Skip to main content
Search
Services


 

Return to Transcripts main page

CNN: SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT

Encore Presentation: Chasing Angelina

Aired February 24, 2007 - 20:00   ET

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


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Angelina.
BEN, PHOTOGRAPHER, BAUER-GRIFFIN: Jolie is on the move. She ran the light.

JENNIFER ANISTON, ACTRESS: They are dangerous. This is just getting out of control.

FRANK GRIFFIN, OWNER, BAUER-GRIFFIN: There's never an intention of causing damage.

BEN: She's going to do the right on Beverly Glen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Photos, this is Brad and Angelina.

BEN: Jolie's out. Jolie's out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't answer every question. But I don't lie.

ROSIE O'DONNELL, FMR. TALK SHOW HOST: "CNN PRESENTS": Publicists. Do they spin? A tad.

BEN: A couple of the guys were doing the stake-out at Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's house in Malibu. And apparently Jolie is on the move.

NARRATOR: The hunt is on.

BEN: I'm going to get on the 405 and go 405 south. Are you still south PCH?

NARRATOR: The prey, red-hot actress Angelina Jolie.

BEN: Copy that. Just keep me updated.

NARRATOR: Ben, a 26-year-old photographer works for one of the biggest paparazzi agencies in Hollywood, Bauer Griffin. He's asked us not to use his last name.

BEN: Nothing. There's absolutely nothing. I'm coming behind you. No cops anywhere.

The 405 is right here. The ten's going to be right here. And she's, like, right here on the ten going this way.

I'm trying to catch up as fast as I can. Give me your location. Did you pass west channel yet? Copy that.

NARRATOR: Ben is coordinating with two other paparazzi from his agency hot on Angelina's tail. He finally catches up.

BEN: There she is. There she is.

NARRATOR: But he's on the wrong side of the freeway.

BEN: There's other competition right there.

Copy that, I just saw you guys go by. That's funny.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Angelina.

NARRATOR: Paparazzi aren't the only ones desperately seeking Angelina.

BONNIE FULLER, COLUMNIST, STAR MAGAZINE: She's not fitting into her cloths?

BEN: She's not fitting into her clothes.

FULLER: That happens.

BEN: She hates her body, she hates, you know, the hormones raging. She's very uncomfortable.

NARRATOR: "Star" magazine's Bonnie Fuller is chasing down any salacious tidbit on the actress, her Hollywood hunk boyfriend, and the girl next door he left behind.

FULLER: I like this. Jennifer's turning to hypnosis...

BEN: Yes.

FULLER: ... therapy to get over Brad?

BEN: We will be working on that.

FULLER: That's fabulous.

I mean, how can you not be nosey about people that are fascinating to look at as a Jen, a Brad and an Angelina. How could you not?

NARRATOR: Over at "People" magazine managing editor Larry Hackett is salivating over a scoop Jolie's camp is promising.

LARRY HACKETT, MANAGING EDITOR, PEOPLE MAGAZINE: I got the call in the morning that something was going to be discussed. And then I got the call about what was being discussed. I was thrilled.

NARRATOR: And Mark Lisanti, the blogger behind the Internet gossip site defamer.com is snarking about official word that Angelina is pregnant. MARK LISANTI, BLOGGER, DEFAMER.COM: Once you get a publicist's real name on something, it then becomes reality and we can all rejoice and start knitting the baby booties.

NARRATOR: The Brangelina saga is just one of the real-life soaps feeding the public's growing obsession with celebrities.

TED CASABLANCA, COLUMNIST, E! ENTERTAINMENT: The personal lives of Hollywood celebrities these days; it really is the best reality TV show out there.

MICHAEL LEVINE, PUBLICIST: It's not a fascination. It's long, long since past fascination. We are celebrity drenched and obsessed.

ANGELINA JOLIE, ACTRESS: I wouldn't be attracted to a man who would cheat on his wife.

NARRATOR: So obsessed that you can hardly change the channel without landing one of the many entertainment news shows.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Paris Hilton's on parade.

NARRATOR: And the number of star-studded magazines has exploded.

There are at least six celebrity weeklies on the newsstands now, with a combined circulation of more than 8.5 million. And while traditional news magazines are losing readers, the circulation of celebrity magazines is soaring.

PETER CASTRO, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, PEOPLE MAGAZINE: That's when I realized, this is a whole different game. And it's a really ruthless one.

