Skip to main content


Return to Transcripts main page


Americans Prefer "Idol" to News; Viral Videos: From Trunk Monkeys to Russian Disco Dancers

Aired March 27, 2006 - 19:00:00   ET


A.J. HAMMER, HOST: An overwhelming response to Charlie Sheen`s controversial comments about 9/11 conspiracy theories. Plus the chilling new trailer, the 9/11 movie "United 93."
I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. TV`s only live entertainment news show starts right now.


HAMMER (voice-over): On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, "Idol" everywhere. Tonight, what does "American Idol" have to do with the war in Iraq, overweight women, racial perceptions, and Vice President Dick Cheney? Yes, you heard right. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT investigates.

The annoying people you work with who drive you crazy. Got a bossy boss? How about the obnoxious guy who drives you up the cubicle? What about the woman who is the bane of your nine to five existence? Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT to the rescue with a book everyone`s talking about and the women who wrote it, live.


SEAN HAYES, ACTOR: I`m Sean Hayes. If it happened today...

MULLALLY: Then what?



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

I`ve got a couple of questions to fire up the program tonight, having to do with the most popular show on television. Here comes question No. 1. What does "American Idol" have to do with the war in Iraq and our vice president, Dick Cheney?

Question No. 2. Do we care more about "American Idol" than we do about the war in Iraq?

And question No. 3, what might "American Idol" have to do with racial perceptions and how we react to women who are overweight? Well, it turns out plenty.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has your "Idol" controversies. We`re all over it, starting off with the war in Iraq. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Sibila Vargas live tonight in Hollywood.

Hi, Sibila.

SIBILA VARGAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, A.J. Well, some may say it`s a harmless pop culture phenomenon, but others may find it a disturbing example of America`s apathy toward current events. Either way, important world affairs like the Iraq war are battling "American Idol" for the attention of everyday Americans, and for now it looks like that battle is a losing one.


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Insurgents gunned down workers at a bakery.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If I didn`t think we`d succeed, I`d pull our troops out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s sending other people`s sons and daughters into combat.

VARGAS (voice-over): Turn on the TV news, and there`s no escaping it. The war in Iraq is literally a matter of life and death. And with the stakes as high as they are, you would think that the nation would be riveted to every detail of the war. Still, there`s one thing that has more Americans riveted to their TV screens.


VARGAS: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on top of something that seems odd. More people seem to be interested in "American Idol" than Iraq or in the other serious news today.

Don`t believe us? Look at the numbers. In a recent week almost 33 million Americans watched "American Idol." That`s five million more than the 28 million who watched the three evening network newscasts and primetime cable news shows combined.

Washington is definitely noticing. Last week Vice President Dick Cheney used "American Idol" language to take a shot at Democrats.

DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If they`re competent to fight this war, then I ought to be singing on "American Idol."

VARGAS: Democrats fired back, saying, "The fact is Simon Cowell is more loved than this administration and its failed Iraq policy. Cheney wouldn`t last long on `American Idol`."

SIMON COWELL, JUDGE, FOX`S "AMERICAN IDOL": It was nothing more than a pointless karaoke performance.

VARGAS: So now politicians have to use "American Idol" to draw America`s attention to serious issues? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has got to ask, what`s going on here?

PROF. ROBERT THOMPSON, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY: Whenever Rome is burning a fiddler is always going to be able to make a good living, especially if they`re a good fiddler.

VARGAS: Pop culture professor Robert Thompson tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT people tend to turn to fluff when the real world gets too scary.

THOMPSON: Well, I suppose we should never be surprised when goofy, cheesy, silly entertainment is really popular at a time when all kinds of really frightening, big global issues are going on. It`s love or good-bye

VARGAS: The upcoming movie "American Dreamz" tweaks America`s "Idol" obsession.

WILLEM DAFOE, ACTOR: The only demo where you have an approval rating above 30 percent is children under the age of 5.

VARGAS: In it, the president of the United States, played by Dennis Quaid, tries to boost his popularity by appearing on an "American Idol"- like show.

DAFOE: You`re going to be a guest judge on "American Dreamz."

DENNIS QUAID, ACTOR: Are you sure that`s dignified?

HUGH GRANT, ACTOR: You made me want to projectile vomit.

VARGAS: Hugh Grant plays a thinly disguised version of Simon Cowell in the movie. He tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT it`s sad that America seems more interested in reality TV than reality.

GRANT: I don`t want to get all superior about it because I love reality TV myself, and I have an appetite for trash, just as much as anyone else. But I think it is -- yes, of course it`s a sad state of affairs.

VARGAS: But maybe we`re being unfair. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT took to the streets so that everyday Americans could tell us what they`d rather watch: the news or "American Idol."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`d rather watch the news. I don`t watch "American Idol."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would much rather turn on the news.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I only watch CNN, the news.

VARGAS: That`s funny. In the most populous city in the country, we can barely find anyone who would admit preferring America`s most popular show to the news. The key word here: admitting, except for this proud "American Idol" fan.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love it for it`s kind of an escape. Because sometimes when you put the news on it can be a little bit of -- it`s a reality check but it can also be a downer. So for me that`s -- I like the escapism of it.

