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SHOWBIZ TONIGHT

Testy E-mail Exchange Makes Rounds on Internet; Felicity Huffman Appears in Webisodes Featuring Classic TV Shows; Lisa Rinna Dishes on "Dancing with the Stars" Loss

Aired February 21, 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, CO-HOST: I`m A.J. Hammer live in New York.
SIBILA VARGAS, CO-HOST: And I`m Sibila Vargas, live in Hollywood. TV`s only live entertainment news show starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER (voice-over): On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the Katrina stories no one is telling. Oprah Winfrey and Anderson Cooper revisit areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina, and are shocked by what they find.

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": There are still dozens of bodies under the debris.

HAMMER: Tonight, a special report: Oprah and Anderson reveal why so much is still so wrong so many months later.

Ever send an e-mail you later regretted?

WILL KORMAN, LAWYER: I think people are reading this e-mail saying, "Oh, my God."

HAMMER: Tonight, a woman straight out of school fights with a prospective employer via e-mail. And you won`t believe what she said.

DIANNA ABDALA, LAW SCHOOL GRADUATE: I don`t regret burning that bridge.

HAMMER: Tonight, the e-mail sent around the world, a story that will make you think twice before hitting "send."

Sex before the big game. Tonight, should athletes cool it in the bedroom before going into competition?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I abstained, I got the gold.

HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with a revealing report on the no-sex rule: good advice or just silly superstition?

BONNIE RAITT, MUSICIAN: HI, I`m Bonnie Raitt. If it happened today, it`s on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VARGAS: Hello. I`m Sibila Vargas live in Hollywood.

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

Sibila, have you ever sent anybody an e-mail that you later regretted or maybe almost sent one that could have gotten you in a bunch of trouble?

VARGAS: Almost but not quite. I`m a little smarter than that.

HAMMER: I think this is something that has gotten a lot of people in a lot of trouble. And tonight we`ve got this amazing story about an e-mail that has spread like crazy in cyberspace and around the world.

This involves a job offer that went from good to really, really bad. And we do mean really, really bad. Adrianna Costa is live in the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom with more on this incredible story -- Adrianna.

ADRIANNA COSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A.J., thanks so much.

It has become a case of did you see that e-mail? I think everyone has. When attorney Will Korman offered a job to Dianna Abdala, fresh out of law school. But when the deal fell apart through e-mail exchange between the two, well, the story took on a life of its own all over the Internet.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COSTA (voice-over): It`s a case of "he said."

KORMAN: For an individual right out of law school to basically insult me after I have offered her a job, really makes no sense.

COSTA: "She said."

ABDALA: I have kind of lost respect for attorney Korman, and I didn`t think he really merited anything but an e-mail.

COSTA: That only got better and better with each click of the mouse. That`s because this testy exchange between a would-be employer to his would-be employee traveled faster than the speed of sound, thanks to the Internet. And boy, did it travel.

Skipping from continent...

KORMAN: Europe.

COSTA: ... to continent.

KORMAN: Australia.

COSTA: All over the world.

Here`s how it started. Budding attorney Dianna Abdala interviewed with this seasoned lawyer, Will Korman. But when he offered the job with a lower salary, she e-mailed him, saying the "no thanks."

You`d think that was the end of it. Oh, but it wasn`t. Instead of dropping off the e-mail exchange, Abdala fired back to Korman, saying quote, "A real lawyer would have put the contract into writing."

That didn`t sit well with Korman, so he replied with this. "Thank you for the refresher course on contracts. This is not a bar exam question. You need to realize that this is a very small legal community, especially the criminal defense bar. Do you really want to start passing off more experienced lawyers at this early stage of your career?"

And the zinger, her reply. "Bla, bla, bla." Ouch.

And thanks to that forwarded e-mail, those three words have sent this e-mail into the cyberspace hall of fame. But don`t think Abdala has any regrets. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you she`s not sweating it.

ABDALA: No, I don`t regret burning that bridge.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSTA: Well, you got to giggle at that story just a little bit. Anyway, Abdala says she is now working for herself and taking court- appointed cases. So consider this a cautionary tale.

A.J., let me give you a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT handbook on e-mail etiquette, OK? Never and I mean never write an e-mail with anything that you wouldn`t want the rest of the world to read. I`ve done it plenty of times and I know, you`re like hitting the delete button, like "stop! Stop!"

HAMMER: And you know, if you use America Online -- I`ve been using it for a long time.

COSTA: Right.

HAMMER: If you`re sending to another AOL person, fortunately, there`s that "unsend" button.

COSTA: There is the "unsend." That`s right.

HAMMER: But most corporate e-mail doesn`t work like that. So you do have to be careful.

COSTA: Oh, my God. Bad news.

HAMMER: All right, Adrianna. Thanks very much.

COSTA: You, too.

HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Adrianna Costa, joining us live.

Well, joining me live now in Boston for "SHOWBIZ Newsmaker" interview, Will Korman. As Adrianna just told us, he is the guy, he`s the attorney who offered the job, now known around the world because of the "bla, bla, bla" e-mail.

Will, thanks for being with us.

KORMAN: It`s my pleasure. Thank you for having me.

