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Jessica Simpson`s Fat Fury; Is Jon and Kate`s Divorce Hurting Kids?; Courtney Cox Dishes Cougar Advice; Kara on Paula`s Absence on "Idol"

Aired October 15, 2009 - 23:00   ET


A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: Right now, on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, Jessica`s fat fury. Jessica Simpson strikes back today at a disgusting FOX football cartoon making fun of her weight.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Tony. Is Jessica around? We could use a defensive tackle.


HAMMER: Jessica`s furious response as stars dealing with their own weight battles rush to Jessica`s defense. Tonight, brace yourself for a heated SHOWBIZ TONIGHT great debate. Is Jessica Simpson`s weight fair game?

The great cougar debate. Tonight, Courtney Cox dishes brand-new shocking advice. The star of TV`s hit show "Cougar Town" on how older women can get younger guys. But is Courtney just making women look desperate?

Plus, is Jon and Kate`s divorce hurting kids? Tonight, the disturbing evidence that their nasty public split could be affecting kids everywhere.

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


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

BROOKE ANDERSON, CO-HOST: Hi there, everyone. I`m Brooke Anderson, coming to you from Hollywood.

And tonight, Jessica fat fury. Jessica Simpson mad as heck and she`s not going to take it anymore. Simpson is responding today for the very first time to a nasty, ugly and - allow me to say - disgusting animated spoof of her making fun of her weight.

But what made it especially outrageous is it ran on a boy`s club like NFL pre-game show on Fox. Very funny, guys. How would you like it if the cartoon was making fun of your wife or your daughter?

Well, Simpson is silent no more. Stars are coming to her defense. And I can tell you these latest developments made for big news breaking today.


(voice-over): It`s a fierce battle between titans at the gridiron. On defense, singer, actress and former NFL girlfriend Jessica Simpson. She is hitting back hard against a very offensive line, specifically line uttered in this animated Fox sports cartoon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Man, I still can`t believe Tony dated Jessica Simpson even after she blew up bigger than Flozell Adams. Hey.

ANDERSON: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you an animated short making fun of Jessica`s weight has blown up into the super bowl of weight controversies, one that also has other celebrities screaming from the sidelines.

VALERIE BERTINELLI, ACTRESS: The camera adds weight. I don`t get it.

ANDERSON: In a brand-new twitter post, Jessica Simpson fires back at the sketch sponsored by Burger King that aired on Fox NFL Sunday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Tony. Is Jessica around? We could use a defensive tackle.

ANDERSON: The clip makes fun of Jessica and her ex-boyfriend, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, with several jokes about Simpson`s weight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unlike Tony, at least Jessica comes up big when it counts.

ANDERSON: And now, Jessica Simpson is blowing the whistle and calling a penalty on the sketch. In her tweet, Jessica writes, quote, "I will never understand why people attack for a laugh. Own your beauty and don`t listen to the judgment."

JODI MILLER, COMEDIAN: It was just in poor humor. They might as well just have done "yo mama" jokes right there.

ANDERSON: Fox has apologized for the animated sketch telling SHOWBIZ TONIGHT it was insensitive and a poor attempt at humor. And Burger King tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT it had nothing to do with the sketch`s content. But some people aren`t forgiving.

JOY BEHAR, HOST, "THE JOY BEHAR SHOW": How brutal can the media be about press and these people making fun of Jessica.

ANDERSON: On HLN`s "JOY BEHAR SHOW," Joy and sitcom star Valerie Bertinelli, a Jenny Craig spokesperson, also weighed in on the Jessica Simpson controversy.

BEHAR: The poor girl, I mean, she put on, maybe. She doesn`t even look heavy to me.

BERTINELLI: Maybe five pounds and the camera adds weight. I don`t get it. She is a very beautiful young woman.

ANDERSON: Megan McCain, daughter of former presidential candidate John McCain has taken her share of cracks about her weight. She is also defending Jessica Simpson. In, McCain writes, quote, "The segment was disgusting for many reasons and very damaging to the body image epidemic that is assaulting young women in America. My only answer is, refuse to take it. I refuse to be bullied and I refuse to let Jessica Simpson be bullied."

MILLER: Doesn`t it seem very high school? You`ve got the football team. Jessica is the cheerleader. She can`t get on the top of the pyramid anymore. So here comes Megan, student body president. She`s going to fight for her.

ANDERSON: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you this sketch is far from the first time Jessica Simpson has been mocked about her weight.


Last January, when concert video of a curvier-than-usual Jessica showed up online, TMZ had a headline, "This is how she rolls." And this "New York Post" cartoon showed an exaggerated Simpson caricature dumping Romo for Ronald McDonald. And now that Burger King and Fox Sports have taken a shot at her, it`s clear Simpson finds these jokes out of bounds.

MELANIE BROMLEY, "US MAGAZINE": She`s trying to use this as an opportunity to get the message out that she is not letting this kind of jokes get to her and that nobody else should be paying attention to them either.


