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Hollywood Rallies Against President Bush; Jennifer Aniston Mum on Reactions to Pitt and Jolie; Google vs. Government; Kyle MacLachlan`s New Show; Author`s 150 Dates in New York City
Aired January 20, 2006 - 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, CNN ANCHOR: I`m A.J. Hammer. T.V.`s only live entertainment news show starts right now.
On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, Hollywood versus President Bush. A star-studded list of celebs demanding the president step down.
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ED ASNER, ACTOR: We are engaged in a war built on lies.
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HAMMER: Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT reveals which stars are rallying against Bush, what they`re saying and why they`re calling it a state of emergency.
Tonight, Aniston`s anxiety. Can Jennifer Aniston`s career survive the scrutiny of her personal life? How Jen handles her movie premiere in Sundance on the very same day Brad Pitt took another giant step toward adopting Angelina Jolie`s children. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, right there at Sundance with Aniston.
Dying for a chance. Meet the man who had a simple wish -- to play a dead body on T.V. and in the movies.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Call 911.
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HAMMER: We`re dead serious. Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT shows you what happened to the aspiring actor whose presentation is a little stiff. OK, a lot stiff.
RACHEL HUNTER, MODEL: Hi, I`m Rachel Hunter. If it happened today, it`s on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
HAMMER: Welcome to the weekend. I am A.J. Hammer, live in New York. Tonight, Hollywood at war with the president. This is Bush bashing like you`ve never seen it before. And get this, it`s coming on the fifth anniversary of President Bush`s inauguration. Hollywood`s biggest stars say President Bush has got to go and they`re saying so in a controversial new ad. Joining us live from the White House, CNN`s Sumi Das for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. What does this ad want to do, Sumi?
SUMI DAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well the full-page newspaper ad calls for nationwide protests during President Bush`s State of the Union address on December - excuse me, January 31st here in Washington. And some of the biggest stars in Hollywood are lending their names to this controversial ad.
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DAS (voice-over): It`s the latest round in an ongoing match between Hollywood and the White House. Lately, it seems a number of Hollywood stars have stepped up their attacks on the Bush administration and its policies.
ASNER: We are engaged in a war built on lies.
HARRY BELAFONTE, ACTOR/SINGER: The greatest tyrant in the world, the greatest terrorist in the world, George W. Bush.
DAS: Now some of them are putting it in writing. This full-page ad taken out in today`s "New York Times" and endorsed by a number of Hollywood heavyweights calls for Americans to literally make noise during the president`s State of the Union later this month as a demand that he step down.
The ad was signed by Ed Asner and Harry Belafonte, as well as Oscar winner Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, Jessica Lange and Jane Fonda. The ad was taken out by the anti-Bush group World Can`t Wait, whose spokeswoman tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT what the group wants to see the night of the State of the Union.
SUNSARA TAYLOR, WORLDCANTWAIT.ORG: We`re holding protests all across the country for people to bring the noise, pots and pans, banging on them. Bring their drums, bring their instruments and drown out his lies. And we feel it`s on us, on the millions of the millions of people who don`t want to live in this future. We ourselves must step up and take responsibility for the future and demand that Bush leave and take his program with him.
DAS: Not everyone in Hollywood wants to see President Bush go. Actor Ben Stein, a one-time speechwriter for Richard Nixon recently told us he`s a Bush supporter.
BEN STEIN, ACTOR: I really love George Bush. I really think he`s a great leader.
DAS: But conservative critics say celebrity involvement in this Bush must go campaign will only hurt Hollywood`s perception among everyday Americans.
MICHAEL MEDVED, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Hollywood is associated in the public mind as so ultraliberal, so one-sided, so partisan. Celebrity involvement in this very shrill, extremist fringe group ad only compliments and only intensifies that identification of Hollywood with the left-wing fringe in American politics.
DAS: And radio talk show host Michael Smerconish feels that celebrities get too much attention when they speak on important issues.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Unfortunately, what we do is we glorify the celebrities and the athletes in society and put them on a pedestal as if they have some great, inherent knowledge about the issues.
DAS: But actor Tim Robbins, whose partner Susan Sarandon, is one of the names on the World Can`t Wait ad recently told SHOWBIZ TONIGHT that celebrities have every right to lend their names to causes that are important to them.
TIM ROBBINS, ACTOR: It`s not easy to do. You have to do your homework. If you`re comfortable with it and you feel like you can do something, then you should.
DAS: And the group calling for President Bush`s removal is more than happy to have celebrities take up their cause.
TAYLOR: I think really, when people who are respected and loved both for their art and their intellectual work and their opinions give voice to a demand, it makes it possible for the millions who also feel that way to give expressions to it as well.
DAS: Still, there`s the question of how effective this planned State of the Union protest will be. Conservatives aren`t exactly worried.
MEDVED: There is virtually no chance that because Ed Asner and Susan Sarandon are demonstrating against President Bush`s State of the Union, that he`ll decide, "OK, I quit. Gosh, if I`ve lost Harry Belafonte and Sean Penn, I might as well throw in the towel."
DAS: President Bush probably isn`t going anywhere just yet, so it seems there may be more rounds left in the battle between the White House and the Hollywood left.
DAS: As I mentioned, the State of the Union address is on January 31st. We`ll see then if this celebrity-filled call to protest will do any good. A.J.?