HAMMER: OK. So this is a fascinating story to me. I want you to take me back to the time when I guess you`re sitting at work probably in your office.

KORMAN: Sure.

HAMMER: You`re checking your e-mail. You get that now infamous "bla, bla, bla" response. This is an exchange between a lawyer and another lawyer and somebody who really wants to, you know, potentially get ahead in the business. Were you just incredulous when you got that?

KORMAN: I think that I, as any other employer would be, I was simply shocked. I don`t really understand why someone who has turned down a job offer, again, for whatever reason, and I certainly don`t quarrel with her reasoning, I think to then insult the employer, the would-be employer, I think that`s beyond the pale. And I don`t even think shock describes my reaction. I think it was just sheer unadulterated horror, quite frankly.

HAMMER: It would seem to me that, you know, regardless of, as you said, she doesn`t care she burned that bridge, but you still don`t want people to think that that`s something you would do. So the amazing part of the story is it`s now traveled around the world. In fact, here you are talking with me on national television. Why do you think the story has struck such a chord with people?

KORMAN: Well, I think the story really resonates for anyone who`s ever applied for a job. Essentially just about anyone who`s read this e- mail, I`m assuming, has applied for a job themselves. And I think each person who reads e-mails say to themselves, "That is certainly nothing I ever would have done when I applied for a job." And I think that`s why people are so interested in this story.

HAMMER: And a lot of people just don`t think before they do click that "send" button. And I understand you`ve been getting e-mails from around the world, because I guess your e-mail address was at the top of this thing.

KORMAN: That`s right.

HAMMER: So first of all, how many e-mails would you say you`ve received?

KORMAN: In the past week and a half, I`d say a conservative estimate is just shy of 1,000.

HAMMER: That`s unbelievable. Probably have to change your e-mail address at some point, I`m sure. What are some of the unusual places you`re hearing from and what kinds of things are people saying to you?

KORMAN: In the past week, I`ve heard e-mails literally from all across the country, from California, Florida, Texas, throughout the Midwest, Chicago, Louisiana and then Europe. Today I started receiving e- mails from the Netherlands, from London. Over the weekend I received some e-mails from Australia, New Zealand.

And again, I really think this story resonates with people, because again, no matter where they live, or what they do for a living, everyone remembers applying for their first job.

HAMMER: Are most people that you`re hearing from, you say, you know, about a thousand people in the last week alone, are most people siding with you or are you hearing a little bit of both sides?

KORMAN: I think it`s important to not phrase this as a "his side" versus "her side" story. The overwhelming majority of the e-mails that I have received have simply been comments on the appropriate use of e-mail, the lack of etiquette in this particular sense -- the lack of etiquette in this particular situation, as well, as what is really appropriate to do when applying for and subsequently turning down a job.

HAMMER: Yes, which really sums it all up. So from you, Will, what`s the lesson we should all learn here, would you say?

KORMAN: You know, there`s a famous saying, which is never send an e- mail that contains anything you wouldn`t want to read on the front page of the "New York Times" or hear about on CNN, for that matter.

HAMMER: And you have learned it firsthand. Will Korman, thanks a lot for joining us life from Boston tonight.

KORMAN: Thank you, indeed.

HAMMER: Well, now we`d like to hear from you. For our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day, we want to know: e-mail regret. Have you ever sent an e-mail that got you into trouble? Get online to vote at CNN.com/ShowbizTonight or send us an e-mail at CNN.com/ShowbizTonight. Make sure you like what you said. It could wind up on CNN`s SHOWBIZ TONIGHT here on Headline Prime. We`re going to read some of your thoughts later in the show.

VARGAS: Well, tonight, honoring the memory of Peter Jennings. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT was there as the street just outside ABC News headquarters in New York City was renamed Peter Jennings Way. Jennings` family members, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and "Good Morning America" co-anchors Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer were among those who came to pay tribute.

Sawyer talked about why today`s ceremony was important and what Jennings himself would have had to say about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DIANE SAWYER, CO-HOST, "GOOD MORNING AMERICA": I thought the mayor was right when he called it the Peter Jennings Way because this is where the way lived. The standard, the values, the journalism. And we all saw Peter in his trench coat coming down this block, striding into the building and reminding us all of the best of what we do.

You know, he was so unimpressed by ceremony. He probably would say, "Shouldn`t you people be working?" I`m sure he would.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VARGAS: He will be missed. Peter Jennings died of lung cancer last august. He was 67 years old.

HAMMER: Well, months after Hurricane Katrina, there are still stories you haven`t heard. Oprah Winfrey and Anderson Cooper revisit the devastated areas, and they`re shocked by what they find. That`s coming up ahead in a special report.

Also on the way...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EVE PLUMB, ACTRESS: Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!

FELICITY HUFFMAN, ACTRESS: Be careful. That will become a national catch phrase.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Why is a "Desperate Housewife" hanging out with "The Brady Bunch"? That`s in our "Viral Video" segment.

HAMMER: Also, Lisa Rinna from "Dancing with the Stars" is here. She said she would be devastated if she was kicked off the show. Well, she was, so we`re going to find out how she`s feeling, live in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

First here comes tonight`s "`Entertainment Weekly` Great American Pop Culture Quiz." Back in 1981, whom did the cover of "Life" magazine proclaim as America`s best actress? Was it A, Sally Field; B, Jane Fonda; C, Meryl Streep or D, Sissy Spacek? We`re coming straight back with the answer.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: So again, tonight`s "`Entertainment Weekly` Great American Pop Culture Quiz." In 1981, whom did the cover of "Life" magazine proclaim as America`s best actress? Sally Field, Jane Fonda, Meryl Streep or Sissy Spacek? The answer: "C," Meryl Streep.

VARGAS: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, TV`s only live entertainment news show. I`m Sibila Vargas.

"Desperate Housewives" star Felicity Huffman is hanging out with some of America`s most famous TV moms in one of the most buzzed-about Internet ad campaigns in a long time. It`s for Dove soap, and you`re about to rub your eyes with disbelief when we show you what you`re about to see.

Huffman has been placed in several classic TV shows, including "Leave it to Beaver" and "The Munsters," but out of all the so-called webisodes, here`s our favorite. Felicity Huffman in "The Brady Bunch."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HUFFMAN: Hi.

FLORENCE HENDERSON, ACTRESS: Hi.

HUFFMAN: Nice paneling. Oh, my.

HENDERSON: It`s nice to have you with us.

HUFFMAN: Oh, great to be here. I think. I`ve got some big shoes to fill but don`t worry. I can figure it out. I have been watching all of you for years.

Listen, I know I`m just a housekeeper here, but what`s the deal with you and Marcia?

PLUMB: Well, all I hear all day long at school is how great Marcia is at this or how wonderful Marcia did that. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!

HUFFMAN: Whoa, be careful. That will become a national catchphrase and haunt you for the next 35 years.

PLUMB: I`m tired of being in Marcia`s shadow all the time.

HUFFMAN: Oh, well, you are kind of whiney. Listen, I`ve got the number of a great therapist for you. Oh, wait. It`s 1971. Still in the seventh grade. Not going to work.

CHRISTOPHER KNIGHT, ACTOR: You say we`re having pork chops and apple sauce?

HUFFMAN: What are you doing? Oh, Bogie. All right. Do it again. Do it again.

KNIGHT: Pork chops and apple sauce.

HUFFMAN: That was good. But we`re just having apple sauce. The pork chops are frozen, and you don`t have a microwave. Yet.

KNIGHT: That`s swell.

HUFFMAN: I know Marcia sings, but I can`t -- (singing) everybody seems so happy today. Oh, I think I`ll take a walk every day now. The summer sun shows me the way to get away to get away. Got to get away, get away. Seriously, I got to get away

HENDERSON: Will you please go tell the boys to come in and straighten up their room?

HUFFMAN: No problem. Hey, you guys -- oh, my nose. Oh, my nose. Oh, my nose.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VARGAS: Not bad. Felicity Huffman scoring that webisode. What do you think, A.J.?

HAMMER: I think the technology is fascinating. I kind of know how they do that, but it still blows me away. And of course, I`ve never particularly been in "The Brady Bunch" dream, but there are also some other webisodes on there as well.

VARGAS: I must admit, though, I was hoping they would show her really recreate that scene where Marcia breaks her nose. Not that I want to see Felicity with a broken nose, but that would have been cute.

HAMMER: Yes. They have "The Munsters, on there as well and a couple others.

VARGAS: That`s good.

HAMMER: The web site, hey, scroll that back. I want to see what the web site is. Can we look at that again? OK. Well, I`m...

VARGAS: Www.DoveNights.com.

HAMMER: OK. Because they`re really cool and worth checking out. All right, Sibila.

Well, there`s definitely something else that`s contagious that`s -- as the "Viral Videos" that I need to get into right now. It`s that hit show, "Dancing with the Stars" on ABC. Everybody is watching. One of the biggest shows going. Millions of people on their toes literally every week watching stuff like this. Look at that fancy footwork. They want to know who`s getting voted off first or next.

The latest finalist voted off is soap opera star and host of TV`s "Soap Talk," Lisa Rinna. Joining me live in New York.

LISA RINNA, FORMER CONTESTANT, "DANCING WITH THE STARS": Hi.

HAMMER: You look fantastic out there, but you`re look great here. Nice to see you.

RINNA: Nice to be seen. Thank you. I love your show. I`m so excited to be here.

HAMMER: Well, thank you. We`ll take every viewer we can get, Lisa. Appreciate you being here.

And I know, I`m sure you`ve been offered other reality shows over the years. I`m sure people are always knocking on your door to do this project, that project. This is the first one you`ve done. Fifteen million people watched you get booted off on Friday night.

RINNA: I believe 20.

HAMMER: Twenty million people watched you get booted off Friday night, according to Lisa Rinna. And the success of the show has actually even surprised some of the people who are putting it together. What`s the deal? Why is this such a massive thing?

RINNA: You know, being a part of it now, I think I finally understand what it is. It is -- it is a throw-back to the old variety shows. And you can watch the entire thing with your family. And there`s something that I think is so inspiring about seeing people that don`t dance or haven`t had much dance experience go with a professional dancer, learn these dances. We learned a new dance every five days.

HAMMER: That can`t be easy.

RINNA: It`s not at all. We pour our heart and soul into it. I think people really feel that. And they root for us. I`ve never had more people stop me on the street and say, "You know, you were robbed" or "We`re rooting for you; we love you." I mean, you just don`t get that kind of love and that kind of -- you don`t have that kind of effect on people, I don`t think, that often, in a career. And as an actress, I never have. I mean, not really.

HAMMER: I don`t know. I was pretty upset after some nights with you on "Melrose Place." But that`s something different. When you`re doing a show like that and working so hard you can`t possibly hide your emotions. And in fact, you had said as the competition was starting, you would be devastated if you got voted off. You got voted off. Are you devastated?

RINNA: Well, did you see it? Did you see me get voted off? It wasn`t that I was devastated.

HAMMER: There were tears.

RINNA: There were a lot of tears. What this show has done for me and to me is it opened me up emotionally in a way that I would never have expected. I mean, I`m not a crier in public, you know? I don`t just cry at the drop of a hat. I am emotional. I am a woman. I`m emotional, but I don`t just cry in front of people.

And this -- I mean, I was known as the girl who cried on "Dancing with the Stars." I was very moved by the entire experience. And I don`t know if that had to do with dancing. I think dancing, if you move your body it tends to open up your emotions. At least it did with mine.

HAMMER: Well, it`s very physically taxing, as well. And you`re in amazing shape. Now, is this the best shape of your life?

RINNA: By far. I have never -- I mean, I had two children. Your body doesn`t really snap back after you have two kids. I mean, you can get it back, but it doesn`t really go back. I can now tell you as we`re sitting here on CNN SHOWBIZ TONIGHT live...

HAMMER: Please.

RINNA: ... my body is back. It`s better than when I was 18 years old.

HAMMER: Because you know, your husband, Harry Hamlin, who has been very supportive of you through this entire thing, I`m sure you`ve heard he is quoted as saying, "She got so thin I wanted to put a feeding tube in her." But how did -- you didn`t stop eating? I know you were training, but this wasn`t because you stopped eating.

RINNA: I actually have been eating more carbs than I have in the past 10 years. I`m eating croissants. I`m eating bread. I mean, we haven`t done that. All of us have been on that protein diet for so long.

HAMMER: Is that going to change?

RINNA: Well, it`s going to have to. I mean, I was dancing seven hours a day. Six to seven hours a day. I couldn`t get enough food. I was eating anything in sight. You name it, I probably ate it.

HAMMER: You got to set the record straight for me on something real quick.

RINNA: OK.

HAMMER: Harry was sort of vaguely quoted as saying maybe he would consider doing this show and being one of the stars dancing. Is he going to do it? You`ve got the platform here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

RINNA: Well, first of all, I think he said with his martini at Santana`s that if I won the competition, he would do the show. I know that he`s transfixed by it. He thinks it`s fabulous. And what it`s done for me has been amazing. Actually, I want to do Broadway now. How about that?

HAMMER: Well, that would be a good move.

RINNA: I mean, I don`t know if he`ll do it. I`m not sure. He said he would only do it if I won.

HAMMER: Well, I`ve got to wrap it up. But who`s going to win? One answer.

RINNA: Drew Lachey.

HAMMER: All right. Drew Lachey. You heard it from Lisa Rinna.

RINNA: Drew Lachey.

HAMMER: Thanks for joining us. We appreciate having you here. I appreciate having you here.

RINNA: I appreciate being here.

HAMMER: Catch the remaining competition of "Dancing with the Stars" Thursday night on ABC. The finale is on Sunday.

RINNA: We`ll all be there Sunday. We`ll all be back.

HAMMER: Oh, good. See you then.

RINNA: Bye.

VARGAS: Well, Lisa has definitely got moves, A.J., but I know someone else who might give her a run for her money. On "LARRY KING LIVE," one of our big celebrities put on his dancing shoes and suspenders as a celebrity from "Dancing with the Stars" looked on. Take a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC)

HAMMER: The guys watching here in the studio who work with us are like this. What do you think? How did he do, Lisa?

RINNA: I think he did well. I thought he rocked it. I thought he rocked it.

HAMMER: You will give him your votes?

RINNA: Yes, absolutely.

HAMMER: A?

RINNA: Larry gets a seven.

HAMMER: All right. There you go.

RINNA: I hold up my paddle. Seven.

HAMMER: What do you think, Sibila?

VARGAS: I agree. I think -- I think he`s great. He should be on the show. I would vote for him.

HAMMER: All right.

RINNA: Me, too.

HAMMER: Well, moving right along, coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, it`s the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT riddle. How many people does it take to put an acclaimed actress on the cover of a magazine? We`re behind the scenes of Julianne Moore`s photo shoot, next in "Tuesday InStyle."

VARGAS: Sex before the big game? Tonight, should athletes cool it in the bedroom before going into competition? Coming up, a revealing report on whether the no-sex rule is really just superstition.

HAMMER: And the Hurricane Katrina stories you haven`t heard all these months later. Oprah Winfrey and Anderson Cooper go looking for answers, and they are shocked at what they find. That`s still ahead on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VARGAS: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Time now for "Tuesday InStyle." Tonight, on the cover with actress Julianne Moore. "InStyle`s" latest issue hits stands on Friday, but SHOWBIZ TONIGHT got a sneak peek.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

POLLY BLITZER, "INSTYLE": "InStyle" choose Julianne Moore as the cover of the March issue because she is one of the most breathtaking stars in Hollywood. And not only is she a four-time Oscar nominee, but she also manages to juggle that with a successful, thriving marriage, and she`s a mother of two, as well.

On the cover of the magazine Julianne Moore is wearing a beautiful purple, almost like a bright sun color Max Mara dress and Frederic Fekkai- H. Stern diamond earrings.

What`s really so interesting about being behind the scenes with a celebrity at a photo shoot for a cover is that it`s not just that they throw on a dress and voila. It really takes a small village to create this look, and you know, rows and rows of shoes, dozens and dozens of different styles and colors, and I think that she pulls it off seamlessly and elegantly. She`s really just breathtaking in anything she puts on.

Julianne Moore has such an eclectic and interesting style, and in another photo in our spread, she`s wearing a Matthew Williamson dress with her jeans underneath, along with a beautiful Diane Von Furstenberg-H. Stern ring. And it just makes you want to look at your closet a whole new way. I mean, if she can pull off this unique look, why not try on our own dresses over our jeans and see if we can achieve a similar comfortable, yet elegant look.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VARGAS: She really is beautiful. And if you want to read more about Julianne Moore, pick up a copy of March`s "InStyle" magazine. It`s on newsstands Friday.

HAMMER: We`ve all stared at the closets wondering what to wear, but we`re going to meet a guy who decided to let the general public decide, right down to the socks. That`s coming up.

VARGAS: Plus, sex before the big game. Should athletes cool it in the bedroom before going into hot competition? Tonight a revealing report on whether the no-sex rule is really just superstition.

HAMMER: And the Hurricane Katrina stories you haven`t heard. All these months later, Oprah Winfrey and CNN`s own Anderson Cooper go looking for answers. They`re absolutely shocked by what they find. That`s still ahead on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. And we will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Thirty-one minutes past the hour. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

VARGAS: And I`m Sibila Vargas in Hollywood. You`re watching TV`s only live entertainment news show.

HAMMER: Well, Sibila, Oprah Winfrey and Anderson Cooper are among those who vowed not to let the stories of those people affected by Hurricane Katrina go away. Six months after the hurricane devastated the Gulf Coast, they`ve gone back to the region and they were absolutely shocked by what they saw, absolutely shocked by some of the stories that they heard. We`re going to bring those to you in just a few minutes.

VARGAS: Really unbelievable to think that, you know, six months has come and gone and the devastation is still there.

HAMMER: Much more than people realize.

VARGAS: Absolutely.

Also tonight, I don`t know if, back in college, if you heard that athletes should not have sex before a big game because it depletes them of their energy. Did you ever hear that?

HAMMER: I have heard that. Some think it`s superstition; some think it`s for real.

VARGAS: Exactly. I mean, I`ve always been curious. Is it a myth or is it real? Well, we`re going to find out a little later in a special report, a very revealing report you`re not going to want to miss.

HAMMER: We get to the bottom of it, Sibila.

VARGAS: We will.

But first, let`s get to tonight`s "Hot Headlines." And for that, we go to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Adrianna Costa joining us live once again -- Adrianna?

COSTA: Sibila, I don`t know about that whole athlete thing. I think they would beg to differ.

Anyway, let`s talk about "Hot Headlines." OK, Robert De Niro`s maid will be doing some dusting in a prison cell now. The housekeeper to the star was sentenced to one year to three years behind bars today in a New York court. She was convicted of cleaning out her clients homes and admitted to stealing $100,000 of a pair of earrings that belonged to De Niro`s wife.

Jon Stewart has revealed his secret to hosting this year`s Oscars: drugs. We`re not kidding. When asked why he looked so calm on this morning`s "Today" show, the "Daily Show" host joked and said it was all because of the Xanax, you know, the pill used to treat anxiety.

Also today, the Oscar set design was unveiled. It`s an old-school sort of look, sort of old Hollywood glamour, if you will, with a movie- theater-like vibe from the `30s, `40s and `50s. The Academy Awards airs Sunday, March 5th. And guess what? We will be there, live, covering it, red carpet and all, and dresses, and fashions, all that jazz.

And check this out. Some serious star power in Vegas last night. Believe it or not, Elton John and Celine Dion on the same stage performing for the first time together ever. The concert raised money for Harrah`s casino workers affected by last year`s Gulf Coast hurricanes. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld was the guest host for the event. It pulled in more than $2 million. That`s great.

And those, my friends, are tonight`s "Hot Headlines." We hope you enjoyed. Thanks for having us.

And, A.J., we`re going to pass it back to you now.

HAMMER: All right, Adrianna, that was terrific...

COSTA: Thanks.

HAMMER: ... raising so much money in just one night. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Adrianna Costa. Remember, you can catch Adrianna`s entertainment report every single day on "ROBIN AND COMPANY," which airs right here on Headline News weekdays from 6:00 to 10:00 a.m.

Well, tonight we have a lingering American tragedy to take a look at. Oprah Winfrey and CNN`s Anderson Cooper have returned to the Gulf Coast region to see how the area is recovering from Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the area, of course, in August of last year. They share what they found on today`s Oprah show, and what viewers saw was equally sad and infuriating.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: The devastation here, it`s catastrophic.