NARRATOR: Add to that mix, a new media outlet, Internet gossip blogs. * ALLAN MAYER, DAMAGE CONTROL SPECIALIST, SITRICK AND COMPANY: Things happen faster. A piece of gossip gets out into the world, and within literally hours, it's everywhere.

NARRATOR: One leading gossip blog, gawker.com, even includes a map pinpointing New York celebrity sightings. The site called Gawker Stalker has angered a number of celebrities and their flags. Is celebrity coverage spinning out of control?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gentlemen. Hey, hey.

KEN SUNSHINE, PUBLICIST: We've never had so much media that it seems to be desirous of printing or covering every possible aspect of so-called celebrities' lives. I think the world's gone a little crazy.

NARRATOR: The HBO hit "Entourage" is capitalizing on the public's fascination with celebrities' inner-most lives. The TV comedy features an aspiring young actor and a pack of friends and Hollywood power players surrounding him. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The paparazis are out tonight. Check on the tits on the girls for extra.

DOUG ELLIN, "ENTOURAGE" CREATER: Everything about all these characters in the show is sort of taken from somewhere in real life. So almost none of it is pure fiction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to hug it out?

ELLIN: No, not really.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's hug it out, bitch. Let's hug it out.

ELLIN: They are based on a lot of different people.

NARRATOR: People like publicists and power brokers hired to control one of the most precious commodities in Hollywood, access to the stars.

PETER BART, EDITOR IN CHIEF, VARIETY: They have to be protective, because everyone is out to exploit the stars they represent. So they'll catch it from their clients. But they'll also catch it from the media.

NARRATOR: Just who are these image makers guiding celebrities through the media mind fields? How much control do they have when their clients' private lives are exposed to the public? And what do they do when an A-list client like Tom Cruise appears to go off the deep end?

Ahead, when celebrity scandal breaks.

O'DONNELL: It was, you know, the worst thing that's happened to me in my public life.

NARRATOR: And our hunt for Angelina continues.

BEN: She ran the light. Oh, God damn it.

Wait. I'm a little turned around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NARRATOR: Image maker, gate keeper, spinmeister, damage control expert, for the rich and famous, a high-powered publicist rivals the hottest couture. Well paid, well connected, and well, always just a few feet away. A publicist can go from polite to pit bull at break neck speed.

CASABLANCA: I love publicists. A lot of people hate them in town. But I think they are great. I mean, they give us some of the best material to work with. Brad and Angelina are just friends? I love the lines that come from the crowd. It's really good.

NARRATOR: Always guiding; sometimes chiding; we've seen what happens when a good one gets away. After Tom Cruise replaced veteran publicist Pat Kingsley with his sister, we watched in disbelief as that famed Cruise control morphed into couch control before our very eyes.

OPRAH WINFEY, TALK SHOW HOST: Have you ever felt this way before?

CASTRO: The lesson that Tom Cruise taught the world is don't fire a top-notch publicist, because when you do that, then you become a rudderless raft. And that's what happened to him.

CINDY BERGER, MANAGING DIRECTOR, PNK HBH: I graduated college and I was laying in a friend's pool reading Cosmopolitan magazine, drinking a can of tab. And there was an article about celebrity publicists. And I thought, my God, that's what I want to do. That's it.

NARRATOR: She's a power house in the world of showbiz, managing director of one of the most prestigious publicity firms in Hollywood, PMK HBH. Chances are you know a few of Cindy Berger's famous clientele.

O'DONNELL: It's important, make no doubt, if you're an entertainer to have a publicist.

She'll say it would be good if you didn't mention the NRA in this interview. Or something like try not to say President Bush is immoral.

NARRATOR: February 13th, 9:30 a.m., the 100th episode of "Martha."

BERGER: I left at 7:25.

NARRATOR: Cindy is in place, awaiting the arrival of her long- time client Rosie O'Donnell.

O'DONNELL: The crew is here for my publicist, not for me. It's all right. I used to be a very well-known entertainer.

NARRATOR: From the car, Rosie's entourage heads for the make-up room. Soon a sound check.

O'DONNELL: Rosie, Rosie, check.

NARRATOR: A cappuccino, a knock on the door.

MARTHA STEWART, OWNER, MARTHA STEWART DESIGNS: Hey.

O'DONNELL: Who's that?

Martha, you didn't come see me in "Fiddler," you big wench.

STEWART: I know.

