networks will beat it to death before you can.

HAMMER: Well, you mentioned scripted TV series. Of course, "Desperate Housewives," an overwhelming hit. In fact, I believe in your article, you said based on that alone, we had a great season. Also "Lost," another huge hit for the season. Is the scripted TV type of series back?

BIANCO: Well, it never actually went away, but that is what has made this overall a great season. And I do think that`s the important message, that this has been a much better season than we`ve seen in the last few years. And you just look at those three -- you know, three completely original hits, "Desperate Housewives," "Lost," "House," all, you know, shows that people now are talking about. You know, rather than asking me who "The Bachelor" is going to marry, you know, I get questions about what`s happening on that island. And I think that`s a great thing for network television.

HAMMER: Well, let`s talk about some of the lows now. You mentioned the sitcom drought.


HAMMER: "Joey" really couldn`t pull a number this year. They had such a big launch, and it just didn`t happen for them. Yet they`re coming back.

BIANCO: You know, like a lot of sitcoms, it just never seemed to know where it was going. I mean, I think the (INAUDIBLE) problems in sitcoms these days is we either get shows that are very clever but are trying too hard to be different, which is probably what has happened to "Arrested Development," a show I love, or we have too many that, you know, are the exact same plot, you know, the pretty smart wife married to the stupid husband who hates his parents.

HAMMER: A critical success, but it just, again, couldn`t get a number. And another thing that you mention as a low, shows that just won`t die. And you bring in "Will and Grace," which people seem to love and it`s coming back for yet another season. But you say they really should put shows like that to rest.

BIANCO: Well, the 7 million people, down from the 15 million people who used to watch it, may still love it. You know, the problem is that television, like everything else, is a world of scarce resources, and shows like that are eating up money and time and talent that should go into developing new hits.

HAMMER: Right. All right, Robert. Well, we`ll get to watch the reruns all summer long. Robert Bianco from "USA Today," thanks for joining us.

BRYANT: He is one of the biggest stars in country music. Travis Tritt joins us live in our next SHOWBIZ Sitdown," coming up.

Plus, minutes ago, we told you about Pam Anderson`s beef with KFC. We`re going to take that to the "Buzz Bench," coming up.



HAMMER: Tonight, a little bit country. Travis Tritt taking a trip and hanging out with us first live.

BRYANT: And a little bit rock and roll. Huey Lewis hip after 25 years. He also joins us live.

ALICIA CUTHBERT: Hi, I`m Alicia Cuthbert and if it happened today, it`s on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

BRYANT: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It is 31 minutes past the hour, I`m Karyn Bryant.

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

HAMMER: Tom and Katie, just a short time ago, "People" magazine confirmed Tom Cruise is dating actress Katie Holmes. Cruise and Holmes were photographed together in Rome last night. Cruise is 42; Holmes is 26 and she recently broke off her engagement with actor Chris Klein.

HAMMER: Pam Anderson doesn`t think anyone needs a little KFC. She is fronting a new ad campaign for PETA which says the chicken chain treats animals cruelly. Kentucky Fried Chicken told SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Anderson is quote, misinformed.

BRYANT: An idol showdown brewing. ABC is running promos for its upcoming AMERICAN IDOL special, FALLEN IDOL. It`s still not clear what`s going to be in the prime time live episode. Fox and ABC aren`t talking. ABC is moving the show to air next Wednesday after IDOL.

HAMMER: And AMERICAN IDOL is the subject of our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. AMERICAN IDOL, is it scandal-proof? You can keep voting by going to Got more to say? Send us an e- mail, is our e-mail address and we will share some of what you have to say at 55 past the hour.

BRYANT: They were jamming. John Mayer, Buddy Guy, Phish and members of the Grateful Dead were honored last night here in New York at the fifth annual Jammy awards. It`s an awards show and a big old jam session with all different types of artists. Sinead O`Connor, love her, came and took the stage. It`s the first time she`s done so in New York in seven years. Huey Lewis was there too and he`s going to join us live in just a bit. But country star Travis Tritt also rocked with the best of them at last night`s Jammy. He is here with us right now for another showbiz sit down. Thanks for being with us.

TRAVIS TRITT: Great to be here (ph).

BRYANT: Was it a good time last night?

TRITT: We had an absolute blast.

BRYANT: Cool. Good deal.

