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Extortion Plot Against John Travolta and His Family; The Great Fashion Debate Over Michelle Obama; The Obama Chia Pet; Miley Sets the Record Straight About Her and The Jonas Brothers

Aired January 23, 2009 - 23:00:00   ET


A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: Now, on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT - the absolute outrage over an alleged extortion plot against John Travolta. Tonight, the sickening details about a reported plot to extort $20 million from Travolta just weeks after the tragic death of his son. Did the plot involve pictures of John`s dying son? Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with this truly unbelievable story.

Tonight, the great fashion debate over Michelle Obama. Is it just plain wrong to be spending so much time talking about what she wore on Inauguration Day and what she is wearing now?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would like to see the media definitely emphasizing the community and cultural aspects of who she is.


HAMMER: Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT dares to ask - is there too much focus on Michelle Obama`s fashion?

Plus, the Obama Chia Pet. And no, we are not making this up.

TV`s most provocative entertainment news show starts right now.


Hello. I`m A.J. Hammer, broadcasting tonight and every night from New York City.

BROOKE ANDERSON, CO-HOST: Hi there, everyone. I`m Brooke Anderson, coming to you from Hollywood. And tonight, the absolutely outrageous Travolta extortion plot.

HAMMER: And I`ve got to tell you, this is not only outrageous but downright sickening. There are dramatic new developments tonight. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT confirmed today that Bahamian police were investigating a possible extortion threat against John Travolta just as he was dealing with the tragic and sudden death of his teenage son.

And now, the news three people have been arrested. This unbelievable story is making big news right now.



HAMMER (voice over): It was soon after the death of John Travolta`s son that a visibly shaken Tom Cruise appeared on "The View" and expressed the grief that his friends Travolta and Kelly Preston were feeling.

CRUISE: John just adored him. And he - both of his children, and Kelly, so it is something that - you know, I don`t have the words for it.

HAMMER: Now, as if Travolta and Preston`s personal tragedy couldn`t get any more painful, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has learned the famous couple is enduring another nightmare, an alleged extortion plot against them.

MARC MALKIN, COLUMNIST, "E! ONLINE": It`s hard enough to have to deal, obviously, with the death of a child. And now, to deal with someone or some group of people actually trying to make money off this horrible tragedy - this is pretty creepy.

HAMMER: Jett, the 16-year-old son of Travolta and Preston died suddenly on January 2nd, during the family`s New Year`s vacation in the Bahamas.

MALKIN: The official cause of death was a seizure. The Travoltas have gone into seclusion at their home in Florida. They have not shown their faces since the death.

HAMMER: Now, three weeks later, it appears someone has tried to use the death to extort a lot of money from Jett`s famous parents. While authorities are not saying how much money might have been demanded, "" is reporting the demand was in the millions.

HARVEY LEVIN, TMZ: We know that John Travolta received a $20-million demand, That unless certain people get that money, they would divulge information concerning Jett Travolta`s death.

HAMMER: Neither Travolta nor police in the Bahamas are giving specifics about the alleged plot. But some reports are almost too sick to believe.

LEVIN: There were stories that somebody in the ambulance may have taken pictures of Jett dying. We are told definitively that the extortion plot does not involve photographs.

HAMMER: Police in the Bahamas have now confirmed they launched an investigation. And they tell SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, quote, "We received an official report regarding an attempted extortion. At this time, we have two persons in custody who are assisting us with this investigation."

MALKIN: A politician is being investigated as well as someone who works for the ambulance service that transported Jett from the home to the hospital.

HAMMER: Now, Travolta`s attorneys are also speaking out, telling the "Jacksonville, Florida Times Union," quote, "Regrettably, in a time of such terrible grief, there are often a few individuals who attempt to make false claims in hopes of making millions of dollars. We will never let that happen."

MALKIN: They are taking this very seriously.

HAMMER: Celebrities from Bill Cosby to Tom Cruise have had to deal with extortion plots. But TMZ`s Harvey Levin tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, it`s hard to remember one as disturbing as the alleged plot against Travolta.

LEVIN: I would love to say it surprises me that there are people who would stoop to such a thing, but it doesn`t.

HAMMER: One thing is certain, with this ordeal, these movie stars are going through an added pain that no grieving parent should ever have to endure.


This is just all so sad and shocking. And now, we are hearing of a third arrest in the case. This is a shocker. TMZ now reporting that the Bahamas former minister of tourism, Obie Wilchcombe, has also been arrested in the case.

And what makes this so shocking is that in the days after Travolta`s death, Wilchcombe was all over the place being interviewed on TV and portraying himself as a close friend of the Travolta family.

Joining me tonight in New York is Lauren Lake who is a criminal defense attorney and TV host. Also in New York is Lisa Bloom who is the host of "Lisa Bloom: Open Court" and anchor of "In Session."

So earlier today, the Bahamian Police confirmed to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT the investigation was, in fact, underway as we mentioned. And as we just revealed, three men now have reportedly been arrested including this guy, Wilchcombe who was right there, front and center, when Jett first died.

