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Showbiz Tonight

Is "American Idol" All About Politics?; Ron Howard Speaks Out about "Da Vinci Code"; Paul McCartney Facing Expensive Divorce; Are We Ready for Oliver Stone`s Take on the 9/11 Tragedy?; Hollywood`s Messiest and Most Expensive Divorces; "The Da Vinci Code" Spawns Tourism Boom

Aired May 19, 2006 - 19:00   ET


BROOKE ANDERSON, CO-HOST: It`s D-Day for "The Da Vinci Code!" I`m Brooke Anderson at the Cannes film festival.
A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: And, Hollywood`s most expensive divorces. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. TV`s most provocative entertainment news show starts right now.


HAMMER (voice-over): On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the politics of "American Idol". Do the best singers make it to the end, or is the competition more about campaign tricks -- striking the right chords rather than hitting the right notes? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with the latest on campaign 2006.

Oliver Stone`s movie about 9/11, the chilling trailer that starts playing in theaters today. Tonight, why "World Trade Center" is at the crossroads of controversy before it even comes out.


SIBILA VARGAS, CO-HOST: Hello, I`m Sibila Vargas in Hollywood.

HAMMER: I`m A.J. Hammer New York. Brooke Anderson is going to be with us from the Cannes film festival in just a moment. But first, what if we told you that there`s really not much of a difference between "American Idol" and a presidential campaign?

VARGAS: Now, the battle to become the next American Idol is now down to Taylor Hicks and Katharine McPhee. And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is going o tell you right here right now that the politics of "Idol" are not much different than the politics of politicians.


VARGAS (voice-over): Parades full of adoring fans. Stump speeches. Endorsements from politicians and first pitches at baseball games. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is noticing that the stars of "American Idol" are not just talent show contestants. They`re becoming savvy politicians in probably the most popular campaign around.

KATHARINE MCPHEE, "AMERICAN IDOL" FINALIST: You start to feel like you`re run for presidency a little bit.

VARGAS: "American Idol" finalist Katharine McPhee tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT she sure feels like a politician.

MCPHEE: Like, OK, if I can get all of California and then I can get like -- you know, it`s like so weird. You start thinking the Republicans and the Democrats, you know. It`s like really crazy what "American Idol" does.

RYAN SEACREST, HOST, FOX`S "AMERICAN IDOL": You`ve got to vote, vote, vote.

VARGAS: And "American Idol" fans certainly are voting: 50 million of them this week alone.

SEACREST: Let`s look at the lowest percentage.

VARGAS: Wednesday night host Ryan Seacrest even read the results off a fancy electronic board that looks a lot like one of those high-tech boards networks use for their election night coverage.

Pop culture expert Robert Thompson tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT that "American Idol" is looking an awful lot like a presidential election.

ROBERT THOMPSON, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY: "American Idol" candidates and presidential candidates in many ways have a lot of the same goals, which is they want to grip a nation, they want to get people to support them. They want to be able to communicate them -- with them in a way that will make them want to vote for them.

VARGAS: And while presidential elections often boil down to a red state-blue state battle, "American Idol" has now a whole new color scheme.

THOMPSON: In this case, you`ve got the gray states, Taylor Hicks, and you`ve got the long, brown curly states with Katharine McPhee.

VARGAS: And "American Idol" contestants even hit the campaign trail, stumping for votes. This week we saw them being welcomed to their hometowns with huge parades and rallies, complete with campaign signs.

Taylor Hicks and Elliott Yamin`s motorcades were even more impressive than Vice President Cheney`s. But Hicks and Yamin don`t get the cool American flag hood ornaments.

It`s clear that they`re campaigning just as hard to be the "American Idol" as some people campaign to be the American president.

THOMPSON: In an odd sort of way this really is a bizarre mirroring of the kinds of things we`ve seen in other elections, and this campaign even more emphasizes it. I mean, they`re going out and kissing babies.

Only problem is just like babies can`t vote, babies can`t dial 1-888- IDOLS-01. Nor are they very good at text messaging. And even if they were they wouldn`t have the patience to sit through the busy signals.

VARGAS: Former contestant Kellie Pickler tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT that even though you`re on "American Idol" to sing, you ought to remember that you`re trying to win an election.

KELLIE PICKLER, "AMERICAN IDOL" CONTESTANT: It`s important that you play the cameras too. Because you know, it`s those people at home that are watching you and voting for you. And so you`ve got to do something that`s going to reel them in and make them keep watching and make them want to pick up the phone and vote for you.

VARGAS: Bush advisor Karl Rove couldn`t have said it better himself.

But even if they lose, like Elliott Yamin did this week, "American Idol" contestants are gaining valuable experience campaigning for votes. Who knows? Maybe one day one of them will use that campaign experience for bigger and better things.

