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SHOWBIZ TONIGHT

Controversy Over Child Rape Scene in Sundance Film; Paternity Test Deadline Approaches For Anna Nicole

Aired January 22, 2007 - 23:00:00   ET

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


A.J. HAMMER, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT ANCHOR: A deadline approaches for Anna Nicole Smith to submit her baby for DNA testing. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.
SIBILA VARGAS, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT ANCHOR: And did Paul McCartney offer Heather Mills a 63 million dollar divorce settlement? I`m Sibila Vargas in Hollywood. TV`s most provocative entertainment news show starts right now.

HAMMER: On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the "Grey`s Anatomy" scandal, the fallout from Isaiah Washington`s anti-guy slur.

Tonight, the damage control, what his "Grey`s" cast mates are now saying. And the stunning new reaction from gay activists. Will Washington lose his job? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT investigates.

Major controversy over a movie that shows 12-year-old actress Dakota Fanning in a graphic rape scene. Tonight, the outrage, the fury, is it kiddie porn? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is at Sundance and all over the story, shocking details about the movie, and why Dakota says, it`s no big deal.

Hello, I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

VARGAS: And I`m Sibila Vargas in Hollywood. We`ll get to the fury that`s surrounding a new movie starring Dakota Fanning, showing the 12- year-old`s character being raped. The shocking story in just a moment.

HAMMER: But first tonight the "Grey`s Anatomy" scandal. It`s growing by the minute. An ABC executive is telling the papers that the network is actually mulling over whether they should actually fire Isaiah Washington. America`s number one hospital series is definitely in a trauma unit of its own tonight.

Washington getting slammed by everyone, including his fellow "Grey`s Anatomy" cast mates for publicly and allegedly privately using an anti-gay slur.

VARGAS: And now a shocking new report suggests that the controversy could cost him his job.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ISAIAH WASHINGTON, "GREY`S ANATOMY": Do you have an update?

VARGAS: Yes, we do Isaiah, and it`s not good news. Your job may be in danger. Isaiah Washington, co-star of the mega hit show "Grey`s Anatomy," has ignited a nationwide controversy. First by allegedly referring to co-star T.R. Knight with an anti-gay slur during an on-set argument, and then Washington inexplicably repeated that same slur, while denying he ever said it.

WASHINGTON: No, I did not call T.R. a faggot.

VARGAS: Now, after Washington was publicly blasted by his co-stars like Katherine Heigl on "Access Hollywood" --

KATHERINE HEIGL, "GREY`S ANATOMY": I`m going to be really honest right now. He needs to just not speak in public, period.

VARGAS: And T.R. Knight himself on the "Ellen Degeneres Show."

T.R. KNIGHT, "GREY`S ANATOMY": He referred to me as a faggot.

VARGAS: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you that this doctor may soon be out of "Grey`s Anatomy." A "New York Times" article quotes an executive with Disney, the parent company of ABC, which airs "Grey`s Anatomy." The exec tells the Times that the company is weighing Washington`s future, that his behavior could be, quote, grounds for dismissal under Disney`s corporate anti-discrimination policy.

EDWARD WYATT, "NEW YORK TIMES": This is different than a situation with Mel Gibson, where Mel Gibson doesn`t work for anybody. Isaiah Washington works for ABC.

VARGAS: Edward Wyatt wrote the piece for the "New York Times." He says, just like many Americans, Washington is subject to work rules regarding sensitivity in the workplace.

WYATT: As glamorous as the television business and Hollywood are, this is a workplace. Disney has been vilified in certain quarters for its very progressive attitude toward gay employees and their families, and so they know that they have an image to protect as one that is a hospitable place to work.

VARGAS: But, of course, this isn`t just any workplace. Let`s not forget "Grey`s Anatomy" is one of the most popular shows on TV, drawing an audience of 18 million people, many of them were undoubtedly offended by Washington`s slurs.

WYATT: If there`s a perception that this show is one that is not sensitive to the very people who the show is trying to reach, their advertisers are trying to reach, then ABC could see its popularity fall off.

VARGAS: And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT viewers have spoken. The SHOWBIZ TONIGHT poll says you`re roughly evenly split on whether Washington should lose his job. Still, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has to say, you will be shocked to hear who isn`t joining the chorus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don`t think Isaiah Washington should be fired for this, do you?

NEIL GIULIANO, GLAD: Well, the whole issue of his employment is between he and ABC.

VARGAS: That`s Neil Giuliano, president of GLAD, the most prominent gay rights group in the country. While at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, he tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT he plans to meet with Washington, who has apologized for using that offensive F word.

Still, Giuliano says, don`t take that to mean that GLAD isn`t mad at Washington.

GIULIANO: We`re very outraged and very disappointed and very upset and dismayed that this even happened. Having said that, we want to have that kind of conversation that will move from that anger and that outrage to something that`s going to be productive for the gay and lesbian community and everyone in America.

VARGAS: Also at Sundance, openly guy actor Chad Allen tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT people shouldn`t be too quick to pounce on Washington.

CHAD ALLEN, OPENLY GAY ACTOR: I get it man. You think haven`t had times in my life when I have harbored things inside my heart, prejudices or whatever? Of course there have been. We all struggle with this stuff. The worst thing we can do is say, hey, you`re wrong and shut the door on you, and you`re bad; you`re evil and you`re on the other side.