BERGER: It's not a precise science. O'DONNELL: She's like 63 and she wears leather pants and looks better than I ever have. It's frightening.

She takes care of me because she loves me and I trust her judgment, especially when I'm not in a place to make good judgments for myself. You know, I'm a very emotional person.

CASTRO: I don't understand why anyone would want to do this job. Because they are getting called at 4:00 in the morning from their client saying, you know, where's my limo?

And then, of course the worst is when you know, their clients go, you know, just mental and do something and are involved in a scandal or end up in jail and you go oh, man. Now what do I do?

BERGER: It's a tough business. It's not for pansies.

NARRATOR: Michael, Russell, Courtney, Pee Wee, Wynonna, Whitney, Hugh, what do these celebrities and Martha and Rosie have in common? Scandal.

O'DONNELL: I will say nothing else.

NARRATOR: And in the world of publicity, scandal is never a good thing.

BERGER: Damage control is coming up with an effective campaign and executing it properly.

NARRATOR: And no one knows damage control like Allan Mayer. In Hollywood, he's considered a master in disaster, a certified crisis specialist who's helped the like of Halle Berry and Tommy Lee.

MAYER: If you don't tell your own story, someone else is going to tell it for you and chances are you won't like the way it comes out.

NARRATOR: Case in point, Rosie O'Donnell. In 2002, after six years on the air, the beloved talk show host said good-bye to her show, and her cutie-patooti persona.

O'DONNELL: I remember Newsweek saying the queen of nice. And I remember, on the show, holding it up, saying, "Well, wait until this turns and we get the queen of fried rice, you know, the queen of lice. This is going to bite me in the ass one day, folks, make no mistake." You know, and it did.

NARRATOR: Exactly one year later, in the fall of 2003, Rosie was not only out of the closet, but standing smack in the middle of scandal. Publishers of her now-defunct Rosie magazine had slapped O'Donnell with a $100 million breach of contract suit. And the case quickly turned nasty.

CASTRO: And here was Rosie O'Donnell, who was beloved. And all of a suddenly the next thing you know, it's like she's turned into the Tasmanian devil. O'DONNELL: What did I do? I'm fat? I yell, and I sometimes say the "f" word.

It was the worst thing that's happened to me in my public life. I remember we pulled up the first day and I said to Cindy, what the hell are all these trucks doing here?

BERGER: It was a nightmare. I don't think any of us thought that we were going to be walking up the steps of a courthouse.

MAYER: Unfortunately silence is taken, somehow, as an admission of guilt. So you have to figure out a way to always respond.

BERGER: The plan was never to have her go through the back door. That was the only way to handle it.

O'DONNELL: Like when we get out of car, she's like, "OK, we're going to get out, we're going to stop at the first group of microphones."

Good morning, everyone.

"Try to smile, Ro. Please don't say anything mean. Every clip that's run of you has been mean."

But I was so angry that I couldn't be happy.

NARRATOR: On November 12th, 2003, a judge ruled there was no winner. Neither the publishers nor the former talk queen received a cent.

BERGER: It was emotionally draining. It was exhausting.

NARRATOR: A few years later, it's barely a blip. Now Rosie's moved on to writing her own blog.

O'DONNELL: I can be at home and say whatever I'm thinking of, whatever's on my mind, and hit send?

NARRATOR: That, and her future role, co-hosting "The View" will keep Cindy working overtime.

O'DONNELL: And then, you know, she fields the calls afterwards. She's like, "Did you say something about Star Jones on your blog?" I'm like, "Probably, go look it up."

NARRATOR: Later, from damage control to the spin cycle.

CASTRO: A publicist's best friend is the word exhaustion.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something's about to happen. That's going to be an event.

BEN: On Melrose or Beverly? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beverly.

BEN: All right. I'll see you over there.

Frank got a tip that there's this kind of store opening and Jennifer Aniston is supposed to be there. And if she shows up with Vince, that's all the more better for us.

NARRATOR: Before tracking down Angelina, our photographer, Ben, is hot on the trail of Brad's ex, Jen.

BEN: What's up?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So far nothing, nothing's happening. No guests have arrived yet.

NARRATOR: Paparazzi are willing to wait hours, even days for the perfect shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can park and wait in our car on La Brea, and one can sit in the back.

BEN: OK.

PETER HOWE, AUTHOR: It's a bit like police work. It's a lot of boredom, which is then interspersed with some intense activity.

