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Jolie Speaks Out about Hurricane, Hosts New Show on African Poverty; Media Helps Reunite Families; Martha Stewart Recalls Prison Experiences on New Show

Aired September 13, 2005 - 19:00:00   ET


KARYN BRYANT, CO-HOST: I`m Karyn Bryant.
A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: And I`m A.J. Hammer. TV`s only live entertainment news show starts right now.


HAMMER (voice-over): Tonight, a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT exclusive. Angelina`s angst.

ANGELINA JOLIE, ACTRESS: Like most people, I was just shocked.

HAMMER: For the first time since the Hurricane Katrina disaster, Angelina Jolie speaks. Her emotional and powerful words...

JOLIE: These are the people that are the most vulnerable.

HAMMER: And her never-ending passion to help all over the world.

JOLIE: We can`t afford not to just find these solutions.

HAMMER: It`s Angelina like you`ve never heard her before, and it`s only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

BRYANT (voice-over): Also, a black and white issue. Tonight, the startling results of a new poll. Does America really think the Hurricane Katrina response and race are connected? And why do so many people believe what Kanye West said during an NBC telethon is true?

HAMMER: And an "Apprentice" shocker. Tonight, a story of sex, obsession and murder that could rock the hit show even before the start of the new season. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT investigates.


BRYANT: Hello, I`m Karyn Bryant.

HAMMER: I`m A.J. Hammer.

Tonight, a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT exclusive. Angelina Jolie opens up about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and a whole lot more.

BRYANT: That`s right. In a wide-ranging, passionate, and sometimes emotional interview with SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, Jolie talked about her remarkable journey to help some of the poorest people on earth, and she spoke with me about the horror at seeing the devastation and misery that followed Hurricane Katrina.


JOLIE: Like most people, I was just shocked.

BRYANT (voice-over): Angelina Jolie, like so many others, could not believe what she was seeing as New Orleans seemed like a scene from a third world country after the devastation of Katrina. And as a U.N. ambassador since 2001, Angelina Jolie has seen those third world countries firsthand.

JOLIE: I have friends there. A close friend of mine, her best friend is there. It`s very personal for a time.

But really, it`s just -- you look at that and you think -- I`ve seen refugees -- refugee camps around the world, and I know what this looks like.

On a global scale, this is what`s happening and this is what we`re talking about. That -- that when you see the people that really were hit the worst, that were kind of in many ways abandoned, and they were the poorest of the poor. They didn`t have -- they weren`t thought of ahead of time. You know, this is what happens. And when things explode, these are the people that are the most vulnerable.

BRYANT: The most vulnerable and poorest people in the world of what Jolie and U.N. special advisor Dr. Jeffrey Sachs got to see when they traveled to Western Kenya in Africa. An emotional yet inspirational journey captured on tape for an MTV documentary called "The Diary of Angelina Jolie and Dr. Jeffrey Sachs in Africa."

Back from Africa, Jolie was frustrated by the initial lack of response to Katrina, as so many others were.

JOLIE: I sent a letter to my representative, the president, and asked people to do the same to push for a better federal response. We have to also demand that our government does what it should do so we can get our aid to the people and we can really help. And we can really -- but they`ve got to do their job and do it properly, so that money really gets to the people.

BRYANT: And just like Jolie, Dr. Sachs, arguably the world`s leading expert on poverty, was appalled at what he saw.

DR. JEFFREY SACHS, U.N. ADVISOR: Now after this devastation in Katrina, we`re going to be spending $100 billion, $200 billion, because we didn`t take some precautions. You know, they say in Washington well, they never thought that the levees might break. Come on.

JOLIE: They knew. They very clearly knew.

SACHS: So it`s a matter of looking ahead a little bit, because if you want to do something right and do it less expensively, don`t wait for the terrorism. Don`t wait for the collapse of these countries. Don`t wait for mass refugee movements. Think a little bit.

BRYANT: Both Dr. Sachs and Angelina Jolie are in New York this week just as leaders from all over the world gather for the 60th United Nations General Assembly and a special summit on poverty.

(on camera) If you have the floor what would you want to say to all the countries?

JOLIE: Oh, my God. I`d like to go back to what the United Nations was supposed to be, why I love it, why I still believe in it, why I think it`s an extraordinary thing, and what we need more than ever today is really unity and real teamwork.

I traveled to Africa with Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, the world`s leading expert on expert poverty. We went to Africa to see how Jeff`s vision and leadership have produced some incredibly hopeful results.

The new crops have allowed all the farmers to donate a little bit of food to the school.

BRYANT (voice-over): On their journey, the two witnessed how the challenges of hunger and disease in Africa are being overcome. They visit Sorry (ph), a cluster of villages in Western Kenya.

SACHS: This is an opportunity, traveling with Angelina, to see how our generation could really be the ones to conquer extreme poverty.

BRYANT: Jolie witnessed both a village that has better learned to feed itself but also, as the mother of two adopted children, 4-year-old Maddox and baby Zahara, she witnessed the pain of mothers who wonder every day, every minute, every second, where the next meal will come from.

(on camera) One thing I found really very moving. I know you`re a mom. You went into a woman`s hut, and she basically said that she asked God for dinner.