VARGAS: Still, the controversy Washington launched continues to generate heat, while a major corporation is trying to do damage control. The question is whether Washington`s time on "Grey`s Anatomy" will continue or will ABC pull the plug.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VARGAS: ABC has already condemned Washington`s statements, but in a response to the "New York Times" report that Washington`s job may be in danger, the network tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT it will have no further comment.

HAMMER: Tonight outrage is swarming Dakota Fanning`s latest film, which has its Sundance premier tonight. The movie "Hound Dog" shows 12- year-old Fanning`s character being raped on screen. The film has ignited such a controversy that some are calling it child pornography and want the feds to step in. Now we should tell you the filmmakers say the scene was shot tastefully and it never shows Fanning in the nude. And, in fact, she was never nude at all during filming.

The young actress told the "New York Times," quote, there are so many children this happens to every second. That`s the sad part. If anyone`s talking about anything, that`s what they should be talking about.

Joining me here in New York tonight, the man who is pressing the Justice Department to investigate "Hound Dog," Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League. I appreciate you being with us, Bill.

BILL DONOHUE, CATHOLIC LEAGUE PRESIDENT: Thanks A.J.

HAMMER: Now for the record, the movie is making its Sundance premiere tonight. Have you seen the film?

DONOHUE: No, any more than CNN has or anybody else, but, you know, quite frankly, if somebody told me that -- imagine a statue of Martin Luther King with an erection and somebody having oral sex on him, I think I would know that it`s ugly. I don`t really need to see everything that`s ugly in order to experience it.

It was just a year ago the American people were told, you don`t have to see the Muslim cartoons, the Danish cartoons of Mohammed, because we`ve made the decision for you that we think it`s offensive.

HAMMER: I have to tell you Bill, and I don`t want to belabor this point, I think it`s a little different. I don`t quite follow your analogy there.

DONOHUE: Do you have to see it in order to know it`s bad?

HAMMER: Well, I would have to see it to have the context for it. Why don`t you set the record straight for us in terms of what it is exactly that you`re upset about. Is it Dakota Fanning, being a 12-year-old, playing this role or is it was is depicted in the film that you have an --

DONOHUE: It is mostly the former. For example, you could have had an 18-year-old playing a 14-year-old. We would have gotten the same point. This girl is about five or six years off of her tricycle. She is a pre- teen. We have laws in this country against child pornography. It`s a major problem in this country. There are a lot of sick men in our society, who get crazy ideas from the Internet. Now they can get ideas about child rape from the local neighborhood theater. This girl here is being abused. Whether or not the law have been broken, I don`t know. But that`s why I contacted the feds. Maybe they have been.

HAMMER: Well, this has already gone under some legal scrutiny, and we checked into this. While the movie was being filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina, the local D.A. did look into it, to see if the simulated sex with a minor law was being violated. And the D.A. said no crime was being committed, so why press it further?

DONOHUE: Well, maybe there is a federal response too. I mean, take a look at the federal laws on this thing. Look, the point is this, are we going to wait now for another two years, and then the girl is going to be penetrated? In other words, Hollywood keeps moving the envelope on certain things. OK? And I just want to hold up a big stop sign and say, let`s have a national discussion in this country; is it proper to use a 12-year- old, to exploit her in kiddie porn rape. I think it`s wrong. Let the people decide.

HAMMER: Well, needless to say, the producers of this film disagree with your point vehemently. We just literally, just got a statement into SHOWBIZ TONIGHT from Deborah Cantenmyer (ph). She`s the writer and director of the film.

It`s a bit lengthy, but let me read to you exactly what she said, addressing you directly, "what an ironic turn of events that Bill Donohue, who has never once called for a federal probe against his own Catholic Church`s cover up of child abuse, is now doing just that for a film, sight unseen. Mr. Donohue`s statements about `Hound Dog` are not only rife with factual errors, but also show a glaring lack of insight, judgment and understanding, regarding the issues of child abuse and rape. Mr. Donohue would have more credibility and serve his cause better if he acted on the facts, instead of chasing a quick headline."

Not the first time the Catholic Church or members of the Catholic Church have been called hypocrites, Bill.

DONOHUE: Right, I mean, the funny thing about it is that I`ve been condemned even by (INAUDIBLE) of being too hard. I say, get all those priests who would dare put their hands on a minor. I don`t care whether you`re a priest, a plumber, a minister, a rabbi, a schoolteacher, it makes no difference to me. You won`t find any statement by me being apologetic about the Catholic Church.

So, she has found a moving target here. Go find somebody else. All I`m simply saying is this, we should not invite sickos in our country to look upon young kids as if they are prey. That`s what this movie does. Now, whether or not --

HAMMER: But Bill, you have not seen the movie and you don`t have the context for it. On the other hand, contextually, they are saying it actually calls attention to something that goes on every day.

DONOHUE: Why don`t we show it in health classes then? Is that what they`re doing now, as they`re running from the argument? Look, this is all about making a fast buck. They are exploiting this kid, and I think most Americans are on my side. You know, it`s like time out, enough is enough, leave the kids alone.

HAMMER: You say they are about making a fast buck. They say that you`re about grabbing a headline. The fact is, and we have had this dialogue about other movies before, Bill, you`re calling attention to it. People are now going to go see it, because a level of interest is generated by your actions.