LISA LING, TV HOST: We`re told not to walk up onto the lawn because it`s so severely contaminated with E. coli.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just never really thought that, five months later, things would still be like they are, you know?

HAMMER (voice-over): This weekend will mark six months since Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast. And today on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," Oprah, CNN`s Anderson Cooper, and TV personality Lisa Ling gave us a look at how much and how little has been done.

LING: This house, I mean, this tree has been on this house for five months.

HAMMER: From debris that still hasn`t been cleared...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People don`t know that you can drive for miles and miles and miles, just like you and I did this morning, and we never saw a debris truck cleaning.

HAMMER: ... to missing victims that took months to find...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s what I want most. Where is my family?

HAMMER: ... to entire families facing eviction from their cramped temporary housing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, I go to the bathroom and cry.

HAMMER: Viewers saw shocking images of a place where the ghosts of Katrina still linger and the damaging effects of the slow government response still resonate.

COOPER: The thing that I find so haunting is that, I mean, there are these piles of debris, and you don`t know what`s under them. There could be a person under there. And someday a bulldozer`s just going to come, pick all that up, and dump it. I mean, people are just going to disappear.

HAMMER: Both Anderson and Oprah were on the ground within days after Katrina hit back in August of last year. And viewers saw both TV veterans get emotional from the horrors they saw.

COOPER: For the last four days, I`ve been seeing dead bodies in the streets here in Mississippi.

OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: This makes me mad. This should not have happened.

HAMMER: And now that they`ve returned to the Gulf Coast, the situation remains desperate. Today, one of Anderson Cooper`s most heart- wrenching stories was that of a New Orleans family who desperately fled the storm while pushing their 82-year-old mother on a hospital bed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My mama, she said, "Look, I will never forget." She was so scared.

HAMMER: The elderly woman had a stroke and was evacuated by helicopter; she later died. But her family did not know where she was until they located her body in a morgue five months later.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s unbelievable that anybody could imagine you have a mother and you don`t know where she is.

HAMMER: And over in Mississippi, Lisa Ling toured a destroyed apartment complex where desperate residents lived in filthy conditions.

LING: Miss Lily (ph) is living right next to this open sewer.

Have you been living here without a roof?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

LING: And what has that been like for you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Horrible.

LING: Do you have plumbing and electricity? Well, how do you go to the bathroom?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In a bucket.

LING: So you have been using a bucket as a toilet since the hurricane struck?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

HAMMER: She also toured a tent city, where residents lived in cramped and difficult conditions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It feels like you`re going to be here forever.

HAMMER: While miles away, dozens of FEMA mobile homes intended for storm victims sit unused.

LING: All of these trailers are sitting empty, and it`s just infuriating.

HAMMER: And months after first seeing the devastation of Katrina, both Anderson and Oprah still remain emphatic about what needs to be done in the Gulf Coast.

COOPER: I think we are judged and should be judged as a nation, as a people, by how we care for our fellow citizens.

WINFREY: This is the United States of America. People should not be living like this.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: So much work to be done, but it`s amazing that, after six months, this is still going on. You can see more of Oprah and Anderson`s Katrina update tonight on "ANDERSON COOPER 360" on CNN.

VARGAS: Well, even as New Orleans is struggling to rebuild after Katrina, a scaled-back version of the annual Mardi Gras celebration is under way. And this year, Louisiana native Britney Spears is getting involved. She is "Good Morning America`s" surprise guest for its Mardi Gras special next week on the last day of the parade.

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRITNEY SPEARS, POP SINGER: Louisiana, I`m coming home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Live from Mardi Gras 2006...

SPEARS: Now, that`s good to go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A morning celebration unlike any you`ve ever seen.

SPEARS: Trust me. I am bringing home one big surprise after another after another.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mardi Gras 2006 with "GMA" and Britney Spears.

SPEARS: Woo, I love the way that sounds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Mardi Gras special event the whole world will be watching.

SPEARS: New Orleans, you deserve a party like this.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VARGAS: "Good Morning America`s" Mardi Gras special airs next Tuesday on ABC.

HAMMER: So have you ever been so fired up at someone, maybe your boss, maybe that guy or girl you`ve been dating, that you just sat down at the computer, fired off an e-mail, only to later regret having sent it? Well, this is our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." E-mail regrets: Have you ever sent an e-mail that got you into trouble?

We`ve been hearing from a lot of people. Why don`t you sound off, too? CNN.com/SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is where you go, or e-mail us, if you`re careful, at showbiztonight@CNN.com. We`ll get into your e-mails at 55 past the hour.

VARGAS: And here is another question for you. If you refrain from having sex, will you perform better outside of the bedroom? Coming up, meet an Olympic athlete who makes a startling suggestion. When he doesn`t get it on, he really scores when it comes to sports. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has the naked truth, next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You`re like a Ken doll for them.

KEVIN MCCORMICK, DRESSKEVIN.COM: A lot of people have said that, actually, like I`m the real life Ken dollar.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: You`re about to meet a guy who had so much trouble deciding what to wear he turned to complete strangers on the Internet for help. Coming up, you get your chance to dress Kevin.

VARGAS: And now a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT birthday shout-out, where we give fans a chance to wish their favorite stars a happy birthday. There`s one going to Jennifer Love Hewitt from "Party of Five" and "Ghost Whisperer." She`s turning 27 today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, my name is Mark Syndico (ph). I`d like to wish Jennifer Love Hewitt a happy birthday. I think you`re a great actress, a very beautiful woman, and I hope your birthday is very enjoyable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

So before the big game, athletes go through different routines to get ready. Maybe they eat certain foods or perhaps they listen to their favorite type of music. Well, tonight the story of sports stars who stay away from sex. Yes, sex.

This is a controversial practice. Some say there`s no naked truth behind this no-sex rule, while others say that knockin` boots will actually helps them knock it out of the park.

Here`s CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ancient Greek Olympians, the Buffalo Bills, and Josh Davis all have something in common: They`re all lean, mean, athletic machines living by a strict code, train hard, compete hard, and no sex before a competition.

(on-screen): So it was through trial and error that you figured out abstaining was a good idea to win a medal?

JOSH DAVIS, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL-WINNING SWIMMER: Yes, when I abstained, I got the gold.

COHEN (voice-over): Josh won gold three times in Atlanta, two silvers in Sydney, and he broke seven U.S. records. And while he adores Shantel, his wife of 10 years, he says abstaining days before a competition and the day of works for him. Of course, he does have sex; the man has five children.

DAVIS: It`s awesome. I mean, God invented it, and he said, "Go for it," and I love it, and we love it, and it`s great. And we celebrate that. But being that my job is to race for our country one night every four years, I can probably abstain that day and really focus my energy, you know, to bring home the gold.

COHEN (on-screen): You said you`ve made some mistakes.

DAVIS: Yes.

COHEN (voice-over): It was Fort Lauderdale, 2002.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... perennial favorite Josh Davis, he will not be in this final heat tonight.

COHEN: The Davises blame Josh`s poor athletic performance in part on too much canoodling.

DAVIS: I flew her with me to Fort Lauderdale, we`re on the beach, and I`m getting ready to race. And not having the kids around and being on the beach, it was so romantic and so wonderful. And we had a great time at the hotel, but my times in the pool were awful.

I was really tired. I don`t know what was wrong with me. I just could not perform in the pool and I didn`t make the USA team. But we had a great time together.

COHEN: Now Josh says he learned his lesson and so have others before him. Muhammad Ali said he didn`t have sex for six weeks before a match. The no-sex rule has even made it into movies like "Bull Durham."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is no relationship between sex and baseball. Ask Crash.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And what did he say?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He says that if I give in to you, I`ll start losing again.

DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST, "LOVELINE": For the most part, this is a wives` tale.

COHEN: Psychologist Drew Pinsky says it`s all in an athlete`s head.

PINSKY: I think it might be what you call retaining the eye of the tiger. I think people have sort of a sense that, if they remain irritable and deprive themselves of things, that perhaps then they will be more apt to be aggressive when they need it.

COHEN: Dr. Ian Shrier, past president of the Canadian Academy of Sports Medicine, agrees.

DR. IAN SHRIER, MCGILL UNIVERSITY: Among the six studies that we looked at, all of them showed the same thing: Sex the night before competition does not make you weaker, does not decrease your aerobic capacity, doesn`t make you more tired.

COHEN: Football great Joe Namath said he had sex the night before his team won the Super Bowl. He claims sex improved his game. And Dr. J, Julius Irving, claims to have conceived one of his children the night before he played the best game of his life.

But Josh Davis knows what works for him.

DAVIS: USA number one!

COHEN: He`s training to become the oldest man ever to make a U.S. Olympic swim team. He`ll be 35 at the 2008 games in Beijing.

DAVIS: The day of a race, I have a certain amount of physical energy that I need to put towards that race. Obviously, engaging in relations would take away from that energy potential that I would have.

COHEN (on-screen): So at the trials for 2008, you`re not going to make the same mistake?

DAVIS: Right. We won`t be together for that week.

COHEN: Separate rooms?

DAVIS: Separate rooms that week, and then we can celebrate after I make the team.

COHEN (voice-over): An old wives` tale, a myth? The Davises don`t really care; all they know is there`s a time for love and a time when love takes a back seat.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COHEN: Now, the experts that we talked to said, well, there`s no physical reason that sex would ruin your athletic performance. If an athlete feels that it would, he should certainly abstain, because psychology is so important in athletics -- A.J.?

HAMMER: Elizabeth, you got to straighten something out for me here. How do experts explain why so many men say sex before competition is an absolute no-no but so many women said it`s absolutely fine to have sex before they compete, or at least the night before?

COHEN: Right. It does sound strange. And what the experts say they think it is, is that, for women, who you have sex with is more important than the fact that you have had sex.

For example, Shantel, Josh`s wife, said that, when she played volleyball, she was married to Josh. It was a comforting thing, whereas she had teammates who would have a one-night stand the night before and then, the next day when they had to play, if they were worrying about whether that guy was going to call them back, it would disturb their performance.

So the experts we talked to said, if a woman is in a stable relationship, they have found that often it helps.

