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SHOWBIZ TONIGHT

New Attacks on the New Miss USA; Charlie Sheen Returns to "Two and a Half Men"; Bristol Palin Cashing In; John Travolta`s New Tragedy; Will and Jada Smith`s Outrageous Sex Shocker

Aired May 18, 2010 - 23:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


A.J. HAMMER, HOST: Big news breaking today on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT - beauty backlash. The startling new attacks today on the new Miss USA.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Miss USA 2010 is Michigan!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Debates and outrage around the world over her Muslim background. But what does that have to do with it? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with the ugly battle over the beauty.

Big news breaking today about survivors of scandal cashing in.

Charlie Sheen`s mind-boggling new deal today to return to "Two and a Half Men."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What brought this on?

CHARLIE SHEEN, ACTOR: I don`t know. I thought I would expand my horizons a bit.

HAMMER: But wait, there`s more - Bristol Palin. Big news today about how Sarah Palin`s teenage daughter will be cashing in big-time.

John Travolta`s devastating new tragedy today after a deadly accident on an airport runway.

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

(MUSIC)

HAMMER: Hello. I`m A.J. Hammer coming to you from New York City with big news breaking today - beauty backlash. There were so many brand-new controversies swirling around the new Miss USA today, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT could hardly keep count.

And we are literally talking about worldwide outrage and debate, spreading all the way to the Middle East. And what I personally find really disturbing is how much of the controversy seemed to center today on the fact that the new Miss USA is an immigrant and the first Muslim Miss USA.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over): Today, in America, a passionate culture war is raging over political correctness, affirmative action, and relations with the Muslim world. And the center of this bitter cultural battle is -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Miss USA 2010 is Michigan!

HAMMER: The Miss USA pageant?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you feel?

RIMA FAKIH, MISS USA 2010: Ask me after I have a pizza.

HAMMER: Miss Michigan, Rima Fakih, is believed to be the first Muslim- born Miss USA. And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you, her crowning has set off a worldwide firestorm. Some conservative Web sites lashed out today at Fakih`s Muslim roots.

One Web site calls Fakih, "The liberals` Muslim poster child for Miss USA." A conservative blogger calls Fakih`s win an odd form of affirmative action. Another calls her victory a sad day in America and angrily labeled Fakih Miss Hezbollah.

BENJAMIN SARLIN, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, "DAILY BEAST": It`s now two years in a row we`ve got a major sort of a scandal and accusations of rigging the competition for political correctness.

HAMMER: Some conservatives complained that last year`s Miss USA runner- up, Carrie Prejean, lost the crown because of her comments opposing gay marriage.

CARRIE PREJEAN, FORMER MISS CALIFORNIA: I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman.

HAMMER: And this year, there are complaints that Miss USA runner-up Morgan Elizabeth Woolard lost the crown for saying at the pageant that she supports Arizona`s tough new immigration law.

MORGAN ELIZABETH WOOLARD, MISS USA RUNNER-UP: I think it`s perfectly fine for Arizona to create that law.

HAMMER: Benjamin Sarlin of "TheDailyBeast.com" tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT some conservatives see Prejean and Woolard`s losses and Fakih`s victory as proof that Miss USA officials are letting political correctness determine who wins and who loses.

SARLIN: Well, there is not really any evidence of any kind of tampering with judges, and the Miss USA competition has been very careful to emphasize, "No, this is completely fair. Obviously, we`re very proud of the winner`s background, but that wasn`t what influenced the decision."

HAMMER: But it`s not just conservatives who have an issue with Fakih who was born in Lebanon but attended a Catholic high school in the U.S.

OCTAVIA NASR, CNN SENIOR EDITOR OF MID-EAST AFFAIRS: The idea of showing flesh is a no-no in Islam.

HAMMER: CNN senior editor of Mid-East affairs, Octavia Nasr, tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, some Muslims object to the skimpy bikinis and the lingerie Fakih wore as part of the Miss USA competition.

NASR: Any time that you see pictures of women in bathing suits, especially if they`re Muslim, if they`re referred to as Muslim, you have raised eyebrows.

HAMMER: But despite that concern, Octavia Nasr tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Fakih`s win is mostly being celebrated in the Muslim world today.

NASR: The majority of the reaction is that of support, no doubt.

HAMMER: Adding to the controversy today over the new Miss USA are these newly discovered photos of Fakih pole dancing in shorts and a tank top for a radio show contest in Michigan back in 2007.

MOJO, RADIO HOST, "MOJO IN THE MORNING": I don`t think that what she did was anything wrong.

HAMMER: Mojo is a host for the Detroit radio station that sponsored the pole dancing contest. He tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT the photos of Fakih are no big deal.

MOJO: I think that we should respect the fact that here we have an Arab-American woman who is the first to become Miss USA. And I think in this day and age, we should celebrate that.

HAMMER: So between the new photos and the political controversies, perhaps the strangest thing is that all this talk is surrounding, of all things, a beauty pageant, where the most controversial issue used to be one-piece swim suits versus two pieces.