DONOHUE: I would say this much: I wouldn`t go on this show and put out a statement if you didn`t have a major star like Dakota Fanning. That`s the draw here. If it was somebody we never heard of, I would just simply ignore it on public access TV. But this is a major actress. They are using her this way. I think it`s wrong. I think parents have a moral responsibility to protect the welfare of kids. I don`t care where it`s coming from, the Catholic Church or from Hollywood, it`s wrong.

HAMMER: Bill, we have got to end it there. I appreciate you giving us your side of it tonight.

DONOHUE: Thank you.

HAMMER: Bill Donohue from the Catholic League. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s own Brooke Anderson is going to see the movie for herself. We`re going to get her reaction to it on tomorrows show, here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Brooke joining us later tonight with her interview with Mandy Moore, where the actress really opens up about struggling with depression.

Also stay tuned to SHOWBIZ at Sundance all week long, the biggest stars, the biggest stories, the biggest controversies, just like this one, all week long on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

VARGAS: A.J. another controversy brewing tonight. The clock is counting down to DNA day for Anna Nicole Smith. Coming up, dramatic new developments in the quest to find out who is Anna`s baby`s daddy.

HAMMER: Several people really need to know. And there is a report out there that Paul McCartney offered Heather Mills 63 million bucks in a divorce settlement? The SHOWBIZ Truth Squad on that case. That`s next. We`ve also got this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEITH URBAN, SINGER: My wife stayed extraordinarily strong and loving, and my friends and family were there, and it`s just been really overwhelming.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VARGAS: Keith Urban`s dramatic message to his fans about his 90 days in rehab. What the country superstar said about why he stayed so long, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VARGAS: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, TV`s most provocative entertainment news show. I`m Sibila Vargas in Hollywood. Time now to call in the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Truth Squad, where our crack team of celebrity investigators sets the record straight on Hollywood`s biggest mysteries.

Tonight we`re opening the case file on the Paul McCartney/Heather Mills divorce. There was a report our of London that McCartney had offered Mills a deal to the tune of 63 million dollars. But is it true? No way, say lawyers for Mills. They say there has been no offer, quote, whatsoever, at any time.

HAMMER: Wait a second. Hold on a moment. Do you hear that sound, that ticking sound? That would be time running out for Anna Nicole Smith to comply with a court order to submit her four-month-old daughter for a paternity test. Now her ex-boyfriend, Larry Birkhead, claims that he is the baby`s daddy. Anna says that it`s her current partner, Howard K. Stern.

Oh, and don`t be shocked -- yet another lawsuit against Anna Nicole Smith just out. Joining me tonight from Glendale, California, Harvey Levin, the managing editor of the entertainment website TMZ.com. Hello Harvey.

HARVEY LEVIN, TMZ.COM: Hey A.J.

HAMMER: All right, so tomorrow is the day. It`s D-Day basically, the deadline for submitting to the paternity test for Anna Nicole`s baby, Danni-Lynne. Walk us through exactly what happens with paternity testing and DNA testing. Do they just yank a hair off the kid`s head and mail it in? Or how does this all work?

LEVIN: Not exactly. It`s more civilized than that. What they actually do, generally, is they actually take a swab, either under the tongue or on the cheek, and from that it is almost like a saliva test, they can basically determine DNA.

HAMMER: And is this something that take place in hospital, or just in a doctor`s office? Do you have any sense of where they are going to be doing this?

LEVIN: Well, you know, Larry Birkhead`s lawyer had a funny line. She basically said, all Anna Nicole has to do is roll out of bed, put a bathrobe on and answer the door. They will do it right there. It does not require a doctor`s office or a hospital.

HAMMER: They will make it as easy as possible to have her comply. Now first of all, when do we expect to see results after the test is completed? Do you know about what the turn around is on these things?

LEVIN: My understanding is they can do it pretty quickly, and I`m sure -- you know, this case leaks like a sieve, so I think we`re going to find out probably within a week or two.

HAMMER: Now what if Anna Nicole does not comply, does not submit Danni-Lynne for this paternity test? Do they throw Anna in jail?

LEVIN: Well, she could be held in contempt of court. There is a court order for her to do this. Now, the rub here is that the judge issued the order in Los Angeles. She is in the Bahamas. So if she really wants to make this rough, I think she could probably do it. My gut tells me that ultimately this test will happen.

HAMMER: Yes, that probably would be in her best interest at this point. And as if Anna Nicole does not have enough problems, we now have the lawyers who helped her out in the Bahamas case, with the case of her son`s death, suing her, saying they haven`t been paid. The pathologist, who has been on her side the whole time, says he hasn`t been paid.

Now Harvey, it`s been reported that she made over a million bucks for those pictures she sold for her ceremony with her partner Howard K. Stern. Where is the missing link here? Why is Anna Nicole not paying her bills?

HAMMER: Well, I`ve actually seen some e-mails that have gone back and forth between her and various other people, and she has complained that she is having horrible money trouble. She has been saying this for a while now. And even though she did make a lot of money off of those pictures, she lives a pretty lavish lifestyle. So that money can go quickly. And I`m told that this is not the first time she has done something like this, and it`s kind of like, you know, robbing from Peter to pay Paul, but that`s kind of the way her life has gone.

HAMMER: Well, let`s move on to somebody who has no trouble paying the bills, if she wants to pay the bills,, plenty of money. Paris Hilton, today entering a plea of no contest in that DUI case that`s going on with her. What`s going to happen? Is she going to the slammer?