TRITT: Just a whole eclectic group of people from all different genres of music represented. Musicians have always known that we had the opportunities to get together and experience other peoples` music and jam together, but to bring it out in front of a live audience like that is a lot of fun.

BRYANT: So, talking about other peoples` music and things that influence your life, because your music is not just straight country. It`s a little honky tonk. It`s bluesy. It`s rootsy. What are the events and the people in your life that have influenced your sound?

TRITT: As a kid growing up -- I grew up just outside of Atlanta, Georgia and I felt like it was a really great place for a musician because just to our north, we had the Grand Ole Opry which we listened to every week. We had just a little further than that north we had bluegrass music that we listened to. Just to our south, of course, Macon, Georgia, home of Otis Redding, The Allman Brothers, people like that, delta blues just to our west. Take that and sprinkle a little bit of southern gospel over the top of all that and that`s sort of where I come from. So it had a lot of different influences from a lot of different places and I feel very fortunate. I still use that.

BRYANT: It`s great. The record, "My Honky Tonk History," some people are saying it`s the best one you have done.

TRITT: Thanks.

BRYANT: You have to be proud of that. Now I know you are taking your music to the troops. Can you tell us about that?

TRITT: As a matter of fact, we just got through this past week. Sunday night we played for the operation warrior`s foundation which is basically they raise funds for children of special ops forces that have been killed in action to send their children to college. And we got an opportunity to play for that, raised about $500,000 for that fund. Next week we`re also getting an opportunity to go to Germany and play for some of the troops from the 1st infantry 3rd cavalry division that are on their way back home. They`re going to take them into Frankfurt, Germany and get a chance to come back home.

BRYANT: The perfect thing too, is your music you know, it`s made for drinking beer. I have to say it. You want to be in Germany. You want to be listening to this record.

TRITT: There you go. Absolutely.

BRYANT: It just has this real great energy to it.

TRITT: It`s a good opportunity for the troops to sort of let go of all that energy and come back home with a sort of a new outlook. It`s going to it be a fun time for us.

BRYANT: Now I know you are a poker player too. You`ve been on celebrity poker. What are your tips for playing poker real quick?

TRITT: I try to be as aggressive as I possibly can, try not to bluff unless I absolutely have to. But this time I was a little bit more aggressive and we`ll see how that plays out.

BRYANT: The one thing I did learn is people who have a good hand actually lean back because they`re confident. When you think you would lean forward to try to fake people out.

TRITT: All I know is don`t drink a lot of Red Bull right before you have to do that because you sit there and your hands are shaking there like this and people think you got great cards when you got nothing.

BRYANT: Good lessons. Thanks a lot Travis Tritt and of course the album is called "My Honky Tonk History.

HAMMER: On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, you may have heard of video on demand. Soon you`re going to have video games on demand. Tonight the TBS cable network, which like CNN, is owned by Time Warner, is announcing a new broadband service called game tap. Subscribers will be able to pay to play. They`re going to be able to play hundreds of games on their PC like Tom Clancy`s "Splinter Cell." The service will also feature original content and it will launch in the fall.

BRYANT: Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes an item? That`s an item our buzz bench is definitely buzzing about and that`s coming up.

HAMMER: And 25 years of being hip or is it being square? Huey Lewis will join us live and fill us in.


JESSE METCALFE: Hi. I`m Jesse Metcalfe and right now I`m listening to Queens of the Stone Age because they rock hard.



HAMMER: It is time now for show blog tonight, a look at what`s happening on celebrity Web sites. Lil` Kim hopes big support from her fans will get her a lighter sentence. Tonight she is blogging them some advice. The rapper was convicted in March on lying to the Feds about a shooting outside a New York City radio station. Well, on her Web site,, fans are asking to write e-mails -- being asked to write e- mails to the judge and follow the following rules. Do not criticize the justice system. Do not criticize the judge. Do not criticize the verdict. Do not criticize the court case or mention it in any way and do not give opinions on what her sentence should be. Simply ask him for leniency. Do not mention Martha Stewart or any other celebrities, especially those in the music industry. Lil` Kim could face up to 20 years in prison at her June sentencing.

BRYANT: I`m sorry, I...

HAMMER: ... didn`t see that.

BRYANT: I started crowding in on your shot there (INAUDIBLE) started crowding in.

HAMMER: That`s fine.