Lisa, off to you first. Does it just blow your mind that anybody would try to cash in on the John Travolta tragedy?

LISA BLOOM, HOST, "LISA BLOOM: OPEN COURT": Well, it certainly is sick and outrageous. But I`m with Harvey Levin. I`ve been covering crime and justice stories long enough that I guess nothing shocks me anymore. But to think about these people, the Travolta family, on the very night when their child, their 16-year-old minor child, was dying.

And somebody must have gotten information, videos - we don`t know what it was - but some kind of information that they have threatened to publicly divulge and they wouldn`t do it in exchange for money, because that`s what extortion would be. I mean, that really does shock the conscience, and it`s horrific. I hope they get them.

HAMMER: I do too. It hasn`t been a month since Jett passed away. Now, Lauren, over to you. Really, this is just pain on top of pain for the Travoltas.

LAUREN LAKE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY AND TV HOST: It is. And I mean, having been involved in the criminal justice system for years, it is exhausting alone to have to deal with any type of criminal case. But the fact that they`re dealing with the loss, the death of their son, and then it`s compounded with some potential criminal case for extortion. This is - it`s ridiculous. I mean, it`s absolutely despicable. I really just feel so sorry for them.

HAMMER: Well, attorneys for Travolta issued a statement to the "Jacksonville Florida Times Union." I`d like to read that to you again. They say, quote, "Regrettably, in a time of such terrible grief, there are often a few individuals who attempt to make false claims in hopes of making millions of dollars. We will never let that happen."

They also added that they have the utmost confidence in the Bahamian police and government. Thankfully the attorneys are right there. They`re getting in front of this extortion attempt.

And Lisa, I would imagine, especially given the high-profile nature of this particular case, the celebrity involvement, we`re going to se the Bahamian authorities acting swiftly to get to the bottom of this and, you know, they`re going to be dotting every "I" along the way, right?

BLOOM: They are, because they took criticism in the Anna Nicole case, and that wasn`t that long ago. We also know that John Travolta and his family have outstanding lawyers who are going to be involved in this watching every move and making sure this thing is handled to the satisfaction of the family. So I think this thing is going to be resolved expeditiously and it`s going to be resolved right.

HAMMER: And here`s what I want to know, because, obviously, as we have been talking about, we`re seeing the Travoltas already dealing with so much grief. They have a lot ahead of them in terms of that. I`m curious if they`re going to have to actively be involved as this case moves forward.

Lauren, I will throw that to you, will they be able to stay in seclusion as they`ve been doing so they can deal with their grief and just kind of let their attorneys handle things, or are they going to have to get involved?

LAKE: Well, you know what? Their attorneys are doing their job right now, and they have to deal with the death of their son. They should let their attorneys handle everything necessary until it is absolutely positively necessary for them to have to be involved in the case.

If it is, they will come forward. I know they will do anything and everything to protect themselves from this type of extortion. However, for the time being, let them process the death of their son. And then let the lawyers deal with the potential criminals.

HAMMER: As we watch this thing unfold - Lisa, this to you - should all this lead to a conviction on extortion charges? What kind of punishment could this sicko or sickos face? Because I`m thinking, and I think everybody is with me on this, throw the book at them.

BLOOM: Well, that`s absolutely right. And depending on details and the facts and how it shakes out. It could be many years behind bars. This is, as you say, the kind of thing that shocks the conscience.

If this goes in front of the jury in the Bahamas and they have English system of justice, which is our system, which means a jury, jurors are just going to be just as offended by this as we all are, when you think about a family in final moments of agony in their child`s life, being subjected to an extortion demand of some kind of disclosure of personal information.

Good luck asking for mercy in front of a jury who hears that kind of information.

HAMMER: Yes, no kidding. And I really hope, moving forward, now that this part of it is behind them, the Travoltas can have the least amount of impact from all of this and can really deal with the grief of the loss of their son which is, you know, just hard enough on its own. Lauren Lake, Lisa Bloom, thanks, guys.

All right. Brooke, moving on, so many great things to say about the new first lady of the United States, right?

ANDERSON: There really are, A.J. So we are wondering, has there been too much focus on what Michelle Obama wears? Are we stuck in some antiquated vision of what a first lady should be? It`s the great Michelle Obama fashion debate, coming up.

And we`ll also have this -


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): He just became president and already he has a statue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Introducing Chia Obama.


HAMMER: Cha-cha-change we can believe in, anyone? It`s the Obama Chia Pet. Spread the seeds, keep it watered, and watch your commander-in-chief grow. I`m serious. This thing is really for sale. You don`t want to miss it.

HAMMER: And a showbiz reality check. Brand new developments in Hulk Hogan`s nasty divorce. Yes, they are still going at it.

Plus, a set back for Ozzie Osbourne`s daughter. We will have all those details for you, coming up.