JOLIE: Well, I think it was also because I really wasn`t expecting -- you don`t know. Certainly you see poverty and you see hunger. But we were just -- we were going to -- we were asking such a kind of simple question, because we thought we`re here with a camera crew and say to her, and we`ll say to her, "Could we see how you`re going to prepare dinner?" You know. "Would it be OK if you show us how you`re going to prepare dinner? And could you describe how you prepare dinner?"

And she said, "Well, I`m going to sit, and I`m going to think about it, and I`m going to pray about it."

And it took us awhile to realize what she was talking about.

You can`t afford not to just find these solutions. And we`re so capable and we have so much that that`s, you know, a mom having all of her children and having nothing to give them.

BRYANT: Basically, I get this idea with your two children now that you`re turning into this great earth mother with this whole U.N. family.

JOLIE: My kids. It is truly where my heart is. It`s the most beautiful family I could think of for myself.

My kids -- my kids are learning about each other`s countries already. You know, Madd knows what Africa is, what Asia is. He talks about being -- his sister`s African, he talks to other people on the street.

And that`s how they`re -- they`re going to grow up very in support of each other`s cultures, each others` countries, and they`re not going to see differences. They see beauty in each other`s differences. They think it`s wonderful.


BRYANT: Angelina Jolie has donated $3 million to the United Nations since 2001. She says she gives a third of her salary to charity, saves a third and lives off another third.

We`ll have more of my interview with Angelina tomorrow night, including your first look at scenes from her inspirational trip to Africa. "The Diary of Angelina Jolie and Dr. Sachs in Africa" debuts tomorrow on MTV.

HAMMER: Excellent work that she`s doing.

Well, here we are more than two weeks after Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, and thousands of people remain missing. Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT reveals how the media are stepping in, helping displaced families find their loved ones, even their children.

It`s an effort that can be quite emotional, but as you`re about to see, the payoff can be astounding. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson live now in Hollywood with the story -- Brooke.

BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A.J., the tales of heartbreak continue as families who`ve made it through so much already now try to find their family members, many without cell phones or any way of making contact, are finding help through the media.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Brittany (ph), I love you. Just call me -- I love you. I just want to see if you`re all right.

ANDERSON (voice-over): More than two weeks since Hurricane Katrina hit, there are thousands, yes, thousands of victims, still trying to find family members.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m afraid, because I haven`t heard from them. If some way could get in touch with me, I`m online at Houston.

ANDERSON: Many of their pleas can be heard on television.

SHALVANTA PRICE, LOOKING FOR FAMILY MEMBERS: My name is Shalvanta Price. And I`m in Houston, Texas, and I`m looking for my fiance, Jerome Du Pleasant (ph), and my daughter, Jacqueline Price (ph). She`s 15.

ANDERSON: CNN set up a victims` relief desk that has successfully helped dozens of families.

CAROL LIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT/HOST: Thousands of Hurricane Katrina survivors make their way into shelters across the country. One organization is helping to find the storm`s most vulnerable victims.

ANDERSON: But there is still a long way to go. There are more than 6,000 adults still missing in the wake of Katrina.

Part of the problem is that families fled quickly, and many are now hundreds of miles from home.

MIKE KELLER, CENTER FOR MISSING & EXPLOITED CHILDREN: The biggest challenge we`re facing at this particular time is that so many people have been displaced from all the various shelters. They`re literally moving out of shelters faster than we can keep up with them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here we have a little boy. We think he`s either 2 or 3 years old. We think his name might be David.

ANDERSON: But it`s the children that are having the toughest time finding their parents, especially the little ones who can`t even say their own names.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here we have an 18-month-old girl. We do know her name is Shaquine Williams (ph) and that her mother is Melkim Williams (ph), and her mother is only 13, also.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Only 13 years old? So she herself is a missing child?


ANDERSON: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT talked to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Since Katrina hit, they`ve taken in more than 14,000 calls. They told us that more than 2,400 children were separated from their parents.

As of today, around 550 have been found. But that still leaves almost 2,000 children looking for their moms and dads.

ERNIE ALLEN, CENTER FOR MISSING & EXPLOITED CHILDREN: We`re learning about them one story at a time. We`ve seen many of these children who were separated from their parents in the exodus from New Orleans.

Lots of these parents said, "Save my children first" and put them into the scarce seats on the boats and helicopters. And they`re just trying to catch up.

ANDERSON: And with CNN`s help, some of those children have found their parents.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You want to be an artist?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And a doctor and a caterpillar.

ANDERSON: CNN`s Kelly Wallace and the victims` relief desk helped this vibrant little girl, who they thought was named Mysteria (ph), find her parents.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don`t know where her mother is. We don`t know where her father is.

ANDERSON: Just hours after CNN aired her story, they got word of her family.

WALLACE: You saw her picture on TV. Is that right?

ANDERSON: Needless to say her parents were relieved.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A sigh of relief. She made me cry.

ANDERSON: Her name was actual actually Teria (ph).


ANDERSON: And it turns out all along the little girl had been telling relief workers her name was really Miss Teria (ph).

