Return to Transcripts main page

Showbiz Tonight

Showbiz Tonight for November 28, 2005, CNNHN

Aired November 28, 2005 - 19:00   ET


A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: I`m A.J. Hammer.
BROOKE ANDERSON, CO-HOST: And I`m Brooke Anderson. TV`s only live entertainment news show starts right now.


HAMMER (voice-over): On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, he murdered four people in cold blood. He created one of the world`s most violent gangs. So why are some of Hollywood`s biggest stars fighting to block his execution? Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT takes you inside the battle to prevent him from becoming a dead man walking.

Plus, the business of Hollywood couples. The Nick and Jessica break up. The Brad and Jen split up. Tonight, what happens when good couples go bad. And a celebrity brand name takes a hit. Can the money keep rolling in? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT investigates.

And a divine intervention. Tonight, a very special "SHOWBIZ Sitdown" with the Divine Miss M, Bette Midler. Her startling comments on Iraq...

BETTE MIDLER, ENTERTAINMENT: I`ve never seen anything like it.

HAMMER: ... gay rights...

MIDLER: There`s still a lot of trouble going on.

HAMMER: ... and reuniting with Barry Manilow.

MIDLER: I was so overjoyed and happy.

HAMMER: It`s the revealing interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

MIDLER: Hello. It`s Bette Midler. If it happened today, it`s on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


ANDERSON: Hi, there. I`m Brooke Anderson, live in Hollywood.

HAMMER: I`m A.J. Hammer, live in New York City.

Tonight, a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT special report, an amazing story of hope. Two Dutch film makers use the power of a small video camera to bring people together a decade after the Bosnian war through video letters. That war, and fear, have kept friends and family apart for the last 10 years. Finally, their touching stories are told.

Here`s CNN`s Richard Roth for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.



RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These days, a friendship can end (AUDIO GAP)

... spark people living in the war ravaged Balkans to start talking to each other again.

ERIC VAN DEN BROEK, CO-DIRECTOR, "VIDEOLETTERS": You know, when you travel in the former Yugoslavia, people tell always the same stories, like, "I`m so disappointed in my e-friend or neighbor, because he never phoned me, asking me how are you?" And the other side would tell us exactly the same. So we thought let`s keep it simple and connect them to each other by our video letters.

ROTH: In the Balkans, where families and communities were shattered by a five-sided conflict, reluctant citizens are sending video letters, much more real than reality TV. Videotaped reconciliations to close some sharp, old wounds.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (speaking foreign language)

GRAPHIC: Please tell me where the bones of my children are. I`ve been searching everywhere.

ROTH: The film makers randomly convinced people to talk to their camera with a message to a former loved one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (speaking foreign language)

GRAPHIC: I would like to see all my friends, but how will they react if I just show up like that?

ROTH: The tape is delivered to its target by the directors, usually someone on the other side of the multi-ethnic fight.

KATRINA REJGER, CO-DIRECTOR, "VIDEOLETTERS": We said, "We have a video letter for you." But we never said who is the sender. And sometimes they would ask and then we had to. But usually, we try to say it`s a surprise. And then they would say, "What is in the video letter? What is it about?"

And then we`d say, "Hey, listen, we`re just postman. We cannot rip open the envelope and read it first and give it to you. It wouldn`t be nice, would it?"

"No, I guess not," they would say, and then they would show it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (speaking foreign language)

GRAPHIC: Sorry, this is all so hard for me.

ROTH: The sender has no idea whether there will be a video response.

VAN DEN BROEK: And in many cases there`s the stories like, "I heard you killed that and that person. Did I know you?" This is a big question of course. But people know there are so many rumors after a war, so many stories which are growing bigger and bigger. And they like to find out whether this is true.

ROTH: The war broke up two friends who were like brothers. Emil, a Muslim Serb, fled ex-Yugoslavia for the Netherlands and never contacted former best friend Sasa, a Serb, because he heard Sasa was suspected of committing a murder.

REJGER: When we went to see Sasa, Eric asked him, "Do you miss your friend Emil?" And Sasa almost started to cry. He missed him so much. And Emil lives in Holland. So Sasa said, "OK, I`ll make this video letter for him."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (speaking foreign language)

GRAPHIC: I`m going a bit nuts. I`m very nervous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (speaking foreign language)

GRAPHIC: Hi, Sasa. Here I`m making a video letter for you. First, I would like to clear some things up. You said in your video letter.

ROTH: The Emil and Sasa exchange was the first of 20 documentaries, and they usually resulted in reunions.

Yezmin (ph) and Georgia used to share a home.

VAN DEN BROEK: It was some time before she opened. And she opens the door and she closes it. And she starts to scream in the back, like, "I`m a woman. I need some makeup." And then -- and she was kind of thrilled, and then she -- and then she opened the door again. And they really hugged. And I mean, it was really, really nice to see this happening.