And now, the SHOWBIZ News Ticker - more stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news right now.

(CAPTION READS: Sarah Palin seeking $11 million advance for book deal. Patrick Swayze reportedly taking offers for a book co-written by his wife.)


ANDERSON: Hey, did you see this? Tonight the guy who made the hat Aretha Franklin wore on Inauguration day. Calls are coming in fast and furious to Mr. Song Millinery in Detroit from people wanting that hat.

Luke Song says the hat was hand-molded, custom made for the queen of soul. But he is offering a satin ribbon version for $179.

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood.

Tonight, in the SHOWBIZ Obama Watch, a sky-high exclusive. We have your first look at a new TV show taking you inside Air Force One. What you are about to see will just blow you away. The National Geographic Channel fills you in on everything from what type of workout facilities are available to President Obama to his very own gourmet kitchen. It is truly amazing.

Here is CNN`s Randi Kaye for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It`s as tall as a six-story building and longer than a hockey rink. It`s also President Barack Obama`s newest means of transportation - Air Force One.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good afternoon. Nice to meet you.

B. OBAMA: Good to see you. You are the pilot of Air Force One?


B. OBAMA: You know, I`ve got to say you are out of central casting, exactly what I want for a pilot of Air Force One to look like.


B. OBAMA: You look like you`ve got to fly. You look like Sam Shepard in "The Right Stuff."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much, Sir.

KAYE: That`s Mr. Obama stepping inside the plane for the first time. He was flying from Chicago to Washington before the inauguration. "National Geographic" documentary about Air Force One, captured the moment.

PETER SCHNALL, PRODUCER: He was as excited as his staff who had already boarded the plane and were sort of like kids in the candy shop in a sense.

KAYE (on camera): The documentary focuses on Air Force One, who and what it takes to move the president around the world. Obama`s flight took place in the final days of shooting, so the film crew witnessed the on board transition, too. Every new president gets a new pilot.


KAYE (voice over): Colonel Mark Tillman flew President Bush on Air Force One for eight years.

COL. MARK TILLMAN, FORMER AIR FORCE ONE PILOT: His ability to run the country from Air Force One. So he has everything that`s available in the White House - is available at 45,000 feet.

KAYE: Including a gourmet meal, though Obama stuck with the basics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are serving dinner tonight. I thought you had dinner already. The menu we have available for you.

B. OBAMA: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Make that medium-well.


B. OBAMA: Cheddar cheese, if you have cheddar cheese.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I`ve got it. Cheddar cheese?

B. OBAMA: Cheddar cheese.


B. OBAMA: And I think we`ll have some Dijon mustard (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Dijon, a Grey Poupon?

B. OBAMA: That`s fine. And then, lettuce and tomato.


B. OBAMA: If you have salad or vegetables.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir, no problem.



KAYE (on camera): Will president Obama be able to exercise on board?

TILLMAN: The president has the capability to exercise on the aircraft. He can watch football games, sporting events - he`s big on watching sporting events. He`s got that capability.

KAYE: No basketball court?

TILLMAN: No basketball court, but he will have ability to ride a bike or something small in his office.

KAYE (voice over): An hour and a half later, when Obama touched down at Andrews Air Force Base, he said his good-byes to the crew, told them he would see them in a couple weeks after he was sworn in.

SCHNALL: You could sort of feel this sort of air of awe. I think even in him, because he was very quiet as he walked out. And face kind of got very quiet.

KAYE: A rare moment of peace perhaps to soak up the wonder of it all.


ANDERSON: That was CNN`s Randi Kaye for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. And you can catch "On Board Air Force One" Sunday, January 25th, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. on the National Geographic Channel.

HAMMER: And now that Barack Obama has been sworn in as president of the United States, his daughters are members of a very special club - the first children. You know, very few people know what it is look to have a father who also happens to be the most powerful man in the world.

President Bush`s daughters Jenna and Barbara gave advice to the first kids in a letter. And this morning they read their letter to Sasha and Malia Obama on the "Today" show. Check this out.


UNIDENTIFIED BUSH TWIN 1: When your dad throws out the first pitch to the Yankees, go to the game.

UNIDENTIFIED BUSH TWIN 2: In fact, go to anything and everything you possibly can. The Kennedy Center for Theater, state dinners, Christmas parties, museum openings, arrival ceremonies, and walks around the monument. Just go. Four years goes by so fast, so absorb it all. Enjoy it all.

Sasha and Malia, it is your turn now to fill the White House with laughter. And finally, although it is an honor and full of so many extraordinary opportunities, it isn`t always easy being a member of the club you are about to join. Our dad, like yours, is a man of great integrity and love, a man who always put us first.

UNIDENTIFIED BUSH TWIN 1: We still see him now as we did when we were seven, as our loving daddy, our dad who read to us nightly, taught us how to score at tedious baseball games. He`s our father, not the sketch in the paper, or part of a skit on TV.

