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Dick Ebersol`s Family Opens Up about Tragic Death of Son; "The View" Celebrates 2,000 Episodes; Winner of Cell Phone Movie Fest Shares Thoughts

Aired February 2, 2006 - 19:00:00   ET


A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: I`m A.J. Hammer.
BROOKE ANDERSON, CO-HOST: And I`m Brooke Anderson. TV`s only live entertainment news show starts now.


HAMMER (voice-over): On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, tonight for the very first time, the family of one of the most powerful men in television opens up to Oprah about the son they lost in a plane crash.

SUSAN ST. JAMES, ACTRESS: I`ve never touched his clothes. I`ve never been able to move his things.

HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with the heartbreaking, emotional story that will bring you to tears.

Plus, a shocking sport spreading across America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re going to see some crazy, crazy stuff tonight.

HAMMER: Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT takes you inside the bloody and violent world of teenage backyard wrestling. Ouch! You will cringe in disbelief.

And a startling Christian controversy. An openly gay actor starring in a movie produced by evangelicals.


HAMMER: Tonight, the actor at the center of the outrage joins us live in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

MEREDITH VIEIRA, CO-HOST, ABC`S "THE VIEW": Hi, we`re the ladies of "The View." If it happens today, it`s on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

STAR JONES, CO-HOST, ABC`S "THE VIEW": Hi, we`re the ladies of "The View." If it happens today, it`s on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

BARBARA WALTERS, CO-HOST, ABC`S "THE VIEW": Hi, we`re the ladies of "The View." If it happens today, it`s on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

JOY BEHAR, CO-HOST, ABC`S "THE VIEW": Hi, we`re the ladies of "The View." If it happens today, it`s on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

ELISABETH HASSELBECK, CO-HOST, ABC`S "THE VIEW": Hi, we`re the ladies of "The View." If it happens today, it`s on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


ANDERSON: Hi there, I`m Brooke Anderson live in Hollywood.

HAMMER: I`m A.J. Hammer live in New York.

Tonight we have a story so emotional, it is so heartbreaking that we were actually in tears here at SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, watching it today. For the very first time legendary television producer Dick Ebersol and his wife, actress Susan St. James, spoke publicly about the plane crash that killed their youngest son and almost killed Ebersol, as well.

CNN`s Jason Carroll is live tonight in the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom with the sad story -- Jason.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sad indeed. It really was. It all happened on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" today. There were tears and laughs as Ebersol and his family recounted the tragedy that took the life of young Teddy Ebersol. It was a heart-wrenching and a moving hour of television.


ST. JAMES: Here is the bad part. I`ve never touched his clothes. I`ve never been able to move his things.

CARROLL (voice-over): A still grieving Susan St. James broke down on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" today as she and the rest of the Ebersol family talked publicly for the first time about the plane crash that killed 14- year-old Teddy Ebersol and injured NBC executive Dick Ebersol and his older son, Charlie. St. James says she still can`t believe her youngest child is gone.

ST. JAMES: I don`t think I really, really, really, really, really believe, you know. I mean I guess I do, but I don`t. That he`s not going to walk -- I mean I just -- I don`t know.

CARROLL: It was a devastating tragedy, for one the entertainment industry`s most respected families. Dick Ebersol is the chairman of NBC Sports and former producer of "Saturday Night Live." his wife, Susan St. James, is an Emmy-winning actress who started in "McMillan and Wife" in the 1970s and the hit 80`s sitcom "Kate and Allie."

ST. JAMES: You ruined my $120 cashmere sweater?

CARROLL: In November of 2004, the private jet carrying Ebersol and his sons Charlie and Teddy crashed during takeoff in Colorado. In a highly-emotional appearance on "Oprah," a proud Ebersol talked about how his son Charlie, despite having burns and a broken back, pulled his dad out of the burning wreckage and tried in vein to find his little brother, Teddy.

DICK EBERSOL, CHAIRMAN, NBC SPORTS: He not only got me off of the plane, but with a few people who`d run up from a church that was 200 yards in the middle of Sunday services. Yelling, don`t go back on that plane. He ran back into the plane, which had three- or four-foot flames all around it, to look for his brother one more time. Not knowing that his brother wasn`t on the plane. And he lived through hell for two days, because somehow or other he thought he hadn`t found his brother and it wasn`t until they found Teddy`s body, which was under the plane. Under the plane. The plane had moved up over him that, you know, that he had done everything he possibly could do.

CARROLL: Teddy`s body was found hours after the crash. The plane`s pilot and a flight attendant were also killed.

The Ebersols received thousands of letters of support. On "Oprah" today, Dick Ebersol talked about one special letter he received from another TV icon.

