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SHOWBIZ TONIGHT

Brand-New Michael Jackson Mysteries; Chris Brown`s Public Apology; Is Paula Abdul Leaving "American Idol?"; Jon and Kate Breakup Debate; Stars Remember Walter Cronkite; The Walter Cronkite-Beatles Connection

Aired July 20, 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, HOST: Now, on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT - brand-new, startling Michael Jackson mysteries. Tonight, why is the official autopsy report been delayed? Why was yet another custody hearing delayed?

Plus, breaking news mysteries involving Michael`s sister. Is Janet Jackson going to get custody of Michael`s three children?

Tonight, Paula Abdul`s bombshell threat. Why Paula may not be coming back to "American Idol." Why she`s hurt. Why she`s angry. But will she leave the show? Tonight, the burning SHOWBIZ question, would you watch "Idol" without Paula?

Plus, the brand-new great Jon and Kate break-up debate. Jon dating around. Kate`s lugging the kids around. So SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has got to ask - who`s loving life more these days?

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

(MUSIC PLAYING)

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

And tonight, brand-new Michael Jackson mysteries. But we begin with big breaking news. Late today, Chris Brown released an emotional video apology on his Web site saying publicly, for the very first time, how sorry he is for beating up Rihanna.

Brown pleaded guilty last month in a plea deal and has been slammed time and time again for saying nothing. But late today, that all changed. Here now, just part of this brand-new video that`s now on his Web site.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS BROWN, SINGER: Since February, my attorney has advised me not to speak out, even though ever since the incident I wanted to publicly express my deepest regret and accept full responsibility.

Although I will do some interviews and answer some questions in the future, I thought it was time to you heard directly from me that I am sorry. I have tried to live my life in a way which can make those around me proud of me and until recently, I think I was doing a pretty good job.

I wish I had the chance to live those few moments again. But unfortunately, I can`t.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Joining me right now in New York, Jami Floyd - she`s an anchor for "In Session." And in Hollywood tonight, Carlos Diaz, who is a correspondent for "Extra."

Of to you first, Jami. This is pretty remarkable, this public apology. Are you surprised that he`s doing this right now? It`s almost exactly a month to the day since his felony conviction for beating up Rihanna.

JAMI FLOYD, ANCHOR, "IN SESSION": Well, I think he needed to get some distance from the criminality of it all. I mean, really, when you take a plea deal, when you plead guilty, you`re pleading guilty to a crime.

And this is about getting away from that image and getting back to the image of Chris Brown, the nice boy next door. And this is the first step in that direction. I think he needed to wait and he needs to get out of the Michael Jackson news cycle which now he`s done. This is only the beginning. He`s got a long way to go. But I think this is a step in the right direction.

HAMMER: And it wasn`t just a couple of lines. Chris goes on for more than two minutes apologizing to everybody that he`s let down including, of course, Rihanna. I want to watch some more of this brand-new apology.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: I cannot go into what happened and most importantly I`m not going to sit here and make any excuses. I take great pride in me being able to exercise self-control and what I did was inexcusable. I am very sad and very ashamed of what I`ve done. My mother and my spiritual teachers have taught me way better than that.

I have told Rihanna countless times and I`m telling you today that I`m truly, truly sorry and that I wasn`t able to handle the situation both differently and better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: All right. Carlos Diaz, let`s talk about this. And I don`t want to be cynical about it. I want to believe he`s being sincere and there`s real contrition there. But there is a part of it when I watch it, and we`ve seen this before, that looks a bit like a scripted P.R. stunt. Why do you think it took so long for the apology to be laid out?

CARLOS DIAZ, CORRESPONDENT, "EXTRA": It was scripted. There`s no way you can go two minutes - I mean, he`s reading that. That`s got to be the case there. But I mean, I do think you want distancing - the whole adage, time heals all wounds, you know.

You don`t want to come away from those court proceedings and then come out the very next day with that, because you want to kind of distance that, you know, from people`s minds. But the thing is, I think, we`re looking at a brand-new way of saying you`re sorry.

Usually, you would hold a press conference or something like that. Now, it`s the new age and you release it on your MySpace page or your Facebook page and that`s how you get your word out to the public.

HAMMER: Yes. It is pretty remarkable when you think about it. He doesn`t have to wait for an interview or to go on "The Tonight Show" to get into it. He can do it now and deal with a few more questions later on, and then probably shut down the questions after that.

A lot more of this video to be played. We`re going to show you the entire thing at the bottom of the hour. I guarantee you don`t want to miss a moment of it.

And brand-new tonight, we`ve got to get to the startling possibility that Janet Jackson could get Michael`s three children. There was another last-minute cancellation today of the custody hearing. So what the heck is going on there?

