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Mystery Document in the John Travolta Extortion Case Revealed; "Mad" About Obama; The Jessica Simpson Weight Debate; Look Who`s Turning 40; India`s Reaction to "Slumdog Millionaire"
Aired January 28, 2009 - 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, CO-HOST: Now, on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT - the Travolta extortion plot mystery. Has it finally been solved? Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with brand-new details about a mysterious document at the heart of an alleged $25 million extortion plot against John Travolta.
Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT uncovers what the document reveals about the desperate attempt to save the life of Travolta`s son and why anyone might have thought Travolta would pay $25 million for it.
The great Jessica Simpson weight debate. Tonight, the absolute outrage after Jessica is slammed and made fun of for gaining weight. Why women everywhere are furious. Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT demand to know - is it wrong to criticize Jessica for gaining weight?
Plus, Jennifer Aniston`s revelations to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT about turning 40.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNIFER ANISTON, ACTRESS: I personally feel better than I ever felt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
It is a SHOWBIZ special report - the amazing number of beautiful stars who are also turning 40 and still fabulous.
TV`s most provocative entertainment news show starts right now.
HAMMER: 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, has the big $25-million mystery surrounding the John Travolta extortion plot finally been solved?
HAMMER: Yes, Brooke, it has been a mystery ever since the disturbing news broke about a possible shakedown of Travolta connected to his teenage son`s tragic death in the Bahamas. What in the world would make someone think they can get Travolta to pay as much as $25 million for a document that could make him look bad? What could possibly be in that document?
Well, tonight SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you that we may finally have the answer. And it`s making big news right now.
(voice over): It`s the biggest mystery in that heartless extortion plot against John Travolta and Kelly Preston. Exactly what were the alleged extortionists trying to use as leverage to shake down the Travoltas for $25 million just weeks after they lost their son Jett?
Now, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you, the mystery is solved.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARVEY LEVIN, TMZ: This is all over a document.
HAMMER: That`s right. A document. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has all the new developments in the sad case which gets even more unbelievable by the day.
LEVIN: This just feels very "Keystone Cops"-like -
HAMMER: It all goes back to the time after 16-year-old Jett suffered a seizure during a family vacation in the Bahamas. An ambulance was called to the scene. But TMZ`s Harvey Levin tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT that John Travolta, an experienced pilot, was wondering if there was another way to get help for his dying son.
LEVIN: At that point, John really wanted to take him back to Florida and felt that the drive to the hospital would be about as long as it would be to get him on a jet and take him over to Florida. And the ambulance didn`t want to do that because they felt they might be liable if he died.
So the document basically released the ambulance service of liability in the event that Jett died en route to Florida. As it turned out, John realized that it probably would be quicker to get him to the hospital and that`s what he did.
HAMMER: Once at the hospital, Jett was declared dead. Bahamian police believe that soon after the ambulance driver, through his lawyer, contacted Travolta`s attorneys with a heartless offer, that refusal to transport document would be kept private in exchange for a $25 million payment.
LEVIN: Maybe if there really was an extortion plot, the extortionists were saying, "We`ve got a document that basically says John Travolta tried to refuse medical treatment to his son."
But if you know the real story which is he didn`t want to refuse him medical treatment. He wanted to get him to Florida where he thought he could get better care and wanted to get him on that jet and ultimately changed his mind. When you really look at what it is about, it`s worthless.
HAMMER: Now, that alleged document is what threatens to send two people to prison. The Bahamian ambulance driver, Tarino Lightbourne, has been charged in the extortion case. He recently talked to "Good Morning America" about Jett`s death.
TARINO LIGHTBOURNE, AMBULANCE DRIVER: I saw him lean over, hugged his son, kissed him. Tell him he loved him. Tell him, "I did everything I could."
HAMMER: Also charged in the case, Lightbourne`s attorney, former Bahamian Senator Pleasant Bridgewater. We see her in the new TMZ video taken at her arraignment. She didn`t enter a plea but she has said she didn`t do anything wrong. She is out on bail. But Lightbourne, the paramedic, who has pleaded not guilty, is still locked up.
LEVIN: The police, we understand, believe that the document is still in the hands of the EMT. And they`re afraid if the EMT gets out of jail, the first thing he is going to do is go and destroy the evidence.
HAMMER: But TMZ`s Harvey Levin tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT the cops don`t need the document to make their case.
LEVIN: They may never find the document. The fact is, we are told there are tape recordings. And if there are - if they are really saying, "Look, we want money in return for not releasing X. Whether X exists today still becomes irrelevant. I mean, if they tried to extort money in order to keep something private, they`re in a lot of trouble.
HAMMER: Travolta is listed as a potential witness against the two suspects. Meanwhile, his attorneys are working with the Bahamian police perhaps to send a message.
LEVIN: If you are a public figure like John Travolta, you know, who has been hit in the past with various claims, you really want to make a point, "You know, don`t mess with me." And this is the perfect case to do it in.
ANDERSON: So all this has got us wondering - why would that worthless document make anybody think John Travolta would pay $25 million?