ANDERSON: So a lot of people upset by the Jessica Simpson weight slam. But taking shots at Jessica`s weight because she`s a star? Is that a clean hit? Coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the great Jessica Simpson weight debate.

HAMMER: Tonight, a new disturbing development in the Jon and Kate divorce fallout. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can now reveal that their nasty split could be hurting the kids. No, not their kids. Your kids.

So many people watched "Jon & Kate Plus 8" as a family. But now that the Gosselin family has completely melted down, there are some troubling signs that other families could actually be affected.

From Jon`s alleged womanizing ways to their big money showdown over who took what from their joint accounts, it`s enough to make an adult`s head spin. But what about kids?

With me here in New York, Robi Ludwig - she`s a psychotherapist. Also in New York tonight, Midwin Charles - she`s an attorney who runs Midwin Charles and Associates.

So here`s the deal. We get hundreds of calls coming into "Showbiz on Call" every day. But when Diana from California called in, this really got our attention. You have to listen to how she says Jon and Kate`s reality drama is affecting her family personally. Listen to this.


CALLER: This Jon and Kate thing is really hitting home now. My poor child that watches this show and now is old enough to watch the news because I watch SHOWBIZ every night and the reruns in the morning.

And now, my child is saying, in tears - literally in tears this morning feeling sorry for these kids, that they shouldn`t have to be on TV and their mom and dad are being mean. And this is terrible. Kate is terrible. And they need to sit down and all of them need to go to counseling and forget about the TV and the money and just be a family. They`ve gotten way out of control. This is ridiculous.


HAMMER: Thank you, Diana. We really do appreciate your phone call. And I`m hearing that thinking she can`t be alone. There have to be other families dealing with this.

Robi, let me go to you first. Can you understand the effect Jon and Kate`s drama could be having on kids and their families around the country?

ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Well, sure because when you are very connected to a TV show, they become almost a part of our extended family. At least, that`s what it feels like. So when Jon and Kate`s idyllic family seems to break apart and there was fighting going on in the media, you know, one could see where kids would get scared by that or start to identify with the kids that Jon and Kate had and say, "Hey, oh my gosh. Is this going to happen to me?"

HAMMER: Yes. That`s exactly what I was thinking, that the kids are watching this marriage fall apart and saying, "Oh my goodness. I`m kind of like their family. What do you think, Midwin? I mean, it really is kind of the collateral damage of this whole thing that`s going on with Jon and Kate that is affecting families. And kids have to be wondering what`s going on.

MIDWIN CHARLES, ATTORNEY, MIDWIN CHARLES AND ASSOCIATES: It is. But I think parents need to do a better job and make sure that their children are not necessarily privy to this type of dysfunction that Jon and Kate displayed for the world to see.

You have to remember this is not "The Brady Bunch." This is isn`t everyone making nice and making cupcakes all day every day. And I don`t think children should be privy to this stuff whether it`s on the news or watching the show.

HAMMER: Yes. It`s kind of unavoidable, though, particularly, if you`re at the supermarket checkout. It`s on every magazine cover. And if they are old enough to read, they are seeing this stuff.

Now, we did get some big news today about "Jon & Kate Plus 8." They confirmed over at TLC, the network that runs the show, that "Jon & Kate Plus 8" will end next month. They are hoping to move forward with the new "Kate Plus 8." Of course, that`s the version of the show without Jon.

Now, regardless of what happens, Robi, given that parents and families are already skittish about the effects that what`s going on now maybe having on their kids, should they really be concerned about any kind of a Gosselin show at this point?

LUDWIG: Well, you know, I think it`s in poor taste to have a Gosselin show at this point, because we are really not thinking about the impact of the kids. And I think there will be a backlash about that. I think families are saying, "Hey, enough of this already. You just want to be on TV and get money and you are not thinking about the kids."

And I think the parents at home - they need to use this as a teaching moment to reinforce that their family is safe and secure. And also what they see on television is a show and even though it looks like reality, there are a lot of things that go on behind closed doors that we are not privy to so that they make that separation.

HAMMER: Well, as has been pointed out time and time again, the whole thing really turned into such a nightmare. It`s in such stark contrast how the whole Jon and Kate show began.

I have been thinking that Jon and Kate actually owe their young fans and their parents a public apology for turning their show into this bizarre reality nightmare. I really think it could have been avoided.

Midwin, are you with me? They need to just, before they shut up for good, to say, "I`m sorry. We didn`t mean for this to happen."

CHARLES: I think they should. They have been behaving badly. It`s been a poor example for everyone involved. And frankly, I think the next iteration of the show should just be the eight kids, call it "Just Us 8" and that`s it. Get rid of Jon and Kate. It`s too much.

HAMMER: Yes. You`ll get a lot of arguments from people saying those kids should be off the TV all together. It will be interesting to see how it unfolds beyond now. Midwin Charles, Robi Ludwig, thanks, guys. I appreciate it.