Also brand-new tonight, why is there yet another delay in finding out what exactly killed Michael Jackson? The highly anticipated toxicology reports which were expected this week, apparently not happening this week. So again, we`ve got to ask, what the heck is going on here?

Let`s get to this first startling M.J. mystery, the custody hearing. Everybody was expecting it today. It was delayed again for the third time in as many weeks. I really thought that we would have had this mystery solved by now, given the fact that Michael made his wishes very clear in his will, he wanted his mother, Katherine, to have custody of his kids.

Now, Jami, I realize that`s not legally binding. But why this mysterious brand-new hold-up?

FLOYD: Well, it isn`t legally binding. And he may not be the biological father. But really, what it suggests to me A.J. is there may be some negotiations going on behind the scenes. And if the courts can stay out of it, they want to stay out of it. So I think the court wants to give the family, however that`s defined, another week to try and reach some sort of settlement so that we don`t have to go to court to figure out who is going to take custody of these children.

HAMMER: And hopefully, they`re doing that to keep it civil if that, in fact, is what`s going on.

FLOYD: It`s in the best interest of the children to keep it out of court.

HAMMER: And I can tell you one person who thinks that Katherine should absolutely get custody, and he has great insight - Tom Mesereau. You remember Tom who is Michael`s lawyer during the 2005 molestation trial that Michael went through.

And Mesereau says there`s no doubt in his mind that Michael`s mother, Katherine, should raise her grandchildren, Prince, Paris and Blanket. You`ve got to watch what he told "Hollywood.tv" in brand-new interview. Let`s roll that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM MESEREAU, MICHAEL JACKSON`S FORMER ATTORNEY: I hope Katherine, you know, prevails because she`s very spiritual and very kind, a very wonderful woman. Debbie Rowe just arrived at this trial. And she was very, very pro-Michael and very nice to us. I have nothing against her at all. I hope they all work it out without litigation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Yes. Tom really echoing what so many people have been saying. So Carlos, is Debbie Rowe perhaps the hold up here among other things? I mean, is Michael`s ex-wife and mother of his two oldest kids perhaps the key to getting this thing done?

DIAZ: Exactly. I want to applaud Jami for saying what I`ve been saying from the beginning - this is not some kind of court case. This is a negotiation. That`s all this is. It is a negotiation between Debbie Rowe`s attorneys and Katherine Jackson`s attorneys to see what it is going to take to get her out of the picture. She`s done it before and she`s doing it again right now as we speak.

And that`s why they keep delaying it because it - and they`re still talking and they`re crossing all the T`s and dotting all the I`s before they step into a courtroom.

HAMMER: Yes. I hope they keep it quiet, but man, if it`s all over a dollar sign and custody of kids, that`s just sad to me.

Got to move on to this other brand-new mystery tonight, why the new hold on finding out once and for all what really killed Michael Jackson. There are brand-new reports now out that it could take another two weeks before we get the results of the toxicology reports.

You`ve got the L.A. police. You`ve got the D.A. You`ve got the federal Drug Enforcement Administration all looking into this. Jami, do you think this new mysterious delay is because everybody is taking their time to basically cover their bases and their butts.

FLOYD: Absolutely. Absolutely. I think that they know they`ve got one of the biggest cases ever on the table, so to speak. And they want to make sure they get it absolutely right. And I think back, A.J., to the Anna Nicole Smith toxicology report and that of her son, Daniel.

When you`ve got these big cases, you want to make sure you`ve got it right, not only as to cause of death, but as to manner of death. What killed Michael Jackson and was it a homicide or some other way of dying? And that`s going to be the key here, because then, we know whether or not we`re moving this into the criminal court.

HAMMER: The stakes are as high as they get with this one. Jami Floyd, Carlos Diaz - thanks, guys.

All right. Tonight, a late-breaking Chris Brown bombshell - a stunning apology from Brown for beating Rihanna.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: I have told Rihanna countless times and I`m telling you today that I`m truly, truly sorry and that I wasn`t able the situation both differently and better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: We are playing Brown`s entire dramatic on-camera apology. But will Rihanna and Hollywood accept it?

Also tonight, Paula`s got a new cold-hearted snake that she`s hissing about. I`m not talking about Simon Cowell. I`m talking about the whole "American Idol" show. Paula`s angry. She`s hurt, and she`s threatening to walk off "Idol." Personally, I would miss that seal clap of hers.