Literally thousands of people have written into CNN with similar stories. CNN has stepped in to help, so grab a pen and paper. If you have a friend or loved one still missing after Hurricane Katrina, there are a few places you can go.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children have a Web site:, which can help you find a child or an adult missing since the hurricane.

Also, a great web site is They have something called the list, which is incredibly comprehensive.

And as we`ve mentioned, CNN has its own victims` relief desk. Just send us an e-mail with your story to

A.J., we hope to continue to make a difference. Back to you.

HAMMER: That`s a great story. So nice to be able to do even something. Brooke Anderson live in Hollywood. Thanks very much.

And now we want to hear from you on this subject. It`s our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Reuniting Katrina families: are the media doing a better job than the government? What do you think? You can vote at You can also e-mail us your thoughts. is the address. We`re going to read some of what you have to say later on in the show.

BRYANT: Up next, how rap star Ludacris is doing more than just helping hurricane victims get out. He`s also putting roofs over their heads. What he`s doing is remarkable, and Ludacris joins us live next to tell us how he pulled it off.

HAMMER: Also, a shocking story line involving a contestant on "The Apprentice." This one involves a stripper and murders. But it`s not fiction; it`s actually the real thing.

BRYANT: Plus, Martha Stewart`s prison poncho. It is the hottest thing in fashion. Really. I`m not kidding! The power of the poncho on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer.

Tonight, helping house the victims of Katrina. Chris Bridges -- you might know him as the Grammy winning hip-hop artist Ludacris -- is helping to provide housing in Atlanta for families victimized by the hurricane. Ludacris joins us now live from Atlanta.

Good to have you back on the program, Ludacris. And I love what you`ve done here. You`ve decided to help not just by raising funds, but you`ve actually taken it a step further by giving people a place to live, four months free rent in Atlanta.


HAMMER: Why did you decide to help out in this way?

BRIDGES: I decided to help out in this way, because a lot of people that wanted help, they don`t know necessarily how to help. But a lot of people are donating money and they don`t know exactly where their money is going.

So I like being a lot more hands-on with everything that I`m doing. And as you know, a lot of the people that -- you know, that came from New Orleans, came from Louisiana came from Mississippi and came from Alabama have all migrated to Atlanta, Georgia. A lot of them have come there.

So I take it and I`m committed. And I think it`s my personal duty it help out these families. So we`ve taken on over 20 families as a start, housed them into apartments that are not too far from my own home so that I can constantly check on them. And it just feels great, because I like being hands-on with everything I`m doing.

HAMMER: And I know Atlanta, just an hour`s away, several hours drive from some of the hardest hit areas.

I`m sure along the way when you were interacting with the folks that you`re providing the housing for, you heard some heartbreaking stories. Tell me about some of the people you met.

BRIDGES: Yes, I definitely have heard some heartbreaking stories. And it hits my heart. But you know, I don`t like talking about the problems as much as I like talking about the solutions and what we`re going to do to help these people get back on their feet. So that`s what I`m about.

And you know, the good thing is that they`re cooking a lot of great New Orleans food! So it`s like, you know, they`re helping me out and I`m helping them out. It`s the best relationship I could possibly -- I could possibly have.

HAMMER: And certainly some of the best food on the planet.


HAMMER: And you certainly are helping them out with the housing, but the houses are stocked with food and clothing and linen, basically everything they need to instantly get reacclimated into life.

BRIDGES: Exactly.

HAMMER: But to top it all off, I understand you threw a little welcome party for some of the first families? Which must have been a nice change of pace for them?

BRIDGES: Yes. We threw a welcome party. I had to clean out my own personal closet. A lot of the people from my record company, Disturbing the Peace, my management, and just people who have helped out and volunteered in Atlanta, Georgia. So I have to thank everybody for helping out.

But you know, like I said, we`re hands-on. If anybody wants to donate to my relief and my cause, I`m promising I will be there every step of the way, because this is our -- this is our beginning stage.

So you need to click on to and you can be a part of the cause.

HAMMER: And I know you`ve been involved with helping people out for awhile.


HAMMER: In fact, the mission statement for the Ludacris Foundation says that you have a deep-rooted tradition of community service. It`s been broadened, of course, by your celebrity status. And with that said, do you believe that celebrities do have a responsibility to use that status so they can bring attention to causes?

BRIDGES: I definitely, definitely do think that, and that`s why I`m offering my own celebrity and challenging other celebrities to do the same thing, if not more. So it`s very important to me, and it is our responsibility.

HAMMER: Well, Ludacris, thank you again for all you`re doing and for being with us here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

BRIDGES: Thank you for having me.

HAMMER: And for more information, or to make a donation, once again the website to visit, That`s -- Karyn.

BRYANT: Tonight Michael Jackson says he`s got an all-star crowd lined up for his charity single to help the victims of Katrina. Jackson is planning to record a song that will feature Jay-Z, Missy Elliot, Lenny Kravitz and Snoop Dogg. They`ve all agreed to join him. So have Mariah Carey, R. Kelly, Wyclef Jean and Lauryn Hill. Even the legendary James Brown will be getting involved.