VARGAS: As for Professor Thompson, he likes a little escapism, too.

THOMPSON: I`ve got to think that between CNN or FOX News or MSNBC and "American Idol" oftentimes I would choose "American Idol."

Eighty percent of the time when we`re watching television during prime time, we`re looking for something that goes down smoothly, something that won`t give us nightmares. And now that Kevin Covais has been voted off "American Idol", it doesn`t give us nightmares anymore.

VARGAS: So for now it appears that even though the long national Kevin Covais nightmare is over, the "American Idol" obsession is alive and well.


VARGAS: Now, Hugh Grant didn`t want to leave us with the impression that he hates all reality TV. He just compares it to the guilty pleasures like McDonald`s and Krispy Kreme. And as we all know, the pleasures like "American Idol" may be the hardest to resist than the sobering and less tasty news of the day. Sad but true, A.J.

HAMMER: The key word there, Sibila, is escapism. Indeed. Thanks very much. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Sibila Vargas.

Well, now we want to hear from you. This is our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day for Monday. "Idol" versus Iraq: do you pay more attention to "American Idol" than the war in Iraq? The nice thing here is you can vote anonymously by going to Admit it to us. Tell us more of what you have to say at That`s the e-mail address. We`re going to read some of your thoughts later on in the show.

And we have more "American Idol" news coming up. We`re going to be looking into whether or not race plays a part in who`s successful in "American Idol." There`s a new controversy brewing about who makes it and who doesn`t. We`ll get into that at about 43 minutes past the hour.

Well, in tonight`s "SHOWBIZ Showcase" we have your very first look at the new trailer for the movie "United 93." This is bringing all sorts of emotions to the surface when the preview is playing in theaters all across the country.

The movie tells the story of one of the four planes that was hijacked on September 11 and the passengers and crew members who took matters into their own hands. Take a look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are going to go over to Christian`s house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Conducive to just heading out and enjoying the day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, this is sandy in the back. Can you call ground and se if we can get some more pillows and blankets?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The white zone is for immediate...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The meeting last night was great.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m sure he`s thrilled.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ladies and gentlemen, we will now begin boarding. Would all of our first class passengers please make their way to gate 17?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning, sir, 4d.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, looks like we`ve run into a little bit of rush hour traffic this morning. Unfortunately, it`s going to be about a 30-minute delay. I appreciate your patience. We`re currently No. 1 for departure. Flight attendants, prepare for takeoff, please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`d like to get home to be with my babies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: United 93, runway 4 clear for takeoff.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, CNN is reporting a light civil aircraft has just hit the World Trade Center.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s a lot of smoke.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got another one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got another hijacker?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: United 175 dropped its transponder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got a possible hijack. Weapons scramble those fighters in over Manhattan. Copy that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve reached our cruising altitude of 35,000 feet, and I`m going to turn the fasten seat belt sign off so you are safe to move around the cabin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is going down. I`m telling you right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There he is. There he is.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two aircraft hit the World Trade Center. There`s nothing going on. The weather is beautiful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a plane headed toward the capitol.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What the hell is wrong out there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: May we engage, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am on a plane that has been hijacked.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir. I got f-16s turning and burning toward Washington.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two planes just hit the World Trade Center.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to do something right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need rules of engagement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should we shoot this flight down?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to do it now. Because we know what happens if we just sit here and do nothing.


HAMMER: Watching that trailer is definitely bringing up a lot of things for a lot of people. It`s called "United 93." It`s going to hit theaters on April 28.

Well, it`s a story that SHOWBIZ TONIGHT first broke last week. Charlie Sheen`s controversial comments and statements that the government is covering up what really happened on 9/11. Tonight we have an update for you, reaction from Hollywood and from all over the country.

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to sit down with Sharon stone. She`s always been very outspoken about her own beliefs. She commended Charlie Sheen for having the guts to speak his mind on this.


SHARON STONE, ACTRESS: I think if that`s what he thinks then he has every right to say that. I think people should say whatever it is that they feel in their heart, and I think it`s those who stand up and say their beliefs and challenge them in the face of authority that allows people to investigate and look for -- look at what`s happening. I think you have to be brave enough to say how you feel and stand in the face of authority and say it. That`s why we have freedom of speech.


HAMMER: Responses at SHOWBIZ TONIGHT absolutely overwhelming. The e- mails continue to flood in. They were coming in all weekend long. We were asking the question, Charlie Sheen speaks out; do you agree there is a government cover-up of 9/11? More than 53,000 of you voted in our online poll. You`re looking at the results right there. Eighty-three percent of you agreed and said yes; 17 percent of you said no.

Among the many e-mails we received and continue to receive on the subject we heard from Sonny from California who wrote, "I am so proud of Charlie Sheen for saying what so many of us are aware of. It is time to get the truth out there."

We also heard from Kathy in Michigan who writes, "I am frightened that people actually agree with Mr. Sheen. The reality of 9/11 was seen on live national television."

