Return to Transcripts main page

Showbiz Tonight

Barbara Walters now in Middle of Trump-Rosie Feud; Brangelina Make a Documentary on Sudan

Aired January 09, 2007 - 23:00   ET


A. J. HAMMER, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT ANCHOR: Suzanne Somers talking about losing her home in the Malibu wildfire. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.
BROOKE ANDERSON, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT ANCHOR: And the debate over skinny models gets a new push from doctors. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. TV`s most provocative entertainment news show starts right now.

HAMMER: On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the biggest loser in the war between the Donald and O`Donnell. Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT dares to ask, could the biggest loser in this war over Rosie actually be Barbara Walters?

Tonight, Donald Trump`s shocking attack on Barbara, calling her an outright liar,! ouch. Excuses, excuses, and the stars who make them. Ashley`s S&L flub because of acid reflux? Nicole`s DUI, because of cramps? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with the most outrageous, the most ridiculous, the worst celebrity excuses ever.

Hello, I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

ANDERSON: Hi there, everyone. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. And it`s not nice to call your friend a liar.

HAMMER: But Brooke, that`s exactly what Donald Trump is doing, calling his friend, Barbara Walters -- or maybe now I should be saying former friend -- a big-time liar in this war of words that`s been going on with Rosie O`Donnell. And tonight SHOWBIZ TONIGHT dares to ask, is Barbara turning out to be the biggest loser in this nasty, ugly, almost juvenile fight? Well judge for yourself.


DONALD TRUMP, "THE APPRENTICE": The winning team will be very happy. The losers, I will see you back in the board room. Somebody will be fired.

HAMMER (voice-over): On his show, "The Apprentice," Donald Trump isn`t above playing off one side against the other, just for the fun of it.

TRUMP: If you were me, who would you fire?

HAMMER: And now he is doing the same thing in his feud with Rosie O`Donnell, a feud that is now causing behind the scenes tension on "The View," between O`Donnell and her "View" co-host, Barbara Walters.

BARBARA WALTERS, "THE VIEW": This is just ugly. It`s crash and burn.

HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has the latest on the behind the scenes turmoil on "The View," and we have obtained an explosive letter Trump sent to Rosie, calling Walters a liar. And we asked the big question -- who on Earth benefits from this extended feud?

MARY MURPHY, "TV GUIDE": Everyone is going to be hurt.

HAMMER: The feud began with Rosie making fun of Donald Trump`s handling of the Miss USA controversy.

ROSIE O`DONNELL, "THE VIEW": He annoys me on a multitude of levels.

HAMMER: And continued with Trump going on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT to share his opinion of Rosie.

TRUMP: Well, Rosie is a loser. She has always been a loser.

HAMMER: Plus, he dropped this bombshell on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, that Barbara Walters told him she regrets hiring Rosie for "The View."

TRUMP: Well Barbara Walters called me yesterday. She is a friend of mine and she is not a big fan of Rosie.

HAMMER: When Rosie returned to "The View" from her holiday break, Barbara said Trump is lying.

WALTERS: Let me say definitively that everything that he said I said about her is totally untrue.

HAMMER: But now there are startling reports that that statement of support from Barbara came only after Rosie blew up at her behind the scenes.

BEN WIDDICOMBE, "NY DAILY NEWS": Well, just moments before "The View" went live, there was a big confrontation between Barbara Walters and Rosie O`Donnell about Rosie`s feelings, about whether she was supported in her feud with Donald Trump.

HAMMER: Newspapers went wild with reports of the confrontation. It was then the Donald stepped in. Trump sent a letter to Rosie, accusing Walters of lying, and saying Rosie had a good reason to be angry at Barbara. Trump`s letter goes on to tell Rosie exactly what he claims Barbara said about her. It reads, "to be exact, she said that working with her is like living in hell and, more pointedly, Donald never get into the mud with pigs, and, don`t worry, she won`t be here for long. Barbara knows exactly what she told me over the phone, and she has to live with it."

And Donald can`t resist another dig at Rosie. He says, quote, I was surprised that you let your spat with Barbara get into the newspapers, but, as I have always said and as you proved with Rosie, the magazine, you are very self-destructive. You must work on this for your own good.

MURPHY: Donald is really masterful in the letter. It is an olive branch and it`s a slam on Rosie and Barbara at the same time.

HAMMER: Executives for "The View" are downplaying the reported O`Donnell/Walters spat as a family spat, telling SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, quote, from the first day Rosie spoke about Donald Trump, Barbara has been nothing but supportive of Rosie. Whatever happened in the hair and makeup room was only a squabble. It`s business as usual. Everyone has moved on.

But this feud continues to singe everyone involved. A "USA Today" Gallup poll showed that a startling 63 percent of people now have a negative view of Rosie and 48 percent of the Donald. And now Walters, one of the most respected journalists on TV, is watching her credibility take a hit, a costly price for a TV feud.