With me now in New York, Ashleigh Banfield. She is an anchor with Legal Network "In Session." Also in New York, Ben Widdicombe, who is the celebrity editor of "StyleList.com."
OK. Ashleigh, Ben, it seems to me that John Travolta wanted the best care for his son. His gut reaction as a dad was, "OK. Maybe let`s get on a plane, fly the 45 minutes to the hospital in Florida." Seems there was uncertainty where Jett should be treated initially.
Ben, how in the world could somebody think that they could profit from a decision John Travolta was trying to make as his son was dying?
BEN WIDDICOMBE, CELEBRITY EDITOR, "STYLELIST.COM": Well, Brooke, it is unbelievable. With names like Pleasant Bridgewater and Tarino Lightbourne, they sound like characters in an Edith Wharton novel. But the plot is straight out of Dashiell Hammet.
All I could think is that maybe they thought that at this moment of greatest pain, the Travoltas would just pay them some money to go away. If that`s how they were gambling, they gambled wrong, because now, they`re in a massive trouble.
ANDERSON: But if they wanted that, why ask for $25 million? My goodness. Ashleigh how could anybody come up with that extraordinary price tag? You know, maybe if they had asked for $1 million or something, the Travoltas could have given that up so that they would just go away, leave them alone. But $25 million? Does it just add to the absurdity of this whole thing?
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, ANCHOR, "IN SESSION": A lot of money. And it had me thinking that perhaps it`s the amount of money that is commensurate with the kind of negative attention that the Church of Scientology has been getting of late.
And so perhaps this was the kind of price tag they thought would be good hush money to keep something that could - not necessarily would, but could become a scandal for the church and for the Travoltas.
Who knows why certain criminals do what they do, if these alleged people are criminals? But it does seem, on the surface, to be absurd.
ANDERSON: Yes, for crying out loud. If it is all true, it is just beyond ridiculous and cold and heartless to try to take advantage of grieving parents.
And of course we all know that criminals are not generally the smartest people in the world. But Ben, if in fact, there is nothing more to this story, if this was the whole plot, and these people are found guilty, will they go down as two of the dumbest criminals ever?
WIDDICOMBE: Well, what is so shocking about the mystery document is how un-shocking it turned out to be. It`s clearly not the work of a man who is trying to refuse medical treatment for his son. It was the action of a man who was trying to get the best medical treatment for his son.
There is nothing remotely embarrassing about this refusal to treat document that John Travolta signed. It really was the wrong tool to use in this extortion sting.
ANDERSON: Absolutely. As Harvey Levin said in the piece, when you know the real story, they were trying to do everything they could for their son in those moments. I want to take another look right now at some brand new video from the Bahamas today of one of those arrested in the extortion plot, former Bahamian Senator Pleasant Bridgewater who actually was freed on bail.
Ashleigh, given what we know so far do you see this thing going to trial?
BANFIELD: Well, yes and no. There are two accused here. One of them is a former senator with perhaps a lot more to lose than the EMT worker. So I`m thinking that perhaps the former senator could be facing a lifetime of lost law license and ability to practice. So perhaps, she might be more willing to go to trial to clear her name.
As for the EMT worker, I don`t know. But I`m thinking this is the kind of thing that Bahamian officials have every interest in the world in seeing settled out of court and a plea deal. But you know what? It is a pretty egregious crime with grieving parents. It really could go either way.
ANDERSON: You know, both of the accused have, of course, said that they are innocent. But Ben, do you think that the Travoltas are maybe hoping that the two suspects plead guilty so that they don`t have to go to trial and that they can avoid having to rehash the nightmare of Jett`s death?
LEVIN: Well, unfortunately, the pain of losing a child is something I think that will always be with them. The indications I`m getting is that there will be a trial. Whether the Travoltas are compelled to testify remains to be seen. Certainly, I could think of nothing they would less like to do that to relive that awful night again in a courtroom.
ANDERSON: Ashleigh, very quickly, what do you think? Do you think the Travoltas might be so angry? Of course, they would like nothing more than see the people convicted, get thrown in jail?
BANFIELD: I can`t speak for them. But all I can say is that it is not easy to be a victim of injustice and it is much, much harder to get up in front of public court and do so.
ANDERSON: Yes. The whole thing is just deplorable. Ashleigh Banfield, Ben Widdicombe, thank you.
HAMMER: All right. Brooke, let`s move on now. No matter you what you think about Jessica Simpson`s movies or music, I think you`ve got to admit she is a very pretty young lady.
ANDERSON: Oh, she is beautiful, A.J., and very sweet too.
HAMMER: Yes. And that is exactly why, Brooke, I think it is especially disgusting how Jessica is getting made fun of for, you know, maybe putting on a few pounds. There is absolute outrage over this. I am furious. Women everywhere are furious.
Is it wrong to criticize Jessica for gaining weight? The great debate is coming up.
Also this -
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNIFER ANISTON, ACTRESS: If this is what it means to be 40, I think it`s fantastic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Jennifer Aniston opens up to us about turning the big 4-0. She`s just one of the amazing number of beautiful stars who are turning 40. You do not want to miss our SHOWBIZ special report "Look Who`s Turning 40."
