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SHOWBIZ TONIGHT

Paula Abdul Speaks; Brad Pitt`s Brand-New Revelations; How Much Do TV Stars Make?; Sherri Shepherd`s Brand-New Bikini Body; Michael Jackson`s Lost Songs; Dancing with the Horses?

Aired August 6, 2009 - 23:00   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 - tonight, the great Paula Abdul mystery. For the very first time since Paula`s bombshell that she`s leaving "American Idol," Paula is speaking out on camera.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAULA ABDUL, FORMER "AMERICAN IDOL" JUDGE: It`s been overwhelming what`s going on right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Tonight, is Paula quitting "Idol?" And if she is, is this just a dumb move? Could it be a publicity stunt? And does "Idol" really need her? Plus, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT reveals what other reality shows Paula could be joining.

Brad Pitt`s brand-new bombshell. Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with Brad`s revealing new interview. Where he and Angelina like to have sex. Why she and Angelina won`t get married. And his explosive attack about gay marriage.

Tonight, star salary secrets. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with the incredible revelations about how much TV`s biggest stars really make. But are they worth it?

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, the great Paula Abdul mystery. Is she really leaving "American Idol"? Will she be replaced? Well, tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has some answers for you. One day after Paula shocked everyone by announcing she`s quitting "Idol," the head of Fox dropped a bombshell today saying that not only is Paula definitely out, but "Idol" is going to replace her.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with the explosive brand-new developments in the Abdul quitting controversy, making big news right now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over): After flying the coup from "American Idol," Paula Abdul is now just flying.

ABDUL: It`s overwhelming what`s going on right now. So I have to really carefully think about everything.

HAMMER: TMZ caught Paula at New York`s JFK Airport speaking on camera for the first time since she announced she was leaving "American Idol." she told TMZ what she`s going to miss about the show.

ABDUL: My compadres, of course. I love the kids. I love the kids. And that`s been the joy for me.

HAMMER: But as Paula Abdul talks about moving on from "Idol," SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you that Fox Network announced today that it`s moving on from Paula.

DAVID CAPLAN, "PEOPLE": Victoria Beckham is actually going to do a spot on "American Idol" as a guest judge.

HAMMER: "People`s" David Caplan tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT the former Spice Girl`s "American Idol" stint won`t last long.

CAPLAN: Victoria Beckham`s rep says she`s only doing one show because she wants to focus on her fashion line.

HAMMER: In addition to Beckham, Fox says pop star Katie Perry will also guest judge during the "American Idol" auditions scheduled to begin Friday. And Fox says it plans to recruit other female pop stars to fill Abdul`s chair.

On Tuesday, Abdul announced on Twitter that she`s leaving the show after eight seasons, reportedly because "American Idol`s" producers wouldn`t meet her salary demands for a new contract. Ever since then, some have had a hard time accepting that she`s really gone.

CAPLAN: There are tons of conspiracies out there, one of which is that this is just a big publicity stunt for "American Idol" to generate even more viewers. There`s also a conspiracy theory out there that this is just a negotiating ploy, that Paula is getting it out there so "American Idol" producers will be forced to give her more money.

HAMMER: But today, a Fox executive a gathering of TV critics, quote, "Our understanding is we`ve concluded the negotiation." And with their new guest judges, Fox is sending a clear message.

CAPLAN: Fox is going full throttle ahead, saying, "Hey, Paula`s gone. We`re looking for new talent."

HAMMER: At NBC`s press tour, Jay Leno tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT the whole thing is unfortunate.

JAY LENO, COMEDIAN: I liked Paula. I`m surprised they couldn`t work it out.

HAMMER: "Deal or No Deal" host, Howie Mandel, reminds SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Paula Abdul is not the first "American Idol" star to leave the show in a huff.

HOWIE MANDEL, HOST, "DEAL OR NO DEAL": I just got over the fact that Dunkleman is not coming back. And now this?

HAMMER: But Al Roker tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT that he agrees that maybe Abdul wasn`t appreciated.

AL ROKER, HOST, "WAKE UP WITH AL": I think Paula has kind of not felt the love there. And I think that they may be underestimating her part of the show. So I mean - because you never know what`s going to happen with her. So you tune in, what`s Paula going to do? And now, she`s not there.

HAMMER: All this comes as reports swirl that Paula`s been offered a guest judging gig on "So You Think You Can Dance." Abdul tells TMZ it`s all news to her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Are you going to accept the offer? You`re going to see so you can dance?

ABDUL: I didn`t know I was being given an offer. No, I love the show. It`s a wonderful show. I don`t know what`s going to happen.

HAMMER: But if "So You Think You Can Dance" doesn`t snap up Paula, the host of some of TV`s other reality shows tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT they`d be happy to have Paula on their shows. Imagine Paula on "The Biggest Loser."

ALISON SWEENEY, HOST, "THE BIGGEST LOSER": She certainly knows how to stay fit. And dance is a big part of being healthy. So we would love to have her.

HAMMER: Or Paula on "Top Chef."

GAIL SIMMONS, JUDGE, "TOP CHEF": As a guest judge on "Top Chef," anything`s possible. Why not? I`d love to have her on.

HAMMER: Or Paula on Al Roker`s new morning show?