FRANK GRIFFIN, BAUER-GRIFFIN: Everyday, there's a $10,000 picture and it's just a question of knowing where it is and being there.

NARRATOR: But no $10,000 picture for Ben tonight.

BEN: So Aniston didn't show up. Whether it was a case of the information wasn't good or just the subject decided not to go. We'll never know.

FRANK GRIFFIN, OWNER, BAUER-GRIFFIN: Hello? Hello? You bumped into Jude Law? The foul's (ph) at the Belair, is he? Doing what?

NARRATOR: While Ben gives up his hunt for Jen...

GRIFFIN: Zeta Jones, George Michael and Nicolette Sheridan.

NARRATOR: ... his boss, Frank Griffin, works the phones for tips.

GRIFFIN: Brad and Angelina did not fly into Nice today. I think they're going to fly into England on the 24th.

NARRATOR: Griffin's been snapping picks of rock stars and celebrities since the early '80s. He now co-owns one of the world's- most prominent paparazzi agencies, Bauer-Griffin.

Just last year, Griffin's team went to incredible lengths trying to get a shot of the rock star Seal's wedding in Mexico. GRIFFIN: The boat we chartered would only do five knots. The guy spent seven hours on that boat to get to the place where he got married. He arrived five minutes late. Cost us an absolute fortune. All we got was the empty canopy with the wind blowing the flowers away, you know?

NARRATOR: Kevin Mazur would never hunt down a celebrity.

KEVIN MAZUR, WIREIMAGE: I don't consider myself a paparazzi. Those guys are behind the line. I'm on the carpet. I'm the one running around with the talent. I'm in the dressing room with the talent. I go on tour with talent. I'm different than those guys.

NARRATOR: Mazur is a photographer with an all-access pass here at the Billboard Music Awards show in Las Vegas. The stars never dodge him.

ASHLEE SIMPSON, SINGER: Kevin is amazing. You know, you can say simply, you know, oh, not right now, or, whatever it may be. And I think that's amazing. Because then you feel comfortable with someone taking pictures of you.

MARIAH CAREY, SINGER: I would definitely call Kevin, and I have called Kevin many times. Any time I see him, I want him to take my picture. Because I know he'll do his best to capture a good moment.

NARRATOR: While celebrity photographers, like Mazur, are given VIP status, the paparazzi fight for shots behind the velvet ropes.

The word paparazzi was coined from the name of the photographer who chased the rich and famous in Federico Fellini's the 1960 classic "La Dolce Vita."

The paparazzi these days use high-tech measures to track down celebrities.

BEN: The company keeps a data base of both license plates and addresses, as well as tail numbers of airplanes.

NARRATOR: And on the paparazzi payroll, well-placed sources, including valets, waiters, coat checks, and hotel clerks.

MAYER: They also pay people you would never even think of, like people in the California Department of Motor Vehicles, people in the airline industry.

I mean, I would have thought it was pretty hard to get a passenger manifest after September 11th. But if you know the right people and you pay the right money, you can get it.

GRIFFIN: This is the front of the hotel.

NARRATOR: A series of tips helped Bauer-Griffin land big money shots of Jennifer Aniston with actor Vince Vaughn. The exclusive set of photos was the first confirmation that the two were an item. GRIFFIN: Luck sometimes plays a part and, sure enough, our photographer, when he was looking down from all the high rises surrounding the hotel, they happened to walk out on the deck the very minute that he was looking down.

NARRATOR: Kevin Mazur doesn't rely on tips for his photos. In fact, many times he lets the stars call the shots.

MAZUR: I've had celebrities call up and say, "Hey, I really don't like that picture." It's like, "Hey, fine. I'll kill the picture. I don't care. Just remember me next time."

NARRATOR: And the stars do remember Mazur. He started out as a fan, sneaking backstage at rock shows with his camera. Later he snapped the iconic photo of Kurt Cobain and Courtney love with their new baby.

Mazur now helps run Wire Image, one of the top celebrity photo agencies in the business.

Mazur knew early on he was not paparazzi material. He made a decision while on a movie set with actor Robert De Niro.

MAZUR: He comes walking my way and I lift up my camera and I start taking pictures. And he walks right up to me with his bodyguard and pushes me up against the trailer like this and said, "Don't ever, ever take an f-ing' picture without asking," and walked away.

NARRATOR: Now Mazur always asks before he points and shoots.

MAZUR: Thanks so much.