Kathy definitely in the minority among the e-mails we`ve received. And we`re going to be reading some more of your thoughts on Charlie Sheen`s statements coming up a bit later in tonight`s show.

Well, Star Jones-Reynolds sets the record straight about the cosmetic surgery that landed her in the hospital. That`s coming up next.

Plus, are your co-workers driving you crazy? We are talking to the two women who wrote the book on how to deal with annoying co-workers. It is fascinating what they have to say. They`re coming up live.

Also ahead...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Web, e-mail, power in the palm of your hand for the professional on the go.


HAMMER: For anyone who`s addicted to text messaging, introducing the BlackBerry helmet. We`re going to have that and other viral videos that are making the rounds on the Internet. That`s still to come.

First tonight`s "`Entertainment Weekly` Great American Pop Culture Quiz." On the show "Friends", Phoebe`s relationship with scientist David didn`t last because he ended up moving to which European city? Prague, Antwerp, Minsk, or Paris? We`re coming right back with the answer.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stand by "Viral Videos." A.J. three, two. His mic on cue.

HAMMER: Once again, tonight`s "`Entertainment Weekly` Great American Pop Culture Quiz." On the show "Friends", Phoebe`s relationship with scientist David didn`t last because he ended up moving to which European city? Was it Prague, Antwerp, Minsk, or Paris? The answer is C, Minsk. They just wanted me to say Minsk over and over.

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. We are TV`s only live entertainment news show. I`m A.J. Hammer.

Tonight, Star Jones-Reynolds dispels the rumors: she did not almost die. Didn`t happen. "The View" co-host called into the show this morning to set the record straight. Star went in for elective surgery to have a breast lift, and she admitted that she had implants as well. Well, Star says a little trouble arose because she`s anemic, a blood condition that her doctors knew about.


STAR JONES-REYNOLDS, CO-HOST, ABC`S "THE VIEW": They all knew that I was anemic, and just in case I ended up needing some blood, which I did, they were prepared. They gave me the blood. And literally, I was fine.

JOY BEHAR, CO-HOST, ABC`S "THE VIEW": I want to know how they look. You talk about perky. Are they perky?

JONES-REYNOLDS: Well, let`s just put it like this. Friday was my 44th birthday, but my boobs think they`re still 20.

BEHAR: That`s a success.


HAMMER: Well, Star`s call ended when Joy Behar finally blurted out, "That`s enough about you, Star. Back to us."

And Star replied, "Joy, I`m so glad to hear that things haven`t changed."

Well, it`s time now for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s favorite "Viral Videos." Now these are the wackiest and most hilarious videos that are circulating all round the Internet right now. Helping us tonight Andrew Cohen of the Bravo network. That`s where you can catch the show "Outrageous and Contagious Viral Videos."

Good to have you back in.


HAMMER: I`m well. Well, I haven`t actually even looked at the "Viral Videos" yet, because I wanted to have the same sensation of them arriving in my e-mail inbox -- that`s how they get around -- and seeing them it the first time.

COHEN: It`s a good sensation to have.

HAMMER: Well, then let`s get right into it. And everybody, of course, familiar with the ubiquitous BlackBerry. Our first "Viral Video" tonight is a commercial for the next generation must-have BlackBerry. Let`s take a look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: BlackBerry, from RIM systems. Text, web, e-mail. Power in the palm of your hand for the professional on the go.

And introducing the BlackBerry helmet, reinforced polymer to protect the skull of the mobile professional on the go. With an antenna for better BlackBerry reception so you can spend more time on your BlackBerry.

And a camera that broadcasts a picture of what`s in front of you to your BlackBerry so you can always be looking at your BlackBerry.

The BlackBerry helmet, with optional safety flag. Protect your skull while you destroy your thumbs.


HAMMER: You can`t actually go online and order this particular accessory. This is a parody commercial that we would not have seen here in America were it not for "Viral Videos" and the Internet.

COHEN: Exactly. It`s from a Canadian TV show called "The Rick Mercer Report." And it got put online, and there you have it. It became a "Viral Video." It`s a great idea, though, I think.

HAMMER: It is a great idea.

COHEN: Maybe a camera in a car so that you can be on the Internet in your car.

HAMMER: Particularly here in the CNN building.

COHEN: For sure.

HAMMER: That`s for another time. OK. Let`s move on to what is one of my favorites. And I actually have seen this before. It`s the next in the series of ads for a certain option that a particular car dealer feels that every driver must have. Let`s just watch this video.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right now. What are we doing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything`s going to be OK. All right? Breathe with the monkey.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The trunk monkey pediatric edition. An innovative idea you`ll only find at Suburban Auto Group.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I still can`t believe my dad even let us touch his new car. I think it came with the car. Hey. Wait.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The trunk monkey chaperone version. An innovative idea you`ll only find at Suburban Auto Group.


HAMMER: Now, I thought I`d seen all the trunk monkey commercials. I actually saw those for the first time. Are they back?

COHEN: They`re back. They were six of them. They were all huge hits on the Internet. They came out of Portland, Oregon, for this suburban car dealership. And each one became its only little hit.

And the trunk monkey is a very versatile little guy. I mean, he can do it all.

HAMMER: And I should point out, unlike the fake parody BlackBerry ad we saw at the beginning of this segment, those are real television commercials.

COHEN: Those are real television commercials. And monkeys go over big on the Internet.

HAMMER: You can never go wrong with a monkey.

COHEN: You can`t.

HAMMER: Particularly holding a shotgun.

Let`s move on to another video. I want to just take a look at this. We don`t have any sound here. Let`s throw this up. What`s amazing in this is what didn`t happen.

COHEN: Right. This is true. This is from -- I mean, it looks scary.

HAMMER: It looks like a lot of people had to have gotten hurt.

COHEN: It looks terrible. And the amazing thing is that no one was injured. The second -- no one was seriously injured.

The second amazing thing is this happened in 1997. This was the reopening of a concert hall that had just been refurbished. And what happens, the floor falls through on the orchestra again. No one was seriously hurt, which is why we can look at this a million times and laugh and...

HAMMER: Well, that`s the sad commentary, though. It`s making its rounds on the Internet because people play that and laugh.

COHEN: Right.

HAMMER: All right. Do you like to dance? Who doesn`t like to dance? Let`s take a look at this viral video.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (speaking foreign language)



HAMMER: All right. Now, if I put that one on my computer, I don`t know. I`m telling you.

COHEN: The more you would watch this actual clip, the funnier it is. And also, it`s a little convoluted. This is a Russian dance duo, team of instructors who have a big dance instructing show in Finland.


COHEN: To make matters more complicated. They`re a big hit. I want to give them a show on Bravo if I can, because I`m addicted to this clip, and I love watching them teach people how to disco in Russian. I`m telling you. This is the next thing.

HAMMER: Thanks very much, Andrew, for joining us once again.

COHEN: Thank you.

HAMMER: Andrew Cohen from Bravo. And for more of the "Viral Videos", you can tune in to "Outrageous and Contagious Viral Videos" tonight on Bravo and maybe they`ll show those Russian dancers some time soon.

Well, it`s Monday. Do you know where your sanity is? If your co- workers are just driving you nuts, stay where you are because the authors of a book on how to cope are here live.

Plus, cracking "The Da Vinci Code". Is there solid evidence to back the theories of "The Da Vinci Code"? We are digging for the truth with archaeologist Josh Bernstein, live in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Plus a startling new controversy over "American Idol." There`s a radio host who says that race and weight play a major role in who`s going to make the cut. He`s going to join us live, coming up.

First, "Inside Man" had the inside track to big box office numbers over the weekend. The Spike Lee heist film starring Denzel Washington No. 1 at the box office over the weekend. Final figures out this afternoon show the movie took in nearly 29 million bucks, the best opening ever for both Lee and Washington. "Inside Man" pushed last week`s No. 1, "V for Vendetta", down to No. 2.

The horror movie "Stay Alive" debuted in third place, followed by the romantic comedy "Failure to Launch" and the Disney remake of "The Shaggy Dog" in fifth place.


HAMMER: Whether you are looking for a date, an old friend, or a new favorite band, you can find it all on MySpace. But it isn`t all fun and games. We`re going to take a look at the explosive growth of the web site and what parents need to know about it. That`s tomorrow on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Well, tonight there is a new national historic landmark. It`s probably the only one with green shag carpeting on the ceiling. Elvis Presley`s home has been declared a national historic landmark.

This morning Priscilla Presley gave a tour of the famous Jungle Room and the rest of the house in Memphis, where she once lived with Elvis. And she showed "The Today Show`s" Campbell Brown some never-before-seen items that once belonged to the king.


PRISCILLA PRESLEY, WIDOW OF ELVIS PRESLEY: This is Elvis`s helmet from helm the army. And if you look inside, he actually put his name and wrote his name. It`s faded right now. But he wrote his name himself in here and his initials and wore this in the Army.

And this right here is a very special piece right here for me. This is a jacket that Elvis gave me before he left to come back to the states. And it`s been a very special memory for me.


PRESLEY: I didn`t know if I`d ever see him again.

BROWN: I can`t imagine. That is so romantic, to have kept it, too. It`s from 1960, I think, right?

PRESLEY: Yes, it is.


HAMMER: Elvis bought Graceland back in 1957 for just over $100,000, which was a pretty penny back then.

Well, there`s new controversy over "American Idol", body image, and racism. A radio host who says weight and race are skewing the results joins us live. That`s coming up.

Plus, digging for truth in "The Da Vinci Code." Archaeologist Josh Bernstein is here. He joins us live to tell us what he found when he went looking for answers. That`s just ahead in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Also, got a bossy boss? Obnoxious co-workers? Strange director? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT to the rescue with a book about dealing with annoying co- workers. And the women who wrote it join us live. That`s coming up next. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT 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. You are watching TV`s only live entertainment news show.

And coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT: Is there a double-standard when it comes to who we`ll accept as our favorites on "American Idol"? Specifically, there`s a radio show in L.A. that`s saying overweight black singers are more acceptable than the overweight white singers, and a lot of people are agreeing with this. Interesting subject, we`re going to delve into that controversy coming up in just a couple of moments.