HAMMER: Sumi, thanks very much. CNN`s Sumi Das for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. And of course this also gets lots of people talking, so now we would like to hear from you on the subject for our Friday night SHOWBIZ TONIGHT the question of the day. Celebrities bashing President Bush -- are they out of line? You can vote at CNN.com/SHOWBIZTONIGHT. If you`ve got more to say, we want to hear that too. Our e-mail address is SHOWBIZTONIGHT@CNN.com. And we will read some of what you have to say later on in the show.
Well Jennifer Aniston`s new film, "Friends with Money" kicked off the star-studded Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. That was last night. And this is the very first movie that Aniston shot since she and then-husband Brad Pitt, announced that they were splitting up.
Well last night, Jen was all smiles. She was posing for the cameras on the red carpet, but of course, as you might have expected, made no mention of her personal life. And this is something she has gotten quite good at.
JENNIFER ANISTON, ACTRESS: Can we please talk about something else?
HAMMER (voice-over): Jennifer Aniston`s latest film, "Friends with Money," was the first film to be shown as Sundance, and SHOWBIZ TONIGHT was right there at the premiere. There`s Jen on the red carpet, all smiles. She is nestled in between her director and costars Catherine Keener and Joan Cusack. And that`s where she stayed.
She didn`t peel off from the group and didn`t talk to the press separately. That means no questions about her ex-husband Brad Pitt or Vince Vaughn, the man she`s reported to now be dating.
J.D. HEYMAN, PEOPLE MAGAZINE: It`s not surprising that Jen did not do like a solo walk down the carpet. She wants to be there for the woman who directed it and for her castmates.
HAMMER: This is the first time she`s had to walk the carpet since the world found out that Brad and Angelina Jolie are having a child together. To make matters worse, just hours before, news broke that Angelina`s two other kids now share Pitt`s last name. And cameras were focused on her every move, every expression.
HEYMAN: People who know Jen and who are close to her know that she`s not going to go there and reporters who are covering these movies know that they have to be very careful about the kind of questions that they`re going to ask.
HAMMER: Linda Kaplan Thaler is an image consultant who says Jen should answer those questions and address her personal life.
LINDA KAPLAN THALER, IMAGE CONSULTANT: If I was doing her image work I`d have a couple of comedy writers onhand to have some funny comebacks for the questions that you know the reporters are going to ask. I don`t think she should be shying away from. She has nothing to be embarrassed about.
HAMMER: Jen has kept her personal life personal, ever since she and Pitt split, not an easy thing to do. People were digging for dirt. Here she is promoting last fall`s thriller "Derailed."
DAVID LETTERMAN, TALK SHOW HOST: Everybody is saying now that you and the co-star Vince Vaughn were good friends from the film.
ANISTON: Yes, that`s right.
LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Is it serious? Is everything going.
ANISTON: . I`m not talking about it. I`m not talking about it.
KING: Because it`s none of our business or?
ANISTON: Because it`s not of your - I don`t mean to say that.
KING: No, it is.
ANISTON: It`s kind of harsh to say it`s none of your business. But it`s just, you know, I`ve learn your lessons. That`s all.
HAMMER: Aniston started filming "Friends with Money," get this, the day after the world found out that she and Pitt were calling it quits. The movie, a drama.
ANISTON: But I make it back.
HAMMER: . Is about three married women, their husbands and their lone single friend. Aniston plays the single one.
HEYMAN: Jennifer Aniston is going to continue to make movies, and she`s an appealing actress. Is she going to be the next Julia Roberts? You know, I think there may be only one Julia Roberts. We`ll see.
HAMMER: Jen reportedly $9 million a movie, not as much as Julia Roberts, but still enough for the "Hollywood Reporter" to rank her the 10th highest-paid actress in Hollywood.
PAUL DERGARABEDIAN, EXHIBITOR RELATIONSH: Audiences like her, but any time you have a T.V. star transition to movies, sometimes it can be very successful career change and other times it can be really tough.
HAMMER: It`s fair to say that Aniston`s having a bit of a tough time at the box office. The last two movies "Derailed" and "Rumor Has It" each took in a not-so-stellar $35 million.
DERGARABEDIAN: Every movie is a collaboration and is made up of a lot of different parts. You can never just say it`s because of Jennifer Aniston that this movie didn`t do $100 million, but Jennifer Aniston having such a high profile will often be associated as the reason any movie either fails or succeeds because of her position and how well-known she is. It`s a lot of pressure for an actress.
HAMMER: An enormous amount of pressure, but it looks like this one could be different.
THALER: We love to tear down our heroes in this country and then help build them back up against. That`s what we do best. Everyone is rooting for Jennifer to get back on top again. I want to see her face on the cover of "People" magazine.
HAMMER: And I`m sure we will.
And coming up later on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, our Brooke Anderson sits down with Jennifer Aniston to talk about the single life and paparazzi, about what she knows quite a bit.
And next week, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT will be the only entertainment news show live from the Sundance Film Festival. We`ll have one-on-one interviews with the biggest stars and we`ll also have your first look at all of the movies that everybody`s going to be buzzing about. Brooke Anderson joins us live from Sundance, right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT next week.