LEVIN: No, she is not going to the slammer. She is going to basically get probation. She has to attend an alcohol education course, to which I`m sure she will graduate magna cum laud. And she could reduce the amount of probation she`s on if she does 40 hours of community service. And, to me, I would love to see that. That could be awesome.

HAMMER: I would love to see that as well and I have a feeling she will be taking all of this very seriously. Harvey Levin, entertainment website TMZ.com, we appreciate you helping us out.

LEVIN: See you A.J.

VARGAS: It looks like Pamela Anderson is ruffling feathers again. This time Anderson is ticked of that Kentucky Fried Chicken is lobbying for a postage stamp featuring Colonel Sanders. On behalf of the animal rights group PETA, Anderson has sent a letter to the U.S. Post Master, asking him to deny KFC`s request. The letter says, quote, "honoring a man whose legacy involves breaking animals bones and scalding animals to death in de- feathering tanks is contrary to the value of most compassionate citizens. How about another Elvis stamp instead."

This isn`t the first time Anderson has gone after KFC. She made a video for the website, KentuckyFriedCruelty.com, showing how chickens are raised and killed.

HAMMER: Well coming up, some truly explosive stories about what some of Hollywood`s biggest stars are really like. A new book dishes dirt about everybody, from Denzel Washington to Rosie O`Donnel. That`s on the way. We`ll also have this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

URBAN: My wife stayed extraordinarily strong and loving, and my friends and family were there, and, man, it`s just been really overwhelming.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VARGAS: Keith Urban`s dramatic message to his fans about his stint in rehab. What the country super star said about why he went for 30 days and ended up staying 90. That`s coming up.

HAMMER: Plus, is "American Idol" getting too mean? Is this round of auditions different? Are the judges way too harsh? Do people know what they are getting into by now? We`re going to look into that straight ahead.

First, it is time for us to here from you for our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Here`s what we`re asking, "American Idol," has it gotten too mean? E-mail us as SHOWBIZTONIGHT@CNN.com. And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is the only entertainment news show that lets you express your opinion on video. So send us a video e-mail. Just Go to our website. We`ve got all the details right there at CNN.com/SHOWBIZTONIGHT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VARGAS: Well Keith Urban is telling his fans about his 90 days in rehab and what helped him get through it all. The country star checked into the Betty Ford center in October. He said it wasn`t one big event that made him do so, but a lot of small things that were making his life unmanageable.

In a video message on his website, KeithUrban.net, Urban he says he originally intended to stay for 30 days, but he stayed 90 because he was learning so much. He said his wife, Nicole Kidman, was a constant source of strength, and he thanks his fans for sending e-mails of support.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

URBAN: There was hundreds of e-mails. And I just didn`t expect that kind of support, I truly didn`t. And it helped so much, especially through a lot of the lonely days, which there was plenty, there was plenty of those in there. But my wife stayed extraordinarily strong and loving, and my friends and family were there, and, man, it`s just been -- it`s been really overwhelming.

I feel so much gratitude, and it feels really good to have gone through it and be where I am right now. Because where I am right now is starting on that road to getting back to doing what I love, which is playing music.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VARGAS: And Urban is getting right back to work. He`s planning a world tour that is scheduled to start in April.

HAMMER: Sibila, "American Idol," of course, an undeniable hit, but is something different this season? Some people say it`s just getting too mean. We`ll look into that coming up.

VARGAS: It does seem a little bit more nasty. And we`ll go to the Sundance Film Festival and have this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MANDY MOORE, ACTRESS: I`m a pretty glass half full sort of girl, but everybody has their ups and downs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VARGAS: Mandy Moore opens up about her struggle with depression, body image, and why she hates some of her old music.

HAMMER: And some truly explosive stories about some big-name stars, including a shocker involving, check out this couple, Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT for Monday night is coming right back.

(NEWS BREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It`s 30 minutes past the hour. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

VARGAS: And I`m Sibila Vargas in Hollywood. This is TV`s most provocative entertainment news show.

HAMMER: Sibila, I know you read a lot of magazines. When you pick up an article about your favorite star, you got to realize, there`s a lot that you read in the article, and then there`s a lot of stuff that got said during the course of the interview that you don`t get to read.

VARGAS: Mm-hmm.

HAMMER: Some really explosive stuff. And in the case of one "Newsweek" writer, we`re going to get to the bottom of some of that explosive stuff off the record. Star secrets about other stars, coming up. It is the stuff you will not want to miss.

VARGAS: Can`t wait to get the nitty gritty on that.

And also, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s one-on-one with Mandy Moore at the Sundance Film Festival. She opens about depression - battling depression. Hard to believe. And she`s also upset about her music career. Some regrets that she has to talk about, and that`s coming up.

HAMMER: Yes, her perspective certainly has changed over the years.

But first tonight - all right, so many of you out there - we here at SHOWBIZ TONIGHT are just like you: we love "American Idol." But we got to say, it really has gotten kind of mean this season. I mean, every body`s talking about last week`s episode, where the judges, particularly Simon of course, ripped into the contestants for how they looked.

Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SIMON COWELL, JUDGE, "AMERICAN IDOL": You look a little odd. Your dancing is terrible. The singing was horrendous. And you look like one of those creatures that live in the jungle with those massive eyes. What are they called? Bush baby.

PAULA ABDUL, JUDGE, "AMERICAN IDOL": Simon, you are sick (ph).