So many stars are speaking out tonight about the death of Walter Cronkite. We`ve got their tributes to the legendary newsman. You especially have got to hear George Clooney`s heartfelt memories of Walter. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

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

(CAPTION READS: La Toya Jackson releasing tribute song to her brother Michael called, "Home." Former Miss California Carrie Prejean will release new book, "Still Standing," in 11/09.)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WALTER CRONKITE, FORMER CBS NEWS ANCHOR: Man on the moon. Boy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: What an amazing moment. 40 years ago today, CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite, who so passionately covered the space program in the 1960s, actually got choked up. He was so happy while he was reporting the Apollo 11 crew had landed on the moon. And then, just a short time after, on July 20th, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon.

Welcome back so SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

And of course, that moon landing, just one of the many memories people have of CBS news man Walter Cronkite. He died Friday at age 92.

And over the weekend, star after star shared with SHOWBIZ TONIGHT their fond memories of watching Cronkite every night with their parents. It`s part of the many tributes that are pouring in today for the legendary news man.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CRONKITE: And that`s the way it is.

HAMMER (voice-over): We all knew Walter Cronkite as the voice that guided America through triumphs like the moon landing.

CRONKITE: Man on the moon. Oh, boy!

HAMMER: And tragedies like the Kennedy assassination.

CRONKITE: President Kennedy died at 1:00 p.m. Central Standard Time.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": On Friday, we lost perhaps the greatest anchorman in history, Walter Cronkite.

HAMMER: Today, on "The View," the hosts shared their own memories of Walter Cronkite who died last Friday at age 92. And Barbara Walters unveiled a rarely seen clip of her 1983 interview with the legendary news man.

CRONKITE: I`d like to be remembered as one who hewed to the line and the ethics of good journalism, tried to diminish to the lowest possible number the input of show business in broadcasting.

HAMMER: He may not have been a fan of show business in journalism, but Walter Cronkite had plenty of fans in showbiz.

CRONKITE: Our next report, the money behind the Watergate affair.

HAMMER: And now, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you some of the biggest stars in Hollywood are lining up to pay tribute to the man once called the most trusted man in America.

GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR: I grew up in a newsroom.

HAMMER: Last night, in a special one-hour tribute to Cronkite on CBS, George Clooney talked about his own personal fondness for Cronkite.

CLOONEY: He came to my house in Italy. He spent a week there. We had a great time. And he`d be sitting with someone and say, "Tell me about this. Or tell me about you." He`s interested, you know, as opposed to wanting to be interesting.

HAMMER: Clooney is a son of a newsman. His dad, Nick, was a longtime news anchor.

CLOONEY: We are going with the story -

HAMMER: And Clooney starred in and directed "Good Night and Good Luck" about the life of another CBS newsman, Edward R. Murrow. And on the CBS special, Clooney said Cronkite`s legacy cannot be understated.

CLOONEY: His legacy will be one of the great legacies, you know, great Americans. It sounds overstated, but he`s that important to us.

HAMMER: Also, on that CBS special, Robin Williams, who`s made a mini- career of imitating the CBS news giant -

CRONKITE: And that`s the way it is.

ROBIN WILLIAMS, ACTOR: And that`s the way it is. We`ll be right back.

HAMMER: Remember Cronkite`s funny side?

CRONKITE: We`re leaving. God, what`s this leader box? Oh, I`m sorry.

(LAUGHTER)

WILLIAMS: The best time to be with Walter is when he was with Betsy, you know, and one cocktail. That`s was - because then, they both get kind of wonderfully salty and kind of funny. And do Irishmen walk of the bar? It could happen? I mean, it`s the idea of him telling a joke at all that was like, what?

HAMMER: Speaking of funny people, Adam Sandler and the other stars of the movie called "Funny People" got serious for a minute when they talked to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT about Cronkite.

ADAM SANDLER, COMEDIAN: Walter Cronkite is definitely a legend.

JONAH HILL, ACTOR: I think it`s sad that he passed away and, you know, he leaves behind a legacy that I`m sure people in that field will look up to.

HAMMER: Peter Sarsgaard of the upcoming film, "Orphan," tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Cronkite was one-of-a-kind.

PETER SARSGAARD, ACTOR: He`s a television anchorman - when you think of Walter Cronkite, I mean, he`s - there`s some of the most interesting years of America. He could celebrate something or deliver tough news in a way that was like - that you could grasp.

HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT was at Nelson Mandela`s 91st birthday celebration concert Saturday at New York City`s Radio City Music Hall the day after Cronkite`s death. Some of the stars there told us that the legendary newsman was in their thoughts.

WYCLEF JEAN, MUSICIAN AND ACTOR: Who did not watch Walter Cronkite? It`s impossible.

JOSH GROBAN, SINGER: Once again, we`ve lost another great person. My family and I just loved him and loved watching him and just, you know - he really set such a standard in news journalism that, you know, may never be reached again.

HAMMER: Well, here`s some good news. It looks like Cronkite will continue to be the voice that introduces the "CBS Evening News" with Katie Couric. Now, after his death on Friday, CBS actually considered retiring Cronkite`s recorded intro.