ANDERSON: OK. I watched this new Courtney Cox show on ABC, "Cougar Town." It`s pretty funny. But tonight, Courtney is dishing brand-new shocking advice on how older women can get younger guys. Is Courtney just making women look desperate, though? We`ve got the fired-up great cougar debate.

Also, how Taylor Swift may be getting the ultimate revenge on Kanye West. Why the joke may really be on Kanye big time. Taylor, you go, girl.

Also this -


GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R-CA): I will find out if you raise your hand up and hold a phone to your ear.


ANDERSON: Gov. Arnold passes a law terminating talking on your cell phone while driving. But uh-oh, his wife, Maria Shriver, gets caught doing it. Shame on you, phone-y Maria. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

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

TEXT: Watch out, Wayne Newton! Garth Brooks coming out of retirement to do Las Vegas show! Roman Polanski trying to finish his new film, "The Ghost," from his Swiss jail cell.


ANDERSON: Hey, maybe Kanye West will let Taylor Swift finish when she`s hosting "Saturday Night Live." Today, we found out that Taylor will be hosting "SNL" on November 7th. Taylor says the gig is, quote, "mind blowing." I bet on a Kanye skit, though. You remember how he set off worldwide outrage when he interrupted Taylor at the MTV Video Music Awards.

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

ANDERSON: And I`m Brooke Anderson. Hey, did you see this? Tonight, phone-y Maria Shriver. The wife of California Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger, caught on tape using her cell phone while driving.

Now, this is a big no-no since her husband passed a law back in 2008 requiring drivers to use hands-free devices while behind the wheel. Maria has apologized for the incident. But we have since found out plenty of other people had this bad habit, too.

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


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When the governor of California`s wife -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No more on the cell phone, Maria.

MOOS: Got nabbed by TMZ on camera, many of us felt a twinge of guilt about that phone.

(on camera): What do you think of Maria Shriver getting nabbed talking on the phone while driving?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Since I just got caught myself, I guess it`s kind of silly and it`s not right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You should always use a blue tooth. She`s a nice lady. The governor`s a good guy. It`s a shame that she is breaking his law.

MOOS (voice-over): The one banning hand-held cell phone use while driving that Gov. Schwarzenegger signed into law. Back then, he threatened to follow his two daughters of driving age.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I will find out if you raise your hand up and hold a phone to your ear. And then, the car will be gone.

MOOS: Instead, his wife is caught holding the phone and since the governor has promised there`s going to be swift action, will his threat to his daughters apply to his wife?

SCHWARZENEGGER: The car will be gone and the cell phone will be gone.

MOOS: Hey, look who`s talking. Arnold Schwarzenegger caused havoc talking on the phone while driving in "Twins."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want you to take your foot off the gas and apply it to the brake.


MOOS: At least, Maria stayed on four wheels. And hands-free technology has its own drawbacks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I`m on my new blue tooth, man. It`s liberating and you get so much done while you`re just driving. Who`s up, Cubs or Cardinals? Of course, they are. She kind of sucks.

MOOS: Maria Shriver`s cell phone use was the talk of "The View," though online, "The View" had some LOL related to the size of her phone. Ginormous. That`s a monstrosity. Reminded us of old movies.

MICHAEL DOUGLAS, ACTOR: This is your wake up call, pal.

EDWARD NORTON, ACTOR: Yes, we did. We won.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sorry. I`ve got to answer that.

MOOS: At least, the newer little phones are easier to hide.

(on camera): And weren`t you going to use your phone just now?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you guilty of driving while talking on your cell phone.

MOOS: Yes, I`m guilty. Do you have to take my picture?


MOOS: Did you see Maria Shriver get nabbed on the cell phone in her car?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. But I`m just walking?

MOOS: No, you`re OK.

(voice-over): But she`s not.



ANDERSON: That was CNN`s Jeanne Moos for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Maria Shriver not only apologized for breaking California`s cell phone law, but she will also donate her phone to a local charity.

HAMMER: If they want it. Hey, Brooke, our "Showbiz on Call" phone lines have been ringing nonstop today.

ANDERSON: What about, A.J.?

HAMMER: They`re calling about you, Brooke, and your beautiful baby, Kate Victoria. All right. Listen to Annette calling in from Texas.


CALLER: I`m not calling about a celebrity tonight. I`m calling about somebody way better. Brooke Anderson, this is for you. I just wanted to say how happy I was for you and your husband. Congratulations on your precious little baby. And although I was glad to have A.J. all to myself all these months, I`m glad that you are back and that I can see you every day again.


HAMMER: We appreciate your call, Annette. And to be clear, Brooke, a celebrity in her own right. We also heard from Deborah calling into "Showbiz on Call" from Washington.


CALLER: I just wanted to welcome Brooke back. You look absolutely beautiful and you were missed by so many viewers, I`m sure. And it`s just wonderful to have you back.