RANDY JACKSON, JUDGE, "AMERICAON IDOL": Simon, you crazy.

ABDUL: Simon - he (INAUDIBLE).

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Simon, you`re going to say what you`re going to say. But you know what?

COWELL: Yep.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s your opinion. You`re entitled to it.

COWELL: But it`s a pretty good opinion.

ABDUL: I think you`re pretty awesome. Like a firecracker.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: So, I get the making fun of the contestants for their singing or for their dancing. But that`s a part of the show. But to stoop so low as to make fun of somebody`s physical appearance, just not cool.

Over the weekend, Fox`s president defended the judges, saying the contestants know exactly what they`re getting themselves into. But on this morning`s "Today" show, one young contestant admits it still hurts a lot.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It still pains me inside knowing that he actually said those things to me. But - and it pains me that he doesn`t even have the guts even, you know, try to get a hold of me or - and try to apologize.

MEREDITH VIEIRA, CO-HOST, "TODAY" SHOW: You - you`d like him to apologize to you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, yes, I`d like him to apologize to me, and my friend. I mean, he degraded a person so low to where they felt worse than dirt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Silver lining to this dark cloud, on the upside here: those two guys now have agents.

Well, what do you think? Has "Idol" just gotten too mean?

Joining me now in New York, Julia Allison, a contributor for "Cosmopolitan" magazine. In Hollywood, Ben Grossman, from "Broadcasting & Cable" magazine.

I appreciate you both being with us.

JULIA ALLISON, CONTRIBUTOR, "COSMOPOLITAN" MAGAZINE: Thank you.

HAMMER: So - so Ben, you were right there; you were hanging out with the people from "American Idol" at the big press tour with the television critics. The critics, of course, went after Simon because of how mean they have been this season. And of course, he was unapologetic, and basically said, if you don`t like it, don`t watch.

Does - does Simon have a point, or has the show now gotten to something in - in an unacceptable realm, in terms of how mean it is?

BEN GROSSMAN, "BROADCASTING & CABLE" MAGAZINE: Boy, I hate to sound coldhearted, but I think you know exactly what you`re getting either when you try to get on the show, or when you tune in to watch it.

Every year it`s the same thing: during these auditions, people go on, the judges rip them apart, and we all know what to expect. And guess what? On the first day, 37 million people watched. They saw what it was like.

One day later, it - "Idol" had another airing, 37 million people watched again. I guess we know what we`re looking for.

HAMMER: Yes, but I got to say - and - and I don`t think I`m alone here, it seems that there was a shift this year, Julia, in terms of what they were attacking. As I said, they`ve always gone after people`s singing or - or lack of talent in - in dancing.

ALLISON: But they were going after their physical appearance.

HAMMER: They were going after the physical appearance. Rosie O`Donnell even chiming in on "The View." She`s very upset by this, saying, You know what? It`s a big enough show if they just talked about people`s singing, that would be enough.

ALLISON: But that`s not what people love about it. People love a train wreck, and Simon Cowell`s comments are the funniest part of "American Idol."

And of course at the beginning you`re going to have these disasters. And by six seasons? Maybe you`ve run out of just the sort of mediocre disasters. Now you`re going for the real ones.

HAMMER: Well I don`t disagree with you on that, but do they cross a line when they are attacking people for their physical appearance?

ALLISON: Well, I think it`s not necessarily classy. But I think it`s also - I think people find it hysterical. Just the same they find, you know, a lot of the - the people on MTV hysterical. You know, it`s - it`s just a disaster.

HAMMER: Yes, I guess after six seasons, maybe they do need to look for something. Definitely not classy.

So - so Ben, as we know, everybody is watching the show.

GROSSMAN: Yes.

HAMMER: And one of the questions that always comes up, when - when you hear about this, and see the contestants complaining about it - Look, they have to know what they`re getting themselves into. So I feel like we really shouldn`t be feeling so bad for the contestants. The producers even tell them, this is what you`re in for.

GROSSMAN: A.J., we`ve all seen this show, we know what it`s like.

Look, if you`re going to go on TV, especially reality TV, you`ve got to expect to be ridiculed by public, by whatever. Even when I do television, I know I`m going to go home, my mom`s going to say, Hey, you did great. My wife is going to tell me I have a face for radio, I shouldn`t do it again.

I - everybody - we all have our own Simon and Paula.

HAMMER: Yes, 37 million people; I`d like to believe that many people are watching us tonight. It`s not - it`s not happening.

And the truth is, when you have numbers like this show has, Julia, maybe this dialogue is helping, maybe people are upset. But number one, it`s a TV show, and number two, they`re not sitting in a boardroom saying, Well, we better address this problem and fix it.

ALLISON: Yes, exactly.

You know, I think that with 37 million, they`re obviously doing something right. But as Simon said, it`s not like they`re drowning puppies. You know, they`re telling bad singers that they`re bad singers. And also, they`re ugly, too.

HAMMER: Ben, what about the idea that Rosie O`Donnell pointed out on "The View" last week, that you know what? OK, so maybe this is happening, and this is what people are - are watching. But - but isn`t that a sad state of affairs for what - what goes over as entertainment on this - on - on - in our country?

GROSSMAN: Or is your question that it`s (INAUDIBLE) for using Rosie O`Donnell as the barometer for this stuff. I`m not sure which one to go with.

HAMMER: OK.