ROTH: There are some reconciliations that won`t happen.

REJGER: Sometimes, for us it was really -- for us it was so emotional. Because sometimes we had to deliver a video letter to a dead person. And it was not a nice video letter to bring back, you know, to the people that were there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (speaking foreign language)

GRAPHIC: Look here, Pera, your friend Brana wants to see you, but unfortunately, you died.

ROTH: The Bosnian wars were infamous for pitting neighbor against neighbor.

REJGER: Fear provokes war. And we just decided to stop being afraid. And we tried to show people making these video letters that they should stop being afraid.

ROTH: The video letters may be working. The films are the first programming to be broadcast in all six former Yugoslav republics.


HAMMER: That was CNN`s Richard Roth reporting for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. The filmmakers convinced every public TV station in the former Yugoslavia to run some of the video letters, the first time the stations agreed to work on joint programming since before the war.

Well, tonight, a raging controversy over a convicted killer facing execution, and Hollywood is caught in the middle of it. From Jamie Foxx to Snoop Dogg, some of the biggest stars in the business are racing against time to save the life of one of the most notorious killers on California`s Death Row. And there`s, quite frankly, not much time left.

Let`s go straight to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s David Haffenreffer, who`s live in the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom -- David.

DAVID HAFFENREFFER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A.J., the execution date is set for December 13. That`s rapidly approaching, of course, and lawyers for Stanley "Tookie" Williams are putting the pressure on California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to spare the former gang leader`s life. They`ve sent a petition to the governor, which they say contains 32,000 signatures, and some of those signatures are very big names.


SNOOP DOGG, RAPPER: Keep your head up.

HAFFENREFFER (voice-over): Rap star Snoop Dogg joined hundreds who rallied outside a California state prison in an effort to save the live of convicted murderer and co-founder of the deadly Crips gang, Stanley "Tookie" Williams. Snoop is a former Crips gang member himself.

DOGG: This is about keeping this man alive, because his voice needs to be heard.

HAFFENREFFER: And it`s not just Snoop fighting this fight.

JAMIE FOXX, ACTOR: Once you get the truth, what are you going to do with it?

HAFFENREFFER: Oscar winner Jamie Foxx played Williams in the 2004 FX biopic, "Redemption" and stepped into the spotlight of this controversy by publicly calling on the state of California to stop his execution, scheduled for December 13.

"Don`t let it happen," Foxx hold reporters. "Don`t let the state of California execute Stanley `Tookie` Williams," unquote.

Add Jesse Jackson and Bianca Jagger to the list of celeb supporters. They just visited Williams on Death Row. So are former M*A*S*H star Mike Farrell, Russell Crowe, and Harry Belafonte.

Mike Farrell came straight to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT to say Williams` sentence should be commuted to life in prison without parole.

MIKE FARRELL, ACTOR/ACTIVIST: I met him Stanley. I went to San Quentin, met with him and talked to him and was very impressed. He`s a very impressive man who, I believe, really has changed and has seen how the way that he can make a contribution to our society. And that, to me, is -- is very gratifying.

HAFFENREFFER: The big names are all trying to get the ear of another very powerful name, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

While Williams was convicted of the 1979 murders of four people, and he founded one of the most notorious street gangs ever, his supporters say he is a changed man, and so does he. Listen to this taped recording, played at one of the many rallies on his behalf.

STANLEY "TOOKIE" WILLIAMS, DEATH ROW INMATE: Today and forever more, I can honestly say to all of you and to the world, that the war within me is over. I battled my demons, and I was triumphant.

HAFFENREFFER: In the 24 years he spent in Death Row, Williams has preached against gangs, initiated gang truces in some cases, and has written more than a half dozen books teaching children how and why to stay away from gangs, earning him multiple nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize. Even a former Nobel Peace Prize winner, Bishop Desmond Tutu, has come to his aid.

But this chorus of celebrity support for Williams proves a difficult position for former actor, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Certainly, there`s a lot of pressure from the celebrity community. If Governor Schwarzenegger were to commute this death penalty sentence, then there would be an outcry. People would say, "Well, he`s just listening to his Hollywood friends. He wouldn`t do that for the ordinary criminal and sentenced to the death penalty." There would be a lot of anger out there.

HAFFENREFFER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has learned that Governor Schwarzenegger will meet with Williams on December 8, just five days before his scheduled execution.

But not everybody applauds the celebrity support for Williams. One of those rankled, retired L.A. County police sergeant Wesley McBride, who spent decades in the LAPD gang unit. He told us that Williams deserves the Death Row sentence.

WESLEY MCBRIDE, RETIRED L.A. GANG INVESTIGATOR: His crime partners testified against him. Other people he bragged to about the crime testified against him. I think they were pretty solid convictions. You kill four people, then you pay the price.