ROKER: You are welcome...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please.

ROKER: ... to come on our show.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Weather Channel.

ROKER: Bring the crazy. We love you.

Hmm So for now, it appears no one knows what`s in Paula Abdul`s future, not even Paula.

ABDUL: I don`t know what`s going to happen.

HAMMER: But despite some wishful thinking from fans, it`s starting to look like that future won`t involve "American Idol."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: It`s actually starting to settle in. So with this big news today from Fox that Paula can take a hike and that they`re going to replace her, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT wants to know, did Paula shoot herself in the foot by walking away from the biggest show on television?

Joining me tonight in New York is Laura Saltman who`s a correspondent for AccessHollywoood.com. In Hollywood, Tanika Ray, a correspondent for "Extra."

All right, guys. Today`s huge development came when Fox Entertainment chairman, a guy named Peter Rice, told reporters that Paula will definitely be replaced. Listen to what rice said, "Our intention is to have guest judges be female pop stars, female performers. Between now and January, we will come up with a more permanent solution. We feel between now and then, we will come up with a replacement for Paula. There`s obviously going to be a different dynamic next year."

Laura Saltman, over to you first. Does it sound to you like game over, Paula?

LAURA SALTMAN, CORRESPONDENT, ACCESSHOLLYWOOD.COM: I think she`s done. I think there was all that speculation that maybe this was a big publicity stunt, but I think it`s over for her. I do not think she`s coming back to "American Idol."

I think it didn`t come down to money. I think overall it came down to respect. And I think Paula felt she wasn`t getting the respect she deserved to a show that she did help make successful. And so that`s why she walked away from it.

HAMMER: Yes. And a lot of people, of course, did think this was just posturing going on as does happen often in the media. We saw it a few weeks ago when Paula`s contract was in negotiation.

But Tanika, this is a big question that everybody wants to know the answer to - was Paula actually playing a game of chicken with "American Idol" here and really ended up shooting herself in the foot by tweeting she was gone?

TANIKA RAY, CORRESPONDENT, "EXTRA": See, that`s what some people are saying. I think that people use Twitter to announce things, to tease people. And I do think maybe that wasn`t her final answer, but Fox took that as her official answer that she wasn`t coming back.

But I do want to say something about what you just said about money. Respect is earned through money. People show respect through money. So by her not getting even half what Ryan Seacrest was offered, I think that felt to her that she wasn`t been respected by the producers, so she`s out.

HAMMER: And the "Showbiz on Call" phone lines - they are burning up over this. We heard from Nancy in California. She called in to "Showbiz on Call" and she says it is a huge mistake for "American Idol" to let Paula walk. Listen to this.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

CALLER: This is in reference to Paula leaving. I think it`s a major mistake because she and Simon are the perfect yin and yang for each other. She`s Lucy to Simon`s Ricky. And I think with her gone, Kara and Simon will not balance each other the way she did with him. I think it`s a big mistake and I don`t think I`ll be watching anymore.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HAMMER: Yes. Thanks, Nancy. I appreciate your call. And Nancy, I`ve got to tell you, a lot of people are saying the same thing. It`s all about the balance that they strike that is an important component of the show.

Laura, what do you think? Is it possible that "Idol" is going to try out a few of these guest judges and realize maybe they need Paula more than they thought they needed her?

SALTMAN: I absolutely do. Look, once this was announced - I mean, I took to Twitter and I wanted to know what people were thinking about it. And everyone said Paula is the heart of the show.

She`s the heart of the show. She gives the contestants hope, and they love her for that. And then the other thing they say is that the chemistry, like the caller just said, with Simon - there`s something that you cannot produce, and that is their chemistry.

And Simon will never, ever have that with Kara because that`s not her personality. And I`d be hard-pressed to find somebody else that he`ll have it with other than Paula. Those two elements I think are going to not doom the show. But I think it will be a very, very different show.

HAMMER: Yes. It will be a different show. I don`t think it certainly will fall from grace and no longer be number one.

SALTMAN: Absolutely not.

HAMMER: I don`t think that`s going to happen.

SALTMAN: Absolutely not.

HAMMER: But I have to tell you, not everybody, including some major professionals in the business, think it is game over at this point. In fact, Nigel Lythgoe, of course - he`s former producer of "American Idol." He now oversees and judges on "So You Think You Can Dance" on Fox. He says you can`t count Paula out until the new season of "Idol" actually begins and she doesn`t show up.

Here`s what he said today, "I still don`t know that she`s going to leave "Idol." Until "Idol" goes on the air, there are always opportunities for renegotiations."

And that`s all well and good. But let`s not forget, Nigel Lythgoe also said he would love for Paula to join his current show, "So You Think You Can Dance." So Tanika, would it surprise you at all if Paula turns up and very quickly on some other big reality show?

RAY: Oh, not at all. I wouldn`t be surprised now. I actually talked to Nigel yesterday and asked him would he offer her a third permanent chair at "So You Think You Can Dance," because it`s Nigel, Mary and that would be Paula. He said absolutely not. He`s not interested in three permanent judges, only two.

So unless Mary`s going somewhere, there`s really no place for her to go, unless it was just one show here, one show there. But he did say he offers her a choreography job.