Also controversial, the notion that`s put forth in "The Da Vinci Code," the one that says Jesus was married, he had a child, went to Europe, there`s still blood line from Jesus existing in this world. Well, there`s one TV show investigating if there`s any possibility that this could be true. If there is, think of the implications.

But first, everyone`s got them: annoying co-workers. You know what I`m talking about, the ones who make you want to just get out of that Aeron chair and go over to your window and scream, "I`m mad as hell, and I`m not going to take it anymore," just like the movie "Network"?

Well, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is here to help. We`re here to help out whenever we can. We hit the streets with the authors of a new book called -- great title -- "Working with You is Killing Me." We wanted to find out if everyday nine-to-fivers can fix their co-worker frustrations.


HAMMER: You`ve seen it on TV shows like "Will and Grace," co-workers who are bullies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you kidding me with this? I`m not going to do your homework for you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think you will.



HAMMER: Then there are the nosy bodies we saw in "Office Space."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve got to get out of here. I think I`m going to lose it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Uh-oh, sounds like somebody`s got a case of the Mondays!

HAMMER: And some co-workers let their personal business get in the way of their workday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, hi, Stanley. No, I`m not doing anything.

HAMMER: But this is Hollywood`s spin on annoying co-workers, not real-life stories. So SHOWBIZ TONIGHT producer Jenny D`Attoma hit the streets with the authors of the new book "Working with You is Killing Me" to see if we could help any ordinary nine-to-fivers deal with annoying people. And, boy, did a lot of people need help.

Our first problem: a co-worker who talks too much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All I hear about all day is how broke she is, and how she goes out with guys just so they buy her dinner, and I hate it. Oh, I hate it. So what do you do about that? I mean, I just listen, but I`m tired of listening.

HAMMER: Well, the authors listened and came up with some sound advice on this all-too-common scenario.

KATHI ELSTER, AUTHOR, "WORKING WITH YOU IS KILLING ME": What I like to do is I look at my watch when somebody`s going on and on about the same thing, and I just tell them I`ve got to go. "Sorry, I`ve got to go." Just get busy.

HAMMER: And that`s exactly what we did. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT got busy looking for our next nine-to-fiver, and what we found was one tall tale of the tattler, you know, the co-worker who can`t mind his or her own business in the workplace.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tattletales that want to make sure to tell tales on everyone that they do wrong and point out things. So I have troubles with them? Yes, of course.

HAMMER: And, of course, our experts had the answer.

KATHERINE CROWLEY, AUTHOR, "WORKING WITH YOU IS KILLING ME": You have to actually ignore their tales as best you can. You need to take the high road, even though the chatter, I`m sure, constantly bothers you, and you probably already do take the high road.

HAMMER: Another problem solved.

But before we hit the road, we caught up with a group of co-workers to see if they had an annoying co-worker problem they needed solved. And this time, we got more than we bargained for. That`s because the annoying co- worker was standing right before our eyes, and he was ready to admit his bad habits, right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, for all the world to see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m always, like, joking around with him about his ears. And he gets pissed.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joking around, or, like a personal attack, or stuff like that. And just he can`t take it. And he gets upset. What can I do? Sorry!

HAMMER: Alert, alert! We had an alert to share with this annoying co-worker, because even though he admitted his bad habits here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, his confession did absolutely nothing to change his co-worker`s mind.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t think I`m that annoying. Am I?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, no, you are. Yes, you`re probably the most annoying person I know.


HAMMER: As you might suspect, these ladies have even more advice on how to deal with annoying co-workers. They`re the authors of the book "Working with You is Killing Me," Katherine Crowley and Kathi Elster.

Thanks for joining us here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. What do you say to that last guy there? He knows he`s the problem. He knows he`s the annoying guy, but the co-workers didn`t seem to think he was going to get over it anytime soon.

KATHI ELSTER, AUTHOR, "WORKING WITH YOU IS KILLING ME": Well, what we did tell him, and what you didn`t get to see, is we said you`re an entertainer in the workplace, and the problem with the entertainer is, if he ever wants to be taken seriously and he wants some big promotion, I don`t think so. I don`t think it`s going to happen, because he`s the jokester.

HAMMER: That`s his role in the office place. Every office has one.

KATHERINE CROWLEY, AUTHOR, "WORKING WITH YOU IS KILLING ME": Every office has one. And a role is fine, to be a jokester, an entertainer, a rebel, or even a hero, as long as it doesn`t prevent you from really moving forward in your work life.

HAMMER: Well, you guys are the experts on the subject. You`ve got the book in stores. And the jokes are just one of many stories that we hear about. But you must hear one particular one over and over. What is the biggest complaint of that person in the workplace?

ELSTER: Oh, you`d be surprised; there`s many. What`s the biggest? I guess maybe explosive bosses, the kind of bosses that yell at you. That`s probably the thing we hear the most.

CROWLEY: Yes, and hard to believe, but, yes, yellers. Screamers are not easy for anybody. And I would say, among co-workers, it`s the people who invade your space, the people who we call boundary-busters, the ones who go in and use your stuff or rattle your ears...

