Return to Transcripts main page

Joy Behar Page

Late-Night TV War; Senate Majority Leader Reid Makes Racially Insensitive Remarks

Aired January 11, 2010 - 21:00   ET


JOY BEHAR, HOST: Tonight on THE JOY BEHAR SHOW, Jay Leno versus Conan O`Brien versus Jimmy Fallon. Are the late night TV wars escalating so much that Obama will have to send 35,000 additional troops to NBC?

Then this past week Harry Reid and Rod Blagojevich made racially insensitive remarks about President Obama and according to "Game Changer" the just-released political tell-all about the 2008 campaign, so did Bill Clinton. What is this, Stupid Democrats Week?

And Valerie Bertinelli who`s losing weight one pound at a time, one day at a time joins me for a one on one.

All this, starting now.

Ok. I`ll get to the Leno story in just a minute.

But I want to start with some breaking news tonight. Simon Cowell is leaving "American Idol", stop the presses. Simon will leave "Idol" right after the current season and will launch a new reality show for Fox next year.

Joining me is Michael Starr TV columnist for "The New York Post", comedian Jim Florentine, co-host of "That Metal Show" on VH1 classic and Alan Thicke, who not only starred in "Growing Pains" but also hosted his own late-night talk show.

Just let`s talk about Simon Cowell for a second. Ok, guys?

First of all, I think it spells doom for "American Idol". What do you think, Michael?

MICHAEL STAR, TV COLUMNIST, "NEW YORK POST": Well, I think the show is going to be ok. This is no shocker. He has been talking about this for a while. His brother announced it, really, two weeks ago. And this gives Simon another chance when he does the "X Factor" perhaps to bring Paula Abdul back into the fold.

BEHAR: They might have to bring Paula, yes.

STARR: He`s a big fan of hers.

BEHAR: What do you think?

JIM FLORENTINE, COMEDIAN: I think it`s going to will lose its total edge, the show. You have one that`s too nice, now. Paula is gone, because Paula was always a train wreck and Simon was always a little edgy, you know, where he said some mean stuff. Who are they going to get. Are they going to put Ryan Seacrest in that chair?

STARR: Simon was also very predictable, even after all this time. I think it`s going to go along. It`s been losing ratings, anyway, you know, for that show.

BEHAR: Alan, do you want to weigh in on this breaking story?

ALAN THICKE, ACTOR AND WRITER: Well, I think that Simon is the reason that most people watch that show in the first place. And he has the ratings thoroughly entrenched, the viewing patterns are entrenched, much as Johnny Carson did with "The Tonight Show". So of course, nobody can screw it up, huh? What have you heard?

BEHAR: Ok, fine. You guys don`t think so. I think I agree with Alan. And I don`t agree with you, Michael. Because who would watch it? It`s just so nicy-nice without him there.

STARR: But the people still watching it nine seasons later for Simon, who is very predictable and he`s going to make his -- maybe they are. But I think it will be ok.

BEHAR: He`s predictably mean, which is what you need after all that sugar, you know.

STARR: Right.

FLORENTINE: Same thing as a romantic comedy. They`re all predictable. Girl hates a guy in the beginning, then they fall in love, then they break up and in the end they magically get back together.

BEHAR: And then she kills him.

FLORENTINE: She Trips a few times, makes it a little clumsy. Hot chick walking into a wall, I don`t want to see that. Stand up straight.

BEHAR: Ok. Enough about Simon. It`s 10:00. Do you know where Jay Leno is? Come February 12th you may have to look for him at 11:35.

If NBC has its way, he goes from 10:00 p.m. to 11:35. Conan O`Brien will then move to 12:05; not 12:00, 12:05. Jimmy Fallon moves to 1:05. By the way, what`s with the 05? Someone in programming has a very anal retentive personality.

If my math is correct, Carson Daily will now be sharing the first hour with Matt Lauer on "The Today Show". I have such a headache from all of this. Thank God I go to bed at 10:05.

Let`s talk about this story. Will Leno go to Fox?


BEHAR: That`s my first question.

STARR: Conan.

BEHAR: I mean Conan.

FLORENTINE: Would Fox take him? He couldn`t get ratings at 12:30, couldn`t beat Craig Ferguson. I could beat Craig Ferguson who`s on at 12:30 and nobody knows who I am.

So I don`t know, is Fox going to pay him all this money? he didn`t do a good job at the 11:30 slot on NBC.

BEHAR: I don`t really understand the issue with the time slot, though. If the thing is good, the Godfather movie is good whether you watch it at 3:00 in the afternoon or at midnight. Why does it have to be a certain time slot if the show is good?

STARR: I think it`s also a prestige thing with "The Tonight Show". "The Tonight Show" you think 11:35 "Tonight Show" you don`t think 12:05. You think Jimmy Kimmel at 12:05.

I think Fox will make a move for Conan if he decides to go because he fits -- they have a very young demographic, looser demographic, younger; and he`ll fit right into that, I think.

BEHAR: Alan, you`ve been in this spot before. What do you think about all this?

THICKE: Well, yes, thank you for bringing that up. I had one of the most spectacular late-night failures ever. I was the guru of what not to do late night. The people who followed me, the Dennis Millers, the Pat Sajacks, Rick Dees, Arsenios, et cetera, they all took me out to dinner to see how I had screwed it up and what not to do.

And I did have some observations. First of all, I was one of the last guys to do an hour and a half. That`s a mistake. And I also -- I forgot to be funny. I think what we`re -- you know, they used to call them talk shows and we all recognize now they`re not really talk shows. They`re comedy shows.