D. EBERSOL: Out all of these zillions of letters, one of the first ones that came was, as it turned out from Johnny Carson within the last five or six weeks of his life. I had worked with him. He lost a son who had worked for me. And the letter basically said, "Dear Dick and Susan, it`s going to hurt like hell for a long time. And then it`s going to get a little bit better. But there will never be a day the rest of your life that you won`t ask why."

CARROLL: Now, more than a year after the crash, the family continues to heal. Charlie says he was helped by words from his brother, Willie, who was not on the plane.

CHARLIE EBERSOL, SON: He said, Teddy had a complete arc. Teddy went through this unbelievable change from a learning disability and he was -- we thought a very angry kid at the beginning.

By the end -- the end of 14 years, you had this whole person who was best friends with my mom. Who had created a relationship with my father, you know, that he had decided he was going to create. He had gone off to boarding school and done all of these things. And he was the complete person that you hope you will be when you`re going to die.

CARROLL: And more than a year after their tragedy, this tight-knit family says they still talk to a lot to each other about the crash. The one thing they won`t do did give into anger.

ST. JAMES: Having a resentment is like taking poison and hoping the other guy dies. That`s the saying that I live by and I think we would all agree, our whole family would agree that the amazing thing is you get up the next day. You brush your teeth. You comb your hair. You call your friends. You talk to people. You -- life is so powerful. You just go on living.


CARROLL: As it happens, also today federal investigators released a transcript of the cockpit voice recorder conversations from the flight the Ebersols were on. There were no new revelations. And investigators still don`t know exactly what caused the crash -- A.J.

HAMMER: Still so difficult to watch, and you can only hope that being able to speak about it publicly will help them what they`re doing. Thank you very much, Jason. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Jason Carroll joining us.

ANDERSON: This year, the NFL and Super Bowl XL find themselves in a bit of a controversy, even before kickoff. Organizers picked the Rolling Stones as the half-time entertainment, leaving many people wondering why Detroit`s Motown music legacy has been left out. It`s a problem the NFL quickly corrected by adding Detroit natives Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin, who grew up in the Motor City to the bill. And today both singers made their feelings known, as did the Stones.


ARETHA FRANKLIN, SINGER: I love the Rolling Stones. And I think that -- well, the NFL, just for the record, did invite me to do the halftime show at least three or four times prior to this time. But as things turned out this time, we were a little upset, but everything is wonderful now. Everything is cool!

STEVIE WONDER, SINGER: If it weren`t for the fact that I have a good relationship with the Stones, they`ve recorded two of my songs also. I have no problem with the Stones.

MICK JAGGER, SINGER: You know, the thing about the -- the thing about the NFL is, you know, they see -- they run a good show but, you know, occasionally they make a mistake like everybody. And -- but they have a quick to rectify it and I think that was pretty good. You know?


ANDERSON: Stevie Wonder will be part of the pregame festivities along with Joss Stone and John Legend, and Aretha will be singing the national anthem with Aaron Neville. Super Bowl XL, 40, airs this Sunday on ABC.

And now we want to hear from you. It`s our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Super Bowl halftime show: are the Rolling Stones the right act? Go to Send us an e-mail at We are going to read some of your thoughts later on in the show.

HAMMER: Well, today, it was a very special day for Meredith, Star, Barbara, Joy and Elisabeth. You know them as the ladies of "The View." They celebrated their 2,000th episode.

And not only that, they rang in the big occasion by ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange today. New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg even proclaimed today "The View Day."

Well, the ladies invited me along to party along with them, and I was right there on the set of the ABC talk show, among all the balloon popping that was going on, as they hit the historical milestone.


HAMMER (voice-over): "The View" celebrates 2,000 episodes, and SHOWBIZ TONIGHT was there behind the scenes as the entire crew celebrated. Champagne toasts, balloons everywhere, flowers for everyone. And a cake replica of their set. Look, there`s even an icing version the ladies of "The View."

WALTERS: I love doing the show. I mean, this show for me is just sheer fun.

HAMMER: nine seasons and 18 day-time Emmy awards later, Meredith, Star, Barbara, Joy and Elisabeth certainly have reason to celebrate. They were giddy with excitement.

BEHAR: She said she had two husbands. She had three.

WALTERS: I did not.

HAMMER: Spirits were high today and at it the center of it all, of course, Barbara Walters.

(on camera) Such an illustrious clear. Truly revered by not just the ladies here, not just the audience...

WALTERS: This is when the "but" comes in.

BEHAR: Here comes the living landmark.

HAMMER: There`s no "but." Is this the show the icing on the cake for you? Not that you don`t have many things yet to do.

WALTERS: You know what? You are so right. Because I say this show is my dessert.

HAMMER (voice-over): And the icing on top of that dessert is the very special bond that these ladies have, on and off the set.

WALTERS: I love these women. And it`s as simple as that.