Many people will think they know him, but they have no idea how he felt the day you were born, the pride he felt on your first day of school, or how much you both love being his daughters. So here`s our most important piece of advice -

UNIDENTIFIED BUSH TWIN 2: Remember who your dad really is.


HAMMER: Sage advice indeed. Well, Brooke, the "Showbiz On Call" phone lines won`t stop ringing. People are calling in. We`re getting lots of messages for President Obama and his family.

ANDERSON: We are, A.J. We`ve got a call into "Showbiz On Call" from Teandra, who says President Obama has invigorated the whole country.


TEANDRA, CALLER: I am overjoyed for Barack Obama to be president because now, what is history now includes all of us. And we, the people, are just that. No more color lines can limit us all from becoming a part of the American Dream. We emigrated here to achieve. So thank you, Barack Obama, for completing the dream.


ANDERSON: Thank you for that, Teandra. Well said. We also asked you to call in to "Showbiz On Call" with your thoughts on whether Sasha and Malia Obama are role models. Listen to this message to "Showbiz On Call" from Micala in North Carolina.


MICALA, CALLER FROM NORTH CAROLINA: We need to respect the boundaries his children have. Are they role models? Absolutely. Is he a role model? Absolutely. However, let`s give his children a bit of privacy. Let`s let them be children also. Thank you.


ANDERSON: We appreciate your call, Micala. Call us at "Showbiz On Call" and let us know your messages for the Obamas or anything else you are thinking about.

HAMMER: The "Showbiz On Call" phone lines are always open at 1-888-SBT- BUZZ; that`s 1-888-728-2899. Leave us a voicemail. We`re playing your calls right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

And your calls to "Showbiz On Call" are also now online right there on our homepage,

So Brooke, I`ve got to ask you this - have you noticed anything about the coverage of Michelle Obama?

ANDERSON: I have, A.J. From the looks of it, you would think Michelle Obama was a fashion model.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michelle Obama, first lady or the new "it" girl? Page after page of an Internet news search of her name, all about her clothes.


ANDERSON: So here`s what we`re asking - is it wrong to be focusing so much attention on what the new first lady wears? It`s the great Obama fashion debate, straight ahead.

HAMMER: Plus, introducing Chia Obama. Yes, spread the seeds, keep it watered and wait for a cha-cha-change. That`s right. You can have your very own Chia Obama. You don`t want to miss that.

ANDERSON: Abe Vigoda speaks out. Those rumors of his demise, greatly exaggerated. What does he think about the fact that so many people think he is dead? We`ve got Abe in his own words.

HAMMER: And now, we`ve got the SHOWBIZ News Ticker - more stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news right now.

(CAPTION READS: Prosecution rests in Phil Spector`s murder retrial. Tom Hanks apologizes to Mormons after calling their opposition to gay marriage "un-American.")


HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer.

ANDERSON: And I`m Brooke Anderson. Hey, did you see this? Matt Lauer and Abe Vigoda related? The "Today" show did this thing earlier this week where they showed how presidents age in office. Take a look.


MEREDITH VIEIRA, CO-HOST, THE "TODAY" SHOW: You know, how before we were showing you how stress ages the president, even in just a four-year period? We have some examples of that. We have a phenomenal graphics department here.


VIEIRA: What? Calm down. We were able to see Matt and how he`s going to look four years from now to project the difference in just four years.

LAUER: This is supposed to make me feel better. Is this some kind of an apology. Huh?



ANDERSON: So Matt didn`t like that. And apparently, Abe didn`t like it either. Abe Vigoda is one of the most beloved actors out there. He played Tessio in "The Godfather," Fish on `70s-`80s sitcom "Barney Miller." But Abe can definitely take a joke. Look what happened when he stopped by the "Today" show this morning.


VIEIRA: What did you think when you heard about this comparison thing?

ABE VIGODA, ACTOR: I was excited.

LAUER: Is that your excited face?


HAMMER: That we all know, of course - Abe`s classic face there, Brooke. And you know, Abe is 87 years young, I will say. But for 20 years now, there has been this crazy rumor floating around that he`s dead.

ANDERSON: I know. And today, A.J., Abe has finally set the record straight on how the rumor got started.


VIGODA: We had a wrap party for "Barney Miller." And I was doing a play in Calgary, Canada at the time of the wrap party. A reporter from "People" magazine came on and she wrote this article. And she said that, "We`re very sorry that the late Abe Vigoda is not here. In fact, he must be dead.: It`s a true story, and that`s how it came about.

I was about to go on stage to do my part in Calgary, Canada. The producer said, "You cannot go on." I said, "Why not? I have to go on." He said, "No, you can`t, because you`re dead. `People` magazine says you`re dead." And that`s how that came about.


HAMMER: That was great. But I am happy to see Abe is alive and well, Brooke.

ANDERSON: Yes. Me, too. He is still working, A.J. Abe says he just recorded a Super Bowl commercial for H & R Block.

HAMMER: So cool. All right, Brooke, so many great things to say about the new first lady of the United States.

