Return to Transcripts main page

Glenn Beck

Who Will Win "American Idol"?; The Business Behind "American Idol"; Is Global Warming Really Happening?; Al Gore is Back

Aired May 24, 2006 - 19:00   ET


GLENN BECK, HOST (singing): Over the Rainbow. Blue birds fly. Birds fly Over the Rainbow, why then can`t I?

SIMON COWELL, JUDGE, FOX`S "AMERICAN IDOL": Absolutely serious. I`ve never, ever heard anything like that in my life.


BECK: Oh, yes, we have officially jumped the shark, haven`t we? My gosh, what a stupid show. Try that, Lou Dobbs.

All right. "American Idol" is going to crown a winner tonight, and I`m all a-tingle. I`ll tell you our picks here in just a second. But let me recap last night.

Katharine`s songs were, I don`t know about you, I thought they were underwhelming except her second consecutive performance of "Over the Rainbow", which is beautiful and lovely. Look at her. I mean I could do that. It`s nice and all, Katharine, but I`ve got some advice for you: again, get off the floor. You`re making me sleepy. How many Ambien do you take before the show?

You`ve got potential, but you`ve got to listen to me. OK? Be consistent, a little more consistent and off the floor.

And the way you referred to your McPhans last night. I almost McBarfed all over my McBelly.

On the other hand, Taylor Hicks, he did pretty well for a guy in his early to mid-100s? Something like that. Don`t you think?

Here he is. I mean, I`m a guy who likes purple. I mean, look what I`m wearing. I like purple. And I have somewhat eccentric taste -- all right, an awful taste in clothes, but explain the jacket. I can`t even begin to explain it. It looks like he ate Barney the dinosaur, became a McPhan and then he McBarfed all over himself.

You know, I like him. In fact, I`ve always liked him. In fact, the first time he auditioned I actually said to my wife, "That`s the guy who should be the American Idol, but America will never side with me on that one." I actually -- I thought he was the "Idol" from the very beginning, but I can`t believe, America, we`re on the same page. What does that say about you? Seriously?

I am, however, now a proud member of the Soul Patrol. Not so much.

Kimberly Caldwell is a former "Idol" contestant and now she`s a host for TV Guide Channel`s "Idol Tonight".

I mean, you`re about out of a job, Kimberly?

KIMBERLY CALDWELL, HOST, TV GUIDE CHANNEL`S "IDOL TONIGHT": I`m not even going to comment. I`m not even going to comment.

BECK: I mean, what are you going to do? You`re out kicking rocks after tonight, saying what do I do now? What do you do?

CALDWELL: Well, I`m taking a vacation because "Idol" has taken over the world, including my life, so I`m going to Hawaii for a few days.

BECK: It`s sweet.

CALDWELL: And as soon as I get back we`ve got a lot of red carpet shows, you know, for any of the award shows that are coming up. And the set visits and we have "Reality Chat", where we have all of the reality shows on our show.

BECK: It`s really amazing the fever in America for "American Idol", isn`t it?

CALDWELL: Yes. It`s insane. I mean, it`s -- every single person has watched "American Idol" at one time. If -- you know, even if they`re not like a huge fan. But it`s like everybody`s guilty pleasure, and now it`s even in merchandise. I mean, there`s a magazine. I`ve been with spokesperson for the fragrance, the coin collection, everything.

BECK: Don`t you hate it? Don`t you hate it? I hate it when -- you know, like people will have a TV show, and then a radio show, and then a magazine, and a stage show. I mean, how much is enough?

CALDWELL: The little dolls. You know, like the little Ruben dolls, the little Clay dolls.

BECK: Let me ask you -- well, first of all who is going to win tonight?

CALDWELL: Taylor Hicks, for sure, hands down.

BECK: Yes. Yes.

CALDWELL: I mean, that`s what I think. But the last time I was here, I said Chris Daughtry is safe, and he`s not going anywhere, and he`s going to win the show.

BECK: Yes. There you go.

CALDWELL: And what do you know? But I personally do think that Chris Daughtry and Taylor Hicks, it would have been such a better match-up last night.

BECK: Yes, it would have been. There would have been some -- yes, there would have been some suspense.


BECK: Let me ask you this. I mean, because you`re a sophisticated woman. You`re cool; you`re hip.

CALDWELL: No, I`m not. Who lied to you?

BECK: Come on, you`re cool. You don`t think you`re cool?


BECK: Yes, yes.

CALDWELL: I`m only cool on Wednesday.

BECK: You`re cooler than me. I mean, come on, side by side.