HAMMER: It`s no surprise that after 2,000 shows on the air together, the ladies of "The View" have learned a thing or two about each other.

(on camera) What`s the biggest thing that surprised you that you learned about this lovely woman right here?

WALTERS: Be careful.

JONES: Of course I want 2,000 more, OK?


JONES: You know, the biggest thing that`s surprising about Barbara is her sense of humor. You know, you always think of Barbara Walters. She interviewed Anwar Sadat, but she is the funniest person and she tells a mean dirty joke. I`m sorry, but you do. You do.

HAMMER: Any you`d like to share with us right now?


HAMMER: There`s a dinosaur joke?

JONES: You know too much. That`s all that we`re going to say.

WALTERS: And you will never hear the joke.

HAMMER (voice-over): Too bad we won`t get to hear Barbara`s dirty dinosaur joke, but it sounds like she gets plenty of teasing herself and lots of it from her co-host Joy Behar.

WALTERS: She teases me all of the time about ex-husbands. You would think I had 10 ex-husbands, and that`s I`m going to say.

BEHAR: You know, you would think that someone who dated Alan Greenspan would be able to do some math.

HAMMER: Confessions and secrets were flying, and that`s when Star let out this little nugget about her co-host, Elisabeth Hasselbeck.

JONES: I would say that, for a young one, she is such a prude. She is the biggest prude for a young girl. She gets al giggly whenever sex is mentioned. She really does.

WALTERS: And she is the most, probably, politically conservative of the group.

BEHAR: Well, dating Dick Cheney, does that count?

All years with Dick Cheney. We get into a big fight, she and I, politically. But we still love each other.

HAMMER: It`s this kind of chemistry that has taken them so far. And nine seasons later, "The View" is at the top of its game.

BEHAR: Can I take your picture? I think you`re very cute.

HAMMER: I have the same camera.

BEHAR: I love it. I love it.

HAMMER: And as the festivities calmed down and Joy continued to snap plenty of pictures, I asked her and Meredith something that`s on the minds of many fans of "The View."

(on camera) So what do you guys think, 2,000 more shows? Can you imagine?

VIEIRA: Ay-ay-ay. Please, they`ll have to wheel us out. We won`t remember who we are.

HAMMER (voice-over): They say they may not remember, but much of America certainly will.


HAMMER: There really was such great energy hanging out on that set, Brooke.

Barbara told me, by the way, she`s hosting her annual Oscar special, as always. This time she`s doing it on March 1, which winds up to be the Wednesday before the Academy Awards instead of doing it right before the Oscars.


HAMMER: This year, she`s going to be joined by the likes of, of course, George Clooney, big Oscar star this year, Matthew McConaughey and Mariah Carey will also be part of the show.

ANDERSON: Mariah Carey. The comeback story of the past few years really, and she`s leading the nominees leading into the Grammys next week. That will be fun.


ANDERSON: All right, A.J. Coming up, a look at what could be a revolution in the filmmaking world: movies shot entirely on your cell phone.

HAMMER: Plus, get this. A gay actor cast in a movie that was produced by evangelical Christians, and a big controversy has erupted. Tonight, we`re going to speak live with that actor. It`s the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

ANDERSON: And the shocking sport of backyard wrestling. It`s violent, it`s bloody and it could be coming to a town near you. A SHOWBIZ TONIGHT special report.


HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. You are watching TV`s only live entertainment news show.

Tonight, sadly, we have late-breaking breakup news about a big time celebrity couple. It`s happening again. "People" magazine has confirmed this afternoon that this couple, Heather Locklear and her Bon Jovi guitarist husband Richie Sambora, are in fact splitting up. According to a statement from Locklear`s rep, she`s filing for divorce after 10 years of marriage. No other info was released. The couple has an 8-year-old daughter.

ANDERSON: Tonight, what could be the future of filmmaking, "SMS Sugarman," a South African movie is being built as the world`s first full- length feature film shot entirely on a cell phone. It cost about $165,000 to make, so maybe that will lead to another award show for cell phone movies. The "cellies" perhaps?

Actually, there already is a competition where you can reach out and film someone with your cell phone. Here`s CNN`s Jeanne Moos for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Calling all movie directors. At the CellFlix Festival there`s no red carpet to roll out. No one will ask you...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who are you wearing?


MOOS: You can skip the three-hour epics. We`re talking 30-second movies shot with a cell phone.

(on camera) Mike, what was your budget for this film?


MOOS (voice-over): Speaking, where else, on his cell phone, festival winner Mike Potter said his "Movie Cheat" took half an hour to shoot. It stars his grandparent, Fred and Rosemary.

POTTER: They have a very endearing relationship.