THOMPSON: All of this kind of stuff is obviously not politics, but it certainly uses a lot of the skills that could come in handy if any of these people ultimately decided to leave singing and go into politics.

VARGAS: And "American Idol" contestant as president? It will sure be fun to watch them sing the oath of office.


VARGAS: And election day -- I`m sorry, excuse me. Did I say election day? I mean the "American Idol" season finale, where the winner is crowned, is next Wednesday.

HAMMER: So silly, Sibila.

Well, joining us now from Washington, D.C., we have political strategist Jenny Backus joining us.

Jenny, thanks for being with us. Kind of a fun way of looking at "American Idol" isn`t it?

JENNY BACKUS, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: It`s great. I wish that some politicians that I work for would take a couple of lessons from those guy on TV, because they sure know how to get you fired up.

HAMMER: Let`s talk about Taylor Hicks in particular. Here`s a guy with this magnanimous personality, so much charisma. Is there a particular politician that he reminds you of?

BACKUS: Well, actually, he reminds me of two. But the one he mostly reminds me of is Bill Clinton. I mean, he`s got that ability to connect with the audience. He conveys as sort of compassion and empathy.

You feel like you know him, like you`ve hung out with him, maybe you`ve gotten a beer with him or gone to see a NASCAR race with him. He`s just a down to earth, hometown guy. And he really sort of conveys the notion that Americans, like, are all the same, and we`re one big family. So I think he has a feeling a lot.

He also a little bit reminds me of George Bus, who had some of those same traits as Bill Clinton did, especially in his early 2000 campaign. He sort of came across as a guy that you would recognize and that was sort of like you. And I think that`s what Taylor is going to try to do when we see him in the finale.

HAMMER: And of course, when he`s on stage he certainly is the biggest personality in the room, and anybody I know who`s ever met Bill Clinton has said that about Mr. Clinton.

And as we just saw in our story, one thing that both Taylor and Katharine have gotten to do is go back to their hometowns. That is, you know, part of the "American Idol" program, but this is a strategy obviously that politicians use all the time. Why does this particular strategy work?

BACKUS: Well, it`s Campaign 101. I think it`s the best way for people to tell the story of their life, for people to understand where they`ve come from.

Bill Clinton did it with Hope. What a great name for a town. John Edwards did it from a small town. Some of the other candidates who have had it from bigger cities but, you know, it`s where you`re from, it`s your roots. It`s meant to convey your values and really, you know, what you`re all about as a person.

Again, it`s like looking for that sense of connection that people sort of feel like they understand you because they come -- you come from a place like them.

HAMMER: I want to bring in Kellyanne Conway. She`s a Republican strategist and CEO of the Polling Company. Not looking to make this a partisan issue here, but thanks for being with us, Kellyanne. I appreciate it.


HAMMER: Now, just like in politics where there`s always a gender gap and gender division, same thing is really going on here with "American Idol" and Taylor and Katharine.

The question is how is that going to affect them? Is that going to affect the vote? Because I`m thinking, you know, a lot of the guys may be voting for her and a lot of the ladies voting for him.

CONWAY: Agreed. In fact, the best chance that Katharine has of winning is if most of the electorate for the "American Idol" finale is male. Women in secret balloting usually don`t support women. If they did, Elizabeth Dole would have been president instead of George W. Bush, and Geraldine Ferraro would have been vice president and maybe president in the 1980s.

And I think that in the case of Taylor, Taylor probably reminds many women in this country of some man in their life: a son, a cousin, a boyfriend, a colleague. He has that every man sort of quality about him, and that has wide appeal.

He also seems to be the kid who came from nothing and nowhere. And is really hard scrabble in his way. And people love that version of the American dream. They love someone who has made their own way in this world and has done good and represents sort of the greater American national ideal.

HAMMER: And a lot of people have suggested now that there`s only one guy because when there were two guys people were saying, well, maybe that split the vote between them and then, you know, Katharine had to compete with that. So maybe Taylor`s going to benefit by being just the only guy.

And I also wanted to ask you, if just like any political vote, you know, anyone can vote in a political vote but, of course, there`s an age issue. There`s an even larger voting pool in the case of "American Idol". You don`t have to be 18. So how do you think that this vote will compare to that of a political one?

CONWAY: It will -- well, it will probably be people who are much more informed than they are when they go to the ballot box, generally, and more excited about the candidates.

Generally, when you talk about presidential politics you hear voters again and again in focus groups say it`s the lesser of two evils, the lesser of two evils. No one is really saying that about Katharine and about Taylor. There are -- many people like both of them, and they feel that they`re struggling between the better of two goods rather than the lesser of two evils.