HAFFENREFFER: Now, if Governor Schwarzenegger commutes Williams` sentence to life in prison, it would be the first time that a California governor has done that since 1967. That`s when another Hollywood star was in the governor`s seat, the late president, of course, Ronald Reagan.

HAMMER: All right. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s David Haffenreffer. Thanks very much for that.

And we`ve got more on this very heated issue right now. Tonight, two showbiz newsmakers passionately involved in each side of the Stanley "Tookie" Williams debate.

Joining us live from Chicago, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who is lobbying for clemency for Williams. And live in Cincinnati, we have victims rights advocate Nancy Ruhe. She`s the executive director of Parents of Murdered Children. Thank you both for being with us tonight.


HAMMER: Nancy, we`re quite accustomed to seeing stars backing various causes. But I can`t imagine you`re very impressed with the celebrity involvement in this particular case, are you?

RUHE: Well, I think it -- it angers me just for the fact that do they really know the story behind Stanley Williams? Do they really know what he did? Do they even know any of the victims` names or how many children these victims had?

All they know is that supposedly he`s redeemed. He hasn`t admitted to the crime. He hasn`t said, "I`m sorry" for his crimes. He`s written a few books, and he`s murdered four people and left 11 children without parents.

HAMMER: And Reverend Jackson, notions like that can lead some backlash with the celebrity involvement. Are you worried at all about a celebrity -- a backlash against celebrity activists in this Williams case?

REV. JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: I must admit, I`m really concerned about the possibility of wrongful conviction. That is an issue here at stake.

You know, Governor Allen in Virginia commuted a sentence. And as opposed to losing, his value went up. Governor Reagan did the last clemency in California.

Tookie has been in jail for 25 years. He`s no threat to society. So why not life without the possible of parole? It is not necessary to kill him at this point, because he`s been a force for good, as he has been shown atonement and redemption. His books have had a transforming process upon many people. So why kill him, except for revenge?

HAMMER: But Reverend Jackson, I want to go back to my original question. Do you think the celebrity involvement in the case can help or perhaps hurt what you`re trying to accomplish here and get that clemency?

JACKSON: Well, it`s more than just celebrity involvement. I mean, Bishop Tutu. The broad based people says a, that the -- that his -- when you are on trial and do not have competent lawyers, as in the case of Blake or O.J., you don`t have dream team lawyer, there`s a high chance that you`ll be convicted.

I was in California two years ago. Kevin Cube (ph) had been on Death Row for 19 years. He was within three hours of being killed. Only -- information was admitted at the very last moment. So there is a legal process going on here.

Beyond that, if you`ve been in jail 25 years and make a contribution, a Nobel Prize nominee, for transforming lives. Redemption must matter in the American judicial system.

HAMMER: Well, Nancy, let me ask you about the notion that he perhaps has done some good. We saw Snoop Dogg a few moments ago, saying Williams inspired him to leave the gang life. How do you feel about the idea that, you know, he has done some good, and perhaps leniency should come his way as a result of that?

RUHE: In the few interviews I`ve seen with young people saying, "I`ve heard Stanley Williams or I`ve read Mr. Williams` book and I turned against gangs," a handful, maybe 10 or 15 that`s been interviewed. But let me ask Reverend Jackson what about the hundreds upon hundreds that`s been raped and murdered and robbed and intimidated by the gang of the Crips, for which Mr. Williams was a cofounder and for which Mr. Williams still will not help the authorities, because he doesn`t want to be a snitch, to break up that gang membership. And how do you call that redeemed?

HAMMER: Reverend Jackson, I have less than 30 seconds. You want to respond to that?

JACKSON: Well, being a snitch or an informant does not make you martyr or mean that you are really copping out. He is not on Death Row because of what the Crips has done or rather for killing four people. He`s been in jail now 25 years. Why not let him live without the possibility of parole?

Why can`t we break the cycle of killing? Let`s kill the idea of killing as a way of solving problems. Let`s kill the idea of killing.

RUHE: Then you do that through your lawmakers.

HAMMER: I`m sorry, Nancy, I`m afraid I`m out of time. But Rev. Jesse Jackson, Nancy Ruhe, showbiz newsmakers tonight, I want to thank you for joining us on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

RUHE: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Nick and Jessica, Brad and Jen. Tonight, the business of Hollywood couples even after they break up. That`s coming up.

HAMMER: Plus, the Divine Miss M, Bette Midler. Tonight, her no holds barred opinions on gay rights, the war in Iraq, and what it`s like to work with the guy she used to play in a bath house with. It`s the interview you`ll only see on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

ANDERSON: And playing the pope. The star of the new TV movie about Pope John Paul II reveals the most surprising things he learned about the late pontiff. Live next.


ANDERSON: Tonight, dueling prime time dramas on the life of Pope John Paul II. The papal pictures both air in the next couple of weeks. John Voight plays the late pontiff in a CBS miniseries, "Pope John Paul II." But first, Thomas Kretschmann plays the pope in an ABC movie called "Have No Fear: The Life of Pope John Paul II." And tonight, in a "SHOWBIZ Newsmaker" interview, Thomas Kretschmann joins me live here in Hollywood.