MOOS: "Cheat" was one of 178 submissions to Ithaca College`s CellFlix Festival. Finalists planted their cell phone cameras on escalators and under trains, but Mike Potter`s 32nd love story won the $5,000 prize. Here`s the film in its entirety.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This game we plan on Sunday, my Rosemary and I. I call out a headline.

Rosemary, Bruschi`s not going to play on Sunday.

Is she correctly guesses the headline I give her a kiss.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, that`s true.

I`ve got to tell you something, sometimes I cheat.

MOOS: OK, so they had to do the kiss three times to get it just right, and shooting with a cell phone invites complications.

(on camera) Mike, you never missed any cell phone calls while you were shooting, did you?

POTTER: I had it ring once. I think it was my girlfriend.

MOOS: How can you shoot yourself and know what you got?

(voice-over) Some of us have enough trouble make a phone call, let alone a movie, and talk about multitasking with your cell. A Dutch comedy show foresees cell phones that shave, cell phones that iron, cell phones you can make grilled cheese in. Even cell phones that you can order to self-destruct.

This may be Mike Potter`s first movie making award, but already he`s issuing a challenge.

POTTER: I challenge Mr. Steven Spielberg, the great storyteller, to a cell phone film battle.

MOOS: Even "E.T." didn`t know how to use a cell phone.

PAT WELSH, VOICE ACTOR: E.T. phone home.

MOOS: Steven Spielberg phone Mike Potter.

POTTER: Let`s take away the budget. Let`s take away the big-name actors and let`s compete on a smaller screen.

MOOS: Smaller pictures, now that`s something Norma Desmond knew a thing or two about.

WILLIAM HOLDEN, ACTOR: You used to be in silent pictures. You used to be big.

MOOS (on camera): I am big. It`s the pictures that got small.


ANDERSON: Challenging Steven Spielberg, all right. That was CNN`s Jeanne Moos for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

HAMMER: Well, tonight, Sir Anthony Hopkins can add a high-speed motorcycle racer to his long list of accomplishments. The Oscar winning actor stars in "The World`s Fastest Indian," the life story of New Zealander Burt Munro, who spent years building a 1920 Indian motorcycle, a bike that help him set the land speed word record Utah`s beautiful Bonneville Salt Flats back in 1967.

Hopkins was honored with the lifetime achievement award at this year`s Golden Globe Awards. When I sat down with the knighted actor, I asked him about his death defying stunt in the movie and what, if anything, has eluded him in his career.

Hopkins admits there was something other than racing a motorcycle that caught his eye. Actually, a burning desire of his, and he has his wife, Stella, to thanks for it.


HAMMER: That`s actually you we see at times scraping across the ground isn`t it?

ANTHONY HOPKINS, ACTOR: That`s me. That`s me. I started laughing during that scene because I thought this is a funny way it make a living at 67 -- or whatever I was then.

HAMMER: Is there anything in your life that has eluded you that you say, "You know what, before I go, this is one thing I still want to make sure I get to do"?

HOPKINS: Well, yes. It did elude me for a long time. Now it`s caught up with me. I now compose music. And having concert in San Antonio in May, the San Antonio Symphony, and I started to paint. This is all to do with my wife, Stella. We`ve been married almost three years. She said, "Why don`t you take up composing, like you`ve always wanted to do and take up the paining you always wanted to do?"


HAMMER: Certainly one of our finest actors. Sir Anthony Hopkins also told me that his paintings are influenced by his travels around the United States.

"The World`s Fastest Indian" will be in theaters tomorrow.

ANDERSON: Coming up, Hollywood hotties. A look at some of the marvelous males who are destined to break through to superstardom. That`s in "Thursday InStyle."

HAMMER: Plus, a Christian group makes a movie and casts a gay actor in the starring role. A religious controversy rages. Tonight, the actor in the middle of it all live in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

ANDERSON: And the violent, painful world of backyard wrestling. It`s gaining in popularity with kids everywhere. And you won`t believe where they say the idea came from. It`s a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT special report, coming up.

HAMMER: First, tonight`s "`Entertainment Weekly` Great American Pop Culture Quiz." What is Neil Young`s filmmaking alias? Bernard Fripp, Bernard Shakey, Bernard Charles or Alan Smithee? We`re coming right back with the answer.


HAMMER: Once again, tonight`s "`Entertainment Weekly` Great American Pop Culture Quiz." What is Neil Young`s filmmaking alias? Does he go by Bernard Fripp, Bernard Shakey, Bernard Charles or Alan Smithee? Well, the Canadian-born singer/songwriter, formerly of Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, has directed films under the alias "B," Bernard Shakey.

ANDERSON: It is -- it is time now for "Thursday InStyle." Tonight, the hottest new guys in Hollywood. From Josh Holloway, who plays bad boy Sawyer on "Lost," to Chris Evans, who is on fire, literally, in "The Fantastic Four." Here`s your look at the handsome hunks who are well on their way to becoming the A-listers of tomorrow.