GROSSMAN: I mean - I mean, look, you know, it is what it is, like I said. The - the show is fantastic; it`s through the roof. People - you know, train wreck is what you tune in to see. You tune in to see people get ridiculed; you tune in to see people get ripped apart by Simon; you tune in to see what`s going - what Paula`s going to do next. Is she going to fall asleep on camera, or start clapping like a seal? You don`t know what to expect.

(CROSSTALK)

HAMMER: Not to belabor the point, but I`m having a hard time getting past the physical - the physical part.

ALLISON: Yes. But, you know, you have to remember, though: this is a small percentage of the actual show. The actual show isn`t all train wrecks. I mean, they have real talent there.

So if - if the - the whole show were this, maybe we could criticize it. But it`s just the auditions.

HAMMER: So maybe it`s too much over nothing. And the truth is - and Rosie said, I wish it would be all about the music. The truth is, once it gets into the final rounds, it is all about the music.

ALLISON: It is all about the music.

HAMMER: Julia Allison, Ben Grossman, I appreciate you both joining me tonight.

ALLISON: Thank you.

GROSSMAN: Great.

VARGAS: So now we want to hear from you. It`s our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day": "American Idol: Has it gotten too mean?" Keep voting at cnn.com/showbiztonight. Write us at showbiztonight@cnn.com. We`ll read some of your e-mails tomorrow.

And remember, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is the only entertainment news show that lets you express your opinion on video. So send us a video e-mail; go to our Web site, cnn.com/showbiztonight.com.

HAMMER: Only one day until the Oscar nominations. But before we get to the best, we got to get through the worst. Coming up next, the absolutely awful actors and movies of the year - the Razzie nominations.

VARGAS: And A.J., some actors have said some pretty awful things off camera about other actors, like Whitney Houston`s shocking words about Rosie O`Donnell. Sounds like some thing that would come out of Donald Trump`s mouth.

We`ve also got this:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MANDY MOORE, ENTERTAINER: You know, I`m a pretty glass-half-full sort of girl, but every body has their ups and downs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Mandy Moore`s startling admission about depression. Plus, why she`s so embarrassed by some of her own music. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT right there at the Sundance Film Festival, coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UNDENTIFIED MALE: .three music under. Stand by, Sibila. Open 7. Dissolve L.A. Go.

VARGAS: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, TV`s most provocative entertainment news show. I`m Sibila Vargas in Hollywood.

Well tomorrow, the race will be on for the best in film, the Oscar nominations. But tonight, we bring you the worst movies, the Razzie nominations. And it`s Sharon Stone`s "Basic Instinct 2" which is a real stinker - seven nominations, including "Worst Picture" and "Worst Actress" of the year.

The Wayans brothers` comedy "Little Man" is a really big loser, also seven Razzie noms. And just-in-rehab Lindsay Lohan a "Worst Actress" nominee for "Just My Luck." And she`ll be battling for that honor - or maybe not - with Jessica Simpson`s nails-on-a-chalkboard-like role in "Employee of the Month."

HAMMER: Well tonight, a woman who claims that Hollywood`s biggest stars have spilled some of their deepest secrets to her when the cameras weren`t rolling. We`re talking about explosive topics like race, sex - even Whitney Houston saying something about Rosie O`Donnell that even Donald Trump would love.

Allison Samuels is a journalist for "Newsweek" magazine, and author of the new book, "Off the Record." She`s joining me tonight in Hollywood.

Hey, Allison. I appreciate you being with us.

ALLISON SAMUELS, AUTHOR, "OFF THE RECORD": Hi, good to see you.

HAMMER: Good to see you, too.

I want to talk about Denzel Washington, because this guy was one of your very first interviews. I know you loved talking with him.

But - but help me understand this: he told you that he didn`t want to do a love scene with Julia Roberts in "The Pelican Brief," which I just find shocking to begin with. And - and here`s the justification he gave you. He said - quote - "Black women are not often seen as objects of desire on film. They have always been my core audience."

What exactly was he talking about there?

SAMUELS: Well, first of all, you have to remember, this is, like, almost 15 years ago, very early in Denzel`s career. And he had two reasons for not wanting to do the scene - the love scene. One was he thought - the script - it didn`t make sense. The other one was that, yes, he felt as though love stories that featured black women were not plentiful on the screen. And to show him, who was - he`s concerned an African-American symbol, particularly again 15 years ago - to show him on the screen who, you know, was not African-American, he thought would be somewhat disrespect to his core audience.

But I think people do have to remember that, you know, 15 years ago, he wasn`t the Denzel that he is now.

HAMMER: Yes. Yes. I - I think that - I don`t know, it just really struck me, I guess, in that - that context, it`s a little different.

A lot of issues surrounding race did come up I noticed in - in various interviews that you conduct.

I want to talk about Angela Bassett.

SAMUELS: Right.

HAMMER: She was offered the lead role in "Monster`s Ball" - what a wild role that was that - that obviously went to Halle Berry, who won the Oscar for it. Now Angela said that she turned that down, and - and here`s why. She said - quote - "I wasn`t going to be a prostitute on film. I couldn`t do that, because it`s such a stereotype about black women and sexuality. Film is forever."

Obviously, we all know that that the raw - that that role caused. Now on the surface, it seemed that Angela was taking a little dig at - at Halle Berry, who did take the role, and was portrayed as a prostitute.

SAMUELS: She wasn`t taking a dig at Halle; she was taking a dig at Hollywood, and the type of roles that Hollywood offered women in general, but - and particularly, African-American women.

I think it was taken definitely out of context to - to - to say that this was just about Halle. She was very clear; she didn`t begrudge Halle her award. It just was not the award - award - the role for her. But I think it was definitely aimed towards Hollywood, which I think got totally lost on, What do you offer us as - as African-American women when it comes to roles?

HAMMER: Sure. Sure. That makes a lot of sense.

And - and with the Rosie O`Donnell and Donald Trump`s feud in the news so much as of late, you know, you would think that the whole celebrity feud thing is kind of new. But let`s talk about your interview with Whitney Houston, because you - you interviewed her just after she had canceled an appearance on Rosie O`Donnell`s show. In fact, I think it was 30 minutes before she was supposed to appear with Rosie.

SAMUELS: Right.

HAMMER: And that`s because Rosie had made comments on the show inferring Whitney`s alleged drug use.

Now here`s what Whitney told you during your interview with her. She said, "That fat" - b-word - "don`t know nothing about me. She needs to shut her big, fat mouth."

Now, I got to tell you, Allison, I don`t remember reading that particular quote in your article in "Newsweek" magazine.

SAMUELS: Right. It was - that - yes, that - that quote was an interesting quote. We left it out because we thought it was such an insulting quote about Rosie. And - and again, this was a couple of years ago. In the climate today, who knows? Maybe it would have gone in without any hesitation.

But then it just - and - and the funny part was that Whitney was due to be on Rosie again that Monday that the story was about to run. So it was - Whitney was also not herself, if I can be blunt. She wasn`t thinking, I think, correctly when she sort of said some of the things.

HAMMER: So why didn`t you put the quote in the article though? Did they call you to put the kibosh on it?

SAMUELS: No. I mean, you know, I think they - yes, her did publicist did want that, but that`s not why we did it. I mean, we - we don`t sort of operate like that.

We didn`t do it because, again, we thought it was such an insulting thing to Rosie. And I think we were sort of really concerned how - you know, how - we didn`t want her to just take that shot at Rosie without Rosie having a response to it.

HAMMER: Well, we - we learned that the - that the truth is, stars really do linger over every word that`s written about them, even if they say they don`t pay any attention to that.

Allison Samuels, I appreciate you joining us tonight.

SAMUELS: Thank you so much.

HAMMER: Allison`s new book is called "Off the Record: A Reporter Unveils the Celebrity Worlds of Hollywood, Hip Hop and Sports." And it`ll hit bookstores tomorrow.

VARGAS: Well, it`s that time of the year again, when Hollywood`s biggest stars and players put them on their designer ski gear, whether they ski or not. And head over to Park City, Utah, for some schmoozing, maybe some boozing, and definitely going cruising for their next big film.

All this week, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is covering the Sundance Film Festival like no other entertainment news show. Tonight, Mandy Moore`s secret admission about depression and her explosive thoughts about her own music.

Our own Brooke Anderson is in Park City, Utah. Brooke, how`s it going?

BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It`s going great, Sibila.

Yes, earlier today, we caught with singer-actress Mandy Moore, who is here at Sundance with her new film "Dedication." Now in the movie, Mandy plays Lucy, a book illustrator who is paired up with a very reluctant, very unhappy children`s book author played by Billy Crudup. They`re paired together; the two work together.

Now listen to this: in a recent interview with "Jane" magazine, Mandy made some startling revelations, including her bouts with depression, and also how she feels about her music. And it`s not good.

Mandy came here to the Treasure Mountain Inn at the top of Main Street here in beautiful Park City with the director of her film "Dedication," Justin Thoreau (ph). And she really set the record straight about those surprising revelations.

Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MOORE: I`m a pretty glass-half-full sort of girl. But everybody has their ups and downs. And the last year`s been - has been a bit of a big year for me. I`m 22, and I`m sort of figuring myself out. And I kind of feel like I`ve - I hit that age that a lot of people do when they just get out of their college, and there`s sort of acting themselves, like, life- affirming questions. Who am I? What do I want to do? Am I being the person I want to be? Just, you know, stuff like that.

So not - not too big of a deal.

ANDERSON: Yes.

MOORE: But it still feels good. I`m really happy.

ANDERSON: You`re right. Every body does have ups and downs.

MOORE: I`m in a good place.

ANDERSON: Yes, and - and you said you need - you wanted to get out of New York and L.A. to work on an album.

What about L.A. and the pressures that are there? Because I`m sure for some one like you guys in the entertainment industry, there are so many pressures and the eyes are on you guys all the time.

MOORE: I think it was important to me to sort of escape New York and L.A. and sort of isolate myself a little bit and just completely get away and - you know, to be creative without any distractions. It wasn`t so much the idea of feeling pressured in either of those cities.

But I don`t know. It`s nice to get away sometimes.

ANDERSON: You`ve kept yourself out of the tabloids pretty much, especially compared to a lot of young stars out there. Recently, you have been photographed with Nicole Richie`s ex-fiance B.J. (INAUDIBLE).

But I - do you ever feel like, that I need my privacy? This is too much.

MOORE: No. For the most part, I feel like I`ve sort of escaped the scrutiny, and people don`t care about me and sort of just leave me alone, which is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I care about you.

(CROSSTALK)

MOORE: The people I want to care about me surround me (ph). But the others I`m - I`m fine with - with the lack of attention. That`s totally OK with me. Because I can do my work, and there`s still, like, that little bit of mystery and.

ANDERSON: Yes.

And you`re not a party girl.

MOORE: No, I`m a home body, definitely.

ANDERSON: And, you know, in all of your films, including this one, you always look great. But is there a pressure but - you - you too.

Is there a pressure to look a certain way, or be a certain thing? Because we`ve seen so many stars whittle away before our very eyes.

MOORE: I guess if you give in to the pressure, sure, it`s there, and it`s always going to be there. But I just try and ignore it, do my own thing, and represent some thing different, I guess.

ANDERSON: And we can look from - for some music from you, too?

MOORE: Yes. I have a record coming out in May called "Wild Hope."

ANDERSON: OK. And you`ve also said your past music, you want to get away form that type of pop?

MOORE: Yes, I`ve made a lot of really terrible music in the past. So this is a - a bit of a departure, a bit of a left turn for me.

ANDERSON: You shouldn`t be so hard on yourself. You - you.

(CROSSTALK)

MOORE: No, it`s OK. I should be hard. Because it`s - it`s - a lot of it`s really crappy.

But that`s OK. That`s - it`s a clean slate of me. I`ve written all the music, and I`m really proud of for the first time.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: And tomorrow, Tara Reid will be joining me to talk about her new movie here at Sundance. Sibila, it`s called, "If I Had Known I Was a Genius," starring (INAUDIBLE)

VARGAS: Wow! That`s an interesting - interesting title, for sure.

Let me ask you a question though: has any movies - have any ones been picked up yet?

ANDERSON: Oh, yes, absolutely.

John Cusack`s film "Grace Is Gone" - he plays a man whose wife is actually killed in the Iraq war. A very powerful anti-war sentiment. It was snapped up for $4 million by the Weinstein Company.

Also Sam Rockwell`s movie "Joshua" has been picked up. And there`s word that "Waitress," starring Keri Russell and Cheryl Heinz (ph) from the late Adrian Shelley (ph) is this close to securing a deal. So it`s all about those late-night negotiations and deals.

VARGAS: Wow! Yes, it`s got to be very exciting stuff.

Well, all right, Brooke. Thanks for the update. And please stay warm.

And Brooke will be right there at Sundance tomorrow to get Oscar- nomination reactions from all the big stars. That`s right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, 11 p.m. Eastern and Pacific.

HAMMER: Well, "Dreamgirls" stars Beyonce Knowles and Jennifer Hudson both dreaming about the same thing tonight: when they wake up tomorrow, they could be dreaming about an Oscar.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go Camera 3, music under. Stand by, A.J. Open his mike. Pre-set 2. Dissolve. Go.

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, TV`s most provocative entertainment news show. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

Well, the stars of "Dreamgirls" will be biting their nails tomorrow morning, when they hear if they`ve got a chance at Oscar gold. Both Beyonce Knowles and Jennifer Hudson could be up for Academy Awards when the 79th annual nominations are announced tomorrow.

Oscar was definitely on their minds when SHOWBIZ TONIGHT caught up with them at the "Dreamgirls" London premiere, which happened over the weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEYONCE, ENTERTAINER: I`m waiting to hear what`s going to happen with the Oscars. I`m - I`m happy already. (INAUDIBLE), so it would be a bonus.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JENNIFER HUDSON, ENTERTAINER: I don`t like to anticipate any thing, so I`ll just have to wait till you hear. But I mean, I - I have my Golden Globe, and I actually celebrated (INAUDIBLE). It`s such a treasure.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Hudson took home a supporting-actress Golden Globe. Beyonce was nominated for Best Actress at the Golden Globe, and "Dreamgirls" won the Best Picture at that awards ceremony. So I guess if you`re a gambler, odds are pretty good that somebody is going to get nominated from that film.

Complete coverage tomorrow on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

VARGAS: Well, everyone`s still talking about the shocking "Grey`s Anatomy" scandal. Isaiah Washington apologizing for using an anti-gay slur against his co-star T.R. Knight.

So on Friday, we asked you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day": "Grey`s Anatomy Feud: Should Isaiah Washington be fired?"

Pretty close: 51 percent of you say yes; 49 percent of you say no.

Here are some of the e-mails we got:

Michael from Kansas thinks Washington should be canned: "What if someone within the cast called him the N-word? Would that individual be fired? I believe so."

Isaiah Washington, by the way, is African-American.

David from New Hampshire doesn`t think so: "If every one was fired for calling somebody a name, nobody would be working. We all make bad judgments every now and then."

HAMMER: And welcome to the portion of the program where we find out what is coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

And tomorrow, man, what a huge day: the Oscar nominations. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT right there as the names are called. The question on everybody`s mind: Who`s in, who`s out? What are the big surprises? And you know there will be some.

Plus, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is at the Sundance Film Festival. We`ll be getting instant reaction from the biggest stars. So let the race begin with the Oscar nods, tomorrow.

And remember, we`re at Sundance all week long. Tomorrow, get ready for Tara Reid. She`s got a new movie premiering in Park City. You can bet we`ll be asking her about all the Lindsay Lohan rehab stuff, and about her personal struggle with body image. That is tomorrow.

And that is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Thank you so much for watching. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

VARGAS: And I`m Sibila Vargas in Hollywood. Good night, every one. Good night, A.J.

"GLENN BECK" is next, right after the latest headlines from CNN Headline News.

END

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