But I have to say that the three-person panel, the judges there really sort of represent the Electoral College, and we the people represent the popular vote. And so it may be that somebody can win the popular vote but lose the Electoral College and vice versa here.

HAMMER: Interesting.

CONWAY: And it`s just funny because Simon is the ultimate swing voter. He`s impervious to anyone`s reason or emotion or appeal.


CONWAY: He seems very indifferent. He`s declaring his independence from either side if you will.


CONWAY: And Paula Abdul much more the emotional voter.

Ultimately, the winner of "American Idol" will be the person who answers the two questions that every presidential contestant needs to answer, too, which is, do I like him and is he like me? The "do I like him" is do I want this person in my living room for the next couple years?

HAMMER: Right.

CONWAY: And "is he like me" is that connective tissue. Can I really relate to this person?

HAMMER: And I`ve got to end it here. Kellyanne, thank you very much. And Jenny Backus, Kellyanne Conway, we appreciate you taking this sort of different spin on the "American Idol" process.

BACKUS: Thank you.

HAMMER: And now we want to hear from you on it. For our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day, "American Idol": do the best singers win? is where you go to vote or e-mail us at

Now that he`s separating from his wife, Paul McCartney may have a long and winding road ahead of him through the British court system. We`re going to take a look at how much money is at stake, coming up.

Plus this...




VARGAS: The chilling trailer for Oliver Stone`s movie about 9/11 raising controversy as it`s shown in theaters for the first time day. Coming up, we`ll talk to the producers of "The World Trade Center".

HAMMER: And SHOWBIZ at Cannes for another controversial film. We`re going to go back to the film festival, where SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson spoke with the director of "The Da Vinci Code", Ron Howard. That`s coming up.


HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

And it`s time now for a story that made us say earlier today when we first saw it, "That`s ridiculous." Because some of the papers are going nuts over this, the latest paparazzi photos of Britney Spears and her baby.

Now in it, she`s walking out of a New York hotel with a glass of water in one hand and he son, Sean Preston, in another. Now she stumbles. She almost falls, and a body guard helps steady Britney and her son.

After the two recent car seat incidents, it seems like people are just waiting for Spears to mess up with her child again, but the woman tripped for goodness sake. I`m even starting to feel sorry for her. All the scrutiny, we`ve got to say, that`s ridiculous.

Well, moving on now, it is certainly one of the most-highly anticipated movies ever. And now, you can finally buy your very own ticket and find out what all the controversy is about surrounding "The Da Vinci Code."

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson joins us from the Cannes film festival where the movie made its premiere -- Brooke.

ANDERSON: A.J., this is the day "The Da Vinci Code" finally opens. It rolls into more than 3,700 theaters in the U.S. alone. But the reviews haven`t been kind. I sat down with "Da Vinci" director Ron Howard and got his feelings on the early negative reviews. Take a listen.


RON HOWARD, DIRECTOR: And I went into this with my eyes open. I knew that, you know, in some segments of the population it was going to be very controversial and very upsetting.

And, you know, and to those people if I have an opportunity to say, if you feel you`re going to be upset by this, a fictional film, don`t go see it. You know, you`re not obliged to.

I think it does sort of ask people to open their minds, to use their minds. I don`t think it asks anyone to change their minds. But I think it does say, don`t ignore the questions.

ANDERSON: The critics for the most part are not being kind.

HOWARD: Would I love all glowing reviews? Of course. I mean, and I`ve had that in my career, where there are 80, 90 percent positive, and that`s a wonderful thing.

You know, I never really felt like that`s what we were inviting with this story. I`ve seen how audiences respond, and -- and certainly there`s controversy within those groups, as well. The likes and dislikes. But it runs so much more to the positive, you know, to a very encouraging degree. And that`s a disconnect from the critics.

I don`t think I`ve ever made a movie where part of the entertainment value was the fact that it was going to create some conflict. You know, that it was going to provoke, you know, a dialogue and not even always a pleasant one but an interesting one.


ANDERSON: Now Ron Howard also told me that despite the early harsh reviews he is fully confident that the film will do well at the box office. He says in part due to the book`s built-in fan base and also because he believes that people want to be a part of the discussion.

A.J., back to you.

HAMMER: Now Brooke, it has been an amazing week for you at the Cannes film festival. Hanging out in the south of France. What are some of the most memorable moments for you?

ANDERSON: A.J., pretty much everything has been memorable here at Cannes. From the glitz and glamour from the red carpet to -- take a look around me -- the breathtaking scenery that is Cannes, France. It`s absolutely incredible.

The mood here all week has been extremely festive. There haven`t been any "Da Vinci Code" protests here despite the controversy surrounding the story worldwide.