The first half hour of Jay`s "Tonight Show" was his best material before he got into the interviews. That`s what he does best. So, I think Jay doing half hour of written, prepared, scripted comedy leading into Conan`s silliness might work for them; certainly a good compromise.

And I do think that if there`s room on television for Jon and Kate sure there`s certainly room for Conan and Jay.

BEHAR: That`s true.

Here`s how Jay Leno joked about the shakeup. Look.


JAY LENO, NBC HOST: As you may have heard, there`s a rumor floating around we were canceled. I heard it coming in this morning on the radio.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard it, too.

LENO: So far, nobody said anything to me. Kev, if we did get canceled it would give us time to maybe do some traveling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That would be wonderful, man.

LENO: In fact, I understand Fox is beautiful this time of year.


LENO: Beautiful. Beautiful this time of year.


BEHAR: Ok. Is he making a pitch to go over to Fox?

STARR: No, no. He`s staying at NBC.

BEHAR: I don`t get that. Who is going to Fox?

STARR: He`s confirmed to stay. He`s moving to 11:35, back into his old time slot. He`s not going anywhere.

BEHAR: Ok. I got mixed up. I was thinking that maybe Jay would jump.


BEHAR: But that was the last scenario.

STARR: That was last year right.

BEHAR: So now Conan might jump to Fox. That`s right. Would that help Conan, do you think?

FLORENTINE: I mean, I don`t know. Conan gets a $45 million payout supposedly, if he just...

BEHAR: Only if he stays there at "The Tonight Show".

FLORENTINE: Wouldn`t you just take $45 million and go to the beach and just hang out for three years?

BEHAR: No. I think if they gave him another time slot at a certain point, he still gets the $45 million, he stays on the job. He has to stay there and has to be called "The Tonight Show". So, he stays there and gets the money. If he quits, he doesn`t get the money. Goes to the beach, no?

THICK: And Jay is still going to get all that money now and he doesn`t have to talk to actors or watch clips of their movies.

BEHAR: That`s a good point.

STARR: In theory -- the theory is to give Jay a half hour show. I really think NBC would prefer to have him have the whole hour back just like it was last May when he left, "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" for an hour.

BEHAR: Ok. Here`s what Conan O`Brien had to say about it.


CONAN O`BRIEN, NBC HOST: I`ve been advised until this whole thing is sorted out, NBC lawyers have asked me to refer to this program as the "Some Time at Night Show with Some White Guy". So, yes, enjoy. Thank you.


BEHAR: You know what? Can Conan trust NBC? I think they really screwed around with him.

FLORENTINE: No. Because if he gets ratings -- Leno gets good ratings from 11:35 to 12:05 and then drop off from 12:05 to 12:35, then what are they going to do with Conan?

BEHAR: Exactly.

What will happen then, Michael?

STARR: Conan could opt out, I suppose, in his contract and entertain offers from other companies. Keep in mind this is the same network that back in 93 or 92, David Letterman thought he was going to get "The Tonight Show" at NBC.


STARR: That never happened.


STARR: So, you know, to take them at their word, I`m not so sure that`s a smart thing to do.

FLORENTINE: Conan needs to come back to New York, go back on the 12:35. He`s a New Yorker. Look at him, he`s got the weird hair, he`s pale. He doesn`t belong out there. The guy is almost an albino; he`s frying out there in that sun. He`s edgy. You know? Come back to where you belong.

BEHAR: Alan, isn`t this about the youth-oriented demographics? Isn`t that what this is really about?

THICK: Well, I think, you know, it takes a generation to establish some viewing patterns, you know. We`ve been working at "The Tonight Show" since back in the `50s and I think we`re accustomed to certain types of shows at different times. We have our news at a certain time, we have our dramas.

I`m not so sure that you`re right about "The Godfather" working in the afternoon. You have some curious habits. I don`t think, for instance, that we would be -- the medical dramas that will go in at 10:00, for instance, on week nights, I don`t think you would want to see them at 10:00 in the morning. We don`t need more blood and guts at 10:00. That`s what they have "The View" for, Joy.

BEHAR: He`s right.

THICKE: So, I think we establish certain patterns and I think that Jay`s show is very comfortable at 11:30. It was less comfortable for us at 10:00 when maybe we expected to see some revolutionary new variety show.

BEHAR: Right.

THICKE: And we didn`t get that.

BEHAR: That`s right.

THICKE: I`m sure he could slip right back into 11:30 and be just right and Conan can be a little goofy at 12:00. That`s how you would bring that generation along and experiment with them and test their sensibilities and see how he does.

BEHAR: But you know they disrupted everybody`s life with this debacle that they created at the top of NBC.

STARR: And keep in mind, it was five years ago they announced this change. We didn`t know about Jay going in at 10:00, but five years ago, we knew that Jay was going to be kicked out when he didn`t want to leave.

BEHAR: I know. I mean Conan`s whole staff had to move. I know the head writer, I know people over there. They all had to pick up their families and move to Los Angeles and now they might be out of a job. It`s possible.

FLORENTINE: Well, I mean, Conan`s going to get a job whether it be at Fox or stay at NBC.

BEHAR: Yes. But maybe he wanted to stay in New York.

FLORENTINE: All right. But even if he has to move back to New York, I mean, you know. He`s not renting a U-Haul with a station wagon with his kids in that car.

BEHAR: No, but the rest of them are. The rest of them are.

FLORENTINE: He`s not calling up his friends up going, "Look, can you come over and help me move? I`ll give you a beer." You know what I mean, it`s going to be an easy move for him.

BEHAR: What if the whole thing doesn`t work, when they move everybody around. Are they going to exhume Johnny Carson? What`s going to happen? I mean, this is like the biggest story. Everybody is talking about it.