HAMMER: Or even just stand a little too close, right?

CROWLEY: Stand too close, take up your time, eat up your time...


HAMMER: You`ll be on the phone. They`ll be hovering over you for five minutes.

CROWLEY: And they tell you more than you ever wanted to know.

HAMMER: What do you do with the boundary-buster?

CROWLEY: Well, you begin by cutting your attention span for that person, for those who are trying to invade your space.

The other is that we, in our book, "Working with You is Killing Me," have many tips in terms of how to set limits with the individual. So it can be anything from talking to them directly to say, "Please, I need to get to my work," to, as Kathi mentioned in the clip, looking at your watch and making sure that they understand.

HAMMER: What about throwing up the hand?

ELSTER: Well, you have to confront them, basically. You do have to let them know. You do have to say, "I have a boundary. Look, this isn`t OK with me."

But we also tell you in "Working with You is Killing Me" to take the high road, because it`s very easy to say, "Don`t do that!" But we don`t want you to say that. We want you to say, "You know what? That really gets in my way."

HAMMER: Of all the problems you`ve heard about, complained about, about annoying co-workers, what`s the one that stood out with you as the wildest?

ELSTER: Oh, boy, probably a boss who used to make her employees lunch. I just remember that, that she was just -- that`s how beholden she was to her employees. She used to actually go to the kitchen and make them lunch.

HAMMER: You should see what our boss eats. We wouldn`t want him serving us lunch.

Thank you for joining us. It`s fascinating. I`m sure striking a chord with lots of people, Katherine Crowley, Kathi Elster. The book is...

CROWLEY: "Working with You is Killing Me."

HAMMER: And it`s in bookstores now.

CROWLEY: Thank you.

HAMMER: Well, it`s a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT story that we broke last week, Charlie Sheen`s controversial statements that the government is covering up what actually happened on September 11th.

Tonight, reactions just keep coming in. We get e-mails. They`re coming in all weekend long. I sat down with author Erica Jong on Friday night on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. She had some pretty harsh words to say that were right in line with some of what Charlie Sheen had to say.


ERICA JONG, AUTHOR: I think it`s very patriotic to investigate it. Throughout all of history, the basic premise of tyrants has been -- dictators, shall we say; and I think it`s fair to say that George W. Bush is a dictator -- has been, if you tell the people they have an external enemy, they`ll follow you anywhere. That was what Goebbels told Hitler to do. Back in ancient history, that`s what Roman emperors did.


HAMMER: Some pretty bold words. Well, our question on Friday was: Charlie Sheen speaks out: Do you agree there is a government cover-up of 9/11?

Tens of thousands of you voted, and the results that we received: 83 percent of you said yes; 17 percent of you said no.

Among the e-mails we received, we heard from Lita in Oklahoma who writes, "I agree with Charlie Sheen, and I`m thankful that he has the courage to speak out. It is a shame that there aren`t more like him."

We also heard from Andrew in Missouri who says, "We`d better start digging into this. We are handing over our freedoms to protect our freedoms in this war on terror."

It`s a mouthful for "Super Size Me" filmmaker Morgan Spurlock. Coming up, the speech that shocked a high school.

Also tonight, big is beautiful and apparently advantageous on "American Idol." But is there a double-standard on TV`s most-watched show? Coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, why some say that race and body size are bearing weight on "Idol."

And did Jesus really have a secret child? Tonight, examining "The Da Vinci Code," the quest to prove whether a 2,000-year-old controversial theory is legit using today`s cutting-edge technology. What`s true? What`s make-believe? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT sifts through it all live, coming up next.


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

Tonight, being white and overweight is bad, but being black and overweight, OK? Well, that`s an issue Kevin and Bean, a wildly popular Los Angeles-based radio show, is raising. And it all has to do with the perceived double-standard on "American Idol"

Joining me live from Seattle, Bean of the Kevin and Bean Show on L.A.`s KROQ.

Nice to see you, Bean. Thanks for being with us.

BEAN, RADIO HOST: A.J., if I had a great name like yours, I wouldn`t have to be on the radio anymore. Nice to be with you.

HAMMER: You can`t beat "Bean," though. I`ve always admired that name. Before we get into it, I do want to play what you had to say on your radio show on Friday, so let`s listen to this.

BEAN: All right.


BEAN: I don`t have anything against Mandisa, but I think it`s fascinating that she can be a front-runner and look like she does, yet there`s no way Whitey shows up at 280 and gets in the top 10. There`s no way; it`s not even possible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No white woman that size gets in the top 12.

BEAN: So the question is: What is the double-standard? Why is it acceptable for the African-American contestants? And we`re not just talking about "American Idol," but I mean, you know, in all the world, that you can be big and black and be considered sexy and, you know, no one`s trying to get to you lose any weight, yet the big white guy all of a sudden is a pariah; nobody wants to be anywhere near him or her.


HAMMER: Now, as you mentioned, Bean, you brought all of this up, because Mandisa, who is a large black woman, is doing well on "American Idol." She`s wonderfully talented.