So you know what? I don`t think there was shortage of offers right now for Paula Abdul. But I wouldn`t be surprised if the producers are shaking up a bit and come January, surprise, there`s Paula Abdul.

HAMMER: Yes. Because as you point out, even though auditions are now taking place, the Hollywood bit of it doesn`t start until January. And that`s when the show goes on the air. So who knows what will transpire? Laura, we`ve got to end it there.

(CROSSTALK)

Laura Saltman, Tanika Ray, thanks, guys. I appreciate it. Now, over to you. Here`s our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day - "Paula Abdul: Does `American Idol` Need Her?" Tell it to us straight at CNN.com/ShowbizTonight or E-mail showbiztonight@cnn.com.

Well, I`ve got to tell you, tonight, Brad Pitt is not holding back one bit. This is unbelievable. He`s got brand-new bombshells that he`s revealing, like where he and Angelina Jolie like to have sex. Why he and Angelina won`t get married. Plus, his explosive new attack about gay marriage.

Don`t you just love to know what stars make? Well, tonight, I am blowing the lid off the TV star salary secrets. And I`m talking some serious big bucks here. But I`ve got to ask, are these people worth it?

Also this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The women coming home with the news. But the kid needing her mom, that`s the star.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: The emotional, tear-jerking reunion between two journalists freed from North Korea and their families, a daughter seeing her mother for the first time in months. And tonight, I`ve got the incredible story of this mother and child reunion through the eyes of the 4-year-old girl. You have got to see it. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

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

TEXT: Britney Spears to perform at Teen Choice Awards and she`ll also get "ultimate" award. John Hughes, who directed "The Breakfast Club" and wrote "Home Alone," dies at 59.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer. And now, the dramatic Hollywood connection to the freeing of Lisa Ling`s sister from North Korea. You know, Lisa`s sister Laura and her co-worker, Euna Lee, were released after former President Bill Clinton met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

Well, there is an amazing entertainment story here. The plane Clinton took is actually owned by Hollywood producer Stephen Bing. He worked on "Kangaroo Jack" and he reportedly pumped millions into Tom Hanks` "The Polar Express." Bing also had a baby with supermodel Elizabeth Hurley.

No one could take their eyes away from the heart-wrenching reunion of Euna Lee and her 4-year-old daughter, Hannah. Euna and Laura Ling, the sister of Lisa Ling, were held as prisoners in North Korea for five months. So you can only imagine the agony this woman went through not knowing when she would see her young daughter again.

But tonight, a view that we didn`t get to see. What was it like for young Hannah to be reunited with her mother again for all the world to see?

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Getting a ride from dad, who was himself shaking with nervous energy, appearing like a deer in the headlights as humongous hangar doors opening to reveal a glistening plane as he`s told it`s carrying your mother.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What really strikes me is just watching that little girl.

MOOS: The women coming home were the news. The kid meeting her mom was the star.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Their adorable 4-year-old daughter, Hannah.

MOOS: Adorable Hannah, swept up by her mom, smothered with hugs - three- way hugs, four-way hugs. Her hair caressed while she, in turn, played with her mother`s ponytail. Where did she think her mother was all these months?

QUESTION: You just told her that her mom was at work?

MICHAEL SALDATE, EUNA LEE`S HUSBAND: Yes, she`s still at work. And she knows that she`s in China or Korea. She just knows she`s at work.

MOOS: Instead of clinging to a purple unicorn in her mom`s absence, suddenly, mom was there to cling to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, wow. Hannah sort of says it all, doesn`t she?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just brings tears to your eyes just to see it.

SHERRI SHEPHERD, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": I just wanted to cry watching Euna see her daughter.

MOOS: They nuzzled. They rocked. They whispered. Will she someday remember she was smiled upon by former President Clinton? Oblivious to the hugs from former Vice President Gore. She used to draw pictures starring her mother. While her mom was away, she drew this.

SALDATE: She drew a picture and I was the center and it was just her and I. She didn`t include her mother which really made me sad.

MOOS (on camera): Looking at it from a kid`s eye view, what is going through the head of a 4-year-old whose mother has disappeared for more than four and a half months? We asked a child psychiatrist.

DR. BRADLEY PETERSON, DIRECTOR OF CHILD PSYCHIATRY, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: You have a lot of ambivalence around the absence of that parent. And they`ve been terrified that they may not come back. They`ve been angry that they`ve been away.

MOOS: And even the excitement of homecoming can be a yawn.

LAURA LING, REPORTER: We could feel your love all the way.

MOOS: When Hanna`s mom was away.

SALDATE: She would just stop - like we`re home, "Will mommy be home in a couple of days?" Or "Mommy will be home soon? Or "I`ll do this when mommy gets here."

MOOS: She`s here, forehead to forehead, cheek to cheek.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: That was CNN`s Jeanne Moos for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Wow, that was such a powerful and touching moment seeing Euna embrace her 4-year-old daughter, Hannah, after being away from her for five long months.

As we move on tonight, there is a raging debate going on right now on our "Showbiz on Call" phone lines. Will people actually stop watching "American Idol" without Paula Abdul? Well, our operators - take a look at them, because they are split. Some say that Paula has been treated in a very cold-hearted way. Others say Paula needs to rush, rush to another show.