SARLIN: At the end of the day, it`s a bunch of, you know, beautiful women competing.

HAMMER: But today, we`re seeing that no matter how beautiful the contestants on stage may be, the hottest thing about the Miss USA pageant can be the offstage controversy.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

Yes. Here we go again. Miss USA once again at the center of a political firestorm. But was the pageant really rigged to be politically correct? I mean, come on. Right now, in Hollywood, Shauntay Hinton who had the honor of being crowned Miss USA back in 2002. Right now, in Memphis, Ben Ferguson, who is a conservative syndicated radio host.

Let me start out with this ridiculous conspiracy theory that Miss USA, Rima Fakih, won the Miss USA pageant because it was rigged for political correctness. Shauntay, to you first, are you with me when I say this is just absurd?

SHAUNTAY HINTON, MISS USA 2002: Oh, my god. It`s the most ridiculous thing I`ve heard in 2010. My goodness! Did we not just see a beautiful woman win this pageant? She was the most consistent on stage, and that`s in presentation and in interview.

What I think this is - this is sour grapes. I think you have a lot of people crying controversy because they`re not getting what they want. I think that, you know, they`re upset that she won, and that maybe their home state girl didn`t win.

And you know, it`s just very absurd. And it`s disappointing that they would ruin this girl`s first 48 hours as Miss USA.

HAMMER: Yes, what a shame. I mean, it is a commercial enterprise. It has thrived on controversy in the past, and now. I don`t think they give a damn about political correctness, Ben.

BEN FERGUSON, SYNDICATED CONSERVATIVE RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: No, look. The fact of the matter is, is you have the P.T. Barnum Bailey of 2010, Donald Trump, who understands one thing - controversy.

We had it last year. We have it this year. We`ve got everything going on in Arizona. We have a girl that can bring controversy because of their religious background. We have the fact - and I`m sure he knew it, that there were some good photos of her winning a contest that was judged by strippers and her stripping on a pole.

You don`t think Donald Trump loves the fact that we`re sitting here today talking about this, which makes him more money? Of course, it`s reality that you`ve got to look at this and go, "Maybe she won because of the controversy that we`re doing right now."

HAMMER: I assure you, Donald Trump is enjoying every single moment of this. But the other conspiracy theory that is circulating today was that Rima only won because Miss Oklahoma, the runner-up, came out during the pageant in support of Arizona`s controversial immigration law.

Now, Shauntay, you won the crown back in 2002. You had to answer questions that were nothing like that. Does it even seem plausible to you that a judge asked such an explosive question to intentionally set her up?

HINTON: You know, I think we should take it back to the old school and just put the girls in a glass bubble and, you know, have them all answer the same question.

But I don`t think that she lost because of that, of her answer. I think she lost because she kind of flip-flopped a little bit. You know, in the beginning, she was for the Arizona law, and then the crowd started booing.

And she said, "Well, let me appease the crowd a little bit," and she flip-flopped. So I think that that`s what really lost her the crown - was that she flip-flopped.

HAMMER: Hang on one second, Ben, because I want to get to some outrage that we`re hearing elsewhere about the Miss USA victory. It was on "The View" this morning. The ladies couldn`t stop talking about it. Let`s take a look at that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOY BEHAR, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": The Arab girl, the Muslim girl, is more controversial right now. They`re not stupid, they want people to watch. Whoever these judges are - you know.

SHERRI SHEPHERD, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": But the girl that won - they said that she tripped on her dress, that she made a couple gaffes.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": And she is stunningly beautiful.

(CROSS TALK)

And as far as I remember, this is all about how you look. It`s not about if you can walk and talk. It`s about how you look.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Yes. And Ben, this is what I wanted to ask you about specifically. It`s not - it should be about how you look. It should not be about her ethnic background and religious beliefs. And a lot of people are saying that - a lot of people are saying that is why this woman won. Do you really think, Ben, the fact that she is a Muslim played any part in her victory?

FERGUSON: I think it plays much of a part in her victory as the loaded question towards one contestant about the law on immigration. And Arizona has nothing to do with if you`re beautiful or not.

And if they want the contest to be about beauty, then stop asking loaded questions and/or giving us situations like this, where we have someone that fills a huge quota that people are going to root for and talk about and disagree with. I mean, look at what -

(CROSS TALK)

HAMMER: Ben. Ben -

FERGUSON: Yes?

HAMMER: You think that they`re filling quotas here? Are you kidding me?

FERGUSON: No, I think the fact of the matter is that -

HINTON: Oh, my - that`s -

FERGUSON: Wait, wait, wait. Let me finish.

HINTON: That`s ridiculous.

FERGUSON: Let me finish. Let me finish. Let me finish. Let me finish. Donald Trump is a guy that is brilliant. The judges of this contest are brilliant. They`re looking for something that is controversial, and they look for questions about Arizona.

Who cares what a beauty star thinks about Arizona immigration laws? Yet they asked it to one of the finalists? I mean, look at it that way.