MARISA FOX, "INSTYLE" MAGAZINE: "InStyle" felt like it was about time we celebrated the hot new guys in Hollywood. Josh Holloway is a familiar face. You probably know him from "Lost," the ABC TV show. He plays Sawyer, who`s kind of a fiery character.

He lives in Hawaii, where "Lost" is shot, and he`s very much of an outdoorsy guy. He and his wife love to hit the road. They love to go out kayaking. He just loves being outdoors.

Josh Duhamel is a North Dakota guy. He currently dates Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas, and he can be seen on the TV show "Las Vegas."

Because he`s so in love with Fergie, we asked him how does he fan the flames of love? And he said he loves giving Fergie presents.

Tyrese, you know him from "Too Fast, Too Furious" and also he was an MTV veejay. And he`s put out, you know, some hip-hop albums, and in fact he`s got a fourth album coming out this year.

"Fantastic Four" is how you know Chris Evans, who was literally on fire. He played Johnny Storm, the character who would literally burst out into flames. He dates another hottie, Jessica Biehl, who`s also upcoming in Hollywood.

These are the guys that "InStyle" thinks will be next generation of leading men. The next George Clooneys and Matt Damons. Step aside. These guys are here.


ANDERSON: And to read more about the hot new guys in Hollywood, pick up a copy of "InStyle" magazine, on newsstands now.

HAMMER: Well, check your calendar. The Grammys less than a week away. Today we know two big name stars who are going to take stage for the very first time. Who they are, coming up next.


ANDERSON: That`s got to hurt. But tonight, it`s what many teens across America are doing for fun. The shocking sport of backyard wrestling. It`s a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT special report. Coming up.

HAMMER: Also, stunning controversy as evangelicals cast a gay actor in one of their own movies. The religious outrage in the Christian community. The actor in the middle of it all speaks out, live, in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. We will be right back.


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

ANDERSON: I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. And you are watching TV`s only live entertainment news show.

A.J., tonight, a controversy between Christians and a new film. An openly gay actor and activist is starring in a new film produced by evangelicals, but at the same time other evangelicals are outraged that a gay actor has been cast for this role. Coming up, that actor, Chad Allen, will join me live to tackle this controversy head-on.

HAMMER: It`s amazing so many people up in uproar about this whole thing.

Also, Brooke, on the way, a story you will not want to miss, a disturbing way that teenagers are entertaining themselves. It does not involve porn, and it does not involve Game Boys. It is actually a story that has "Don`t try this at home" written all over it. Backyard wrestling is what it`s all about. And we`ll show it to you in just a few minutes. It is unbelievable.

ANDERSON: It is pretty shocking to watch, A.J.

But first, here are tonight`s "Hot Headlines."

The cameras will soon be rolling for the first major movie to film in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. Shooting begins Monday on a movie called "Deja Vu" starring Denzel Washington. Production was supposed to start last October, but Hurricane Katrina postponed it indefinitely. Filmmakers looked at other locations, but decided to wait until they could come back to New Orleans.

Tonight, Kelly Clarkson has something in common with a former Beatle. Today, we learned Paul McCartney is going to perform at the Grammys next week for the first time ever. Clarkson will perform for the first time, too. They`re doing separate numbers, by the way. The Grammys air next Wednesday, and SHOWBIZ TONIGHT will have full coverage at 7:00 and 11:00 Eastern.

The producer of the Super Bowl halftime show is defending the decision to book the Rolling Stones. Some people were upset because Motown artists are only doing the pre-show, even though the Super Bowl is in Detroit this year. The producer says, generally speaking, the halftime shows do not reflect the host cities.

And those are tonight`s "Hot Headlines."

HAMMER: Buzz about this whole thing with the halftime show and who`s performing, well that leads us to our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day" once again. Super Bowl halftime show: Are the Rolling Stones the right act? What do you think?

You can vote by going to You can write us by e-mailing us at That`s the address. E-mails on the way at 55 past the hour.

ANDERSON: First, time now for a look at some of this year`s Grammy nominees. Tonight, for your consideration, the nominees for best album of the year: Mariah Carey`s big comeback, "The Emancipation of Mimi"; Paul McCartney`s "Chaos and Creation in the Backyard"; "Love. Angel. Music. Baby," No Doubt`s Gwen Stefani going solo; U2`s "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb"; and a guy who`s never afraid to speak his mind, Kanye West with "Late Registration."

HAMMER: The best in late-night TV in "Laughter Dark." On the tonight show, Rapper Snoop Dogg tells Jay about a little league football game that he organizes every year right before the Super Bowl. He calls it -- what else -- the Snooper Bowl. And this year, there is a tense rivalry going on, fo` shizzle. Take a look.


JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": Now, this is your -- what do you call this, the Snooper Bowl?

SNOOP DOGG, HIP-HOP ARTIST: The Snooper Bowl, yes. It`s something I do annually with the NFL and the local town that`s hosting the Super Bowl. What we have, my team coming from California to play against their team. The same age, the same weight, and they play a football game on that Saturday before the football game.

LENO: And who is their team?

DOGG: The Detroit all-star team put together by the police department.

LENO: Oh, by the police department? So it`s you versus the police department. So that`s an old rivalry.

DOGG: Yes.

LENO: That goes back.


That goes back a long -- that goes back about `72, doesn`t it?

DOGG: Yes.


HAMMER: All right, well the State of the Union address was getting a little extra air time on late-night TV. Here`s a moment from "Jimmy Kimmel Live" where a look from Senator Hillary Clinton got some serious laughs. Take a look at this.


JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": The president injected a little bit of humor into the proceedings. I guess his dad and President Clinton have become close. They`re doing some charity work together. And the president used that to try to maybe close the widening gap between the Democrats and Republicans. I`m not sure that it worked, though.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This year, the first of about 78 million baby boomers turns -- baby boomers turn 60, including two of my dad`s favorite people, me and President Clinton.


KIMMEL: That is the face that caused a man to lure an intern under his desk.



ANDERSON: Oh, no. Oh, all right.

Coming up, a "Showbiz Special Report."

It`s violent, painful and gaining popularity with teenage boys. We`ll take you inside the startling world of backyard wrestling, with scenes you won`t soon forget, next.

HAMMER: Also tonight, stunning controversy as evangelicals cast a gay actor in one of their own films. We`ll have the religious outrage that`s going on in the Christian community. The actor in the middle of it all is going to speak out live in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. We will be right back.


ANDERSON: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, TV`s only live entertainment news show. I`m Brooke Anderson.

And now time for a "Showbiz Newsmaker Interview." Some Christians are outraged over the casting of openly gay actor Chad Allen in a movie produced by evangelicals. The movie, "End of the Spear," is the true story of five American missionaries who were killed in 1956 in the jungles of Ecuador by a tribe they were trying to serve. "End of the Spear" was made by Every Tribe Entertainment, an evangelical film company, and it is standing by its casting choice.

And joining us live now here in Hollywood and at the center of this controversy, actor Chad Allen. Chad, thanks for being here.

CHAD ALLEN, ACTOR: Thank you very much. I`m happy to be here.

ANDERSON: Of course. Now, you are an openly gay man and a gay activist, as well. In this film, you play Nate Saint and Steve Saint, both of those roles. Nate, one the missionaries who was killed. Steve, his son. When you were approached about taking on this role, so you got these parts, were you surprised that you were chosen?


ALLEN: I have to say, you know, my first reaction was, absolutely, I was thrilled. It`s an incredible story of love and forgiveness, one of the finest that I`ve ever read.

And, yes, when they first said, "We want you to come do this; we think you`re the right guy," I called up my manager and I said, "Do they know who they`re talking to?" You know, I`ve been open...


And I wish I didn`t have to say that, you know? Some day, I think we`re going to be living in a world where that wouldn`t have to be my reaction, but it was on this day. And I said, "Let`s just call them up." I said, "I want to go in and talk with the directors and the producers, make sure that they understand who I am, I understand who they are."

I wanted to know where the money was coming from and where it was going so that I could make sure it wasn`t ever going to be used to hurt someone like me, and it was the most incredible experience. The director looked at me. He said, "Look, we know."

And he said, "There may be people on your side of this that aren`t too happy with you wanting to work with us, and there definitely may be people on our side that aren`t too happy that we want to work with you, but isn`t that all the more reason why we should do it?"

He said, "Let`s walk together hand-in-hand and show that we can respect each other`s differences, and we can love each other, and we can create together, and that`s what we`ve done."

ANDERSON: Wow. Well, Chad, more than 100 pastors across the country have signed a letter to the film company expressing their disappointment in your being cast. Some evangelicals have boycotted the film. Now, in the past you`ve said that part of this negative response could come from the fact that people think you may influence young people to become gay. Is that right?

ALLEN: No, I haven`t said that. They may have said that. Let me be very clear.

You know, I grew up -- I knew I was gay from the time I was probably six years old. I had no gay role models. I had no gay influences. There was nobody like me talking on television. Guys, that just isn`t the way that it works.

Now, it doesn`t mean I don`t understand their fear. I do. But that just isn`t the way that it works, you know? We have nothing to be afraid of. And that`s what I`m here to say.

Look, just get to know me. I`m willing to let you know who I am. And the filmmakers who made this movie with me, they have given me the opportunity. We know each other. We love each other. We`ve stood by each other all the way through this.