We`ve got a call in to "Showbiz on Call" from Dawnita who is still going to tune in.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

CALLER: Yes, everybody likes Paula, but it`s not going to change anything. So I don`t think anybody should stop watching "American Idol" just because she left the show.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HAMMER: Thanks, Dawnita. We also heard from Lynn calling in to "Showbiz on Call" from Virginia. She is mad because Paula is forever her girl.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

LYNN, CALLER FROM VIRGINIA: Paula will never be replaced. Paula needs to stay on "American Idol." I will never watch the "American Idol" again without Paula being on there. She is what made the show. The one that needs to quit is Simon Cowell.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HAMMER: Thanks for your call, Lynn. You sound pretty sad about this. Call us at "Showbiz on Call" and let us know what you think about Abdul leaving "Idol" or anything else. The "Showbiz on Call" phone lines are open all the time at 1-888-SBT-BUZZ; 1-888-728-2899. Leave us a voicemail and we`ll play your calls here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Your calls to "Showbiz on Call" also online on our homepage, CNN.com/ShowbizTonight.

Well, tonight, this is unbelievable. We`re getting an inside look into Brad Pitt`s private life from Brad himself. And let me tell you, this is very personal stuff. Brad revealing where he and Angelina Jolie like to have sex. Why they won`t get married. And Brad`s also launching an explosive new attack about gay marriage.

Also tonight, people everywhere just shocked that Paula Abdul is off "American Idol." And now, there is a great debate going on. Will people stop watching the show or will more people actually tune in? I`ve got your fired-up Facebook comments and your calls into "Showbiz on Call."

And do you need a dance partner? How about a horse? Why don`t you grab your dancing shoes or, maybe I should say, your horse shoes and get ready for this absolutely bizarre story of a woman who dances with horses. And me, personally, I don`t know whether to vote yea or nay to this one. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

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

TEXT: Jennifer Aniston to star in "Goree Girls," a film about a 1949s female music group in jail. Aerosmith`s lead singer Steven Tyler falls from stage during concert in South Dakota.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer. And tonight, everybody is buzzing about Meryl Streep and Amy Adams in "Julie and Julia." It opens tomorrow.

But if that`s not your cup of tea, well, you might want to check out Paul Giamatti playing himself in the comedy "Cold Souls," or the action adventure, "A Perfect Getaway."

With me tonight in New York is "Picks and Pans" "People" magazine film critic, Leah Rosen. So Leah, "Julie and Julia" is just now being released. Yet, I`ve been hearing buzz about this for months. And I`m thinking Meryl Streep, Amy Adams - you really can`t go wrong.

LEAH ROZEN, FILM CRITIC, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Oh, you can`t go wrong. It`s half a great movie, though. With the Julia part about Julia Childs with Meryl Streep, fabulous. So much fun. Meryl Streep is giving this just deliciously exuberant performance and you really enjoy it.

The parts with Amy Adams which are about Julie, who is a worker bee in Manhattan now who is cooking all the recipes in Julia Childs` first cookbook and blogging about it are just - she`s a whiner and you`re way less interested. So more Julia, less Julie is the recipe for success.

HAMMER: Got it.

ROZEN: Let me also say do not go to this movie on an empty stomach because you will be so ravenous.

HAMMER: Did you come to the segment on an empty stomach? Stage manager, Dave Webber, will you come in here very quickly. This is actually one of the cakes featured in "Julie and Julia." It`s your lovely parting gift here, Leah Rozen. Can we get a quick close up of that? OK. Here you go.

ROZEN: Thanks, A.J.

HAMMER: It`s fat free and you take the cake, Leah.

ROZEN: Wow. Love petit gateau.

HAMMER: Earn your petit gateau by telling me about "Cold Souls" over a piece of cold cake. Paul Giamatti plays himself?

ROZEN: Paul Giamatti. This is sort of the equivalent of "Being John Malkovich." Not quite as funny, but equivalently off the wall. Paul Giamatti plays Paul Giamatti. He has his soul extracted. And when his soul is extracted, it looks like a little tiny chickpea in a glass jar. Pretty funny, gets points for trying and for being different.

HAMMER: What do you think about "A Perfect Getaway?" Is this going to have any re-thinking taking a trip to Hawaii.

ROZEN: It`s a horror film. It will have you - you`ll go to Hawaii for the scenery. You won`t want the killer on the loose. It has some fun twists in it. It`s smarter than your average horror film.

HAMMER: OK. Is it worth spending my money?

ROZEN: Only if you`re a fan of the genre. Otherwise, you don`t have to see it.

HAMMER: Stay home and eat cake.

ROZEN: And save up for Hawaii.

HAMMER: Maybe that`s what I`ll do instead. All right. Lea Rozen, we thank you as always. Please enjoy your lovely parting gift.

ROZEN: Thank you.

HAMMER: We don`t have this very often here at SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

(CROSSTALK)

For more "Picks and Pans," get your copy of "People" magazine. You`ll find it - and this is the cover - on newsstands right now.

Time now for the SHOWBIZ lineup. This is what we have coming up at the bottom of the hour on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Brand-new Brad Pitt secrets you will not want to miss about his life with Angelina Jolie. Where he likes to have sex with her. Why he and Angie won`t get married.