ANDERSON: That`s right. So we`re wondering, has there been too much focus on what Michelle Obama wears? Are we stuck in some antiquated vision of what a first lady should be? It`s the great Michelle Obama fashion debate coming up.

And we`ll also have this -


MOOS: He just became president and already, he has a statue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Introducing Chia Obama.


HAMMER: Cha-cha-change we can believe in. Anyone? It`s the Obama Chia pet. You spread the seeds. Keep it watered. Watch your commander-in- chief grow. This thing really is for sale. You don`t want to miss it.

ANDERSON: And is Miley Cyrus really feuding with the Jonas Brothers? I`m sure just the thought of it has been the cause of many a sleepless pre-teen night. Miley herself is setting the record straight. Stay with us.


HAMMER: Now, on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT - the great Michelle Obama fashion debate. Tonight, so many people are spending so much time talking about the first lady`s fashion, what she wore during the inauguration, what she is wearing now. But is it wrong to keep talking about her clothes?

Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT dares to ask - is there too much focus on Michelle Obama`s fashion?


MOOS: He just became president and already he has a statue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Introducing Chia Obama.


HAMMER: Cha-cha-cha-Chia Obama. Tonight, your first look at the latest way someone is cashing in on Obama-mania. And let me tell you, this will really grow on you. Huh?

TVs most provocative entertainment news show continues right now.


Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It`s 30 minutes past the hour. I`m A.J. Hammer, broadcasting tonight and every night from New York City.

ANDERSON: I`m Brooke Anderson coming to you from Hollywood. And tonight, the great fashion debate over Michelle Obama.

HAMMER: Brooke, the debate is not over what she is wearing but whether there is too much attention being paid to what she is wearing.

ANDERSON: That`s right, A.J. It really is a hot topic. And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has not been alone this week talking about the first lady`s fashion style. But we are TV`s most provocative entertainment news show. So we are not afraid to ask, is it wrong to be focusing on Michelle Obama`s sense of style? Or given how fashion influences so many women, is it OK to talk about it? The Michelle Obama great fashion debate begins with CNN`s Don Lemon for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Michelle Obama, first lady or new "it" girl? Page after page of an Internet news search of her name, the first few hundred articles, all about her clothes. And a whole lot of Americans aren`t happy about that obsession.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Completely superficial.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would look to see the media definitely emphasizing the community and cultural aspects of who she is.

LEMON: So why the focus on frills and fashion for a woman who has led a most substantial life? Princeton University, Harvard Law School, and a resume that rivals her husband`s. First lady historian and author Carl Anthony.

CARL ANTHONY, FIRST LADY HISTORIAN AND AUTHOR: I think it is the lack of balance which is dangerous because it is in these early days that that persona gets set. And oftentimes, the media doesn`t depart from that.

LEMON: However, if the White House is ready to roll out the serious side of Michelle Obama, it`s hard to tell.

(on camera): All right. It`s called the first lady`s press office.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`ve reached Mrs. Bush`s press office. Please leave your name, number and a detailed message.

LEMON (voice over): Oops, a little update needed. White House spokesperson Robert Gibbs says so far, Mrs. Obama appears to be taking it all in stride, focusing first on making sure her daughters are settled into the White House.

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I know that the family has moved now three times in only a few weeks. But if you know them and you know their family, they have had a routine for a long time. This is a monumental testament to Michelle.


HAMMER: That was CNN`s Don Lemon for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. So is there just too much focus on Michelle`s style, and not enough on her substance? Tonight, it`s a great fashion debate.

As we just heard, Michelle Obama certainly has a fierce resume - Princeton University, Harvard Law, it`s a resume that rivals even that of her husband, the president. So is all the focus on her fashion wrong, or is it totally justified? Let the debate begin.

Joining me tonight in New York, Lauren Lake who is a criminal defense attorney and TV host. Also tonight in New York is Lisa Bloom who is an anchor for "In Session."

All right, ladies. We saw what happened within minutes of Michelle Obama`s appearance on Inauguration Day, everybody right away talking about who designed her outfit, whether she chose correctly, if she even wore it well. Lauren Lake, was that wrong?

LAKE: I don`t think so. I think it is natural. I mean,, we as Americans - we`re obsessed with what people look like. And truthfully, it`s important. I think from the time of the campaign, they were almost on an interview status. And when you know - when you go for an interview it is all about what you wear. Dress the part.

So we`re concerned about what she has on, but we are also concerned about what she has to say. And now that she has gotten the job as first lady, we are ready to see what she is going to do.

HAMMER: Lauren Lake, I`ve got to tell you. I find that hard to argue with. Lisa Bloom, do you agree with that?

BLOOM: Oh, boy. I have to respectfully disagree with the wonderful Lauren Lake. Look, Michelle Obama has always the smartest one in the room. She was salutatorian in her high school days. She skipped a grade. Princeton, Harvard - she was actually Barack Obama`s mentor at Sidley-Austin, a very prestigious law firm.

And all we talk about is who she is wearing? We don`t talk about what she`s thinking, what her ideas are, what her vision is for the future. If we spent one tenth the time in the media talking about those things, we`d be a much more substantial people.

Is it natural to look at her clothes? Of course it is natural to look at them. They`re beautiful. She looks elegant. That`s terrific. That should be part of the conversation. But that shouldn`t be the only conversation that we ever have about her.

I think that`s insulting to her. It`s sexist, and it`s insulting to the American people.

HAMMER: Yes. A lot of people have said on that side of the argument that the focus on her fashion really detracts from the real Michelle Obama. And I want you to take a look at what one particular Obama supporter had to say on Inauguration Day. Chris, roll that.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know the designers that she wears, and shoes she wears and the clothes and the shops that she shops in. But I have no idea what she stands for and what foundation she wants few support and the kind of, you know, organization she wants to start and what she feels her role is as first lady. I have no idea about those kinds of issues. The media doesn`t cover those things.


HAMMER: All right. Lauren, let`s go back to you on that. Does there need to be a point then when the focus shifts completely 100 percent away from Michelle Obama`s style to her substance? Because, you know, as I pointed out a little earlier, this woman`s resume is no joke. So should it just be left alone at some point? Or should there be a balance?

LAKE: Let`s get real. It is going to coast off eventually. Bottom line is you`ve just made my point. Up until now, they were basically on an interview status. We don`t know much about what she plans to do as first lady.

But now that she is first lady, I am sure - as a matter of fact, I will bank my life on the fact that Michelle Obama is going to have no problem setting what her protocol and what her issues are that she wants to attack as first lady. And when she talks, we`re all going to listen. And her clothes are going to take a back seat. Trust me.

HAMMER: I agree that we`re going to listen. But Lisa Bloom, do you agree that, as Lauren Lake just said, the attention to her fashion is going to coast off? As it was pointed out in our story, it can sort of set a precedent for the type of coverage she will have throughout her time in the White House?

BLOOM: Yes. The media is very retro in its coverage of female celebrities. We`re obsessed with baby bumps, Botox and who people are wearing instead of what women`s ideas are. And we see it with Michelle Obama and we see with a lot of female celebrities.

But I also wish Michelle Obama would get out there a little more - it`s early in her time as her first lady, surely - and talk about her ideas. We know, for example, she is very concerned about supporting military families.

I would love to see her get out there, talk about substance, talk about ideas because she has a part in this, too, in diverting the media away from this fluff into something more significant.

HAMMER: Well, throughout history we have seen this happen before. This is nothing new. First ladies have always been judged on what they wear. And to Lauren`s point, the attention has, at some point, moved on to, perhaps, their platforms that they`re trying to move forward.

Comparisons between Michelle Obama and Jackie O. were almost immediate as soon as we knew that she was going to be in the White House. So Lauren, what do you think is different this time, with the level of intensity?

LAKE: You know, I think that people really just rallied around the Obamas, period. I mean, it`s a historical time in our country, an African-American first lady and an African-American president. So what they`re doing, what they`re looking like, the heightened sense of awareness about everything they`re doing, I think, was natural.

But now that they`re here, and now that they`re in their roles as president and first lady, this is the time where we begin to look about at what they`re doing, what they`re talking about, what their issues are, how they`re tackling them. And we`re not going to be thinking as much about their clothes. It`s just that simple.

BLOOM: Well, I hope so. You know, what we don`t hear about, who made Barack Obama`s tuxedo, who designed his beautiful tie he wore at his inauguration, who made his shoes? I mean, we don`t hear any of that. He is just as gorgeous and looks terrific in clothes as she does.

We`ve got to be more obsessed with Barack Obama than Michelle Obama. But with her, it is the entire focus of anything that we`ve ever talked about with Michelle Obama. I think that`s got to be disturbing.

LAKE: Well, I will say this - But his suits are cute, Lisa. But her clothes are fabulous!


BLOOM: But can`t we talk about what is between her ears?

LAKE: Oh, that is a given.

BLOOM: As a role model, as an inspirational woman, as someone that we all look up to? Shouldn`t we be hearing more about what her ideas are?

LAKE: But Lisa, as one lawyer to another - I mean, we can`t get so legal eagle that we can`t recognize a great dress and a great pair of shoes. Let`s just be girls for a second. The dress was beautiful.

BLOOM: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) define themselves solely by what they put on their bodies. They want to define themselves by their thoughts and ideas.

HAMMER: The two of you are always very fashionable. But I will say this. We have already seen the influence she has had by what she has worn in terms of people wanting to go out and buy the same thing. Let us hope she has the same influence, if not more, on perhaps some young people deciding they want to go to Harvard or they want to go to Princeton.


Got to end it there. Lauren Lake, Lisa Bloom, thanks, guys.

BLOOM: Thank you.

LAKE: Thank you.

HAMMER: What do you think? Should everyone just kind of dial it down when it comes to Michelle Obama`s clothes? Well, let us know. It`s the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day - "Michelle Obama: Is there too much focus on her fashion?" Go to if you want to vote. You can also E-mail us more of your thoughts at

So Brooke, we have seen there are so many ways people have been trying to cash in big time on all of this Obama-mania.

ANDERSON: Yes, A.J. T-shirts, mugs, bobble heads - you name it. But tonight, I want to show you something that I think will really grow on you.



MOOS: He just became president and already he has a statue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Introducing Chia Obama.


ANDERSON: Cha-cha-cha-Chia Obama. Just add water and watch it bloom. This is really wild. We`ve got it, coming up.

HAMMER: I am so excited about that. And a SHOWBIZ reality check. Brand- new stories related to some of the biggest reality stars out there. Hulk Hogan and his wife battling over their maintenance man. Yes. And a stunning set back for Ozzie Osbourne`s daughter.

ANDERSON: And OMG, OMG, is Miley Cyrus no longer BFF with The Jonas Brothers? Miley sets the record straight. Is she fighting with them?

And now, the SHOWBIZ News Ticker - more stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news right now.

(CAPTION READS: "Heroes" star Hayden Panettiere`s father pleads no contest to hitting his wife. Alan Panettiere gets two years of informal probation for battery plea. Aretha Franklin gives Pres. Obama collection of 17 sermons written by her dad, a minister.)


ANDERSON: Hey, welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. Tonight, did you see this - the outrageous and hilarious brand new Obama-bilia about to hit store shelves.

We have all seen the tons of Barack Obama-inspired merchandise. There are books, T-shirts, sneakers, dolls - there are even more than two dozen songs. But did you see this? A mainstay of 1980`s television is now cashing in with its own unique brand of cha-cha-cha-change.

Here`s CNN`s Jeanne Moos for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


MOOS: He just became president and already, he has a statue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Introducing Chia Obama.

MOOS: Yes, that Chia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s a new pet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): Chi-chi-chi-chia.

MOOS: Joining the Obama-bilia, from the Barack in the box, to condoms, you can now place your order for the terracotta Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hail to the chi-chi-chi-chief.

B. OBAMA: I noticed that I`ve been getting gray.

MOOS: Yes. Well now, you`re going to be getting green. The Chia plant is part of the mint family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Each Chia Obama comes with a Chia seed packet.

MOOS: Chia Obama works just like the Chia pet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Soak your Chia, spread the seeds, keep it watered and watch it grow.

MOOS: Just like the Chia Homer Simpson, Chia Obama will grow as much as an inch and a half of hair says the company VP, Michael Hirsch(ph).

MOOS (on camera): The president of the United States is going to have an afro.

MICHAEL HIRSCH (ph), COMPANY VICE PRESIDENT: He`s going to have a Chia- fro.

MOOS (voice over): They look a little like he did back in high school. Chia Obama comes in two poses, determined or happy. You can preorder one for $19.99, but they won`t be mass produced until spring. Of course the Chia`s hair dies in a month or so, but you can always replant -

HIRSCH(ph): And you can use other seeds as well.

MOOS (on camera): What? Could he be a pothead?

HIRSCH(ph): I don`t know.

MOOS (voice over): And guess who the next Chia could be?

(on camera): No plans for Chia Hillary?

HIRSCH(ph): In the works.

MOOS (voice over): The Chia folks are the same ones who brought us.


MOOS (on camera): Too bad they couldn`t combine the two - (CLAPS) and he grows hair. That would make it the clapper-Chia.

MOOS: The Chia pet is already in the Smithsonian. Now, the Chia Obama is in the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you grow one? Yes, you can.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing): Chi-chi-chi-chia.


ANDERSON: What an idea. That was CNN`s Jeanne Moos for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

HAMMER: I`m going to get one and put it next to my Chia Homer, because I do have one of those, Brooke.

All right, tonight SHOWBIZ Obama Watch takes an amazing behind-the- scenes look at Barack Obama`s final moments right before he took the oath of office.

Now, if you think you have seen everything there is to see, trust me here, you have not. Until right now. "Time" magazine is now revealing exclusive, up close and personal moments with the entire Obama family.

And tonight, in her own words, "Time" magazine photographer Callie Shell-Aurora explains how she captured the stunning moments on Tuesday morning. Watch this -


CALLIE SHELL-AURORA, PHOTOGRAPHER, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Inauguration Day is a very special day. And it`s not just a special day for the president and the first lady coming in, but it is a special day for the whole country, especially this one.

I have to say this was the most personal one because I had actually been with the person from beginning to end, starting this campaign. So, you know I think it is an amazing process.

I know the staff. There are many of them there that have worked there since Kennedy or near that time. And I know that when I left the White House, you know, the one thing they said was, "Someday it would be really, really wonderful to serve a black president."

He looked attractive. You know, he was adjusting his lapel pin, you know, to make sure it looked OK. And not to make sure he looked OK, but you know, it`s, "OK. I`ve got this pin, make sure that it looks good and make sure I carry it off right, make sure I don`t block the cameras with my hand."

And I just think Michelle the whole time - it was so obvious all day long that she was looking at him with pride. You know, they`re very lucky to have these two children that understand the importance of what their father is doing means to their generation. Sasha is a skipper and a dancer and run-arounder.

So I think, you know - she had taken her shoes off. You know, they just sat down on the chair and fixed the shoe. But I think having the girls there, I think it means a lot to kids. They are these real people that - they really do have this - Michelle and Barack Obama have this amazing relationship as a couple, as best friends.

Their support for each other is amazing, and that they are just like every other parent. They`re trying to balance work and balance their family, that the only way with 1,000 people around you, you know, to go out and make a speech or go through the day as you just kind of, you know, close your eyes and pretend like 1,000 people aren`t around you.


HAMMER: I`ve got to say I was totally blown away by the pictures. They truly capture a unique perspective of such a historic day. And you can check it out for yourself in the new issue of "Time" magazine on newsstands right now.

ANDERSON: It is time now for the SHOWBIZ reality check, brand new stories about big reality stars.

First up, Hulk and Linda Hogan`s divorce has taken another ugly turn. Hulk and Linda were in court fighting over, get this, their maintenance man.

Hulk had agreed to pay the guy to work on each of their homes. But Linda says Hulk stopped paying and was actually using the guy to spy on her. A judge ruled in favor of Linda, and Hulk has to pay up. No comment from Hulk`s people.

Kelly Osbourne is in rehab. Kelly is the 24-year-old daughter of rocker Ozzie Osbourne and Sharon Osbourne.

"People" magazine reports that Kelly is in an unnamed center in Los Angeles for 30 days. No word on what she`s in rehab for. But about five years ago, during their reality show, "The Osbournes," Kelly checked into rehab with a painkiller addiction.

HAMMER: You know, Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers go together like peanut butter and jelly, like pepper and salt, like love and marriage. Stop the presses.

Are these superstar singers going at it? Are they fighting? I, for one, will not be able to sleep until I know. Miley, herself, sets the record straight, coming up next.

And now, the SHOWBIZ News Ticker - more stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news right now.

(CAPTION READS: Justin Timberlake, Brad Pitt, David Beckham spoofed in upcoming WII game. Ready 2 Rumble revolution boxing game also has a Simon Cowell look-alike.)


ANDERSON: Hey, welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Brooke Anderson. It is time now for making it work. This is our ongoing coverage of Hollywood couples that make their relationships work, which, as we know, it doesn`t seem to be an easy thing to do.

Tonight, Jim Carrey. Now, Jim and girlfriend Jenny McCarthy have been dating for about three years. Jim has been married twice before; Jenny has been married, too. And they are raising her son from her first marriage.

And let me tell you, Jim and Jenny aren`t planning to tie the knot any time soon. In fact, Jim tells CNN`s Larry King being happily unmarried is actually what makes their relationship work.


JIM CARREY, ACTOR: I love Jenny very much. And you know, we have a great relationship. And we`ve both been married a couple times. And you know, the kind of calm and feeling out there is this kind of human need like, kind of, close things, you know, to have closure and things and to categorize and put them on a shelf. And OK, they`re married now. We can deal with that.

But I like it the way it is and I think she likes it the way it is, you know.


ANDERSON: Another big star who is happily unmarried, Kiss` Gene Simmons. He`s been with girlfriend Shannon Tweed for more than 20 years.

By the way, it will be really interesting to hear what Jenny McCarthy thinks about Jim`s new film where he kisses Ewan McGregor. It`s called, "I Love You, Phillip Morris."

HAMMER: All right. Let`s get down to business, because tonight, Miley Cyrus is setting the record straight about rumors of a feud between her and the Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato, her fellow Disney Channel star.

In a video blog at "," Miley and her sister Brandy take us on a meandering walk through teenage drama, Disney style. Now, brace yourself and listen to this -


MILEY CYRUS, POP STAR: Hi. You guys saw me - I was hanging out with the Jonas Brothers at the inaugural. That was really good, and we are friends. And so everyone thinking that there`s a big feud between me and the Jo Bros and Selena(ph) and Demi - actually, I`m going over to have meatloaf with Demi tonight after I go work out.

Like I said, I`m riding my bike to Demi`s house. So I`m going to be partying with Demi because we`re friends and I love her and she always is there for me. And so we have moved on and it`s good for everyone else to do that, too.


HAMMER: So there you have it, haters. Everything is totally cool with Miley and Demi and the Jonas Brothers. I don`t know about you, but certainly, I am going to sleep better tonight, Brooke. I can`t tell you how relieved I am.

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

ANDERSON: And I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. Don`t forget, you can catch SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on the 11:00s - 11:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, and in the morning, 11:00 a.m. Eastern on HLN.