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Casting the Amazing Pirate Rescue Story; Madonna and Oprah Talk About Their African Battles; An Obama Doggone Mistake? Woody Harrelson`s Excuse; LeAnn Rimes on Rumored Affair

Aired April 13, 2009 - 23:00   ET


A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: Now, on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, a pirate`s tale made for Hollywood. Tonight, breaking news of a TV show all about pirates just hours after the dramatic rescue of that captain. And what about the inevitable movie? Who should play the captain, the Navy sharpshooters? Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT casts the amazing pirate rescue tale.

Tonight, for the first time, Madonna and Oprah speak out about their very personal battles in Africa. Madonna on her devastating adoption rejection, and Oprah on another sex scandal at her school for girls.

Plus, the Obamas finally pick their dog. But, wait, are they making a huge doggone mistake?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just think they`re just not ready for a dog like this. They could raise havoc in there.


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 tale of the pirates.

HAMMER: Brooke, if there was ever a story just custom made for Hollywood, this is it, the unbelievable rescue of that American captain from pirates who were picked off by Navy SEAL snipers. And today, just a day after the remarkable showdown at sea, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT learned that there is a pirate reality show in the works. Yes, a pirate reality show.

And already there`s talk about who might play the heroic captain in the inevitable movie. Because SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you that, without a doubt, the tale of the pirate is making big news right now.


HAMMER: An adventure on the high seas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Now details in the heroic rescue of a U.S. captain.

HAMMER: With dangerous bad guys, a happy ending.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We never gave up.

HAMMER: And a heroic captain.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I share our nation`s admiration for Captain Phillips` courage and leadership and selfless concern for his crew.

HAMMER: The pirate crisis at sea when American ship Captain Richard Phillips was held hostage by Somali pirates aboard this tiny lifeboat was a nail-biting tale that even the best screen writers in Hollywood could not have dreamed up.

AMY ARGETSINGER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": This has really captured people`s attention.

HAMMER: Now, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you Hollywood is taking notice. Spike TV has just announced plans for a reality show called "Pirate Hunters USN." The show will follow U.S. Navy warships as they patrol more than a million miles of ocean off east Africa, all for the purpose of, as the name says, hunting pirates.

ARGETSINGER: This is actually a show that after, you know, 100 years of, you know, romanticizing pirates, we`re finally realizing that pirates are the bad guys.

HAMMER: "Variety" reports one of the ships featured on Spike TV`s "Pirate Hunters" is the USS Boxer, which was on the scene during Sunday`s real-life rescue of the kidnapped American captain.

ARGETSINGER: Right now, it`s a story people can`t get enough of. But it does make our old fascination with lovable pirates seem kind of perverse.

HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you that fascination with lovable pirates is something we`ve laughed at in TV commercials. Or enjoyed in movies like "Pirates of the Caribbean."

JOHNNY DEPP, ACTOR, AS JACK SPARROW: Do you think this is wise, boy? Crossing blades with a pirate?

HAMMER: But Spike`s new reality series, not to mention that real-life drama we just saw play out in the Indian Ocean, show us that the story of heroes and pirates is now ripe for a serious new Hollywood treatment.

ARGETSINGER: It`s a very serious story, but people are drawn into it because it`s about pirates. And they`re thinking back to when they were a pirate for Halloween.

HAMMER: From the moment that armed Somali pirates boarded the U.S. Flag Maersk Alabama, this story had the makings of a tense Hollywood thriller, with a brave crew that fought back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This guy is a hero. Him and the chief engineer - they took down the pirate.

HAMMER: And a captain who reportedly made a heroic sacrifice.

ARGETSINGER: He, you know, did the very noble thing of giving himself up so that his crew, his men, would be safe. The captain in this case behaved very much like a hero in a movie.

HAMMER: A fearless captain offering himself up to protect his crewmates is something we see all the time in movies, like "Star Trek II."

WILLIAM SHATNER, ACTOR, AS ADMIRAL JAMES T. KIRK: If it`s me you want, I`ll have myself beamed aboard. Spare my crew.

HAMMER: But during this ordeal, Captain Phillips provided a dose of real- life heroism.

ARGETSINGER: He was then, you know, trapped for several days with these pirates.

HAMMER: And Sunday`s final chapter of the crisis at sea could not have been anymore dramatic. Navy snipers aboard the USS Bainbridge see the captain in immediate danger on the lifeboat. And as we`ve seen in countless Hollywood thrillers, like George Clooney`s "The Peacemaker," they get the tense order to open fire.

ARGETSINGER: A real American`s life that was at stake here. We didn`t know how this was going to unfold.


HAMMER: In the end, Captain Phillips was saved, a happy ending to a gripping story that had the world`s attention.

ARGETSINGER; Now, that it`s past, it`s like, oh, what a perfect cinematic ending.