Paula Abdul out of "American Idol." Tonight, the great debate - will people stop watching the show now that she`s not going to be on it?

And Sherri Shepherd, wow, look at you! "The View" co-host showing off a brand-new slamming bikini body. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

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

TEXT: Sharon Stone, 51, poses topless for French magazine, "Paris Match." Miley Cyrus restraining order against man accused of stalking her.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Now on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, Brad Pitt`s sex confession. Tonight, Brad opens up about his sex life with Angelina. And his no-holds-barred attack on opponents of gay marriage.

The great "American Idol" debate. Now that Paula Abdul is out, will you even watch the show? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with your fired-up phone calls and Facebook comments in the great "Idol" debate.

And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with the revealing new details on the outrageous salaries of TV`s biggest stars.

Plus, more stories breaking from the "SHOWBIZ News Ticker." TV`s most provocative entertainment news show continues right now.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

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.

Tonight, Brad Pitt`s confessions about everything, including sex with Angelina. Brad Pitt is making jaw-dropping, totally blunt revelations. Tonight, Brad Pitt not holding anything back.

In an explosive brand new interview just out today, Brad Pitt spills his guts on how he feels about gay marriage, his relationship with Angelina Jolie. And you are not going to believe this - he even talks about their sex life together.

Also, it`s official. Fox confirmed today that Paula Abdul will be replaced on "American Idol." This is hard to believe. Are they crazy? Or really is this the best thing that could have happened to the show that`s been on for - coming on nine seasons? It is the great Paula debate. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT got explosive reaction from fans on Facebook, on E-mail and on of course on the "Showbiz on Call" phone lines.

Also, "View" co-host Sherri Shepherd bares it all. Today, on "The View," wow, she revealed to the world her beautiful new beach body. What a tucus! How terrific!

Joining me tonight in Hollywood, Leslie Marshall, host of "The Leslie Marshall" radio show. Also tonight in Hollywood, Tanika Ray, who is a correspondent for "Extra."

All right. We`ve got to start with Brad Pitt`s revelations. They are incredible. He`s talking about his life like never before in this week`s issue of "Parade" magazine. Brad confirmed that he and Angelina Jolie will not get married until gay marriage is legal.

Listen to what he tells "Parade." This is incredible. He says, "I believe everyone should have the same rights. They say gay marriage ruins families and hurts kids. Well, I`ve had the privilege of seeing my gay friends being parents and watching their kids grow in a loving environment."

Tanika, let me begin with you. Brad has really never been this specific on this issue before. He`s mentioned it but now, he`s absolutely confirmed it. It`s great he`s saying it, but we know how angry people get over the gay marriage issue. Do you think there could be a backlash against Brad for saying this?

RAY: You know what? I don`t think he cares. Of course, there are going to be people who are going to nitpick every word he says because that`s what they do and they have issues with gay marriage.

But I don`t think Brad cares. I don`t care. I don`t think you out there care. So they`re going to have to deal with it. I love the fact that Brad is so open and honest. And he says what he feels.

We have heard before that he said he and Angelina are not going to get married until everybody has that right. We still love that fact, but he`s just expounding on it a little bit. And I agree. I have gay friends that have kids and they`re in a happy, loving environment. So kudos to him for that.

HAMMER: Well, as far as this interview - open and honest, the operative terms. Wait until you hear this. Brad was giving "Parade" magazine a tour of his fantastic Los Angeles home.

And while he was doing that, he pointed out this certain little secret grotto that`s in the back where incredibly Brad Pitt revealed it`s a great place for sex. He actually said that in the interview.

And Leslie, quite frankly, I`m going to ask you this, I`ve got to believe with six rambunctious kids running around, sneaking in the back yard for a little nooky not such a bad idea.

LESLIE MARSHALL, HOST, "THE LESLIE MARSHALL SHOW": Hey, with two kids, I`m looking to build a grotto at my house. Move over, Hugh Hefner, the grotto is now the American family plan.

You know, think it`s awesome, honestly, that he`s so revealing because anybody who has kids knows that unless you`re going to just like, you know, put padlocks on all your doors, you`ve got to find some kind of grotto.

I do think it`s funny in the size of home that he and Angelina live in or build or have lived in, that they need to find a little nook and cranny for that. But it`s cute.

HAMMER: And by the way, I would like to point out I`ve said now both "tuchus" and "nooky" within two minutes of the show.

But we`ll move on now, because, Tanika, here`s the thing. This is a couple, as we know, that`s very famous for being tightlipped about their personal life, very selective about what they will reveal. Why do you suppose that Brad has now come out and decided to be really open about stuff that is so personal?

RAY: Let`s see, he has a movie to promote. That always helps. We always get little nooks and crannies of information when they have a movie to promote and this is no different.

HAMMER: Yes.

RAY: I just wish he had done it in the junket with me. That would have been more fun.

HAMMER: It would have been a good depth for you, indeed. All right. We`ve got to move on now to an explosive, brand-new development today in the Paula Abdul drama. Now, if you were hoping upon hope there was actually a chance that she might return to "American Idol," I`m here to say you`d be wrong. It is over.

Fox did announce today they are not wasting any time and they`re already announcing guest judges who will be sitting in the Paula Abdul chair. And, get ready for this, Victoria Beckham, Posh Spice herself, has already confirmed she`s in. Pop star Katie Perry - you know, "I Kissed a Girl" - she may be next. Leslie, do you think this is a good idea?

MARSHALL: Well, I don`t think it`s a good idea certainly for "Idol" in the long run. I do think it`s a good idea for Paula, because I think that success is the best revenge. And I think she`ll have more success after leaving "Idol."

And perhaps, the producers of "Idol" will see how valuable she was and maybe they should have given her what she wanted in those negotiations, because that`s the real reason I think she`s leaving that and other opportunities. I think some of these guest hosts like Victoria Beckham are going to be great and they`ll spike things. But I don`t think people like Victoria Beckham are going to do this every day.

HAMMER: No. Well, Victoria Beckham has said she doesn`t have the time. She`s got to focus on other things.

MARSHALL: Yes.

HAMMER: Except I have to say, what a great choice. I just think, you know, if Paula can`t be there, she`s a pretty cool choice. And no surprise, the "Showbiz on Call" phone lines exploding. A lot of outraged fans are saying bring Paula back.

I want to play for you one angry woman. This is Deena from Texas. She says the whole thing is ridiculous. Roll that.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

CALLER: I believe no Paula, no "American Idol" for me. She`s a big part of this show, one of the biggest parts of this show. No more "Idol" for me.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HAMMER: I love you for calling, Deena. Thank you. Tanika, I`ve got to imagine there are a lot of people out there who feel the same way. Do you really think, though, people will start boycotting - particularly fans, boycotting "Idol" in droves because Paula`s gone?

RAY: Only time will tell. You`ve got to remember the show`s not going to come out until January. That`s a whole six months from now. So attitudes might change after that. But you have to remember that Paula is the emotional pulse of that show.

You have Simon the mean one, Randy the technical one, and without somebody in the middle to sort of bring people together and to touch on the emotions of what the contestants are going through, we kind of miss something huge here that I don`t think the producers are paying attention to.

HAMMER: Yes.

RAY: Remember, Kara is a songwriter. She`s technical as well. So to bring in the artist, Paula is the only one that knows what it`s like to perform on stage, knows what it`s like to be rejected by studios. So she has a very valuable opinion. We`ll see what happens.

HAMMER: Yes. That balance is really, really important. And it is not just the "Showbiz on Call" phone lines, by the way, that are taking a major beating from this outrageous feedback. We are overloading our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Facebook page as well.

This is Timothy M. writing, "You know, Paula did act strange a few times over the years, but I didn`t notice any of that this past season. And although I will still watch the show, it definitely will not be the same without her on `Idol.`"

Now, Fox Entertainment says they are sad to see Paula go. But new guest judges will inject a whole new level of excitement to a show that`s going into its ninth season. Do you think, Leslie, that is the case, that the guest judges will provide what the show is lacking?

MARSHALL: I think it really depends on the guest judge. Victoria Beckham, I think, is going to be great for a show. And I think too much of that high-brow British accent going on with Simon there and, you know, Posh Spice...

RAY: Too much.

MARSHALL: ... is going to be a bit much - yes, is going to be a bit much for the American people. They want that "Forever Your Girl" Paula Abdul charisma.

So I think unless they`re going to have, like, you know, Britney Spears on there night after night, I`m not sure that they`re going to be able to top what Paula did, quite frankly, because she did provide the right balance. Absolutely.

HAMMER: And don`t count on Spears being on "American Idol" every night.

RAY: No.

HAMMER: All right. We have to move on to this next story because it is terrific and may get to say tucus again - "View" co-host Sherri Shepherd`s amazing beach body. Take a look at this. After months of working with a team of nutritionists and trainers, giving up her favorite chicken wings, Sherri revealed her new buns of steel on the show this morning and told fans anyone can do it. Roll it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHEPHERD: I just wanted to show people that you didn`t have to do anything crazy. You just had to make some choices and exercise and, you know, weight would drop off. I wouldn`t try to get so crazy fab. I just wanted to fit into a bathing suit. So I hope folks are inspired.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Tanika, Sherri Shepherd rocking that bathing suit and she will inspire, won`t she?

RAY: Rock that tucus, I`ve got to tell you. Yes. She did rock the bathing suit. I just think it`s a little scary. Why on earth would you ever put yourself through that? She`s a brave girl. She looks fabulous.

But if we`ve learned anything from Kirstie Alley when she went on "Oprah," it may not be the best thing in the long run.

HAMMER: Yes.

RAY: You may jinx yourself a bit. But kudos for her for right now. Go ahead, girl. She looks fabulous.

HAMMER: Absolutely and I applaud her confidence. Tanika Ray, Leslie Marshall, I appreciate you being here, guys. Thanks.

All right. If you think Paula Abdul was demanding too much money from "American Idol," well, you have got to see how her salary stacks up to some of the highest paid stars on TV. I`m talking about Tina Fey, Charlie Sheen, the cast of "Desperate Housewives." You`re not going to want to miss this. Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is revealing what the biggest stars on TV are really raking in. And I`ve got to tell you, if I were Paula Abdul, and I`m not, I`d be pretty upset, too.