BRYANT: It`s time for the buzz bench. Lil` Kim`s blog is one of the topics we are buzzing about and so let`s get to the other stories as well. Lil` Kim`s campaign for leniency, Katie and Tom, the new Hollywood couple and Pam Anderson`s boycott of KFC.

HAMMER: And joining us on our buzz bench tonight nice and cozy, "Newsweek"`s Devin Gordon, TV personality Bob Guiney and "New York" magazine`s Sarah Bernard. So we`re just talking about Lil` Kim, giving out all the dos and don`ts. Please do this, please don`t do that.

SARAH BERNARD, "NEW YORK" MAGAZINE: I know you`re going to write in. One of the things they didn`t put up on that screen before was that she was even directing them in punctuation and make sure you don`t use symbols. Make sure you don`t type in all caps. This is an example of what she has been getting.

DEVIN GORDON, "NEWSWEEK": Please, no misplaced modifiers.


BERNARD: ... elements of style so they can get it. But I think that one of the things is don`t mention Martha. But I think maybe Lil` Kim`s albums have not been doing that well. She hasn`t had a hit in a really long time. Maybe like a jail rebirth could actually be a fantastic thing for her. It could actually -- creative juices get flowing. She could take the Martha example and run with it.

BOB GUINEY, TV PERSONALITY: I think she should just actually write the letter for her fans and let them all just sign them.


GORDON: I think she wrote a letter and it was rejected by her legal staff because it was filled with profanity just like most of her lyrics are. So I think she tried it, it was already thrown out. She`s got like one or two letters that can go through.

BRYANT: We`ve got to write in.

HAMMER: The power of the blog.

BRYANT: Moving on, this is just out. Minutes ago about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes dating. There`s a sizable age difference between the two of them, but they were photographed in Rome holding hands last week and of course Tom split with Penelope Cruz and Katie Holmes recently broke off an engagement with Chris Klein. Bob. You would know about love.

GUINEY I got a hot topic. I can`t believe it. There`s a couple things that bother me about this story though. One, no one ever confirms relationships. If they`re so quick to confirm I think it`s because they both have movies coming out. That`s one thing.

HAMMER: Interesting.

GUINEY: But the other thing is too, this could be really good for Katie Holmes, I think. Look, every time...


GUINEY: They`re huge, Nicole Kidman. You know what I mean? Everyone...

BERNARD: ... downside is for Katie.

GORDON: I don`t know what it is with Tom Cruise and extremely tall women. There must be some connection.

BRYANT: Is she tall?

GORDON: Katie Holmes is like 6`1. Tom Cruise must just have something there.

GUINEY: I think it makes him seem taller feel taller.

GORDON: This is a huge power move, going from Chris Klein to Tom Cruise. That`s like going from me to Tom Cruise, please.

BERNARD: All of this was -- as soon as I heard it, I was thinking poor Chris Klein.

GUINEY: What can do you about that, though.

BERNARD: He`s in the Jennifer Aniston role here.


HAMMER: We will have to go on to topic number three right now. I was talking a little earlier about Pamela Anderson and we showed you a bit of the clip. She is narrating a new five-minute video for PETA claiming KFC mistreats the chickens. It`s part of this whole boycott that they`re calling of KFC. KFC basically told us, Devin, that Miss Anderson is misinformed about how the chickens are treated.

GORDON: Like most people, Pam Anderson is my moral compass, whatever she says I follow. I don`t know, this doesn`t strike me, I`m not really a fan of Pam Anderson`s work and by work I mean both her surgical work and her television work. But I wonder is this really the right market that she`s aiming for? Aren`t Pam Anderson`s fans kind of hooter`s chicken wing eaters? I don`t think they`re going to stop eating at KFC because Pam Anderson told them not to.

GUINEY: Never thought about that.

BERNARD: You if look on the Web site for the -- whatever, what`s it called -- KFC against cruelty? They have all these hilarious supporters. Like they have Bea Arthur, Jason Alexander, Cornell West. All these people are for them.


GORDON: We have a golden girl, yeah.

BRYANT: That golden fried chicken and a golden girl. Devin, Bob and Sarah, thanks for joining us here on the buzz bench tonight.

HAMMER: Tonight Rob Thomas, friend of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has made a little "Billboard" history. This is terrific. The Matchbox 20 front man is the first male artist from a pop or rock group to open up at number one with a debut solo effort and that`s on the "Billboard" chart that came out today. Thomas` "Something to Be" knocked Mariah Carey, "The Emancipation of Mimi," down to second place -- not so bad. Rapper Mike Jones debuts at number three with "Who`s Mike Jones?" and Il Divo self-titled album debuts at number four followed by 50 Cents, "The Massacre."