HAMMER: All right. I am afraid -

HINTON: You know, the pageant - I don`t -

HAMMER: Unfortunately - unfortunately - I`m sorry, Shauntay, I do have to end it there.

HINTON: We`ve got to go.

HAMMER: I do want to let you know Miss USA, Rima Fakih, will be going one-on-one with Joy Behar on the "JOY BEHAR SHOW." She`ll be talking about all this, Wednesday, 9:00 p.m. Eastern. You won`t want to miss it here on HLN. Shauntay Hinton and Ben Ferguson, thanks, guys. I appreciate it.

As we move on tonight, this is sad. I hate this story. John Travolta and his family suffering another devastating tragedy today. It`s a deadly accident on an airport runway.

Stars cashing in on scandal today. Charlie Sheen, Bristol Palin. I`ll tell you the incredible thing they have in common today that is getting them some super big bucks. It is a not-to-be-missed SHOWBIZ special report.

Well, Brooke has got a super-cool gig this week. Wait until you see SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson`s amazing, exclusive - she is at the hotel of the rich and famous, where all of the big stars are staying at the Cannes Film Festival.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROOKE ANDERSON, CO-HOST: Wines, wines everywhere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Well, have around 10,000 bottles.

ANDERSON: Oh, I`m sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, it`s OK. It`s only a bottle worth 1,000 euros.

ANDERSON: Oh, oh, oh. I didn`t break it, I promise.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Yes. Remember, Brooke, you break it, you buy it. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN news and views.

Time now for the "SHOWBIZ News Ticker" - more stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news today.

TEXT: Former Food Network chef pleads not guilty in murder-for-hire plot. Donald Trump hopes Bret Michaels will make it to "Apprentice" finale.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, HOST, "CELEBRITY APPRENTICE": We have great confidence in Bret. I know he` trying like hell. He is a very competitive guy, and I know he`s going to try and be there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. We`ve got you covered all the way in Cannes. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson is right there at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival. And Brooke, I understand you got an exclusive look inside the Ritz-Carlton.

ANDERSON: A.J., it`s the hotel to the stars. Naomi Watts and Michael Douglas are guests this year. I got a rare inside look at Hollywood`s home away from home here in Cannes since the golden era of Cary Grant and Grace Kelly.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over): Of all of the hotels associated with Cannes and the film festival, none has more history than the Carlton.

(on camera): Let`s go inside, and take a look around. As we enter, of course, we`ve got the really impressive lobby. And here we are. We`ve got the general manager of the Carlton Hotel, Francois Chopinet.

FRANCOIS CHOPINET, GENERAL MANAGER OF THE CARLTON HOTEL: Hi, Brooke.

ANDERSON: Hello.

CHOPIN: Hi, how are you?

ANDERSON: How are you?

CHOPINET: Superb.

ANDERSON: This hotel is so attractive to so many people because of such rich history. Cary Grant filmed "To Catch a Thief" here and walked in, strode into the front lobby. And the Carlton is also known for stunts.

Jerry Seinfeld, when he was here promoting "Bee Movie," he dressed up as a bee, and did a zip line from the Carlton to the beach. Francois is now going to show us the very special Sophie Marceau penthouse ocean- side suite here at the Carlton Hotel. Wow.

CHOPINET: It`s a suite of 250 square meters divided in several parts. This one, of course, is the lounge.

ANDERSON: This is not a green screen. This is the actual Mediterranean that we are overlooking here on the top floor of the Carlton Hotel. A couple years ago, you had a high-profile guest in this exact suite.

CHOPINET: That was the - it was the film, the premiere of Harrison Ford - you know, "Indiana Jones."

ANDERSON: Harrison Ford?

CHOPINET: He stayed in that suite.

ANDERSON: This suite, the Grace Kelly suite, is where Michael Douglas is staying. Shhh, we don`t want to disturb him.

CHOPINET: Welcome to the cellar.

ANDERSON: Wow, surprise!

CHOPINET: Welcome to the cellar.

ANDERSON: Oh, thank you. Wines, wines everywhere.

CHOPINET: Yes. Well, we have around 10,000 bottles.

ANDERSON: Oh, I`m sorry.

CHOPINET: It`s OK. It`s only a bottle of 3,000 euros.

ANDERSON: Oh, I didn`t break it, I promise.

CHOPINET: No, no, don`t worry.

ANDERSON: Sorry.

CHOPINET: No, no, no. It`s OK.

ANDERSON: I need to get out of here.

ANDERSON: We are now in the kitchen of the Carlton. Preparations are well under way for tonight`s dinner.

CHOPINET: Yes. You see, the countdown has started. The president of the film festival is Gilles Jacob. And every evening, he entertains the actors, the film producer, the film director.

ANDERSON: Francois, I have to say, I feel like one of your hotel VIPs. Thank you so much for this tour. Unfortunately, it`s time for me to check out, so I`ve got to run.

CHOPINET: Thank you very much.

ANDERSON: Oh, thank you very much. Merci beaucoup. Au revoir.

CHOPINET: Thank you. Bye-bye.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: A.J., the suite I toured was ready and is waiting for the arrival of another A-lister, but the hotel was sworn to secrecy on their identity. Back over to you.

HAMMER: Merci, Brooke. That was SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson from the Cannes Film Festival in the south of France.

Well, we have been getting a ton of calls into "Showbiz on Call" today from all across the USA about the new Miss USA. A lot of controversy today over Rima Fakih being the first Muslim to win the crown and over these pictures of her on a stripper pole from a couple of years back.

Now, Carla from Louisiana thinks Rima should lose her crown.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

CARLA, CALLER FROM LOUISIANA: I think that the Miss USA stripper - she should lose her crown, because Vanessa Williams was pulled so - she is supposed to be a role model for our young girls today. That`s not being a role model, dancing on a pole.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HAMMER: All right, Carla. Thanks for your call. What do you think about the Miss USA controversy? You can call me at "Showbiz on Call" 1- 888-SBT-BUZZ; 1-888-728-2899.

Back to our Facebook wall also lighting up about this, Victoria D. has Rima`s back writing, "She is more fully dressed pole dancing than the contestants were in the publicity photos for the competition. Donald Trump has brought this tradition to a new low. Now, he can sleep in the bed he has made."

Well, you have got to hear Will Smith and wife Jada talking about their steamy sex life today. They`re not holding back one bit to Oprah. But is it super cool or super ick?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JADA PINKETT-SMITH, ACTRESS: I always surprise him. I always surprise him. Now, I don`t know if you want to -

WILL SMITH, ACTOR: Hey, hey.

J. SMITH: Get in on how I surprise him -

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Lindsay versus the volcano. Lindsay Lohan may actually end up in jail and she might be able to blame it on that volcano in Iceland that`s been erupting. Volcanic ash, a spiraling-out-of-control star. You just can`t make this stuff up today.

Also this -

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SINGING)

HAMMER: Big news today for 12-year-old Lady Gaga YouTube star, Greyson Chance. This is This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN news and views.

Time now for the "SHOWBIZ News Ticker." These are more stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news today.

TEXT: CBS cancels "New Adventures of old Christine" and "Ghost Whisperer." "Twilight" star Taylor Lautner to get his own comic book, out in August.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Selma Hayek was over the moon when she got pregnant, but meant, well, she had to cancel her trip to the moon. In the brand-new issue of "In Style" magazine on newsstands Friday, Salma reveals today that she actually reserved a seat on one of Richard Branson`s Virgin galactic flights.

You know, Branson is offering up space flights to the public. But Salma says now that she has a two-year-old daughter, all risky behavior is off. I wonder if Salma got a refund though. These galactic tickets - $200,000 a pop.

Well, somebody who certainly has both feet firmly planted on the ground today, the great Sarah Jessica Parker. We sat down with SJP to talk about "Sex and the City II" coming out next week.

And you know, we have this great new way for you to ask stars questions called showbiz iReport. I want to share with you a question from iReporter Cathy in California. Cathy wanted to ask Sarah how she is able to juggle her big career and her family life. Watch me play Cathy`s iReport for Sarah and Sarah`s answer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CATHY, IREPORTER IN CALIFORNIA: You have so much energy in all of your movies. And you`re just so vivacious and bubbly and happy all the time. And it`s a really cool thing to watch you on any film.

What I was wondering is, in your real life, do you have that much energy. And if so, how do you keep up with your hectic life like that? I think you`re great and I hope you answer my question.

SARAH JESSICA PARKER, ACTRESS: Oh, Cathy, that`s lovely. I`m glad I fooled you into thinking I have energy. I think having three children has not allowed for a lack of energy. And I live in a city that`s a really energetic and exciting place.

And on the days that I feel most tired, I look around and everybody else, all of the other working mothers are running around. And all of the mothers that are staying home are running around, so I`m sort of inspired by that. I don`t know if that`s a good enough answer, but it`s the truth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: It`s pretty cool, right? I`m posting more of Sarah`s answer to Cathy, how Sarah and Matthew Broderick`s kids don`t actually tire them out. They feed off their energy. You can see this extra stuff exclusively on the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Facebook page. Just head on over to CNN.com/ShowbizTonight to check it out.

Well, now it`s the SHOWBIZ lineup. Here is what is coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

I am talking sex with Kim Cattrall today. Kim is back as Samantha in "Sex and the City 2." It`s the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Cashing in on scandal. Wait until you hear what Charlie Sheen and Bristol Palin have in common today that`s going to have them cashing in big-time.

And a dramatic, just horrific loss for John Travolta today. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN news and views.

It is time now to roll out the "SHOWBIZ News Ticker" - more stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news today.

TEXT: William Shatner to star in his first sitcom next season on CBS. Former "American Idol" rocker Chris Daughtry and wife are expecting twins.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Now, on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, John Travolta`s new tragedy. Another surprising and devastating loss today for John Travolta and his family. How will the family survive this latest heartache?

Cashing in on scandal. Charlie Sheen, Bristol Palin, both caught up in shocking scandals. Both now cashing in, big-time.

Will and Jada`s outrageous new sex shocker. They enjoy having steamy sex with each other. Will and Jada`s sex secrets revealed to Oprah today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

J. SMITH: Even during the day, I might send - I might send a sexy picture of some sort. If he`s on the set with me on "Hawthorne," we might take a little break.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Plus, more stories breaking today from the "SHOWBIZ News Ticker" - a big "Dancing with the Stars" controversy and Demi Moore`s new book.

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

(MUSIC)

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It`s 30 minutes past the hour. I`m A.J. Hammer coming to you from New York City with big news breaking today - survivor scandal. Ka-ching! I`m thinking that`s the sound that two big stars are hearing today as they cash in on their scandals.

Remarkable news today about Charlie Sheen`s brand-new TV deal even as he faces a felony charge for allegedly assaulting his wife.

And big news breaking today about Bristol Palin`s big payday as a result of her scandalous teenage pregnancy. More about all that big news today in just a moment. Charlie and Bristol really perfect examples of surviving scandal.

Today, in a SHOWBIZ special report, we are blowing the lid off the secrets to surviving a celebrity scandal. Here is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Kareen Wynter.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: A public apology from an A-list athlete.

TIGER WOODS, GOLF CHAMPION: I am deeply sorry for my irresponsible and selfish behavior.

WYNTER: A public denial from the publicist of an A-list actor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Charlie looks forward to the trial to clear his name.

WYNTER: And a public outburst from the estranged husband of an A-list actress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Get off my property.

WYNTER: Tiger woods, Charlie Sheen and Sandra Bullock`s soon-to-be ex- husband, Jesse James, have all been waging personal battles under highly public scrutiny in recent months. Who stands the best chance of surviving the media madness surrounding their super-sized scandals? Take a lesson from Jesse`s former lady.

HOWARD BRAGMAN, CELEBRITY PUBLICIST: Sandra Bullock just pulled a textbook example of how to turn a scandal into your favor. Not only was she the most sympathetic a couple weeks ago when she ended up on the cover of "People" magazine, talk about changing the conversation in a positive way. She hit it out of the park.

WYNTER: Bragman is a celebrity publicist and expert on fame and crisis management. He says there`s a right way and a wrong way to handle a scandal.

BRAGMAN: The right way is to take a beat and figure out is this just a controversy or is this a true crisis? Like any doctor, a spin doctor has to take the pulse, and we have to go in and say, how bad is it? Or sometimes it`s just so bad that you say, we have to get in front of this story. What you don`t want to do is let the story spiral out of control.

WYNTER: And with so many recent allegations of celebrity infidelity, abuse and addiction, these days, it seems every A-lister is playing that real-life dramatic role, leading some to ask, does it take a scandal to make it here in Hollywood?

BEN WIDDICOMBE, CELEBRITY JOURNALIST: In public life, a scandal really is a baptism by fire. Many people say you haven`t made it until you have the big scandal and the tabloids coming after you. And how you survive and how you develop in that kind of situation tells you a lot about how long-lived your career may be.

WYNTER: Celebrity journalist Ben Widdicombe has seen it all when it comes to the rise and fall of scandal-ridden stars. As a former gossip columnist, he spent years digging up dirt on Hollywood`s elite, and says in some cases, a crisis may actually help a star shoot higher.

WIDDICOMBE: It hardly needs to be said that good news doesn`t sell magazines. The public wants to relate to these beautiful, wealthy people as humans just like them with problems.

WYNTER: So why do some celebrity scandals, like Wynona Ryder`s shoplifting case -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We, the jury, find the defendant, Wynona Ryder, guilty of the crime of grand theft.

WYNTER: Seem to banish them to the D-list while areas like Alec Baldwin`s voicemail tirade to his daughter -

ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: You are a rude, thoughtless little pig.

WYNTER: Seem to pass without killing a star`s career? Perhaps, as our industry vets suggest, the secret to surviving it all is in the spin.

WIDDICOMBE: It`s important to get ahead of the story and to not be reacting to someone else`s headlines, but be driving the headlines yourself.

BRAGMAN: It`s really how you handle it, and you need to get smart people on your team. You need to listen.

WYNTER: Celebrity scandal 101 for the next Tiger, Charlie or Jesse.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: Celebrity scandal 101 indeed. And I`ve got to say, Charlie Sheen`s mind-boggling new deal today to return to "Two and a Half Men" really puts an exclamation point on stars who can cash in on their scandals.

Right now, from Hollywood, Kim Serafin, who is a senior editor for "In Touch Weekly." In New York, Brian Balthazar, who is an editor for "PopGoesTheWeek.com."

You`ve go to give it to Charlie Sheen, right? I mean, he flat out publicly quit "Two and a Half Men," the biggest sitcom on TV. He said, "I want to move on. I want to try new things." Well, here we are, two- and-a-half months later - lo and behold, he strikes up a deal worth a reported $2 million per episode.

Kim, to you first. Now, to me, and we reported on this when it happened, he left no wiggle room. His "I quit" statements were definitive. Do you think we were being played?

KIM SERAFIN, SENIOR EDITOR, "IN TOUCH WEEKLY": Well, a lot of people are speculating maybe this was a ploy to get more money, a good negotiating tactic. But I think there is a lesson here for every aspiring star. You don`t to be too clean and too perfect. Obviously, when people know that you kind of have a bad-boy past or something bad in your past, it doesn`t hurt you as much.

Look what happened with Tiger Woods. Look what happened even with Miley Cyrus. You know, she does this video. People think it`s a little racy. It`s a bigger controversy than when Lindsay gets into trouble again.

So I think, you know, for Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift - they should go hang out with Lindsay Lohan a little bit and dirty their images up, because clearly, it doesn`t hurt you.

HAMMER: Yes. In fact, if you check Charlie Sheen`s Wikipedia entry, I believe it just says "bad boy past" - that`s all it says right there because that`s all you need for him.

Well, in his statement to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, Sheen even referred to this massive circus that really has become his life and all the speculation about him leaving the show. He said, "To put a fitting end on the two and one half months of whirlwind speculation, I`m looking forward to returning to my CBS home on Monday nights. I want to thank CBS chief Les Moonves for his support," and his reported $2 million an episode.

Now, let`s keep in mind, Charlie is still facing trial on felony charges for allegedly assaulting his wife last Christmas when they were on vacation in Colorado. And he is still having millions thrown at him. Brian, I am thinking this guy has got to feel invincible. It has to make him think, "Hey, if I can get away with this, I can get away with anything."

BRIAN BALTHAZAR, EDITOR, "POPGOESTHEWEEK.COM": Well, it`s important I think to note that this show is not giving him money that they don`t have. They`re making tons of money. So they wouldn`t just - they`re not taking a loss on Charlie Sheen.

But it`s interesting to me also that, you know, he`s had a bad-boy reputation for decades. And what`s interesting is that he has never claimed to be a good boy. And I think that helps. Even his character is a bad boy.

HAMMER: Yes. But Kim, this will only feed into this, but in such a major way with this massive amount of money he`s now going to be getting.

SERAFIN: Yes. But you know what? The show is great as Brian just pointed out. I mean, it is the highest-rated show or highest-rated comedy on TV. People tune into this. He plays a bad-boy character. Without him, that show is nothing. I mean it`s "One and a half Men." They wouldn`t have a show without Charlie Sheen.

So he has played into this character. People do watch. Every time I turn on another channel, it`s on in syndication, so they are making a lot of money. People watch the show, and he`s kind of like Teflon.

HAMMER: Yes. It is unbelievable and he has always been that way. Well, speaking of a big payday after surviving a scandal, I hear another ka-ching coming on and there it is. This time, it`s for Sarah Palin`s 19-year-old daughter, Bristol.

Bristol is a single mom, of course, to Sarah Palin`s grandson Tripp. Well, we learned today Bristol is ready to make some big money speaking out about teen pregnancy. Reportedly, she may get anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000 per speech.

Now, to her credit, Bristol has been preaching about abstinence to teens. She`s been saying, you know, essentially, don`t make the same mistakes that I made. Brian, do you think anyone is going to pay her that much to hear her say that basically again?

BALTHAZAR: I don`t think that she is going to fetch $30,000. I think she is putting it out there, but I think she is not that dynamic. One thing you can say about Sarah, her mother, whether you love her or hate her, she commands a room and she`s dynamic.

But she`s kind of like, when you can`t afford the designer fragrance, you buy the generic imposter. I kind of feel like that`s a little bit of that Palin effect, but not the real deal.

And at least, she is not pulling a Levi Johnston. She`s not posing nude. She has got a platform and something to talk about.

HAMMER: Yes. I`ve got to say, I actually think she probably will get the money, and because of the Palin name. She is a good speaker and she has a lot to talk about. But I think that quote goes up simply with that word that begins with the letter P as in Palin.

BALTHAZAR: Right.

HAMMER: Kim Serafin -

SERAFIN: Yes, absolutely.

HAMMER: Brian Balthazar, thank you, guys. Well, it`s Lindsay Lohan versus a volcano today. Never thought I would say that.

Lilo is certainly one tough cookie, but I don`t know if she has got enough moxie to take on that ash-spewing volcano in Iceland, if you know what I`m saying. Will Lindsay make it home from Europe in enough time to avoid getting arrested?

Jada and Will certainly one of Hollywood`s hottest couples. Well, today, they`re sharing a shocking secret with Oprah. They have lots of steamy sex with each other.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

J. SMITH: I always surprise him. I always surprise him. Now, I don`t know if you want to -

W. SMITH: Hey, hey -

J. SMITH: Get in on how I surprise him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: And a new John Travolta tragedy today. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN news and views.

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

TEXT: Demi Moore meeting with publishers, plans to write a memoir. Censors catch "Dancing with the Stars" judge Bruno Tonioli cussing on live TV.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRUNO TONIOLI, JUDGE, "DANCING WITH THE STARS": I cannot believe the standard of dancing I`m seeing. I am not breakthrough. You were the one (EXPLETIVE DELETED). No, she was amazing.

HAMMER: You have got to see this. This is absolutely my favorite video today. Check this out. It`s a pooch too pooped to walk. It`s Hope, and Hope likes to hop on the back of this turtle named Carl. Carl just loves carrying around Hope, and Carl is pretty light on his feet for a turtle. Look at them go!

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. Happening right now in "The Buzz" today, Lindsay versus the volcano, and another heart-breaking tragedy for John Travolta. It`s all big news breaking in "The Buzz" today.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over): A new tragedy for Travolta. We just learned that two of John Travolta`s dogs were accidentally killed on an airport runway. It happened during a layover by Travolta and his family at Maine`s Bangor airport.

The dogs were being walked on the tarmac when they were run over by an airport service vehicle. Travolta, who flies his own plane, uses the airport as a stop on the way to an island he owns off the coast of Maine.

Going Gaga for Greyson. Greyson Chance, who became a YouTube hit with his cover of Lady Gaga`s "Paparazzi" has reportedly been signed by Gaga`s record label. The "New York Post" reports Interscope Records signed the 12-year-old to a record deal. So far, his Gaga cover has gotten more than 16 million hits since it was posted on YouTube just two weeks ago.

Lindsay and the volcano. Lindsay Lohan may have trouble getting to a make-or-break court hearing this week because of all that volcanic ash still causing flight disruptions in Europe. TMZ reports Lindsay may not be able to leave the Cannes Film Festival in time for a Thursday probation hearing for her DUI conviction. A judge could issue a warrant for her arrest if she doesn`t make it in time.

Well, I`ve got to think the judge hearing Lindsay`s case is not going to go for a lame excuse like a volcano getting in Lindsay`s way. And Lindsay`s next big trip won`t be nearly as glamorous as Cannes and I`m thinking there won`t be room service where she may be going.

Right now, in Atlanta, Sunny Hostin - she is a legal contributor for "In Session" on Tru TV. In New York, it`s Ben Widdicombe - he is a celebrity journalist.

All right. Call me crazy, but you know, If I had a mandatory hearing as Lindsay does on Thursday because I hadn`t kept up with my mandatory alcohol education classes, I`m pretty sure I wouldn`t plan a trip to fly to France to promote a possible moving playing a porn star and be seen partying all over the place and run the risk of missing my court date even if it`s because of a freak act of nature.

Ben, are you with me that the next stop on Lindsay`s wacky train could very well be jail?

WIDDICOMBE: Well, unfortunately, Lindsay has a reputation for these kind of reckless acts. She is not very reliable. She famously missed a plane to go to the Viennese Opera Ball for which she was being paid $150,000 to go. And now, has gone to Cannes when she should be taking care of business in L.A. I don`t think the judge is going to take very kindly to that at all.

HAMMER: Yes. I don`t get it. Well, Lindsay`s new jail drama stems from a DUI arrest and probation that was back in 2007. You remember she spent 84 minutes in jail. I`m thinking, obviously, a little more than an hour in the clink didn`t quite scare Lindsay straight.

So we`re asking today in our exclusive SHOWBIZ TONIGHT poll, "Lindsay Lohan: Is jail the only way to save her?" Now you can vote at CNN.com/ShowbizTonight.

Sunny Hostin, I`m going save you the trouble. Vote right now. Do you think that jail is the only thing that can save Lindsay from herself at this point?

SUNNY HOSTIN, LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR, "IN SESSION": Well, there is no question about it. I mean, the fact that the judge made this a mandatory hearing - not a maybe, not a would have, should have - a mandatory hearing. And she just sort of says, "I`m going to Cannes instead," there is no question she just can`t handle authority.

She can`t take care of herself. Maybe some time other than an 84- minute jail stint will do her some good. I would say yes, she needs a little bit of jail time in her history.

it is so blatantly irresponsible. And really, we`re all hoping and rooting for her. And we`re hoping that she is going to surprise us one day and make a good move. And I don`t think this was it.

Well, there is more big news just in today. A major A-list Hollywood star reveals to Oprah Winfrey that she is actually having steamy romps with her husband. Jada Pinkett-Smith leaves little to the imagination, just telling Oprah how she keeps things hot with her hubby, Will Smith. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

J. SMITH: I always surprise him. I always surprise him. Now, I don`t know if you want to -

W. SMITH: Hey, hey -

J. SMITH: Get in on how I surprise him.

OPRAH WINFREY, HOST, "THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW": I wouldn`t mind hearing one or two.

J. SMITH: Well, like, even during the day, I might send - I might send a sexy picture of some sort.

W. SMITH: Hey, Mom.

J. SMITH: You know what I mean?

WINFREY: I know what you mean.

J. SMITH: I won`t be specific about what kind of pictures they are.

WINFREY: Yes, yes, yes. Just a reminder.

J. SMITH: Just a reminder.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Yes, she better be careful what she is E-mailing around. And by the way, that was Will`s mom in the audience there.

Ben, I don`t know about you, I think it is awesome that a Hollywood couple is actually hot and heavy about each other in this day where every day, we`re talking about assorted sex scandals. Are you with me, or is this perhaps just TMI?

WIDDICOMBE: Well, I mean, they`re certainly a very attractive couple so I`m glad they`re enjoying their sex lives. But listen, this couple is infamous for over-sharing on that subject. They trot on out to the talk shows quite a lot.

And unfortunately, leads to a backlash speculation, like maybe they`re trying to hide something. Why are they always talking about how much in love they are?

HAMMER: Now, what do you think, quickly, Sunny? I don`t think it`s TMI and I don`t think they`re hiding anything. I think she is pretty genuine there.

HOSTIN: Oh, I disagree with you, A.J. I`m not a prude, but I think it`s TMI. I mean, they have talked about limo sex. They talked about outdoor sex. They talked about role play. They talked about costumes.

HAMMER: Yes.

HOSTIN: Now, they`re talking about sexting. I don`t like it.

HAMMER: All right -

HOSTIN: I don`t want to hear so much.

HAMMER: All right. Well, there are lots of people who can`t wait to have more sex, and I`m talking more "Sex and the City," of course, the highly anticipated sequel just days away.

I just spoke with Kim Cattrall, of course. Her character, Samantha, is a little more than obsessed with sex. And I asked her if we`re all just as obsessed with sex.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIM CATRALL, ACTRESS: I remember specifically one day being in a supermarket. And this man coming up to me and saying, "You know, because of you, I could talk to my teenage daughter about sex."

HAMMER: Sonny, Ben, stay right there. You`ve got to hear where Kim goes with that story. Kim`s new sex revelations are just seconds away.

And now, it`s time for the "SHOWBIZ News Ticker" - more stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news today.

TEXT: Randy Jackson predicts Crystal Bowersox will win "American Idol" this season. Mariah Carey performs concert at Giza Pyramids in Egypt.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Thank you, Chucky Wagman. It is time to talk about sex. Monday, we asked you to vote in our exclusive SHOWBIZ TONIGHT poll. I`ve just been handed these, the final results - "`Sex and the City 2`: Are we too obsessed with sex?" Look at this - 66 percent of you say yes, we are. Thirty-four percent of you say no.

Now, someone who is definitely obsessed with sex is "Sex and the City`s" Samantha Jones. Kim Cattrall plays sex-obsessed Samantha in "Sex and the City 2." I went one-on-one with Kim to talk about the new movie "Sex and the City" and to talk about, well, sex.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIM CATTRALL, ACTRESS: It was almost like cosmic timing that these four characters to be able, in a comedic way, address some of these issues, not just about sex.

But sex is a very, very powerful thing in our lives. And these women in their 30s, you know, they were wanting to get married and - not my character in particular, but the other - they wanted to get married. They wanted to have families.

That was something on their mind, which happens in your 30s. And here was a show that was addressing that in a very honest way. But it wasn`t doing it in a soap opera way or a movie of the week way. It was using it with humor, and humor about sex.

I remember specifically one day being in a supermarket and this man coming up to me and saying, "You know, because of you I can talk to my teenage daughter about sex." And I thought, "Well, that`s really terrific. I`m so glad to hear that. And I wish I wasn`t standing in front of the fish counter while you`re telling me this."

HAMMER (on camera): Well, that has to feel pretty good. It really did open doors and challenge the way people think and talk about sex.

CATTRALL: Absolutely. Absolutely. And not just about sex. About cancer, you know, about childbirth, about friendship, about infidelity, you know, about commitment. And it was done in such, I think - in such a really brilliantly written - and it was performed with honesty and simplicity.

And I think that that`s why we got a fan base pretty immediately. And it`s grown from there. And these characters have changed and progressed. They`ve gone forward. And the issues that we`re talking about are things that people are talking about that`s sort of behind closed doors.

HAMMER: Right.

CATTRALL: They`re not on the street yet. That`s why I love my storyline of Samantha`s in "Sex and the City 2" because we`re talking about menopause. We`re talking about aging, which is the big thing, you know. Ageism - it`s the big (UNINTELLIGIBLE) we can`t talk about it.

Well, let`s talk about it. Let`s go head-on and let`s see how this character deals with it. But let`s do it with humor. Let`s do it with love. Let`s do it with compassion.

And I think that that`s what makes it stand out from other movies, especially other Hollywood movies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: "Sex in the City 2" is in theaters nationwide ON May 22nd. It`s a whole lot of fun, but it`s also provocative. And I have a feeling you`re going to walk out of the film with whoever you went to see it with talking about stuff. It`s really pretty terrific.

Well, that is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Thank you so much for watching. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT now live at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Monday through Friday. And we are still TV`s most provocative entertainment news show seven days a week at 11:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific here on HLN.

END