ANDERSON: Very quickly, Chad, does this controversy frighten you at all? Because at one point an executive with the film company contacted the FBI about a Web log that contained alleged potential threats. Does this scare you?

ALLEN: You know, thanks for asking. Today, I got so many phone calls from people saying, "Aren`t you a little bit scared? Maybe you should be a little bit scared." And the truth is, I wasn`t really scared until I started getting those phone calls.

You know, I have a great relationship with God, and I`m not really worried about that. I`ll go and do whatever I need to go and do, and I trust him that I`ll be protected and taken care of.

But fact is, I`m sad. I`m sad that there are a large number of people that have decided that this issue scares them so much that they may not get to participate in this film. It`s out there right now in the world, and there`s so many people getting so much out of the movie.

So I say, look, let`s just today -- let`s decide to let God`s judgment be between me and God. Let`s go celebrate what we created here together. My invitation is out there to everybody. It`s an incredible movie. I`m very proud of it.

ANDERSON: All right, well put. Chad Allen, thank you so much for joining us this evening. We appreciate your time.

ALLEN: Thank you so much.

ANDERSON: "End of the Spear" is in theaters now.

HAMMER: Tonight, a "Showbiz Special Report," the shocking and violent way that thousands of teenagers are entertaining themselves. It`s called backyard wrestling, and many parents have absolutely no idea of what their kids are doing to each other.

Here`s CNN`s Adaora Udoji for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


ADAORA UDOJI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: How did you guys ever find this place?

(on-screen): Nearly every weekend, 17-year-old Sean and his friends head into their Brooklyn field of dreams...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now making his way out to the ring...

UDOJI: ... into a violent and bloody world you are not going to believe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re going to see some crazy, crazy stuff today.

UDOJI: Prepare yourself. It is shocking. This is hardcore backyard wrestling, and it`s Sean`s dream to go pro.

Sean, whose studying for his GED, started IBW, or the Insane Backyard Wrestling Federation, with more than a dozen of his closest friends.

(on-screen): Why do you call it that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because we are insane. If you guys watch any other backyard tapes or something, there`s nothing like this out there.

UDOJI (voice-over): They call it entertainment, a combination of showmanship and choreographed moves using weapons meant to shed blood but only look painful.

There are no rules, no supervision, just friends bashing each other with keyboards, whacking themselves with fluorescent light tubes, and ramming each other into the ground head-first.

And that`s Sean, stage name Pyro, setting himself on fire just to get the crowd going.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s lighting himself on fire!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It makes it more interesting, especially for like our fans. Like, if you do a move or something, they`ll just be like, "Oh, that`s cool," but if you, like, hit somebody with one of these, they`ll go crazy. They`ll be like, "Oh, my god, that was sick."

UDOJI: Notice there are no trainers, no adults, not even a band-aid, but they insist no one really gets hurt. The blood is just show for the cameras.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We won`t wrestle unless it`s on tape.

UDOJI (on-screen): Because?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because then you just got hurt or whatever for nothing.

UDOJI (voice-over): That video ends up on Web sites like these, where teenage boys post thousand of clips showing their most daring moves in an online battles to prove who`s toughest.

There`s an estimated 700 amateur backyard wrestling federations nationwide. And with 10 to 15 members in each group, we`re talking about more than 7,000 young men.

A quick Google search triggers nearly a million hits to sites with names like, Megacarnage, New Blood Wrestling, and slogans that brag, "Brutality is our business."

You might wonder why Sean doesn`t play football or basketball or soccer. We did, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m really bad at sports. This is the only thing I`m good at.

UDOJI: He says backyard wrestling opened up a new world and new friends.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s like my best friend right here. We can beat each other up, and then, you know, we`re still friends.

UDOJI: But where do they get these ideas?


UDOJI: They say they learned the moves watching video games like this one, where a wrestler`s head is pushed into a deep fryer, and DVDs widely available from World Wrestling Entertainment, or WWE, in which pro wrestlers use fire and cheese graters from maximum shock value.

WWE officials responded in a statement, saying they are adamantly opposed to the concept of backyard wrestling because of the risks of injury to untrained amateurs. The statement goes on to say, quote, "We urge parents to be proactive in discouraging their children from undertaking this dangerous practice."

Back in Brooklyn, Joe Giordano had no real idea what his son, Jordan, was up to until he saw it for himself. It was his first time, and he watched in horror as Jordan took a beating.

JOSEPH GIORDANO, FATHER OF BACKYARD WRESTLER: We`re going to talk about this later.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want some water?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jordan, is it bad?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, it`s not bad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, it`s one of those little ones?

UDOJI (on-screen): You`re clearly upset.