BRYANT: It looks like Rob Thomas` album is something to beat. So joins us live on the phone just minutes before he hits the stage here in New York for his upcoming "Something to Be" tour, Rob Thomas on the phone. Hey. How is it going?

ROB THOMAS: Hey, how you guys doing?

BRYANT: We`re great. Congratulations to you. That`s good to feel good.

THOMAS: It did feel good but now I`m still kind of reeling from the whole Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes thing.

BRYANT: It`s nutty, right.

THOMAS: My God. Number one record, that`s one thing but wow.

BRYANT: Who you are more psyched for in that relationship, Tom or Katie?

THOMAS: I think Tom is the lucky one.

BRYANT: You are going on stage in just a couple minutes. What song are you going to open with and what do you close with?

THOMAS: I`m going to open with "Something to Be"

BRYANT: The new one.

THOMAS: And I`m closing with "This is How a Heart Breaks."

BRYANT: Very nice.

THOMAS: All new ones.

BRYANT: Very nice, very nice. Go ahead AJ.

HAMMER: I was just wondering Rob, could you ever have imagined your album was going to debut at number one? Of course you have that hope but did you think it would actually happen?

THOMAS: After you do this -- after doing this for like for 10 years now, you get to a point where you are just really happy to have a job. You know what I mean? You are just really happy that you are still working and that people still listen to your music. I never thought for the chance of there being a number one record and especially not a solo record. I thought maybe a Matchbox record but never by myself.

BRYANT: It`s incredible. It`s the first time it`s happened in the 50- year history of the charts. So congratulations Rob and have a great show.

THOMAS: Thank you so much. (INAUDIBLE)

HAMMER: Al right. Well, Joss (ph) Stone falls into the gap and he falls into the gap. We`ve got an exclusive look, so if you stick around, that`s on the way.

BRYANT: And unless you have had your head in the sand, you know Huey Lewis` songs. He stops by to celebrate a birthday. That`s live coming up.


BRYANT: In tonight`s showbiz showcase, we`ve got your exclusive first look at Joss Stone`s brand new TV ad for the gap. In the ad, Stone sings "The Right Time," which was originally recorded by Ray Charles and Etta James.

If you like the sound of Stone`s remake of "The Right Time," EMI music offering a free download for one month starting tomorrow on

HAMMER: All right. Can you feel the power of love in the room everybody? Are you feeling it? In another showbiz sitdown tonight, Huey Lewis. Over the last quarter century, kind of hard to believe, Huey Lewis and the News has sold more than 20 million albums with huge hits like "Do You Believe in Love?" "The Heart of Rock `n Roll," "If This Is It," the band is about to release live at 25, a DVD/CD set and joining me live to celebrate, Huey Lewis. Thanks for dropping in. Nice to see you.

HUEY LEWIS: Very nice to be here.

HAMMER: OF course, Travis Tritt on the program a little earlier talking about the Jammys here in New York City which you attended last night. My guess is the party continued after the actual thing ended.

LEWIS: It did. There was a jam over at B.B. King`s. These kids, they like to play and they play a long time.

HAMMER: They play long sets. Pop songs are three and a half minutes long and these guys will go on for hours.

LEWIS: That`s right. I showed them one of our set lists. It`s like 20, 22 songs. They said that would be three days for them.

HAMMER: Who are you up on the stage playing with right now?

LEWIS: This is with a band called Umphrees Magee (ph) who are fabulous and I have to embarrassingly say, that I`d never heard of them until they asked me to jam with them. They sent me their live CD and was kind of -- I was knocked out. They are a great band and it was really a fun night.

HAMMER: You have this CD and DVD coming out to celebrate 25 years. I think you`re in very exclusive company here. If there are other pop bands who had hits in the `80s and are still together, I don`t know who they are so congratulations on that first of all.

LEWIS: Thanks.

HAMMER: What is the key to the longevity Huey?

LEWIS: We play well.

HAMMER: There you go. That will keep the group together.

LEWIS: No actually, we are really the union of two bands that were sort of rival (INAUDIBLE) bands before that so we really grew up together. And we formed in a kind of `60s sense. We were friends first and colleagues second. So, there`s a loyalty portion to all that. And we just still like each other.