But now, I`m happy to tell you that the network reportedly has reversed itself so Cronkite`s voice will live on in the "CBS Evening News."

And the "Showbiz on Call" phone lines have been ringing nonstop with your thoughts and memories of Walter Cronkite. We`ve got a call into "Showbiz on Call" from Jesse in Indiana. And Jesse felt Walter was much more than just a news anchor.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

JESSE, CALLER FROM INDIANA: What I remember about Mr. Cronkite as a child - he was always a person of presence. He exemplified presence in his presentation of the news. He always made you feel like he was right there in your home, not that you`re watching him through a television, but that he was there or your family sharing something about our country, about what was going on internally in the news.

I remember that specifically about him as a new thinker more than just a personality. He felt a person who was part of the family.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HAMMER: He certainly did. Thank you so much for your call, Jesse. You can call us at "Showbiz on Call" with your thoughts on Walter Cronkite or anything else. The "Showbiz on Call" phone lines are open all the time. This is the number - 1-888-SBT-BUZZ; 1-888-728-2899. Just leave us a voicemail. We`re playing some of your calls here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, posting them, too, online on our homepage. Just go to CNN.com/ShowbizTonight.

Well, tonight, a brand-new late-breaking Chris Brown bombshell. He apologizes for beating Rihanna, and it is all caught on tape.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: I have told Rihanna countless times and I`m telling you today that I`m truly, truly sorry and that I wasn`t able the situation both differently and better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: I`ll be playing Chris Brown`s absolutely jaw-dropping apology for you tonight. But will Rihanna accept it? Will the world accept it?

Also, Jessica Simpson just got dumped. Nick Lachey and his girlfriend split. So will Nick and Jessica get back together? Maybe if Jess realizes that Chicken of the Sea is tuna, not chicken. Nick sets the record straight.

And brand-new Michael Jackson sister shocker. Will Janet fight for custody of Michael`s three kids? This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

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

(CAPTION READS: "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" makes $396 million worldwide in opening weekend. NBA star Shaquille O`Neal to star in TV show competing against athletes in other sports.)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Tons of stars came out to celebrate Nelson Mandela`s 90th birthday at New York City`s Radio City Music Hall. Mandela was the first black president of South Africa after fighting to end apartheid for so many years.

The show benefited Mandela`s 46664 Foundation. The charity is named after his prison number in a South African jail where he was held for nearly 30 years.

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer with some more stories that are making news right now. So many big names at that Mandela concert. Aretha Franklin was there, so was Josh Groban, Alicia Keys, Will.I.Am, Queen Latifah. Cindy Lauper performed. Morgan Freeman, Whoopi Goldberg, Susan Sarandon spoke.

Really an amazing show. And one of the most touching and emotional parts of the Nelson Mandela concert came right before Stevie Wonder performed. Right before he sang "Keep Our Love Alive," Stevie had a very special message for Michael Jackson fans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVIE WONDER, MUSICIAN: And I dedicate all of this tonight to you and I send a special prayer to the Jackson family and Mr. Michael.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

And I want to say to all the artists throughout the world, please be careful with your life, be careful with the people that are around you. Make sure they love you, all of them, because God has blessed us with a special gift, to spread the message of love. Thank you so much and I love you all.

Really some very good words from one of the best in the business.

All right. Now, the SHOWBIZ Truth Squad, checking this out. Are Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson getting back together? What?

Since Nick and Jessica are single again, a lot of people have been doing the old, "Hmm. Will they? Won`t they?" Yes, even the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT staff, guilty as charged. You should have heard our morning meeting today. But tonight, Nick says there will be no Nick and Jessica part two.

Nick telling "People" magazine that he wishes his ex-wife all the best. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo just dumped her. But that`s it. They`re not hooking up again. In fact, Nick says they haven`t spoken in two years or so. Nick and his girlfriend of three years, former MTV host Vanessa Minnillo split earlier this summer.

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: I have told Rihanna countless times and I`m telling you today that I`m truly, truly sorry and that I wasn`t able the situation both differently and better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

A late-breaking Chris Brown bombshell. He apologizes for beating Rihanna, and it`s all caught on tape.

The brand-new great Jon and Kate breakup debate. Jon`s dating around and Kate`s - well, lugging kids around. Who`s getting the better deal here?

And the Michael Jackson sister shocker. Will Janet fight for custody of Michael`s three kids? This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

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

(CAPTION READS: Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "Angela`s Ashes," Frank McCourt, dead at 78. "Top Chef" co-host Padma Lakshmi developing a sitcom for NBC.)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: I have told Rihanna countless times and I`m telling you today that I`m truly, truly sorry and that I wasn`t able the situation both differently and better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Now, on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, a late-breaking Chris Brown bombshell. Chris Brown apologizes for beating Rihanna. But why now? It`s the shocking and emotional video apology from Chris Brown caught on tape, and we`ll show it to you.