Thomas, welcome to you.

THOMAS KRETSCHMANN, ACTOR: Thank you very much.

ANDERSON: Of course. Now, there is so much interest in the life of Pope John Paul II. A number of movies being made, including these two, the ABC and CBS.


ANDERSON: Also, the Hallmark Channel aired a film. Why do you feel there is that much interest?

KRETSCHMANN: Well, he was -- he was an icon, wasn`t he? And he left such a mark, I think. Not just for Catholics, worldwide. He had a big part in changing the world`s face, like bringing down communism. I`m -- personally, I`m not religious. You know, I just watched him from afar and had a vague idea of what he was about.

ANDERSON: But you had a personal connection. Because you yourself grew up in communist East Germany, witnessed the changes firsthand that many say the pope was instrumental in making.


ANDERSON: How did that personal connection play into how you wanted to portray the pope?

KRETSCHMANN: Well, it didn`t affect me directly, but obviously growing up in East Germany, knowing what Communism is about, knowing firsthand the pressure it takes on you, I could relate to a couple of his actions. I could relate to his fears, antipathy of -- I have to put that in again.

ANDERSON: No, you`re fire. You`re fire.

KRETSCHMANN: So the disliking of communism. I could understand the fighter he became against communism.

ANDERSON: Right. And your personal story, you really took a leap of faith, figuratively and literally, didn`t you, more than 20 years ago?

KRETSCHMANN: Yes, in 1983, I escaped, literally escaped. I ran over the border from Hungary to Yugoslavia/Austria.

ANDERSON: How scared were you?

KRETSCHMANN: Well, I was scared. There were three options. Either prison, being shot, or making it, you know? So it`s -- I think it changed my life, definitely. If you survive something like that. If you -- if you go for what you believe and you succeed, I think afterwards, you`re a stronger person. You -- you`re like lots of things, what`s a disaster for other people is not a disaster for me anymore, because I`m standing there, I`m thinking, like, "What do you want to do, shoot me? Can`t." Life goes on.

ANDERSON: You have overcome.


ANDERSON: I`m sure you are much stronger, as you say. Congratulations...


ANDERSON: ... on surviving and on this film. We look forward to it.


ANDERSON: Thomas Kretschmann, live in Hollywood. "Have No Fear: The Life of Pope John Paul II," airs Thursday on ABC.

HAMMER: ... Angelina take over Tokyo. Why are they headed to the land of the rising sun? That`s coming up.

ANDERSON: The telephone incident. This time, though, he`s not throwing one. Have a laugh with the actor down under. That`s coming up.

HAMMER: Also up close and personal with the woman that sings from a distance. Bette Midler, a candid and emotional chat with the Divine Miss M as she turns 60. Why she`s reuniting with Barry Manilow, is what we`ll talk about, as well, in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


ANDERSON: It is time now for "Talk of the Day." Today on "Live with Regis and Kelly," Regis reveals his abnormally small foot.




RIPA: Size doesn`t matter. It`s the motion in the foot. Go ahead.

PHILBIN: Five and a half.

RIPA: No. You`re not a 5.5?


RIPA: That`s great because now you can go to Buster Brown`s and you and Michael -- my foot is definitely larger than yours.

PHILBIN: It is not.

RIPA: Yes, it is.

PHILBIN: It is not.

RIPA: Yes, it is. The more I look at it right now, the more I think it is. Look it.

PHILBIN: All right. Let`s go.

RIPA: Come on. Take off the sock. Take the sock off.


HAMMER: Tomorrow, "The View`s" Barbara Walters will be on with Regis and Kelly.

Tonight, big baby news. Find out which celebrity couple is celebrating the birth of its first bundle of joy. That`s coming up next.

Plus, Bette Midler sings Peggy Lee for her new album and teams up with an old friend to make it. That`s coming up in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT continues in one minute. I`m Susan Hendricks with your "Headline Prime Newsbreak."

President Bush says border security and immigration reform go hand in hand. He kicked off a two-day southwest tour in Tucson today, trying to drum up support for his immigration plan. It combines a guest worker program with border security enforcement.

Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham is resigning his seat in the House. The California Republican pleading guilty in San Diego today to federal charges of tax evasion and conspiracy. He faces up to 10 years in prison and up to $350,000 in fines.

Some holiday travelers are still waiting to get home after a major snow storm shut down hundreds of miles of highways. Eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 are closed from Denver to Kansas. Visibility is next to zero in some areas. And snow drifts are up to six feet high.

And that is the news for now. I`m Susan Hendricks. Now back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It`s 31 minutes past the hour. I`m A.J. Hammer, live in New York City.

ANDERSON: I`m Brooke Anderson live in Hollywood. And you`re watching TV`s only live entertainment news show.

HAMMER: Well, still to come in the next half hour, my "Showbiz Sitdown" with Bette Midler, who`s got a brand new CD out, singing Peggy Lee tunes.

Brooke, she`s never been shy about her opinions. And from gay marriage to the war in Iraq, we`re going to find out what pushes Bette`s buttons, coming up.

ANDERSON: Can`t wait for that. And also, A.J., Russell Crowe is making light of that phone throwing incident. You remember that. He was charged with assault. He actually pleaded guilty to third-degree assault. Well, his self-deprecating remarks coming up, Russell Crowe.

But first, we want to get tonight`s "Hot Headlines." And for that, we`re going to go to David Haffenreffer. He joins us again in New York.

Hi, David.


Yes, tonight, Rod Stewart has a young Turk to sing about. Stewart and fiancee Penny Lancaster are the parents of a baby boy, who weighed in at 7 pounds, 7 ounces. The pop legend, who is 60, says baby and 34-year-old mom are, quote, "gorgeous, healthy, and doing well."

Mr. and Mrs. Smith are targeting Tokyo tonight. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie arriving together at Tokyo`s Narita Airport for today`s premiere of their action film. Jolie had son Maddox in tow, while Pitt carried Jolie`s daughter, Zahara. Jolie and Pitt spent Thanksgiving in Pakistan where they lobbied for aid for victims of last month`s earthquake.

As SHOWBIZ TONIGHT reported earlier, Hollywood heavyweights Jamie Foxx and Snoop Dogg are among those fighting to save former gang leader Stanley "Tookie" Williams. Williams, who is on death row for the 1979 murders of four people, is set to be executed December 13th. Williams, who maintains his innocence, co-founded L.A.`s lethal Crips gang. He has since become a crusader against gangs.

And those are tonight`s "Hot Headlines." Brooke?

ANDERSON: David, thank you so much. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s David Haffenreffer.

And now we want to know what you think, as our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." Death penalty debate: Should celebrities get involved? Keep voting at and write us at Your e-mails are coming up at 55 past the hour.

HAMMER: Well, tonight, one popular celebrity magazine is reeling after it got the Nick and Jessica split story just plain wrong. Just as Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey announced they were separating late last week, take a look at this, "Star" magazine hit newsstands with this cover, reading, as you see, "Jessica, Really Pregnant: Is this her gift to Nick to save their marriage?"

Well, Jessica Simpson`s people deny the pregnancy, at the same time that they were confirming the couple`s split. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT did call "Star" magazine to ask how their reporting could be so far off. The magazine says, "No comment."

Well, tonight in the "Show`s Biz," what happens when hot Hollywood celebrity couples break up? And it`s not just personal, but it`s also business. In the case of Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson, that`s the case. They`ve just announced that they`re separating.

Now, the couple, of course, built careers on the Nick and Jessica brand name, since their hit reality TV show, "Newlyweds." So the question is, what happens next? And when Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston divorced, the couple owned a major film production company together. And this was a company that was built around the brand new created by their celebrity.

Joining us live tonight, Nicki Gostin, contributor for "Newsweek" magazine.

So it really is more than just a divorce, Nick and Jessica breaking up. Why is that?

NICKI GOSTIN, "NEWSWEEK" MAGAZINE: Certainly, especially in their case, because their whole celebrity, when they became really famous three years ago from their MTV reality show, was all about them being this young, newlywed, married couple. So, really, they became famous as a couple and not really separately. They were famous before, but...

HAMMER: It wasn`t nearly to the level...

GOSTIN: Nearly.

HAMMER: ... that it became after they established this Nick and Jessica brand name together.

GOSTIN: Totally.

HAMMER: Well, last Wednesday night, you know, everybody`s off on the Thanksgiving break. We all sort of marveled at the timing of this announcement.

GOSTIN: Brilliant.

HAMMER: It was a great case of timing, from a P.R. standpoint, because the news cycle was closing down for the holidays. But from a business standpoint, do you think that was also part of the decision-making process for them? Do you think they figured less attention would be put on it if we announce it, you know, going into the holidays?

GOSTIN: Certainly. I mean, it was just genius timing. On Wednesday night, no one was around in their offices. They had a four-day break. No one would be in on Friday.

So, really, they had four days to regroup, and to strategize, and to see how the media would be reacting. And it gives them a little extra breathing room.

HAMMER: And certainly, a lot of money is at stake with this dissolving, so to speak. And this isn`t the first time that Hollywood has seen that. We mentioned, of course, Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt. But this goes back years, doesn`t it?

GOSTIN: No, I mean, to me, the most famous example is Sonny and Cher, again, married couple, "Sonny and Cher Show," it was all about them being married, and in love, and having chastity on the show at the end waving goodbye.

And, you know, now, when they divorced, they hated each other for the last couple years of the show, but kept on going because they realized that they had this show, that it was a business.

HAMMER: But the brand name eventually did dissolve and they were able to move on to other things.

GOSTIN: Right, but then, look, Cher became -- you know, won an Academy Award, and Sonny, for a long time, until he became a congressman, weirdly enough, you know, was sort of b-grade. And she was a-grade.

HAMMER: Went into politics to make it all happen, once again, for himself. And we mentioned Brad and Jen, really a classic example, but their brand name evolved into this business, this film production company.

GOSTIN: Right. Yes, it`s going to be very interesting to see what happens, because they had all these movies planned. And, you know, who gets ownership of the company? Do they split it up? It hasn`t really been clear yet what`s going to happen to it.

HAMMER: And as we were discussing a moment ago, Nick Lachey, of course, was in the group 98 Degrees. And they had a decent amount of success. It put them on the map. Not him, necessarily, individually.

Jessica Simpson certainly had several hits strung together over the years. But they built their brand based on the two of them being together.

Now that they`re apart -- and I realize I`m asking for your opinion here -- what do they need to do as individuals to being able to continue and transcend the brand name?

GOSTIN: Yes, I don`t know. It`s going to be really weird for both of them, because certainly -- especially, I think, for Jessica, that it`s so much about them being this young married couple. And she said to everyone how she saved her virginity for him. And they were so wholesome and pure.

And now she`s going to be dating. It`s just going to be weird to see how they`re going to be able to continue being celebrities.

HAMMER: And I`m sure, whether on the business side of it or on the celebrity side of it, there will be no shortage of coverage of it.

GOSTIN: No, not at all.

HAMMER: "Newsweek`s" Nicki Gostin, thanks, as always, for joining us.

GOSTIN: Thanks.

ANDERSON: Still ahead on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, check out Russell Crowe`s little comedy routine. We`ll show you how he`s turning his phone fury into a laughing matter in Australia.

HAMMER: And the divine Ms. M, Bette Midler, talks about her latest birthday milestone. It`s a big one. Also, her emotional thoughts on the war in Iraq. It`s the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


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

Tonight, proof that Russell Crowe doesn`t phone it in when it comes to admitting his mistakes. At the Australian Film Industry Awards this weekend, Crowe poked fun at himself for throwing a phone at a hotel concierge in New York in June. Crowe, who hosted Australia`s version of the Oscars, warned winners to be on their best behavior.


RUSSELL CROWE, ACTOR: ... because, if there are any problems, and you do get up here and go on too long, say hello to my little friend.



ANDERSON: Earlier this month, Crowe pleaded guilty in New York to a third-degree assault charge.

HAMMER: Tonight, a "Showbiz Sitdown" with Bette Midler, 33 years after her first album, "The Divine Miss M," was released, Bette once again teams with producer Barry Manilow to sing "The Songbook of Peggy Lee." Bette also celebrates a big birthday this week. I sat down with her and asked her how it feels to be turning the divine six-zero.


BETTE MIDLER, MUSICIAN-ACTRESS: I feel, you know, I was born in 1945. And so much has happened between 1945 and this year. And I`m just happy to be alive. I`m happy to be healthy. I`m happy to have my family around me. I`m just -- my expectations are lower, but, you know, I`m very pleased. I`m very, very pleased.

HAMMER: Well, it`s interesting, because so many people, particularly people who were very strong personality throughout their life and who accomplished so much, and look at all of your accomplishments, look at all of your awards, and I was curious if there was anything that has eluded you in life.

MIDLER: Well, I never won an Oscar, which makes me gnash my teeth.

HAMMER: Is that a big disappointment? Because you were nominated.

MIDLER: But I don`t expect -- it used to be a disappointment, but I do not feel -- I have no disappointment about it at all. I`ve really pushed that aside, because I see the way it works.

You know, that`s the interesting thing about getting older. You see the way things work.

HAMMER: And life certainly coming full circle with the release of your new CD, the beautiful "Peggy Lee Songbook," certainly because, you may not realize this, this month marks the 33-year anniversary of the release of your album, "The Divine Miss M."

MIDLER: Oh, my goodness. I had no idea.

HAMMER: Barry Manilow, of course, was your producer. He produced that album with you. (INAUDIBLE) two years for your Rosemary Clooney tribute album and now for the Peggy Lee album. But you weren`t really in touch with Barry over the years.

MIDLER: Oh, my god, no. I make big jokes about that. And he`s such a good sport. He lets me make them.

We hadn`t talked for a long time. And suddenly, out of the clear blue, he called me up and said, "I had a dream." Who has dreams that they can even remember?

And remembered. And he called me up and said, "I had this dream that you and I made a tribute to Rosemary Clooney." Well, I love Rosemary Clooney, and I knew her. And she had been kind to me. And in this business, when people are kind to you, you never forget.

So I said, "Oh, my god, that`s a great idea." And we went in, and it was such an easy -- it was like two days. And I was so overjoyed and happy with the result that, when he called me again last May to say, "I had another dream," I said, "Hey, OK. Let`s put that -- let`s strap that microphone on. Let`s go."

HAMMER: What`s coming now? Is he going to say Eminem?

MIDLER: I didn`t know who he was going to -- I knew it was going to be a girl, a fabulous female, because we both really love the female voice. But this time, he came up and he said Peggy Lee. And I didn`t know her that well.

She was so brilliant. She was a songwriter at a time when women didn`t write songs. She was a publisher. She was a -- she stood up for herself.

HAMMER: And you were very similar to her in so many ways. I mean, a very live-out-loud personality. Certainly, I`ve heard it once or twice, been said that you`re opinionated about certain things.

MIDLER: I have my opinions. I have my standards. They`re low, but I have them.

HAMMER: I have a question for you regarding, perhaps, an opinion, because it`s interesting. You worked with Barry Manilow back in the early days. And you performed -- you know, legendary for performing in the bathhouses through the `70s, which made you a gay icon.

MIDLER: One bathhouse, baby. One bathhouse.

HAMMER: I`m sorry, the Continental Bathhouse back in the 1970s.


HAMMER: So here we are some 35 years later. And a big question in this country is gay rights. Do you believe, you know, while things certainly have changed, do you believe we`re still having this argument? Do you believe or how do you feel about the idea of gay marriage?

MIDLER: I think the evidence is out there that people are still in -- that there`s still a lot of struggle going on. And I think that people have -- I think that certain rights are inalienable and they are, as you say, human rights.

And human rights are human rights. And people should be allowed to do what they need, should be allowed -- if people need love in their lives, that`s their love. They should be allowed -- the greatest thing you can do is find someone and be their mate for life. It really is.

I wouldn`t want -- for people to find that and to be wedded, to be together, I think is a great thing. I have a lot of opinions.

HAMMER: OK. Let`s talk about some of your opinions.

MIDLER: Well, I really think that the news is -- it`s really important that people watch the news. And it`s really important that people read the papers. I think it`s really important that people should acquaint themselves with what is going on in their world. I was just saying how much I admired the coverage of CNN on the hurricane. I thought they did an exemplary job. It was really fantastic.

HAMMER: And trying to keep things honest in the war in Iraq. I imagine you have opinions there.

MIDLER: I do. I have very strong opinions, and I never stop reading about it. I think it`s one of the most fascinating things that I`ve ever lived through. I think it is the most fascinating thing.

HAMMER: And coming up on 60 years old, you`ve lived through a few things.

MIDLER: I have.

HAMMER: So, really, that`s a big statement, what is happening. And what aspect of it makes it the most fascinating?

MIDLER: Well, all of it is. I find all of it -- I find all of it. I find the players fascinating. I find the level of deception fascinating. I find the level of defense fascinating.

I find the sides jockeying for position and the techniques, the tactics that each side uses, I find the whole thing so unbelievable. I know that it`s a quagmire, and I know that it`s -- but I don`t think we can leave. I don`t see how -- do you want to see the country descend into civil war?

HAMMER: Do you think it`s irresponsible, though, when people -- you know, when people start protesting the war, even if you support the troops and protest the war, you`re still doing a disservice?

MIDLER: I think it`s the American -- no, I don`t think there`s any disservice. I think it`s the American way. That`s what we`re allowed to do and that`s what we have to do. And people have very strong opinions, and they can move mountains. They really can move mountains.


HAMMER: Ah, the divine Miss M., never afraid to speak her mind. As we discussed, she`s celebrating a very big special day this week. So before she left today, we gave her a little surprise. Take a look.


HAMMER: Of course, your 60th birthday, as you`ve said. Can you walk it in? We don`t have time to light it.

MIDLER: Is it a wheelchair?


I have eight of those.

HAMMER: And we`re not going to sing, because we can`t pay the rights. Happy birthday, Bette Midler.

MIDLER: Thank you so much.

HAMMER: You don`t have to eat it if you don`t want to.

MIDLER: I will. I`d love to eat it, but could you light it so I can blow it out?

HAMMER: Can we have the candle at least lit so she can blow it out?

MIDLER: Thank you so much.

HAMMER: Now, are you going to make a wish and not tell us?

MIDLER: Oh, I`m so touched.

Thank you so much.

HAMMER: Are you going to tell me the wish.

MIDLER: No. Thank you so much.


HAMMER: Certainly does. Don`t forget about her new CD, "Bette Midler Sings the Peggy Lee Songbook." It`s in stores now.

ANDERSON: It is time now for the "Showbiz Guide," where, throughout the week, we help you decide where to spend your dollars on movies, music, DVDs, and more.

Tonight, in "People" magazine`s "Picks and Pans," what`s new in music from Shakira, "American Idol`s" Carrie Underwood, and newcomer 16-year-old, Chris Brown. Live in New York is "People" magazine senior writer Anne Marie Cruz.

Hi, Anne Marie.


ANDERSON: All right, let`s kick it off with Shakira. She is releasing the album, "Oral Fixation Volume 2." This is the English follow- up to volume one, which was a Spanish album. How does she do here?

CRUZ: You know, one word for Shakira: Consolidation. This is obviously her second album. If she had taken the best from volume one and combined it with the best stuff from volume two, then she would have had a worthy follow-up to 2001`s "Laundry Service."

But the thing with her is that you don`t want to edit her down, because her experimentation and her wide range of musical taste, from flamenco to the B-52s, Alanis Morissette, is the reason why her music is so compelling.

So while some of it hits and some of it misses, you want her to keep stretching out and pushing the boundaries. So some of the stuff that will make her fans really happy are the English versions of some of the songs from volume one, like the playfully romantic, "The Day and the Time" and "Something," which is a `50s pop song that was...

ANDERSON: So a lukewarm review there. And moving now from Shakira to a newcomer to the music scene, 16-year-old Chris Brown, releasing his self- titled debut disc. When I heard it, it sounded comparable, his style and his voice, to Usher. What do you think?

CRUZ: You know, he`s been shunning comparisons to Usher, but it`s kind of inevitable, because his hit song, "Run It," it`s a crunked-up club hit that is reminiscent of Usher`s monster "Yeah!" from last year. And he`s even on Usher`s latest soundtrack for his movie, "In the Mix."

So, you know, comparisons to Usher are not a bad thing. They both have the soulful voice and the strut that`s both cocky and appealing at the same time. So Chris Brown`s the legit -- he`s the real deal, so...

ANDERSON: Not a bad comparison at all. And "American Idol`s" fourth season winner, Carrie Underwood, out with "Some Hearts," her debut disc. Is this pop, is this country, or is it a little bit of both? Very quickly.

CRUZ: It`s a little bit of both. It`s a cross-over, along the lines of Shania Twain. And, you know, Clay Aiken and Kelly Clarkson might want to watch their backs, because she establishes her cred here. I think Simon Cowell would be very proud for her for sticking to her down-home, Oklahoma roots.

ANDERSON: All right. Sounds great. Anne Marie Cruz, as always, thanks for being here.

CRUZ: Thank you very much, Brooke.

ANDERSON: And for more "Picks and Pans," you can pick up a copy of "People" magazine. It`s on newsstands now.

HAMMER: There`s still time for you to sound off in our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." Death penalty debate: Should celebrities get involved? Vote at Or e-mail us, Your e-mails live, next.


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

Well, it is time now for "Laughter Dark," the best from late-night TV. ON the "Tonight Show" with Jay Leno, the best of the worst face-off in the battle of the Jaywalk all-stars, a competition of wits without the wits. Let`s take a look.


JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": What was Scrooge`s first name?



OK, Jennifer?


LENO: What was it?


LENO: Ebony? No.


LENO: I think that`s the urban version.

Who said "Let them eat cake"?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Somebody who had a birthday.

LENO: Somebody who had a birthday. All right. Who do you think that was?


LENO: No, Abraham Lincoln again. Marie Antoinette.

Ben, what nationality is someone from Finland?


LENO: What nationality is someone from Stockholm?


LENO: Stockish?


HAMMER: That could be true in some worlds.

We have been asking you to vote online on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." We`ve been asking, death penalty debate: Should celebrities get involved?

Here`s how the vote`s been going so far: 17 percent of you say, yes, they should, so 83 percent of you say, no, they shouldn`t. Among the e- mails we`ve received, one from William in Arizona who writes: "Celebrities are citizens, too, and all citizens have a right to speak their minds."

You can keep voting by going to

ANDERSON: And it`s time now to see what`s playing on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT tomorrow. So let`s take a look at the "Showbiz Marquee."

Marquee Guy, take it away.

MARQUEE GUY: Tomorrow, rock of ages. Old rockers still rocking and rolling in the cash. We`ll tell you why these golden oldies are leaving all the young dudes -- yes, dudes -- in the dust, tomorrow.

Also tomorrow, girls just want to have fun. So do guys, and so will we, when the Gastineau Girls join us, live. The mother-daughter duo kick up their heels and kick off the second season of their reality show tomorrow.

This is the Marquee Guy, soon to be seen in the reality series, "The Marquee Guy Guys."


HAMMER: We should just say goodnight to that.

ANDERSON: Maybe the Marquee Guy could guest star with the Gastineau Girls on their show.

HAMMER: You`re on to something, but you see, now that you`ve put it on TV, somebody`s going to pick that up.


ANDERSON: Might not happen.

HAMMER: That is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer.

ANDERSON: And I`m Brooke Anderson. Please stay tuned for the latest from CNN Headline News.