Skip to main content
Search
Services


 

Return to Transcripts main page

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT

Scientologists Open Anti-Psychiatry Museum; New York Paralyzed by Transit Strike; Michael Jackson Could Default on $300 Million Loan

Aired December 20, 2005 - 19:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: I`m A.J. Hammer.
SIBILA VARGAS, CO-HOST: And I`m Sibila Vargas. TV`s only live entertainment news show starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER (voice-over): On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the museum Tom Cruise would love, featuring psychiatry as "an industry of death." Plus, the Scientology-linked stars who want you to visit. Come along for the ride, because SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is taking you inside.

Tonight, the disturbing world of secret teen blogs. Teenagers divulging incredibly dark and personal information in a no-parents-allowed online world.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Online it can be anybody.

HAMMER: Tonight, we reveal the story that is leaving parents in shock.

Calling all moviegoers. Tonight, a controversial plan to separate you from your cell phone when you go to the movies. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT asking, should cell phones be banned from movie theaters?

JEFF FOXWORTHY, COMEDIAN: Hi. My name is Jeff Foxworthy. And if it happened today, it`s on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VARGAS: Hello, I`m Sibila Vargas.

HAMMER: And I`m A.J. Hammer.

Tonight, if Tom Cruise ever wanted to visit a museum he would love this one. It`s right in Hollywood. It`s just chock full of, well, everything he loves to hate about psychiatry.

VARGAS: Cruise`s rant against modern medicine and psychiatry is now the stuff of legend, so he`d finds this brand-new museum, which is linked to the Church of Scientology, just what the doctor ordered. Tonight`s SHOWBIZ TONIGHT takes you inside the red-hot controversy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM CRUISE, ACTOR: I know that psychiatry is a pseudo-science.

VARGAS (voice-over): It was this startling claim on "The Today Show" that sparked a wave of controversy, outraging psychiatrists everywhere and revealing Tom Cruise`s beliefs on psychiatry to the world.

CRUISE: Before I was a Scientologist, I never believed with psychiatry, and then when I started studying the history of psychiatry, I started realizing more and more why I didn`t agree with psychiatry.

VARGAS: And so the Church of Scientology`s own psychiatric watchdog group opened a new museum in Hollywood to aggressively get the word out on what they call the history of psychiatry and its present-day role in society.

PROFESSOR JEFFREY SCHALER, PSYCHOLOGIST, CCHR SPOKESMAN: I`m honored to speak to you today at this inauguration of the Psychiatry and Industry of Death Museum.

VARGAS: In this publicity tape for the museum, produced and provided by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights and sent to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, an array of high-profile celebrities are shown rallying against psychiatry. Here`s Lisa Marie Presley.

LISA MARIE PRESLEY, SINGER: But it`s happening. It`s actually happening. And you think that it`s not. You think it only happened in the 1950s or way back, you know, the straight jackets, the EST, lobotomies. They`re still happening.

VARGAS: Mom Priscilla Presley was on board, too.

PRISCILLA PRESLEY, ELVIS PRESLEY`S WIDOW: Knowledge is responsibility. So once you learn, once you know, you can`t deny it anymore.

VARGAS: Actress Anne Archer showed vehement concern for children.

ANNE ARCHER, ACTRESS: And I think by the time they finish going through the museum, they will understand what`s been happening to our school children, what`s been happening to our society, and I think it will galvanize them to do something about it.

VARGAS: Here are just a few of the museum`s startling claims.

Seventeen million children worldwide are taking psychiatric drugs. The watchdog group claims the drugs can cause suicide, hostility, violence and drug dependence.

They also charge that psychiatrists kill, yes, kill, up to 10,000 people a year with their use of electroshock.

And one other controversial claim, that between 10 and 25 percent of psychiatrists sexually assault their patients, some of them children.

The claims are clearly contentious, but the celebrity show case on this publicity tape welcomed the controversy. Here`s actress Jenna Elfman.

JENNA ELFMAN, ACTRESS: This museum is going to generate controversy but important controversy that in the end will very much help restore human rights to -- to individuals.

VARGAS: The American Psychiatric Association is not amused by any of these celebrity anti-psychiatry remarks. Immediately after Cruise`s "Today Show" comments, they released this statement in response.

"Mental health is a critical ingredient of overall health. It is unfortunate that in the face of this remarkable scientific and clinical progress that a small number of individuals and groups persist in questioning its legitimacy."

And the APA staunchly defended the methods and treatments used by its members to help Americans, saying, "Rigorous published peer-reviewed research clearly demonstrates that treatment works. As in other areas of medicine, medications are a safe effective way to improve the quality of life for millions of Americans who have mental health concerns."

Best-selling crime writer Patricia Cornwell has studied psychiatry in the course of researching her books. She writes on her web site, "There are misperceptions about psychology, especially when people out there like Tom Cruise say there`s no evidence of chemical imbalance and psychiatric disorders."

And actress Brooke Shields, whom Tom Cruise criticized for using antidepressants to cope with postpartum depression after the birth of her first child, stood by her methods in an interview with SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

BROOKE SHIELDS, ACTRESS: I was a position where I was declining rapidly and my biochemistry was in such flux and was in such imbalance. Had I not -- I would not -- I missed time anyway. I missed -- like, I missed that day when I got home. I missed those few weeks before I even started to begin to feel better.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VARGAS: The Citizens Commission on Human Rights declined to tape an interview for this piece. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT went to the APA for a comment on the story, and they declined to speak on the record.