HAMMER: And the PETA ad that`s too hot for TV, so racy it got banned. So the ladies of "The View" decided to re-enact it.
ANDERSON: And now the "SHOWBIZ News Ticker" - more stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news right now.
(CAPTION READS: Michael Jackson sued by director of "Thriller" music video. Director John Landis claims Jackson hasn`t paid him royalties for the past four years. Ex-manager of Philadelphia soul arena football team is suing Jon Bon Jovi, the owner. Manager claims Bon Jovi and his partners owe him $125,000.)
(VIDEO CLIP OF "THE A-TEAM")
HAMMER: Ah, yes. A true `80s classic. There was never a mess they couldn`t get out of. And of course, this show had one of the best opening themes ever. The "A-Team." And tonight I`ve got big news about Hannibal, Face, Murdock, and B.A.
Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. This is very exciting. Tonight, I can tell you there is an "A-Team" movie in the works. The TV series, of course, one of the biggest in the `80s, all about a crack U.S. Military commando unit sent to prison for a crime they didn`t commit in Vietnam.
Well, they broke out of prison and lived their lives on the run as mercenaries for hire. But they fought for the good guys. Stars of course included the late George Peppard and Mr. T.
And now an "A-Team" movie is in the works. It should be out in December of 2010. Ridley Scott and the show`s creator Stephen Cannell are behind this thing. And reports say the script will change the story of the A-Team to the Middle East from Vietnam.
And Brooke, I pity the fool that gets in the way of this movie. It was cheap but I had to do it. Thank you.
ANDERSON: That was pretty good, A.J. All right. Now, the "SHOWBIZ Obama Watch." Tonight mad about Obama, literally. It is the brand new cover of "Mad" magazine that everybody is talking about. You know, even though President Obama is facing so many tough issues - the economy, the Middle East, he has come across cool as a cucumber.
But is that really what is going on in the Oval Office? No panicking at all? Or are we missing something here?
Here is CNN`s Jeanne Moos for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When President Obama said -
OBAMA: The time has come to set aside childish things.
MOOS: We hope he didn`t mean this childish thing. Sure, he`s graced a million magazine covers. But "Mad" shows him as we`ve never seen him - "The First 100 Minutes" - surrounded by dire headlines, smoking five cigarettes simultaneously while chugging Pepto-Bismol and popping Excedrin - not quite the way the official White House photo depicts him. But some complain the magazine personified by Alfred E. Newman missed something with its Obama caricature.
(on camera): You know, you have gotten some criticism for not making his ears big enough in this, you know?
JOHN FICARRA, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "MAD" MAGAZINE: He is - he does have big ears. There`s no question about it. He even mocked himself about the Alfred E. Smith dinner about his ears.
MOOS (voice-over): The Alfred E. Smith Dinner named after a former New York governor.
OBAMA: As it`s often been said that I share the politics of Alfred E. Smith and the ears of Alfred E. Newman.
MOOS: President Obama is always joking about his ears. When he visited Mt. Rushmore, he was asked if he`d like to see his face up there.
OBAMA: I don`t think my ears would fit.
MOOS: "Mad" did accentuate Obama`s ears the first time he appeared on its cover, right after his nomination.
"Time Magazine" named this morph of Alfred E. Newman and Obama one of the top 10 magazine covers of 2008.
(on camera): What is this?
FICARRA: This is what we call the celebrity snap.
MOOS (voice over): Readers send in photos of themselves posing with celebs holding "Mad."
FICARRA: So here we have a former president, Mr. Bush, holding up a cover that says "Mad 20 Dumbest," of which he was in that.
MOOS: Ah, the Bush years supplied plenty of covers for "Mad" - some of which must have made Republicans mad.
But the magazine industry is in trouble and "Mad" isn`t amused. It was just announced it would be reduced to quarterly publication.
FICARRA: We pretty much get feedback that one out of every three issues of "Mad" is funny. And we decided just to print those three or four a year. It will be fine.
MOOS: It will be fine - that`s what the president must be saying as he tries to save our butts.
ANDERSON: That was CNN`s Jeanne Moos for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
HAMMER: All right. Brooke, the "Showbiz On Call" phone lines - they`ve been nearly overloaded. They almost broke the whole telecommunication system down here with people calling in about our debate over whether Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie deserve more privacy.
ANDERSON: Yes. We got a call in to "Showbiz On Call" from Dana in Colorado.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DANA, CALLER FROM COLORADO: The paparazzi don`t bother me at all because I didn`t choose to be a famous movie star for a living. You know, these people are drop-dead gorgeous, filthy rich - they have everything that a human being could ever possibly dream of having in the world. Someone wanting to take their picture every now and again or writing a little story about them every now and again is the price that you pay for having every single dream come true. Seems like kind of a small price to me.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Thank you for that, Dana. We appreciate it. And we also heard from Lakeah calling in to "Showbiz On Call" from Florida.
LAKEAH, CALLER FROM FLORIDA: When they`re home, they should be entitled to their privacy. When they`re at work, they`re in the public`s eye. So if the paparazzi can`t get pictures or photos while they`re out in the public eye, then that`s their problem. They`re not doing their job.
HAMMER: Well, thank you, Lakeah for your phone call. You can call us at "Showbiz On Call," to let us know what you think about this or anything else that may be on your mind.
ANDERSON: The "Showbiz On Call" phone lines are open 24/7. Give us a ring - 1-888-SBT-BUZZ; 1-888-728-2899. Leave a voicemail. We will play some of your calls here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
And your calls to "Showbiz On Call" are also now online. That`s on our homepage, CNN.com/ShowbizTonight.
A.J., so many people, fired-up about Brad and Angelina and whether they should have more privacy.
HAMMER: That`s right, Brooke. So much outrage as well over Jessica Simpson getting slammed for putting on a little weight. This is insane, and it has gotten nasty. I mean, is it right to criticize Jessica for putting on a few pounds? It`s the great Jessica Simpson weight debate, coming up.
ANDERSON: And we`ve got the shocking super-racy PETA ad that is too hot for TV. It is so over-the-top it got banned. So, the ladies of "The View" decided to reenact it. You have got to see this.
And also this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATRINA SZISH, CELEBRITY JOURNALIST: Age-old criticism of Hollywood ageism clearly doesn`t ring true anymore with all of these amazing beauties still going strong at the height of their careers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: Yes. Turning 40 is fabulous. Tonight, a SHOWBIZ special report, "Look Who is Turning 40." Jennifer Aniston is and speaking out to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. So many other amazing stars are turning 40 as well.
And now the "SHOWBIZ News Ticker" - more stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news right now.
(CAPTION READS: Madame Tussauds Museum will unveil Michelle Obama wax figure in March. Kelly Clarkson`s new single, "My Life Would Suck Without You," will break a record. Billboard says Clarkson`s song will jump from number 97 to number one, largest leap in history.)
HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer.
ANDERSON: And I`m Brooke Anderson. A.J., did you see this?
Will Mickey Rourke and heavyweight wrestling champion of the world go at it at Wrestlemania 25? Mickey, who won a Golden Globe for his great comeback role in "The Wrestler" shocked everybody by dissing the current WWE heavyweight champion Chris Jericho at the SAG Awards. Uh-oh.
HAMMER: That`s right, Brooke. So of course, on CNN`s "LARRY KING LIVE," Jericho came on and let Mickey have it and pretty much issued a smack down daring Mickey to step into the ring.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS JERICHO, WWE HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION: There is a lot of difference between playing a wrestler in a movie and actually being one in real life. And I think Mickey was given some bad advice in saying my name on the red carpet.
And if you get your wish, Mr. Rourke, you will not be - you will learn things you never learned in playing a wrestler in a movie.
LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Mr. Rourke, you may counter.
MICKEY ROURKE, ACTOR: I think, I`m hearing what the man is saying. Listen, I was visiting his world. He does his thing. He does his thing very well. And perhaps I did put my foot in my mouth. And I`ve got nothing but respect for him.
KING: Would you wrestle him?
ROURKE: Would I wrestle him?
ROURKE: If it was up to me -
KING: You would?
ROURKE: No. It`s not my world. You know, I was a professional fighter. Would I box him in a boxing ring or bare-knuckle match? Yes. Wrestling - that`s his role. That`s what this man does.
JERICHO: Interesting. Interesting. A boxing match, huh? Bare-knuckle match? Interesting, Mr. Rourke. That`s very interesting.
ROURKE: Here he goes.
JERICHO: I think you should have thought before you spoke. Be careful what you wish for, Mr. Rourke. It may come true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: A.J., it sounds like it is getting pretty nasty.
HAMMER: I don`t think you talk to Mickey Rourke like that personally. But I`ve also got to tell you, this is classic Vince McMahon here. He, of course, The guy behind the WWE, and a master at creating these stories just hyping things up, getting people to buy wrestling tickets and watch the programming. But hey, we are talking about it aren`t we?
ANDERSON: Yes, that`s true, we are. But I do have to say that even though Mickey was playing along, he did look a little uncomfortable. And late today, his rep confirmed that yes, he was asked but will not be participating in Wrestlemania 25. However, the WWE tells us that, you never know what could happen there. So stay tuned.
HAMMER: Yes. Could be part of the whole plot.
All right. Brooke, I bet Jessica Simpson wants to body slam some people. I cannot believe how she is getting slammed for putting on weight. This is ridiculous and women everywhere are furious. Coming up, we have got to ask - is it fair to criticize her for putting on a few pounds?
Also, wow. This PETA ad is so hot it was banned from TV. But the lady of "The View" didn`t think it was too hot for them. They reenacted the ad.
And we`ve also got this -
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just showing the poor part of India. They haven`t seen the real Indians in this movie.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: "Slumdog Millionaire" getting rave reviews and could win the Best Picture Oscar. But tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT heading to India where there are a lot of people upset with the movie.
ANDERSON: But first, stay on top of the most provocative entertainment news with our daily SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsletter.
Head to CNN.com/ShowbizTonight, click on the "sign up for newsletter" link at the bottom of the page. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is back right after this. Hang tight.
HAMMER: Now, on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the Jessica Simpson great weight debate. Absolute outrage after Jessica gets slammed for putting on a little weight. Tonight, why women everywhere are furious. And even Jessica`s sister is rushing to her defense.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANISTON: If this is what it means to be 40, I think it`s fantastic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: Jennifer Aniston speaks out about turning 40. How Jen feels about the big 4-0. And the awesome company she is in. Some of Hollywood`s most beautiful stars are turning 40 this year. Tonight, a Showbiz special report, "Look Who is 40."
TV`s 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: And I`m Brooke Anderson, coming to you from Hollywood. Tonight, the Jessica Simpson weight debate.
HAMMER: Yes, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you there is absolute outrage tonight over a picture of Jessica Simpson that shows she has gained a few pounds. And there are stories everywhere making fun of her.
Brand new photos and video of a curvier Jessica Simpson first surfaced online and now, she is being mocked everywhere. Some of it is downright cruel. The headlines making fun of her waistline. And I`ve got to tell you they are totally out of line.
Jessica`s sister Ashlee came out swinging today defending her big sister and firing back at critics on her MySpace celebrity page saying that she is disgusted and she wants everyone to back off. Women coast-to-coast are fired-up and I get it.
Joining me tonight in New York, Emme, who is the founder of EmmeStyle.com. Also joining me tonight in Hollywood is Jessica Wiener, self-esteem expert and author of "Life Doesn`t Begin Five Pounds from Now."
OK. I just have to begin with a - this is just - I don`t know what to say.
EMME, FOUNDER, "EMMESTYLE.COM": Let it out, A.J.
HAMMER: Yes. Well, let`s first just take a look at the now-infamous photo of Jessica Simpson. This thing was shot while she was performing at a Florida radio station`s chili cook-off event.
Jessica clearly a few pounds heavier than we`re used to seeing her, granted this is also an unflattering angle here. And I`m looking at this - I`m looking at this and thinking what is the big deal?
But then you go online and you look at the mainstream newspapers, the headlines saying stuff like Jessica Simpson, bigger star than ever. Jessica Simpson packs on the pounds. For the record, I find it hideous. I find it reprehensible. And Emme, I`m going to start with you. Am I in any way off base here?
EMME: No, absolutely not. And we love hearing that. And I think a lot of women including Jessica and myself, you know, Jess, right?
JESSICA WIENER, SELF ESTEEM EXPERT: Absolutely.
EMME: We`re right there with you, buddy.
HAMMER: All right. Good. Because you know, I`m telling you -
EMME: Stamp of approval.
HAMMER: I`m telling you - my head almost exploded. I opened up, you know, the "New York Post" of all papers and see this. And I`m thinking, "What are they thinking?" We will get to that in a second.
But even Jessica`s personal trainer says he thinks Jessica looks healthy. Kim Kardashian told "People.com" she thinks Jessica looks hot.
Jessica Wiener, off to you, why the nasty headlines? What is the upside here of them printing stuff like that?
WIENER: There isn`t any upside, A.J., except for the online gossip bullies and this sort of gossip magazines. But I want to put this in perspective for everybody who`s watching right now. This is the downside of the great weight debate in Hollywood.
Jessica Simpson played the weight game. She lost a lot of weight for her "Daisy Duke" role. She doesn`t look like that anymore. She is getting older. Her body is changing. It`s an unrealistic ideal to maintain.
And the losers, A.J., are my children, your children, the children out there watching and comparing themselves to unrealistic images. And then hearing somebody call somebody like
Jessica Simpson fat is beyond ridiculous to respond to. We have to put this in perspective and say why was it that last week or a week ago we`re elevated in this country with new change and hope and idea, and this is still how we treat female citizens of the country especially our Hollywood celebrities. We still debase women based on what they look like, and that is tragic.
HAMMER: Yes. How we have not moved on from that is just beyond me. And of course, so many people coming out in defense of Jessica, her sister Ashlee all fired-up over this. She went on a tirade on her MySpace celebrity page that I want to read to you from.
Here is some of what she wrote, quote, "I am completely disgusted by the headlines concerning my sister`s weight. All women come in different shapes, sizes, and forms. And just because you`re a celebrity, there shouldn`t be a different standard. Is this something you would say to your wife, daughter, mother, grandmother, or even a friend? I seriously doubt it."
Emme, why do people think this is OK? Is it because she is a celebrity going at the double standard there?
EMME: Well, it`s not OK, obviously. Why do - who approves the cartoons? Who approves the language in the magazines? We need to really start thinking about when we are in the conference rooms, when we`re making those decisions as a media responsibility.
I know it sound really nutty and a lot of people say, "Oh, just tear the celebrities down." What is really happening on a deeper psyche in American women, women are trying to keep the families together, A.J. They`re trying to have their - you know their husband are losing jobs. They`re losing jobs. They`re trying to put food on the table.
So when they see that a celebrity like Jessica Simpson who`s looking quite curvaceous and beautiful is torn down. She then looks at herself and then adds on to the list of everything else that she is doing.
EMME: "Oh, I`m not looking great. If they`re going to pick on Jessica, what about me?"
HAMMER: Yes. No, exactly.
EMME: It`s the wrong message. We need to be lifted up. How about if the tables were turned on men?
WIENER: We would never have this conversation if there was a man we were talking about right now. It`s terrible.
HAMMER: I guarantee if they started going after men like this, I would treat it as equal billing here. But I have to tell you something that you said, Emme, is something I was thinking a lot about today.
You know, why are they printing the stuff? How do those conversations go? You know, we came across a lot of vile stuff. The one that really stood out to me is especially offensive. I would like to show this to you - an editorial cartoon.
EMME: Take it off.
HAMMER: Look at this -
EMME: Take it off. Please. Yes. Yes.
HAMMER: Let me just explain what they thought was OK. This is one of the most-widely read gossip pages in the country, page six in "New York Post" put this on, obviously an over-exaggerated Jessica and the same outfit as he photo, her boyfriend Dallas Cowboys star Tony Romo coming to the door, Ronald McDonald there in the background.
Now, Jessica, I don`t understand and maybe you can shed some light on this, how the conversation must have gone at the "New York Post" that they thought, "Hey here is something funny. We`ll sell some newspapers. People will talk about this." Where is the responsibility here?
WIENER: Well, there is not responsibility. But here is where there is opportunity, OK? I am outraged and I`m disgusted just like you, just like Emme, just like thousands of women.
But here is an opportunity, A.J. Those editors at the "New York Post," anybody who makes a living on gossip rags and gossip online sites and all that kind of jazz, has an opportunity to be more responsible in their coverage and in their language.
Now, I get that that is a double standard because that`s how they make money and that`s what they get famous for. But everybody out there who consumes those products has an opportunity, too, to not buy those products, to write a letter of protest -
EMME: Write a letter -
WIENER: And most of all, talk to your children. Forget letting the media raise your kids. Let`s talk to our kids and let them know, "You know what? That`s Hollywood mumbo-jumbo. That`s not real life. Let`s talk about being healthy. And let`s talk about being empowered girls."
HAMMER: Yes. Quickly, Emme - 10 seconds here. But even seeing images like this of Jessica Simpson, doesn`t this now set a better example, seeing a more realistic image?
EMME: Yes. Absolutely. I think that we have to give a little bit of room here. She really - as Jess said before, she worked very, very hard to be so thin. That`s unrealistic. This is a more real Jessica Simpson. Welcome, world. Here she is.
HAMMER: I`d like to see that as the caption in the "New York Post" tomorrow.
EMME: Nice curves, babe!
HAMMER: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Emme, Jessica Wiener, thanks. I appreciate it.
All right. Let`s turn it over to you. Let us know what you think. Are you outraged as well? Here is our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day - Jessica Simpson`s Weight Gain: Is it wrong to criticize her?" You can vote, CNN.com/ShowbizTonight. Our E-mail address, if you have more to say, and I know you do - firstname.lastname@example.org.
ANDERSON: Hey, A.J., some of the most beautiful stars in the world reaching a big milestone this year.
HAMMER: That`s right, Brooke. Stars from Jennifer Aniston, Gwen Stefani - all turning 40 this year and proving age is just a number.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SZISH: The age-old criticism of Hollywood ageism clearly doesn`t ring true anymore with all of these amazing beauties still going strong at the height of their careers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: Coming up, a SHOWBIZ special report - "Look Who`s 40."
ANDERSON: Also the PETA ad That`s too hot for TV. We will tell you why it got banned.
Also, controversy in India over "Slumdog Millionaire."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s just showing the poor part of the India. They haven`t shown the real India in this movie.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: "Slumdog Millionaire," a favorite for best picture at the Oscars. But it`s not being 100 percent embraced in India. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT taking you there to find out what all the controversy is about.
And now, the "SHOWBIZ News Ticker" - more stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news right now.
(CAPTION READS: Alicia Keys, Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson, Mariah Carey, Rihanna nominated for NAACP Image Awards. "Grey`s Anatomy," "House," "The Unit," "Lincoln Heights," "The Wire" nominated for NAACP Image Awards.)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNIFER GOODWIN, ACTRESS: Oh, my gosh. She is drop-dead gorgeous. I would look to stare at her body. I have such a girl crush on her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: That`s Jennifer Goodwin gushing to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT about her co- star Jennifer Aniston after we tell her Aniston is about to turn 40.
Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. Tonight, "Look Who`s Turning 40." It`s a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT special report, Hollywood`s A-List. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT teamed up with the fabulous "More" magazine to reveal the amazing number of Hollywood`s most beautiful stars turning 40 this year.
That includes Jennifer Aniston. And wait until you hear what Aniston tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT about turning the big 4-0. So SHOWBIZ TONIGHT and "More" magazine say get ready to say happy birthday to Aniston and all the women who are turning 40 and fabulous.
(voice over): Who can forget when she was starring in "Friends." Jennifer Aniston`s character Rachel having a tough time turning 30.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy birthday!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, come on! It`s your birthday.
ANDERSON: But now, in real life, Jennifer Aniston is turning 40, starring in "He`s Just Not That Into You" and telling SHOWBIZ TONIGHT that at 40, she has never been better.
ANISTON: I personally feel better than I ever felt. Better than I ever did in my 20s, for sure - 30s. And, you know, so if this is what it means to be 40, I think it`s fantastic.
ANDERSON: Fantastic indeed, and an inspiration to women everywhere, turning 40. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is teaming up with "More" magazine to reveal this is the year of turning 40 for some of Hollywood`s biggest female stars. And Aniston tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT as she gets older, she gets wiser.
ANISTON: I was able to really enjoy what I had at 30, what took me 10 years, 15 years, from whenever the things, great things started happening to me. I wish I had the wisdom to know to enjoy it more.
ANDERSON: So happy 40 to Jen. And say happy birthday to our favorite mom of two, fashion designer and Hollaback Girl, Gwen Stefani.
(CLIP FROM THE MUSIC VIDEO, "HOLLABACK GIRL")
SZISH: Gwen Stefani is 40?
LESLEY JANE SEYMOUR, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "MORE" MAGAZINE: How can a rocker become 40? That`s impossible.
SZISH: What? I feel like Gwen Stefani is way younger than I am.
ANDERSON: Definitely wait, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT and "More" magazine are not finished yet with even more fabulous women in Hollywood turning 40 that will blow your mind. Like this Oscar winner.
CATE BLANCHETT, ACTRESS: I`m 43. We are almost the same age.
ANDERSON: Cate Blanchett who stars in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." She makes turning 40 look like a piece of cake.
SZISH: Cate Blanchett is a gorgeous amazing woman and she really is one of those ageless types.
ANDERSON: Ageless and beautiful - a combination that Cate shares with another Oscar winner who is turning 40, Renee Zellweger.
SZISH: We`ve seen Renee Zellweger sort of come of age on camera even though she kind of looks the same as she always did.
ANDERSON: Yes, it`s true. Renee hasn`t changed a bit. Remember when she starred as lovable Bridget Jones looking for love back in 2001?
COLIN FIRTH, ACTOR: Happy birthday.
RENEE ZELLWEGER, ACTRESS: Thank you.
ANDERSON: No, thank you, Renee for making turning 40 look so fabulous.
SEYMOUR: I think she is going to be a great 40-year-old.
SZISH: The age old criticism of Hollywood ageism clearly doesn`t ring true anymore with all of these amazing beauties still going strong at the height of their career. These are still the women who we look to, to set trends.
ANDERSON: Did you just say trend? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT and "More" magazine say hello and happy 4-0 to J. Lo.
(CLIP FROM MUSIC VIDEO "JENNY ON THE BLOCK")
ANDERSON: Jenny from the Block, who`s married to singer Marc Anthony and the mother of twin babies still knows how to glam it up on the red carpet. La Lopez made quite a splash at this year`s Golden Globes just like she did back in 2001 when she wore that Versace number. And as she turns 40, J. Lo knows just what to cover up. No belly button here.
SEYMOUR: I don`t want to see a 40-year-old navel, no matter how fabulous it looks. Not on the red carpet anymore, thank you.
ANDERSON: And men everywhere are still saying thank you to Jennifer Aniston for her naked ambition tour, belly button covered up, check. But SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you not much else.
HAMMER (voice over): Tonight, the great debate over Jennifer Aniston`s nude photo shoot.
ANDERSON: Aniston wearing nothing but a tie on a magazine cover launched 1,000 debates, like this one that raged on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
JANELL SNOWDEN, HOST, "VH1 NEWS": I think that there is a certain sort of scream of maybe desperation.
LISA BLOOM, HOST, "LISA BLOOM: OPEN COURT": Desperation? She is an A-list star. Look at her. Does she look desperate, lying with these gorgeous guys? If I looked that good naked, A.J., I would spend all my days in nothing but a tie and spray tan. I say three cheers for Jen. She looks fantastic. She is almost 40. Good for her! If you look that good, I think you`ve got to take your clothes off.
ANDERSON: Even Jennifer Goodwin who co-stars with Aniston in "He`s Just Not That Into You" couldn`t help gushing to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
GOODWIN: Oh my god, she is drop-dead gorgeous. I would look to stare at her body. I have such a girl crush on her.
ANDERSON: Get in line, Jennifer and be thankful that America`s sweetheart is getting some great advice turning the big 4-0 and sharing it with SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
ANISTON: Every wise, wonderful, amazing person, man, woman that I know, that`s 40 or above, is just - and they really do mean it - they just say that just gets better.
ANDERSON: Better at 40 indeed. Happy birthday, ladies.
So should you want to send a birthday greeting here, is the complete SHOWBIZ TONIGHT-"More" magazine list of Hollywood women turning 40. We are saluting Sophie Okonedo, Christie Turlington, Kathryn Morris, Jennifer Aniston, Renee Zellweger, Cate Blanchett, Anne Heche, Jennifer Lopez, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Gwen Stefani.
So, to all those who made the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT and "More" magazine list, we want to say happy birthday and best wishes to all. And be sure to pick up the latest issue of "More" magazine. It`s on newsstands right now.
HAMMER: So Brooke, the "Showbiz On Call" phone lines have been burning up. A lot of people have been calling in about Brad Pitt complaining that he and Angelina Jolie don`t have all that much privacy.
ANDERSON: We got a call into "Showbiz On Call" from Angela in Florida. She says that stars know what they`re getting into when they set out to become movie stars.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
ANGELA, CALLER FROM FLORIDA: I do not think Brad Pitt is justified in his complaint. Once you cross that line and you enter into the stardom business, celebrity business, and that`s what lifestyle you want, then you are opening up your life to public scrutiny.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Thanks, Angela. And we heard from Deric calling in to "Showbiz On Call" from Michigan. He says that Brad and all celebrities do deserve some level of privacy.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DERIC, CALLER FROM MICHIGAN: I believe everybody is entitled to their privacy in their private lives. You have to draw a line somewhere. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) invade people`s private lives, invading their space, celebrity or not.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Thank you, Deric. Call us at "Showbiz On Call." Let us know what you think about this or anything else that is on your mind.
HAMMER: Now, keep in mind, these "Showbiz On Call" phone lines are open all the time. Here is the number 1-888-SBT-BUZZ; 1-888-728-2899. Leave us a voicemail so we can play your call right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
Your calls to "Showbiz On Call" are also now online right at our homepage which is CNN.com/ShowbizTonight.
Tonight, the PETA ad that`s too hot for TV. The group made a Super Bowl ad saying that vegetarians have better sex, featuring scantily clad women playing with vegetables. Now, NBC is refusing to run it during the Super Bowl. "The View" couldn`t show the ad either so Whoopi Goldberg did a little reenactment. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(WHOOPI GOLDBERG REENACTING THE PETA ADVERTISEMENT)
SHERRI SHEPHERD, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": I think, Whoopi, you got pregnant on that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: Nice, Sherri. Whoopi said that was the closest a vegetable has been to her mouth in years.
ANDERSON: OK. Next, we`re going to take you to India where "Slumdog Millionaire" is causing a major controversy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re just showing the poor part of India. They haven`t shown the real Indians in this movie.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: It may be an Oscar favorite, but some people in India are really upset about the film. We are taking you there to find out what all of the controversy is about, next.
And, now, the "SHOWBIZ News Ticker" - more stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news right now.
(CAPTION READS: New version of "Tomb Raider" in the works, revamping Lara Croft`s character. Florence Henderson starts national tour Friday; singing, telling stories, taking questions.)
HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.
Tonight there is criticism for "Slumdog Millionaire." Of course, the movie is racking up all kinds of awards. It`s emerging as a favorite for Best Picture at the Oscars this year. And Hollywood has completely embraced the film.
But what about audiences in India where the movie is set? Well, tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is taking you all the way to New Delhi where the film has just recently opened and where the reaction is mixed, even stirring up protests. Here`s CNN`s Sarah Sidner for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
SARAH SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): "Slumdog Millionaire" has dazzled critics and audiences in America. But the film about life, hope and love in the slums of Mumbai has just reached audiences in India.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s really nice - fantastic. I wish everyone to go forward to see it.
SIDNER: It`s been met with praise and protest. This is the reaction from slum dwellers in one of India`s poorest states. They say being referred to as "slumdog" is degrading. They want the word "dog" taken out of the title.
Other Indians were unhappy with the content of the film and how it depicted India.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s brutal. It`s brutal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re just showing the poor part of Indian. They haven`t shown the real Indians in this movie. That`s kind of annoying, you know, for some people and for me as well.
SIDNER: But several movie critics were quite taken with the Hollywood film.
SHUBRA GUPTA, FILM CRITIC: All critical opinion in films (UNINTELLIGIBLE) film critics have been uniformly positive. It doesn`t happen very often.
HAMMER: That was CNN`s Sarah Sidner for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
ANDERSON: On Tuesday, we told you about the governor of Illinois revealing that he considered Oprah Winfrey for President Obama`s vacant Senate seat. Oprah says she wouldn`t have done it.
But it got us thinking and we asked to you vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day - "Oprah Winfrey: Would she be a good U.S. senator?
Let`s take a look at the results. Pretty lopsided - 18 percent of you say yes; 82 percent of you say no.
Some of the E-mails. Tony from Florida, "Oprah is a great entertainer, but that does not qualify her to write legislation."
Molly from Tennessee says, "I do believe Winfrey would be an effective politician, but do we really need her tugging on the emotions of the American people?"
HAMMER: Well, thank you very much for your E-mails. And thank you for watching. That is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.
ANDERSON: I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. Remember, you can catch SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on the 11:00s - 11:00 p.m. Eastern, 11:00 p.m. Pacific, and in the morning at 11:00 a.m. Eastern on HLN. Take care.