NARRATOR: But some paparazzi call Mazur a sell-out, catering to the stars and their handlers.

MAZUR: All the photographers out there hate me. And they think I'm in bed with the publicist. That I'll do anything for a publicist, and I'm a kiss-ass and all that. But you know what? It's a business, you know. And I have a job to do.

NARRATOR: Backstage at the Billboard Awards, Mazur's assistant uploads his digital photos to the Wire Image site, where they'll be available within minutes to all media at the same price.

Frank Griffin has other ideas for his photos. With glossies battering it out weekly for the best picks, paparazzi's sell their shots to magazines that ante up the cash.

GRIFFIN: The big sets, like the Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn, they don't sell themselves. It's almost an auction. You put them out to the highest bidder.

NARRATOR: Ahead, how much can they get for the ultimate celeb shot? And how far will they go to get it?

ANISTON: Because it's becoming a public safety issue. I mean, people are-- they're dangerous.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'DONNELL: Bye everyone.

NARRATOR: February 13th, 11:15 a.m., Martha's 100th day-time show comes to a close. Rosie and her publicist Cindy Berger head back to the Green Room for a quick good-bye.

BERGER: Thank you so much. Thank you.

NARRATOR: And a quick aside.

O'DONNELL: "CNN PRESENTS:" Fame, publicist, do they spin? What do you think? A tad.

BERGER: Spin is moving something in a direction that you want it to go.

O'DONNELL: We pay people to lie for us really. They are called publicists.

NARRATOR: In a career that spanned more than two decades, Cindy's certainly been through the spin cycle.

O'DONNELL: Sharon Stone, are you divorcing anyone? There was a brief period when Cindy was actually the publicist for Star Jones. Can I just say something? It didn't work out too well for me.

Cindy was the one who represented the divas. So when I had the talk show, whenever there was a huge diva, like Mariah, you'd always see Cindy Berger. And I was like, "Oh, that one. She always got the hardest women."

NARRATOR: From 1997 to 2004, Cindy represented the biggest selling female recording artist of all time. She's now Billboard's brightest. But a few years ago, Mariah Carey was a glittering mess.

MARIAH CAREY, SINGER: I don't want to upset everybody.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You've got another, like, two minutes.

CAREY: OK, cool, I'm fine.

NARRATOR: In July... * NARRATOR: She is now "Billboard's" brightest. But a few years ago, Mariah Carey was a glittering mess.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARIAH CAREY: I don't want to upset anybody.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You got like two minutes.

CAREY: OK cool, I'm fine. NARRATOR: In July 2001, during promotion for the disastrous glitter album and motion picture, Mariah melted down. There was the infamous strip tease on MTV.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you doing? Oh my gosh.

NARRATOR: And those strange public appearances including one that came to a screeching halt.

CAREY: We are all just living in the moment of being positive. And there's like people called haters. No, no, Cindy -- let me give them positivity. You see, I can't --

ROSIE O'DONNELL: I think Mariah to this day is still angry. But frankly one day she will thank Cindi for that. Because Mariah was not really in any state to be on TV at that point.

NARRATOR: Two days after Cindi forcibly unplugged an incoherent Carey, the superstar entered a psychiatric facility. Berger's official explanation?

CINDI BERGER, PUBLICIST: She was exhausted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A publicist's best friend is the word exhaustion. That can mean so many things.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is so disciplined. The level of work that she puts forth took its toll.

PETER CASTRO, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, PEOPLE MAGAZINE: Was it just exhaustion? Probably not. But it was a hiccup in her career and she has moved on. And Cindy Burger had a lot to do with that.

KEN SUNSHINE, PUBLICIST: Don't spin. Don't spin. Yeah, it sounds like spin to me.

Ken Sunshine represents some of Hollywood's most talked about, written about, photographed stars. His roster includes Justin, Ben, Leo, and as of last November, a guy named Nick Lachey. Always a fixture on the red carpet, Ken's reputation is brash, bold, brutally honest.

SUNSHINE: We don't answer every question. We avoid questions all the time. We refuse to comment on a frequent basis. But I don't like --

CASTRO: There's this code among publicists. They'll say, well, I don't know that to be true. You know, they are not telling you the next sentence which is -- I'm pretty sure it is.

SUNSHINE: If it means trying to get the best for your client out of the media and twisting a perception that may be unfair or untrue. I'm guilty of it.