HAMMER: Well, tonight, the entertainment capital of the world, New York City, is paralyzed by a transit strike. We`ve got no subways. We`ve got no busses running and from Broadway, to all the broadcast centers of all the major TV networks. Everybody is scrambling to keep the entertainment going.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s David Haffenreffer is live at New York`s Penn Station, where I believe he walked, with the latest.

DAVID HAFFENREFFER: A.J., indeed, this is a busy scene down here tonight. And you know, with thousands of New York City subway and bus workers on the picket lines today, New York City, as you said, the world capital of entertainment, had to muster through as best it could.

But it was a crazy today. New York City -- people in New York City forced to walk down overly crowded streets, some even having to walk over bridges to get to work this morning.

So SHOWBIZ TONIGHT did an informal poll of various TV productions around New York City. We talked to morning news shows, network news operations, daytime soap operas, prime time shows, even active movie productions out there today to get a sense of how they were impacted by this work stoppage, and indeed, they were.

This is a very important industry for the business. The entertainment universe brings in billions of dollars to New York City`s coffers on an annual basis. So let`s get you up to speed on this very important industry, how it`s doing here in New York City today.

First of all, Broadway will go on as scheduled today. The Great White Way, curtains will go up at 8 p.m. when things get underway this particular evening.

In fact, the president of the League of American Theaters and Producers says that Broadway has a very rich tradition and going on during very difficult situations, this being one of them, and they will continue to do so.

He went on to point out that most of the popular Broadway theaters are a very short walking distance from the two major transportation hubs in New York City, not only Penn Station here behind us here in midtown, but also Grand Central, just a short walk across town.

Also, the New York City mayor`s Office of Film and Television and Production put out a statement basically say that they`ve had a contingency plan in place for a week or so now, and most of the very active productions in town were able to heed its advice and make their contingency plans.

Among them, we understand, the soap opera "Guiding Light," which we hear actually booked hotel rooms for its employees so they could ride out this work stoppage, at least, at the very least in the warmth of a hotel room.

Now over to the film universe and the various projects that were going on in New York City. One movie, Uma Thurman`s "Super Ex-Girlfriend" managed to get lucky. Its film production wrapped up yesterday.

Another film, though, was having production here in New York City, Julie Taymor`s "Across the Universe," was set to shoot today just across the East River in Brooklyn today.

Just for information`s sake, the New York City bus and subway system provides about seven million rides per day. So this is a system that people depend on very much. And if they are without it today as they were today, people are being forced to make a choice, either stay at home or try to get a cab on the busy streets of New York, or maybe even have to do a lot of walking on an otherwise and very typically seasonally cold today.

And A.J., we should note that tomorrow is expected to be the coldest day of the year, so if this strike continues, two words for you. Bundle up.

HAMMER: Well, certainly inconvenienced a lot of people, but show biz goes on, David. Thanks very much. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`S David Haffenreffer in New York.

VARGAS: Tonight, Michael Jackson`s lawyers are negotiating to keep him from defaulting on nearly $300 million in loans. On CNN`s "AMERICAN MORNING" today, Soledad O`Brien talked to Maureen Orth, who has written extensively about Jackson for "Vanity Fair" magazine.

She said Jackson is in financial trouble because of millions of dollars in lawyer`s fees, $25 million in a settlement to the first boy who accused him of molestation, and spending that is completely out of control. She also said that Jackson doesn`t listen to his money managers and sometimes asks advice from children.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SOLEDAD O`BRIEN, CO-HOST, "AMERICAN MORNING": Wait, wait. He turns to the little kids, who are his fans, for financial advice?

MAUREEN ORTH, "VANITY FAIR" MAGAZINE: Maybe I would say more than his fans, whatever little boy is his special friend of the day. I was told by one of his -- the author, Stacy Brown, who authored a book with his ex- publicist, Bob Jones, that Bob Jones used to see him just turn to whatever little boy was the flavor of the month and say, "What do you think? I should do this deal?"

He has expenses that people like you and I, Soledad, don`t have. I remember one of my articles a couple of years ago, coming across like $60,000 owing to a Beverly Hills pharmacy, $72 a month for the Slurpee machine at Neverland. We`ve got the animals to feed. Plus, he takes jets everywhere, and no longer tours, and he doesn`t sell records.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VARGAS: If Jackson defaults on the loans, he could lose control of the Beatles song catalog. He has a 50 percent interest in the Beatles publishing rights valued at a whopping $500 million. Wouldn`t want to lose that.

HAMMER: He pays a lot of money for that Slurpee machine. That`s crazy.

Well, it`s a ringing endorsement for getting ring tones out of movie theaters. A controversial plan to silence cell phones at the movies. That`s coming up.

VARGAS: Plus another hang-up lots of people have. Not being able to get a human on the phone. You know how that is. If you`re tired of pressing the star key to get back to the main menu, stick around for the report on phone rage coming up.

HAMMER: And the secret world of teen blogging. You`re not going to believe what kids are putting out there on the Internet. That`s ahead in the "SHOWBIZ Special Report."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, TV`s only live entertainment news show. I`m A.J. Hammer.

Tonight, all-out war on one of modern life`s big annoyances, people who talk on their cell phones during the movies. Many movie goers have said they`ve just had enough, so this week, movie owners announced that they`re seriously considering a radical option, installing devices that will block cell phone signals.

Joining us live from Washington, D.C., for our "SHOWBIZ Newsmaker" interview, John Fithian. He`s president of the National Association of Theater Owners.

Thanks for being with us, John.

JOHN FITHIAN, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF THEATER OWNERS: You bet, A.J.

HAMMER: So we`ve all had it happen. We`re sitting in the movie theater, enjoying a lovely flick, when somebody gets on their cell phone or the cell phones start ringing. Give me one of the cell phone horror stories that motivated you to consider this action.

FITHIAN: Well, there are many, A.J. People want to get out of their house and come to the cinema to share in the experience, but what they don`t want to share in is someone`s personal phone call right down the row from them.

We`ve had theater managers call and say that after they`ve politely asked someone to turn off their cell phone, it hasn`t worked. We`ve had patrons approach us and complain. We even had to break up fights inside the cinema between patrons who want a quiet show and those who just insist on yakking on their cell phones.

HAMMER: That`s no good, all because of a little cell phone. And certainly, as you raise this, I`m sure a lot of people must have reacted by saying this is a good idea, we have to get the cell phones out of the theaters.

I`m sure you have just as many people saying, "Well, this isn`t fair. I should be able to use my cell phone when I wish to use my cell phone." And maybe there are concerns for safety and being able to use a cell phone in the event of an emergency.

So is this a proposal for jamming cell phones something we may be seeing sometime soon?

FITHIAN: Well, jamming cell phones will be a last resort. We`re actually trying several different majors to address this rude patron behavior.

First, we`re using public service messages on the screen to politely ask patrons, "Hey, put it on vibrate. Turn it off. Enjoy the show."

Secondly, we`re using our managers and our ushers to do more auditorium sweeps and again, to politely ask the patrons to turn it off. If these measures don`t work, however, we may need to move to something more serious, and cell phone blocking technology is one option for us to consider.

HAMMER: All right, John. Well, we certainly know people are annoyed by the cell phones, but there are a lot of other annoyances about going to the movies. I mean, we all know that we now have to sit through something like 20 minutes` worth of commercials. We have screaming babies. We have the high prices that seem to keep going up. What do you say to people who have all these other complaints?

FITHIAN: We listen to all these complaints. We want to hear what our patrons care about, and many of our theater companies are addressing those complaints in a number of ways.

Regarding the advertisements, we are working with the providers of screen advertisements to make them more entertaining and more theatrical, to mix up the commercial messages with pieces on behind the scenes on how the movie was made or interviews with stars so that the mix of the pre-show is indeed more entertaining.

On the crying baby issue, we`ve had this one a lot, and many of our companies are experimenting with policies on late-night showings disallowing small children from coming in.

But the best we can do is just to be vigilant with our ushers, to politely approach patrons and say, "Hey, you know, could you take your call outside? Could you take your baby outside?" Just until things are calmed down so that everyone can enjoy the show they`ve come to see.

HAMMER: All right, John. Well, good luck with the whole cell phone issue. I`m sure it will continue to be controversial. People don`t want their cell phone signals jammed, I am certain. But thanks for your efforts in trying to make the movie-going experience a little more pleasant.

John Fithian, the president of the National Association of Theater Owners.

FITHIAN: Thanks.

HAMMER: Now we want to hear from you on the subject. What do you think? It`s our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the today. We`re asking, cell phones in movie theaters: should they be banned? You can vote by going to CNN.com/ShowbizTonight. Or e-mail us at ShowbizTonight@CNN.com. Your thoughts later in the show.

VARGAS: If cell phones in the theater make you mad, then you probably really get steamed over this modern-day annoyance. You call a business, and instead of getting a real person to talk to, you get a computerized operator telling you to press this button if you have a problem. And it goes on and on and on.

Well, CNN`s Jeanne Moos for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT gives us an entertaining look at this hellish hang-up.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It`s an option people who hate automated voices can only dream of.

ROBOTIC VOICE: Press one if you`d like to murder the operator.

MOOS: After all, there`s nothing more human than getting enraged over not being able to talk to a human. This is an actual call.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can`t believe I`m talking to a stupid robot. I want to talk to a human being, goddammit.

MOOS: They may sound like 911 calls...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Help. Help. Help!

MOOS: But all they want rescued from is the interactive voice.

ROBOTIC VOICE: What can I get you?

MOOS: A drink.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can`t stand them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it`s such a pain in the butt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hate it.

MOOS (on camera): Why?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To talk to a human being, you`ve got to go through 20 different things just to ask one simple question.

MOOS (voice-over): And to add insult to injury...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They can never understand me.

MOOS: But at least they know how to apologize.

ROBOTIC VOICE: Sorry we`re having so much trouble.

ROBOTIC VOICE: I`m sorry but I`m not exactly sure what you want.

ROBOTIC VOICE: My mistake.

ROBOTIC VOICE: My mistake again.

MOOS: The computer takes the blame even if it`s the caller`s fault. Misspelling Peoria, for instance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: P-I-A. Now can I talk to a person?

MOOS: Being a virtual operator means always having to say you`re sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m really sorry. Oh, hey, I`m sorry. Sorry. Try telling me your ten-digit account number once more.

DEBORAH ELIEZER, VOICE OF YAHOO! JENNI: Can you do that one more time? Just sound a little more sorry.

MOOS: Meet Jenni from Yahoo!, not to be confused with...

ROBOTIC VOICE: Hi, I`m Julie, Amtrak`s automated agent.

MOOS: Actually, Yahoo! Jenni is really actress Deborah Eliezer, who jokes about what she`d rather be saying to callers.

ELIEZER: You look great in those pants today. Just to be able to say something like that would be so funny.

MOOS: Maybe folks wouldn`t swear at her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then when I said, "Oh, (expletive deleted)." And then it goes, "Sorry, do not recognize that command."

MOOS: Experts like Professor Clifford Nass, author of "Wired for Speech," say the worst thing callers can do is get mad.

PROF. CLIFFORD NASS, AUTHOR, "WIRED FOR SPEECH": The voice changes in ways that makes it hard to understand, so now the system has an even tougher time, which makes the person even madder. So you get in a hideous downward spiral.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said no, no, N-O, N-O.

MOOS: These calls you`ve been hearing are from an airline. Professor Shrina Ryan (ph) of the University of Southern California Speech Analysis Lab is studying 1,400 recordings.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would like to speak with a human being, please.

MOOS: He`s developing a computer program that can recognize when a caller`s upset.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here we see volume...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Help. Help. Help!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You also see these wild pitch variations.

MOOS: The program analyzes pitch, volume and certain words to determine when to turn the caller over to a live person.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning, my name is Fred.

MOOS (on camera): Are you real?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was when I woke up this morning.

MOOS (voice-over): There`s even a web site that gives tips on how to find a human, how to go around the interactive voices of different companies, though the tips didn`t always work.

ROBOTIC VOICE: Which would you like?

MOOS (on camera): Agent. Agent. Agent. Agent.

ROBOTIC VOICE: I think you said that you wanted reservations.

MOOS (voice-over): Try telling directory assistance you want this town in Ohio.

ROBOTIC VOICE: What city or borough?

MOOS (on camera): Knockemstiff, Ohio.

ROBOTIC VOICE: That`s North Youngstown, Ohio, right?

MOOS (voice-over): Even a live operator had trouble.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What city, ma`am? Norton Stitch (ph)?

MOOS (on camera): Knockemstiff.

(voice-over) Another trip from experts, try to speak naturally.

NASS: Trying to say, like, "This is what I meant" makes it hard to understand, trying to neutralize your accent in some strange and bizarre way.

MOOS: Jenni from Yahoo! sounds pretty strange herself.

ELIEZER: Oh, my God. You`ve got more than 50 messages.

MOOS: One Valentine`s Day, National Public Radio invented a romance between Flight Information Guy Tom and Amtrak Julie.

ROBOTIC VOICE: Are you also a little lonely? Please say yes or no.

ROBOTIC VOICE: Yes.

MOOS: No, it didn`t end well.

ROBOTIC VOICE: Call me back when you can act like a human being.

MOOS: What do automated voices have over real voices? The head of a speech recognition company called Nuance explains.

CHUCK BERGER, CEO, NUANCE: It saves a lot of money. Instead of $3 to $5 a call, it`s 15 to 20 cents a call.

MOOS: ATMs were once despised. Now they`re loved. Maybe the same thing will happen to virtual operators.

(on camera) Ever swear at them?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I just pray for them.

ROBOTIC VOICE: Press three if you`d like to pray for the operator.

MOOS (voice-over): Virtual operators don`t have a prayer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are full of crap...

MOOS: ... of avoiding abuse.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I talk to a person?

ROBOTIC VOICE: The last four digits...

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VARGAS: You just can`t win. That was CNN`s Jeanne Moos for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

HAMMER: Coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, Martha`s mess up. We`re going to tell you why Martha Stewart`s face was a little red on her show today. That`s coming up in "Talk of the Day."

VARGAS: Plus, to sir with love. Sir Elton John gets ready for marriage. We`ll tell you about the star-packed ceremony he has planned tomorrow. That`s coming up.

HAMMER: And here comes the judge. In the competitive world of daytime court shows, Judge Alex prevails. He`s here live in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

VARGAS: First, tonight`s "Entertainment Weekly Great American Pop Culture Quiz." What sporting event was the focus of the con in 1973`s "The Sting"? Was it, A, football; B, horse racing; C, dog racing; or D, the Olympics? We`ll be right back with the answer.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VARGAS: So again, tonight`s "Entertainment Weekly Great American Pop Culture Quiz." What sporting event was the focus of the con in 1973`s "The Sting"? The answer is b, horse racing.

HAMMER: In today`s "Talk of the Day," soap star Susan Lucci visits Martha Stewart on her morning talk show, "Martha." See what happens.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARTHA STEWART, TALK SHOW HOST: And then, now I haven`t kept up with "The Young and the Restless," either. What`s going on...