HAMMER: Well, tonight, Martha Stewart is prepping for her third live show. Now you may have heard a little bit about this thing. It`s part how-to show and it`s part talk show.

And if you thought Martha would try to downplay her time in prison, well, she`s actually having a field day with ankle bracelets, microwave prison recipes and a certain garment that she wore the day she was sprung, which you might remember.

Here`s CNN`s Jeanne Moos for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Day two of Martha`s new show, she arrives in a yarn mobile for what she calls Poncho Day. Martha wore her poncho, the one made famous when she was released from prison wearing it. Both her dogs wore ponchos. Even Elmo wore a poncho.

ELMO, MUPPET: Elmo missed you.

MOOS: Martha`s entire audience wore ponchos. And if you`re going to critique Martha`s new show, might as well get in the swing of things and watch it wearing a poncho.

Rather than hide her ex-con status, Martha is making it a running joke. Remember her ankle bracelet? She used her new show to show it`s gone, but her had entire staff wearing mock ankle bracelets, including Francesca the dog.

And when presented with cookies depicting her as a prisoner.

MARTHA STEWART, TALK SHOW HOST: I`m going to bite off the ankle bracelet on that cookie.

MOOS: One of her first guests, David Spade, was chosen because he did a "Saturday Night Live" skit posing as Martha. Martha meeting her employees post-prison.


DAVID SPADE, COMEDIAN: Who`s that? Baby, baby, don`t you sneak up on me.

MOOS: Spade spoofed Martha as having discovered the joys of store- bought cookies in prison.

SPADE: Turns out a lot this crap we make, you can get it at the store.

MOOS: Martha not only laughed, she actually used the "p" word.

STEWART: I developed a few recipes down in prison.

MOOS: She then showed how inmates use sardine cans with holes as cheese graters.

STEWART: Look how nice. Isn`t that nice? You do what you have to do.

SPADE: I guess.

STEWART: And demonstrated how she used bags she got her mail in to microwave grilled cheese.

The audience ate it up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s back, baby!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You hear all of these things about her, that she`s controlling or mean. And she was really -- I thought she was really, really warm.

MOOS (on camera): TV critics seem to agree. The "New York post" headline was "Funny, You Don`t Look Shrewish."

(voice-over) A for that poncho, the one that launched a million imitations, with names like "Freedom Poncho" and "Coming Home Poncho," Martha introduced the daughter of the inmate who made it for her and remains in prison.

STEWART: I hope she`s watching so that she can see her poncho yet again.

MOOS (on camera): Now you can even buy your own poncho for $50 on Martha`s web site.

(voice-over) All proceeds go to charity.

Martha has become a woman of the people, making surprise, "Guess who`s coming to help make dinner?" visits.

STEWART: Boy, does it smell good.


MOOS: Maybe you`d like to try what the inmates did, making baked apples in the microwave.

STEWART: Cinnamon was also very hard to find. You`d look for -- you`d look for women who had cinnamon.

SPADE: Right.

MOOS: Prison sure seems to have spiced up Martha.

STEWART: Look at this!

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


HAMMER: Well, we just got some ratings information in, and the numbers crunchers are calling Martha`s show a moderate success at this point.

BRYANT: Coming up, Gwyneth Paltrow`s strong feelings about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT takes you live tonight to the premiere of her new movie.

HAMMER: Also, a stripper, a stalker, and murder. And it`s all linked to a contestant on "The Apprentice." It`s the story that no "Apprentice" show could ever top, but it`s all too real. You will not want to miss this one.

BRYANT: And one of the painful issues left behind by Hurricane Katrina, the question of race. It is brought tonight -- tonight we`re bringing you a new poll about whether Americans agree with Kanye West. That`s coming up.


BRYANT: For the reporters in the field covering the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina has been the challenge of a lifetime. When the government wasn`t coming through with information for the people of New Orleans, the media was working round-the-clock to fill in the blanks.

Angela Hill of WWL-TV has covered New Orleans for 30 years, and she says the scramble for news was something unimaginable.


ANGELA HILL, WWL-TV CORRESPONDENT: It was unreal and frustrating is the word. But thank heaven for CNN. When I say I was glued to CNN, that is an understatement.

It was the worst feeling of powerlessness. And I kept thinking, you know, there are hundreds of thousands of Louisianans watching just like I am, watching that horror, watching that water rise. Watching the trauma of what the people in the dome were going through, the horror of what was happening at the convention center. And just sitting there watching, not able to do anything.

As a journalist, it was just knock to your knees, from the moment this thing began until this morning and forever, we are on the air. And we got something like 16 million hits on the Internet. Thank heaven for the Internet. That was a huge source of communication.


BRYANT: Angela Hill`s station, WWL-TV, has been the only station to remain on the air round the clock.

HAMMER: Coming up next, Kanye West and what Americans really think about whether race played a role in the response to Hurricane Katrina. There`s a new poll out which reveals a great racial divide.

BRYANT: And it sounds like a soap opera, but this involves a contestant on "The Apprentice." How did a stripper get on the show? And why did a man murder several people so he could be with her? The story is true, and it is coming up.

HAMMER: Also, Hugh Laurie, the star of the hit show "House" with strong feelings about the Katrina tragedy. And we put the Emmy nominee to a tough test. We`re going to do that when SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is coming right back.



HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It is 31 minutes past the hour. I`m A.J. Hammer.

BRYANT: And I`m Karyn Bryant. You`re watching TV`s only live entertainment news show.

HAMMER: Still to come in the next half hour, of course, Kanye West made some comments on the NBC telethon -- what was that, about a week and a half ago which really brought the race issue in the Katrina aftermath front and center. Well, a new poll out just today reveals a great racial divide. We`re going to go through those poll results coming up in just a bit.

BRYANT: And we are going to talk about -- it turns out on the new season of The Apprentice" with Donald Trump, there is a woman who was formerly a stripper. There was a man so obsessed with her that he committed murder just so that he could have money to be with this woman. Well, it`s pretty outrageous. And we`re going to get the story. Yes, real story.

HAMMER: But first we`re going to get to tonight`s "Hot Headlines."

From supermodel to super mom. Heidi Klum and singer Seal are now the parents of a baby boy named Henry. Seal says the couple had a happy moment watching the baby`s big sister kissing Henry on the head. Seal`s full first name, by the way is Seal Henry.

BRYANT: It is jail time for the man accused of plotting to kidnap David Letterman`s son. Today, Kelly Frank was sentenced to 10 years behind bars. He used to be a painter on Letterman`s ranch in Montana and was accused of plotting to kidnap the boy and his nanny. He struck a plea deal earlier this summer.

HAMMER: Oscar winner Jamie Foxx is taking an important new role for hurricane victims. Foxx has agreed to be the official spokesman for the NAACP Disaster Relief Fund. He hopes that his participation will help bring in more money for the victims.

And those are tonight`s "Hot Headlines."

BRYANT: Tonight, an issue we`ve been following closely here at SHOWBIZ TONIGHT: did race play a factor in the rescue efforts following Katrina`s devastation? Well, rap artist Kanye West was the first to speak out on the issue. And now we have a new poll, and the results might just surprise you.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson is back with us live in Hollywood tonight.

Hi, Brooke.

ANDERSON: Hi, Karyn.

Well, results are in from a sensitive poll CNN and its polling partners conducted. Another top artist has gone to the media with his feelings, and President Bush has just spoken out on the topic of race and Katrina.


ANDERSON (voice-over): You`ve heard them by now. The seven famous and powerful words spoken by Kanye West live in an NBC telethon.

KANYE WEST, RAP ARTIST: George Bush doesn`t care about black people.

ANDERSON: Those provocative words have sparked an emotional debate and strong reactions. So strong that CNN, along with partners "USA Today" and Gallup, decided to poll the nation to find out what people really thought. Here`s CNN polling director Keating Holland.

KEATING HOLLAND, CNN POLLING DIRECTOR: We attempted to mirror what Kanye West had said on the air. Oftentimes when we hear a provocative sentence like that, it`s very easy to turn it into a question and ask people whether they agree or disagree.

ANDERSON: CNN`s polling question: do you think George Bush cares about black people? The results, overwhelmingly divisive: 67 percent of whites said, yes, the president does care about black people. But 72 percent of blacks said, no, he doesn`t.

Keating Holland told SHOWBIZ TONIGHT that the results were not surprising.

HOLLAND: Because President Bush is a Republican and because the Republicans have a four or five decade history of not paying as much attention to blacks as the Democrats do, it`s perhaps not somewhat surprising that blacks would not like President Bush`s views, overall views on race.

ANDERSON: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT took to the streets of Hollywood to find out if Kanye`s comments and the CNN poll rang true.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Throughout history, blacks have always felt slighted, and I think that`s where a lot of that comes from, as well. So, I mean, be it, if it`s true or not, but that is how people feel, and that`s the perception.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People just -- people are really defensive about their race. And people get really defensive about a lot of things. And I think that really the whole issue is that, you know, people try to dramatize things that really aren`t there, and try to make trouble for things that don`t exist.

ANDERSON: While touring it the streets of New Orleans just yesterday, President Bush addressed the issue of race for the very first time.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Many of whom were first on the scene were pulling people off roofs. They didn`t -- they didn`t check the color of a person`s skin. They wanted to save lives.

ANDERSON: Discrimination or not, some in Hollywood are saying Kanye`s comments aren`t helpful. Among them, New Orleans native Master P.

MASTER P, HIP HOP ARTIST: We need $100 billion. We`re not going to get that from the hip-hop industry. You know, we`re not. We`re going to need George Bush. We`re going to need the federal government. And also, I don`t respect the comment he made. Because he got an album out at the same time. I don`t know if it`s promotional.

ANDERSON: But rapper Diddy seemed to echo Kanye`s sentiments.

DIDDY, RAP ARTIST: Bush started down there, Cheney started down there. Helicopters, food being dropped from everywhere. Search lights, all that. People walking, waving, holding dogs and all that. You know, and that`s the way history went down. And you know, that`s why we got to take care of our own. You know? And then that`s why we stepping up. We black. And that`s how we putting it down.

ANDERSON: This issue has been so volatile that some artists have gone to great lengths to make their positions clear.

In a statement, Usher told SHOWBIZ TONIGHT there was no truth to the online reports that he urged people to ignore Kanye West, saying, quote, "If it wasn`t for his comments, there would not be an open dialogue about the underserved people in the Gulf region. We should all come together as one and support the victims of this devastating tragedy."


ANDERSON: Karyn, we`ve been continuously asking top stars for their opinions on this tough issue. And there are really mixed emotions out there. Some have told us they do not think what Kanye said was productive, others saying they are proud of him for having the courage to say how he felt.

And we`ll keep you updated from here. Back to you, Karyn.

BRYANT: Thanks very much. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson in Hollywood.

It certainly is an interesting question. And we`ve been asking you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Reuniting Katrina families: are the media doing a better job than the government? A.J., who knows?

HAMMER: Who knows?

BRYANT: Keep voting at, and write us at Your e-mails coming up at 54 past the hour.

HAMMER: Well, I`m certain the topic of race will be coming up at the red carpet at the Emmys on Sunday. All this week, we`re bringing you the biggest stars who are the biggest nominees for the Emmy Awards this year.

And tonight, Hugh Laurie, nominated for outstanding lead actor in a dramatic role for the FOX series "House." I spoke with Laurie about the show. And we talked about Hurricane Katrina and the celebrity response.


BRYANT: Hugh Laurie, thanks for joining us.


BRYANT: Of course, Katrina on the top of the mind for everybody. I know at least one of your cast mates, Sela Ward, has family in Mississippi. Do you know how everybody`s doing?

LAURIE: That`s right. They all seem to be fine. Everyone she knows and all her relations appear to be fine. Thank heaven for that.

And we have a couple of other people on the show who have relatives down there. Some of whom were uncontactable for quite some -- nearly a week, and that was obviously harrowing for them.

And it has been -- you know, I`m very unconnected. I`m an Englishman. I`ve never visited that part of the world, but you know, it manages to touch everybody. The scale of this thing is just, I guess, unprecedented and incomprehensible. And it will presumably continue to be for so long. This is not something you clean up or get over in a weekend. I mean, this is -- it will change lives forever.

HAMMER: Yes, it`s not going to quickly get better. And of course, we`ve had a number of telethons and celebrity-driven events. Do you feel personally that it is the responsibility of celebrities to get out there and use the power that they have for people to listen to them, to get involved with relief efforts?

LAURIE: Of course. If you have, you know, whatever it takes. If you have any sort of wherewithal you have to gather either money or attention or any sort of energy devoted to dealing with this, of course, you have an absolute obligation to do that.


HAMMER: I also spoke with Laurie about the role for which he is nominated, playing the acerbic Dr. House.


HAMMER: House, Dr. House not only is American but has sort of a gruff delivery.

LAURIE: Yes, he does. I don`t know quite why that is. It just came out that way. I just felt like the right thing to do.

HAMMER: He lacks social skills. That would actually be an understatement. He lacks certain sensitivity, yet he`s a genius. Is that the kind of a role that is just such great fun to play for you?

LAURIE: It really is. It really is. I mean, I feel so like I`ve won all kinds of luxuries. I feel so blessed.

HAMMER: Well, congratulations on your Emmy nomination. This is your first Emmy nod?

LAURIE: It certainly is, yes.

HAMMER: It is the outstanding lead actor in a dramatic role. Quite a bit of competition that you`re up against here. Can we take a look at these nominees?

LAURIE: Absolutely. Yes.

HAMMER: Why don`t we run through them? Why don`t you give me just a quick thought on each of these guys.


HAMMER: James Spader from "Boston Legal."

LAURIE: Eleven to five on. I don`t know, actually, what the odds are. It`s terrific. I mean, who won it last year, I think. Yes. Absolutely terrific. I love that show. I love watching him in it. He`s a complete delight, you know. So winner. OK? Winner No. 1.

HAMMER: OK. Give me your take on Ian McShane from "Deadwood."

LAURIE: Fantastic. "Deadwood" is a sensational piece of television. Ian McShane, it`s just a Jacobean hero of gargantuan proportions. Winner No. 2.

HAMMER: Hank Azaria from "Huff."

LAURIE: Haven`t seen "Huff." Hank is -- I`m a great fan of his work in other fields, but I haven`t seen "Huff." I apologize for that. Hank, wherever you are, I will put that right. So question mark.

HAMMER: OK. Final nominee from the Fox family, as well, Kiefer Sutherland on "24."

LAURIE: Winner No. 3. There you go. I mean, I`m not even going to show up.

HAMMER: The recognition for you, though, the actual award?

LAURIE: It`s important for the show, because you know, this is a very competitive business. Anything can you do to draw attention to your -- to your wares is obviously important. And the fact that we`ve got Emmy nominations is a terrific thing, undeniably.

For me, you know, straightforward vanity, I`m as prone to vanity as anyone else. So yes, I can`t deny. When I heard that I`d been nominated, that was -- there was a spring in my step.

HAMMER: Hugh Laurie, thanks for joining us.

LAURIE: Thanks a lot.

HAMMER: Appreciate it.


HAMMER: The show has gotten quite a bit of attention from the Emmys. "House" has been nominated for a total of five, including Hugh Laurie`s once again outstanding performance by a lead actor in a dramatic role.

The season premiere of "House" tonight on FOX.

BRYANT: He`s looking good.

HAMMER: Nice guy.

BRYANT: Well, Gwyneth Paltrow is back in town.

HAMMER: We`re going to take you live to the premiere of her new movie "Proof," coming up next on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

BRYANT: Plus, the new season of "The Apprentice" hasn`t started yet, but there is already a side story of murder and obsession. Stick around for that, coming up.


HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer.

Of course, the hurricane aftermath is still foremost on people`s minds, everywhere from Main Street, USA, to the red carpets of Hollywood and New York.

David Haffenreffer is live on one of those carpets right now, where Gwyneth Paltrow`s new movie, "Proof." It`s at the Ziegfeld Theater here in New York City. Joining us now live.

Hi, David.

DAVID HAFFENREFFER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: How are you doing, A.J.? In the movie "Proof," Gwyneth Paltrow is teamed up once again with the "Shakespeare in Love" director for which she won an Oscar, John Madden, for a movie that is based on an award-winning play.

In the film itself, she plays a duty-bound daughter who decides to put her entire life on hold and care for her ailing, aging and unstable father, played by Sir Anthony Hopkins in the film.

The film is a bit of a return for Gwyneth Paltrow. Back to Hollywood. Of course, her daughter died in 2002. She had a daughter about 16 months ago.

We caught up with her just a short time ago to talk to her about her thoughts about those who have been devastated by the Katrina aftermath.


GWYNETH PALTROW, ACTRESS: Well, I mean, of course, you would have to be an automaton not to be totally devastated by what`s happened. And as the stories start to come out more and more. It`s just -- it`s insane that this could happen in this country in this day and age. It`s appalling.

HAFFENREFFER: Have you been at all involved in relief efforts?

PALTROW: I`ve -- just, you know, from a monetary standpoint, but I haven`t been able to go down. And, you know -- I`ve been working a lot and with my child. So...


HAFFENREFFER: Sir Anthony Hopkins also here tonight, having walked the carpet just a short time ago. Dustin Hoffman here supporting some of his friends. And we`re still waiting for Jake Gyllenhaal, who happens to be starring in the film, as well.

Back to you in the studio.

HAMMER: Thanks much, David. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s David Haffenreffer, live in New York City -- Karyn.

BRYANT: Well, tonight, we`ve got an "Apprentice" shocker and the new season of the NBC show hasn`t even premiered yet.

There is a stunning report out tonight that reveals that one of the contestants, an ex-stripper named Alla, who is characterized by Donald Trump himself as, quote, "tough as nails."

Well, it turns out she`s connected to a Death Row inmate, a man who was so obsessed that he killed three people so that he could pay her for lap dances.`s managing editor, Andrew Goldberg, joins me live now. His web site broke the story.

Andrew, this is a juicy one, isn`t it?


BRYANT: So set it up. Tell us who the two players are, how they met and how this all got started.

GOLDBERG: Alla Wartenberg was a stripper at a Vegas club. She was basically charging $40 for a lap dance and stripping. But he was -- this guy, Robert Acremant, who was the gentleman, was also somebody who would come in and actually, as they say, buy her for the evening. So he would pay $500 to $1,500 a night, and she would dance exclusively for him.

BRYANT: Was there ever anything more to their relationship than just dancing?

GOLDBERG: Well, that`s part of the problem. She said that it was strictly platonic relationship. He said, you know, "That was my girlfriend. This is the person I was seeing."

Now, he had her home phone number. He would buy her earrings. He would take her to lunch. He would take her to dinner, something the movies. But she said the relationship never moved beyond there. But in his mind, he had a real relationship with this woman.

BRYANT: OK. So he`s going into the club many times a week, perhaps, spending $500 to $1,500. He needed some money. The man starts killing for money so he could pay for lap dances?

GOLDBERG: Right. Well, his professional life, what he was doing for a living, sort of fell off the tracks. And in his mind, he needed to keep earning money in order to keep her in his life, which is obvious. Because she said, "Look, I saw him as nothing more than a way to earn more money." Even at the end, when he was coming into the club, she said, "I knew it was going to be a good night."

Whereas he said, hey, this is time for me to spend with a woman that he obviously had become obsessed with.

BRYANT: He`s an ATM, basically, for her, right?

GOLDBERG: For her an ATM. But at the same time, the way that he did it was in Oregon, he killed a lesbian couple. In California, he killed a guy who he had gone out with for the evening, all to get money in order to go back to Vegas and spend it on her.

BRYANT: Unbelievable. OK, so then the story progresses. There`s an incident with a stun gun, where he actually approaches her? Alla?

GOLDBERG: Right. He`s at his lowest at this point. He had actually killed in both of those two states. He goes back to Vegas to see her and he say, "Hey, Ecstasy" -- that`s her stripper name -- "let`s get together..."

BRYANT: Her...

GOLDBERG: Or "X," as she liked to be known. "Let`s go out." He doesn`t even have a car, so she`s driving. He says, "Pull over," pulls out a gun, and he pulls out a stun gun.