Well the government wants to know what everybody`s been Googling. Coming up next, why Google is fighting back against the White House in a battle against child porn. Plus, Google this one. Kyle MacLachlan`s dogs actually have their own e-mail addresses -- sit, stay. The former star of "Sex and the City" and "Twin Peaks" tells us why, in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
And meet the man who had a simple wish. He wanted to play a dead body on T.V. and in the movies. He was dying for a chance~ and did some pretty crazy things and did some pretty crazy things to make his wish come true. What happened, you`ll find out, coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, T.V.`s only live entertainment news show. I`m A.J. Hammer.
Tonight, it`s Google against the government. It`s a battle triggered by the fight to stop child porn on the Internet. The government is demanding that Google turn over information on what its users have been searching for, but Google is saying no way.
What`s the deal? Well, joining us live tonight in Los Angeles, Xeni Jardin of BoingBoing.Net and investigative reporter Pat Lalama. So Pat, to be clear, this is all because of the Child Online Protection Act that Congress wants passed. However, I hear that the government wants to know what we`re searching for on Google. Sounds a little scary, is this something we should be afraid of?
PAT LALAMA, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: I`m not scared and everybody should just forget the "Big Brother" thing right now. I don`t think it`s related. Here`s what they`re asking for -- not your name, not your address, not your Social Security number or what, you know, little controversial things you might be looking up online.
What they want to know are the terms that you use. Mom`s apple pie, the Rolling Stones. My last entry was Bonnie Raitt at the House of Blues in L.A. because I want to go. And they`re going to take all this information and find out what people are searching.
It`s like you`re walking into the grocery store, and someone saying, "Excuse me, Sir, I don`t want to know your name, but I`m taking a survey. What kind of cereal do you eat?" Now what they`re saying is, we can take this information and see what people are searching and that`s going to help us fight child porn on the Web.
HAMMER: So I`m curious as to what form this actually takes. So, Xeni, you know, I use Google all of the time, everybody uses it all day long to find out just about everything. If Google decides to go along with this and turns stuff over, what exactly, physically, are they turning over to the government?
XENI JARDIN, BOINGBOING.NET: Well, the request that the Department of Justice issued to Google, first of all it`s important to know that they also issued the same request to Microsoft, to AOL, to Yahoo! and those three search competitors did provide data to the Department of Justice.
Yes, the request isn`t asking for anything personally identifiable, But, you know, privacy advocates are saying, it`s a little bit strange. I mean, this is not a criminal investigation, why is the government insisting that these private companies, these Internet companies, turn over data?
It sets what some people believe is a dangerous precedent. Sure this time they`re just asking for aggregate data, but maybe next time they won`t or maybe the government can, you know, cross reference this with other sources of data. Google objected because one of the reasons that they gave was, "Look, this violates trust with our users."
HAMMER: Well, Pat, you know, we`re not debating the issue here, but it`s not -- we`re shaking your head so I`m curious why do you think this is not precedent-setting?
LALAMA: Well, look, I think we have to trust what they`re saying at this point. Here`s the important thing. The Internet is the newest avenue for insidious monster predators to find your children. That is a fact and we could argue all day about whether, do you want to protect your children or do you want -- and give government a little more information -- or are your civil liberties more important?
I`m not saying I`m taking a position. I`m just saying that`s going to be -- this is the new deal, the Internet. That`s where cops have to learn how to use the Internet as easily as these very, very, very skilled predators know how to do. And there may be some Justice Department task force that says, "Look, we need to figure this out. We need to get really, really savvy about the Internet. Let`s start with getting the information, where are people going?" We should take their word for it.
HAMMER: Well, let me get you in here Xeni, because you`re also shaking your head. I have less than 30 seconds, but you still look like you seem to feel that we should still be scared.
JARDIN: I think it`s our duties as individuals and as people who work with technology -- you know, anybody who`s concerned about civil liberties should be taking a second look at this. Are there other ways for the government to make its case that this law, which was struck down by the Supreme Court again and again, should be upheld. Can government do this without violating our rights?
HAMMER: All right, we`re going to have to end it there and I guess we can all Google all of the privacy rights issues on the Web somehow, and maybe they`re watching, maybe they`re not. Pat Lalama, Xeni Jardin, thank you for joining us tonight.
JARDIN: Thank you.
HAMMER: Well right now we`re going to get into a SHOWBIZ sit-down with Kyle MacLachlan. This guy is the one who played the oddball special agent on the 80`s hit T.V. drama "Twin Peaks." He played Charlotte`s somewhat, I don`t know how to describe this guy -- well, you`ll just have to watch. He was on "Sex and the City" and Charlotte`s husband. And now he`s taking on the role of an attorney on ABC`s "Injustice." I sat down with Kyle to talk about how "Sex and the City" changed his life. We talked about his Web savvy dogs and why we just can`t seem to get enough of crime and justice shows on television.
KYLE MACLACHLAN, ACTOR: I think people like puzzles, you know? They like to try and figure things out. And in our particular show "Injustice" it`s a puzzle, according to the creators, that`s been put together wrong, you know? So we get to see at the beginning of our show what the jury believed and then we tear that apart and then say, "Well, here`s why they`re wrong."
HAMMER: So this is a good opportunity to lead right to the pitch of really what sets it apart, because it is a tough playing field out there and obviously, you have to do something different to capture people`s attention, given the competition.
MACLACHLAN: Yes, that`s what we`re trying to do. We are less about the forensics, we`re not up to our elbows in people`s bodies, looking for DNA. And we`re spending much more time with the emotional component, so you really get to know these people, where they`ve been incarcerated and imprisoned improperly.
HAMMER: Well, Kyle, you certainly have a long and storied career that`s going back some 25 years now.
MACLACHLAN: Yes, yes.
HAMMER: But certainly, at least most recently, you are well-known for "Sex and the City," which you did for a couple of seasons, playing Charlotte`s husband, the perfect man.
MACLACHLAN: The perfect man -- well, supposedly.
HAMMER: How did getting that role on such a high-profile show really change your life and your career?
MACLACHLAN: Well you know, I hadn`t had the experience like that since "Twin Peaks," really, which had that same kind of impact. But coming on "Sex and the City," which was already established with a great group of women and fantastic writers was really a pleasure. And add to that, you get to shoot in New York City, which is the best of all parts of the world.
So I just thoroughly enjoyed myself and enjoyed the ride, as it was. I mean, I was only supposed to be on for a few shows and a year and a half later, there I was. So it`s not a bad deal.
HAMMER: So in perusing your Web site, kylemaclachlan.com, because you have to have a Web site...
MACLACHLAN: ... You`ve got to have a Web site, yes, yes.
HAMMER: I noticed there`s a link to your dogs Web site. Kyle, what`s up with that?
MACLACHLAN: What do you think, A.J.? That is probably too much affection for our animals. I mean, we`re crazy about them. So we decided to put a little Web site up of these photos and we put a Web site up with the idea that the friends of the dogs -- yes, there`s Sam on the horse.
HAMMER: Sam, the horseback-riding dog.
MACLACHLAN: Yes, and there`s Mookie, that`s the Jack -- Jack Russell. That was the Christmas this year. She doesn`t look that happy to be wrapped up.
HAMMER: What can people do on the Web site?
MACLACHLAN: They can come in and they can -- what we do is we have a gallery of all friends of Mookie and Sam and people that want to be on the Web site can put their picture up there. And it`s also a way to draw attention to areas that we think are important. I mean, organizations that help dogs or people that are involved in a certain way.
And ultimately, I think we want to try and maybe sell leashes or collars or something and that money can maybe go to help dogs in different places. So it`s not completely self-serving. It`s fun to look at the pictures, but really more to the point, it`s about focusing people`s attention and money to help animals.
HAMMER: Can I go on there and draw up an e-mail to Sam and Mookie?
MACLACHLAN: Absolutely. They both have their own addresses.
HAMMER: I may have a question for them about their dad.
MACLACHLAN: Anything to do with kibble.
HAMMER: Do you refer yourself as daddy?
MACLACHLAN: Daddy? A.J., that`s a little personal.
HAMMER: OK, then we`ll wrap it up. Kyle MacLachlan, thanks for dropping by.
MACLACHLAN: It`s a pleasure, man. Thanks for having me in.
HAMMER: Kyle`s new show "Injustice" airs Fridays on ABC. Well coming up, one woman`s journey to date all of New York City. For one year, she said yes to everyone who asked her out and we do mean everyone. She joins us live.
Plus, Jennifer Aniston, one-on-one. We are at Sundance with Jennifer. It`s the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
And is Woody Allen`s new movie a perfect match for your weekend? We`re going to check out "Match Point" and other new flicks in "Picks and Pans."
HAMMER: It is time now for the showbiz guide, where throughout the week we help you decide where to spend your dollars on movies, music, DVD`s, and more.
Tonight in people`s "Picks and Pans," we`re talking about new movies from Woody Allen, his Golden Globe nominated film. A new animated film with lots of celebrity voices in it and an Albert Brooks film, looking for laughs.
Joining us in New York to walk us through each one of them, Leah Rozen, movie critic for "People" magazine. Let`s talk about one of my favorite films from the past year, "Match Point," Woody Allen`s flick, truly to me, amazing movie-making.
LEAH ROZEN, PEOPLE MAGAZINE: I really liked this movie and boy, was I surprised because I had written Woody Allen off. The last several films were so disappointing. I mean, I just thought the man has nothing left to say, but with "Match Point," he moved to London rather than shooting in his beloved New York. He went to London, because that`s where he got the funding. And it`s like the new city revived him, revitalized him.
This is just really a terrific sort of comic thriller about a man who marries well, played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers, but he sort of finds himself unable to resist the charms of a very sexy Scarlett Johansson. So you know, he`s got the wife, he`s got the girlfriend, where does all this leave him? Some people will think this is simply a reworking of "Crimes and Misdemeanors," but I think it stands on its own.
HAMMER: And the acting is spectacular. I was twisted up in a knot through the whole thing.
ROZEN: No, it`s clever, it`s funny and in the end, it`s really rather moving.
HAMMER: All right, quickly, let`s get to "Hoodwinked," to the animated feature this week.
ROZEN: "Hoodwinked" is a revisionist version of "Little Red Riding Hood." You know, you get every animal`s point of view and every character`s. It`s funny, it`s cute, kids are going like it, adults will tolerate it.
HAMMER: And a long list of celebrities doing the voices.
ROZEN: Glenn Close, Jim Belushi, Anne Hathaway.
HAMMER: Chazz Palminteri.
HAMMER: All right, and finally, Mel -- not Mel Brooks, Albert Brooks "Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World."
ROZEN: Yes. He plays -- Albert Brooks plays Albert Brooks, a sort of fictional version of himself. He`s assigned by the State Department to go to Pakistan, India, and find out what makes Muslims laugh. Great premise, good setup. Half of it works and then like a joke that goes on too long, it just runs out of steam.
ROZEN: Because you kind of have got it and Brooks` own personality, which is sort of this needy, needy neurotic just becomes wary.
HAMMER: That`s too bad.
ROZEN: Yes it is.
HAMMER: Leah Rozen, thanks for joining us today.
ROZEN: You`re welcome.
HAMMER: And as always, for more "Picks and Pans," you can grab a copy of "People" magazine, on newsstands now.
So who is Hollywood`s sexiest grandparent? Hello -- good think I don`t speak for a living. That went down to the wire. We`ve got the results coming up next.
Let`s move on. George Clooney`s dad is mad, Jack Abramoff`s dad, not too pleased either. We`ll tell you why this war of wars has turned into a family affair.
And meet the man who had a simple plan. He wanted to play a dead body on T.V. and in the movies. We`ve got that coming up and SHOWBIZ TONIGHT will be right back.
HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It`s 31 minutes past the hour. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. And you are watching TV`s only live entertainment news show, as we launch on into the weekend.
Still to come, Jennifer Aniston back in the public eye. She made her first public appearance since Brad Pitt announced that he and Angelina are planning to have a child together, plus the fact that he has added his last name to Angelina`s last name. The point is, Jennifer has a brand new movie that she debuted at Sundance the other night. Our own Brooke Anderson sits down with her, and we`ll get to that in just a few moments to see what she has to say.
Also, a woman who went on 150 dates in a year. There wasn`t a person she said no to, because it was the year of yes. Anyone who asks got a date. She got some great stories. And we`ll hear those live from her, coming up in just a few moments.
But first, let`s get to tonight`s "Hot Headlines." Tony Danza`s the boss when it comes to being a grandparent. "Grand" magazine has picked Danza as the sexiest grandparent of 2006. The magazine says runners-up are Harrison Ford, Paul Newman, Pierce Brosnan, and Tina Turner.
Late-breaking details from Richard Hatch`s tax evasion trial, and the allegations are stunning. The lawyer for the first season winner of "Survivor" says today that producers for the show said they would pay the taxes on his $1 million prize. In return, Hatch would keep quiet about alleged cheating. He claims that fellow contestants tried to have friends sneak food to them on the island.
SHOWBIZ TONIGHT called CBS. No comment there. Hatch is on trial in Rhode Island for not paying taxes on that million-dollar prize.
And tonight, some big-time Hollywood celebrities want President Bush out of the White House. An ad signed by stars, including Ed Asner, Harry Belafonte, Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange in today`s "New York Times" calls for a protest during President Bush`s State of the Union speech happening later on this month. It also asks for President Bush to resign.
The group, World Can`t Wait, took out the ad and takes issues with Bush`s Iraq policies and wiretap scandal.
And those are tonight`s "Hot Headlines."
And that last story leading us to our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." We`re asking: Celebrities bashing President Bush: Are they out of line?
You still have time to vote by going to CNN.com/showbiztonight. Still time to write to us at showbiztonight@CNN.com. Some of your e-mails on the way in 22 minutes.
Well tonight, there`s an interesting war of words going on between Washington and Hollywood heavyweights. The fathers of George Clooney and controversial political lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who pleaded guilty two weeks ago to federal corruption charges, are squaring off. It is not pretty.
HAMMER (voice-over): This all started the night of the Golden Globes. You may remember that when Clooney accepted his award for best supporting actor on Monday night, he made a comment about Abramoff. Clooney said, quote, "Who would name their kid Jack with the last word `off` at the end of your last name? No wonder that guy is screwed up."
Well, Abramoff`s dad, Frank Abramoff, is rushing to his defense. He wrote an open letter to Clooney, and it was printed in the Phoenix newspaper, "The Desert Sun." The letter said in part, quote, "Your glib and ridiculous attack on my son, Jack, coupled with your obscene query as to the choice his mother and I made in naming him, brought shame and dishonor to you and your profession."
In the letter, Abramoff also said he wonders how Clooney`s father would respond if the roles were reversed. And today, we found out.
In an interview with the same newspaper, Clooney`s father, Nick Clooney, fought back. He said, quote, "It`s not Mr. Abramoff, Senior`s, fault that he turned out to be who he is any more than it is to my credit that my son turned out to be what he turned out to be."
HAMMER: Well, Frank Abramoff said Jack is a family name. It was his father`s name.
Well tonight, another Osama bin Laden tape surfaces with more threats, more demands, and a truce offer and all. But Washington is dismissing the tape as propaganda. Of course, the late-night TV show hosts are accepting it as comic relief. In tonight`s "Laughter Dark," a look at what Jay, Dave, Conan and Jon Stewart all had to say about bin Laden`s latest release.
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JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": Al-Jazeera has released another audiotape from Osama bin Laden. Yes. And State Department officials say it shows he`s aware of world events. They think it`s recent. Like, in the opening of the tape, he congratulates Brad and Angelina on the babies.
Bin Laden has three demands: we pull our troops out of Iraq; we pull troops out of Afghanistan; and he wants to see actual stars on "Dancing with the Stars," OK?
DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "LATE SHOW": Kind of chilling, ugly thing. They haven`t heard from him in a year, but they know that it`s a new tape and they know it`s current because in the tape he refers to the Hilary Swank divorce.
People at the State Department think that Osama may be losing it. They think he may be getting wacky, because in the tape he offers to sell his kidney stone for $25,000.
CONAN O`BRIEN, HOST, "LATE NIGHT": Yesterday, a tape was broadcast on Al-Jazeera that is reportedly the first message from Osama bin Laden in over a year. Yes. Yes, Experts think it may not be a new tape because, in the background, you can hear, "Who Let the Dogs Out."
JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW": Now, first of all, Osama said he offered a truce because polls show the majority of Americans are against the war. Here`s what he doesn`t really understand: That`s the war in Iraq. Everybody here is pretty much still in favor of bombing the (bleep) out of you.
Secondly, this is the 19th message released, either by video or audiotape, by bin Laden since 9/11. They`re very difficult to keep track of. Fortunately, you now can check out the complete catalog of his works at the iTunes music store. Very well-organized. Oh, they`ve got "Death to America Number Two," "Death Cab for Cutie to America," which is a great one. And of course, the big hit now, "In Da Cave."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: I`m sure the box set not far behind.
Well, coming up, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson goes one-on-one with Jennifer Aniston at the Sundance Film Festival. She just wrapped up the interview. We`re going to hear from her live, coming up next.
Plus, a woman who says she can`t say no, or at least she didn`t say no for an entire year. Tonight, the amazing story of a woman so intent on finding a match that she even went on a date with a homeless man. It`s the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. That`s live, next.
And we`ve got a live one here, but he`s just dying to be dead. Huh? Well tonight, a guy who will do anything to play a dead guy in a movie. We`ll explain, coming up next.
HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. And you`re watching TV`s only live entertainment news show.
As we told you earlier, Jennifer Aniston is in Park City, Utah. She`s at the Sundance Film Festival for her new film, "Friends with Money," but she`s keeping quiet about her private life. Just a short time ago, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson caught up with Jen. We`ve got Brooke on the phone right now out there in Utah.
So, Brooke, what did Jen have to say?
BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Well, A.J., she didn`t really open up too much about things. She`s been such -- under such a microscope lately, she was clearly on the defensive, had her guard up, and it really all began last night at the premiere for "Friends with Money."
She walked the red carpet in a group, wouldn`t do any individual interviews, and then that rule stayed in place today. It wasn`t a one-on- one interview with Jennifer Aniston. It was more of a one-on-three interview. I interviewed her alongside co-star Catherine Keener and the writer-director of the film, Nicole Holofcener. And I think we`ve got a bit of that interview right now. So let`s take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Now, this film is about four women who are entering different stages in their lives. What stage do each of you feel you`re at right now in your lives?
CATHERINE KEENER, ACTRESS: I`m not answering that question.
JENNIFER ANISTON, ACTRESS: I`m not either.
NICOLE HOLOFCENER, DIRECTOR: No.
ANISTON: Thank you, though.
ANDERSON: And, Nicole, I`ve read that you said, while filming "Friends with Money," the paparazzi was all over the place, especially -- I wish Francis McDormand were here to talk about this. How hard was it to keep your focus, I know, especially in one scene with you?
ANISTON: I just did it. I just did it.
HOLOFCENER: She had to.
ANISTON: I was doing my job.
HOLOFCENER: She`s a pro.
ANDERSON: How difficult is it to do what you want to do? Do you think it takes away from what you`re trying to do here at Sundance from your job? I mean, there are people outside...
ANISTON: No, nothing...
ANDERSON: ... just waiting on you guys to walk out.
HOLOFCENER: They`re not in here now. So I guess...
ANISTON: Yes, they`re not in here now.
KEENER: You say...
ANDERSON: The paparazzi and the tabloid attention? Do you think it`s...
ANISTON: Well, it`s ridiculous. It is. We`re so saturated with this celebrity crap.
KEENER: I think everybody kind of agrees on that.
ANISTON: That`s sort of useless to talk about it. It just feeds it, gives it more attention.
KEENER: I don`t know anybody who says the paparazzi and the tabloids were a good idea. I guess maybe themselves. I mean, really.
ANDERSON: What do you think can be done about it?
KEENER: I don`t care really. I think they -- hopefully we can just - - maybe some legislature, just for protection.
ANISTON: But that will happen. It will, eventually.
ANDERSON: Well, a new law was recently passed for stricter penalties.
ANISTON: Not enough. Not enough.
ANDERSON: You don`t think it will help?
ANISTON: Well, a little bit. It doesn`t really do much, but there will.
ANDERSON: So, A.J., not too talkative. And throughout the entire interview, Nicole and Catherine tried to dominate. I would specifically have to pull Jennifer into the conversation.
But one thing she did really open up about was this film and how proud she is of this film. And I asked her how she chooses a role. And she said basically she just gives things a try, and sometimes they work. And she says sometimes that they don`t work, that she`s made a lot of mistakes, career choices. So that possibly could have been a reference there to "Derailed" and "Rumor Has It," two of her films recently, neither of which did really that well at the box office.
But all in all, I mean, she looks great, as always. She seems fine, just quiet, reserved, closed off. Honestly, A.J., I can`t say that I blame her.
HAMMER: Well, definitely couldn`t blame her for that, but I have to say, Brooke, I felt tense and uncomfortable just watching them. They all seemed -- you know, they had their arms folded. It felt very tense. Did you feel that being in the room with them?
ANDERSON: Just imagine how I felt. Yes, their body language was clearly on the defensive from the get-go. And it was clearly a strategy, doing the interview in a group. They were trying to protect her in a way from questions.
And I asked about that. I said, walking the red carpet in a group, doing the interviews in a group, is this because you`re just great friends or is there a sense of protection that you feel? And they all very quickly said that it`s because they`re friends, and they enjoy each other`s company, and that they love each other.
So there you have it. But in the end, they are very proud of this film, and that`s mostly what they want to get out there.
HAMMER: And clearly looking after each other. Well, you`re in Park City. Go enjoy some (INAUDIBLE) and next week, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is going to be the only entertainment news program on television live from the Sundance Film Festival. We`ll have one-on-one interviews with the biggest stars. And we`ll take your first look at all the films people are buzzing about. Brooke Anderson will be back with us live from Sundance right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
Well tonight, we have the story of a dead man walking who wants to be a dead man acting. Yes, in a business where the days are often long and you have to spend many hours on your feet, this wannabe entertainer will do anything to lie down on the job.
Here`s CNN`s Jeanne Moos for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He`s been dying all over New York.
(on-screen): Hang your head out a little more. Oh, that`s good. That`s good.
(voice-over): Dying live on morning TV, dying in the makeup chair, dying on the anchor desk.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ready?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
MOOS: He`s dying to play a dead guy. Who needs movie star looks?
CHUCK LAMB, DEADBODYGUY.COM: You look at me. I`m no Tom Cruise. But I don`t jump on couches, either.
MOOS (on-screen): You die on them.
LAMB: I`m going to get a part if it kills me. Ready?
MOOS (voice-over): And finally, he got what he was dying to get: a chance to play a dead guy in a movie.
(on-screen): It worries me that you`re going to be in a body bag. Is anyone going to see your face?
LAMB: Yes. They promised that they`d see my face.
MOOS (voice-over): Chuck Lamb is better known as the Dead Body Guy. His Web site features Chuck posed all over his Columbus, Ohio, home, under the garage door, caught eyeing new divorcee. His wife, Tonya, makes fake blood out of corn syrup and food dye. These days...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Take a look.
MOOS: ... every show needs a corpse. Maybe on "CSI," it`s wrong to photograph the dead...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop taking pictures. Please stop.
MOOS: But Chuck wants his picture taken. He`s even posed electrocuted in the tub, but though he didn`t submerge himself like this guy in "Law and Order." Chuck`s favorite death scene is from the film "Tombstone."
LAMB: And Bill Paxton never blinks. If there was ever an Academy Award for dead, it was Bill Paxton in "Tombstone."
MOOS: Chuck just wants his name in movie credits. And this was the easiest way for a balding computer programmer to do that. Finally, on an MSNBC talk show, a movie producer called in offering Chuck a role as a corpse in a film about a funeral home starring Danny Aiello.
LAMB: Are you serious?
RITA COSBY, MSNBC HOST: He`s serious.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m dead serious.
MOOS: The movie`s called "Stiffs." Chuck proved his stiff status when we took him to Central Park and positioned him a pool of fake blood. It took 10 minute, but finally a good Samaritan actually called the police as he checked Chuck.
(on-screen): Sir, sir? Don`t call 911.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why?
MOOS: Because he`s not real.
How would you rate him as a dead guy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was warm, so...
MOOS: Oh, you touched him and he was warm?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, he did.
MOOS (voice-over): Touched him, but says he drew the line at mouth- to-mouth.
(on-screen): What do you want on your tombstone?
LAMB: Oh, "I`m not kidding this time."
HAMMER: That was a very alive CNN`s Jeanne Moos for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
Well, now we moved to an inspirational story. This is for anyone who has ever been on a date. It`s the tale of one woman who was so fed up with the dating scene she agreed to say yes to anyone who asked her out in the course of a year. Well, that turned into 150 dates, some with rich people, some with homeless people, and there were even some women on those dates. She called it her year of yes and detailed each encounter in this book.
Author Maria Headley joins us live here in New York. It`s a pleasure to have you.
MARIA HEADLEY, AUTHOR, "THE YEAR OF YES": Likewise. Good to be here.
HAMMER: You`ve got some wild stories, which I want to get to in just a second. Why would you go through a whole year saying yes to anyone?
HEADLEY: Because I was too picky. I was so unhappy, and I decided it was my own fault. So I was getting offers, 8 million people in New York, there had to be something better.
HAMMER: And you just -- no matter who, it didn`t matter?
HAMMER: Well, let`s talk about some of those people, because I imagine -- and you do detail this in the book -- some were good dates, some not so good.
HEADLEY: Of course.
HAMMER: One guy you identified as the boxer. What happened on this date?
HEADLEY: Well, the boxer was someone I knew from NYU, so he was somebody I thought was going to be a good date. And he gave me an address, said, "Meet me here." I walked up to place thinking, "Dinner, movie, theater, maybe." Strip club.
HAMMER: And that was no good?
HEADLEY: That was no good. That was not what I wanted. He left me for a lap dance.
HAMMER: Did the date end before you even went in the strip club, or did you at least try it?
HEADLEY: I was inside by the time -- he was late. I was trapped. I was humiliated. It was bad.
HAMMER: All right. So you moved on.
HEADLEY: I moved on.
HAMMER: You moved on. But you went on a date with somebody you referred to as Wonder Woman.
HEADLEY: Wonder Woman was a woman I met at a temp job. I didn`t know that she was asking me out, because I`m straight, and I thought -- you know, she thought I was gay.
HAMMER: But you had already set up this precedent, I`m going say yes, if anybody asks. So Wonder Woman asks. Why Wonder Woman, by the way?
HEADLEY: Because she looked sort of like Linda Carter. She was just kind of a babe. Tall, dark and handsome.
HAMMER: Lots of colorful spandex and bracelets and everything.
HAMMER: And what did Wonder Woman want from you?
HEADLEY: She wanted me to have her baby.
HEADLEY: That was unfortunate.
HAMMER: And that didn`t work out.
HEADLEY: Yes, I didn`t want to have her baby.
HAMMER: You also talk about somebody that you met in a club who was wearing a dress, but this wasn`t a woman, was it?
HEADLEY: No. This was someone who was wearing a pink prom dress. He was 6 feet tall and a guy, possibly Marilyn Manson, according to my own feelings on the subject and my friends who saw him.
HEADLEY: So I don`t know, not confirmed by Mr. Manson.
HAMMER: You`re not sure, and you`re not...
HEADLEY: I`m not saying it was Mr. Manson. I don`t want to get in litigation with him.
HAMMER: We`ll have to Google that one. All right, finally I want to ask you about -- you actually went on a date with a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright who was 25 years your senior. How`d that work out?
HEADLEY: It worked out really well, because now I`m married to him.
HAMMER: Oh, really?
HAMMER: And was this the last guy you dated in the course of this year?
HEADLEY: He was somebody I met a little way in. And he was married. He had kids. It was somebody I thought, "Oh, he`s really great. Give me a guy like that, but with none of that stuff." And met him again, and he was getting divorced, and it was, you know, history. It worked
HAMMER: Just kind of worked out. Did you tell him along the way what you were doing?
HAMMER: Did you tell any of the people you dated along the way? "I`m dating anybody who asked me, so, you know, if this goes well, it doesn`t mean we`re going to stay together."
HEADLEY: No, that`s kind of not very complimentary to be, like, "Yes, I wouldn`t have gone out with you unless."
HAMMER: Well, now Maria you`re a bona fide dating expert. We hit the streets here in New York City where you did your experiment. Talk to some of the folks and see in they had any questions on really how to go about having better dates. First, we have 25-year-old Brandon from Ohio.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... a lot of men make on their first impression?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: He was asking what a mistake is that a lot of men make on their impression. I clipped him at the beginning.
HEADLEY: OK. I thought he said "steaks." I was like, "They grill too much?" Mistakes that men make, I would say a lot of guys do not show you how much they like you. They are sort of like, "Do you want to hang out?" I don`t know, and you don`t know if they like you, and so you don`t...
HAMMER: You want guys to be, you know, real clear.
HEADLEY: You want them to be straightforward. "I think you`re great. I like you."
HAMMER: All right. Let`s go to 25-year-old Sarah from New York. This is what she wanted to know.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Maria. I have a question for you. Where do you find these guys? I`ve been walking around the city for dates now and I never find a guy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: Great question. I mean, you met guys on the subway, in the street. She`s having a problem. Do you go to the supermarkets and go to the produce section?
HEADLEY: Everywhere. I make eye contact and smile at everyone. I would say hello to everyone who even looked in my direction. I was mass.
HAMMER: Well, it sounds cool. You got a good book out of the deal and a husband to boot.
HEADLEY: Yes, it was good. Thank you.
HAMMER: And, Maria, appreciate you joining us on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Once again, the book is called "The Year of Yes." It`s in bookstores now.
Still some time for you to sound off in our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." Tonight, we are asking: Celebrities bashing President Bush: Are they out of line?
You can still vote by going to CNN.com/showbiztonight. You can also write to us at showbiztonight@CNN.com. We`re going to read some of your e- mails, live next.
HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. We`ve been asking you to vote online on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." Celebrities bashing President Bush: Are they out of line?
Well, here`s the vote so far: 43 percent of you say, yes, they do; 57 percent of you say, no, they don`t. Or no, they`re not, more appropriately.
Among the e-mails we received, one from Allison who write, "President Bush doesn`t tell celebrities what to sing or what movies to act in, so they shouldn`t tell him how to run a country."
But we also heard from Chris in California who says, "Yes, I think it`s appropriate for celebrities to speak their mind. All is fair in love and war."
You can continue to vote simply by going to CNN.com/showbiztonight.
Well, here it is, a Friday night. I don`t want you to spend the whole weekend wondering what will be on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on Monday. So I`m going to provide you with a little insight from the Marquee Guy in our "Showbiz Marquee." Take it away.
MARQUEE GUY: There she is, Miss America. And she`s live on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. The Miss America Pageant is heading to Vegas, baby, and it`s being hosted by a "Desperate Housewives" star. We`ll have the newly- crowned winner waving her way to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. When? Monday!
And we are packing our bags and heading to Sundance. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT will be the only entertainment news program on television across the world, live from the Sundance Film Festival. Come along as we hit the slopes and sip hot chocolate with the biggest names in showbiz. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, live at Sundance all next week.
This is the Marquee Guy, and I`m telling the truth: This was not a snow job.
HAMMER: There are so many bad snow job references I can make right now that I`m just going to move right on because, fortunately, I`m out of time. Thank you for watching. That is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Have a great weekend. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. Stay tuned for the latest from CNN Headline News.