SUSAN LUCCI, ACTRESS: No, I haven`t, either. Because I keep up with "All My Children."

STEWART: Oh, my God. I had the wrong thing. That`s a no-no.

LUCCI: That`s OK.

STEWART: We keep that under the cap. That`s how much I watch the soaps.

LUCCI: But that`s okay.

STEWART: I`m not even embarrassed. I`m not blushing because that`s going to go down in history. Oh, my God.

LUCCI: That`s OK. But "All My Children" is fabulous.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Martha, you`ve got to do a little research.

A "Desperate Housewives" actor who was kicked off the show tries to set the record straight with a rap song. That`s coming up next on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

VARGAS: Plus, Britney sues over reports of very intimate footage from the Federline marital bed. And no, we`re not talking about Britney and Kevin`s reality show. That`s coming up.

HAMMER: Also a disturbing trend online, teenagers blogging about personal and, in some cases, illegal details about their lives. This is a report that every parent should see and that`s coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

VARGAS: And I`m Sibila Vargas. We`re in New York, and you`re watching TV`s only live entertainment news show.

HAMMER: Well, Sibila, the world of blogging has provided this great outlet, web logs, a chance to keep an online diary for both adults and for kids. But the problem is kids are out there putting some very personal and intimate details of their lives on the Web, which is creating these hidden dangers and they can become targets for predators. It`s really a scary situation. We have a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT special tonight.

VARGAS: I have a 4-year-old, and I`m telling you, you know, I`m thinking about when he gets older.

HAMMER: Hopefully, he`s not blogging yet...

VARGAS: No, not yet.

HAMMER: ... but a "Showbiz Special Report`s" going to reveal some of these scary details about this coming up.

VARGAS: Yes. Also coming up, of course, Elton John, the very big news of the day. He`s getting married tomorrow. And of course, everybody wants to know who`s going to be there, how many people are expected. How many do you think are going to be there, actually?

HAMMER: I would imagine 10,000 people. I don`t know.

VARGAS: Well, close. And we`ll have all of that. That`s coming up.

But first, let`s get to tonight`s "Hot Headlines."

Page Kennedy, who played basement-dwelling Caleb on ABC`s hit "Desperate Housewives, says he wasn`t fired for improper conduct or flashing anyone on the set. In a rap song called "Hold On" on his website, Kennedy says, quote, "They were complete lies, and the media seems to stick together like fat guys and super-sized fries." Hmm. Kennedy maintains the show just wanted to go in a different direction. ABC didn`t get back to us by show time.

Well, Britney Spears is suing "US Weekly" magazine for $20 million. The pop star says the celebrity glossy printed a false story that said she and husband Kevin Federline made a sex tape and were worried about its release. Spears had asked the magazine for a retraction, but "US Weekly" declined, saying it stands by its source.

And you`ll be getting three doses of the fifth season of "American Idol." FOX says it will air "Idol" three nights per week when the show reaches the semi-finals. Men will sing on Tuesdays, women on Wednesdays, and the results will be announced on Thursday. The new season of the singing competition will kick off January 17th.

And those are tonight`s "Hot Headlines."

HAMMER: Tonight, a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT special report. And what you`re about to find out is going to make you wonder what your teenagers are really doing when they`re on their computers and whether it puts them in danger.

Millions of teens are entertaining themselves by blogging, writing these online journals, and revealing incredibly intimate details about their lives, from their sex lives to their school lives. Well, these blogs often hide deep, dark secrets or, worse, they make kids the target of sick, disgusting sexual predators.

Here`s CNN`s David Mattingly for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She was only 15, but for years, Caeli had been living a double life. To her parents, she was the typical smiling teenager. But in the secretive world of blogging, she was known as a party girl.

CAELI HIGGINS, TEEN BLOGGER: Everyone who has a blog does sort of live this separate life because, by making a blog, you create this whole image of yourself. And most of the time, it`s not actually, you know, what you come off as or who you seem to be. But online, you can be anybody.

MATTINGLY: Online, Caeli was blogging about real-life experiences of smoking pot, getting drunk, and passing out. She found plenty of others who claimed to be doing the same, validating her own destructive behavior.

C. HIGGINS: It`s sort of desensitizes you to it, especially when you`re reading about a million other people doing it. You don`t look at it as something that`s so uncommon and bad anymore, because you see everybody else doing it, so...

MATTINGLY: And her parents had no idea. It is a password-protected, no-grownups-allowed party, where 60 percent of online teens say they share personal information they would never share with their parents. With dozens of blogging sites to pick from, a teen could choose to be faceless, anonymous and almost untraceable by the people closest to them.

(on-screen): How easy is it to hide from your parents?

C. HIGGINS: Really easy.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): The Pew Research Center estimates four million teens have a blog, eight million teens read them, and three million read the blogs of strangers. Before 18-year-old David Ludwig allegedly murdered the parents of his 14-year-old girlfriend, Kara Borden, police in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, believe the two developed a relationship while blogging on a church network.

DR. SUSAN BARTELL, PSYCHOLOGIST: Because it`s unsupervised and because there`s no guidance from adults, the kids don`t really necessarily make the right decisions when it comes to the people that they`re meeting through their blogs.