NARRATOR: Consider our famous ex-newlyweds. Nick and Jessica. In the months leading to their split, handlers, especially Jessica's father Joe Simpson scoffed at media coverage reporting impending doom.

TED CASABLANCA, E! ENTERTAINMENT GOSSIP COLUMNIST: Yeah, it was going on forever that Nick and Jessica were having trouble. And we were all calling and finding out what's going on. What is a publicist supposed to say? Yes, they are actually in therapy. They are hoping to work it out. You can't say that.

BONNIE FULLER: This looks great. These colors. This is fabulous.

NARRATOR: Enter the queen of tabloid scoop, Bonnie Fuller.

FULLER: Readers come to "Star" because they really want the real story. And in a lot of cases, that's not necessary to have a sit-down interview with the celebrity in order to get that story.

NARRATOR: She's the chief editorial director of American media. You know them. They publish the "National Enquirer," "Globe" and "Star" magazines.

FULLER: We were the first to break the Nick and Jessica marital problem. We broke the story that there was a cheating scandal with Nick. And that was the very first cover about any problems in their relationship. And, well, we saw what happened there.

NARRATOR: Exactly 12 months after Bonnie broke the story, their publicists ended the speculation. It was then that "People" magazine ran its first cover story.

CASTRO: A lot of people look back and say you know, if you knew that they were having trouble, why didn't you report it? Suspecting something and knowing something are two very different things. And we would -- we will always err on the side of caution.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are not a mean magazine. Other magazines may have that as a specialty. Other magazines may use that occasionally. That's not what we are about. We don't do that kind of thing.

NARRATOR: In this world of Pinocchio publicists --

CASTRO: That's great. Fantastic.

NARRATOR: There's a fine line between where journalist ends, and celebrity spin begins.

CASTRO: There's a tricky line, yes. There's a lot of information that we know that we withhold. But we don't withhold it as a favor to the celebrity. We withhold it because as responsible journalists, that's what we are supposed to do.

LARRY HACKETT, MANAGING EDITOR, PEOPLE MAGAZINE: We sort of got some (ph) incredible though.

NARRATOR: Larry Hackett is managing editor of "People" magazine. Both "People" and CNN are owned by Time Warner. HACKETT: Publicists represent stars. They want their star to be perceived in the best possible light. Do you want to kowtow to them? No. And the good ones don't want you to kowtow to them either. They want you to be straight, and be fair.

NARRATOR: 3:00 p.m. CBS studios with two TV appearances in the can, Rosie is out the door. And publicist Cindi Berger's mission accomplished.

BERGER: It's a skill that develops over time. Bye guys. It's about paying attention and making sure that you are absorbing a lot. And that's what a publicist really does. You again? Exactly.

NARRATOR: Coming up, celebrity gossip goes dotcom. Is anyone safe from the snark? And closing in on Angelina.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NARRATOR: It's 2:30 in the afternoon. And Ben is closing in on Angelina.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's going to do the right on Beverly Glen. It's going to be a South Beverly Glen. We always try to follow as discreetly as possible. But the dynamic changes a little bit when the subject knows that you're following.

KEVIN MAZUR, WIREIMAGE: I'd say right now the hot photos are Brad and Angelina. You can't pick up a magazine. Every cover they are on now.

NARRATOR: It's the hot celebrity photos and the world's obsession with them that sends the paparazzi and the press chasing Angelina. "People" magazine scored a coup when they broke the Brad and Angelina baby news. On the cover, an exclusive photo of a visibly pregnant Jolie.

LACKETT: I think they come to "People" magazine because we are fair; we are honest; we are straight forward. And let's not forget, we are the biggest. So we form relationships with these people.

NARRATOR: "People" paid big bucks to one of Angelina's favorite charities for the exclusive photos. But donations or not, "People" usually lands the best access to the stars.

CASABLANCA: That's where publicists go to break information. They go to "People" because they know that "People" will be hands off and really sweet to them once they give them the information.

NARRATOR: Celebrity magazines depend on publicists for access to movie stars.

CASTRO: They are the gate keepers. So we have to have a very special relationship with them. And that relationship has to be one of trust. When the publicist stops trusting you, you can kiss that celebrity good-bye. And more important, you can kiss the entire stable of celebrities good-bye. Because if you piss off Ken Sunshine, not only are you not going to get Ben Affleck, you are not going to get Leo DiCaprio. You're not going to get Justin Timberlake and so on and so on.