And your beautiful little Kate is just - she`s gorgeous. She`s absolutely gorgeous. So welcome back I look forward to seeing you every night on my TV.

HAMMER: We appreciate your call, Deborah. Isn`t that nice, Brooke? It`s not just on Facebook, but people are calling to say they are so thrilled you are back and of course, I`m included in that.

ANDERSON: You know, it`s so nice and the warm welcome just means a lot to me. Because, A.J., all working women know that - all working mothers know that it`s not easy to leave your child every morning to come to work. So I really, really appreciate the thoughts. I love to hear from you all.

So please give us a call at "Showbiz on Call" and let us know what you think about my baby or anything else that is on your mind. The "Showbiz on Call" phone lines, always open, 1-888-SBT-BUZZ; 1-888-728-2899.

HAMMER: Well, tonight, there is a brand-new raging weight debate over that disgusting Fox cartoon making fun of Jessica Simpson for her weight.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Man, I still can`t believe Tony dated Jessica Simpson even after she blew up bigger than Flozell Adams. Hey.


HAMMER: I can tell you some big stars rushing to Jessica`s defense today. But there`s also a lot of people saying that Jessica`s weight is a clean hit because she sells her looks.

Also, the fired-up cougar debate. Courtney Cox, who stars in ABC`s "Cougar Town" giving brand-new advice to older women on how to get younger men. Now, does this make women look desperate? This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

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

TEXT: Fox Reality Channel going off the air next year. Mike Tyson, who bit Evander Holyfield`s ear, to reunite with Evander on "Oprah."



ANDERSON: A brand-new Britney Spears song, a brand-new controversy. Tonight, your very first listen to "3." And let me tell you, this could be Brit`s most provocative song yet. And the song "3" already tearing up the charts, A.J. It debuted at number one on Billboard Hot 100 and is Britney third career number one hit.

HAMMER: Which, Brooke, is obviously terrific for Britney Spears. But listen to the words of this song. It is not G-rated. The song is about threesomes. Here`s your first listen.

TEXT: Are you in? Living in sin is the new thing. Are you in? I am counting! One, two, three. Not only you and me. Got 180 degrees and I`m caught in between. Counting one, two, three, Peter, Paul and Mary. Getting down with 3P everybody loves ...

ANDERSON: A.J., you dig it?

HAMMER: I actually like it. It`s a catchy pop tune and I think anybody who is really taking issue with this needs to take issue with about half the songs that are on the charts right now.

ANDERSON: Yes. Good point. And you know, what I thought when I listened to it the first time. Her voice is so distorted I couldn`t even understand half the lyrics. So I had to read them. Some people aren`t even going to know what it`s about. It`s probably going to be a great dance club hit.

HAMMER: Well, they`re know now, Brooke. We spelled it out for them. All right. To another raging debate now on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Facebook wall.

Explosive new accusation about Jon and Kate`s kids. Now, Star Jones - remember her? She is attacking Jon and Kate`s handling their eight kids and using the explosive word "abuse." And that word is getting some people really fired up on Facebook.

Terri M. writing, "Jon and Kate are both acting like idiots. But I don`t think that they are abusing their kids."

And Karen T. adds, "Don`t confuse the sadness of abuse with dysfunction of two adults. Children that are abused have parents that don`t care about them."

I think that`s a terrific point. You, too, can sign up to be a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Facebook fan. You can also get our breaking entertainment news alerts on Twitter. Go to to sign up right now.

ANDERSON: And now, the SHOWBIZ lineup. Here`s what`s coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

The Jessica Simpson great weight debate.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Man, I still can`t believe Tony dated Jessica Simpson even after she blew up bigger than Flozell Adams. Hey.


ANDERSON: Stars rushing to Jessica`s defense today after that disgusting Fox video. But is knocking her weight fair game?

The great cougar debate. The star of ABC`s "Cougar Town" dishes out new advice on how older women can get younger men. Does this make women look desperate, though?

And Kara DioGuardi opens up today about what it`s going to be like without Paula at the judge`s table on "American Idol." This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

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

TEXT: Crypt above Marilyn Monroe is back up for auction after $4.6 million bid fell through. Soundtrack to "New Moon," follow up to "Twilight," to be released early due to overwhelming fan demand!



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Man, I still can`t believe Tony dated Jessica Simpson even after she blew up bigger than Flozell Adams. Hey.


HAMMER: Now, on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the great Jessica Simpson weight debate. Stars rush to Jess` defense after a cartoon skit making fun of her weight. But is Jessica`s weight fair game? It`s the great debate.

Cougar alert. "Cougar Town" star Courtney Cox dishes on how older women can snag younger men. But is Courtney making women look desperate?


SARAH SILVERMAN, COMEDIAN: I`m like OK, how are you going end world hunger? And then, it hit me. Sell the Vatican. Feed the world.


HAMMER: Sarah Silverman`s controversial new spoof. Guess what? Not everybody thinks it`s funny.