And cashing in on Michael Jackson. La Toya Jackson`s unbelievable discovery of hundreds of lost Michael Jackson songs. Michael singing with the Black Eyed Peas, Neyo, even recordings from back in the `80s. You will not believe La Toya`s remarkable discovery.

And you`ve heard of "Dancing with the Stars," but dancing with horses? Huh? This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

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

TEXT: Kate Gosselin to give first post-split interview on Monday on NBC`s "Today" show. Actor Tom Sizemore arrested on charges of domestic violence in Los Angeles.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW": By the way, I`m sitting down and you don`t know this - my fly is open.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: That man right there, one of the richest parody news casters on television. But does "The Daily Show`s" Jon Stewart actually make more money than real news anchors like NBC`s Matt Lauer, ABC`s Diane Sawyer? Well, tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is blowing the lid off the salaries of the biggest stars on TV.

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. And tonight, we`ve got shocking star salaries. Now, if you think the money Paula Abdul wanted to be paid for her judging duties on "American Idol" was outrageous, I`ve got some brand-new information that is going to completely blow your mind. I`m talking serious big bucks here.

(CASH REGISTER SOUND EFFECT)

Thank you. Tonight, we are going to blow the lid off the TV star salary secrets. No wonder Paula Abdul said bye-bye to A.I. The salaries revealed in a brand-new issue of "TV Guide" just out today.

Joining me tonight, Ingela Ratledge - she`s a senior editor for "TV Guide" magazine. Also in New York - there he is - Ali Velshi who is CNN`s chief business correspondent.

Guys, let`s begin with Jon Stewart. A Time.com poll named Jon Stewart America`s most trusted newscaster beating out some big names in journalism. And let`s remember he`s on Comedy Central.

Now, "TV guide" reports Stewart makes $14 million per year. Ingela, is he really worth that much?

INGELA RATLEDGE, SENIOR EDITOR, "TV GUIDE": I think absolutely. I don`t think he`s making that because of his news gathering abilities or because how reliable he would be in Darfur, but because of how hilarious he is. And that`s absolutely worth all that.

HAMMER: All right. Here`s something, though, that I find completely surprising about the fact that he makes this much money. It`s who he`s more than. He makes more money that "Today" show host Matt Lauer. Matt makes $13 million a year. "Good Morning America" host Diane Sawyer, $12 million a year. And none of these stars certainly have anything to complain about. But Ali Velshi...

ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes.

HAMMER: ... I`ve got to ask you, do you think it makes sense that Stewart makes more than them?

VELSHI: Yes. Well, look, I think what doesn`t make sense is that he`s grouped with them. Sure, you don`t watch. You watch Jon Stewart. You`ll have some inkling of what have gone on because he runs clips by the president and other people.

But he`s not the news. He`s not a newscaster. He`s not a journalist. And he`ll be the first one to tell you that. So comparing his salary is almost like taking a professional athlete and comparing it to Matt Lauer and wondering whether they make the same thing.

So I`m not surprised he makes that money. I don`t think it`s relative that he is grouped with journalists even if some people think he`s the most trusted journalist in America. He`s simply not.

HAMMER: Well, yes. And that`s the thing, Ali. You know, a lot of people say that`s where they get their news.

VELSHI: Yes.

HAMMER: They watch Jon Stewart.

VELSHI: That`s the nature.

HAMMER: And they feel like they`re update.

VELSHI: That`s a bit of a sad commentary.

RATLEDGE: If you do have to hear about Darfur, wouldn`t you at least like to get a laugh along with it?

VELSHI: Oh, he`s fantastic. There`s no question that he`s terrific. And if he`s an add on to where you should be consuming your news and he`s sheer entertainment. I just worry that people actually think he`s an option when saying who the best newscaster is.

I think that`s a lot like, you know, naming a sports star or a sportscaster as your news source. He`s simply not that. But what he is, he`s terrific at and probably worth every penny.

HAMMER: All right. Let`s move to some of the big TV star salaries here. "TV Guide" reporting that the stars of NBC`s "30 Rock" - we`re talking Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin - they each make $300,000 per episode. And that is more money than "Grey`s Anatomy" star Ellen Pompeo who makes $275,000 per episode. Her co-star Patrick Dempsey - he makes $250,000 an episode.

Ingela, explain that to me because "Grey`s" is a much bigger hit than "30 Rock," yet they make less money.

RATLEDGE: Sure. I mean, there are a factors going on here. For one, Tina Fey, you have to remember, is a producer as well for "30 Rock" and a writer for it. So I mean, that`s built into her salary and should be.

And then with somebody like Alec Baldwin - he`s a movie star. He was a movie star before this. And that`s sort of the price of admission for getting someone like him to do television.

HAMMER: Yes, there`s a big deal over marquee value. So I guess that does make a lot of sense. But let us now move on to the highest paid actor on television who also came from the big screen. "TV Guide" reports Charlie Sheen rakes in a whopping $875,000 per episode for, of course, his starring role in his hit CBS sitcom "2 1/2 Men." and that`s not even including what he makes for syndication. Ali Velshi, what makes him worth $875,000 per episode?

VELSHI: Well, listen, one thing, I think, we`ve all learned, even if you don`t work in business - I`m a business correspondent. Frankly, if you`re not a bank taking money from the government, I don`t really care how much you pay your people.

But you get what the market will bear. And if somebody`s prepared to pay him that, one thing about the media business that is not the same as most fields out there - it happens in media and it happens in sports - that is you can, all of a sudden, command a much bigger salary or a much smaller salary than you did last time, depending on market conditions.

So that you earn - that doesn`t mean you`re going to earn it on your next contract or you`re going to get the same raise someone else is. But it doesn`t bear any relationship to reality. If the market will bear it and someone will pay it, Charlie Sheen is going to get that kind of money.

HAMMER: Very quickly, Ingela. Would you say Charlie Sheen worth almost $900,000 per episode?

RATLEDGE: Well, I think another thing that`s built in there - he`s no dummy. He has an ownership stake in it. So don`t let the Heidi Fleiss scandal.

HAMMER: Got it.

RATLEDGE: He knows what he`s doing.

HAMMER: All right. Ingela Ratledge, Ali Velshi, thank you so much, guys. I really appreciate you being here tonight.

Moving on now. If you think what those TV stars are making is incredible as they cash in, you will not believe the incredible ways that people are now cashing in on Michael Jackson. Tonight, brand new court documents revealing that the administrators of Michael Jackson`s estate are thinking of all kinds of ways so they can make millions off of Michael.

Now, according to these documents, the estate plans to roll out M.J. tattoos, trading cards, clothing, even take his memorabilia on tour. Now, the plan has to be approved by a judge on Monday.

But if it`s a go, you can certainly bet Michael`s estate could earn tens of millions of dollars. And adding to those millions, La Toya Jackson`s absolutely remarkable discovery of lost Michael Jackson songs. We knew they were out there somewhere.

Well, according to "Rolling Stone," La Toya took some home computers home. She brought home hard drives from Michael` home after he died. And on those hard drives, she found at least 100 of Michael`s recordings with stars like Neyo, the Black Eyed Peas, even songs he recorded way back in his heyday in the `80s.

Now, Jackson`s manager some of those songs were actually left off of Jackson`s huge hit albums "Bad" and, of course, "Thriller," the biggest- selling album of all time. Needless to say, that is going to be worth a lot of money.

Well, I know a lot of people love the show "Dancing with the Stars." And dancing with celebrities seems like a fun enough thing to do, right? But tonight, I`ve got a brand-new wild and crazy idea for a reality show. Just hear me out - how about dancing with the horses? Yes. Yes, dancing with horse. People actually do it. I`ve got the video to prove it. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

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

TEXT: "True Blood" stars Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer are engaged. Barbara Streisand to auction her personal items to benefit Streisand Foundation.

And now, Hollywood`s A-list. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with Hollywood`s biggest stars. Tonight, Jay Leno returns to TV. And Howie Mandel`s got a new deal.

Jay is gearing up for the post-"Tonight Show" gig. He says it will definitely be different. And Howie Mandel says prepare for some breaking news on "Deal or no Deal."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY LENO, COMEDIAN: Well, I`m going to have a lot of correspondence. We built a racetrack. We`re going to do our green car challenge. It`s not going to be a talk show. It won`t be like the "Tonight Show."

MANDEL: You know what I`m thinking about right now? And I want to promote "Deal or no Deal." But as they`re watching me, as you`re watching me, does it say breaking news anywhere on the screen? Does it?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: You can catch "The Jay Leno Show" and "Deal or no Deal" this fall on NBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Tonight, dances with horses. We`re breaking the bank with the sound effects today. It is not the sequel to Kevin Costner`s "Dances with Wolves."

Did you see this? On Vashon Island near Seattle, there`s a woman who dances with horses. And KING 5 reporter Eric Wilkinson apparently drew the short straw because he had to do this story. Check this out.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can, next to my heart.

ERIC WILKINSON, REPORTER, KING 5: The heart of the horse farm on Vashon Island where people slide out of the saddle and into their dancing shoes.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s hard to resist a tango. So, if I apply pressure to him, it may take me closer to him or he may give me a little impulse to drive me backward, and so then I`ll be drawing him.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

It`s an exquisite experience because it`s soft and it is profoundly in the moment. My husband`s worried.

WILKINSON (on camera): Does your husband take you dancing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He could take me more.

WILKINSON: Now, lest you think this is some sort of Vashon Island thing, it isn`t.

(voice-over): These folks are from a dance troupe from New York City. Their choreographer on the faculty at Julliard, Really.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

These people are a little off their rocker. They are out there dancing with horses, for goodness sake.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: Yes. And I think it could wind up as a reality show, "Dances with the Horses."

(NEIGHING OF A HORSE SOUND EFFECT)

I`m going to take some time off to make up on what we spend on those.

Wednesday, we asked you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day - "Paula Abdul Out as a Judge: Will you now stop watching "American Idol"? Kind of an even split here - 44 percent of you said yes; 56 percent no.

Jose in Georgia, "A.I. without Paula? What are they trying to do, kill the show? First the recession, and now this? Get Paula back."

Brooke from Missouri writes, "Yay! I`m glad Paula is finally gone. "American Idol" will be so much better without her inane, non- comprehensible chatter. I can hardly wait for the new season."

That`s it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. 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 on this HLN television network.

END

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