GIORDANO: Yes, a little bit. Ah, I thought I was going to handle this a lot better. I thought he was wrestling, you know? An all I could see is a piece of glass going in his face, in his eye, in his hand. This isn`t what kids should be doing.

UDOJI: And then there`s this kind of backyard wrestling, literally in a backyard with well-choreograph moves, well-developed characters, and supervised by parents.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Show Stealer will never be defeated!

UDOJI: This is 18-year-old Jerry (ph), stage name Grimstone. In his parents` backyard, the matches are elaborate. He and many of his friends go to professional wrestling school. They spend hours developing detailed plots of good versus evil. Each line, every move perfected before they enter the ring.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As soon as I do it, he comes in.

UDOJI: And no weapons are allowed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A well-executed move looks 10 times better than some idiot smashing themselves over the head with a trash can.

UDOJI: That`s good news to Jerry mother, Arlene, who along with other parents, watches from the sidelines.

(on-screen): You see yourself as supporting his ambitions...


UDOJI: ... as opposed to creating a potential risk for him.

WERNER: Oh, yes. There`s nothing wrong with backyard wrestling. But parents have to be more involved with their kids. You know, you can`t go in a ditch and wrestle. There`s nobody there. What if they really do get hurt?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are ready to head out?


UDOJI (voice-over): That risk is now a reality for 16-year-old Daniel Carlson and his parents, Renee and Dale. Last summer, Daniel was dropped on his head in a backyard wrestling match and broke his neck. Life for the Carlsons changed forever.

RENEE CARLSON, DANIEL CARLSON`S MOTHER: A doctor looked at us and said, "Your son is going to be paralyzed." I have to admit, the first thing that I thought of was, "He`s 16 years old. This isn`t right." He had his whole life ahead of him.

UDOJI: The Carlsons say they thought Daniel was just horsing around. They had no idea he and his friends were staging organized wrestling matches.

R. CARLSON: They can say they know what they`re doing, but they really don`t, and you can get seriously hurt. And Daniel is proof of that.

UDOJI: But physical injury isn`t the only risk, according to pediatrician Shari Barkin, who studies links between images of violence and aggression. She watched our video of hardcore teen wrestling in disbelief.

DR. SHARI BARKIN, PROFESSOR, WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY: Being violent creates an addictive property. So that, once you`ve done it, just seeing the same thing over and over again is no longer interesting. You have to escalate it, and escalate it, and escalate it. So where is the final escalation?

UDOJI: Dr. Barkin says teens who feel invincible through hardcore violence...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Toaster, toaster action.

UDOJI: ... may not be learning the coping skills they need to reach their full potential.

Back in Brooklyn, Sean`s match has moved on to thumb tacks, dozens of them, for a favorite big finish. It`s hard to believe, but he says getting punctured several times in the back is no big deal.

(on-screen): None of that hurt, Sean?


UDOJI: It looks painful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s the whole point.

UDOJI (voice-over): But it`s a very big deal to Jordan`s dad, Joe.

GIORDANO: I`m sure the other parents have no idea what`s going on here.

UDOJI (on-screen): Are you going to tell them?

GIORDANO: Everybody I know. Every kid that`s here that I know I`m going to let their parent know.


GIORDANO: If they don`t believe me, let them come, let them take a look for themselves, and let them get shocked like I did.


HAMMER: That was CNN`s Adaora Udoji for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m sure you were watching that at the beginning thinking somebody`s going to wind up in a wheelchair. Sure enough, somebody winds up in a wheelchair. Brooke, I hope parents are paying attention.

ANDERSON: It`s surprising more kids haven`t been seriously injured. Very frightening to watch, A.J.

OK, there is still time for you to sound off in our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." Super Bowl halftime show: Are the Rolling Stones the right act? Vote at Write us at Your e-mails coming up live, next.


HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. We`ve been asking you online to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." We`re asking: Super Bowl halftime show: Are the Rolling Stones the right act?

Well, here`s the vote so far. Not a lot of love for the Stones, with 39 percent of you saying yes, 61 percent of you saying no.

A bunch of e-mails on the topic, too, including one from Susie in Georgia, who writes, "With all the local talent in Detroit, this would have been a great opportunity to showcase all of the artists there in Motown."

And this one came from Ann in Kentucky. She writes, "Of course the Rolling Stones are the right choice. They are the greatest rock and roll band ever."

Remember, you can keep voting at

Brooke, as we get into the Friday night tomorrow, I understand you`re going to have your exclusive "Sitdown" with Patty Duke.

ANDERSON: Patty Duke, what a talent. She`s got a television movie she`s premiering. Patty Duke on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT tomorrow.

HAMMER: And that is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

ANDERSON: I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. Thanks for watching. And stay tune for the latest from CNN Headline News.


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