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

TV`s first, most provocative news show continues right now.


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

ANDERSON: I`m Brooke Anderson coming to you from Hollywood.

Tonight, the great Jessica Simpson weight debate. The debate over a Fox skit poking fun at Jessica Simpson`s weight absolutely exploded today. Jessica fired back today for the very first time and some big stars are backing her up including Valerie Bertinelli. Watch what she said on "THE JOY BEHAR SHOW" right here on HLN.


BERTINELLI: I don`t get it. She`s a very beautiful young woman.


ANDERSON: But not everybody agrees with Jessica`s defenders. Brace yourself. There some who are also saying making fun of Jessica for her weight or anything else is fair game because she`s a celebrity. I mean, come on, A.J. Are jokes about Jessica`s weight really fair game?

HAMMER: Not if you ask me, Brooke. But some of our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Facebook fans say yes.

Joining us tonight in New York, Marvet Britto. She is a publicist and brand strategist. From Hollywood tonight, Kim Serafin who is a senior editor for "In Touch Weekly."

And we`re going to get to the debate and what Jessica said today in just a second. But first, I want you to take a look at a bit of what Fox played during the NFL pre-game show on Sunday. And frankly, I think they should be ashamed of themselves for this. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Man, I still can`t believe Tony dated Jessica Simpson even after she blew up bigger than Flozell Adams. Hey.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Tony, is Jessica around? We could use a defensive tackle.


HAMMER: Yes, yes. Very funny. Fox has now apologized for this. But Jessica is still ticked off. She fired back on Twitter. I thought it was great what she wrote, "I will never understand why people attack for a laugh. Own your beauty and don`t listen to the judgment."

You know, there are so many ways that Jessica could have responded to this. I think she handled it with great class and actually gave some good advice along the way. Are you with me?

KIM SERAFIN, SENIOR EDITOR, "IN TOUCH WEEKLY": Absolutely. This was in such poor taste and it wasn`t even funny. And another thing, it wasn`t relevant. The last time people were even talking about Jessica Simpson weight was when she wore the mom jeans. She wasn`t fat then and she`s not fat now.

She`s not even dating Tony Romo anymore. So this just even didn`t make any sense. I mean, to compare her to a 350 pound lineman. It just - it really didn`t make sense. It wasn`t funny and I don`t think a lot of people found it funny. And if anything, I think it will give her more sympathizers. So I think she is doing exactly the right thing and handling it the right way.

HAMMER: But here`s the thing and this is exactly what`s been happening today. A lot of people out there are saying, you know what? She is a celebrity and she is fair game. Even jokes about her weight are fair game. Marvet, do you think Jessica has any right to be mad about this?

MARVET BRITTO, PUBLICIST AND BRAND STRATEGIST: Certainly, she has a right to be mad. But as a pioneer and a person who opened up her life to a reality television show, her weight, sadly and unfortunately, is fair game.

For Fox and Burger King, two corporate giants, to drag themselves in the middle of something that really is insensitive to people who their consumers - I think they are forgetting about their consumers and focusing on Jessica Simpson.

The bigger issue is yes, it is fair game. But it was out of line and I think their consumers are going to speak loudly.

HAMMER: Well, you make a great point. And you have to wonder what people are thinking because at a certain point, you`ve got to think who really gains when a joke like this is made and it`s done at somebody else`s expense?

Now, Megan McCain is, of course, the daughter of John McCain. She has been attacked for her weight in the past. And she blogged about this very point on "" today.

And I think it was great what she wrote here, "What does anyone gain by this? The media can do better. This country can do better, if not for women like me, then my little sister and all of the other young girls in the country. My only answer is to refuse to take it. I refuse to be bullied and I refuse to let Jessica Simpson be bullied."

I have to wonder if there is some underlying bullying mentality going on right here. Is Jessica just simply an easy target for bullies who think it`s fun to poke fun at her and even her weight? You know, even if it`s just a couple of pounds. Brooke, I want to get your take on that.

ANDERSON: You know, that`s an interesting way to look at it, A.J. And yes, I think so. There are some people who get some sort of sick thrill out of kicking a man or a woman when she`s down. And I think that`s what`s happening here in some way. I think it`s pitiful, malicious, uncalled-for. And besides, she looks beautiful. More power to her.

HAMMER: And the sad thing is, we see this going on all the time. I really am hoping for the day that it all comes to an end. I don`t know if that will take place.

Now, Valerie Bertinelli is somebody who certainly battled her own weight issues over the years. And she is speaking out. In a brand-new interview, she makes an even stronger point about the whole thing. You know, Jessica is not even overweight. Watch what she told Joy Behar on Joy`s show here on HLN.


BEHAR: How brutal can the media be about press and these people making fun of Jessica? The poor girl - I mean, she put on maybe - she doesn`t look heavy to me.

BERTINELLI: Maybe five pounds? And the camera adds weight. I don`t get it. She`s a very beautiful young woman.