FLORENTINE: Well, I think...

THICKE: No, what they`re going to, I don`t know if you...

BEHAR: Go ahead, finish it up for us.

THICKE: I don`t know if you heard the rumor. You may have heard the rumor they`re bringing back all in one show, me, Magic Johnson, Chevy Chase and John McEnroe.

BEHAR: Now, that, I will watch. Thank you, everybody. And be sure to check out Alan`s book called "How to Raise Kids who won`t Hate You".

Up next, the dishy new book that lifts the veil on the sometimes seedy world of campaign politics; will the Senate Majority Leader be forced to resign because of it? We`ll debate it.


BEHAR: Senator Harry Reid is being attacked by Republicans for referring to Barack Obama as light skinned and not having a Negro dialect. Wow, if this isn`t the pot calling the kettle black for calling the kettle not quite so black, the GOP says that if Trent Lott had to resign over remarks honoring late segregationist and race (INAUDIBLE) Strom Thurman, Reid should have to step down.

Here now to talk to me about this and other scandals of the day: Michael Eric Dyson, Georgetown University professor and author of "Can You Hear Me Now?"; and civil rights leader and president of the National Action Network, the Reverend Al Sharpton. I`m having a little trouble with my teeth today. You`ll have to indulge me a little here.

Are you guys offended by these comments? Are you, Al Sharpton, offended?

REV. AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: I mean, Senator Reid called me Saturday after he talked to the president, he told me what he said and said he was apologetic. I told him the word Negro dialect would offend me. I don`t know what that means. But having said that he`d been historically very supportive of civil rights legislation, always open.

BEHAR: So consider the source?

SHARPTON: So I considered the source and the context was that he was supporting an African-American for president.

BEHAR: Right.

SHARPTON: So, he was trying to give a rationale with -- I believe wrong wording -- but a rationale as to why he felt his candidate would win. Now, what outraged me is now the Republicans saying, well, this is like Trent Lott. Trent Lott said he voted for Strom Thurman...

BEHAR: Right.

SHARPTON: ... who had left the Democratic Party, formed a separate segregationist party and ran as a segregationist. To say that I voted for him and if he would have won, America would have been better...

BEHAR: Right.

SHARPTON: ... is a world away from somebody...

BEHAR: Right.

SHARPTON: ... justifying why he thinks a black man is going to win as president.

BEHAR: Well, it`s kind of like saying that south Africa was better off before Nelson Mandela.

SHARPTON: That`s exactly like saying that.

BEHAR: Exactly.

SHARPTON: Exactly.

BEHAR: Ok, professor over there, how are you?


BEHAR: Yes, what do you think about all of this? Were you offended by Reid`s remarks?

DYSON: Well, of course. I mean, some of what Reverend Al Sharpton just said, Negro dialect, what does that mean? Some people are trying to counter this thing, Obama`s clean, articulate yet Vice President Biden`s comments about him, versus say a Jesse Jackson or an Al Sharpton. And I think, that`s quite ridiculous. All three of those men are some the most remarkably elegant and eloquent human beings we`ve ever heard from in this nation.

So Negro is associated with inferior, Negro dialect is associated not simply with the intonation and speech. But it`s also associated with the kind of themes that they speak about.

I think that Harry Reid should keep his job. I think it`s ridiculous to compare Harry Reid to Trent Lott. But here I think we have to push the president. This president runs from race like a black man runs from the cops. He is loathed to speak about the issues of race. I think we need to call him to account for ...


BEHAR: Al Sharpton is laughing now. He just thinks it`s funny what you`re saying.

SHARPTON: No, black men running from the cops.

DYSON: Right.


DYSON: I hear you, brother. I`m saying to you -- I`m saying to you that the reality is that I think Barack Obama needs to see his leadership, not because he`s a black man, not because he`s not a white man but because he`s an American President. And I think that we need to stop having conversations about race driven by crisis.

If the president would use the bully pulpit of the United States of America`s highest elected Office to tell the truth about race and to have more open and honest dialogue about race...

BEHAR: Ok...

DYSON: ... I don`t think then we would be caught in the trenches of a racial crisis.

BEHAR: Can I ask you what Negro dialect -- years ago, Ebonics was a subject. Do you remember that?


BEHAR: A lot of African-Americans were offended by it. Then now, what does it mean?

SHARPTON: Well, Negro dialect though, it`s something I`ve not heard. I don`t know what it means.

BEHAR: Is it a preacher dialect thing?

SHARPTON: I don`t know what it means.

DYSON: Well...

SHARPTON: I think that`s why a lot of people who question it -- but let me say something about what Dr. Dyson just said that was important...


SHARPTON: ... before he deals with Negro dialect. I think that he is absolutely right. What we saw during the campaign the whole question of Reverend Jeremiah Wright then-Senator Obama said we need to have a conversation on race.

BEHAR: Right.

SHARPTON: Well, here we have another flash point. When are we going to have this conversation?

Every time we get to one of these issues that becomes a crisis, we talk about having a talk about race. I think he`s right. The president and no better time than coming into Martin Luther King`s weekend, we need to have a real conversation about race in this country.

BEHAR: Ok. Professor, go ahead. You want to make a point?

DYSON: Well, I think that yes. In terms of Negro dialect, look, Ebonics, which is Ebony Phonics, the combination of the word in 1975 by Robert Williams, is different than Negro dialect. Negro dialect means you sound like you`re black. Martin Luther King Jr.


DYSON: ... sounded more like Jimmy Carter than he did like Adam Clayton Powell...

BEHAR: Right, they`re from the south.

DYSON: Regional dialect makes a difference...


DYSON: So my point is, that what we mean by Negro dialect is inferior speech because don`t forget speech is also associated with intelligence. And to talk about black speech is to talk about black intelligence and unavoidably we`re speaking about something that`s different, that`s far away. Let`s deal with the light skin versus dark skin.

What he meant was that lighter-skinned black people who are associated in slavery with the master because they were produced as an offspring by white slave masters and black women, they had better opportunities.

So, this light versus dark is huge; hugely disappointing and dangerous in black America and maybe white America needs to understand what Senator Reid was about. He represent it, that is Senator Reid...

BEHAR: So...

DYSON: ... he said something that millions of people actually believe. That the way you speak and the lighter skinned you are as a black person will play a role in how you`re accepted by the dominant culture.

BEHAR: Ok, so maybe Reid should have said something like, this is a - - a lot of racism in the country and this is the way he will win...

SHARPTON: Well, I think that might be what it was...

BEHAR: I mean, yes.

SHARPTON: He said...

BEHAR: But he`s didn`t preface it with that...

SHARPTON: He was saying, well, but he -- we don`t know what the question was he was responding to. He was talking to reporter that wrote a book.

Maybe that`s what he was saying or maybe that`s what he meant, that given the racism in the country, this is why he thinks this guy was going to win, which is why I think the point of our having a real discussion on race, there was a Northwest University study that talked about how light- skinned, black-skinned get a corporate jobs, higher positions...

BEHAR: Even the names...

SHARPTON: ... in the media world

Exactly. So, I think there is a problem of race based on color even in the black community, even in 2010.

BEHAR: Right. Go ahead. Wait one second. We`ve got more. Sit tight. We`ll be right back in the next segment.

DYSON: All right.


BEHAR: I`m back with my guests talking about the fallout from Senator Harry Reid`s remarks about the president`s race. Take a look at this spat from ABC`s "This Week" yesterday.


LIZ CHENEY, DAUGHTER OF DICK CHENEY: I don`t think racism is okay, George, whether you`re saying it in private or in public. And the excuse of it by liberals, you know, is really inexcusable. But I do think, frankly, he has given the voters of Nevada yet one more reason to oust him this next time around and I suspect that`s what they`ll do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George, you`re shaking your head.

GEORGE WILL: I don`t think there`s a scintilla of racism. At long last Harry Reid has is said something that no one can disagree with.


BEHAR: How do you like it that Dick Cheney`s daughter is speaking out against racism?

SHARPTON: I wish her father had taken that position eight years he was vice president. I was more stunned they knew what racism was. But then after hearing their definition, I`m not too sure they still do, because again they`re saying that we have a double standard. But they can`t tell us which Republican said something that we went after that wasn`t racist.

Trent Lott, everyone admits, was supporting a racist. Who else did we go after? I think the president forgave Joe Biden, he forgave Bill Clinton, now has forgiven Harry Reid. He has been forgiving, forgiving, forgiving. He`s consistent.

BEHAR: Yes, but he`s forgiving Democrats, they`re saying.

SHARPTON: What Republican did he not forgive? When they talk about double standard, tell me who they`re talking about. They just create these fantasies.

BEHAR: Wouldn`t their answer to that, Reverend, be that the Republicans are not saying anything racist right now, the Democrats seem to be in that camp?

SHARPTON: Then you can`t call it a double standard. You could say that we need to really whip the Democrats in line. But to keep acting as if there were some standard that was not imposed on the Republicans and then try to compare Trent Lott supporting the segregationist to this is absurd.

BEHAR: It`s apples and oranges. Even Blagojevich, Governor Blagojevich said -- he said, "This really is hilarious in certain stupid way. He said I`m blacker than Barack Obama. I shined shoes."

I guess he never saw the Bill Cosby Show. "My father had a little Laundromat in a black community not far from where we lived." Professor, is he stupid or what?

DYSON: Look, if they said Bill Clinton was the first black president, he wasn`t literally black, but he was black because of his circumstances. Mother had a streak in her hair, used to go to the racetrack. Bill Clinton grew up on the wrong side of the road.

So metaphorically speaking, what Rod Blagojevich is trying to tap into there is the notion that blackness is a certain kind of limited identification with poverty.

BEHAR: Yes, that`s right.

DYSON: So in that sense, you know, it could be problematic. But on the other hand, since we brought Bill Clinton up, not only Harry Reid is in trouble here. Bill Clinton said that a few years, Barack Obama would be bringing us, that is he and Ted Kennedy, coffee and that the only reason that Ted Kennedy is supporting him was because he`s black.

I think that we don`t have to invoke as Reverend Al Sharpton said the double standard but we do have to say this again. When is the President of the United States of America going to seize leadership of his own authority to say, "Look, let`s have a concerted effort to have an intelligent, uplifting and I think coherent discussion about race, Joy." I think we can`t let the Democrats off the hook here.

BEHAR: You agree with that Reverend?

SHARPTON: Absolutely.

DYSON: Democrats have to take serious responsibility. Mr. Obama has said the following. He goes to black communities and says the following, "I want no more excuses. You must pull yourself up and do the right thing." We say back to the President of the United States, "we want no more excuses from you. Your personal discomfort with the issue of race, your not understandably wanting to be ghetto wise with the issue of race means you have to speak about it as well."

BEHAR: Ok. Thank you guys very much. Michael, Reverend Al.

Up next, the lovely Valerie Bertinelli. So stick around.



VALERIE BERTINELLI, JENNY CRAIG SPOKESWOMAN: Summer used to mean covering up my body and dreading the walk to the pool. But with the help of my personal Jenny consultant, Kathy, I lost 40 pounds and I gained confidence. I haven`t worn one of these in almost 30 years. Now, nothing is stopping me from diving into this summer.


BEHAR: Wow, look at her in that skimpy suit. I`m jealous. I haven`t worn a bikini like that since "Hee Haw" went off the air. Actress, author, and Jenny Craig spokeswoman, the lovely, the beautiful, the talented, Valerie Bertinelli, joins me as part of a week-long segment about woman`s health issues that we`re calling "Joy`s Anatomy." Unfortunately, there`s no Dr. McDreamy on this one.

Welcome my pal and author of "Finding It and Satisfying My Hunger For Life Without Opening The Fridge," Valerie Bertinelli.

Valerie, I love the title because we did a thing on -- can you get a close-up of her book here? On the G-spot and I thought maybe you found it in this book.

BERTINELLI: I don`t even know what a G-spot is. But they focused in on two G-spots right there. You took the book away.

BEHAR: No, it`s way down further.

BERTINELLI: Oh, it is? OK.

BEHAR: Further south. Yeah, I don`t really know what it really is either. I said I didn`t have one and I don`t even know where.

BERTINELLI: I don`t know what a G-spot is. I know where some spots are that feel better than others.

BEHAR: That`s right. That`s all you need to know. OK, now, let`s talk about.

BERTINELLI: I`ve already embarrassed Tom. He`s sitting backstage already embarrassed.

BEHAR: Your husband?

BERTINELLI: Here we go again. Yes-- no, my spousal equivalent.

BEHAR: Oh, that`s right. You know, Susan Sarandon and the husband-- the boyfriend, Tim Robbins, broke up and they were not married and they were together 20 some odd years. They had kids and everything and now they broke up. I feel bad.

BERTINELLI: No, at least lawyers don`t have to get involved now.

BEHAR: That`s right. But I mean you and I think like if we don`t get married.

BERTINELLI: They won`t change anything.

BEHAR: . then it will always stay great for the rest of our lives. And here these two. You see?


BEHAR: I feel bad about it. But anyway.

BERTINELLI: I don`t care.

BEHAR: You don`t care?

BERTINELLI: I don`t know them.

BEHAR: Yes, no. I know -- well, OK, right. I know them from "The View".

BERTINELLI: Oh, you do? OK. Oh, yes, you must have interviewed them.

BEHAR: I`ve interviewed them and they`re very nice. I like their politics.

BERTINELLI: She`s gorgeous.

BEHAR: She is gorgeous. OK, now in the book "Finding It," whatever -- "Finding It," you say forget the scale. The real change is happening inside. Not the inner beauty.

BERTINELLI: Well, no, but the inside -- because the inside is what made my outside so heavy.

BEHAR: Tell me. Tell me how that went.

BERTINELLI: Because I`m an emotional eater. So I would use food to soothe all these emotions that I wasn`t giving a voice to. So I started to give my emotions voices, my stressors voices and just not eating it all and suppressing it as much as I do. It`s a learning process.

BEHAR: You were an emotional eater when.

BERTINELLI: Am, still am.

BEHAR: You still are. So do you eat out of boredom, out of anxiety?

BERTINELLI: I`m Italian. I eat, period.

BEHAR: Well, you`re saying it`s an emotion, so which emotion is it?

BERTINELLI: All of them. I`m happy, let`s eat. I`m sad, let`s eat. I cut my legs shaving, let`s eat. So I just eat but smaller portions and try not to use food as a crutch and use food as nutrition. That`s the key.

BEHAR: Right. And you`ve been doing very well.

BERTINELLI: Thank you. I`m working at it. It`s a daily process.

BEHAR: Dr. Oz -- remember Oz was on the show and he says it`s all about your waist.

BERTINELLI: Is it? Meaning?

BEHAR: Meaning that your waist has to be -- is this right, guys, half of your height. So if you`re 60" high, which would be five feet, then you have to be half of that, which would be 2 1/2 feet.

BERTINELLI: Oh, I`m doing well. I`m less. I`m less.

BEHAR: Thirty inches, yes. So he measured me and I almost had a heart attack. But when he actually did it, I was right. I was 31 1/2. I haven`t been that happy since Nixon resigned. I mean it was unbelievable.

OK, now Jenny Craig, you still on it?


BEHAR: You`re on maintenance, though?

BERTINELLI: That was very Larry King-ish.

BEHAR: Wasn`t it?

BERTINELLI: You still on it?

BEHAR: You`re still on it? All right. I need those suspenders.

Tell me how you go through a day because women who are watching want to know exactly what you do in a day.

BERTINELLI: It changes every day. Well, right now, I`m training for the Boston Marathon for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. You can go to my website,

BEHAR: Which they`re putting under us so everyone will see it.

BERTINELLI: Thank you because I want people to contribute to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. And I don`t know how they can do it, but they can go to my website and they can figure it out because I can`t.

So because I`m training, I`ve got a different kind of training schedule. So, I`m eating a little bit differently. I`m still on my Jenny food. I really like it because it`s portion controlled. I know what I`m getting. I know how many calories I`m getting, how much fiber. It just makes it easier for me, especially when I`m training. So I eat the food.

BEHAR: OK, I have two questions, number one, why are you running 26 miles? Are you nuts?

BERTINELLI: 26.2. Yes, I`m nuts. But other than that, it`s because I need a goal. And I`m not going to get in a bikini again. Well, maybe, I`ll get in a bikini again, but it`s winter right now. It`s 22 degrees. So I`m not going to do it here. I know, right.

Because I need something to focus on that`s not just about the food and, you know, am I behaving today. I need something else, a goal. So it`s the marathon this time.

BEHAR: All right, that`s one question. The other question is a lot of people, you know, get food sent to them now. There are a lot of different companies that do this now. What happens when you have to go off?

BERTINELLI: Jenny Craig does that, too.

BEHAR: I know. I was on there, too. Yes, I was on there. I lost 30 pounds. I gained a little back though and I`m sort of trying to knock it off a little, which is not easy to do because that`s why I want.

BERTINELLI: You have two pans of lasagna in your freezer.

BEHAR: Yes, I do have two pans of lasagna in my freezer. I`m going to bring them in and get everybody fat.

BERTINELLI: There you go.

BEHAR: But you have the food delivered, you don`t really learn to eat.

BERTINELLI: That`s where the consultant comes in and that`s what I love about my consultant. I mean it`s like a built in best friend. And if I have questions -- I mean come on, we know how to diet. I`ve been doing it my whole life it seems. But you just need someone to lean on and someone there that`s going to be a cheerleader, kind of pull back, reign you in when you`re going too far. That`s the key, I think.

BEHAR: You need a buddy of a sort.

OK, now, when you were in your 20`s, you were 98 pounds. What was that about?

BERTINELLI: For a split second.

BEHAR: Oh, I thought maybe you had a little anorexia battle.

BERTINELLI: Yes. Yes, I did. Cocaine induced anorexia, I guess you could call it. So I got down to 98 pounds and, you know, it sounds like my husband back then. He said, "This isn`t sexy. I can feel the bones."

BEHAR: Van Halen.


BEHAR: Eddie Van Halen.

BERTINELLI: Who has since remarried.

BEHAR: He has.

BERTINELLI: Lovely lady, Janie.

BEHAR: Well, we`re happy for him.


BEHAR: We are. Here`s another question from Dr. Oz that was interesting. See, I love to talk about weight. He says that it takes two weeks to rewire your brain and get you into a new habit. That`s interesting.

BERTINELLI: I beg to differ. I mean he would know better. He`s been to medical school but I`m three years into this diet almost and I`m still rewiring my brain. I think I have so many habits that slowly mean-- I thought that it was 28 days by the way that you really start to change a habit.

BEHAR: No, that`s your period is every 28 days.

BERTINELLI: Maybe your period.

BEHAR: Not necessarily mine.

BERTINELLI: Mine`s a little crazy these days.

BEHAR: But it`s 28 days, you read that some place?

BERTINELLI: I read that, to break a habit. Isn`t that why they had, like Alcoholics Anonymous or any kind of place that you go, it`s 28 -- or is just because it`s four weeks.

BEHAR: Oh, I know what you`re thinking of. That movie with Sandra Bullock, "28 Days" where she goes into detox and rehab.

BERTINELLI: But I thought that it was 28 days to really start to break a habit. I think it`s a little bit longer because I think these habits that I`ve engrained -- I can only speak for myself -- that I`ve engrained in myself for so many years and the way I emotionally eat, I think I have to constantly stay vigilant and really think about what I`m doing and why I`m putting it in my mouth if it`s not just hunger.

BEHAR: Right. Do you ever binge?

BERTINELLI: Not like I used to. I mean I might even start and I`ll find myself in that habit and go whoa, whoa, this isn`t good because I don`t feel good emotionally when I do it either.

BEHAR: I know. You feel bad, you feel guilty, you feel yucky. But while you`re eating it, you feel fantastic.

BERTINELLI: I used to feel fantastic. These days, if I find myself starting to go into that, I don`t. And that, luckily, has been something that has changed in the last three years for me.

BEHAR: Like I don`t understand bulimia at all. Like to me, it`s like, it was fun going down, it`s not -- I mean it`s disgusting. I don`t even like when you`re laughing and like the grilled cheese will go through your nose. Remember, when you`re in junior highs school and it was disgusting. I don`t know how anybody could be a bulimic. That is over my head, seriously.

BERTINELLI: I have to agree with you.

BEHAR: Last week, I was watching what I was eating. I really was watching. And I got on the scale this morning and I was a half a pound -- I really watched -- only a half a pound lighter.

BERTINELLI: Did you move your body?

BEHAR: Oh, I thought it was.

BERTINELLI: I mean you have to also move your body.

BEHAR: Well, I do 25 minutes a week, exercising. I`m serious. That`s what I do. I mean moving.

BERTINELLI: You walk from this studio to the other studio, right?

BEHAR: I really don`t do a lot of exercise. So that`s the key.

BERTINELLI: And I really believe that`s key, especially at our age. We need to.

BEHAR: I`m much older than you. But when I was on Jenny Craig, Valerie, I didn`t do that much exercise and I still lost because the caloric thing is -- I know, maybe I have to do it again.

BERTINELLI: Because sometimes we don`t know -- I mean we think there`s a certain amount of calories in a food and it`s really not true. We might be saying what might be a 500-calorie meal is maybe even 1,000 or 1,100 calorie meal. And we can only take it in 500`s.

BEHAR: Well, you know, now that they`re posting the caloric intake at Dunkin` Donuts and places like that, everybody`s traumatized.

Stay there, we`ve got lots to talk about. More with Miss Bertinelli in a moment. Stay right there.



BERTINELLI: Dad, don`t you think we should be able to spend our money on a car if we want to?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not if it doesn`t make absolute sense. Your mother was absolutely right in forbidding it. Now, there`s only one sensible solution.

MCKENZIE PHILLIPS, ACTRESS: I know, keep taking the bus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually, I was thinking of buying you a new car.

BERTINELLI: Dad, who wants to ride a bus to school every day? I mean -- a new car!


BEHAR: She is the most cute thing, I think, Valerie Bertinelli in her `70s sitcom "One Day at a Time."

OK, when you see those old clips of yourself, do you want to talk to the little girl, Valerie, and tell her something?

BERTINELLI: It`s almost like not even knowing her anymore, though that was such a huge part of my life. But yes, it`ll get better, stop beating yourself up. You`re a cute little thing and just stop believing something different.

BEHAR: It so upsets me when I read about young girls, teenagers, who commit suicide or threaten to kill themselves. It`s like they freeze the moment and they don`t realize it`s going to get just -- it`ll be fine later, you know. If you just get through this.

BERTINELLI: Everything`s do or die at that age.

BEHAR: OK, I want you to weigh in on something right now, pardon the pun. "Marie Claire" mag.

BERTINELLI: Because my weigh-ins not until next week, so don`t push me.

BEHAR: "Marie Claire" magazine in Australia, there`s a picture of this unairbrushed model on the cover of "Marie Claire." She`s considered a role model because it`s not an air brushed picture. Now, this lady is a 2004 Miss Universe model. And so, when they say real, they`re getting a backlash at the.

BERTINELLI: I don`t know very many women that look like that that I run into in the mall. But she`s absolutely stunning. She`s beautiful.

And by the way, these photographers know how to light people very well. So a lot of pictures don`t need air brushing.

BEHAR: But they`re saying she has cellulite.


BEHAR: I don`t know. Well, you`d have to get like a microscope.

BERTINELLI: That`s insane. She looks beautiful. I just think it`s just a beautiful woman. But why make something out of nothing?

BEHAR: Well, they`re trying to put one over on us, in other words. They`re saying, look, this is what a real woman looks like. I don`t know any real women who look like that.

BERTINELLI: Well, she is a real woman. You`ve got to give her that. She`s not an android. She could be, but I doubt it. But she is a real woman and she`s lucky enough to have that body. I don`t know how hard she works at it or what she eats.

But I don`t know. I guess I have a problem with putting a lot of women who happen to look like that and say we all must look like that, like those are the only women that they put in magazines as opposed to all of us and really giving a big -- but I think it`s changing a little bit -- and giving a wide variety of what all of us look like. I mean there`s super skinny people.

I was on "Regis & Kelly" today, and that woman is that big but muscular and in great shape. And then there`s me, who you can work out and just, you know, have a normal body. And then there`s other people that, you know, don`t work out. So there`s a wide variety of people out there.

BEHAR: And there are some people who just will never be a size zero no matter what they do.

BERTINELLI: And why would you want to be?

BEHAR: Yes. But I feel as though they push us to be a certain weight, especially young girls.

BERTINELLI: Yes, I think that`s the problem. By the time we get to our age, we`re not taking that bull any more.

BEHAR: That`s sweet of you to say our age, Valerie.

BERTINELLI: Well, we`re not that far apart. But when the younger girls who are, you know, being told this is what you need to look like, and they believe it -- the younger girls are much more apt to believe things that are being told to them and not believe really in their heart.

BEHAR: You know, the interesting thing that I read somewhere is that when the poor people of the country are fat then rich people want to be thin and the opposite is true, which is why you have -- I have a picture. Henry VIII was fat. Queen Victoria was fat and Winston Churchill was fat. Well, I don`t know about him. But the Louis were kind of fat in France right before the French Revolution because the peasants were starving, so they could be fat. And people should understand that.

BERTINELLI: That`s a very interesting theory, actually.

BEHAR: It`s cultural.

BERTINELLI: I don`t know what it is right now though because there`s rich fat people and skinny people.

BEHAR: No, mostly rich people are mostly skinny. You can never be too rich or too thin. Have you heard of that phrase?

BERTINELLI: Yes, I`ve heard of it.

BEHAR: Yes, that`s what they mean. And then when they`re like 75 and 80, they`re going to geriatric anorexia.

BERTINELLI: Really? I have no idea.

BEHAR: But that`s what it looks like to me.

BERTINELLI: I have a problem with being too thin when you`re older because I think that makes you look older. I think this fat in my face has actually made me stay younger looking.

BEHAR: Oh, you`re beautiful. Don`t have to worry about your face.

BERTINELLI: Thank you.

BEHAR: Now, Jason Alexander is going to be the new spokesperson for Jenny Craig.

BERTINELLI: He is. I just did commercials with him last week and had a ball. He and Sarah Rue, the three of us, we have so much fun making the commercials, laughing, laughing, laughing. It`s really fun.

BEHAR: This is the first they`ve -- couldn`t they get Karl Rove?

BERTINELLI: Oh. Then I would have to be nice. There`s no way I could be nice to him.

BEHAR: But I think it`s interesting that they finally got a guy.

BERTINELLI: I love that because Tom did the diet with me. My boyfriend did the diet with me and he lost 30 pounds. And he looks terrific. So I really think guys will have a good time on the diet. It`s great food.

BEHAR: But, you know, he`s going to lose faster than we ever could.

BERTINELLI: I know. They always do. I know. Tom lost his 30 pounds was faster than I lost mine.

BEHAR: See, this is why I do think that they`re right when they say lift weights and build muscle because the reason men lose it so fast is because they have more muscle and it burns faster.

BERTINELLI: So it`s not the testosterone?

BEHAR: No. They say it`s the muscle.

BERTINELLI: We need to get Dr. Oz right now because I don`t know.

BEHAR: Dr. Oz, we`ll have to call him. But, now, do you tell your age because I don`t want to go there.


BEHAR: You`re turning 50. This is what 50 looks like. Get a close-up. How pretty she is.

BERTINELLI: Thank you. And four days before I turn 50 is when I run the Boston Marathon, April 19.

BEHAR: You`re going to do it right before as a gift to yourself?

BERTINELLI: Well, I don`t know if it`s actually a gift to myself. But I think it`s just something to keep me busy and maybe keep me distracted from turning 50.

BEHAR: Aren`t you worried about your knees and your boobs?

BERTINELLI: No, I`ve been taking Glucosamine. I have a very good sports bra -- Glucosamine and Chondroitin. And my joints -- I don`t know, but it`s this juice that I drink and it`s terrific. And I ice my knees when I do long, long runs. So I have not had any trouble with my knees.

BEHAR: That`s good because I would think that you would hurt yourself.

BERTINELLI: And you do preventative stuff.

BEHAR: Now, when you were in your 40s is when you took the Jenny Craig thing, right?


BEHAR: Besides the fact the fact that, you know, there was a deal -- and people ask me the same question, you know, you pay me, I`ll lose pounds again. But besides all of that, you must have been ready to lose weight at that point. What was it about your age or about your head at that time?

BERTINELLI: I think at that time I was just so tired of being tired and so tired of just the same thing over. And this is really what I want the rest of my days to be like, a constant yo-yo dieting and I just didn`t. And at that point in my life, I had been separated for I don`t know how many years and I really needed to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. And I thought the first thing I need to do is start being in control of this. And that`s when they called and sent that lifeline to me.

BEHAR: Did you eat right after the separation because that`s an anxiety time?

BERTINELLI: I starved for a couple months and then I ate and ate and ate until I got up to like 175 pounds.

BEHAR: Really?

OK, stay right there. Your questions for Valerie when we come back.


BEHAR: Back with Valerie Bertinelli and we`re having some fun here. And I have some tweets for you.

BERTINELLI: Yes. I`m on Twitter too know. I`m Wolfiesmom on Twitter. And I tweet sometimes and I can even take pictures and then publish them on Twitter. But it`s really exciting, this kind of technology stuff. When I started, there was like not even cell phones. So this is kind of fun. Wolfiesmom on Twitter.

BEHAR: OK, we`ll follow you. Now, here`s some tweets. "Can you tell the difference in your sex life being overweight and now being fit or is it the same?"

BERTINELLI: You know, my sex life changed when I met this guy. And I was fat when I met him. So it`s been great for the last five years. What can I say? It`s about the guy, not about the weight.

BEHAR: That`s right. And people think that if you`re fat, you can`t have a good sex life.

BERTINELLI: Oh, yes, you can.

BEHAR: Of course. What has it got to do with it?

BERTINELLI: Because you`re being shy and, you know, the lights are out. I mean the lights are on now. We do it in the morning and not just the evening. A little too much information. Here we go.

BEHAR: OK, here`s a good one. "Has she had a lesbian relationship or does she want one?"

BERTINELLI: No, I`ve never had a lesbian relationship. I kissed a girl once. And I played a lesbian on TV. Does that count?

BEHAR: When did you play a lesbian?

BERTINELLI: I played a lesbian with Colleen Flynn and Vanessa Redgrave. I don`t remember the name of the movie, "Two Mothers For Zachary," yes.

BEHAR: Oh, Zachary has two movies like that. And Vanessa was your girlfriend?

BERTINELLI: She was my mother and she tried to take my son away from me.

BEHAR: Because you were gay?

BERTINELLI: Because I was gay, right.

BEHAR: So you had to kiss a girl on screen. Did you enjoy it?

BERTINELLI: It was okay. She`s a very good kisser. But I prefer kissing Tom, if that`s all right.

BEHAR: OK, I think that`ll be alright with this girl.

Here`s a diet question, "What`s the best way to deal with cravings?"

BERTINELLI: They say that, you know, it goes away in 10 minutes. Water, which is boring. You know what, distract your mind somehow. Go take a walk, go take a swim, go do whatever. Distract your mind or give in to the craving, have a half a bit or a bit and let it go.

BEHAR: Well, they`re saying that you should have six meal as day. So you`re supposed to put two snacks in every day.

BERTINELLI: That`s what you do on Jenny. You have breakfast, lunch and dinner. And in between those, you have two snacks.

BEHAR: That`s right. And then Jenny gives you a desert also, so that`s good. Yes, but I mean you`re supposed to pace it. So you shouldn`t ever really have hunger. OK.

"Where do you see yourself five years from now?"

BERTINELLI: Oh, I don`t know. I don`t care. Alive?

BEHAR: Alive and in a lesbian are relationship.

"Is there one food you never allow yourself to have?"

BERTINELLI: No, only foods I don`t like. No, I think I -- once I start denying myself something, then I start to obsess about it and that`s all I think about and that`s all I want to eat and then I overindulge, so no.

BEHAR: So you don`t have those green light foods? To me, a pizza is a problem because I will eat three of them then.


BEHAR: Yes, so I stay away from certain things.

BERTINELLI: No. You know what I haven`t had though? I still haven`t had a jalapeno popper for over three years. And I OD`ed on those.

BEHAR: What`s a jalapeno popper?

BERTINELLI: Oh, they`re so good. It`s a jalapeno pepper stuffed with cheese and then breaded and deep fried.

BEHAR: Oh, baby. Oh, baby. Oh, that`s better than that other thing you just hit before. What was it?


BEHAR: Chondroitin.

BERTINELLI: That`s a vitamin.

BEHAR: I want a Chondroitin popper.

OK, the book is called, "Finding It" and her DVD is called "Losing It." Thanks to Valerie and all my guests tonight. And thank you for watching. Good night, everybody.