And brand-new breaking mysteries involving Michael Jackson`s most famous sister. Will Janet Jackson fight for custody of Michael`s three kids? Will she get caught in the middle of a nasty custody battle?

And Paula Abdul`s bombshell threat, why she`s hurt, why she`s angry. Tonight, will Paula Abdul leave "American Idol?"

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

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

(MUSIC PLAYING)

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

Tonight, the Chris Brown apology bombshell. This is incredible. Late today, Chris Brown released a totally unexpected emotional on-camera plea, begging his fans to forgive him for beating Rihanna. It`s just one of the breaking developments new right now.

Brown`s dramatic on-camera apology for beating Rihanna was posted on his MySpace page. He promised to the world that he would never do it again and we are going to show you his apology in full, every word of it.

Also brand-new tonight, should Janet Jackson get custody of Michael`s three children? Since she`s not mentioned in Michael`s will, does she actually have a shot at it? Would she even want custody? And how will her interest just add to the already explosive custody battle that`s brewing?

Joining me tonight in New York is Jami Floyd who is an "In Session" anchor. And tonight in Hollywood, Carlos Diaz, who is a correspondent for "Extra."

All right, guys. We`ve got to get to this breaking brand-new news tonight, the totally unexpected and emotional apology that Chris Brown posted on his MySpace page.

I`ve got to tell you, nobody could have seen this coming, especially since Brown pleaded guilty to criminal felony charges and struck a plea deal almost a month ago. You have got to watch his apology and we`re going to play it for you right now in full. Roll it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Hi, I`m Chris Brown. Since February, my attorney has advised me not to speak out, even though ever since the incident I wanted to publicly express my deepest regret and accept full responsibility. Although I will do some interviews and answer questions in the future, I thought it was time to you heard directly from me that I am sorry.

I have tried to live my life in a way that can make those around me proud of me and until recently, I think I was doing a pretty good job. I wish I had the chance to live those few moments again. But unfortunately, I can`t.

I cannot go into what happened and most importantly I`m not going to sit here and make any excuses. I take great pride in me being able to exercise self-control and what I did was inexcusable. I am very sad and very ashamed of what I`ve done. My mother and my spiritual teachers have taught me way better than that.

I have told Rihanna countless times and I`m telling you today that I`m truly, truly sorry and that I wasn`t able to handle the situation both differently and better.

I recognize that I`ve truly been blessed. I have been blessed with a wonderful family, wonderful friends and fans. God has been generous in giving me the ability which has brought me fame and fortune. I have done a lot of soul searching. And over the past several months, I`ve talked with my minister and my mother and I`ve spent a lot of time trying to understand what happened and why.

I`ve let a lot of people down and I realize that. And no one is more disappointed in me than I am. As many of you know, I grew up in a home where there was domestic violence. And I saw firsthand what uncontrolled rage can do.

I`m continuing to seek help to ensure what occurred in February can never happen again. And as I sit here today, I can tell you I will do everything in my power to make sure it never happens again, and I promise that. What I did was unacceptable, 100 percent.

I can only ask and pray that you forgive me, please. I hope that others learn from my mistake. I intend to live my life so that I`m truly worthy of the term "role model." Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Wow. All right. There you go. Carlos Diaz, let me bring it over to you first. Why do you suppose Chris decided to release this apology now?

DIAZ: All right. From a media standpoint, let me throw out this theory for you. If he releases it two weeks ago, three weeks ago, it`s buried in the Michael Jackson case. And no one knows the importance and the significance of Michael Jackson more than Chris Brown.

I mean, the guy - Michael Jackson was his idol. So you move away. Now, Michael Jackson doesn`t dominate the news anymore and you could actually get some air time with this. And he releases it on a Monday, so now, we have all week to talk about it.

But in all honestly, I think they really wanted to craft a statement. And I hate to say this, but that was a really well-written, well-read statement.

HAMMER: It was well-written, but certainly, it was done for PR purposes, it seems. And I`ve got to tell you, I understand the Michael Jackson angle and waiting until that passed. But at the same time, it has been a month since he struck his plea deal.

Jami, let me go to you. His lawyers understandably advised him not to issue an apology while there were court proceedings under way. Now, he basically laid it all out on the table for his fans to hear. Why wouldn`t Chris Brown do this right after they struck this court deal? They should have been ready with this in my mind.