HAMMER: It was the good guys who won in this real-life pirate drama. But Somali pirates are vowing revenge, meaning this pirate story may have a sequel, one where, unlike Hollywood, there`s no guarantee of a happy ending.


All right. So you`ve got your swashbuckling pirates, you`ve got a captain held hostage, snipers, dramatic rescues. So is Hollywood already hooked on the idea? Well, there is that pirates reality show and tonight, we are casting the inevitable movie.

Joining me tonight in Hollywood, Howard Bragman, founder of Fifteen Minutes PR and author of this fine book, "Where`s My 15 Minutes?" And in New York, Lisa Bloom, who is an anchor for the legal network "In Session." You cannot deny, every moment of this real-life pirate drama has just been captivating and riveting, guys.

Now, Spike TV did announce today what they`re calling a docu-series. It`s all about U.S. Navy tracking pirates. Howard, I`m thinking this is a can`t-miss idea.

HOWARD BRAGMAN, AUTHOR, "WHERE`S MY 15 MINUTES?": I`m thinking that Spike TV has spent a lot of time praying yesterday, on their holiday, and they are very happy how this came out and the timing of it.

What better way to say that we have this exciting new docu-drama than to let it play out in real life? This is a home run for them, A.J.

HAMMER: Yes. I mean, think about, it`s like "Cops" on the high seas and we`re going to get to go along for the ride. I just think it`s really cool. I think it`s going to be a huge it. And I`ve got to say when I was hearing the news over the weekend about the whole shoot `em up battle between the Navy SEALs and the pirates, it kind of reminded me of a particular scene from "Pirates of the Caribbean." Can we roll that, please?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sailors, back to the Interceptor, now!

DEPP, AS JACK SPARROW: Thank you, Commodore, for getting us ready to make sail! We would have had a hard time of it by ourselves!


HAMMER: As we know, the Somalian pirates did not get away, thankfully, like Captain Jack Sparrow. But Lisa, does this just prove that a movie about the Maersk drama would just make a terrific Hollywood movie?

LISA BLOOM, ANCHOR, "IN SESSION": Absolutely. Especially without those corny old white wigs - I mean, the modern version showing what really happens. There`s a real hero here, Captain Phillips, who says, "Take my crew instead of me."

And real villains, these Somali pirates, who I prefer to call thugs, because that`s who they are. There was this captivating high-stakes drama and it had a happy ending. It`s perfect for Hollywood.

HAMMER: Yes. Actually, I think you make a good point. We should be calling them thugs because pirates does tend to lead us into the thoughts of things we`ve romanticized over the years.


HAMMER: Thinking about our Halloween costumes, thinking about the movies that we love. Of course, the big question would be - who would star in this movie? You`ve got to cast this thing. Of course, you have to start with our rescued hero - in this case it was Captain Richard Phillips.

Now, Howard, among the leading men in Hollywood, you suggested to us that Philip Seymour Hoffman would be perfect. He actually has a good look for it. But why did you pick Phil?

BRAGMAN: Really three reasons. Number one is look at the look. He could pull that off with a little trimming of the beard. Number two, Phil is an acting god. He can do anything he wants. And number three, he`s been doing a lot of heavy drama. He needs an action role now. It`s time to make Phil Hoffman an action hero.

HAMMER: Get a script to Philip Seymour Hoffman`s agent right away. Let`s get on this thing. All right. Howard, you`re choosing Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Now, Lisa, this is interesting. You suggested to us Woody Harrelson. Now, for me, that`s not who would have come to mind. I was thinking, you know, maybe Harrison Ford in this case. Maybe Bruce Willis. For you, why Woody?

BLOOM: Well, I like Woody, first of all. And if I get to play casting agent, I`m going to pick somebody I enjoy in a movie.

HAMMER: Fair. Fair enough.

BLOOM: I think he`s got that sort of Middle America, regular-guy feel about him. And that`s what`s so appealing about Captain Phillips. He decided to become a hero because of his character, his roots and who he is. And I think Woody Harrelson has that ring of credibility about him as well. I just like the guy. I think he would be good for the captain.

HAMMER: I think he would be terrific for it. All right. The other heroes enough this tale of the pirates, of course, are the snipers. I mean, that was amazing, the fact they were able to pull off this very precise feat of actually shooting from that great distance and killing the pirates that were holding the captain.

Now, Howard, you suggested "Fantastic Four Star" Chris Evans as the head of the sniper force. That didn`t come to mind for me. I was thinking - I don`t know - Matt Damon. Maybe even Sly Stallone. Why Chris Evans?

BRAGMAN: Well, first of all, I want to go a little younger with than guys you suggested. And let`s face it, Navy SEALs are studs. And there`s not a bigger stud in Hollywood Chris Evans, OK?

HAMMER: All right. We`ll let you have that one. Lisa, Howard has Chris. Who do you have for this role?

BLOOM: You see, I decide to go against the tide. So I`m picking Johnny Depp because he`s already got all the experience in pirate movies. But instead of having him be the pirate, let`s have him be the hero. Let`s have him the hunky, modern Navy SEAL, the sharpshooter who can shoot somebody at 100 feet away with a bobbing target and on a boat that`s moving. I think he`d be terrific.

HAMMER: And he loves playing against types. So I think that`s a terrific call right there. So Howard, when this inevitable movie comes on, because we know somebody is writing that script right now, if it`s not already done. Is this, assuming it is done correctly, a guaranteed blockbuster hit?

BRAGMAN: It`s got to be done correctly and it`s got to be done quickly, A.J. We forget things really quickly. So if we can turn this out in the next few months, it will go big.

HAMMER: Yes. You know that screen writers are just cranking this thing out right now. Or as I said, maybe they they`re even done with it by now. Howard Bragman, Lisa Bloom, I thank you both.

Now, let me turn it over to you. Here`s our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Pirate Hunting Reality Show: Would you watch?" You can vote at You can also E-mail us at

And Brooke, I`ll tell you this. The whole drama over Madonna`s adoption could really be a reality show as well.

ANDERSON: I agree, A.J. This is a really heated battle. Tonight, for the first time since her devastating rejection, Madonna is speaking out about her fight to adopt another African baby.

Also, Oprah`s African battle. Tonight, Oprah is opening up about another sex scandal at her school for girls. We`ve got that coming up.

And also this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Woody, this is assault. Woody, this is assault, Woody. Woody, this is assault.


HAMMER: Woody Harrelson caught-on-tape, going nuts on a paparazzo. Well, tonight you have got to hear Woody`s explanation. Zombies. That`s right - he`s blaming his shocking behavior on zombies. This sounds deadly ridiculous to me.

ANDERSON: Yes, it does. And tonight, we`ve got your first look at the Obama`s White House dog. But there`s already controversy. Did they pick the wrong one?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They will eat your house.



MOOS: Even if it`s the White House?


ANDERSON: This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN. And now, the "SHOWBIZ News Ticker" - more stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news right now.

TEXT: Miley Cyrus`s "Hannah Montana" movie tops weekend box office with $34 million. Phil Spector is found guilty of second-degree murder of actress Lana Clarkson.



ANDERSON: That`s Fergie belting out the "Star Spangled Banner" at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll earlier today. Right next to her, President Obama and his family. Thousands of kids and their families got to paint their eggs, do yoga, and play soccer and basketball. Talk about a great White House tradition.

And another great presidential tradition, picking the first pet. And right now, I`ve got your very first look at the long-awaited Obama dog. This is Bo, a 6-month-old Portuguese water dog. Check this just-released shot, too. Bo`s already running around the White House with President Obama.

HAMMER: Brooke, I`m thinking to find out what Bo is really like. It might be a good idea to ask his mom. So tonight, well, that`s what we`re doing. We`re not talking to her, of course, but we are heading to Texas to meet her. Let me tell you, she is one proud pooch. I mean, wouldn`t any mom be? Here`s WFAA`s Darla Miles for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This right here is Penny.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the mother.

DARLA MILES, WFAA CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Penny proudly struts her tuxedo chest almost as if she realizes exactly what`s going on.

MARTHA STERN, OWNER, PORTUGUESE WATER DOG KENNELS: He was a feisty little puppy. Very self-confident, very - he`s going to make them a nice dog.

MILES: She`s a proud mama to a presidential pup. Bo was born in a litter of 10 six months ago. And even before he was headed to the White House, he had a presidential tie.

M. STERN: His real name is actually a Amigo`s New Hope. That was my hope litter.

MILES: New Hope - a litter named for the Obama`s campaign. The Sterns give all their litters a theme. They operate the Amigo Portuguese Water Dog Kennel in Wise County.

M. STERN: We`re thrilled we could provide them with a puppy that answered their needs.

MILES: The Obamas are actually Bo`s second family. The original owners had a dog that didn`t get along with Bo, so they were looking to place him in another home.

M. STERN: Vicki Kennedy entered into the picture and she said, "Hey, I know the perfect home." We finally told our daughters and our kids about a week ago, because we knew the time was getting here. And we just couldn`t stand it any longer.

MILES: And now, the first daughters don`t have to wait any longer either.


HAMMER: That was WFAA`s Darla Miles for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Tonight I can tell you, there`s already controversy with the first dog. Why some think Bo is a no-no. Huh? Did the Obamas actually pick the wrong kind of dog? That is coming up.

So, Brooke, maybe there will be a White House dog reality show. If they do it, I`m thinking they could call it "Roughing It in the White House," huh?

ANDERSON: That`s a nice one, A.J. Well, I can tell you, the "Showbiz on Call" operators want their own reality show after getting so many calls about the octomom reportedly very close to getting her own TV gig.

HAMMER: Yes. We`ve got a call into "Showbiz on Call" from Debbie in Oklahoma. Debbie will definitely tune out of an octomom reality show.


CALLER: It`s a joke. We`ve got enough reality stuff on television right now. We don`t need anymore. And it would just be a waste of more air time and it`s ridiculous. And I wouldn`t waste one minute watching it.


ANDERSON: Thanks for that, Debbie. We also heard from Emily calling in from North Carolina, who loves the idea.


CALLER: I would certainly watch every one of them, because I love her. And I hope she makes millions and millions doing it. If "Jon and Kate Plus 8" can do it and the "Doggers (ph)" can do it, (INAUDIBLE) can do, why can`t she do it? She has 14 lovely children and she`s a lovely mother and I hope she makes every dime she can. And I`ll watch every show. I`m a big, big fan.


HAMMER: So there you go. Thank you, Emily. You can call us on "Showbiz on Call." Let us know what you think about this or anything else that is on your mind.

ANDERSON: The "Showbiz on Call" phone lines, open 24/7. The number, 1- 888-SBT-BUZZ; that`s 1-888-728-2899.

HAMMER: I`ll tell you what, Brooke. I`ve got the title for the "Showbiz on Call" reality show right here , "Phone-e Stories."

ANDERSON: So corny.

HAMMER: Let`s move on, shall we?

HAMMER: Nothing phony, absolutely, about Madonna`s fight to adopt another African baby, Brooke.

ANDERSON: Yes, A.J. Tonight, both Madonna and Oprah are speaking up for the first time about their African battles. You have got to hear what Madonna is saying about her devastating rejection in her attempt to adopt another Malawian child.

Plus, Oprah`s stunning admissions about the latest sex scandal at her African school for girls.

HAMMER: Also tonight, breaking star marriage news. LeAnn Rimes opens up about her marriage and the tabloid rumors of an affair. Plus, startling news about Mel Gibson`s marriage.

ANDERSON: And Billy Bob Thornton`s bogus bug? All of a sudden, he canceled his Canadian tour. Is it really the flu, or the backlash over that obnoxious radio interview? This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

HAMMER: Now, the "SHOWBIZ News Ticker" - more stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news right now.

TEXT: Tennis star Monica Seles reveals nine-year eating disorder battle in new book. Wildlife expert Jeff Corwin getting "Extreme Cuisine" Food Network TV series. Simon Cowell hints he may leave "American Idol" after next season.


HAMMER: Did you see this unbelievable video? A woman jumps into a polar pen at the Berlin zoo and lives. Now, it`s not clear why she did it, but she climbed the fence and dropped herself into the mote. An adult bear bit her several times before she was lifted to safety. Wow.

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

ANDERSON: And I`m Brooke Anderson. On to something much more fun now. Did you see this too? Kathie Lee Gifford versus Zac Efron. Zac, who is a huge young star from "The High School Musical" movie hosted "Saturday Night Live." He got to play Kathie Lee`s son, Cody, in a very funny skit. Kathie Lee and Kotb from the "Today" show.



ZAC EFRON, ACTOR, AS CODY GIFFORD: Eww. Mom, what is that smell?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I don`t want to name names, but someone needs to wear some de-Hoda-rant (ph), right, Cody?

EFRON, AS CODY GIFFORD: Dr. Scholl`s de-Hoda-reaters (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shagadelic (ph), baby.

EFRON, AS CODY GIFFORD: Yes, baby. Shagadelic (ph), baby!


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When we return, Suzanne Somers will be showing us some spring hats.


ANDERSON: Well, you know that Kathie Lee wasn`t going to let that just go by. Look how she surprised Zach on this morning`s "Today" show.


MATT LAUER, CO-HOST, THE "TODAY" SHOW: Did you have fun poking fun at the Giffords?

EFRON: It was fun, man. It actually - hey.


EFRON: How are you?

GIFFORD: How are you doing?

EFRON: Oh, man. Thank you for surprising me.

GIFFORD: Nice to meet you.

EFRON: It`s nice to meet you, too.

GIFFORD: Yes. So you played Cody over the weekend.

EFRON: Yes, I did. It was all in good fun.

LAUER: Did you think it was funny?

GIFFORD: I didn`t actually see it. But somebody - Cody called me.

EFRON: He`s a great singer.

GIFFORD: This is his number. He wants you to call him.

EFRON: It`s done.

GIFFORD: And this is what he looks like, OK?

EFRON: Great.

GIFFORD: He`s way younger than you, way taller than you, and way better looking. Thank you very much.


ANDERSON: She is a really good sport. Kathie Lee actually says the skit was a big compliment.

HAMMER: And now the SHOWBIZ lineup. Here`s what`s coming up at the bottom of the hour on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Madonna and Oprah - they`re speaking out for the very first time about their African battles.

Also tonight, Woody Harrelson explains his out-of-control, caught-on- tape attack of a paparazzo. He`s blaming - well, zombies, of course.

LeAnn Rimes speaking out about her marriage and tabloid rumors about an affair. Plus, startling news about Mel Gibson`s 28-year marriage. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

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

TEXT: Google and Universal Music launching to stream music videos. Romance book cover dude Fabio crashes $300,000 Ferrari, he`s OK.


HAMMER: Now, on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT - tonight, for the first time, Madonna and Oprah speak out about their very personal battles in Africa. Madonna on her devastating adoption rejection and Oprah on another sex scandal at her school for girls.

Woody Harrelson and his zombies. Tonight, why Woody`s blaming his out-of-control, caught-on-tape attack of a paparazzo on zombies.

And LeAnn Rimes speaks out about her marriage and tabloid rumors of an affair.

Plus, startling news about Mel Gibson`s marriage.

Plus, more stories breaking from the "SHOWBIZ news Ticker."

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


HAMMER: 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. And tonight, Madonna and Oprah are in the middle of huge battles in Africa, and now they are speaking out for the very first time.

HAMMER: That`s right, Brooke. Tonight, Madonna`s brand-new, heart- wrenching plea to adopt a 3-year-old girl named Mercy from Malawi. Madonna`s adoption petition was rejected earlier this month. But now, she`s battling back with a message for Mercy, Malawi, and the world.

Also new tonight, Oprah`s big mistake as a second sex scandal rocks Oprah`s school in South Africa. Well, Oprah is confessing for the very first time that she`s made mistakes running her school.

With me tonight from Hollywood is Leslie Marshall, who hosts the syndicated radio show, "The Leslie Marshall Show." And in New York tonight is Lisa Bloom, who is anchor of legal network, "In Session."

So we have Madonna now speaking out very for the very first time since getting the devastating news she couldn`t adopt 3-year-old Mercy James from Malawi.

She gave this statement to a newspaper in Malawi called "The Nation." Here`s what she`s saying, quote, "I want to provide Mercy with a home, a loving family environment, and the best education and healthcare possible. Though I have been advised I cannot publicly discuss the pending appeal regarding my desire to adopt Mercy, I do want to say how much I appreciate the level of support that I have received from the people of Malawi and my friends around the world."

Very heartfelt. Leslie, what do you think? This plea - could it actually help Madonna get her adoption through of Mercy?

LESLIE MARSHALL, HOST, "THE LESLIE MARSHALL SHOW": Possibly, if the judge in the court system in Malawi are swayed by public opinion. She has a lot of support in Malawi.

But I think in reality, what it will help her with is the support of the public throughout the world, which your own polls have shown, haven`t been as great and behind her and fans of her as they have with her music, although the people of Malawi have.

But when it comes to the court system, I`m not sure necessarily that her statements will be able to override their laws.

HAMMER: Yes. I do think it`s important, regardless, that she did speak out. We`ve heard from just about everyone, including her ex-husband, Guy Ritchie, about this thing. So to actually hear from Madonna herself, I`d say, it`s pretty much about time.

Now, she`s been criticized in the past for trying to use her fame and her stature to get around the adoption laws in Malawi so she could adopt Mercy. Lisa Bloom, over to you. Do you think this statement in any way will at least quiet some of her critics?

BLOOM: You know, I hope so. I don`t really understand the critics. I think they`re small-minded and petty. I`m sorry, is there a long line of people around the world that are looking to adopt Malawian orphans? I mean, this is one of the poorest countries on earth. The average life span is 40 years old. Children die of diarrhea and other preventable diseases. Give me a break. She`s doing a beautiful, generous act and I salute her for it.

HAMMER: I do too. And I would like to see this statement perhaps make some difference. I really think it could.

Also making news right now, Oprah Winfrey revealing that she made some big mistakes with her South African school for girls. Now, this confession is coming out of the latest of two sex scandals that had rocked the boarding school since it opened back in 2007.

This time around, the students were kicked out for sexual misconduct. Well, in a brand-new interview, Oprah admits, quote, "I have made several mistakes and one of them was being overprotective of the girls."

Lisa, back to you. What do you think she means by saying it was a mistake to be overprotective of her students? That seems like a good thing to me.

BLOOM: Yes. I don`t know exactly what she means by that. I don`t think Oprah has anything to worry about this time around. She set up the school. She funded it. She set up the rules. And students are always going to break the rules at any school, anywhere in the world.

She`s not responsible for seven kids involved in a sexual harassment scandal. That is just not her fault. I don`t think she needs to fall on her sword this time.

HAMMER: Yes. The unfortunate thing is, when you have a name like Oprah Winfrey attached to it, it is inevitable that people will point fingers. I think that`s just, I guess, the price of celebrity in her case and being one of the biggest stars on the planet.

Well, the trial of a former dorm matron at Oprah`s school is going on right now in South Africa, to add to everything. This woman is charged with sexual abuse. Plus, Oprah is now dealing with the four girls who were just kicked out for the sexual misconduct.

Oprah says, however, and despite all that, she`s more proud than ever of her school. Here`s what she says, quote, "The majority of girls are thriving, really fulfilling the dream and vision I had. They really have exceeded any expectations I had for them."

Leslie, do you think now - maybe we need to hear more of this from Oprah Winfrey, especially because all we`ve really heard about the school since it opened up a couple of years ago is about, you know, the bad stuff here. I like hearing the good stuff.

MARSHALL: I like hearing the good stuff here, too. But unfortunately, we need to know the truth. And I think it`s important that we have a balance, that we hear the good that`s going on in this school, the good that`s going on with all of her efforts.

But I think it`s essential that we hear about the bad so that teachers like this can be arrested and prosecuted, so girls that are breaking the rules can be taken out. This is an example, though, A.J., of how writing a check sometimes just isn`t enough, especially when it comes to the administration...


MARSHALL: ... such as teachers who certainly shouldn`t be hurting children that they were hired to help and to teach.

HAMMER: No, obviously - and that takes us back to point Lisa was just making. And I wanted to follow up with you on Lisa - because Oprah has just poured her heart into this school. She`s poured her soul into this thing and she has really suffered some heartbreak with the scandals.

Now, obviously, she`s hardly there. She can`t be there all the time. She has to hire the people she thinks are going to get the job done. Is she powerless to prevent things like this from happening? Or is there stuff that she can perhaps do?

BLOOM: Well, I don`t think there`s a lot she can do. And I think we all have to accept the fact that - look, she`s not profiting from it. It`s not like this is a sweat shop. This is a charitable enterprise she set up out of the goodness of her heart. And there are human beings there - teachers and students.

Human beings are always going to make mistakes. That is not Oprah`s fault, unless she sets them up to fail, which she certainly has not done. She wants them to succeed. She`s poured her heart into it. And I salute her for that.

HAMMER: I salute her as well. I`ve got to end it there. Lisa Bloom and Leslie Marshall, thank you.

ANDERSON: Tonight, it`s the octo-reality joke. Talk of a new octomom reality show has people everywhere buzzing. The octomom herself, Nadya Suleman, was the butt of a hilarious joke on this week`s "Saturday Night Live." Check it out.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: It is rumored that Nadya Suleman, the octomom, will soon sign a deal to feature her and her 14 children in a reality show. The show is called "Who Wants To Marry ... What? No One? I Get It."


ANDERSON: OK. As funny as that. It seems like not many are clamoring to see an octomom reality TV show. On Friday, we asked you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day - Octomom Reality Show: Would you watch?" Only five percent of you said yes. The remaining 95 percent said, no way would you watch an octo-reality show.

HAMMER: Well, Brooke, the idea of an octo-reality show has really set the "Showbiz on Call" phone lines on fire. I mean, seriously, the switchboard operators had to be evacuated from the building just for a short time. Nobody was hurt.

ANDERSON: That`s a good thing. They got back just in time, A.J., for Lillian in Pennsylvania who called in to "Showbiz on Call" to say she would love to follow the octo-drama on television.


CALLER: I would watch the show. The only reason I would watch the show is that you could get some money to those children. We have to forget about Nadya Suleman and her stupidity and think about those kids. They need food. They need clothes. I would watch the show to increase the ratings so she can get money to feed and support those children. It`s all about the kids.


ANDERSON: Thank you, Lillian. Jane from North Carolina doesn`t agree. She called in to "Showbiz on Call" to say an octo-reality TV show is a bad idea.


CALLER: I would not like to see octomom. I think we`ve seen enough of her and her father and her mother and her kids.

There`s so many people at this day and time. They`re out of work. They really need jobs. And this is what, you want to put on the television for people to watch? I don`t think so.


HAMMER: Yes. We`re hearing a lot of that too. Thanks, Jane. Call us at "Showbiz on Call" and let us know what you think about this or anything else.

ANDERSON: Yes, we never close the "Showbiz on Call" phone lines. So give us a ring, 1-888-SBT-BUZZ; 1-888-728-2899.

HAMMER: Tonight, we have breaking star marriage news. I don`t know about you, Brooke, but I can`t believe all of the LeAnn Rimes cheating reports.

ANDERSON: Yes, neither can I, A.J. And wait until you hear what LeAnn has to say about this whole mess. LeAnn Rimes speaks out about her marriage and tabloid rumors of an affair with "Northern Lights" co-star Eddie Cibrian. LeAnn in her own words, coming up.

ANDERSON: Also tonight, startling news about Mel Gibson`s marriage. This is rocking Hollywood right now.

HAMMER: Plus, Woody Harrelson`s battle with real-life zombies. Woody`s outrageous explanation for that caught-on-tape paparazzo smack-down.

Also this -


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had one that could open any cooler and get food out of it. If it had a zipper, she`d eat the zipper off.


ANDERSON: The Obamas get their long-awaited first pet, but is it the wrong choice? The real deal about the first pup is coming up. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

HAMMER: Now, the "SHOWBIZ News Ticker" - more stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news right now.

TEXT: "Oprah" draws the most young female viewers in talk show genre, "Maury" is next. Redmond O`Neal, Farrah Fawcett`s son, faces up to three years in prison on drug charges.


ANDERSON: Mel Gibson is heading to divorce court. Gibson`s wife, Robyn, filed for divorce today after 28 years of marriage. The papers cite irreconcilable differences as the reason for the split. Gibson`s wife stood by him through major scandals including the 2006 DUI arrest and anti- Semitic rant. The Gibsons have seven kids together. Only one of them is under 18.

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. Tonight, is the gravy train over for Billy Bob Thornton, for his band in Canada? And why is Woody Harrelson fighting zombies at a New York City airport? They are two big stories making big news right now.

Tonight, Billy Bob Thornton and his band "The Box Masters" canceled the rest of his tour in Canada. His reason? The flu. Billy Bob, could it have anything to do with the backlash from that obnoxious radio interview you did on Canadian radio?

Also new right now, you`re looking at brand-new video of Woody Harrelson fighting a zombie. We`re kidding. But wait until you hear Harrelson`s outlandish and very funny explanation for roughing up this TMZ cameraman.

Joining me tonight in Hollywood, Howard Bragman, who is a celebrity publicist and author of the fantastic book, "Where`s My 15 Minutes?" And tonight in New York, Suzanne Rozdeba, who is an entertainment journalist.

Suzanne, Howard, great to have you both here. And I want to begin with Billy Bob`s really questionable excuse for canceling his Canadian tour.

First, I want to roll out the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT news line. On Wednesday, Billy Bob freaked out on a Canadian radio show when the interviewer had the audacity to mention that Billy Bob is an actor and an Oscar-winning screenwriter. The very next night, Billy Bob plays a gig in Toronto, gets booed big-time by Canadian fans.

And by Friday morning, uh-oh, Billy Bob claims the band-mate came down with the flu and they canceled their performance for that night with Willie Nelson in Ontario. Howard, does the timing here for his last-minute cancellation sound just a little bit suspicious to you?

BRAGMAN: Oh, Brooke, you`re so cynical. A little suspicious?

ANDERSON: Oh, sorry.

BRAGMAN: This is outrageous. We all know why it`s canceled. He didn`t want to go up there and be booed. And if he`s such the hard core musician, well, then the show must go on. He did a horrible interview. Any damage done to his career, he has to own at this point.

He screwed this up, and you`re not going to help this by running away. And I want you to think about something. You know how big a story this is in America. Imagine how huge it is in Canada.

ANDERSON: No kidding! He really created a backlash, Howard.

BRAGMAN: Oh, he did. And you know what? I predicted this DJ is going to be like a new Canadian hero, because he was calm. He was professional. And he`s the guy who really came out of this smelling like a rose.

ANDERSON: That DJ was very, very respectful. Billy Bob, on the other hand, completely arrogant, completely antagonistic. So you know, it`s not surprising that Billy Bob got booed by Canadian fans. In that obnoxious CBC Radio interview, Billy Bob basically insulted them. Take a look.


BILLY BOB THORNTON, ACTOR AND MUSICIAN: The Canadian audience seems to be very reserved. We tend to play places where people throw things at each other. And here, they just sort of sit there, you know? And it doesn`t matter what you say to them. It`s mashed potatoes and no gravy, you know what I`m saying?

JIAN GHOMESHI, RADIO HOST: Oh, we`ve got some gravy up here as well.


ANDERSON: The next night after this interview, Canadian fans not only booed Billy Bob at a performance, but yelled things at him like, "Here comes the gravy." Suzanne, is it safe to say Billy Bob has pretty much alienated an entire country?

SUZANNE ROZDEBA, ENTERTAINMENT JOURNALIST: Absolutely. I don`t think he should go back to Canada. He insulted one of the celebrity DJs there. He insulted Canadians. I don`t think he should - I don`t think he should - I think it was probably a really good idea he cancelled his tour. Because if he showed up for these concerts, he would be booed right out.

ANDERSON: Yes. And I just feel for his band-mates. They`re probably really cool guys. Billy Bob should issue an apology in my opinion.

OK. Also new right now, you guys, Woody Harrelson fights a zombie at LaGuardia airport in New York. Well, that`s what he claims, at least. It appears that Woody roughed up a TMZ cameraman at this airport after much provocation. Let`s take a quick look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Woody, you just assaulted me with a bunch of witnesses. And I never even put my hands on you. Don`t touch me, Woody. Woody, hey, hey! Hey, whoa, Woody, chill out. Woody, all right. Woody, chill out. Woody, chill out. Woody, chill out. Woody.


ANDERSON: OK. Now, Harrelson tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, quote, "I wrapped a movie called `Zombieland` in which I was constantly under assault by zombies, then flew to New York still very much in character. With my daughter, at the airport, I was startled by a paparazzo who I quite understandably mistook as a zombie."

Howard, is Woody just being Woody here or was he pretty clever to turn this potential P.R. disaster into a big plug for his upcoming movie? Quickly.

BRAGMAN: Well, I think it`s a plug for his movie. But I also think he didn`t engage him and he really talked about the irony of the situation. It was a great response. I would have punched that obnoxious photographer out, too. So kudos to Woody. I think a lot of people are on his side here.

ANDERSON: Thanks for watching your language. I saw the hesitation. But I agree with you, he was absolutely provoked. Howard Bragman, Suzanne Rozdeba, thank you both. Good to see you.

HAMMER: Well, you know, LeAnn Rimes certainly knows a thing or two about battling the paparazzi. And tonight, she is speaking out publicly about allegations that she had an affair with actor Eddie Cibrian, her co-star in the Life Time movie "Northern Lights." Rimes has been married to backup dancer Dean Sheremet for seven years and has said very little to directly address the reports until now. Today, Rimes told the "Today" show that she has been in showbiz long enough to know that people will think whatever they want. Take a look at this.


LEANN RIMES, SINGER: I think everything`s not black and white that you read, you know. And do we all believe everything that we read in the first place? But you know, it`s something that I hate going back and forth in the press and not going to do it. Because it hurts my loved ones. It hurts my husband. It hurts me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s like a scab you keep picking.

RIMES: Yes, you know, I`m just not discussing anything. I`ve been around long enough - that you can`t please everyone. I know that. I know, in my heart, what I feel and what`s good about me. And you know, let people believe what they`re going to believe and whatever.


HAMMER: Yes. I think she is a terrific perspective on the whole thing. LeAnn also said she understands people`s fascination with her personal life. Still, she says, sometimes she does wish she were a little less visible.

ANDERSON: Well, no one is more visible right now than dog-in-chief Bo. The Obama`s new pet is already making waves and he just got to the White House.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They will eat your house.

MOOS: Eat your house?


MOOS: Even if it`s the White House?


ANDERSON: The Obamas finally picked a dog but did they make the wrong choice? First pup fever is coming up next. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

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

TEXT: Almost 1,200 woman show up Saturday in NY for redo of "Top Model" auditions. The first NYC "Top Model" audition ended in a stampede.


ANDERSON: The Obama girls are in puppy love. Their brand-new pet, Bo, a 6-month-old Portuguese water dog, joined the first family just in time for Easter. The girls reportedly chose the name themselves after a cousin`s cat and their maternal granddad, whose nickname was Diddley as in Bo Diddley.

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Tonight, first dog fever. Are you feeling it? The Obamas have been literally dogged by questions ever since word came out that they were on the hunt for a pet.

Well, now that the dog is literally out of the bag, why are people saying the Obamas may have made the wrong choice? What are people barking about now? And could Bo really be a big no-no?

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


MOOS (voice-over): At the dog show, there were fluffier dogs, more wrinkled dogs, great bigger dogs.

(on camera): I can see them in the Oval Office lawn. I could see him as the Oval Office rug.

(voice-over): But there`s something about this dog that licked all the rest. It will be the first, first family to get licked to death. This is the year`s "it" dog.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He knows he`s hip.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Portuguese water dog.

MOOS: Oh, it is?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it`s brown. He has such a human face. It looks so human.

MOOS: Comes in various colors and even in what they call a lion trim. But lovers of the Portuguese water dog have a secret for the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just think they`re just not ready for a dog like this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When they get bored, they get very destructive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They could wreak havoc in the (INAUDIBLE).

MOOS: Don`t get them wrong. They love these lovable dogs, very active, very intelligent.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I had one that could open any cooler and get food out of it. If it had a zipper, she`d eat the zipper off.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Steals all the magnets off my refrigerator.

MOOS: Ah, but what a magnetic personality to bring to the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A sense of comedy, a lot of comedy.

MOOS (on camera): We could use comedy in the White House, the way things are now.

(voice-over): Sen. Ted Kennedy has a pair of Portuguese water dogs. Experts say they need an alpha human to keep them out of trouble.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She used to get into my sink and pull the drain out of the sink because the food gets stuck in there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They will eat your house.

MOOS: Eat your house?


MOOS (voice-over): Even if it`s the White House? On the plus side -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Loves to lick your toes.

MOOS: Now, that`s a stimulus plan we can all support.


HAMMER: If they have a rough time, they can always get a trainer to bail them out, Brooke. That was CNN`s Jeanne Moos. That was it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`ve got to go now. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

ANDERSON: I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. You can catch SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on the 11:00s - 11:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, 11:00 a.m. Eastern every morning - that`s on HLN. Take care.