HAMMER: You guys are responsible for some of the biggest pop hits certainly of the `80s, 1985 summer of `85, "The Power of Love" obviously all over the radio and you have legions of new fans now because "Back to the Future" for which you wrote that is on TV, probably every weekend. Did you ever consider acting first as a career path or was it always going to be music? You were in that movie as kind of the goofy judge.

LEWIS: No, I didn`t. I was always a musician first. I`ve done some acting, which is a lark for me and it`s really fun. I really enjoy it when it`s challenging, fortunately I don`t have to do it for a living so I can pick and choose.

HAMMER: All right. You got a minute for a couple of quick Huey Lewis trivia questions? I figure we`re celebrating your big 25th anniversary. Couple of things, let`s test your knowledge here. Before the band was known as Huey Lewis and the News, it was known as Huey Lewis and...

LEWIS: American Express.

HAMMER: You should know that. Thank you. We got the sound effects in that. We paid a little extra. IN 1987, Huey Lewis and the News went to number one with "Jacob`s Ladder." Who wrote that song?

LEWIS: Bruce Hornsby.

HAMMER: Correct and... (INAUDIBLE)

LEWIS: I`m doing good, aren`t I? I am doing good.

HAMMER: Very, very quickly, in the late `80s, at a concert in Worcester, Mass., you dedicated "The Power of Love" to the creator of which current super hot show? He was sitting in the front row. The OC, Josh Schwartz. He`s a huge fan of yours. Huey Lewis, congratulations. Thanks for dropping by SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. You can pick up the live at 25 CD and DVD May 7th and you can catch Huey Lewis and the News. They`re going to be on tour all summer long.

BRYANT: We got to do more quizzing. That`s fun. It is time to get your laugh on laughter day. As we do every night, we bring you the late night laughs you may have missed. On THE TONIGHT SHOW with Jay Leno, there was (INAUDIBLE) for the first lady. Jay shows Mrs. Bush a video of her husband with new friend Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.


JAY LENO: Are you the jealous type?

LAURA BUSH: Sometimes.

LENO: I saw something, you`re here this is something has happened in Crawford. Can we show that footage?

BUSH: I was out of town.

LENO: I just wondered if you`d seen that.

BUSH: I saw it on the front page of the newspaper today.

LENO: You were not shocked by that.

BUSH: No. It was actually very sweet.

LENO: I know. I`m just --


BRYANT: Tonight Rosie O`Donnell and actress model Carmen Electra visit Jay on THE TONIGHT SHOW.

HAMMER: We have been asking to you vote online on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. AMERICAN IDOL, scandal-proof? The voting so far says 8 percent of you say yes. AMERICAN IDOL is scandal-proof so a whopping 92 percent of you said no. You have also been sending us some e-mail and we got one from Darrin, who lives in Phoenix. He says please, parents who encourage kids to watch this should be ashamed and deserve the rotten children they end up with.

What are saying Darrin, but we asked for it. Tony adds the idol franchise relies on scandals. The more issues they have the higher the ratings go.

BRYANT: It`s time to see what`s playing on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT tomorrow.

HAMMER: Let`s take a look at the showbiz marquee. Oh, marquee guy, go ahead.

ANNOUNCER: It`s getting cold in here. Is it because Ice Cube is here? Ice C is starring in a "XXX" film, no, not that kind. Get your mind out of the gutter, A.J. I`ve got the chills. Ice Cube tomorrow on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Also tomorrow, JoDee Messina has got a delicious surprise for us. It`s her new album "Delicious Surprise." JoDee Messina brings herself and her new single, "My Give a Damn`s Busted" live on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. This is the marquee guy saying my give a damn`s busted, not sure what that means but frankly my dear, I do give a damn.

HAMMER: All right. So apparently, Huey, did you know that Joss Schwartz, the creator of the OC was at your show and you dedicated "The Power of Love" to him?

LEWIS: Of course.

HAMMER: Yes you did. He`s a huge fan. Your music has not been featured on the OC show yet has it?

LEWIS: It has not.

BRYANT: You know where his songs are featured on the karaoke revolution game for Playstation 2 baby. (INAUDIBLE)

HAMMER: All right. Well, let`s get out of here. That is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT for tonight. I`m A.J. Hammer.

BRYANT: And I`m Karyn Bryant. Stay tuned for the latest from "headline news."


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