Security is pretty tight, though. For example, when the cast and crew of "The Da Vinci Code" arrived earlier this week via train, there were more than 50 uniformed officers there to keep things under control. We all got a thorough pat down and then our bags were searched before we were able to enter the train station. So the festival is not taking any chances. No surprise will.

The access to the stars, A.J., has been extremely good. I sat down with Ethan Hawke, Greg Kinnear, Wilmer Valderrama, earlier today. We talked about their movie, "Fast Food Nation", that`s premiering here. It`s also up for the coveted Palm D`Or prize.

I`ll also get a chance to talk with Penelope Cruz. She`s here for her film, "Volver". It`s just a spectacular star-studded event and beautiful part of the world. And A.J., I`m just trying to soak it all up. Back to you.

HAMMER: Try to have a good time.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson. Thank you very much for joining us from the Cannes film festival, thank you.

VARGAS: You`ve probably heard by now that Paul McCartney and Heather Mills are separating, after just under four years of marriage. And the former Beatle`s fortune estimated at more than a billion dollars. Now the speculation is -- just how much will Mills get?

Mere hours after Paul McCartney and heather mills told the world they were both saying no and both saying go, the focus quickly shifted from a romance spoiled to the bottom line.

NATHAN BRACKWELL, SENIOR EDITOR, "ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE": McCartney is probably rock`s first billionaire, only Mick Jagger, Elton John, David Kilmore, Pink Floyd probably make as much money.

VARGAS: Now, even in the midst of their breakup, McCartney defends Mills. Writing on his official web site, quote, "It`s been suggested that she married me for the money. There is not an ounce of truth in this. She`s a very generous person who spends most of her time trying to help others in greater need than herself.

McCartney`s words may soon, according to various estimates the former beetle is worth a staggering $1.5 billion.

NATHAN BRACKETT, SENIOR EDITOR, "ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE": The estimate are that he may end up losing more than $200 million. Divorce law in England, they do its own thing.

VARGAS: A sad ending to what happened as a happy marriage. But that was yesterday, when all their troubles seemed so far away.


VARGAS: Heather Mills hasn`t said what, if anything, she`ll be asking for in any divorce proceedings, so at this point it`s all speculation. There certainly is a lot of money at stake, A.J.

HAMMER: Certainly is. McCartney may be joining an elite club -- ex husbands who have had to pay millions when they got divorced -- and he would be in some pretty famous company. Hollywood`s most expensive divorces, coming up.

Plus this...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Man, I`m speechless. Yes, I liked it a lot. I don`t know why the critics said what they said about it.


VARGAS: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has the first audience reaction about "The Da Vinci Code" as people leave the theater. Plus, how "The Da Vinci Code" has boosted tourism in Europe.

HAMMER: And -- the chilling trailer for the Oliver Stone movie about...


HAMMER: On Monday, the secrets of "The Dog Whisperer." The star of National Geographic Channel`s hit show is here to tell us how he transforms troubled pups into disciplined dogs. Meet "The Dog Whisperer" Monday in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

VARGAS: The day is finally here! After months of controversy, "The Da Vinci Code" is open in theaters nationwide. The opening comes as protests over the film escalate among Christian groups in Greece, South Korea, Thailand and India.

Even with the negative press, including some bad reviews from critics, people we talked to had good things to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, man, I`m speechless. Yes, I liked it a lot. I don`t know why the critics said what they said about it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought it was fantastic. I thought they did a great job. I think they were very true to the book as much as possible, considering the film. And I really enjoyed it. It was a great, great movie. The critics are crazy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really liked it. I really enjoyed it. I guess I`m surprised because I heard about the reviews and I really -- I loved the movie.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was very much like the book. It was very much like the book. I was very excited.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was an ending of the book where they probably should have put it in the film. And if you read the book you will know.


VARGAS: They certainly liked it. But the movie has received some praise but the majority of the response from the critics so far has been pretty negative.

HAMMER: We all know about the book and the movie, but "The Da Vinci Code" has spawned another cottage industry, in travel. We`re going to show you how some people are taking their "Da Vinci" devotion on the road, coming up.

VARGAS: Plus, the chilling trailer for Oliver Stone`s movie about 9/11, raising controversy as it`s shown in theaters for the first time today. Coming up, we`ll talk to the producers of "World Trade Center."

HAMMER: And Kevin Costner and Harrison Ford are members of a dubious club: ex-husbands who`ve had to pay big money when they got divorced. Hollywood`s most expensive divorces, coming up when SHOWBIZ TONIGHT for a Friday night comes right back.


A.J. HAMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT for a Friday night, 30 minutes past the hour. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

SIBILA VARGAS, CNN ANCHOR: And I`m Sibila Vargas in Hollywood. You`re watching TV`s most provocative entertainment news broadcast.

HAMMER: Sibila there has been plenty of speculation this week since the news broke that Paul McCartney and Heather Mills are splitting up about just what Paul may have to pay out in the split. The man being worth $1.5 billion.

VARGAS: Did you say billion?

HAMMER: I most certainly did. He wouldn`t be the first with the big payout. Lots of big stars have paid out lots of bucks. Who, how much, we`re going to tell you in just a couple of minutes.

VARGAS: Also, tonight, "Da Vinci" and Cannes, I mean we`re going to go back to Brooke Anderson, she`s going to talk to us about how "The Da Vinci Code" the movie and the book, Dan Brown takes you to these exotic places, beautiful places all over Europe and now people are flocking to these places. She`s going to explore that, coming up.

HAMMER: It`s a whole new business. But first tonight, if you are heading out to see "The Da Vinci Code" this weekend for yourself, I want you to brace yourself because just before you settle in for the feature film you and millions of others are going to be among the first to see the stirring trailer for Oliver Stone`s latest film "World Trade Center", starring Nicolas Cage and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Now it`s the second theatrical film to cover the events of September 11th. The first of course was "United 93." But this film takes you inside the twin towers of the World Trade Center for a no holds barred look at the events of that fateful morning. But can we handle reliving the nightmare? Well we`ve got two of the producers who worked with Oliver Stone on the project with us tonight. But first, here`s what movie goers are going to be seeing all weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) Roll call, working Tuesday, September 11th, the color for the day is green. As always, protect yourselves, watch each other`s backs.

We have unconfirmed reports this morning that a plane has crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center.

Prepared for everything. But not this. Not for something this size. There`s no plan. Okay. Listen up, we`ve got to evacuate the tower. Who`s coming? Step forward.

I got it, Searg.

I`ll go.


Alright. Follow me. Stay together.

Run! Can you still see the light?



HAMMER: Joining me tonight to talk about "World Trade Center", here in New York, two of the producers of the film, Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher. Thank you both for being with us.


HAMMER: Very powerful, obviously very moving. When we first showed it on air the other night it truly shook me. Maybe partially because I`m a New Yorker. Just brought me right back there. Obviously there has been talk since the first idea of 9/11 films came up that it`s too soon. Some people they that it is. Your reaction when you hear that.

MICHAEL SHAMBERG, PRODUCER, "WORLD TRADE CENTER": You know it`s a matter of choice, if you go to a film or not. But it`s not too soon to remember the heroism, the courage, the cooperation, how American, particularly New York, came together that day. It`s really important we have a record of that and not just these horrific images that give comfort to terrorists. We need to tell America how strong we were that day and that`s what we`re trying to do with the film.

SHER: Someone told us a really interesting story about their parents who were holocaust survivors, seeing "The Pianist" and they were there for the Warsaw uprising. And their parents said, it`s not like it was because it`s too far away. And in order for people to really remember what it was like, that day. The records have to be set close to the event so that we don`t lose that image. And let what happened dull in our imaginations.

HAMMER: And that is actually one of the things I got out of "United 93". A film that I was apprehensive about seeing but in the end, I`ve been saying it all along, I`m happy I saw it for that very reason. Now the thing about "United 93" that the filmmakers were very clear about was that they reached out to family members to have as an exact a record as possible. Did you guys do anything like that?

SHAMBERG: We reached out to the real men obviously who are depicted in it, the men who rescued them and their fellow officers from the Port Authority Police Department, the New York Police Department and the Fire Department of New York, who were at ground zero involved in rescue operations, to advise us every step of the way that it looked real.

SHER: There are different stories because our story is a small personal story of a group of people that went in to rescue people, two of whom survived. So we know exactly what they went through that day. And it`s been very accurate.

HAMMER: Have you heard from anybody who either was portrayed or just anybody at all saying, you know, we would rather you didn`t make this film, whether it be family members?

SHAMBERG: Some family members, you know wish we weren`t making it. But the men who were there all said, from what they`ve seen, we`ve gotten it right. And they want their comrades to be remembered. And it`s their story because it`s not the private story of the men. It`s the professional story of the men. So we respect them but we`re not telling the story we think -- we`re not telling the story that we think is invasive of their privacy. We`re telling a public story.

HAMMER: We`re seeing what takes place inside the World Trade Center as you imagine. What kinds of things should we be prepared for?

SHER: Well, it`s not as we imagine. It`s as described to us by the people who were there and are still with us. John McLoughlin who`s a 22 year veteran of the Port Authority Police sergeant and Will Jimeno who was a rookie both lived. And they experienced the collapse of both towers. They were on the concourse level. They ran into a re-enforced elevator shaft. And they survived the collapse of both towers and also building seven.