BEAN: That`s right.

HAMMER: But we`re not seeing any large white women moving forward in the competition beyond those initial rounds. It`s a really good point that you raise, and one that I`m sure, when you brought it up, a lot of people said, "Oh, yes, you know, that does go on."

What are your listeners saying as to why they think this double- standard actually exists?

BEAN: A.J., I don`t think there`s much controversy in the statement. I really believe that it is generally acknowledged that you can be big, and black, and sexy. You look at your Luther Vandross or you look at your Barry White, there`s really no equivalent with white singers who can also be romantic.

Mandisa happens to be my favorite of the finalists of "American Idol." I think she is far and away the most talented. I hope she wins. I just think that, in this case, when they`re talking about the marketability of the contestants, she doesn`t have to stay thin like maybe Kellie Pickler does or Katharine McPhee does.

I think she`s got a little bit of an advantage in that way, in that she can bring it and look the way she wants to look, and America will accept her. They don`t hold her to the same beauty standards that they may in Hollywood.

HAMMER: But, clearly, when you bring up subjects like this, it does make a few people uncomfortable. And that`s when controversy or the word "controversy" comes into play.

And, obviously, it was a hot-button issue with your listeners, I`m sure. Were they phoning in and talking to you about this and saying that, yes, they agree there`s a double-standard or why?

BEAN: Absolutely, we heard the spectrum of calls on that. You can imagine there are some people who thought, yes, that`s just the way it is and it`s no big deal.

There are some people who automatically become offended if anything that has race as part of the topic is discussed at all. And then there are some people who are really offended. They thought somehow it was a racist statement to say that.

I don`t think that`s the case, though. I mean, I think what I`m saying is borne out by look at "American Idol." Look at the contestants they`ve had in the past. Ruben Studdard won the competition, phenomenally talented guy. I don`t think Clay Aiken, at the same weight that Ruben was, would have had a prayer to make it to the top two.

I just think that there are different standards for different races. There are cultural differences, perhaps, in the way African-Americans view weight as a sexuality issue, and I think we`re just seeing that borne out each week on "Idol."

HAMMER: Were any of your listeners calling in, just saying you`re totally off base on all of this?

BEAN: Yes, of course. There are always going to be some who believe -- because there are some people who want to believe that we do live in a completely colorblind society.

But, look, you know the judges, when they`re trying to decide who the next "American Idol" is, are not just looking at what somebody sounds like; they`re looking for marketability. And they`re saying, how can I sell this person to America so they can sell concert tickets and they can sell records?

And you can tell Mandisa exactly the way she is. If any of the white contestants on that show weighed as much as Mandisa does, there`s no way they`d be marketable. You couldn`t put them in sexy videos.

Queen Latifah is a great example of a big, black, sexy woman who can be in romantic comedies, where there`s not any equivalent who`s a white actress who could be in those same movies and play those same roles, because America would not accept that as being sexy. Somehow, African- Americans can pull it off.

Look, aren`t we jealous, A.J.? Wouldn`t you love to be able to get that fat and still be sexy? I would.

HAMMER: All right. Well, I`ll leave you to say that, and I`ll just thank you for joining me as you`re saying that. Bean from KROQ, I do appreciate you being on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with us.

BEAN: Thank you for having us (INAUDIBLE)

HAMMER: Well, regardless of who`s making the cut on "American Idol," more people are tuning into the show than those who watch all of the evening news programs combined. And we`ve been asking you to vote online on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day."

We`re asking: "Idol" versus Iraq: Do you pay more attention to "American Idol" than the war in Iraq? You can keep voting at You can also write to us at Your e-mails on the way.

Time now for tonight`s "Hot Headlines." SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Sibila Vargas joining me live once again from Hollywood -- Sibila?

SIBILA VARGAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, A.J. Well, he downed enough Big Macs to shock a nation in "Super Size Me." But now it`s what came out of his mouth that`s causing problems.

The filmmaker who ate nothing but McDonald`s for a month and made an Oscar-nominated movie about it gave a full speech about profanity at a suburban Philadelphia high school. Spurlock also joked about the intelligence level of McDonald`s employees and poked fun at special-needs children. School officials weren`t happy about it.

Well, "Late Show" host David letterman is offering his condolences to the family of race car driver Paul Dana. The 30-year-old died after a horrific crash during warm-up laps at the Indy 300 in Florida Saturday. He was driving a car co-owned by Letterman.

And R&B Patti LaBelle breaks down on a Florida stage. The singer burst into tears and told fans it was the worst concert she`d ever given. LaBelle, who suffers from diabetes and a heart murmur, said temperatures in the low 50s weren`t agreeing with her. She told fans she`d understand if they walk out, and that`s exactly what they did.

And those are tonight`s "Hot Headlines." Very sad, but you know what? It just shows that we`re all fallible. Back to you.

HAMMER: We certainly are, Sibila. I prove it every night on this program. Thank you very much, Sibila Vargas live in Hollywood.

Well, tonight separating religious fact from fiction. Dan Brown`s best-selling novel "The Da Vinci Code" is set to come out in paperback tomorrow. But from day one, it has sparked a firestorm of controversy, with startling suggestion that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had a secret child.