HAMMER: Well, Elizabeth, thanks for clearing up this long-time myth. It`s been out there for a long time.

COHEN: That`s right.

HAMMER: CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joining us tonight.

VARGAS: OK, so you ever get up in the morning and have no clue what to wear? Well, you are about to meet a guy who came up with a creative solution: Let others pick out his clothes. Here`s CNN`s Jeanne Moos for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Imagine telling a guy exactly what to wear, from striped shirt and jeans, to gym shorts and t- shirt, to flowered swimsuit and sunglasses. Want him in a cowboy hat? Just click.

KEVIN MCCORMICK, DRESSKEVIN.COM: I kind of like it.

MOOS: Dress him from head to toe.

(on-screen): I mean, they pick your socks?

MCCORMICK: Yes. Yes, and I`m wearing the socks that they picked, the black socks.

MOOS (voice-over): All you have to do is go to DressKevin.com.

(on-screen): You`re like a Ken doll to them.

MCCORMICK: Yes. A lot of people have said that, actually, like I`m the real life Ken doll.

MOOS (voice-over): Every day, Kevin McCormick asks what he should wear the next day. You pick from photos he`s taken of practically every item in his closet.

MCCORMICK: This always gets picked, and I have no idea why.

MOOS: Kevin wears labels like Banana Republic, not Prada.

(on-screen): You`re not a fashion plate?

MCCORMICK: No, not at all. In fact, the opposite.

MOOS (voice-over): Kevin is an I.T. manager at an investment company, and his boss had no idea his outfits were put together by popular demand.

MCCORMICK: I was that guy who couldn`t dress himself. This was the day where I had to tell him, when I wore the Hawaiian shirt to work. My boss was like, "What are you wearing?"

MOOS: Whichever items gets the most votes, he wears. Web site visitors even chose what he wore for his CNN interview. Aside from a few votes for flip flops, the result was conservative.

(on-screen): Striped shirt, black pants, simple black belt.

(voice-over): Kevin is photographed in every outfit selected, then he posts it on his Web site.

(on-screen): Look at your microphone.

MCCORMICK: Oh, that`s great.

MOOS: A new accessory.

(voice-over): And sure enough, there it is. Kevin says his audience is almost all female, either 13-year-olds who want to dress their boyfriends or 45-year-olds who want to dress their sons. His sock shots generate comments like, "Nice legs." His cowboy hat got, "Did it come with a lasso?"

After viewing the Web site, opening Kevin`s closet feels like visiting a shrine.

(on-screen): Let`s get to the shoes. Hazardous duty, this job.

(voice-over): His readers suggested he needed some Pumas. He bought a pair, and they rocketed to number one in shoes.

MCCORMICK: A lot of people have asked me why I don`t put my underwear on the site.

MOOS (on-screen): And why don`t you?

MCCORMICK: It`s my underwear.

MOOS (voice-over): He may not know how to dress, but he knows to draw the line online by leaving his drawers in the drawer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VARGAS: That was CNN`s Jeanne Moos, who dresses herself for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

And, A.J., I wanted to ask you. You`ve got impeccable style. Who dresses you?

HAMMER: Six hundred and seventy four votes today for the silver- striped Hugo Boss jacket that I`m wearing right now. And I got about 500 votes for this blue shirt. And that`s the only reason I`m wearing them.

VARGAS: You look great. You look great.

HAMMER: Strangest thing, Sibila.

VARGAS: You`re so dapper.

HAMMER: Thank you so much.

Well, throughout the show tonight, we`ve been asking you to vote online on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." We`ve been asking you about e-mail regrets. Have you ever sent out an e-mail that got you into trouble?

Well, it`s a little surprising, pretty much down the middle: 47 percent of you say, yes, you have; 53 percent of you say, no, you haven`t.

We got a lot of e-mail on the topic, too. I can get to a couple of them.

We heard from Megan in Pennsylvania, who writes, "While I`ve never sent an e-mail that I`ve regretted sending, e-mail serves a safeguard when discussing business." I think she`s right.

Also heard from Harley. He`s in Wisconsin, and he offers up this simple rule. He says, quote, "Don`t send anything via e-mail that you would not be comfortable sending to your grandmother."

Well, I suppose that`s true, although I used to have some racy conversations with my grandma.

If you would like to, you can continue to vote by hopping online and going to CNN.com/showbiztonight. And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: It is time to see what`s happening on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT coming up in the next few days. Let`s take a look at our "Showbiz Marquee."

Well, tomorrow a good friend of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, Kevin Smith is going to stop by, join us live here in the studio. He is in a new animated movie which is called "Doogal." Also in that movie, William H. Macy, Jon Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg. And we`ll be sure to ask him about the sequel to "Clerks," which he just finished shooting. Plus, quite frankly, you never know what Kevin Smith is going to say when he appears on our program. He joins us live, tomorrow.

And on Thursday, actress Tracey Gold joins us live. You know her, Carol Seaver on the hit `80s sitcom "Growing Pains." Her very public battle with an eating disorder, we`re going to talk to her about all that and more. Tracey Gold joins us live Thursday here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

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

VARGAS: And I`m Sibila Vargas in Hollywood. Stay tuned for the very latest from CNN Headline News. Thanks for joining us.

END

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