And he says to her, "I feel betrayed by you. I can`t believe what you did to me."

And she says, as she says in her court testimony in California, "I felt like I had to tell him what he wanted to hear, which was, `No, I really do care about you. I really do love you. And it was just the job in the club that wouldn`t allow me to sort of, you know, express my true feelings for you."

And so he said, "OK." They moved on. And the odd part is she never calls the police after this and in fact arranges to meet with him again the next day to sort of close this relationship out.

BRYANT: OK. And he`s on Death Row now. How did he get caught? Do you know?

GOLDBERG: Basically, you know, he got caught because his mother saw a picture of him and ended up turning him in. In addition in California, when there was the hearing -- when there was the sentencing hearing, his father came forward and did say, you know, "My son does deserve the death penalty." So...

BRYANT: Killed three people to pay for lap dances. Outrageous.

Well, I do want to know what NBC had to say about this, because certainly, "The Apprentice" is a big franchise for them. There`s no way they didn`t know this story, right?

GOLDBERG: Well, from everything that we`ve read, because you know, NBC doesn`t talk to us. And that`s not the worst thing for us personally. But it`s that they knew she was a stripper, of course, because Trump touted that originally, when he was announcing how proud he is of thus cast.

But what they didn`t know, apparently, because they had no real response to it, was her involvement in this case.

Now, look, she wasn`t, you know -- she wasn`t a criminal. Didn`t do anything wrong here. She was testifying and she was essentially the muse for a murderer.

BRYANT: Unbelievable. Well, we actually asked for a comment from NBC, and we got nothing, other than what Donald said and that is to, quote, "Stay tuned and watch the show." So that`s it.

Thank you, Andrew Goldberg, managing editor of

And by the way,, an online betting site, has handicapped all the season`s "Apprentice" contestants. They give Alla the stripper the best chance to win, at a 6-1 odds -- A.J.

HAMMER: Just fascinating.

Well, it is Fashion Week here in New York City. Today some top supermodels gathered to announce a special event to raise some money for hurricane victims.

Naomi Campbell, Iman and Linda Evangelista joined event officials this afternoon to announce Fashion for Relief. It`s a show that`s going to close out Fashion Week on Friday. The show will include top designers and celebrities, including Lindsay Lohan, Cindy Crawford, Jay-Z and Naomi Campbell, who gave some more details about the event.


NAOMI CAMPBELL, SUPERMODEL: Fashion for Relief will have clothes donated by different designers as well as models and celebrities. It`s going to be a once in a lifetime event to raise money for the tragedy that could not have been imagined.

After the show, people can be able to donate clothes on and raise money for America Cares, as well.


HAMMER: Every group has pitched in, and it counts. Tickets are on sale at Ticketmaster for that show. And as Naomi said, the clothes available for auction at That gets underway September 22.

Well, there`s still time for you to sound off in our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day, if you haven`t done so already. Reuniting Katrina families: are the media doing a better job than the government? Go to to vote or send us more of your thoughts at We`re going to read some of your e-mails live, coming up next.


BRYANT: It is time to take a look at some of the best of late-night laughs in "Laughter Dark." Dr. Phil is back for season four of his daytime talk show. And on "The Late Show," after asking Dave about his son, Dr. Phil had a brainstorm.


DR. PHIL MCGRAW, TALK SHOW HOST: How`s he doing? Did you ever marry his mother? We could marry you on my show!

I have a -- I have a -- I have a whole new set this year.


MCGRAW: ... that we`ve -- I got a home equity loan from Ditech. Got me a whole new -- got me a whole new set this year, and -- Oprah`s got at new set, too.

LETTERMAN: Would it be the entire show or would it just be, like, a segment? Because I don`t want to get shoved -- you know...

MCGRAW: I don`t know. It depends -- it depends whether you`re willing to cry or not.


BRYANT: Oh, David. He still sticks it to him every time.

Well, on "The Tonight Show," even though John Kerry wasn`t elected president, Jay Leno isn`t finishing making jokes about him.


JAY LENO, HOST, NBC`S "THE TONIGHT SHOW": And John Kerry was in New Orleans. You know, John Kerry wants to help, and he just doesn`t know how to connect with the common people, you know? That was his problem during that -- he cannot connect with the common man or woman in the street.

Did you see how he surveyed the damage along the coast? Show Kerry today surveying the damage. You see what I mean? Did you see -- it`s just the wrong way -- yes.


HAMMER: All right, then.

Well, throughout the show we`ve been asking you to vote online on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Reuniting Katrina victims -- Katrina families: are the media doing a better job than the government?

Here`s how the vote`s been going. Seventy-seven percent of you say, yes, the media`s doing a better job; with 23 percent saying, no they have not been.

Amanda from North Carolina writes, "I think the media are doing a great job of reuniting people. It shows they really care. The government is doing a very sad job."

We also heard from Wendy, who writes, "The media are doing a better job than the government. I haven`t heard one case of the government reuniting anyone."

You can continue to vote by going to

BRYANT: And that does it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I am Karyn Bryant.

HAMMER: I`m A.J. Hammer. Stay tuned for the latest from CNN Headline News.


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