With "The Da Vinci Code" movie just around the corner, too, the History Channel`s show "Digging for the Truth" tackles the startling claim. Tonight, Josh Bernstein is the host, and he joins me live here in New York.

Josh, I appreciate you being on program.


HAMMER: So one of the controversial notions, as we mentioned, that`s put forth in "The Da Vinci Code," that Jesus and Mary had a child, that child went off to Europe, Sarah, and is part of a blood line that still exists today.


HAMMER: Your show is called digging up the truth, so how do you go about trying to uncover whether there`s any fact to this?

BERNSTEIN: Well, this is our second season. In the first season, we did a lot of DNA testing. And so we thought, if there`s any way to prove that the blood line of Jesus and Mary, if it ever existed, were still alive, who would we have to test? Ideally, we would test Jesus or Mary, but we don`t have that record.

HAMMER: Not available.

BERNSTEIN: So we went with Dan Brown`s theory of the Merovingian dynasty, the French royalty of the sixth century. Is it possible to find a Merovingian royal and then test that person for DNA, compare that to someone from the Middle East, and...

HAMMER: So you`re talking about a royal from how long ago?

BERNSTEIN: Fourteen hundred years ago.

HAMMER: And how`d you do?

BERNSTEIN: You`ve got to watch the show. But it was interesting, because, in order to find a trace, we went -- mitochondrial DNA is the only DNA that would survive this amount of time.

HAMMER: Which is what?

BERNSTEIN: I don`t know. I just know the experts tell me...

HAMMER: So where do you find mitochondrial DNA?

BERNSTEIN: You find it in your bones; you find it in your teeth; you find it -- it`s the part of your DNA that lasts a long time.

HAMMER: I guess my question is: How do you find it in somebody from 1,400 years ago?

BERNSTEIN: There`s a church outside of Paris called the Basilica of Saint Denis, and underneath it is a crypt where the Merovingian royals, and the Carolingian royals, and all the French royalty was buried.

We talked to the people there and said, is there any one of these Merovingians that can be identified? And actually, one of them has been identified, thanks to some jewelry she was buried with. And then we went and looked at her bones and said, is it possible that "Digging for the Truth" on the History Channel could actually pay for the DNA testing to be done?

HAMMER: OK, so that was my next question. You obviously had some very expensive work done, and on some, I imagine, sacred remains or felt as sacred to some people. Why in the world were you allowed to do this, simply because you were willing to pay for it?

BERNSTEIN: I don`t know. I think that the show -- I mean, the History Channel comes in with the credibility that, in this case, Hollywood may not have. We came in looking at the separating fact from fiction.

So the church authorities were very willing to let us in to parts of France that even Hollywood wasn`t allowed into. In this case, the people who were in control of the remains of this queen said, "It`s the History Channel. This is a hit show on the History Channel. This would be great if you guys could help us solve this mystery."

HAMMER: Going into it, were you thinking, you know, oh, the implications if we actually uncover some truth to this?


HAMMER: You will change what we know as history.

BERNSTEIN: Yes, it was a big deal. It was very exciting. It was one of the few episodes of the 26 that I`ve done so far where we actually potentially could have brought something groundbreaking to the world.

HAMMER: So did Dan Brown get it right or wrong?

BERNSTEIN: Well, I think that...

HAMMER: You`ve got to watch the show.

BERNSTEIN: ... yes, you`ve got to watch the show. But Dan Brown himself would say that there is a lot of fiction in this book.

HAMMER: Will we be shocked when we watch the show?

BERNSTEIN: I think you`ll be entertained.

HAMMER: All right. Well, I appreciate you dropping by and talking to us about it. It is fascinating, Josh Bernstein from "Digging for the Truth." And you can catch it Monday nights on the History Channel. The "Da Vinci Code" blood lines episode that we`ve been speaking of airs tonight.

Well, we`ve been asking you to vote online on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day," asking: "Idol" vs. Iraq: Do you pay more attention to "American Idol" than the war in Iraq?

Here`s the vote so far: Only 39 percent of you own up to it; 61 percent of you say, no, you do not pay more attention to "Idol."

Among the e-mails we`ve received, one from Tyson in California who writes, "It`s insane that so many people are more interested in `Idol` than the war. It`s a prime example of how spoiled we are."

We also heard from Ann in Delaware who writes, "I have never watched `Idol.` I am more interested in what is happening around the world."

Please keep voting by going to the Web site at And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is coming right back.


HAMMER: Time to see what`s coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT tomorrow. Here comes your "Showbiz Marquee."

Tomorrow, the phenomenon. It is the second most- trafficked site on the Internet. Why kids are obsessed with it, and why parents are pulling out their hair over it: the fun and the dangers. We`ll get into that tomorrow on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Also tomorrow, rapper-actor Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, his big move to the small screen. The lingering success of "Crash" and the conversation he says everyone needs to have. Chris Bridges, in the interview that you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

And that is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York City. Stay tuned for the latest from CNN Headline News. Have a good night.


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