MATTINGLY: Studies find most teens become interested in blogs as early as the seventh grade. Caeli was 13 when she started. By 15, she was spending up to four hours a day online, blogging, messaging, and withdrawing from her family, all the while reading about the darkest exploits of her circle of friends.

C. HIGGINS: Drugs, and drinking, and parties, and stuff that went on at school, like, you know, people -- girls, like, having sex and all this stuff, just all, like, the really bad details of high school life.

MATTINGLY (on-screen): About half of parents in a recent national survey say they electronically monitor their children`s access to the Web. But if Caeli`s mother hadn`t decided to investigate last year by clicking on one of her daughter`s open journals when she wasn`t looking, then Caeli`s substance abuse could have remained a secret.

PAT HIGGINS, DAUGHTER IS A TEEN BLOGGER: The worst thing was when I found in a journal that she wrote online that she and a bunch of kids had gone to -- one of the kids had a boat, his family had a boat out in the bay. And it was February. And apparently, she was so drunk, she passed out and they tucked her in on a bed on the boat and then they all left her. I just couldn`t believe, you know, how terrified I was when I read that. And I thought, "My god, she could have died."

MATTINGLY (voice-over): And the confrontation that followed was traumatic. Caeli`s parents were devastated by the years of deception. Caeli herself felt betrayed by the intrusion into her private world.

C. HIGGINS: She made me go to this therapist in my town. And then she printed out my whole journal and highlighted everything and gave it to my therapist. And that`s when I got really mad.

MATTINGLY: The family then agreed to some changes. Now 16, Caeli`s in a new school and her online activity is closely monitored at home. Pot and alcohol are in the past, but the blogging, she shows us, is as feverish as ever, giving her parents still plenty of reasons to worry.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: So many dangers out there. That was CNN`s David Mattingly for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

VARGAS: Well, posting deep, dark secrets on the Web is one thing, but what if doing so makes it easier for sexual predators to hunt down your children? Our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT special report on the possible hidden dangers of teen blogging continues. Here`s CNN`s Dan Lothian for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STACY YANOFSKY, TEEN BLOGGER: Hello? No, this is Stacy.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When 14-year-old Stacy Yanofsky signed up for a popular teen website...

S. YANOFSKY: You can put on your interests. You can put on your pictures, things like that.

LOTHIAN: ... she never imagined her innocent adventure could actually be dangerous.

S. YANOFSKY: It wasn`t just that I was going along with the crowd. I thought it sounded cool, because everyone else, like, they had fun with it.

LOTHIAN: Her classmates at this suburban Boston middle school were creating personal pages on MySpace.com, a trendy social network popular with millions of teens nationwide, where anyone claiming to be at least 14 can blog, chat and post pictures. Sounds innocent enough, except...

HANK VAN PUTTEN, PRINCIPAL, OAK HILL MIDDLE SCHOOL: (INAUDIBLE) at what school they went to (INAUDIBLE) as to what town they lived in. They have their pictures posted there. They`re talking about what grade they had been in.

LOTHIAN: ... even though the site explicitly warns against that. More disturbing, he says, some pictures were like these, provocative. And school computers were being used to log on. Concerned that predators could find easy targets, Van Putten sent out a warning letter to parents.

CINDY YANOFSKY, MOTHER OF A TEEN BLOGGER: When Stacy came home from school that day, I asked her about it. And she told me, "Please don`t be angry with me, Mom. I was one of the kids that had a MySpace." And she told me what she had put on and that she was taking it off.

LOTHIAN: Stacy says, unlike some of her friends, she only posted sketches and non-identifiable information.

S. YANOFSKY: I really didn`t think about the dangers of being -- of posting something online.

C. YANOFSKY: That`s the fear of every parent, that your kid will get in trouble because they are too innocent.

LOTHIAN: Like the case of a 16-year-old Port Washington, New York, girl, allegedly molested in September by a 37-year-old man police say tracked her from MySpace.

(on-screen): From coast-to-coast, several others schools are sending home warning letters. And some are taking extreme measures, like threatening suspension for students caught posting personal pages on the site.

(voice-over): ... or other sites popular with teens. But young bloggers say the danger is overblown and that it`s a great place to keep in touch and to spread the latest gossip. Some parents, like Phoebe Ramler, whose home computer is right next to her 16-year-old daughter`s, aren`t pulling the plug.

PHOEBE RAMLER, MOTHER OF TEEN BLOGGER: She has reassured me, and I feel confident because I have a presence there, that she`s utilizing it in a safe way.

LOTHIAN: Stacy, however, decided to pull her page.

S. YANOFSKY: It`s just, though, putting yourself out there and risking all these things, like the chance of something happening.

LOTHIAN: A chance the Yanofskys aren`t willing to take.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VARGAS: That was CNN`s Dan Lothian for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

And tonight, it looks like there might be more controversy surrounding online teen blogs. "Justice" magazine is reporting that a suburban New Jersey public school has suspended as many as 35 students, based on their MySpace photos of allegedly drinking alcohol and flashing gang symbols. Some say, though, that suspensions may be illegal, even unconstitutional, infringing on free speech.

HAMMER: Free speech in the movie theaters is something that we`ve been asking you to vote on for our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." Cell phones in movie theaters: Should they be banned?

You can continue to vote at CNN.com/showbiztonight or write to us at showbiztonight@CNN.com. Your e-mails on the way in 14 minutes.

VARGAS: Coming up, one of the biggest music stars out there gets set to tie the knot. But it`s not any old wedding, so why is Elton John`s wedding causing controversy even before it`s making history? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has a preview. That`s next.

HAMMER: And he`s holding court on one of the most popular daytime TV shows, so what`s the secret of his success where so many else have failed? Judge Alex joins us live in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VARGAS: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Sibila Vargas in New York. You`re watching TV`s only live entertainment news show.

Well, Sir Elton John has never really been one to sit on the sidelines, with those in-your-face outfits and strong opinions on social issues. Tonight, he`s getting ready for what could be his most controversial performance ever. And it`s not a concert.

Here`s CNN`s Paula Newton for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The poster boy of flamboyance will drop the flash and marry his man in a sober English ceremony. Sir Elton John and his long-time partner, Canadian filmmaker David Furnish, will be one of the first gay couples engaging in civil partnership, Britain`s version of gay marriage.

SIR ELTON JOHN, MUSICIAN: The ceremony is planned, but the party isn`t planned yet.

NEWTON: Have no fear: The party will not disappoint. A guest list of 700, including celebrities like Liz Hurley, Victoria Beckham, too many to possibly list. And the couple says this marriage is more than a celebration. It`s a political statement.

DAVID FURNISH, CIVIL PARTNER OF ELTON JOHN: Yes, it`s a really important day. It`s historical change. And I think it`s brilliant that Britain has, you know, made these changes to the government legislation to recognize equality.

NEWTON: And Elton John recently wrote a passionate defense of gay rights in a British newspaper, saying gay people "have often been made scapegoats by those who fear that we are a threat to the status quo."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You get it every week. Every week, you get death threats, hate mail, whatever. It doesn`t matter. It doesn`t phase us.

NEWTON: Gino Marriano (ph) and Mike Galecki (ph) will be going to the chapel on Wednesday, too. They are no strangers to the ugly side of homophobia and now the lucrative side of gay marriage.

They are so-called pink wedding planners. And in the end, this is about cold, hard cash. These couples will now have virtually all the rights of heterosexual couples. That means they can inherit each other`s estates, tax-free.

(on-screen): But some here in Britain aren`t buying it. Most outspoken, church officials, who say the new law will make homosexuality far too mainstream.

CANON CHRIS SUGDEN, ANGLICAN CHURCH: The problem with that, from my Christian point of view, is that that is the same as legalizing bigamy.

NEWTON: The reverend is joining forces with some in the United States who also feel Britain`s new law is pushing the envelope too far, in short, condoning sin.

REV. DAVID ANDERSON, AMERICAN ANGLICAN CHURCH: And it`s really causing a split between people of faith and the secular world.

NEWTON: Many in British society are embracing gay marriage. The tabloids here are full of same-sex love stories. But the palace, ever the wiser, is steering clear of the controversy.

The queen herself knighted Sir Elton John, so his new bride would normally be called a lady. Would David Furnish be called Laddie? No chance, says the palace. It called the question "interesting," but passed the buck to the government.

Sir Elton and David will celebrate their union in the very same place in Windsor as Charles and Camilla did earlier this year. Of course, Camilla then became the Duchess of Cornwall. No such luck for David Furnish.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VARGAS: That was CNN`s Paula Newton for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. And tomorrow, we`ll have complete coverage of Elton John`s civil union so keep it here.

HAMMER: It is time now for our "Showbiz Sitdown." Tonight, Judge Alex Ferrer from daytime TV`s number-one syndicated new show, "Judge Alex." The real-life court program ranked higher than domestic diva Martha Stewart`s talk fest, as well as supermodel Tyra Banks` show, "Tyra." He`s also the only television judge who`s a former police officer. Judge Alex joining us live in the midst of the transit strike here in New York.

Thanks for making it in.

JUDGE ALEX FERRER, HOST, "JUDGE ALEX": Thanks. Actually, I was just looking for shelter from the frigid weather outside, and they miked me and put me on your bench here.

HAMMER: Well, you guys shoot the show in Houston, but you live in Miami. And this is all you bring to New York?

FERRER: This is it. I thought I would just hop in the car, but I didn`t know I`d have to find an empty taxi among the sea of cars on Sixth Avenue to get here. But it worked out.

HAMMER: And you shared with me, right before we went on, you know, you`re traveling from place to place in New York, Houston, Miami. You have a great slogan.

FERRER: "Have gavel, will travel."

HAMMER: All right.

(LAUGHTER)

Let`s move on. Congratulations on the success of your show.

FERRER: Thank you.

HAMMER: It`s really quite something for a show out of the gate to do as well as yours is. Now, court shows are certainly nothing knew. There are still a bunch of them out there. What does set yours apart?

FERRER: Well, like you said, I`m the only one who`s a former police officer. That`s always been a very invaluable perspective in judging, to get to the bottom of things.

But in addition to that, we rely a lot on physical evidence. We do video recreations of accidents. We bring in the actual evidence you can hold and touch. The public loves to see the evidence, the physical evidence, as you see from shows like "CSI." They`re very popular. It`s better than just a straight testimony. And we`re doing something right, because, as you said, we`re the number-one new rated daytime show, so...

HAMMER: Well, the public also loves the characters. And there`s no shortage of them, either. Give people an example of one case on your show.

FERRER: Oh, wow. Well, we have a lot of characters. We have a lot of favorite shows. But I think my favorite one of all of them is the guy who owed his girlfriend $1,200, and his defense was he paid her off with sex.

HAMMER: And she didn`t buy that?

FERRER: No, actually she was his biggest fan. She said he was worth every penny, that and so much more, but that wasn`t their deal. And she wanted her $1,200.

HAMMER: OK. So you ruled in favor of her?

FERRER: Yes, it`s still illegal to pay off with sex.

HAMMER: So where the heck do you get these people? I mean, I imagine through your website, and maybe there`s a phone number, but do you guys actually go out and seek out these cases?

FERRER: Yes, we do. Actually, the way for your viewers -- the way it`s done is we have a group of stringers who go to courthouses throughout the country. These are all real cases. They`re all real litigants. There are no actors. These are not made up.

They pull cases that are filed in courthouses everywhere. And if I wasn`t trying this man`s case, with the $1,200 ridiculous defense, some judge in New York, or in Chicago, or in L.A. would be trying it. So also, people can call the website or the number on the website or apply there if they haven`t actually filed the case, but they`re real cases.

HAMMER: That`s interesting, though, that you guys are going and seeking them out. And I remember, when "People`s Court" first started, we always heard that they waived their right to any other pursuit of the case. Is that the case here?

FERRER: Yes, it`s absolutely binding.

(CROSSTALK)

FERRER: Yes, my ruling is final. I mean, they live and die by my ruling. And so they don`t have a right to then go and file another case. It`s dispositive. It`s tried by me.

HAMMER: OK. So you, I`m sure, like doctors who go out to dinner parties or are out socializing and are constantly being asked, "Doctor, I have this little issue. Could you take a look at this?" Are people always asking you to sort of mediate and get in the middle of whatever their situation is, just, you know, when you`re out on a night on the town?

FERRER: My mother. My mother will call me with, "My friend, Rita" or "My friend, George, has this legal problem. Could you tell me how this works out?" And I give her more advice. I have still some years to pay back, but I give her more advice than I`ll ever have to give anybody else.

HAMMER: And they haven`t kicked you out of the family yet?

FERRER: Not yet. It`s working out well.

HAMMER: Well, again, congratulations on the success of the show.

FERRER: Thank you.

HAMMER: It`s nice to see something starting off and heading in the right, positive direction. We wish you much success.

FERRER: Thanks a lot. Appreciate it.

HAMMER: All right, Judge Alex Ferrer. And if you would like to catch Judge Alex, all you have to do is check your local listings for times.

VARGAS: Well, there`s still time for you to sound off in our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." Cell phones in movie theaters: Should they be banned? Vote at CNN.com/showbiztonight or write us at showbiztonight@CNN.com. We`ll read some of our e-mails live. That`s coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Well, throughout the show, we`ve been asking you to vote online on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." Cell phones in movie theaters: Should they be banned?

Pretty one-sided tonight with the voting: 85 percent of you saying, yes, they should be banned; 15 percent of you say, "No way."

Here`s some of the e-mails we`ve received. One from Bill in Victoria, Canada, who writes, "Rather than rather banning cell phones, they should just be able to jam the signal, so the rest of us can enjoy the movie." Well, that may actually happen.

And Fran and Bob got together in Washington to say, "Not only should cell phones be banned, but those rather noisy popcorn bags, which are annoying as talking on the cell phones." And it sounds something like that.

You can continue to vote by going to CNN.com/showbiztonight.

VARGAS: Well, you know what time it is. Time to see what`s playing on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT tomorrow. Let`s take a look at the "Showbiz Marquee." Marquee Guy, do your thing.

MARQUEE GUY: Tomorrow, it`s an Elton John joining. We`re right there as Sir Elton marries a mister. The stars will be in attendance for the historic same-sex civil union. And so will we, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. When? Tomorrow.

Also tomorrow, you may have been able to predict Jamie Foxx`s Oscar win for "Ray," but he`s really unpredictable on his new album which is called "Unpredictable." But I am predicting that he will sit down tomorrow with A.J. Hammer for a one-on-one interview, 100 percent guaranteed, tomorrow on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

This is the Marquee Guy, very predictable, because, every day, I say "tomorrow."

HAMMER: Except on Fridays, although he does try to work it in. Now, the Jamie Foxx album, "Unpredictable," landed in stores today. I have to say -- I`ve spent the day with it -- it`s something else.

VARGAS: Yes.

HAMMER: And I mean that in a good way.

VARGAS: Really, I mean, he`s such an exceptional actor and he also has new music, as well.

HAMMER: He`s going to prove himself with this album. And that is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer.

VARGAS: And I`m Sibila Vargas. Stay tuned for the latest from CNN Headline News.

END

Search
© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by CNN.com
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines