Return to Transcripts main page

Showbiz Tonight

Katie Couric to Leave CBS; Danny Glover Honored for Humanitarian Work

Aired April 05, 2006 - 19:00   ET


A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: Danny Glover back on the big screen. He joins us live. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York City.
BROOKE ANDERSON, CO-HOST: And shocking news about rapper Eminem. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. TV`s only live entertainment news shows starts right now.


HAMMER (voice-over): On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, Katie`s casting off. Tonight one of the biggest moves in TV history.

KATIE COURIC, CO-HOST, NBC`S "THE TODAY SHOW": I`m going to be working on the "CBS Evening News" and "60 Minutes".

HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has your complete coverage of Katie Couric leaving the morning couch for the evening news chair.

(on camera) So this is it, Katie`s new home.

(voice-over) Is she making the right move? Will Meredith Vieira leave "The View" to replace her? Everyone`s talking: her competitors, her viewers and the insiders, who are right here live on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. We`re going crazy over Katie.

Also, they are couples in love, so how come they don`t make love? Tonight a revealing look at asexuality. Why more and more people have no desire to have sex.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s not that I find sex distasteful; I would just find it boring.

HAMMER: Can this type of relationship really work? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT investigates, live.

COURTNEY COX-ARQUETTE, ACTRESS: Hi, I`m Courtney Cox-Arquette. If it happened today, it`s on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


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

ANDERSON: And I`m Brooke Anderson live in Hollywood.

A.J., it may have been the worst kept secret in television, but it`s not a secret anymore.

HAMMER: That`s right, Brooke. Katie Couric is going from "Today" to tonight and the "CBS Evening News". Katie made it official today, as you probably know by now. She is leaving "The Today Show" after 15 years, but trust me, you haven`t heard the whole story yet. So much more to it.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is here to tell you all about it. We`ve been everywhere today. We`ve been on the scene. We`ve been behind the scenes. So let`s get this good-bye party started.


COURIC: I know it`s the worst kept secret in America, but I`m going to be working on the "CBS Evening News" and "60 Minutes" and I`m very excited about it but I can`t tell you how much I`m going to miss everybody.

HAMMER (voice-over): What Katie Couric won`t be missing is that alarm clock. The host of TV`s highest rated morning show steps down from her perch on "Today" to anchor CBS`s "Evening News" and contribute to "60 Minutes."

Couric is eyeing to captivate a dinnertime news audience, instead of her loyal breakfast audience on NBC. She`s filling some big shoes: Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather. On "Today" she told viewers her decision to defect was made after lots of soul searching.

COURIC: My heart and my gut, two things that have served me pretty well in the past. I`ve decided I`ll be leaving "Today" at the end of May.

HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT cameras were right there as her staff toasted her 15 years at the show and her headline-making departure.

Headlines everywhere, offers of millions to stay. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has been on top of this story since the very beginning.

And now that she`s going, who will replace her? Forget the newspaper headlines that screamed of "The View`s" Meredith Vieira. Months ago, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT was the first to tell you Meredith Vieira wasn`t exactly turning down the spot to replace Katie.

MEREDITH VIEIRA, CO-HOST, ABC`S "THE VIEW": Well, what I`ve always said, because I love doing this and I love doing "Millionaire," but every - - I like that you have a contract in many ways, if you can hold on until the end, because it`s a good time to reflect and to sort of, you know, size up where you are in your career and your life and where you want to be.

HAMMER: So indeed if co-hosting "The Today Show" is where Meredith wants to be, does she make a good replacement?

BROOKS BARNES, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": Meredith Vieira is an interesting choice, because it`s the first time that they`ve brought in someone from outside. She does have a wide range of skills. She`s been discussing lingerie on "The View" the last five years and has serious news experience before that, so they think that she`d be good at everything.

VIEIRA: I`m Meredith Vieira.

HAMMER: Meredith came to "The View" from CBS News, and that`s where I was moments after the big announcement. It was the buzz of the building.

(on camera) So this is it, Katie`s new home, and in September when she takes over that anchor chair right there, she`ll be the first female anchor in network television history to fly solo on a network evening newscast.

(voice-over) But will Couric, who critics say has been lobbing softball questions at celebrities on "Today" for 15 years, be able to handle hard news for 22 minutes, five nights a week solo in that CBS anchor chair?

BARNES: Katie Couric is taking a huge leap here. People have come to know her as this perky, light-hearted person who can slam home a celebrity interview, but whether she can rise to lead a country at a time of crisis is unclear.

HAMMER: But what is crystal clear right now is there is no doubt that Couric`s career has already been a success story.

TOM BROKAW, FORMER NBC ANCHOR: Personal note, all the best. Very exciting time.

COURIC: Thank you.

BROKAW: Big challenge and you`ve been hugely important to us here.

COURIC: Thanks.

BROKAW: And it doesn`t mean personal connections go away.

COURIC: No, absolutely not. I sure hope not.

HAMMER: Even her longtime co-host tells us he can agree with that.

MATT LAUER, CO-HOST, NBC`S "THE TODAY SHOW": It`s a huge loss. She`s probably the best who`s ever done the job, and she`s been my partner for 10 years, so I mean, I`m going to miss her like crazy, but I`m proud of her. She`s got a great opportunity.


HAMMER: So does all of this make sense? Is this a good move for Katie? Is it a good move for CBS? Who are the winners here? Who are the losers? Well, we`ve got the people right here who can answer all of these questions and so many more.

Marc Peyser, who writes for "Newsweek" magazine, Lola Ogunnaike with the "New York Times" and Brett Pulley from "Forbes" magazine, are joining us on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

We have a lot to cover. Let`s get into it, gang. In fact, let me throw this picture on here, and let`s put this in all in perspective. Here we have Walter Cronkite, who`s the most trusted man in news. He was on the air at "CBS Evening News" for 20 years.

Dan Rather, almost 24 years in the chair, one of the most respected White House correspondents in history, and then we have Katie Couric. Not to say she`s not accomplished, not to say she is not very talented, but I think we can all agree that her journalistic accomplishments in a different league than these two gentlemen.

Brett, does that even matter?

BRETT PULLEY, "FORBES" MAGAZINE: One thing we have to bear in mind is that we have to think about what their journalistic accomplishments were at the time that they first occupied the chair.

You know, one thing about Katie is I think better than probably everyone in the business, she strikes this wonderful balance. Because she`s been doing this a long time, and she has been on a number of big stories and has done big interviews over the years, she has the gravitas. You know, she is authoritative. She is trustworthy.

But at the same time, she`s pretty young. She`s 49 years old and probably looks younger, and of course, you know, attracting, aggregating an audience in that -- in that vital category of age 18 to 49 is exactly what CBS wants to do.

HAMMER: Which is something I want to get into in a minute. And a lot of people have been tossing around the question, you know, here`s a woman who we see dressing up in costumes and doing cooking segments. But we`ve seen her also interview heads of state. So does it really matter what she`s doing now for what she`s about to do?

LOLA OGUNNAIKE, "NEW YORK TIMES": I think what we`re going to see is the nighttime -- the nightly news business model is actually going to change over the years, because they are losing viewers, and they`re going to have to employ morning show techniques to keep a younger audience interested. I wouldn`t be surprised if in, you know, two or three years we see cooking segments on the nightly news. It wouldn`t shock me at all.

HAMMER: One of the things that keeps coming up in a lot of the material that I`ve been reading, and it makes me even a little uncomfortable to talk about, but people are talking about it, it`s the gender issue.

In times of tragedy, in times of big events, we`ve had people like Rather, Brokaw, Jennings, Cronkite, in the chair for the presidential elections and those big stories, and there are some who would say that people are more comfortable with a man in the chair. Sexist as it might sound, Mark, people are talking about this. What`s your take?

MARC PEYSER, "NEWSWEEK": I think that`s probably true for older viewers, but those network newscasts are trying to get away from those older viewers anyway. They`re trying to attract to the younger generation, who aren`t really bound by issues of gender and race. They see people as people.

They`ve had Katie Couric in their lives for 15 years. I think that the audience that CBS is going after, the fact that Katie is a woman isn`t going to make a difference.

HAMMER: Lola, I`ve got to get you to chime in, as the only woman on the set. Because it`s a strange to even say out loud, but it is what a lot of people who are, you know, customers of the nightly newscast, it`s what they`re used to.

OGUNNAIKE: I understand that, and I totally agree with you. I think that we are going to see a shift. People are going to be more comfortable with all types of people delivering the news, and they don`t necessarily need the old stentorian man feeding them what`s good for them. They want somebody who`s going to engage them, someone who`s going to keep them interested. And I think that Katie Couric, more than anything, is a compelling personality.

HAMMER: It does have a lot to do with the age range of the people that they want to bring in.

You know, Brett, the average age of "The CBS Evening News" is around 61 years old. That`s pretty old, and they have the oldest audience of the nightly newscast. Can Katie pull in the younger demographic that is so valuable to the networks?

PULLEY: Well, one thing about the older viewers is that when it comes to products, they are really slow about changing their mind about things that they want. Young viewers are much more liable to see products advertised and respond accordingly.

So it`s no mistake that "The Today Show," their advertising has gone up probably 45 percent, 50 percent over the last five years or so, and that`s about a half a billion dollars in advertising revenue that "The Today Show" brings in. A substantial amount for NBC/Universal. So there`s no doubt that having someone like a Katie Couric, who attracts a younger audience, certainly can lead to much larger advertising revenues for the network.

HAMMER: It`s hard to talk about all of this today on the 15th anniversary of Katie Couric on "The Today Show" and the day she announced that she`s departing without keeping in mind it was one year ago today that Peter Jennings announced he had lung cancer and was no longer going to be on the evening news, or he didn`t know or not, and we all know what happened.

Things not working out so well in the replacement plan for ABC, with Bob Woodruff being injured in Iraq, Elizabeth Vargas announcing her pregnancy. Diane Sawyer, Charlie Gibson, who`s right for the chair? Marc, what`s your thought?

PEYSER: Look, I mean, those people were discussed when they went to the current double anchor situation that they have. They got very close in their discussions with Charlie Gibson.

The fact of the matter is Katie has beaten that duo in the morning race. I don`t think there`s any reason to believe she wouldn`t win in the evening race if they decided to put one of those people in the chair opposite her. It remains to be seen. I think they`re going to hold back at ABC for a little while.

HAMMER: Lola, I`m wrapping it up, but you got a name for that chair?

OGUNNAIKE: No, I don`t.


OGUNNAIKE: What should that chair be called?

HAMMER: Not the chair, the person for the chair!


HAMMER: Diane or Charlie?

OGUNNAIKE: I love Diane, but I think if they were going to go with anyone, they would actually go with Charlie. I think they feel more comfortable, again, still having a man in that role, unfortunately.

HAMMER: All right. Lola, Brett, Mark, thank you very much for joining us tonight with your insight. We appreciate you being here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

ANDERSON: Now we want to hear from you. It is our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Meredith Vieira: the right replacement for Katie Couric? Go to Send us e-mail,, and we will read some of your thoughts later on in the show.

HAMMER: Of course, we have lots more on Katie Couric`s move. What do the people that Katie does battle with every day have to say? We`re going to hear from "GMA`s" Diane Sawyer and Charlie Gibson, coming up next.

We`ve also got this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t feel the desire to engage in sexual activity the way that more sexual people do. So it`s not that I find sex distasteful; I would just find it boring.


ANDERSON: Coming up, a revealing look at why more and more people have no desire to have sex. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT investigates the asexuality movement live. That`s still to come.

HAMMER: And big-time movie star and big-time activist. Coming up, Danny Glover. We`re going to go one-on-one with him about his new film and more in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

First, it is time for tonight`s "`Entertainment Weekly` Great American Pop Culture Quiz." Back in March of 2000, who did "Forbes" magazine name the most powerful celebrity in the world? Was it Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey or Nicole Kidman? Hang on, we`re coming right back with the answer.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got Danny Glover coming on. Everybody stand by. A.J. With the pop culture quiz. Mic cue, up.

HAMMER: Once again, tonight`s "`Entertainment Weekly` Great American Pop Culture Quiz." In March of 2000, who did "Forbes" magazine name the most powerful celebrity in the world? Was it Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey or Nicole Kidman? Reveal that answer. "Forbes" said "Pretty Woman" and current Broadway star, Julia Roberts. The answer is B.

ANDERSON: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood, and this is TV`s only live entertainment news show.

Tonight everybody is talking about Katie Couric. After months of rumors, this morning she finally announced she`s leaving "The Today Show" for the "CBS Evening News" anchor chair. Today Katie even got some congrats from her fiercest morning TV competitors, "Good Morning America`s" Charlie Gibson, Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts. Take a listen.


CHARLIE GIBSON, CO-HOST, ABC`S "GOOD MORNING AMERICA": Katie Couric. We all know what she does. We`re a small fraternity that does this.

DIANA SAWYER, CO-HOST, ABC`S "GOOD MORNING AMERICA": That`s right. We`re really colleagues, all of us. We`re on the dawn patrol out there and I think probably we know as well as anyone what it takes to be as good as she is as long as she has done it. And we really do truly wish her well on this next chapter. No kidding.

GIBSON: Indeed. All the best to you. She goes off to CBS to anchor the "CBS Evening News." She`s a good folk and we wish her well.

Robin, want to weigh in?

ROBIN ROBERTS, CORRESPONDENT, ABC`S "GOOD MORNING AMERICA": I just second what you say, just all the best to her. She has been wonderful. She is wonderful, and we wish her the best, and congratulations to her. And like you said, we`re all in this together on the dawn l patrol, so we wish her well.

SAWYER: I think I`m just going call her at home at 4 in the morning just for a few mornings. Katie, are you ready for that?

GIBSON: Katie...


GIBSON: See you tomorrow.


ANDERSON: And coming up, we`ve got lots more Katie Couric reaction from around the TV dial, including what news legend and former "CBS Evening News" anchor Walter Cronkite thinks.

HAMMER: Well, tonight a big "you go, Katie" shout out from one of Hollywood`s hottest actresses, Lucy Liu, who of course you know from "Charlie`s Angels" flicks tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Couric is definitely making the right move.


LUCY LIU, ACTRESS: I think it`s great. I mean, I think everyone needs to grow and do different things, and I wish her well, and she`s an incredibly talented woman. And you know, just like for Asian Americans or for other people of ethnicity, she`s doing something that, you know, maybe has never been done for the gender. So I think it`s always -- it`s always challenging and difficult to do something new, but I think it`s important.


HAMMER: She`s breaking new ground. And you can catch Lucy co- starring with Bruce Willis in the new movie, "Lucky Number Slevin".

ANDERSON: Joining is now is someone who`s never afraid to speak his mind. You know him from the massively popular "Lethal Weapon" movies with Mel Gibson. His latest is a drama about a Vietnam veteran called "Missing in America."

Joining us live for a "SHOWBIZ Sit-down" from San Francisco, Danny Glover.

Hey, Danny.

DANNY GLOVER, ACTOR: Hello, how are you doing?

ANDERSON: Doing well. Thanks for being here. And I want to ask you, were you ever in the hot seat opposite Katie Couric?

GLOVER: No, I`ve never been in the hot seat opposite Katie, no.

ANDERSON: Well, what do you think about the big announcement today, her move to CBS?

GLOVER: Well, it`s -- it seems like it`s certainly a great move, a great career move for her, and certainly, it has a lot more responsibility, I`m sure. It`s not to demean "The Today Show" or any of the morning shows, but it`s a great deal of responsibility. She will be reporting, quote unquote, "on the world."

ANDERSON: That`s right. Big day for her.

Big night for you, Danny. You`re being honored for your humanitarian work at the Sonoma Valley Film Festival. The film "Missing in America", you star in it. It`s being screened there. It`s a no-holds-barred, raw look at war. You play a Vietnam vet. What do you think the parallels are between this film and what is happening now in the war in Iraq?

GLOVER: Well, as always, war`s very -- you could go back to all wars, whether they`re World War I or World War II or the Korean War. Soldiers come back traumatized by that experience, and certainly, some of them are unable to reintegrate into society.

This is about such a soldier, who came back from the war in Vietnam emotionally scarred by what had happened and the experience itself, but it`s also a story about healing. There`s so many men and women who are not only physically scarred by war, but emotionally scarred by that. And we -- we often don`t understand the enormous pressure and certainly the enormous damage done to those soldiers and -- who served their country.

And it`s important that we highlight that, but it`s also important, and I would think that this is a movie itself that is certainly against the whole art of war, that it promotes those attributes of love and reconciliation, as well.

ANDERSON: Danny, I know this isn`t the only thing you`re passionate about. You were recently in Venezuela along with Harry Belafonte when he called President Bush the greatest terrorist in the world. Now, what was your reaction when he said that? Were you surprised?

GLOVER: Harry Belafonte is my closest, my closest friend, and Harry Belafonte made a statement, a reference to what he felt, given what the record is and what the record speaks.

He spoke eloquently about what has happened to the victims of Katrina. He spoke eloquently about what has happened to those who have been scarred from the war in Iraq. And he spoke eloquently with respect to those who have basically been pushed aside as we move on this mad rush to war and continue to move on this mad rush to talk about subjects such as preemptive strikes, to talk about the issues around spying, to talk about issues around detention, et cetera, et cetera.

And he spoke courageously about those things, and I support Harry Belafonte in his effort to get -- to wake up this country and to talk valiantly and courageous about those issues.

ANDERSON: It`s obvious you two are very close. And someone else who`s made plenty of headlines, your former partner in crime or in fighting crime, Mel Gibson, with "Passion of the Christ," the upcoming movie "Apocalypto". Do you guys still keep in touch, and can we -- will we ever see another "Lethal Weapon" movie?

GLOVER: Well, I don`t think we`ll ever see another "Lethal Weapon" movie. It was a movie for -- a genre movie for its time, and I had very -- an extraordinary relationship working with Mel Gibson.

I did talk with him several times, one on his birthday in January while he was shooting, and it seems as if the shoot is going real well. He was really excited about it. But occasionally, we stay in touch with each other, yes.

ANDERSON: Well, we are very excited to have had you on this evening. Pleasure speaking with you. Danny Glover, thanks for being here.


ANDERSON: All right. "Missing in America" out on DVD now and the Sonoma Valley Film Festival runs through Sunday.

HAMMER: We`ve got some late breaking news about rapper Eminem. Why he was in court to do something he`s already done once before. That`s coming up.

ANDERSON: Plus, the guy once known as the most trusted man in America. Coming up, what CBS News legend Walter Cronkite says about Katie Couric taking over the anchor chair he used to sit in.

We`ve also got this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For me, sex is like I don`t know, traveling to St. Petersburg. I`m sure it would be a fun, interesting thing to do, but for me, it`s kind of an experience that`s very, very low on my priority list.


HAMMER: Is it possible for two people in a committed relationship to have that relationship without wanting sex? Well, tonight we`re going to introduce you to a couple who says it`s A-OK, and they`re not alone. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT investigates the growing popularity of asexuality. That is still to come.

But first, tonight, congratulations CNN. Yes, we can toot our own horn for a moment here. CNN has won a Peabody Award for its coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

In honoring CNN this morning, the judges wrote, "No other national 24- hour news service provided more essential, up-to-the-minute information for viewers, listeners and online users. CNN`s continuous live coverage became a go-to channel for the most current news about Katrina and its effects."

This is CNN`s tenth Peabody Award. Peabodys are given out each year to the very best in broadcast media.


ANDERSON: Tonight, reaction pouring in to Katie Couric`s announcement that she`s leaving "The Today Show" to anchor the "CBS Evening News". For more than half a century, Walter Cronkite was the face of CBS News. Here`s what the legendary anchor told SHOWBIZ TONIGHT today: "I can tell you, we at CBS are ecstatic about getting her into this anchor chair and the news department. When I have had the opportunity to see `The Today Show`, she shows a clear understanding of the news of the day and can relay it to us in the best possible form."

HAMMER: Moments ago on the "CBS Evening News", the present anchor, Bob Schieffer, had this to say about the woman about to replace him:


BOB SCHIEVER, ANCHOR, "CBS EVENING NEWS": I for one could not be happier. I`ve known Katie Couric since she was a young reporter in Washington. She is a top-flight reporter. She is a terrific interviewer. She`s going to be a great leader here at CBS News.

So I, for one, just want to say welcome, Katie. I think, Katie, you`re going to love CBS News and I think we`re going to love you.


HAMMER: Schieffer took over for Dan Rather a little more than a year ago. Despite an increase in the ratings, he`s always told SHOWBIZ TONIGHT that his stay in the chair was meant to be temporary.

Well, coming up, who will replace Katie Couric? The woman most mentioned for the job, "The View`s" Meredith Vieira, but would that move keep "Today" at the top of the ratings? We`ll get into it next.

ANDERSON: Plus, Tom Cruise speaks out about his childhood. The startling comments about his dad and what he had to deal with at school.

HAMMER: And a revealing look at why more and more people have no desire to have sex. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT investigates the growing asexuality movement, live.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT will be right back.


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

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

HAMMER: Still to come on the program, Brooke, asexuality in America. You`re going to get to meet a couple who has never had sex, and they say they never will. You`ll also meet a guy who runs a Web site visited by thousands of people who share the same lack of desire. A lot of folks here in the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT studio kind of scratching their head. We`ll figure out what this is about.



OK, also, we`ve got another high-profile couple calling it quits. Rapper Eminem and his wife, Kim, are getting a divorce for the second time. This after only less than three months of marriage, really. It`s a really sad story. And we will have details, coming up.

HAMMER: Very strange. We`ll find out what`s up with that.

But first tonight, of course, the big news of the day, Katie Couric going to anchor the "CBS Evening News." This is a moment in history, because she`ll be the very first woman ever to anchor a network evening newscast solo. The announcement came this morning, capping 15 years of memory during Katie`s stint on the "Today" show. Here`s CNN`s Jeanne Moos for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Katie Couric is facing the music, from this music to this. After weeks of speculation...

HAMMER: The Katie Couric countdown clock...

MOOS: ... the clock stopped.

KATIE COURIC, "TODAY SHOW" HOST: I know it`s the worst-kept secret in America.


COURIC: After listening to my heart and my gut...

PHILBIN: She cannot be stopped!

MOOS: Katie Couric is no longer merely eyeing the chair; she`s going to fill it. "The CBS Evening News" with Katie Couric, does that do it for you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It works for me.

MOOS: On her 15th anniversary with the "Today" show, Katie announced she was leaving. First, they played an old clip of her debut.

COURIC: I think that was like 172 hairstyles ago.

MOOS: Another 172 to come. Then it was time to say how much she`d miss everybody, including her co-host.

COULTER: Just as Dorothy said to the Scarecrow...

JUDY GARLAND, ACTRESS: I think I`ll miss you most of all...

COURIC: ... I think I`m going to miss him most of all.

MATT LAUER, HOST, "TODAY" SHOW: Well done. Well done.

COURIC: Get your hand off my knee.


LAUER: We`re back right after this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can`t wait to see Bob Schieffer do that.

MOOS: Can`t wait to see Bob Schieffer do that, the CBS anchor Katie will replace. As for replacing Katie, Meredith Vieira from "The View" is said to be close to a deal. Katie was picked for her mass appeal.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very knowledgeable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s something honest about her.

MOOS: Though some brought up the "p" word.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Katie`s too perky. When is she going to crack a joke and whatnot and she`s reading about deaths in Iraq?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s cute. Guys like her. My son thinks she`s cute. He`s 11.

MOOS: In addition to all those serious interviews...

COURIC: Are you still searching for the real killers?

MOOS: ... Katie has done the voice of a fish.

COURIC: I`m Katie Current, keeping it current.

MOOS: And remember when she guest hosted the "Tonight Show"?

COURIC: For all you people from L.A. who have never seen them before, these are actually real.

MOOS: She even dressed up as Mary Poppins.

LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Well, you`ll never get to be the anchor of the NBC "Nightly News."

MOOS: Nope, just the "CBS Evening News." Katie`s days of dancing with Antonio Banderas are numbered. It may take two to tango, but Katie`s going solo on this set, last dance.

COURIC: This is "Today" on NBC.


HAMMER: That was CNN`s Jeanne Moos for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Well, Katie`s move to CBS is just one little piece of the puzzle. The pressure is now on NBC to find the perfect fit for their number-one morning program. They want to stay number one. So the tongues have been wagging for months now that "The View`s" Meredith Vieira is top choice for the coveted spot. There are reports out there that they`re very close to a deal.

And joining me live from Boston to talk about it, Suzanne Ryan, TV writer at the "Boston Globe." Live with me in New York, Bruce Fretts, editor at large for "TV Guide."

Thank you, both, for being with us.

Bruce, let`s get right into it. Point blank, what do you think, Meredith Vieira, the right woman for the gig at "Today"?

BRUCE FRETTS, EDITOR AT LARGE, "TV GUIDE": I think she`s a great choice, actually. I think you couldn`t do better than her. She`s got big name recognition from "The View." She`s got journalistic credibility from having worked at CBS News in the past. And I think that they`re going to make news by adding her.

They`re fighting the perception that they`re losing something by bringing someone big in to replace her. If they just promoted someone from within, like Campbell Brown or Ann Curry, it wouldn`t make the same kind of impact. So they`re really trying to sort of keep people interested in the "Today" show.

HAMMER: Yes, CBS is going to obviously get a lot of attention because of this, so now NBC wants to shed some of that spotlight on themselves.

Suzanne, what do you think?

SUZANNE RYAN, TV WRITER, "BOSTON GLOBE": I think she`s a really interesting choice. I mean, she clearly has the credentials. She used to be a "60 Minutes" correspondent. But, you know, on the other hand, she`s really stressed in the past that she likes to balance family and work, and she has three teenagers at home. And so, you know, it will be challenging, having more of a high-profile job, so we`ll see.

HAMMER: The credentials are definitely there. The woman has won Emmy awards. And as you mentioned, she was on "60 Minutes." She worked for CBS News, but it could be a lifestyle issue. There are always risks when big decisions like this are made. When they first...

RYAN: As in the past...


RYAN: I was just going to say, in the past two turns, she had an offer from "The Early Show," and she turned that down a few years ago. So this is something that, you know, she`s kind of walked away from before. When in the past...


HAMMER: I`m curious what you two think the risks are for NBC, because when Meredith`s name first came up, to me, it seemed "Ding," obvious choice, but what is at risk here?

FRETTS: Well, the risk is the break in continuity. I mean, Katie Couric has been there for 15 years. People have a habit of waking up and seeing her, and suddenly there`s going to be a new face there.

It`s a somewhat familiar face, but it`s different, so I think there`s an opportunity here, particularly for ABC, which has closed the gap with the "Today" show, for "Good Morning America," to really make a run at number one. So I think people will tune in initially to see Meredith Vieira, but, if they don`t like her, they might be willing to look around a little bit in a way that they haven`t.

HAMMER: But is it a good opportunity for Meredith Vieira? And I want to get back to something you were just saying, Suzanne. You know, you mentioned the fact that she does like this family life.

She has told us in the past that she`s not that interested in waking up in those pre-dawn hours, but maybe she`ll only sign on for a couple of years. Of course, she`s going to be offered a lot of money. Reports are it`s around $10 million. So why should Meredith do this? Would it be for the opportunity? Should it be for the money?

RYAN: It`s a chance of a lifetime. It`s a chance of a lifetime. We`d all love to host the "Today" show. I mean, it would be exciting, and fun, and tons of money, and, you know, it`s one of the best journalism jobs out there.

So it`s very tempting, more so than "The Early Show" was. So I can understand why she -- and because her kids are older. I understand her oldest son is going to college in the fall, so, you know, maybe this is a better time for her.

HAMMER: Bruce, I can`t understand it being more about the opportunity than the money, because, you know, she actually told me once, "The View" contract`s not what people would think, in terms of the money. But if she resigns with them, obviously, it will be for a lot of money. And with "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," a show in syndication, she`s doing OK, so is it more about the prestige, would you say?

FRETTS: I think it is. I think it`s an opportunity for her to make a mark, really, on television history. I mean, every co-host of the "Today" show has become a major television personality. And I think, arguably, Meredith Vieira is a celebrity right now, but she really doesn`t have a place in the pantheon of TV journalists, having done "The View," or having done her work at CBS. And this is an opportunity for her to really make her mark.

HAMMER: And something that`s been floated around, one of the sticking points is, you know, how long a contract will she actually sign? Because, obviously, NBC wants to have her for a long time.

Suzanne, you were about chime in.

RYAN: Yes, one thing that was interesting I read was that, a few years ago, in an interview, she said that she had kind of lost interest in hard news. And it was, I guess, in 2002, after September 11th, she said her first instinct on that day was not to run to Ground Zero to cover it, but to run home to her family, which is understandable. A lot of people would feel that way. But, you know, it`s kind of -- it`s a major change now to suddenly want to be on the front lines.

HAMMER: Well, and one of the things we were talking about here in the offices today is the fact that "The View" is kind of like a morning show but without the hard news, really. So who knows exactly...

RYAN: And the cooking segments.

HAMMER: Yes, but you know what? I have a feeling we`re going to be getting an announcement one way or the other very, very soon. I want to thank you both for joining us tonight, "Boston Globe`s" Suzanne Ryan, "TV Guide`s" Bruce Fretts. Thanks for being here.

FRETTS: Thank you.

RYAN: Thank you.

ANDERSON: We want to know what you think about all of this. It leads us to our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." Meredith Vieira: The right replacement for Katie Couric? Keep voting, Write us, Your e-mails are coming up a bit later.

HAMMER: And also coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, asexuality in America.


DAVID JAY, FOUNDER, ASEXUALITY.ORG: For me, sex is kind of like, I don`t know, traveling to St. Petersburg. I`m sure it would be a fun, interesting thing to do, but, for me, it`s kind of an experience that`s very, very low on my priority list.


HAMMER: There`s a movement going on in America we`re going to hear about. It says that asexuality is an orientation, just like straight or gay. We`re going to meet two people who say they have no desire for sex whatsoever. We`ll get into that, next.

ANDERSON: Plus, the tumultuous relationship of Eminem and Kimberly Mathers. They got married, divorced, married again. And tonight, a new twist in the already bumpy road. That`s coming up. Stay with us.


HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. We are TV`s only live entertainment news show. I`m A.J. Hammer.

There are certain things in life that you can live without. Ask people if sex is one of them, they will probably tell you they`d rather go without food or water.

Well, that is not the case for some who see sex all around them in the world, but they choose to ignore it.


HAMMER (voice-over): This is David Jay. He`s 23 years old and has never had sex. What`s more, he says he never even wants to have sex, ever.

DAVID JAY, FOUNDER, ASEXUALITY.ORG: Personally, it`s not that I dislike sexuality. It`s not that it grosses me out. It`s that I`m not -- I don`t feel a desire to engage in sexual activity the way that most sexual people do.

HAMMER: David is asexual. He`s part of a growing group of people who say they`re not attracted to men or women.

DR. LAURA BERMAN, SEX THERAPIST: Asexuality is really not having a desire, or a need, or a wish to be sexual with yourself or anyone else. It`s where you have no sexual feelings, or thoughts, or desires, that that piece of your life is not in play.

HAMMER: David is not alone. He`s the founder of an online community for other asexual people called "," people who come together to share a similar bond.

JAY: The difference between asexuality and celibacy is that celibacy is a choice. Asexuality means that you don`t experience sexual attraction; celibacy means that you experience a desire for sex and choose not to engage in it.

HAMMER: David says he realized he was different when he was about 14 years old in middle school.

JAY: All of my friends suddenly started talking about wanting to kiss people, wanting to date people, wanting kind of to explore their sexuality with people. And I had no internal context to understand what that meant.

I didn`t know what the difference between liking someone and like- liking someone was in middle school. I didn`t know if it was a problem that I didn`t like sex. I didn`t know if it meant that I would never be able to love anyone, and so it took me a long time to really come to terms and to realize that it`s OK, that nothing bad happens to you if you don`t like sex.

HAMMER: There are many reasons why a person may not be interested in sex, ranging from low testosterone to early childhood trauma.

BERMAN: I think we have to be really careful about this whole concept of asexuality, because certainly there`s nothing wrong. You know, if someone is asexual, they`re asexual. But that`s not to be confused with someone who has issues with intimacy or issues with getting into a relationship.

HAMMER: The challenge for doctors is that there is virtually no research on the subject of asexuality, making it difficult for them to figure out what might cause it. That has a lot of people looking to the Internet.

BERMAN: My fear is that a large proportion of the people who are going on these Web sites and now identifying as asexuals are just looking for an answer, when the answer may lie in therapy.

HAMMER: Still, if someone is happy not having sex, who are we to judge?

JAY: The bottom line to understand is that sex and love are different things, so sex is one way to show that you love someone. It`s one way to have fun with someone; it`s one great thing you can do in a relationship, but it`s not the only thing you can do.


HAMMER: That was David Jay. He`s the founder of, and he joins us live from San Francisco.

And joining me live here in New York, an asexual couple, a woman we are calling Jill and her boyfriend, Paul, who have been dating since January.

Welcome to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I appreciate you all being with us.

"JILL SMITH," PART OF AN ASEXUAL COUPLE: Thank you for having us.

JAY: Thanks for having us.

HAMMER: I know it comes as no surprise to you that people watch that piece, a lot of people, and they`re just scratching their heads because they don`t get it. And I`m sure you find yourself explaining it a lot.

So how do you convince people, the two of you, how do you convince people that this is for real?

PAUL COX, PART OF AN ASEXUAL COUPLE: Well, yes, we`re pretty used to doing that, I think. It`s a bit easier, you know, when you`re actually in a relationship, because, you know, it`s hard to say that it`s fear of intimacy, fear of relationships.

HAMMER: Let me make sure I understand it. Hang on one second, David. I`ll get to you in a second. I just have to ask you this: Just so I`m clear here, you guys don`t think about sex?


HAMMER: No? You don`t have sex? And you don`t want to have sex?


COX: Not really.

HAMMER: OK, David, let me get out to you. Go ahead. Go ahead, David.

JAY: OK. I`m aware that sex is out there. It`s something that I think about, that I`m aware of it in the world, but I don`t feel the desire for sexual activity. I don`t feel the desire to make it a part of my life or part of my relationships.

HAMMER: OK. And you`ve expanded your personality asexuality into a business, a Web site, What`s the real purpose of your Web site? Is it, basically, for information? Is it a dating service?

JAY: It`s for information; it`s to build a community. No one was talking about asexuality. No one was talking about the fact that it`s OK to not like sex, that that doesn`t mean there`s anything wrong with you. And so the asexual community and has really been the first place where asexual people have come together to talk about our experience.

HAMMER: OK, I need you guys to help put it in perspective in some real-world terms for me. Let`s say the two of you are at a movie theater watching a movie and a sex scene comes on or you`re home watching TV, same thing, a sex scene comes on.

Do you see that happening and kind of say, "I don`t get it," kind of like people might be feeling about this situation?

SMITH: It`s not as if it`s so much a curiosity; you know, it`s a part of life. You know, there`s a lot of things in the world that don`t affect people, and sex is just something that doesn`t affect us.

HAMMER: Not whatsoever?


COX: We might laugh at the scene or we might react in some way, but it`s no different from, say, watching a battle scene in a war movie.

SMITH: They always have cheesy dialogue.


HAMMER: ... a battle scene. OK. I can accept that.

David, I have to ask you. Your Web site -- and I know you get a lot of visitors on it -- more men or more women?

JAY: It`s about even, maybe a few more women than men, but we don`t really have good statistical data. It seems like it`s about even gender- wise, though.

HAMMER: I`m curious about one thing, because we did pop on the site today to sort of get a sense of it. And one thing that we noticed is that there are a number of women who visit the site; they are wives who are no longer interested in having sex with their husbands. So are they just there seeking support? Do they even qualify as asexual?

JAY: And we also have husbands who aren`t interested in having sex with their wives. It goes both ways.

But there are a number of people on the site who are sexual people -- asexual people in relationships with sexual people, and also vice versa, which is tricky. Sex is very central to how we`re used to thinking about intimacy and thinking about relationships.

But if you think about it, sexual people have relationships that are close, that are intimate, that don`t involve sex all the time. We`re just used to putting limitations on where those relationships can go and what they can do.

And for me, as an asexual person, part of what`s exciting is getting to take those limitations off, getting to sort of explore all the places you can go in relationships without necessarily having the focus around sex.

HAMMER: And to be clear, you may be affectionate in relationships that you`re in. I know we spoke to you guys before, and the two of you are actually affectionate with one another. I imagine you kiss, but there`s nothing sexual about it. There`s no sexual impulse or -- what`s the good way to say this -- any kind of sexual reaction from any affection you share with one another?


HAMMER: Not at all?

SMITH: No, I guess you could say there`s something innocent about it, but, you know, I mean, that word`s got kind of a purist connotation to it. It`s just, you know, we`re affectionate. We love each other. It`s simple.

HAMMER: David, when you heard the sex therapist that was featured in the piece there talking about the fact that she feels that it shouldn`t be confused with people who may have fear of intimacy issues, what do you say to that? Because a lot of people may say, now these people just really need to go and talk to a doctor.

JAY: Well, I completely agree that it shouldn`t be confused with people who have a fear of intimacy, but I also think that the asexual community is an awful place to go if you want to avoid talking about intimacy.

When people come to the asexual community, they don`t just stop thinking about themselves; realizing that you`re asexual is a huge, complicated process. There`s a lot of stuff to figure out, like how you`re going to be intimate with people. You know, we don`t desire sex, but there`s a lot of things we do desire. We have all the same emotional needs as everyone else.

So how are you going to go about building a life without sexual activity that has all the things that you want in it? And I think, because the asexual community is a place where that kind of discussion`s going on, people who come to the asexual community who are looking to avoid things by not having sex can`t do that there.

HAMMER: That`s a different thing.

OK, so you guys, to be clear, Jill and Paul, this is not about abstinence.


HAMMER: It`s just of no interest to you whatsoever?

SMITH: That`s exactly right.

JAY: Exactly yes.

HAMMER: It`s very intriguing, and I appreciate you guys sharing something very personal with us tonight. And I think a lot of people may still be scratching their heads, but, you know, to each their own and respect to all.

JAY: Well, I encourage them to get on the Web site and check it out,

HAMMER: David Jay in California, Paul and Jill here in New York, thanks for joining us.

SMITH: Thank you.

ANDERSON: It is time now for tonight`s "Hot Headlines."

It looks like Eminem`s on again-off again relationship is off again. Today we learned that Eminem has filed for divorce after being remarried to Kimberly Mathers for just 82 days. The couple first wed in 1989, divorced in 2001, and remarried in January with a prenup. They have a 10-year-old daughter and are seeking joint custody.

Tonight, new details about the divorce of former "Friends" star Matt LeBlanc. "People" magazine is reporting that, since January, LeBlanc has been seeing his "Joey" co-star Andrea Anders and that she was one of the reasons he filed for divorce in March from his wife of three years, Melissa McKnight, Melissa in the video with him. LeBlanc and McKnight have a 2- year-old daughter together.

Tonight, with Katie Holmes ready to give birth any day now, Tom Cruise is speaking about his own father. In an upcoming issue of "Parade" magazine, Cruise says his father was abusive, quote, "a bully and a coward." Cruise`s mother divorced his father in 1974. Ten years later, Cruise says he reunited with his father as he was in the hospital dying of cancer. He says his father would only meet him if he didn`t bring up the past.

And those are tonight`s "Hot Headlines."

HAMMER: Still time for you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." We`re asking: Meredith Vieira: Is she the right replacement for Katie Couric. is where you go to vote, or e- mail us at Your e-mails next.



OK, throughout the show we`ve been asking you to vote online on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." And it is this: Meredith Vieira: The right replacement for Katie Couric?

Let`s take a look at how the vote is going so far: 39 percent of you say yes; 61 percent of you say no.

Here are some of the emails we`ve received. Ted from Massachusetts writes, "Since being on `The View,` Meredith Vieira has expressed too much personal opinion to be an objective journalist again."

Steven from Washington says, "Vieira is the perfect choice due to her experience with both serious news and light entertainment fare."

Keep voting, We appreciate the votes.

HAMMER: And we appreciate you watching. That is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

ANDERSON: I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. Stay tuned for the very latest from CNN Headline News. Good night.