HAMMER: No star power in "United 93." You`ve got big names, Nicolas Cage, Oliver Stone of course, Maggie Gyllenhaal. Is that a plus for you guys?

SHAMBERG: Well we have really fine actors who disappear into their characters and you`re not going to go and recognize them as stars. You`re going to go and recognize the characters they`re playing.

HAMMER: So advantageous though to have those names?

SHER: Advantageous to have an Academy Award winning actor in Nicolas Cage and to have a three time Oscar winner in Oliver Stone.

HAMMER: Well I know you`re on your way to Cannes to screen the film over there. I wish you well.

SHAMBERG: Thank you so much.

HAMMER: With all that and thank you for talking to us.

SHAMBERG: Thanks a lot. Thanks for your time.

SHER: Thanks.

HAMMER: Stacey Sher, Michael Shamberg, we appreciate you joining us. And Oliver Stone`s "World Trade Center" will be in theaters on August 9.

VARGAS: Time now for tonight`s "Hot Headlines." "Dancing with the Stars" beauty Stacy Keibler is said to be doing fine after a health scare. Keibler reps confirms that Keibler had a minor seizure during a promotional event for "ABC". Keibler was rushed to the hospital but her reps say doctors gave her a clean bill of health. Keibler came in third place in the dance off.

The tables have turned for the so-called "runaway bride." Jennifer Wilbanks is now officially single after she confirms that she and former fianc' John Mason have broken up. Wilbanks` disappearance days before the couple`s wedding last year set off a media storm. She resurfaced in New Mexico three days later saying she had been kidnapped -- a story she later recanted. Mason stuck by Wilbanks even after the fiasco. Wilbanks is now doing community service to repay the city for the cost of the search.

And neither age, nor injury is slowing down the material girl. Madonna is rehearsing for her latest tour set to kick-off this Sunday in Los Angeles. "The Confessions Tour" will make stops around the world through the end of September. And those are tonight`s "Hot Headlines."

HAMMER: Well coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, I can`t wait for this story. This particular guy`s 15 minutes of fame apparently not over yet. We`re going to tell you why a former "Idol" castoff is celebrating a new "crowning" moment.

VARGAS: Also -- breaking-up and breaking the bank. We`ll tell you about Hollywood`s most expensive divorces. We`ll also have this --


I thought it was fantastic. I thought they did a great job. I think they were very true to the book as much as possible considering the film. I really enjoyed it. It was a great, great movie. The critics are crazy.


HAMMER: "The Da Vinci Code" finally out. Ahead -- the first reactions to the controversial film. Some surprising responses to, that`s still to come on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

VARGAS: But first, a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT birthday shout-out, where we give fans a chance to wish their favorite stars a happy birthday. Well tonight we`re sending one out to Grace Jones, she`s celebrating her 58th birthday today. Wow. She looks good.


And I`d like to wish Grace Jones a very happy birthday. You`re an amazing artist. You`ve inspired me in many ways. And hope you have a great day.



HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, TV`s most provocative entertainment news show! I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. Time now for another story today that just made us say, "That`s Ridiculous!" You remember that guy, huh? "American Idol" castoff William Hung, apparently, extending his 15 minutes of fame with a crowning achievement. Hung is now, are you ready for this? The new Artichoke King. Yes, a big deal in Castroville, California.

Now, this is a city that calls itself the artichoke capital of the world. Now Hung as you know originally got attention for doing that, butchering Ricky Martin`s song "She Bangs" during his Idol audition. From Idol loser to artichoke king. Hung`s latest achievement puts him among notable artichoke royalty including Marilyn Monroe. Now, that`s ridiculous. And Sibila did you know there was actually artichoke royalty in our world?

VARGAS: I did not know that. But I thought, you know what, so he gets an artichoke, that artichoke whatever it is, it`s better than getting a record deal. But do you think if I said she bangs, she bangs, that I should get my own record deal now?

HAMMER: I don`t think you will. But maybe you will be carrot queen or something like that.

VARGAS: Maybe.

HAMMER: He has actually made a good deal of money. And speaking of making money or paying money, you`ve heard the expression "breaking up is hard to do." Well for Paul McCartney and Heather Mills it`s not only thing that`s going to be difficult. Not just the breaking up part -- but there`s going to be this big battle potentially for his reported more than $1 billion if they do end up in divorce court.

But let me tell you this -- Paul McCartney has had plenty of company in this field. Tonight, we are ripping the lid off of some of Hollywood`s messiest and most expensive divorces with Harvey Levin, our friend and the managing editor of

Now TMZ Harvey has dug up some of the biggest Hollywood divorces ever I know. And you`re joining us from the TMZ newsroom in Glendale, California to tell us all about this. This is some big ugly expensive stuff.