CALDWELL: It`s Wednesday, isn`t it?

BECK: Right. You`re cooler than me. Let me ask you this. How come -- because I can`t dance. I dance like Taylor Hicks. If I ever go out someplace and I dance, everybody points and laughs. He somehow or another made it cool. Everybody`s like, you know, it`s just who you are, celebrate it.

CALDWELL: I know. It`s so great that he kind of came in the underdog, and Simon didn`t even want him to go through. And Paula fought for him. And said, you know, she`s not going to take you past Hollywood, you don`t know what you`re talking about, and all this stuff.

And now he`s in the finals. He`s made gray hair cool. Last night he made a purple velvet jacket cool and he made that crazy dancing cool. And it really is cool on Taylor Hicks. I don`t think anybody else could pull it off.

You know how Ray Charles had his own, like, signature moves, where he did, you know, the lean back and everything?

BECK: But Taylor is -- I swear to you, I think -- I think that somebody in law enforcement has hit him with a Taser halfway through.

CALDWELL: That is just wrong.

BECK: No, I think it`s...

CALDWELL: He`s feeling the music.

BECK: Yes, I know. I know he is.

CALDWELL: He`s feeling the music. I was really feeling when you were singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." I really had a tear in my eye.

BECK: I could sing the rest of it for you right now.

CALDWELL: Because my ears were bleeding. I had a tear in my eye.

BECK: You know what is the major word? Tomorrow on the radio show we`re going to -- we`re trying to talk to a guy who has written a book or written an article. He did the research on how much everybody makes.

It is truly amazing the business aspect of this thing. And it really would all fall apart without Simon, wouldn`t it?

CALDWELL: I mean, I think it would. And I`ve said that from day one. People are like, you know, why is he so mean and why does he does -- why does he do this?

BECK: Oh, he`s great.

CALDWELL: That`s his job.

BECK: Yes.

CALDWELL: You know what I`m saying? He was the, like, OG, the original gangster of mean judges.

BECK: Yes.

CALDWELL: You know, and everybody`s tried to copy him. Nobody is brutally as honest as Simon is.


CALDWELL: And it works, and people love to see that. Because most of the time Simon actually is on point. He`s just telling the truth, and he`s saying out loud what you`re sitting there on your couch thinking.

BECK: You`re exactly right. Kimberly, thanks so much, and hope to see you again soon.

CALDWELL: Thanks. Hey, you better watch our red carpet show.

BECK: You got it. Is that tonight?

CALDWELL: Yes, tonight, the red carpet show.

BECK: I`m watching it.

CALDWELL: TV Guide Channel. And tomorrow a recap of "American Idol".

BECK: You got it. Thanks a lot.

All right. So last night I`m watching this thing. And I`m seeing these guys, you know, they had them all in the aisle, all the old contestants, and I`m watching them and I`m thinking look at these guys. They`re not making anything compared to the millionaires that are on the show.

Look at this. Look at the pay day for these people. We can pull this up on screen.

We`ve got -- we`ve got Paula Abdul. Now, Paula Abdul, believe it or not, makes -- are you ready? -- for her participation in "American Idol", she makes between $5 and 8 million a year.

Then you`ve got Randy Jackson. Randy also makes a fabulous $5 to 8 million a year.

Then let`s go to this man, a guy who honestly I think is about as talented as I am. Maybe a little more talented than I am, and he can cash in on it. How much do you suppose this man makes? Believe it or not, about $14 million a year. That`s not including his radio show, et cetera, et cetera.

Then the real superstar. Simon takes home, every single year, for "American Idol" a whopping $30 million a year.

Sony distributes it. You`ve got all these giant companies that are making a ton of money.

Now, consider how much "American Idol" makes and generates a year itself between the concert sales, the CDs, the merchandise, the overseas sales, the ad revenue. "American Idol" itself is almost a billion dollar industry. A billion dollars with a "B".

But that`s the beginning, because this, as you will find out with us now, is a worldwide industry.


BECK (voice-over): Tonight America is collectively biting their fingernails. Who will be the next "American Idol"?

Predict all you want. Bottom line is, it doesn`t matter who wins. No matter what happens, both these guys are going to end up doing really well.

Don`t believe me? Look at Bo Bice. He may have been the runner up on "Idol", but his debut album sold over a half a million copies. Same for countless other "Idol" losers, from Ruben to Fantasia.

Being on "Idol" means big business: 30 million viewers a week. Advertisers are paying over a million dollars just for a little 30-second commercial hoping some of the magic will rub off on them. Magic like this.

WILLIE HUNG, "AMERICAN IDOL" WANNABE (singing): You can tell the world you never was my girl.

BECK: Everyone, and I mean everyone, is making cash off the "Idol" brand.

HUNG: I go to airports, restaurants. People like to take a picture and get my autograph.

BECK: Even William Hung, a guy who never made it past the tryouts, is still singing and living off the fat of the "Idol" brand.

HUNG: I recorded, like, three albums, traveled across the world to perform, done many, many commercials and shot my first movie in Hong Kong.

BECK: Gezundheit.

Now, where were we? Oh, yes. "Idol" isn`t just an American brand; it`s big business all around the world.

Oh, yes. Soak it up, baby. It`s "Foreign Idol" or as the Nords call it Idul (ph). You thought "Idol" was big in America? It`s one of the most successful brands in the entire world.

And I really didn`t think it was possible, but these "Foreign Idol" auditions are just as bad as the ones here in America. All right, all right, just put the sword down lady, and no one will get hurt.

There`s 81 different versions of "Idol" all around the world, from China to Belgium to South Africa. That`s 81 opportunities to watch crap like this.

That also means 81 versions of Simon, the German Simon, the Belgium Simon, the Nordic Simon. And honestly, after seeing these female judges I have a newfound appreciation for Paula Abdul.

When you think of "Idol" superstars, you may think Kelly Clarkson, but "Idol" has launched 50 solo artists worldwide, and back here in America, the franchise has sold more than 19 million albums since the beginning of the series.

HUNG: It certainly helps when over 40 million people watch it every single week. That`s a lot of exposure.

BECK: A lot of exposure and a chance to be a part of that great American dream, a dream of wealth and fame, made possible for everyone, all around the world, even for William Hung, and with him it goes a lot deeper.

HUNG: I`m really grateful, because I get to make so many people happy.

BECK: Yes, William, you`re going to have to take your word on that.



BECK: All right. If you`re planning on seeing a movie this holiday weekend, you`ve got a choice. You can either go see Halle Berry in a leather suit wasting bad guys in "X-Men 3" or you can see Al Gore in a hounds-tooth blazer talking about polar ice caps in "An Inconvenient Truth", which, by the way, I want you to remember, Anna Paquin from "X-Men 3" is going to be on the show on Friday. So I`m wondering hounds tooth or leather? Which one do you think is going to win at the box office?

Now, Al Gore, you know, I get it. There is some sort of global climate change thing seemingly going on, but stop ramming the idea that it`s my fault down my throat. I mean, it might be, I drive a giant SUV. It could be, but something to me just doesn`t feel right.

If they`re finding fossils of palm trees under the ice in Antarctica, isn`t there at least a slight chance that this is a natural, not manmade problem?

If you answered no to that, then think about why you feel that way. Is it because of the overwhelming number of scientists who claim that there is overwhelming evidence of it? If so, consider that just 30 years ago the same group of scientists were reaching a very different conclusion.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, friends. I`m an important scientist here with important information. Did you know that the earth is undergoing major climactic change right at this very moment? Yes, that`s right. After three-quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the earth`s climate seems to be cooling down. We call it global cooling, and like it or not, it`s here to stay. Major consequences like dramatic drops in food output are only a few short years away.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a very important group of us scientists, says that ground temperatures have recently dropped half a degree, and the amount of sunshine reaching the ground has diminished by 1.3 percent. That already brings us 1/6 of the way back to ice age temperatures. Brrr.

Other important scientists are working hard to figure out solutions to this crisis. Some say we should melt the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot. Others argue we should simply divert arctic rivers, but either way all of us important scientists agree, the longer we delay, the more difficult it will be to cope with the change once it becomes grim reality.

All of the previous quoted directly from "Newsweek" magazine, April 28, 1975.


BECK: 1975. It is an amazing article we found in our archives. It`s posted on the front side of Please read it. You will be amazed. The soot idea was a real idea.

Richard Lindzen, he`s a professor of meteorology at MIT. Professor, should we be listening to Al Gore selling the beach front property? Is this really happening? What is it?

RICHARD LINDZEN, PROFESSOR OF METEOROLOGY, MIT: I think you have to always be cautious when politicians wish to be seen as visionary. But...

BECK: All you have to do is look at the pictures of the polar ice caps, and, you know, it`s either happening or there`s polar bears building campfires or, you know, penguins with space heaters. What`s happening?

LINDZEN: Well, what`s happening is we`re seeing change. And for better or for worse, the earth is always changing. Every year someplace in the United States, some places in the world, there are record breaking weather events.

BECK: Right.

LINDZEN: If you want to pick them out and say it`s due to this, that, or the other thing, you`re welcome to.

BECK: You know, one of the things that I found interesting is if you look, the earth has gotten warmer now by .6 degrees Celsius, and if you look at that, you`ll see that it`s much higher in other parts of the world, but where we are, I think, probably one of the more accurate record keepers in the world, just because we don`t have a lot of turmoil like they did -- you know, Poland, how were they keeping records in Poland in the 1940s -- you see that the records in America are pretty much flat, the temperatures here in America. Right or wrong?

LINDZEN: Well, yes, as far as we can tell. I mean, one of the problems is thermometers aren`t perfect. They`re not perfectly distributed. So any number you get is usually associated with uncertainty, a few tenths of a degree.

BECK: Are you claiming that there is no -- because I think I even buy into, you know, global climate change. I just don`t think that my SUV is necessarily the cause of it. Are you saying that there is no global climate change?

LINDZEN: No, I`m saying there`s always climate change, but when we start talking about tenths of a degree, we`re going beyond our ability to measure.

BECK: Right. OK. And how much of a role do you think humans would play? Do you think humans and SUVs could destroy the earth?

LINDZEN: No, I don`t.

BECK: Doesn`t that -- doesn`t that make you on the lunatic fringe of science? I mean, honestly when we tried to -- when we tried to book somebody, we had this discussion in the office. And one of the bookers said, there`s nobody with any credibility. They`re all nut jobs if they disagree with this.

LINDZEN: You know, you quoted "Newsweek".

BECK: Right.

LINDZEN: In 1988 "Newsweek" was saying all scientists agree.

BECK: Right.

LINDZEN: And the question is what are they agreeing on? Does agreement that the temperature has gone up a fraction of a degree mean you agree that Antarctica is melting? Does it mean that you agree that malaria will infest Quebec?

BECK: Right. Professor, I appreciate it. I wish we had more time. Thank you very much.


BECK: Bye-bye.

ANNOUNCER: Later on Glenn Beck.


BECK: All right. Welcome to today`s "Quality of Life" market update.

The stock of my self-esteem is taking a nosedive today after I saw this, the National Geography Bee finals this morning.


ALEX TREBEK, HOST, "JEOPARDY": Gozo and Comino are two of the three inhabited islands that make up which small Mediterranean country?



BECK: Malta. I`ve never heard of Gozo or Comino. I thought Gozo was on the Muppets, man. And it`s not Malta. It`s "Malda". I had to look it up. "There`s no such country as "Malda." He means Malta. No, actually not bad. I had to search for the missed answer just to feel just a little bit better for myself.

Here`s what I`d like to do. I`m going to pause it here so you can -- you know, you can give the right answer, gather the kids. We`ll play along at home. See how much you know. Ready? Listen.


TREBEK: On a clear day you can see both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean from the top of Irasu. This volcano is located in which Central American country?



BECK: Hello, you can see it from the mountain of Tiramisu. Hello. Everybody at home. You know the answer. Ready? One, two, three, Belize.




BECK: Can we play this back? Listen to how condescending Alex Trebek is. He`s got that weird I`m better than you accent, "Costa Rica." Then he looks at the kids and says, "Sorry, that`s a miss for you." Listen to him. Play back.


TREBEK: No, Costa Rica. Costa Rica. That`s a miss for you.


BECK: Alex, I don`t know if you know this, you have all of the answers in front of you. Of course you know them. Don`t sound like you actually know the name of any Central American country, let alone the right one. You know what? I think I can actually do better than Trebek. Go ahead. Let me answer one of these questions.


TREBEK: Name the small island group in the Atlantic Ocean that was once called Summer`s Island?


BECK: Summer`s Island. That`s -- I know this one, Alex. It`s Bermuda or the Azures? I`m going with the Azures, Alex.


TREBEK: No, you picked the wrong one. It is Bermuda.


BECK: Say, sorry. Sorry, will you?

All right. Now from really, really smart kids to the stupid people just doing things just to get on television sector, where the stocks are bottoming out after the top of this show aired on national television.

But the sector was also driven lower on news out of Olympia, Washington, where 28-year-old Luke Tyrese (ph) thought it would be a really cool idea to turn his home into a gerbil cage. Luke has always been the curious type. You know, the guy who says out loud to no one in particular, "Gee, I wonder what it would be like to be a giant gerbil." You know, that guy.

Luke, let me just tell you what it`s like. You run around all day on a wheel. You live in your own crap. And if you`re really lucky, you escape, hide between the walls until you finally get eaten by a giant rat.

But good luck with your experiment there, Luke. No, I mean that. Seriously, it seems like a great, great thing.




CALLER: I agree, and I think Al Gore`s hot. And don`t you ever watch...

BECK: Wait, wait, wait. All right. It`s a "Saturday Night Live" bit. You don`t really think he`s hot?

CALLER: I think Al Gore is hot.

BECK: Wait, wait, wait. All right. It`s a "Saturday Night Live" bit. You don`t really think he`s hot?

CALLER: Well, he`s funny, and he is hot. And you`re hot.

BECK: See, now, this is not kind. It`s really not. To say Al Gore is hot and to say and you`re hot too.

CALLER: Hey, I`m a hot soccer mom in my white minivan.

BECK: Thanks, Amy. There`s one woman who has no idea of the definition of the word hot.

There is one thing that I do like about Al Gore`s documentary -- its title, "An Inconvenient Truth" perfectly describes Al`s reappearance and what it means to Hillary Clinton. For the past year, little Ms. Frontrunner has been busy pretending she`s no longer the leftist she has for the first 57 years of her life.

She`s taking a tough stance on terror, scolding young people for not working hard enough, blah-blah-blah. It`s triangulation. The Clinton`s are very good about this. It actually has some conservatives nervous. I don`t know who, but that`s what they tell me.

There`s a word for this in the marketing world. It`s called rebranding. But there`s a problem with this in the world of Hillary, it`s called Al Gore.

Look who`s on the cover of "New York" magazine, yes, the un-Hillary. He`s back. It`s a story about Al Gore. John Heilemann is here. He wrote the article. Let me ask you something, John, are liberal Democrats, are they as frustrated as real conservatives with their party? Are they really ready to go back to Al Gore?

JOHN HEILEMANN, CONTRIB. EDITOR, "NEW YORK": I think liberal Democrats are particularly frustrated with Hillary Clinton for exactly the reasons you were just talking about, Glen. I think there has been a perception that she has become not just the great triangulater, but also the great equivicator, and they feel as though she, particularly on the question of the Iraq war, that she no longer speaks for the real left wing of the party that she`s so long been associated with and so they are starting to look at Gore again.

BECK: Isn`t it weird that there`s kind of like a bridge being built between real conservatives and real liberals, and that is they both hate their parties?

HEILEMANN: There certainly is a large "let`s get the bums out" sentiment in both parties. That`s totally true.

BECK: When you`re looking at Al Gore, do you think there`s a possibility that he could become the liberal Ross Perot, that he could be a guy that is going to run and he will be the guy that finally stands up and says look Democrats are not Democrats anymore, they`re not liberals, I am, and he leaves the party and runs on a third party?

HEILEMANN: It`s interesting you ask that, because I asked him this question when I was interviewing him for the piece, and the very same idea had occurred to me. Tom Friedman in "The New York Times" has been pushing the idea of an energy, a geo green party. And I said to Gore, isn`t that the kind of party that you could be the head of. And he very steadfastly said to me, look, if I thought the Democratic party was unreformable, I`d be happy to lead a third party, but I don`t think the Democratic party is unreformable, and their transformation is about to occur in the party.

And whether he leads it or not is not clear, but he thinks there`s still a future for the party as it currently exists.

BECK: Don`t you think that he`s -- he seems to be going down the same path that Howard Dean was going. He`s putting together a coalition of, you know, college students and the extreme left that people are like -- that are pissed off about the war, they`re hacked off about a lot of stuff. He`s getting that Howard Dean group together, don`t you think?

HEILEMANN: I think there is one big difference. It`s certainly true that he`s tapping into that energy on the left and he`s tapping into that energy in the so called net roots out there in the Internet community. But there`s a big difference obviously. Al Gore has been the vice-president of the United States for eight years and is someone who even I think conservatives would concede has all of the credibility to become commander in chief tomorrow.

BECK: Is this the real Al Gore? When we saw Al Gore during the last election he was a robot. I swear to you, Disney went we make people more life like than that. I think that was the fake Al Gore. I think this angry pissed off environmentalist, "Don`t you cut down that tree." I think that`s really Al Gore.

HEILEMANN: I think there`s certainly the truth is that Al Gore is a guy who, as he admitted to me, doesn`t really like campaigning, doesn`t think he`s good as a candidate, and I think that Al Gore was the true Al Gore in the middle of an election, and what we`re seeing is much more of the true Al Gore when he`s not running for anything, although who knows how long that will last.

BECK: Don`t you think that`s what America wants? Take politics out of it. Left or right. Just somebody who`s not good at campaigning and doesn`t try to be good at campaigning, just is who they are.

HEILEMANN: That`s why this movie works so much to his advantage. I urge you to see the movie as a global warming skeptic. Apart from the science of it, you see this movie and you see him as a guy who is full of passion, full of conviction, who cares about this issue and comes across as rein being utterly authentic, which is something that is totally missing from mainstream politics.

BECK: I`ve never thought I`d hear that sentence put together on Al Gore.

HEILEMANN: It really does come across and that`s why I urge you to check it out.

BECK: Appreciate it John. Thanks a lot.

All right. Let`s go straight to Hill, Erica Hill. Anchor of "PRIME NEWS" on Headline News. Hi, Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNNHN ANCHOR: Hello. I`m good. Can I make one quick comment? I`m just thinking, it`s really kind of cool that I get my own marquee. Thank you. I just wanted to say thanks.

BECK: This whole TV thing is kind of cool. How`s it working out for you the in the hour before?

HILL: So far, so good. The getting out earlier is pretty exciting.

BECK: Are you happy?

HILL: I am happy. Are you happy, Glenn? We`re a good group of people.

BECK: Yes, I am. Big group hug here. We really are like some weird psychotic family. What`s happening in the news?

HILL: This one I know you`re going to be interested in. Zacarias Moussaoui, who is the only person convicted in the U.S. in connection with the September 11th attacks had nothing to do with them. That`s coming to us from Osama bin Laden. In an audiotaped message, it was posted on line.

BECK: Well, he`s a credible source. He is.

HILL: He is of course the Al Qaeda leader in case you weren`t familiar, just in case. He said Moussaoui was not one of the 19 men chosen to carry out the attacks and that his confession was likely forced. The CIA does believe the voice on the tape is bin Laden`s. He went on to say the prisoners, by the way, being held at Guantanamo Bay also have no connection to 9/11.

BECK: Sorry. Wrong answer. You know, I`ve got to tell you, this is why I think Moussaoui is the Tookie Williams of the future. You know there`s going to be some Charlie Sheen offspring who is going in 20 years from now, "I know he wasn`t involved. He was wrongly jailed. Osama bin Laden even said he wasn`t involved." I`m telling you the Tookie Williams of the future.

HILL: He`ll be there for a while since he got life in prison without parole.

Moving on, a little more upbeat. Governor Jeb Bush of Florida may be toying with the idea of joining the NFL. Not as a line backer or quarterback. The "South Florida Sun-Sentinel" reporting he was approached about becoming the next NFL commissioner.

BECK: This is not right.

HILL: He told the paper he would do the current job until his term ends in January. Why don`t you think it`s right.

BECK: This is not right. Condi wants the job. Condi Rice should have that job. They should offer it to her.

HILL: She said it`s her dream job.

BECK: Here`s what should happen. They should offer it to Jeb and Condi, and then they should arm wrestle, and I`m putting my money on Condi.

HILL: Condi. I think its about time to get a woman in there. Anyway.

BECK: Did you say that?

HILL: I did.

BECK: Sounds almost like an opinion

HILL: No, it really wasn`t an opinion.

BECK: By the way, in case you don`t know, for those of you at home, Erica`s not supposed to have an opinion. I feel so bad for her. I`m a complete nut job, and I`ll say something and she`s supposed to be don`t even move your eyes, it could look like you`re agreeing or disagreeing with him. You have no opinion.

HILL: I`m a journalist, Glenn, I don`t have an opinion. I`m just a nice girl from Connecticut.

BECK: Do we have time for one more story?

HILL: I think we have time for one quick one.

BECK: Always time for a quick one.

HILL: Whoa, my.

BECK: No opinion. You`re a journalist.

HILL: OK, Glenn. Here`s the story. This is one more reason to get a good night`s sleep -- your always complaining about you waistline my friend. Now, a study from Case Western Reserve University finds middle- aged women who get five hours or less of shut-eye night, are almost a third more likely to gain significant weight. Significant as in 33 pounds.

Women in the study slept more lowered their chances of gaining weight. Get this? The women who slept less ate less. They couldn`t find a connection between diet and exercise. So they still aren`t really sure why this happens.

BECK: Look at me, Erica. What do you say? I look like a woman who`s got about two minutes of sleep. Don`t you think?

HILL: I think you`re getting a solid eight hours a night, buddy.

BECK: Thanks a lot, Erica.


BECK: All right.

This week, we have been shining our investigative spotlight on money, specifically, the ridiculous sums of money that Americans spend on, you know, pretty much everything. And like every serious investigative series, we`ve given it a serious-sounding title. It`s called "Unbridled Consumption," which worked out pretty well the first day when we were talking about brides. Yesterday, it was pampered pets. Today, Pampers.

You know, I think every parent wants the best for their kids. To quote that great American philosopher Whitney Houston, "The children are our future." And she`s certainly doing a wonderful job raising hers. But really, are you doing everything you can to ensure your child`s inalienable right to the life you never had? I don`t think so.


BECK (voice-over): For far too long, the welfare of our nation`s children has been ignored. At the mercy of parents who think they know best, infants have been denied basic rights and choices that adults take for granted. But now, thanks to advocates in the world of merchandising, today`s uberbabies can choose from an exciting range of luxury baby products and lifestyle options.

LYSS STERN, DIVALYSSCIOUS MOMS: I want my son to have the finer things and the best things in life, and they can today have them at a really young age. And I think it`s wonderful.

BECK: And no one is fulfilling the promise of a new baby lifestyle more than Citibabes. This ultra-exclusive, members-only club gives children the once in a lifetime opportunity to drool and go poopy in the potty in a truly world class setting.

And if you`re worried about your children having to mingle with riffraff, rest easy. There`s a lengthy waitlist that`s sure to keep most, if not all, of your average babies from ever stepping foot inside.

And you`ll quickly find the perks here are seemingly endless, whether it`s access to private, members-only concert, feasting on free range chicken fingers at the private dining room, or kicking back inside the world class spa.

TRACEY FROST RENSKY, CITIBABES: I have a 12-month-old and she was here since she was sort of eight months, and it`s made a huge difference. She`s a very sociable little girl.

BECK: And the best thing of all, at Citibabes, your kid may never have to step foot outside again.

TARA GORDON LIPTON, CITIBABES: The idea is that we`re bringing the outdoors indoors, so if you look around, there`s the trees, there`s farm sounds. It`s a pretend place where children are allowed to do things that they see in their every day lives and pretend play here.

BECK: While junior kicks back at his private club, it`s now time for his personal shopper/mother to find the look that`s just right for that next circumcision.

STERN: My son actually had his bris and he wore a little Ralph Lauren cashmere onesie. He did, and he had a little cashmere baby blue Ralph Lauren blanket to go with it, and little booties because it was December and people thought I was crazy for spending that kind of money on an infant, but it was his bris, and I wanted him to feel special.

BECK: Listen, lady, if this were my bris, I`m sure the last thing I`d be feeling is special. But wait, mom`s on a roll.

STERN: Jackson loves sushi. He`s a very big sushi eater, so we just found here -- yes, sushi, at 3 years old. That Jackson could now -- we just bought these for him, a little pair of chopsticks that he actually could use, so when we go to the restaurant, how fabulous is this? Amazing. Amazing. They didn`t have this when I was 2 years old.

BECK: You know, when I was 2, I had something else. I think if memory serves me right it was called a fork. Anyway, I have a sneaky feeling cute little kids like Jackson don`t come cheap.

STERN: Thousands and thousands of dollars from his nursery, to his clothing to his classes to school, anything from his skin care line -- Mustela we use for him -- to his Pampers to his underwear.

BECK: Stop. Enough already.

STERN: You name it. Thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars.


BECK: Does that -- does she just make you want to barf? Hey, this haircut, $12. Supercuts, I`m just saying.

Susan Linn, author of "Consuming Kids," is with us. Susan, let me ask you a question. What the hell is wrong with people?

SUSAN LINN, AUTHOR, "CONSUMING KIDS": I think we have to ask what the hell is wrong with society, really, today? I mean, people, we`re living in this society that`s just absolutely focused on consumption.

BECK: This woman, skin care products for her 2-year-old?

LINN: I thought the point that she made that was really telling is that she said that she wanted her baby to have the finer things in life and the best things in life. But I think that there`s a real misconception that is being, you know, certainly sold by corporate America to parents today is that the finer things and the best things are material things when, in fact, we know that that`s not the case.

BECK: Yes, let me tell you. You know, I am fortunate enough to be in a position where I make enough money where I can give to charity, and I have found that it`s not money that means anything as much as my time, and I think it`s the same with kids. It`s not -- Ralph Lauren cashmere jumpers? Give me a break. What kid wants that? They`d rather have your time.

LINN: Yes. I mean, you know, certainly, it`s important to have enough to eat and it`s important to have adequate daycare and that kind of thing, but, you know, to get to the kind of excess, you know, that we heard today, the kids don`t have -- they don`t need that.

What they need is not just your time, but their own time to be able to create. You know, kids are bombarded today, you know, not just with classes, but also with incredible amounts of media.

BECK: Oh, stop with -- honestly. Stop with it. You know, it`s just -- I think it`s really hurting us. And where did this come from, Susan? I`m -- well, I`m not a good example, because I am a social misfit, I`m a freak when it comes to social ...

LINN: All the best people are social misfits. So, you know, that`s fine.

BECK: Right, I mean, so don`t -- you know, I can`t use me as an example, but you know what really bothers me is when -- and one of the women on this piece just said it. You know, I have got to tell you, they`re so sociable, they`re at this daycare center. Now they`re sociable. When did we have a big antisocial crisis in America with our kids?

LINN: I think, you know, that there`s a lot of confusion about what children need and at what age they need it. And, you know, there`s certainly a difference between people who need daycare because they`re working, and then these kind of clubs that, you know, in some sense, I think provide parents with a chance not to be isolated.

BECK: Yes, I mean, there is a huge difference. There are a lot of women that have to work, have to put their kids -- and I mean, I know them firsthand. It kills them to put their child into daycare, but that`s what they have to do.

Unfortunately, I think, as a society many people decide they want a bigger house, they need the bigger plasma screen or whatever, and they put their kids into daycare because well, I`m giving them things that I didn`t have.

LINN: I think that one of the problems that we have in society today is that we`re constantly bombarded with the notion that we need more things, that whatever we have isn`t enough. And if people do buy into that, then we do end up with parents who are sort of emersing consumption and then the kids sort of follow along the same way.

BECK: Susan, I appreciate it. Thank you very much for your time. Bye-bye.

LINN: Thank you.


BECK: So we just keep carpet remnants in here. It`s working out pretty well for us.



BECK: Well, approximately 16 trillion people will be watching "American Idol" tonight, and as you can probably tell, I`m a pretty big fan. But I have to admit it, about four years ago I wasn`t on the bandwagon. I wasn`t on the bandwagon really 12 months ago.

Before this season, I was part of the silent majority. You know, the people who really don`t care about "American Idol" and are forced to have conversations about it at work. The question that I thought of today is, is "American Idol" a show that people really feel passionately about? I mean 50 million people? Or is it just one of those cultural events, kind of like the SuperBowl, that you have to watch so you can get through the next day`s conversation at work? We sent our very own Lisa Page (ph) out to find out.


LISA PAGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: "American Idol." Yay or nay?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yay for the first season, nay for all the rest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that we celebrate too many people who are not that talented.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s just completely uninteresting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel that people do celebrate a lot of mediocrity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of it sounds like it`s out of tune and not great to me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As a singer that`s slightly irritating.

PAGE: Are you a singer, like Gladys Knight?


PAGE: You do?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I liked Paula Abdul when she was singing.

PAGE: And God rMD+IN_rMDNM_knows that hasn`t happened in a hot minute.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t think it is quite as good as it was last year. I haven`t enjoyed it quite as much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The bad songs at the beginning are good, but later on, there`s no point in following it.

PAGE: You like watching the audition process and that`s about it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right, the humiliation part.

PAGE: What is up with everybody obsessed with Taylor Hicks?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t even know who that is.

PAGE: Taylor Hicks has no business putting out an album. That`s my personal opinion.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m going to agree, because he`s like crazy.

PAGE: It`s between Taylor Hicks and Katharine McPhee. Me personally, I`m a fan of Katharine McPhee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think she`s got the best voice.

PAGE: I think so too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Taylor`s working too hard.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See, I`m sure that Taylor`s going to win, but I want Katharine.

PAGE: I love me some Katharine McPhee.


PAGE: Can you -- have a little bit of his dancing style.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s just spastic like the Elaine dance on "Seinfeld." Not acceptable for (inaudible).

PAGE: Have you been watching?


PAGE: Oh, come on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was probably watching "Judge Judy."

PAGE: "Judge Judy." I`m the boss.


BECK: We want to thank Lisa Page, or at least that was weird, her disembodied arm for that report. She`s really a nice -- I don`t know why. It`s like she was burned with battery acid or something. Whatever you do, don`t show Lisa on camera. And the thing is, she`s such a Taylor hater. Us people in the Soul Patrol -- excuse me while I vomit, know that Taylor is going to win, and that really we should reexamine our lives. I`m starting to feel like a real loser.

I`ll do that tomorrow. For tonight it`s Taylor by exactly 1.63 percent, margin of error, about 23 percent. See you tomorrow.