HAMMER: Yes. But on the other hand, you have to take a look at what Andrea T. wrote today on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Facebook wall. She says, "It`s not fair to go after her, but they are going to go after anyone that is famous. If she was too skinny, fat, got implants, that`s just the price they pay for being in the spotlight."

That was your point before, Marvet. But my question is, shouldn`t the line get drawn somewhere? I mean, if she had blotchy skin, if she was missing a foot, would that be OK to go after her and make fun of her just because she`s a celebrity?

BRITTO: Well, unfortunately, A.J., it does. You open up your life for ridicule when you are a public figure. It`s not right, but I think it`s the price you pay for being a celebrity. The issue here is the example that it`s setting for young women all across this country and all around the world, that you will be ridiculed for being overweight.

And like they said earlier, she is really only a few pounds overweight. But this is a bad example to set. And again, the corporate giants attached to this bad example is really startling and alarming. It`s a big issue - a problem.

HAMMER: It`s a terrible example to set. And pardon the use of the phrase, but I think it should be a real teaching moment. Maybe people really need to wake up. And making fun of people for their weight, especially a celebrity who has the last thing from a real weight issue is a very dangerous thing to do.

Here`s another comment I want to read from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Facebook wall. Lauren F. writing today, "No, it isn`t fair, but Jessica Simpson used her sex appeal to become famous so she has to deal with people criticizing her weight."

Now, this is more of an attack than criticism. But Kim, do you buy that logic? Because a lot of people are saying that as well.

SERAFIN: No. I disagree. First of all, she first became famous as a singer. Then, she did "The Newlyweds" and then her brand was kind of the Dixie girl. It was really only in "The Dukes of Hazard" where she became known for sexiness.

Now, she`s really focused on her product line. I have a pair of Jessica Simpson shoes. And right now, this makes me go out and get another pair. Right now, I`m going to head to Macy`s, because it really makes me thing that she is trying to be a businesswoman now.

She`s trying to focus on her singing career. She is not trying to be a sex symbol. So I really think that`s unfair. And again, going back to that little spoof they did, you know, saying, "I can`t believe Tony Romo dated Jessica Simpson." Are there really a lot of guys who would be like, "Eww, I can`t believe somebody would date Jessica Simpson." I mean, come on.

HAMMER: And speaking of guys, are there any guys who, if they gained a couple of pounds, would be made fun of so brutally by, you know, the media or cartoons like the one we saw about Jessica? I don`t think so.

And our "Showbiz on Call" phone lines have been ringing all day about this. Susan from Texas makes a big point about this double standard. Let`s look at that.


CALLER: You know, it`s getting to be ridiculous when people are constantly picking on females for being overweight. How come a woman who is 20 pounds overweight is considered fat, you know? But a man can gain all kinds of weight and he is considered stocky. There is still the same double standard. I guess there always will be.


ANDERSON: Yes. Brooke Anderson, we just have a few seconds here. But, you know, we cover this all the time. Would we be having this conversation if it was George Clooney?

ANDERSON: Oh, please. No way. I certainly agree with our caller. The same old double standard applies. A man`s weight can fluctuate and nobody says a word. But when a woman, five, 10 pounds here or there, it`s the end of the world.

HAMMER: Yes. It`s terrible.

ANDERSON: It`s disgusting.

HAMMER: May it all stop soon. Thanks - Marvet Britto, Kim Serafin, I appreciate you guys being here tonight.

Well, we have been asking to you vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day - "Jessica Simpson Fat Jokes: Is making fun of her weight fair game?" Let us know what you think at or E-mail us at

ANDERSON: Cougar alert. Courtney Cox has become the top cat in the cougar den with scenes like this from her new hit show "Cougar Town."


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Look at all these cute little cracks on your heels.

COURTNEY COX, ACTRESS: My feet have had some experience, OK, Josh? They have seen things.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I didn`t mean anything bad.

COX: I so don`t care. Oh, boy.


ANDERSON: Now, Courtney is dishing about how older women can snag younger men. But is Courtney making women look desperate? We`ve got the great cougar debate.

Also, "American Idol" judge Kara DioGuardi opens up today about what it is going to be like without Paula at the judge`s table. You`ve got to hear this.

Plus, major controversy over Sarah Silverman`s new spoof.


SILVERMAN: I was like OK, how are you going to end world hunger? And then it hit me. Sell the Vatican, feed the world.


ANDERSON: OK, guess what? Not everybody is laughing. Wait until you hear what the Catholic League has to say today about Sarah`s controversial new spoof. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

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

TEXT: Jackson film "This is It" generates second highest pre-sales on Fandango after "New Moon." Avril Lavigne files for divorce from Sum 41 singer Deryck Whibley.



COX: The hell with it. Hey kid! Pow!


ANDERSON: Courtney Cox is the ultimate cougar. But her new show, "Cougar Town" is stirring up a lot of cougarlicious controversy. Tonight, the great debate. Is it sending the wrong message?

HAMMER: It`s pretty funny to me, that scene right there. Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

ANDERSON: And I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. Tonight, Courtney`s cougar advice. Courtney Cox is the new mascot for cougars everywhere on her new hit show on ABC, "Cougar Town."

Courtney Cox is hot - sizzling hot over 40 and unabashedly dating men half her age. And now, in a new interview with "USA Today," Courtney Cox reveals her top rules for being the perfect cougar.

But tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT wants to know, is Courtney Cox empowering women over 40 or belittling them? You decide.

Joining me tonight in New York, Dawn Yanek, she is the senior editor for "Life and Style Weekly." Also tonight, in New York, Midwin Charles - she`s an attorney for Midwin Charles and Associates.

OK, ladies. I`m betting there a lot of men who are thinking that Courtney Cox is cougarlicious in "Cougar Town." She plays a newly divorced mother in her 40s struggling to create a new identity and dating plenty of younger men along the way. Watch.


COX: There is a man in my house.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Should I call the police?

COX: No. I lied and - just go look at him.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: What was that? Come on!

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Go do disgusting things to that boy.

COX: No, I need time to prepare. I`ve got to light candles. I look really good in flickering light.


ANDERSON: I love it. So funny. So what are Courtney`s real-life rules for being the ultimate cougar? Courtney tells "USA Today," "Number one, be your own biggest fan." She says her favorite cougar is herself. She is 45; hubby David Arquette, 38. Midwin, is Courtney the cougar sending the right message to women over 40?

CHARLES: I don`t know. I mean, I took a few minutes to look at the show the other day and I just was sadly not impressed. Not so much what the cougar concept is crazy or wild. I think it`s fabulous. I mean, we all can remember Samantha from "Sex and the City" and how great that character was.

But I don`t know if Courtney Cox fits well into this role. She really isn`t someone who exudes sexuality. The show and not concept, yes.

ANDERSON: Oh, harsh. Harsh. OK. Who is Courtney`s second favorite real life cougar? Herself, being number one. She says that Demi Moore, who is 15 years older than husband Ashton Kutcher. But there`s another poster cougar out there. Who is it? Madonna.

She gorgeous, 51 years old dating 23-year-old Jesus Luz. So that brings us to rule number two of Courtney Cox`s cougar rule, "Embrace your age." Dawn, do you think Demi and Madonna and Courtney are embracing their age and giving "cougardom" a better name?

DAWN YANEK, SENIOR EDITOR, "LIFE AND STYLE WEEKLY": I think they definitely are. And let`s also not forget about Halle Berry. I mean, she has a younger boyfriend who is her daughter`s father.

And, I mean, my goodness. Any man would be lucky to be with Halle Berry. This is a thing that we can really get behind "Life and Style Weekly," because really, you can be any age as long as you are confident in your sexuality, in yourself, in your appearance that. That is a good thing.

And you know what? I think as far as "Cougar Town" goes, it`s just kind of finding its groove. And in the first few episodes, Courtney Cox`s character is a little bit desperate. She`s a little bit - she`s trying to find her way. But she kind of finds herself as the episodes go along. And I think that`s just something that is really, really relatable.

ANDERSON: Yes. This show, to me, was funny. It made me chuckle. It doesn`t take itself too seriously. But you know -

YANEK: It`s comedy. It`s supposed to be over-the-top.

ANDERSON: Exactly. It`s supposed to be over-the-top. But you know, not everybody thinks that Courtney is sending the best cougar message. Some critics say that her cougar character does seem really desperate, does seem really insecure, way different than the real life Courtney, the cougar. Watch this.


COX: I`ve got an idea.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Oh, great. It`s probably not insane at all.

COX: Every night at 10:00 sharp, I`m going to look out my window. And if your porch light is on, I`m going to know that`s a signal that you think I`m attractive. And you never have to say it to my face.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: You`ve got noodles all in your hair.

COX: Somebody is obsessed with my hair.


ANDERSON: Midwin, I really get your take on this. What do you think? Is Courtney`s cougar character somehow belittling this whole cougar movement?

CHARLES: I think she is. You know, it`s funny. That`s the exact clip that I saw last night. But I think she is only because -

ANDERSON: That you were not impressed with?

CHARLES: I was not. My mom was with me and she was like, "What is this? Turn the channel." I think the thing with her character and not the concept cougar, right? But her character is, she is so desperate.

And I think with the cougars that we have named, Demi Moore, Halle Berry - there is no desperation there. It is almost abundantly clear that those young men chased those older women and would love to be with them as well as a lot of younger men. So I think she definitely comes across as really desperate. And rightfully so, that would turn off a lot of women.

ANDERSON: Well, you know, I think age is nothing but a number. I think she is supposed to be over-the-top in this role. And you know, I think it`s good when we can laugh at ourselves. We do have to leave it there for now. We`ll continue this discussion. Midwin Charles, Dawn Yanek, good to see you. Thanks.

HAMMER: All right. Did you see this, the 4th season premier "30 Rock" aired just a short time ago. But I`ve got to tell you, the action - it started much earlier in the day when Tina Fey got into a little canoodling on the "Today" show.

Meredith Vieira was apparently gunning for another guest spot on "30 Rock" and asked Tina Fey who she wanted to make out with on the "Today" show staff. That`s fair question. Well, Tina said Al Roker. Do we want to see this? All right. Let`s see how it turned out.


TINA FEY, ACTRESS: Here we go.

MEREDITH VIEIRA, CO-HOST, THE "TODAY" SHOW: Oh, my gosh. I don`t even want to watch. Now, that does mean he gets the guest spot or I get the guest spot?

FEY: That was it. That was his guest spot.

VIEIRA: Oh, man. All right. You got it.


HAMMER: Well, in other hot Tina Fey news, Tina said she would definitely consider playing Sarah Palin again if she runs for office.

ANDERSON: Sarah Silverman is under fire for her new idea about ending world hunger.


SILVERMAN: I am like OK. How are you going end world hunger? And then it hit me - sell the Vatican, feed the world.


ANDERSON: Sell the Vatican? Guess what? Not everybody is laughing. Wait until you hear what the Catholic League had to say today about Sarah`s new stunt. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

Time to roll out the "SHOWBIZ News Ticker" - more stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news right now.

TEXT: Penelope Cruz, Liza Minelli have cameos in "Sex and the City" sequel. Tori Spelling and husband Dean sign on for a fifth season of their reality show.


ANDERSON: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Brooke Anderson.

Did you see this? Comedian Sarah Silverman is stirring up big controversy tonight with the new video, the solution to world hunger - sell the Vatican. Take a look.


SILVERMAN: Think about it. We need a hero. And who is more primed to be our hero than the pope? He is literally a caped crusader. What is the Vatican worth? Like $500 billion?

This is great. Sell the Vatican. Take a big chunk of that money. Build a gorgeous condominium for you and all of your friends to live in, all the amenities - swimming pool, tennis court, water slide. Oh, with the money left over? Feed the whole (EXPLETIVE DELETED) world.


ANDERSON: So guess who doesn`t think this is funny? The Catholic League. President Bill Donahue calls Silverman`s diatribe filthy and says it would never be allowed if the target were the chief rabbi of Jerusalem and the city of Israel. He also points out the Catholic Church feeds more of the poor than any private institution in the world.

HAMMER: All right. So with Paula Abdul out at "American Idol," will there be a deficit of kooky at the judges` table? This certainly was a very hot topic on "The View" this morning when the judge Kara DioGuardi, sitting in as guest host. Take a look.


BEHAR: Now that Paula`s gone, you`re going to have to be the kooky one.


DIOGUARDI: That is easy, actually.

SHEPHERD: Kara knows what she`s talking about, that`s why -

WHOOPI GOLDBERG, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": So who is going to be the crazy one?

SHEPHERD: Ellen DeGeneres?


BEHAR: She is not really kooky.

DIOGUARDI: Well, you cannot be kooky and also informed. I know I`m very kooky at times. But I also know when I hear someone that is an amazing singer and that has star power.

SHEPHERD: You totally counter Simon because Simon can be so crotchety.

DIOGUARDI: Yes. And I have no problem giving it to him.

BEHAR: You are not as nice. Not nice - what is the word I am looking for? Accommodating to the talent as Paula was. Paula was, "Oh, I love you." She`d jump out of her seat constantly, the girl, clapping and supporting. I don`t think that you do that.

DIOGUARDI: She was nurturing. And believe me, this time on the road -

SHEPHERD: Nurturing is the word.

DIOGUARDI: I thought about that a lot because I felt like that was a very important role so some degree.


DIOGUARDI: These kids are coming in. They are nervous. They are singing a cappella. It is just I get nervous when I think about that. So you want to at least give them an extra shot. You want to make them feel comfortable. And you know what? As women, we are more nurturing.


HAMMER: Yes. So there you go. A little insight into what to expect. Kara also took the opportunity today to put a rumor to rest. She says any speculation that she pushed Paula out - it`s just ridiculous.

So on Wednesday, we asked you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Moments ago, I was handed the final results on this piece of paper - "Michael Jackson`s Kids: Would it be wrong for them to appear on a Jackson reality show? Eighty-four percent of you said, yes, wrong. Sixteen percent said no.

Among the E-mails, Jillian in Michigan writing, "It`s unhealthy for any child to be on a reality TV show. Second, would Michael approve? Definitely not!"

Jacki from Louisiana, "Haven`t these kids been through enough? Leave them alone!"

That is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Thanks so much for watching. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

And I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. Mark it down. You can catch SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on the 11:00s - 11:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, and in the morning, 11:00 a.m. Eastern on HLN.