HARRY LEVIN, TMZ.COM: Lots and lots of dough, A.J.

HAMMER: Well let`s get into it with one of the biggest, and like Paul, a legendary musician here, Neil Diamond. It was more than 10 years ago when he got divorced, and reportedly paid out Marcia Diamond something like 150 million bucks and this was really a messy divorce, wasn`t it Harvey?

LEVIN: Well, my favorite line of every divorce in Hollywood is Neil Diamond when he said I wish her all the happiness $150 million can buy. What a great line. But the bottom line is he was gracious. He said, look, this is the mother of my children. I wish her the best. She walked away with a house in Aspen, a house in Beverly Hills, a whole lot of cash, and ultimately it ended up really kind of decent. But he paid dearly.

HAMMER: Yes and that divorce will certainly keep her forever in blue jeans. Gucci blue jeans.

LEVIN: And by the way, the other great line is, she apparently threw him out of the house during the rocky part of the marriage after he had a dalliance with a rodeo cowgirl. How great is that?

HAMMER: That`s, well, in some worlds I guess that is great.

On to another biggie. Steven Spielberg, one of the great movie makers of our time and Amy Irving who got divorced back in 1989. Now this had a great story as well. These guys had a prenup but the judge Harvey apparently threw it out and awarded her 100 million bucks?

LEVIN: Well, they ultimately I believe settled this case. But you`re right, that there was a prenup. But what Amy Irving did with her lawyers is she went into court and she said, look, this guy strong armed me into signing it. And you know at a point when you sign a prenup both sides have to have independent counsel, they have to exercise free will. And the judge agreed with Amy and said, you know, it looks like you did strong arm her. So he wasn`t going to enforce the prenup and she ended up walking away, this I`m told was a very nasty divorce.

HAMMER: Well Steven Spielberg has made Tom Cruise some money and before there was Tom and Katie, there was Tom and Nicole. It was just, I think 10 days or just a few days before their ten-year wedding anniversary when Tom dropped the bombshell on Nicole Kidman saying I want a divorce. And apparently that cost him somewhere in the neighborhood of $85 million?

LEVIN: It did cost him a lot of money. But it could have cost him a lot more because under California law, which is where they did get divorced, she would have been entitled to alimony theoretically for the rest of her life if she didn`t remarry, if it would have past the 10-year mark. So I don`t know whether it was calculated or just a coincidence but those 10 days could have cost him a lot more money. A.J.?

HAMMER: And do you ask for points like in the movies when you`re going to marry a guy like Tom Cruise?

LEVIN: That`s funny.

HAMMER: Let`s talk about Kevin Costner and Cindy Silva. Now these guys knew each other very early in life, they were college sweethearts and they were married for a long time, around 16 years. When it ended, apparently she walked away with something around 80 million bucks.

LEVIN: Yeah. I mean, look, this is the bottom line, this is a state, California, and really a lot of states, you know, where if you`re married for a long time and you have somebody who`s a movie star on the other side, where it is going to cost you a lot of money. Now she was a very accomplished and successful restaurateur on her own, but the bottom line is, he made an awful lot of money during that marriage and, again, he paid up the nose when it ended.

HAMMER: And quickly I want to ask you about Harrison Ford who divorced Melissa Mathison and reportedly had to pay out around $90 million himself.

LEVIN: Well, you know what, you make a lot of money on the front end and you pay it on the back end. When you said about points, you know it`s kind of true that these people, when you`re talking about big bucks, it sounds crazy to us that somebody would get that kind of money. But that`s the lifestyle they had, that`s the money they earned together and that`s what you end up paying when the marriage fails.

HAMMER: Alright Harvey, well it`s really interesting to hear all about that. And Paul not the only one potentially with a big buck payout.

Our beloved from have a nice weekend.

LEVIN: See you A.J.

VARGAS: Well last night, we asked you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" question of the day -- Paul McCartney`s split -- does Heather Mills deserve half his money? Well 8 percent of you said yes, she does. That means a whopping 92 percent of you said no, she doesn`t. Here are some of the e- mails we got. Debbie from Missouri writes -- "I think that Heather Mills- McCartney is a gold digger. It is sad that someone of Paul`s Caliber ever got involved with her." And James from Florida writes -- "The first time I saw Heather and Paul together, I knew that she did not care for him. Her eyes showed dollar signs."

HAMMER: Well all week long, we`ve been having a lot of fun as SHOQBIZ TONIGHT has been bringing you coverage from the Cannes Film Festival in France. Tonight, we wrap up our coverage with obviously the biggest movie coming out of the festival, "The Da Vinci Code." For that, we now turn to Brooke Anderson in Cannes.

BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A.J. "The Da Vinci Code" isn`t just a book, it isn`t just a film any more. It has actually spawned a cottage industry. Now people all over the world are cashing in on the public`s insatiable appetite for everything "Da Vinci." Take a look.


Symbols are a language that can help us understand our past.

ANDERSON: Art, religion, mystery, murder and exotic locales. "The Da Vinci Code" is inspiring armchair travelers to book airline tickets.

AMY FARLEY, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, TRAVEL & LEISURE: "The Da Vinci Code" tourism sort of started on a grass roots level where people were taking their books with them and literally just trying to find the spots throughout Europe that the book takes place.

ANDERSON: Those grassroots efforts have sensed blossomed into formal guides, travel DVDs and tours.

FARLEY: Photos and rough guide books, both are published books. There`s also Paris Walks, which is one of the most vulnerable walking tour companies in Paris bringing people to all of the sights that were featured in the book.

JENNIFER PAUL, EDITOR, FODOR`S TRAVEL: Well when we saw the tremendous growth of the audience for the novel, clearly there was a readership that was so interested in discovering more about the locations and the sites and the ideas in the novel.

ANDERSON: Destinations like the Lube in Paris and London`s Westminster Abby already have an established tourist base. But smaller, lesser known spots are seeing more visitors.

FARLEY: There`s a church called Sons of Peace and that has been seeing a lot of tourists come through. There`s also a church in Scotland called the Rosalyn Chapel. They reported about 6,000 visitors a year and now they`re up to about 120,000 visitors a year.

ANDERSON: While the additional foot traffic can help fill a church`s coffers, it can also present problems.

FARLEY: Too much tourism, especially for some of these places that "The Da Vinci Code" fans are visiting, a 15TH century church in say Scotland, a lot of traffic can be difficult, can increase the wear and tear on the church itself.

ANDERSON: And with the movie`s release, sites like the Temple Church in London and the Palais-Royal in France, are sure to see even more travelers. Members of the tourism industry say the positives outweigh the negatives.

PAUL: Anything that gets people curious, gets them inspired, gets them, you know, eager to investigate and learn more for themselves, it`s a great thing.


ANDERSON: Now even the Lube where part of "The Da Vinci Code" was filmed is embracing the increased attention from tourists. The museum will offer a new audio tour called "Step Inside The Da Vinci Code" A.J., the museum hopes to support more films in the future by allowing movie makers to film there. Back to you.

HAMMER: Well Brooke your tough assignment in the south of France officially over. Go enjoy the weekend, thank you very much for that. You`re wrapping up a week`s worth of fine coverage for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. And we are coming right back for a Friday night.


VARGAS: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. We`ve been asking you to vote on tonight`s SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day -- "American Idol" -- do the best singers win? Keep voting at And write us at We`ll read some of your emails Monday.

HAMMER: Well as we get into the weekend, it is time now to find out what is coming up here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on Monday. For that, we will let our SHOWBIZ marquee. Danny?

Well on Monday the secrets of "The Dog Whisperer." Cesar Milan, people loved this show. He`s the star of the National Geographic`s hit show, and he`s going to join us right here in the studio. How does he transform troubled pups into disciplined dogs? Hollywood`s biggest stars are lining up to find out. And now you too can meet the dog whisperer here Monday on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Also Monday -- "The Da Vinci Code" finally in theaters. Will it live up to the hype? One of the country`s best known televangelists weighs in on the movie and its backlash! The heated debate -- Monday on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

And that is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, have a great weekend. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

VARGAS: And I`m Sibila Vargas in Hollywood. Good night and stay tuned for the latest from "CNN Headline News."

VIRGINIA CHA, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, there, I`m Virginia Cha. Here`s your "Headline Prime Newsbreak." The White House says President Bush supports two new amendments the senate has added to its immigration bill. One would make English the national language. The other calls it America`s common and unified language.

Voters in New Orleans will be heading to the polls Saturday. Incumbent Mayor Ray Nagin is in a too close to call runoff election against Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu for the city`s top job.

The runaway bride has broken up with the man she infamously left alone at the alter. CNN has confirmed Jennifer Wilbanks and her fianc'e have split up. Wilbanks generated a media storm last year after she disappeared four days before her scheduled wedding. She falsely claimed she`d been abducted and sexually assaulted.

And the Space Shuttle Discovery is now one step closer to blasting off. The shuttle has just finished rolling on to the Kennedy Space Center`s launch pad in preparation for its scheduled liftoff in July. That`s the look at the headlines. I`m Virginia Cha.