BERGER: The thing about publicists is we have a very long memory. If someone has burned us in the past, it's pretty hard to erase.

NARRATOR: Gossip blogger Mark Lisanti could care less about burning a publicist.

MARK LISANTI, GOSSIP BLOGGER: I'm sure I have pissed off plenty of publicists in my days.

NARRATOR: Unlike the glossies, an exclusive with a celebrity is the last thing on his mind.

LISANTI: We are not dependant on access at all. So we are a lot more comfortable taking shots at them because we are not going to get an interview yanked by a publicist. We are not worried about Joe Simpson coming in and kicking down the door.

NARRATOR: From a computer in his small Los Angeles apartment, 31- year-old Lisanti heads up defamer.com. It's one of hundreds of blogs devoted to snarky Hollywood gossip.

LISANTI: It's just a different way of kind of looking at the entire world of Hollywood in celebrities. And not everybody's going to want to read it in this packaged way that's being presented to them. So we'll present it with more of a humor slant, a satirical look at it. The best-known thing that we've done on the site was this video montage of Tom Cruise's now incredibly infamous appearance on Oprah when he jumped on the couch. Tom Cruise shows up to talk about the new love in his life. Then immediately starts wrestling with Oprah. I think it was best two or three falls that day. He won them all.

NARRATOR: Defamer's sarcastic and often hilarious approach has made it one of the most successful gossip sites on the web. Bloggers like Lisanti scour daily trades for scoop, gets tips from well-placed sources and on occasion, grab a power lunch with an industry insider. Out of the cramped kitchen of his New York City apartment, 22-year-old David Houselay (ph) runs another popular gossip site, jossip.com. breaking news stories like the Nick and Jessica split the day before Thanksgiving gave him a jump on the traditional celebrity media.

DAVID HOUSELAY: You had the celebrity weeklies had already gone to press and then the teams of "Access Hollywood" and "Entertainment Tonight" had to cancel their Thanksgiving plans, rush back to the studio. And it turned their lives into hell. Luckily for people like us, we can blog from anywhere. We can be at home sipping eggnog by the fire and still right the story.

NARRATOR: But publicists complain gossip bloggers don't always get their facts straight.

SUNSHINE: I think some of the time they go overboard. They make no bones about the fact that they are going to be snarky. And they are just going to reprint things that may have no source.

LISANTI: We are not afraid to put something up there that isn't fact checked out, you know, that's just a rumor. But the trick is not to claim that we think it's, you know, the bible.

NARRATOR: With rumors fueled by tabloids and blogs, publicists now have less control over access. And this means they are in danger of losing power.

HACKETT: There are magazines out there and clearly Web sites are out there who will write whatever they like regardless of what a publicist does. There are many people who don't care if the celebrity is going to be talking. They just want to read delicious dish on a Web site about somebody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Only an idiot would ignore the dynamic that blogs are creating. It's an answer to something that the public's thirsty for which is that sort of up-to-the-minute, last-second breathing bit of information that they've just got to know.

CASTRO: The blogs are not competition in that they are ever going to get a celebrity or ever going to break a story that, you know, that we hope to break. That may change down the road. Actually the writing on some of these blogs is genius. These people should be writing scripts in Hollywood.

NARRATOR: Lisanti hopes his clever commentary might some day land him a Hollywood deal. But until then, he continues to poke fun at the celebrity world. Coming up, picture-hungry paparazzi. Are they out of control?

SUNSHINE: Can you imagine having a team of desperate lunatics. One behind you, one in front of you, who are cutting you off purposely, playing chicken on the Hollywood roads. Somebody's going to get killed.

NARRATOR: And our hunt for Angelina takes a turn.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NARRATOR: Still on Angelina's trail, Ben and his paparazzi pals follow the actress into a parking lot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The aisle that I'm on is one more down all the way at the end. You see one truck. DirecTV, the DirecTV truck. That same aisle, four spots to her right.

NARRATOR: They have her range rover cornered. She's finally in their sights.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm looking with binoculars. That's not her in the driver's seat. Is she in the passenger seat? If she gets out and walks towards the building, then it will be fairly easy. Got to go through that back road.

No, I don't see it. No. Where? Right here. Jolie's out. Jolie's out. I don't know where she's going. She's walking parallel with the building towards the park. Is she with some...

She's with the young girl and her daughter going towards the building now. They're going towards the building now. Straight to you. Straight to you.

NARRATOR: And straight to the pages of "Celebrity Weekly," "In Touch" and "people." Ben and company have bagged a big bounty for their paparazzi agency, Bauer Griffin. But agency co-owner Frank Griffin is coy about how much their photos can fetch.

FRANK GRIFFIN: If anybody tells it's a lie. One week a picture can be worth $1,000. The next week it can be worth $10,000, the week after, nothing.

NARRATOR: He admits though, that the exclusive images his agency snagged of Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn earned upwards of $250,000. Us Weekly" reportedly paid $500,000 for their exclusive photos of Brad and Angelina on a beach in Africa.

PETER HOWE, AUTHOR, "PAPARAZZI": I think it's just a matter of time before somebody pays $1 million for something.

NARRATOR: So it's not surprising the limits the paparazzi will go to for a hot celebrity shot. But how far is too far?

SUNSHINE: They're totally out of control.

JENNIFER ANISTON: They are dangerous. These guys drive on sidewalks where there are pedestrians. They drive recklessly.

NARRATOR: Back in December, Angelina Jolie was stampeded by a pack of paparazzi outside a New York fundraiser. Teen queen Lindsay Lohan got into two collisions last year she claimed were caused by paparazzi.

SUNSHINE: Lindsay Lohan almost did get killed by some lunatic that purposely rammed her car. What kind of behavior is that?

NARRATOR: But the paparazzi were not charged in either incident. Other actors including Reese Witherspoon and Scarlett Johansson have also blamed traffic accidents on overaggressive paparazzi.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think there is criminal behavior going on.

SUNSHINE: Can you imagine driving up or down the Hollywood hills and having a team of desperate lunatics, one behind you, one in front of you, who are cutting you off purposely, playing chicken. Somebody's going to get seriously injured or killed in a car accident.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think every care is taken, and I have to emphasize. There's never an intention of causing damage. And everyone wants to draw a parallel between Princess Diana and her tragic death in Paris.

NARRATOR: Diana's death in 1997 while being pursued by photographers, unleashed a backlash against the paparazzi. But French investigators blamed the crash on this man, Diana's chauffeur who was drunk and speeding, not the paparazzi.

HOWE: Even though you could say well, they we weren't a direct cause. A lot of people would say they were absolutely an indirect cause.

NARRATOR: Critics accuse the paparazzi of trespassing on a celebrity's right of privacy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They create amongst the press publicity. Then they try to cage the beast. They will to anything to get the picture of their story in the news. They will literally hot wheel (ph) down Sunset Boulevard (INAUDIBLE). Then when they're successful and they try to cage the monster, they try and control it, they can't.

Hey. Relax.

NARRATOR: Even Lindsay Lohan admitted in a CNN interview before her accident how the paparazzi and fame go hand in hand.

LINDSEY LOHAN: No one has a reason to complain when they are following you. It's when they are not following you. That's when you should get scared.

SUNSHINE: There are some obvious examples out there of celebrities who crave that attention. There are a lot of celebrities that don't. And they should have the right to be protected from absolutely abusive behavior. There is just something weird about a human being whose livelihood, quote, unquote, means living in the trees outside a celebrities' house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Contrary to what Ken Sunshine says, it doesn't happen. I have a thousand magazines in the next room and if you can show me one picture that's been taken inside someone's house or of children playing inside the yard, it's not the case.

NARRATOR: But the public wants to know what goes on behind closed doors. So who is at fault for stocking Angelina? Is it the paparazzi who are accused of going to any extreme to snap a money-making shot?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can go all day. We can spend the whole week and take lots and lots of pictures of famous people. And if it's not what the market demands, then we are not going to sell them.

NARRATOR: Or is it the fault of the celebrity weekly who splash their pages with high-priced photos to sell magazines.

ANISTON: You know you have sick women out there like Bonnie Fullers of the world who are just feeding it.

FULLER: We work only with reputable agencies and we are very careful that we would only buy photographs that were not taken in any way that would endanger a celebrity.

HACKETT: And if magazines like ours don't run photographs of people being stalked and harassed, perhaps eventually the bottom will fall out of this market. And that's all we can do right now. NARRATOR: Or, in the end, is the public's obsession to blame, a celebrity obsession that shows no signs of fading away.

CASTRO: Yes, 20 years from now we will be as interested and obsessed with celebrities. Because that's just about the time that Brad and Angelina's child will be going to college. So we'll be there.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

Search
© 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 CNN.com
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines