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Letterman Extortion and Sex Scandal; Jon Gosselin's Message Not Resonating With Public

Aired October 2, 2009 - 21:00   ET


JIM MORET, "INSIDE EDITION," GUEST HOST: Tonight, David Letterman blackmail bombshell -- the married dad admits on TV to affairs with female staffers.


DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST: I have had sex with women who work for me on this show.


MORET: Revealing an alleged extortion plot. Now, one of CBS' own is accused of trying to shake down or take down the "Late Night" host.

Did Letterman turn off his audience by airing his dirty laundry?

Then, Jon Gosselin unleashed -- he let Kate and executives from their reality show have it.


JON GOSSELIN: I need to be a father and I need to take my kids off the show.


MORET: The fallout from his exclusive interview with Larry last night.

Are Jon's days as a celebrity numbered?


Good evening.

I'm Jim Moret from "INSIDE EDITION" sitting in tonight for Larry.

David Letterman has made a lot of headlines in his career. Now he's done something no late night TV host has ever done before. On his show last night, Letterman announced to the world that he was the target of an alleged blackmail plot. But the bombshell -- he admitted that he slept with female staffers.


LETTERMAN: This morning, I did something I've never done in my life. And -- and it was a combination of just unusual and -- and -- and scary. This whole thing has been quite scary. I had to go downtown to the -- to testify before the grand jury. Yes. And I had to tell them how I was disturbed by this. I was worried for myself, I was worried for my family, I felt menaced by this. And I had to tell them all of the creepy things that I have done that were going to be...


LETTERMAN: Well, now, why is that funny?

That's, I mean...



LETTERMAN: So the idea is -- is if they believe, in fact, a crime has been committed, then they issue a warrant. And that's exactly what happened. And a little bit after noon today, the guy was arrested. Now...


LETTERMAN: Now, of course, we get to what was it -- what was all the creepy stuff...


LETTERMAN: That he was going to put into the screenplay and -- and the movie?

And the creepy stuff was that I have had sex with women who work for me on this show. Now, my response to that is, yes, I have.


LETTERMAN: I have had sex with women who work on this show.


LETTERMAN: And would it be embarrassing if it were made public?

Perhaps it would. Perhaps it would, especially for the women.



MORET: Joining us from outside the Letterman studio in New York is CNN national correspondent Susan Candiotti -- Susan, what's the latest?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's clearly, Jim, a lot of embarrassment on a lot of different fronts on this one. But the latest is this. We understand that not only did David Letterman get out front on this, but it was he and his attorney that went to the district attorney here in New York and helped set up a sting operation to try to expose this alleged extortion plot.

Prosecutors explained that after Letterman's attorney came to them, that Letterman's attorney set up two meetings that were recorded with Mr. Halderman, the CBS News producer, in this case, at a hotel here, the Essex House Hotel. And during that time, the prosecutors say that this man, Halderman, gave them compelling evidence of this alleged extortion plot, that he was trying to rip-off David Letterman -- blackmail him for $2 million in order to keep quiet about David Letterman's now admitted affairs with some of his female staffers.

So the sting was set up. And what happened next was that just a few days ago, Mr. Halderman, the producer, was presented with a dummy check for $2 million. And prosecutors say that once Halderman deposited that check, at his bank in Ver -- in Connecticut, it was after that that the very next day, they went ahead and arrested him. In other words, prosecutors say, he took the bait.

MORET: And, Susan, we know that an arraignment was held today.

What's Joe Halderman's status now?

Is he still in custody, out on bail, what?

CANDIOTTI: He's out on bail. He posted bail. Bond was set at $200,000. In court today, he didn't say much.

But he was asked directly by the judge, how do you plead?

And without hesitation, he said in a loud, clear voice, not guilty. Of course, his lawyer said that there are two sides to the story, you haven't heard his yet, but we plan on fighting this charge.

MORET: Susan, what do we know about this man?

We know he's a news producer at David Letterman's own network.

Do we know anything else?

CANDIOTTI: Yes. This is a man who worked for that company -- for CBS News -- for 27 years. He won an Emmy Award just a couple of years ago for a documentary. He worked for a very popular show, "48 Hours Mystery." So you could say he wound up being the focus of a story -- a similar story -- he might have covered, many times in his career.

This is a man who is divorced, divorced just a few years ago. He lived in what's described as a modest home in Connecticut. He was earning in the six figures -- more than $200,000 a year, but he was also paying more than $6,800 -- or at least that much -- in child support every month.

He has two children. The children lived with his ex-wife in Colorado, although recently his 18-year-old daughter was staying with him while his home was searched, prosecutors said. And so his attorney says that -- and his family spokesman also has said that this is a man who was living paycheck to paycheck, was having money troubles, was said to be in debt. And he was very depressed, according to a family member, for the last several days.

MORET: And, Susan, are they -- are the prosecutors thinking, at this point, that it's those money troubles and that debt that -- that literally pushed him over the edge into this alleged plot?

CANDIOTTI: Well, they do say that he was in debt. As far as offering a specific motive at this time, they really haven't addressed that, except to say, look, this investigation is ongoing. We're not done with it yet because, of course, there's still a lot of questions.

For example, how did this respected CBS News producer think he could get away with something like this, as is alleged in this charge?

And how exactly did he come to know about David Letterman's now admitted affairs -- having sex with a lot of his co-workers, the women in his office and what is the source of that?

We can't tell you, according to court records and other sources, that Halderman used to have a live-in girlfriend who currently works as a staff member at "The Late Show."

MORET: CNN national correspondent Susan Candiotti.

Thanks, Susan.

Did David Letterman do the right thing by breaking the story himself his way?

Celebrity crisis experts, an entertainment reporter and our legal eagles join us right after the break.

Stay with us.



ROBERT MORGENTHAU, MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Halderman waited outside Mr. Letterman's Manhattan home at 6:00 a.m. on September 9th to deliver a letter and other materials to him as he was leaving for work. Halderman wrote that he needed to make "a large chunk of money" by selling Letterman a so-called "screenplay treatment."


MORET: Joining us now to talk about this bizarre David Letterman case are E!'s executive news editor, Ken Baker; celebrity publicist and crisis communications expert, Howard Bragman; Dr. Drew Pinsky, host of VH1's "Celebrity Rehab;" criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos; and Robin Saks, former Los Angeles County prosecutor.

Welcome to you all.

Ken, first to you.

What's the entertainment community reaction to this?


MORET: It was in -- it was an interesting time because people in the audience had first thought it was a joke. There was applause. There was laughter. People were uncomfortable, I think.

BAKER: Yes. I think that it was -- I think, for the venue, I think people were surprised. Usually if David Letterman is going to be talking, he's going to be joking about something. I think they didn't realize how serious it was until he really got to the grand jury part. And then it just was complete silence.

Now, this isn't the first time a celebrity has been a target of some untoward people. And I think that this is something that is reality for a lot of celebrities. And, also, this has happened to David Letterman before. He was the target of a kidnapping plot. There was a gentleman in Montana who had conspired to come after his nanny and his then infant son and try to kidnap him. That was uncovered and the guy was put away in the slammer for 10 years.

And then just, for many times -- as many as seven times, a woman who called herself Mrs. David Letterman would come -- you might remember this -- would come after him. At one time -- a few times broke into his house in Connecticut. I think there's something about David Letterman. He's in our homes. He's in our bedrooms every night. And I think some people take that too far. It becomes obsessive. Obviously, this is something that Dr. Drew could talk about more than I could.

MORET: Well, let me -- let me go to Howard.

Howard, you are -- you're an expert in this field.

When -- when a celebrity has a crisis, you guide them. This David Letterman scenario was -- didn't he handle it perfectly, in your book?

HOWARD BRAGMAN, CELEBRITY PUBLICIST & CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS EXPERT: It couldn't have -- this was textbook, Jim. It truly was. He did it on his turf, in his words. He did it once. He did it well. He did it to an audience that loved him. They cheered him. They cheered his affair and -- and booed the extortionist. And it couldn't have gone better for him.

MORET: Did he paint himself as a victim in this case?

BRAGMAN: You know, I think he totally -- he did, but he took responsibility at the same time, which is a very careful balance. And it was very wisely done. He had a few weeks to do this. They've known this was coming down. But, again, it was just brilliantly balanced.

MORET: Dr. Drew, I notice some of the words David Letterman used, "disturbed," he felt "menaced," he admitted to "the creepy things I had done," and then he said what is -- what is the creepy stuff, but people didn't know quite -- they thought it was a setup, but there was no punch line.

DREW PINSKY, HOST, "CELEBRITY REHAB," ADDICTION EXPERT: No, there wasn't. And he was as clear as he could have possibly been. And I think the American public generally is very tired of spin. They just want to hear the facts. They appreciate somebody stepping forward and taking responsibility. He's opened himself to some legal issues I'm sure Sharon will be talking about. But the fact is he was clear. And I think in the court of publa -- public opinion, we received him and really exonerated him, essentially.

MORET: Let's take another look at Letterman's public admission that he slept with female members of his staff.


LETTERMAN: Now, of course, we get to what was it -- what was all the creepy stuff...


LETTERMAN: ...that he was going to put into the -- the screenplay and -- and the movie?

And the creepy stuff was that I have had sex with women who work for me on this show. Now, my response to that is yes, I have.


LETTERMAN: I have had sex with women who work on this show.


LETTERMAN: And -- and would it be embarrassing if it were made public?

Perhaps it would. Perhaps it would, especially for the women.



MORET: Earlier today, a spokesman for Letterman's production company, Worldwide Pants, stated: "All the relationships David Letterman was referencing when discussing the matter on "The Late Show" predated his marriage to Regina."

All right, let's go to the sole female on our -- our panel here, Robin Sax, former prosecutor.

That's an important point, isn't it?

This is before his marriage, even though he's had a long-term relationship with Regina. They have a child. This predated the marriage.

Does that, in your view, make a difference?

ROBIN SAX, FORMER L.A. COUNTY PROSECUTOR: Well, as a woman, I think that we would -- we feel better that there wasn't a marriage involved. But it doesn't make me feel so good that he had a 23-year relationship with Regina just because they weren't necessarily married didn't mean that he had a commitment.

But none of that matters for legal purposes. None of that matters in terms of his statements to the public, frankly.

MORET: And we haven't forgotten about Mark Geragos. We'll get to him, Mark, I promise.

David Letterman is riding high in the ratings.

Is the news about Letterman good or bad for CBS?

Back in 60 seconds.



David Letterman had one incredible comment after another last night, explaining, he says, that someone tried to blackmail him.

Let's take a look at another clip.

Here he is talking about his motivations for testifying to the grand jury about this alleged extortion.


LETTERMAN: I had to go downtown to the -- testify before the grand jury. Yes. And I had to tell them how I -- I was disturbed by this. I was worried for myself, I was worried for my family, I felt -- I felt menaced by this. It's been a very bizarre experience. I feel like I need to protect these people. I need to certainly protect my family. I need to protect myself. I hope to protect my job and the friends -- everybody that has been supportive through this.


MORET: Mark Geragos joining us from New York.

Mark, what's your take on this?

MARK GERAGOS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, when I got on the plane, it was all Roman Polanski. And by the time I landed, it's all Letterman. Here in New York, that's all anybody is talking about so...


GERAGOS: Roman Polanski, I guess his -- his people are very happy tonight.


MORET: But what -- what did you -- what did you make of his -- his statement?

GERAGOS: Well, his...

MORET: He seemed...

GERAGOS: I agree with...

MORET: ...he did seem upset.

GERAGOS: Well, I agree with Howard. I mean, from a public relations standpoint, his statement was spot on. But I will tell you that I think Gerry Shargel, who is the -- the accused's lawyer made a statement earlier today saying that there's a lot more to the story. I think there's a lot more to the story. And I think this is just kind of the surface of it.

And I think that your correspondent at the top of the show kind of hinted at some of the places where this is going to go. And it's going to get messy and it's going to get ugly. And it's here -- it's here in New York. And it's going to be a whirlwind until the next person comes along.

MORET: Mark leads us perfectly to this next question.

Is there another shoe about to drop?

What don't we know about the Letterman case?

And if there's a trial, what could come out?



GERALD SHARGEL, HALDERMAN ATTORNEY: Well, he's doing as well as can be expected. He's not dispirited. He -- there is another side to the story. I'm not telling it today. There is another side to the story. It's not -- it's not the open and shut case.


MORET: And that is the suspect's defense attorney talking there.

Robin Sax, what does that really mean, there is another side to the story?

It sounds like a pretty open and shut case from a sting standpoint -- a very elaborate setup, they arrested him.

What could a defense be?

SAX: Well, the defense is going to find another side of the story. I'm sure Mark Geragos will give you four or five different other sides of the story just to muck everything up in there.


SAX: But the fact of the matter is it is...


SAX: is an open and shut case.

MORET: Mark...


MORET: Mark, OK, you're a defense attorney.

GERAGOS: Look, I could...

MORET: This is your client...

GERAGOS: I'll tell you something right now.

MORET: What do you do?

GERAGOS: Well, I'll tell you something right now.

MORET: Right.

GERAGOS: With the facts that we know and, as we often do here, we'll just speculate based on nothing.


GERAGOS: The fact is, is that it was called a screenplay. It was called a treatment. Whether or not that is an extortion or whether or not he was trying to sell it and -- so that somebody could deep six it, all of those things are going to play into whether or not this is really an extortion or not. So there's substantial issues here...


GERAGOS: I don't know that there isn't necessarily an entrapment issue here. And there's going to be some other, I think, substantial issues. I don't think it's open and shut by any means.

MORET: Well, we have another clip from last night, "The Late Show." This is Letterman talking about finding the alleged blackmail threat.


LETTERMAN: So I get to -- to looking through it. And there's a letter in the package. And it -- it says that I know that you do some terrible, terrible things...


LETTERMAN: ...and I can prove that you do these terrible things. And sure enough, contained in the package was stuff to prove that I do terrible things.


LETTERMAN: At 6:00 in the morning -- and maybe this looks better to you at noon...


LETTERMAN: ...but -- but 6:00 in the morning, all you can think about is every terrible thing you've ever done in your entire life.


LETTERMAN: And he's going to take all of the terrible stuff that he knows about my life -- and he seems to in this packet. There seems to be quite a lot of terrible stuff he knows about me.


LETTERMAN: And he's going to put it into a -- a movie unless I give him some money. Yes. I'm like you.

I think, really?

That -- that's a little -- and this is the word I actually used -- that's a little hinky.



MORET: Always for the laugh.

Howard Bragman, I've been to a couple of pitch meetings and that's not how you sell a script. This -- this was -- he did appear concerned. When you get a letter like this, you don't take it lightly. And -- and he addressed it.

BRAGMAN: No. And I've been next to celebrities and gotten that call at 6:15 in the morning. After they call Mark Geragos, they call me. And they say, here's what's going on. And we sit down. And it's scary as hell, because as we've seen unfold in the news today, it turns out that this gentleman has a relationship with Mr. Letterman's former assistant, right? So there's a lot...


BRAGMAN: Allegedly.


BRAGMAN: There's a lot of private information there. There's e- mails, there's phone calls. And everybody's got a camera phone nowadays. You don't know what video and what's out there. And it is scary.

And David's been in this situation before and it's even scarier when you've been there before and had your family threatened and your personal security and safety threatened.

BAKER: But, you know what, I mean I couldn't help but watching watch that last night and thinking that what if Bill Clinton had done just what David Letterman did when the accusation about Monica Lewinsky came?

If he just admitted to it -- and it became an issue where the cover-up was worse than the crime. And I think that...

GERAGOS: Yes, but -- but Bill...

BAKER: ...oftentimes celebrities will...

GERAGOS: Bill Clinton had Ken Stark going after him.

MORET: Mark...

GERAGOS: There was no -- there was no way that Bill Clinton could have done that with Ken Starr out there and a grand jury. He was the target.

In this case, David Letterman is, pure and simple, depending on what the defenses are, but David is a victim. I mean the -- the issue is, is, you know, when you wake up in the morning and there's something on your car seat, there -- there's a -- there's no criminal liability. Somebody might find him to be creepy because he...


MORET: Wait, wait.


MORET: And before I go...


MORET: Robin -- Robin Sax -- Robin is jumping out of the chair. But, wait. First of all -- and I have to make this point. David Letterman is not an elected official. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

MORET: And he was not under oath and did not allege -- he did not lie under oath. He -- he was the target of an alleged extortion plot.

SAX: That -- that's exactly correct. And Mark is correct, he is a victim. But he also has his job on the line here. This is a situation that's going to undoubtedly, if not already, already lead to a sexual harassment claim.

MORET: But this -- but he wasn't married. This allegedly happened before his child was born.

Dr. Drew?

PINSKY: I'm just saying, the allegations are that there could be some other victims here, that he may have -- it's a strong word to say that he victimized somebody, but that he may have taken advantage of his position of power...

MORET: But you read people...

PINSKY: There may have been some boundaries violated.

MORET: You read people.

What did you see in that clip?

PINSKY: To me, he seemed contrite. He seemed ashamed. I think he does think he did some not so good things. We're going to find out what they are. And I believe he'll handle them, probably, the same way.

BAKER: And, also, we don't know when these occurred. I mean he just got married last year. This could have been over five, 10, 15 years. We just don't know. There's a lot of information we don't have yet. And I think it's going to be, as it always is, the devil's in the details.

SAX: But if the person was a subordinate and worked for him in any way...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a problem.

SAX: ...and that's per se sexual harassment, whether it was consensual or not consensual.

GERAGOS: Oh, oh, that's not necessarily...


GERAGOS: That's not necessarily true.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will tell you (INAUDIBLE)... GERAGOS: Listen to the -- the Pollyanna out there. That's not necessarily true, Robin and you know it. It's -- if he gave them a promotion based on it, then it's not harassment.

BRAGMAN: In -- in almost every case...

MORET: You've got the last word.

BRAGMAN: ...I've been through, it's been the celebrity who's been the one that's gotten hit on. The celebrity generally hasn't been the one who has hit on the other person.

MORET: And that's the last word no that topic

Ahead, we'll analyze Jon Gosselin.

But more on the Letter -- oh, we have more. We have more on the Letterman case.

I thought we were done, but we're not.

We have more, coming back.


MORET: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE.

I'm Jim Moret from "INSIDE EDITION" sitting in for Larry.

Let's take a look now at another "Letterman" clip. In this one, he mocks his alleged extortionist.


LETTERMAN: That's a decision for them to make, if they want to come public and talk about the relationships, if I want to go public and talk about the relationships. But what you don't want is a guy saying, I know you had sex with women, so I would like two million dollars, or I'm going to make trouble for you. That's where we stand right now.


MORET: Robin Sax is a prosecutor. You look at the person in custody now, now out on bail. And you bring forth this evidence. What is the risk that this evidence then becomes public fodder, and David Letterman has to deal with that?

ROBIN SAX, PROSECUTOR: That is actually the risk that he probably had to assess when he and his lawyer spoke of whether or not they were going to go to the police or not. Because, as we know, many of the details contained in police reports, or with things that happen in public record, do public information, and become the topic of conversations on shows like this. MORET: Howard Bragman, if you're representing David Letterman -- and he clearly has a right to protect his privacy and his private life. He felt, he said, menaced. He wants to protect his family, his reputation, his job. What does he do if this information comes out in the public?

BRAGMAN: You strap on your seat belt and you sit down for the ride. At the end of last night, he said, I'm not going to be talking about this much. If he made a mistake, and it wasn't involving a legal issue, you say, OK, it's a Friday. It will go away by Monday. Another celebrity will do something stupid.

That's not the case. There's all sorts of salacious stuff that will come out. There's potential lawsuits. This could take years, potentially, to unfold. How does he handle it when a public official or another celebrity has an affair that he used to make fun of? Is he going to be able to do that?

MORET: What about people calling him a hypocrite, Drew? The way he's treated various public officials --

PINSKY: I think that's going to undermine exactly what Howard talked about. I'm still troubled by something Howard said. You said celebrities are often approached by other people. And that's fine, except when you're an employer, you have a position of authority.

BRAGMAN: Doesn't necessarily make it right.

PINSKY: I'm saying, it's the same thing as saying, my patient came on to me, or a student came on to a teacher. Your position of authority mandates that you not respond to that. It's important to the person who is at the lower position of power, because they are often people who have some stuff going on.

MORET: You think the pendulum will swing and people will start judging David Letterman?

PINSKY: I just -- the casualness with which we approach these kind of things bother me. That's all.

BAKER: I think there's office issues for sure. But the bottom line is he's the king of late night. He's beating everyone in the ratings. He is-- first of all, this guy is very well paid, 31.5 million dollars a year that he makes. His contract is up at the end of next year. He's a major cash cow for CBS. As far as the showman goes, he's not leaving that stage unless he chooses to.

MORET: At this point,the advertisers seem to be sticking with him.

BAKER: Absolutely. They've stuck with him through the Sarah Palin scandal just a couple months ago. He was mocking Sarah Palin's daughter and people thought that was offensive. He had to apologize. It was sort of -- we have seen this before.

BRAGMAN: Let's look in the last week. One celebrity was sleeping with her father. Another raped a 13-year-old. This is almost, you know, very minimal compared to that, in what we're used to, and what we've become --

PINSKY: Now I'm very disturbed.


MORET: Mark Geragos, I want you to jump in here. Are you worried for David Letterman that, if there is a trial, he's going to have to deal with these flood gates that are opening of all this salacious material?

GERAGOS: No. It's obvious to me, at least from the outside, that there is going to be other stuff that comes out. If you're the prosecutor, what better to have than a victim who is beloved, who is in everybody's homes every night of the week, and who has these high ratings because he's beloved. That's the most sympathetic person that you can find. And if you're defending the accused, you know you're up against it, because who's going to have any sympathy for what he's doing? Unless there's a story that you can tell that he's trying to vindicate somebody's interest here, whether it's an ex-girlfriend or somebody else, or because he thinks that David is a predator, or they try to paint it in that fashion --

But, no, if you're a prosecutor, you love this case. There's a reason the prosecutor was out there giving a press conference, and reading all the details into the public record.

MORET: And thanks to Mark and Robin. The rest of the crew will be staying with us. Jon Gosselin shocked a few people with his comments on this show last night. More of what he told Larry and the resulting fallout when LARRY KING LIVE returns.


MORET: Welcome back. I'm Jim Moret from "Inside Edition," in for Larry King. Jon Gosselin appeared on LARRY KING LIVE last night, in an exclusive interview with Larry. He said, in no uncertain terms, that he wants "Kate Plus Eight" to stop taping his kids. He admitted to making some bad calls when it came to his behavior.

Here to talk about the possible fallout are Ken Baker, Howard Bragman, and Dr. Drew Pinsky.

Ken, you spoke with Jon today. What did he say? Did he regret anything he said last night?

BAKER: No. I think his mood is basically -- he feels as though last night with Larry went really well.

MORET: Really?

BAKER: He finally got to tell his side of the story. Now, personally, I thought he looked agitated. He sort of got angry and was kind of hostile, even toward Larry. I felt bad for Larry there a couple times. But I think that Jon has felt really repressed by the whole situation. He's been in this contract with TLC. It's an exclusive contract. He hasn't been allowed to talk or go out and get work outside the show.

MORET: But he's been making money, too.

BAKER: I don't know if he's allowed to be making money. I think it's a very restrictive contract he has. The bottom line is this, talking to him and people in his camp, what they are very focused on is that he does not want those eight children ever appearing on camera again. He has suspended production of that show. This is a -- a very profitable show for TLC.

TLC -- their whole take on it is that they were the learning channel. I think they are afraid of becoming the loser channel.

MORET: Howard, wait a minute. Let's put this in focus here. It seems this epiphany came the day after he was fired.

BRAGMAN: Right. You kick me off the team; I'm taking my eight footballs and I'm leaving. It's childish. You know, this box is already open. These kids are already exposed to the public. And it reads of sour grapes. Nobody's buying it.


MORET: I talked to some TLC officials. And they say, when they tape -- it's not every day. It's a couple of days a week when they tape. On those days, it's a couple hours a day. It's not as intrusive as one might think.

BAKER: Are we really defending a network and a production outfit that is putting children, who really don't have a choice, in front of a camera and being that invasive and -- I can only imagine the impact that has on them psychologically.

PINSKY: We really don't know. I'd like to know what the evidence is that he feels something bad happened to the kids. I'll tell you what, when you look at the evidence on triplets or greater, particularly over triplets, and the survival of the marriage, it's almost zero. This marriage was in trouble to begin with, just by virtue of trying to raise that many kids. In fact, I have triplets.

MORET: And a successful marriage.

PINSKY: And a wonderful marriage. We got through it by throwing everything we had into it. I'll tell you what, if we could have had camera crews around, other people around to help us, manpower, it would have been helpful.

BAKER: Here's the thing. You're a therapist yourself. You know how to go through all that. Jon claims that Kate wouldn't go to counselling with him last year. He offered it. She wouldn't go. So here's a guy trying to repair his marriage. She wouldn't --

MORET: TLC, the network that produces and airs "Jon & Kate Plus Eight," has brand Jon Gosselin's efforts to take his kids off the show, quote, opportunistic. Here's what Jon said when Larry asked him about that.


JON GOSSELIN, "JON AND KATE PLUS EIGHT": I don't want to film. If I wanted to film, I wouldn't be here right now. I would be like, OK, we're going to film; we're going to take the money, and that's what we're going to do.

It's not healthy for my kids to be going through this. I had an epiphany one day. I just looked in the mirror and I said, I don't want to be this person anymore. I made mistakes. I know I messed up. I do regret a lot of things. But I have to learn from those mistakes and move forward.


MORET: Dr. Drew --

PINSKY: I want to hear more about that. I want to hear what that was. If something in there lies -- the mistakes he made about putting his kids on camera, I want to hear about that. He didn't really talk about any of that when he was here. That's the part I was looking for.

MORET: Did you see a contrite person?

PINSKY: I saw what Ken saw. I somebody agitated, angry, irritable, seemingly over his head a lot. He was just trying to find his way throughout something that he obviously didn't want to be in. I get that part. Exactly what the circumstances are and why he's troubled, let's hear more about that.

MORET: This summer, Kate's brother and his wife went public with allegations that the Gosselin kids were being exploited and over- worked. At the time, Jon denounced those charges as ridiculous, and said the kids were having a great time. Larry tried to find out why Jon is now singing a very different tune.


GOSSELIN: I'm now looking back -- and what has recently happened after filing for divorce -- this has been a media explosion. This is ridiculous. I've been on the cover of magazines since January. It's just crazy. I want the fodder to stop. And I want Kate and I to mediate. I want us to become friends. I want us to figure out our marriage. I don't want it to be filmed anymore.


MORET: Howard Bragman, your reaction?

BRAGMAN: Dr. Drew deals with addictions. I talk about my book. It feels to me like this guy is addicted to attention. You don't go on TV and get worldwide publicity to say, I don't want publicity. OK? It just seems kind of self-defeating. I think he loves the attention. I don't imagine he ever misses a magazine cover with him on the front. And his issue is credibility. We don't know what's going on in his head. But we all know what we think. The American public is over this guy.

MORET: I sense -- this is not an empirical study. I could almost hear people screaming across America at their TV sets last night. Couldn't you?

BAKER: Yes. I think what was really revealed here was that this is a very dysfunctional situation. You have two parents who are going through a divorce, which, by the way, is very common. You have -- we're seeing the American tragedy that is a lot of our -- or at least 50 percent of marriages -- playing out in front of our eyes. And not only is it two or three children, whatever the average is in America. It is eight. It is very sad.

Here's a guy trying to keep it together. He's an ordinary guy, put in this extraordinary circumstance. And I think that one thing I have to say, I don't think he's doing this all out of some retribution because they kicked him off the show this week.

MORET: The timing is a little bit suspect.

BAKER: He hasn't appeared --

MORET: He taped last Friday. Everything seemed to be fine.

BAKER: He hadn't taped in almost two months before that, out of protest. He decided that he was going to be a team player, and then things started to unravel quickly.

MORET: Doctor, you're not sure?

PINSKY: I'm not sure. We need to hear more.

MORET: That's OK. We have more to talk about. We'll be back in 60 seconds. Stay with us.


MORET: We're back, talking about Jon Gosselin's appearance on LARRY KING LIVE last night. Jon told Larry the Gosselin family has made 22,500 dollars each episode for their show. This is what he said about his willingness to forgo that paycheck.


GOSSELIN: I need to be a father. I need to be a father and I need to take my kids off the show. My kids have voiced their opinions, too. I was on a shoot a couple months ago. It was 96 degrees outside. We were shooting outside with the kids. It was my custody day, my shoot. My kids went inside the house, put their bathing suits on and jumped in the pool. Shoot over. What am I supposed to do? I went down to the pool and I watched them. I said, I can't do anything about it.


MORET: Yesterday, we announced the top CNN heroes of 2009. In the next few weeks, we'll be calling upon friends of CNN heroes to tell us more about these extraordinary individuals and their work ,as you begin voting for the CNN hero of the year.

Today, Grammy award winning musician John Legend introduces you to top ten CNN hero Doc Hendley. This former bar tender brings clean and sustainable water to thousands of people worldwide.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Heroes.

JOHN LEGEND, SINGER: Hello. I'm John Legend. During last year's CNN Heroes and all-star tribute, I had the honor of performing and helping to recognize the great works of every day citizens changing the world. As founder of the Show-Me Campaign, which seeks an end to global poverty, I am thrilled to be able to help CNN introduce one of this year's top ten honorees. Now more than ever, the world needs heroes.

DOC HENDLEY, CNN HERO: Approximately one billion people lack access to clean water. It's killing more children than AIDS and Malaria combined. Yet, all that can be prevented. The regulars, especially, sit on the same stool, pay the same tab every day. I felt they really did want to be a part of something.

My name is Doc Hendley. I used to be a bartender. Now I provide clean water to people in need.

I got in the ground in Darfur. Seeing these people living in conflicts, yet their biggest concern was the huge loss of life because of the unclean water. That's when water changed the burden.

Whether we're filtering water or drilling a well, we want to change and educate people who are already on the ground, enabling locals to fix their own water.

You can be just a regular anybody, and you really can change the world. I'm walking truth of that.




MORET: Talking now more about Jon Gosselin. Howard Bragman, from a PR standpoint, if he's looking for sympathy, is he going about it the right way?

BRAGMAN: Before you get sympathy, you have to have point of view. I don't know what this guy's point of view is. One week it's this. The next week it's this. He's been all over the place. And before you can get somebody to form an opinion about you, you have to know what direction you're heading.

This guy is like in a pinball machine. And the publicity is all over the place. And people are feeling that. They're feeling the edginess. They're feeling the anger. And so he can't achieve anything until he gets this point of view in his head.

MORET: Talk about the anger. Jon's interview with Larry is one of only a handful of solo interviews he's done. Last month, he spoke with ABC's Chris Cuomo. And among other things, he said he despised his estranged wife. Here's what he said about that.


GOSSELIN: I made mistakes. I learned from my mistakes. You know, I -- you know, I regret things. I have to move forward. You've been through divorce. I mean you know. You know, a lot of people ask me, you know, in the Chris Cuomo interview I said despise. I didn't really mean despise. I regret saying that word. I despise the fact -- it was very emotional.

Sometimes in divorce you say things that, you know, you don't really mean.


MORET: Dr. Drew, you were looking for him to really say what he's upset about. He's just saying the same -- I made mistakes. I regret some things. I still love Haley. She's 22 and beautiful and blah, blah, blah --

PINSKY: Which, by the way, is the main thing he looks for. I remember him saying that about Kate back before she had her children, that -- some of the things are -- I watch the show early on. What struck me, he said, you know, I married this hot girl and she was good to go. Those were his words, good to go. I thought, wow. Now look at what has happened.

So this whole thing was sort of a shock. And all I see is he's really unhappy. This man is unhappy. He has a divorce. He has eight kids. His wife has much more ability in media than he does. And she's interested in it, has taken the bull by the horns. He is not interested. He doesn't want his family in it. And he's really unhappy with it.

That's all I see, is just the misery and unhappiness for this poor guy.

MORET: Ken, we know that he's also portrayed himself as being beaten up, and I've finally found my voice. Do you think that's going to fly with people? Will that resonate with the audience in television?

BAKER: Well, I think the audience is already being lost for "Jon & Kate Plus Eight." Now it's "Kate Plus Eight." They went from ten million viewers in the opening episode to just under two million last week. I think that maybe Jon Gosselin could learn something from the David Letterman playbook. Maybe step up, man up, and keep what he's trying to do -- it was a very inelegant effort last night. You can see what he's trying to do, is say, look, I'm sorry. I messed up.

But obviously he's very conflicted, because there's a lot of anger, a lot of hostility. He's basically in the middle of this battle, and he hasn't figured it all out yet.

BRAGMAN: There's one thing that will change people's minds.

MORET: What's that?

BRAGMAN: Shutting up. And he's incapable of doing that, truly. It's the hardest thing I have to deal with my celebrity clients, when I say, you need to lay low. You need to be quiet. You need to have no publicity, no attention. Go to an island. Get away for a few months. I don't think he's capable of that.

PINSKY: And be more sincere, too. I want my family off. I'll go through legal avenues to make sure that happens. Farewell.

MORET: We'll have final thoughts. Hold your thought. We're going to wrap it up right after this. Stick around.



GOSSELIN: I haven't seen Kate in three and a half weeks.

KING: Why not call her?

GOSSELIN: I have tried to call her. I text her. I mean, she doesn't want to talk.

KING: Have you talked about delaying the divorce proceeding with her?


KING: It means you and her that decided, not the lawyers.

GOSSELIN: Listen, we know we're not going to be husband and wife anymore, but we're always going to be mom and dad. We have to work together against this. We have to get -- pull our kids off of television and work this out as a family.


MORET: Howard, I don't -- you talk about lack of a message. We want to work things out. We're not going to be husband and wife anymore. I'm in love with somebody else. What's the message?

BRAGMAN: He doesn't know what the message is. There's about two million people watching the show, and there's about 298 million people going, what is the fuss about? Who are these people? He's -- he's got this Jon McEnroe, people love to hate him. And he thinks it's good. But there's a true disconnect between the amount of attention this family gets and their ability to convert into an audience. It's just not happening.

MORET: And although he is still married to Kate, Jon has moved on to a new romantic relationship. He maintains that this is the real deal. Larry asked him about it.


KING: What about -- we haven't discussed here, Haley Glassman, Jon, the 22-year-old daughter of Kate's plastic surgeon. You said you love her. You told that to our friend Chris Cuomo on ABC. Do you?

GOSSELIN: Absolutely.

KING: Are you going to marry her?

GOSSELIN: I don't know yet. I'm not even divorced yet. We take things day by day. You know, she supports me. She's never wanted anything from me, never taken anything from me..

KING: Does she know the kids?

GOSSELIN: No, she doesn't. I mean, she knows of them. She met them a long time ago, four years ago. But it was like for five minutes and then, you know, she was gone. She has seen Maddy and Kara (ph) before. But she's never come to my house. She doesn't -- we're not there yet.


MORET: Oh, Dr. Drew, host of "Love Line." We have a problem here.

PINSKY: This is a "Love Line" call. Boy, I mean, it is just so sad. It's a destroyed marriage. It's a family system that's falling apart. He does he have a message, Howard, which is, you know, I want my kids out of the media. I understand that. We're all supposed to resonate with that.

He needs to make his argument. He needs to make his case, because it's not clear that this has been harmful for the kids. At least they get a college fund.

BRAGMAN: I'm not buying this message.

PINSKY: Right. That's the message I think he's trying to hang his hat on. I don't think people are buying it. And they do trust Kate a little more to make the judgment that it seems to be OK for the kids.

MORET: And I think that kids -- we've seen in previous interviews that they seem to have bonded with these crew members. They're used to them. They've grown up with them. They're like pals.

BAKER: Well, however, there is an on-going Pennsylvania State Department of Labor investigation into possible violations of these kids working over hours that they should be, and not --

MORET: They're not performers.

BAKER: Well, they are considered by the state. And they are minors. And we just -- at E!, we contacted the Department of Labor in Pennsylvania. They said, it is on-going. They haven't come to any conclusion. I think there's a lot that we don't know.

MORET: Howard, you have five seconds. What do you think is going to happen here?

BRAGMAN: I think we're going to see a lot of legal wrangling. I think they're going to keep the show on the air. It's a big hit for this network. And they need it. I think they have a contract and they're probably going to be able to keep it on the air. And they will keep it on the air, if Kate does.

MORET: Ken Baker, Howard Bragman, Dr. Drew Pinsky, thanks to all of you. And thanks to Larry for letting me be here. He will be back on Monday. Time now for Anderson Cooper and "AC 360." Anderson, take it away.