FLOYD: Well, really, his lawyers probably would rather he never did this. When you`re a lawyer, you don`t want your client to ever talk. And you notice, A.J., he doesn`t really say anything here about the case itself. He only says Rihanna`s name once.

So in terms of the legalities, this isn`t much. But I think it`s a whole lot in terms of his public image. And that`s what this is really about. And I think for that, you want to get some distance from the criminality, from that image, because this is a different kind of hip-hop rap artist.

This is not the criminal ghetto thug-ster. This is the new rap artist who has a different well-scrubbed, cute boy next door image and he wants to get back to that. And that`s what this statement is at first step toward doing.

And yes, it was well-crafted and well-read. But I kind of bought it. It was heartfelt. And you know, most of these guys - there`s a cycle of violence. They always apologize. They go back to the violence. They mean it when they apologize. They still go back to the violence because they can`t help it.

But some of them, A.J. - some of them do reform. And we really should pull for Chris Brown. We really should hope that he`ll be one of those.

HAMMER: I absolutely agree with you and I think he should continue to seek the treatment that he`s seeking and that we should also make a part of the story what you just said, Jami, that sometimes they apologize but return to the cycle.

Carlos, as Jami said, OK, so it`s about public image. And you tell me that you like it. So what do you think his fans are going to think? Do you think they`re going to accept this plea that he`s making for people to accept him and accept his apology? Do you think it will ring true? What do you think? Maybe it`s too little, too late at this point?

DIAZ: I think it`s a step in the right direction. I don`t think one, two- minute and three-second long, you know, speech can make up for what he did. He did as much as he could in those two minutes. And as he said at the beginning, he`s going to be granting other interviews.

So, you know, if he does other interviews and he`s the same kind of person we just saw from the last two minutes, I think he`s in the right track. I was the first person to say that I thought his career was over, but now, I`m kind of second-guessing that - that opinion on my part there.

HAMMER: Well, there certainly will be plain more questions and plain more to talk about as far as this is concerned.

But let`s move on right now to the brand-new speculation that Janet Jackson could get custody of Michael Jackson`s children. Another custody hearing put off today. Now, the concept is not really a stretch of Janet getting the kids or taking care of the kids.

As you take a look at this touching video of Janet at Michael`s memorial comforting the kids, it`s obvious there is a strong bond between them. Jami, we know that Michael wanted his mother Katherine to have custody.

And I`m wondering what you think if Janet joined forces with Katherine and maybe other members of the family, could this actually be pulled of?

FLOYD: This is one of the strangest custody situations I have ever seen. Because really, you have a case where most people agree the person who had control over the children may well have had no biological ties to them. And in our law and our courts, biology really is paramount. So that`s the strange here.

And I don`t know whether there was some sort of formal adoption. You have the surrogate mother who may have been the biological mother, Debbie Rowe. You have the grandmother who may not really be the biological grandmother. You have the aunt who may not be the biological - I mean, this is the strangest case.

We don`t even really know who the biological father is. So yes, it`s certainly possible, but nothing is certain in this, A.J. Nothing.

HAMMER: And there`s obviously a lot of mysteries surrounding the Jackson family. Quickly, Carlos, what do you think? Would Janet even want custody of the kids?

DIAZ: Well, she`d make a good mom and the fact that she could provide the kids with the same kind of lifestyle that they`re used to. But do the kids really need that right now? I honestly think these kids need someone who`s going to be there for them.

Janet still has a career, so she`s got her career to worry. I think they need someone like Katherine and maybe someone else in the family who can be there for them 24 hours a day and help them get through losing their father.

HAMMER: All right. Appreciate your insight. Carlos Diaz, Jami Floyd, thank you so much. And I need to point out SHOWBIZ TONIGHT did reach out to Rihanna for a comment. As of show time, we have not heard back.

Could it be true? Is Paula Abdul leaving "American Idol?" I`ve got to tell you, Paula is not holding back about how angry she is over her paycheck. But whatever will we do without her seal clap? Tonight, Paula`s fuming mad with "Idol." She`s hurt. She`s angry. But will she leave the show. And the big burning question, could "American Idol" go on without Paula?

And the Jon and Kate divorce war. Jon reportedly gets a new bachelor pad in New York City. Kate gets stuck with the eight kids. Is it fair? And the great Jon and Kate breakup debate.

And I`ll tell you why Madonna broke down in tears on stage and it`s all caught on tape. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

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

(CAPTION READS: Beastie Boys` Adam Yauch diagnosed with cancer. Band cancels concerts. Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler evacuate L.A. hotel after bomb scare.)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Tonight, the Paula Abdul bombshell. Is the "American Idol" judge threatening to quit the show? With Season 9 "American Idol" auditions only weeks away now, Abdul`s rep has just revealed that contract negotiations with Paula - they`re not going well. And the rep says flat-out she may not be back.

Also brand new tonight, the Jon and Kate break-up debate. Both of them were in New York City over the weekend. A little difference going on. He had a hot date with the blonde after jet-setting with his new girlfriend. And Kate - she was schlepping their eight kids around. So SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has got to ask, who do you think is loving life more these days?

With me tonight in New York is Steven Smith who is a music and pop culture expert. In Hollywood is Laura Saltman who is a correspondent for "AccessHollywood.com."

We begin with the brand-new and quite startling news that Paula Abdul may not return to "American Idol." Abdul`s manager telling "The Los Angeles Times" a contract for Season 9 has yet to be seen and says, "Very sadly, it does not appear that she`s going to be back on `Idol.` I find it under these circumstances particularly unusual; I think unnecessarily hurtful. I find it kind of unconscionable and certainly rude and disrespectful that they haven`t stepped up and said what they want to do."

Now, just recently, Paula said that she was invited to be on the show as long as she wants, as long as it stays on the air. Laura Saltman, I want to begin with you. You`ve covered virtually every episode of "Idol" for "Access Hollywood." Do you really think Paula would walk?

LAURA SALTMAN, CORRESPONDENT, "ACCESSHOLLYWOOD.COM": I really don`t think she will walk. She has been saying every interview this season that she hasn`t made a decision about whether she`s going to leave or not. And every time she said it, in the back of my mind, I`m going, "Sure, sure, sure. Negotiating tactic. Negotiating tactic. And I definitely think that`s what`s going on here, A.J.

HAMMER: Yes. I`m feeling a whole lot of posturing going on here. And the ladies of "The View" made it perfectly clear this morning that Paula is very important to "American Idol." Watch what they were saying.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHERRI SHEPHERD, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": They need Paula. You`ve got the acerbic Simon. You`ve got, you know, Randy, who`s just - he`s in the business.

JOY BEHAR, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": Yes.

SHEPHERD: But Paula - you need Paula because she sees the good in everybody.

(CROSS TALK)

BARBARA WALTERS CO-HOST AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "THE VIEW": This happens every year. I would be willing to bet that somehow or other, the contract comes and because she is trying to (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Yes, she is. And you know, this is one of the most successful television shows in history. They`ve got a lot of money. Steven, I don`t even want to contemplate an "Idol" without Paula Abdul. But let`s be real here. Does "American Idol" need Paula more than Paula needs "American Idol." Or is it the other way around?

SMITH: Yes. The village needs its idiot. Paula has to be there. She is comic relief. I mean, why they chose her way back in the beginning? She had no career. She had no point of view. But they brought her on as a judge and she`s done exactly that. She has judged people. On what, I`m not sure. But she`s very important to that show and I don`t see it without her.

HAMMER: I can`t imagine it. Don`t want to think about it. The whole thing, of course, exploded today online on Twitter. Paula`s fans kept going with their support for her. The started the whole "Keep Paula Movement." And in fact, she was so touched by all of their support.

I want to read to you what she tweeted on her very own page. She said, "I`m actually moved to tears upon reading the enormous amounts of tweets showing me your kindness, love and undying support. God bless all of you!" Abdul went on to say, "If it weren`t for you, this specific time and situation would feel a whole lot worse."

Late today, Ryan Seacrest tweeted directly to Paula, "Love you, P.A. Can`t imagine doing "Idol" without you," spelled "U." Let`s not forget Ryan Seacrest just signed a whopping three-year, $45 million deal to continue hosting "American Idol."

What do you think, Laura? Did Paula see that deal and say, "What am I, chopped liver? Show me the money, too."

SALTMAN: I think that`s probably exactly what happened. I mean, come on. It`s been reported that she`s only made like $3 million per season. And you see Ryan`s now getting $15 million. I`d be like, "Hello. Give me some money." I mean, anybody with any job in the world who saw that would posture.

And by the way, I just want to say about - on Twitter I put a call-out for people that say why they thought she should come on and stay. And it was insane, all the responses I got on why people want her to stay.

HAMMER: Yes.

SALTMAN: The Twitter-verse is all about Paula right now.

HAMMER: Yes. And not surprisingly, and mark my words - right now, Paula not going anywhere.

Let`s move on to our other stories that`s making big news right now. New Jon and Kate drama. Well, since Jon and Kate filed for divorce, Jon has been jet-setting with his new girlfriend, moving into his new luxury apartment building in New York City.

Kate, on the other hand, well, she`s been seen trying to take care of their eight children. So Steven Smith, this may seem kind of obvious but I need your perspective. Who do you think is loving life more these days?

SMITH: Oh, god. Let me think. Jon? Jon, definitely. I mean, for a while, even before the divorce came out, I watched the show and it was like "Jon and Kate Plus Hate." I mean, he just was battered, you know, cerebrally from her.

He always just seemed like, "Yes. I finally got away from my ex-wife. Life is good." So I think he`s thrilled to be away. I do think he`s just really hurting for not seeing his children. But I think he`s very happy to be away from her, which is sad.

HAMMER: Well, who do you think is loving life more?

SALTMAN: I think he should stop wearing Ed Hardy t-shirts, first of all. And you know, look, he`s obviously having a good time. It`s not like he`s hiding it.

He was out on a park there with his new girl and they were on a swing set holding hands. And I`m thinking, "You`re at a park on a swing. Shouldn`t you be with your kids on the swing set instead of your 22-year- old new girlfriend?" But you know, that`s his deal so -

HAMMER: We haven`t seen the end of it just yet.

SALTMAN: No -

HAMMER: Steven Smith, Laura Saltman, thanks guys. I appreciate it.

Tonight, moving on, Madonna`s tearful to two men who died building her concert stage in France. Madonna is scheduled to perform in the southern French city of Marseilles. But in a tragic accident, a crane collapsed on top of some of the construction workers, killing two men.

On Friday, during her concert in Italy, Madonna broke down in tears on stage while paying tribute to the two men and it was all caught on tape. You`ve got to see this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MADONNA, POP STAR: The men lost their lives which is a great tragedy to me. And so, I feel so devastated to be in any way associated with anyone`s suffering. So let`s all just take a moment to say a prayer for Charles Criscenzo and for Charlie Prow, two men who lost their lives today. Our hearts go out to their families, to their loved ones. And please, let`s all just take a moment to appreciate life in general, our own lives, the people around us, our families and friends, our loved ones. We`re all so blessed and lucky to be alive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Well, Madonna also flew to France to visit the families of the two men who died.

All right. Moving on - so even though Walter Cronkite was the most trusted man in America, if somebody told me that he said he had a hand in launching The Beatles in America, I`ve got to tell you, I`d find that hard to believe.

But tonight, we`ve got breaking Walter Cronkite news. Could it be that the legendary news anchor helped Ringo, Paul, John and George become one of the biggest acts of all time? It`s Walter in his own words. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

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

(CAPTION READS: "The Hangover" is the top-grossing R-rated comedy of all time beating "Beverly Hills Cop." Lindsay Lohan poses as Marilyn Monroe for Spanish "Vogue.")

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

HAMMER: Paul McCartney belted out "Drive My Car" at the first concert ever at the New York Mets brand-new Citifield Stadium. It`s hard to believe that it has been 44 years since The Beatles were the first act to perform at the Mets former home, Shea Stadium.

But you know what might be harder to believe? Walter Cronkite, of all people, launched The Beatles` career in America.

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer. The great Walter Cronkite broke so many big stories over the years. But did you know that Cronkite was actually responsible for one huge story? He had a hand in The Beatles` big TV debut in America.

As legend would have it, The Beatles first appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show." But in a CBS special tribute to Cronkite, the man who always had his back straight set the record straight about that. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRONKITE: The Beatles are on American television for the first time, not as history seems to have it recorded, on "The Ed Sullivan" show but on the "CBS Evening News" with Walter Cronkite. If there`s some credit in history for that, I want it.

SIR PAUL MCCARTNEY, FORMER MEMBER, "THE BEATLES": We just hope we`re going to have quite a run.

CRONKITE: And my gosh, we weren`t off the air one minute when I had a phone call from Ed Sullivan, only if I will. He said, "Walter. Walter. Tell me about those kids. Tell me about those kids."

"What kids, Ed?" "Those kids you just had on the air. What do you call them? The bugs or the Beatles or something?

ED SULLIVAN, HOST, "THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW": Ladies and gentlemen, The Beatles.

(SCREAMS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: It`s just an incredible story. I never heard that before. All right. Right now, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on Facebook. Our Facebook fans sharing their emotional memories of Walter Cronkite.

John B. writes, "Walter Cronkite is not only a legend, but he had the true integrity that a lot of the journalists today seem to have lost. If it was news and real news, you got the straight picture of what was going on."

And Joan S. writes, "I will remember Mr. Cronkite for his integrity and being only interested in the news, no fluff, just news. I was watching him when he calmly announced that JFK was dead. Watching Walter was a glimpse into what was lost and what was to come. He will truly be missed."

I`d love for you to keep writing us. You can sign up to be a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Facebook fan. Head on over to CNN.com/ShowbizTonight and click on our Facebook logo.

Well, that is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Thank you so much for watching. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. You can always catch SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on the 11:00s - 11:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, and in the morning at 11:00 a.m. Eastern right here on HLN.

END