HAMMER: Please make it stop. Now we want to hear from you for our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day, the Donald verse Rosie feud; is Barbara Walters the biggest loser? Well, let us know what you think, is where you go to vote, or send us an e-mail if you`ve got more to say, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is the only entertainment news show, by the way, letting you express your opinion on video. If you want to send us a video e-mail, go to our website,

ANDERSON: Tonight, there is another feud brewing, and it has to do with getting ridiculously skinny, models off the runways. The Counsel of Fashion Designers now says it is going to educate the models, and make their working conditions better. But today, out of nowhere, comes the Academy for Eating Disorders on the attack.

With us tonight from Chapel Hill, North Carolina is Doctor Cynthia Bulik. Cynthia is former president of the academy and professor at the University of North Carolina. With us here in Hollywood, someone who has seen it all, Roshumba Williams, model and author of "The Complete Idiot`s Guide to Being a Model." Welcome to you both.

OK, Dr. Bulik, I want to begin with you. What`s the beef? What is wrong with the Counsel`s recommendation to have more education, better working conditions? Because there can`t be anything wrong with that, right? Maybe at least it`s a start.

DR. CYNTHIA BULIK, ACADEMY FOR EATING DISORDERS: Well, a start`s not enough. We`re at the point now where we know there have been three high- profile deaths from eating disorders. And these small measures aren`t going to come close to addressing the seriousness of the problem.

ANDERSON: Should there be age, weight requirements? Because I know that the designers, so far, have resisted that, but the doctors are saying we need to get that BMI in there as a gauge, get them off the runways.

BULIK: Absolutely. BMI is Body Mass Index. We have the World Health organization behind us, saying if you`re below 18.5 on your BMI, that`s underweight. And we want to protect the models by making sure their BMIs are above that, and protect the people who are watching the models and say, hey, we don`t have to be this thin in order to be attractive and successful.

ROSHUMBA WILLIAMS, MODEL: Can I say this though, Brooke? I agree with her that not enough is being done, but let`s face it, it is a starting point. And speaking on behalf of the industry, the fashion designers, as well as the agents and the magazine, they want to protect the models as well. And for the industry just to kick a model off the runway because she doesn`t have the BMI that maybe the eating disorder association thinks that she could have, I think it`s a little unfair and a little extreme, simply because the reality is this is how they make their living, this is how they pay their rent. And the industry is addressing the fact that, yes, people have died from eating disorders and, yes, this is a problem, but we are in the process of making steps towards working it out.

ANDERSON: Well, while we have heard so many shocking stories. We have seen so many heartbreaking images. Doctor Bulik, you referred to the model who died, the Brazilian model, Anna Karolina Reston (ph). She died after suffering from anorexia. There is also the picture of the model that, when we look at it still, we cannot believe it. Here it is right here. She looks like she needs to be taken to a hospital immediately.

Doctor Bulik, what will it take to get these girls to gain a few pounds? Because that`s -- that doesn`t look natural.

BULIK: Well, I think that`s what`s really important. No one is saying kick somebody off the runway. Someone saying, help these girls, help the agents, help everyone in the industry try to figure out a way, so that they can still keep working, but they can get the help that they need. Because, you`re right, a lot of these girls and women are well below healthy body weights.

WILLIAMS: That`s true, but it`s not only the fashion industry that has, I guess, the very, very, very thin body image. If you look at --

ANDERSON: You`re right.

WILLIAMS: If you look at people like the Olsen sisters or Paris Hilton --


ANDERSON: But Roshumba, we do have these models literally killing themselves.


ANDERSON: So give us that perspective, give us a sense of the kind of pressures that you felt that models feel to be thin.

WILLIAMS: Well, honestly, it depends, because the industry goes in waves. Sometimes the womanly figure is more attractive. If you look at like the hey day of the super model, the Cindy Crawford, the Naomi Campbell, people like that, women were curvy. They were celebrated for being more curvy, or the Sports Illustrated model, which is what I actually basically am known for, is being a Sports Illustrated model, you`ve got to have some meat on your bones to do that.

But then we went through this phase of the waif, which was the really, really young, sort of like, gummy model, and now we`re in the phase of the super skinny model. And as the industry says, it will change, but I think that we do have to -- I agree. There shouldn`t be the battle between the eating disorder association and the fashion industry. If anything, I think we should come together to try to help the models. I`m happy that the red flag has been raised, that we do need to do so more, but at least its a start in the right direction.

BULIK: And Roshumba, we`re talking about the same thing, because we`re talking about starting a dialogue between the professional organization and the counsel. And that`s where things need to happen, so that both perspectives can be addressed in a healthy way.

ANDERSON: I agree, communication is key. We do have to wrap it up there. Doctor Cynthia Bulik -- we are talking -- Roshumba Williams, thank you both for your insight. You can catch Roshumba, by the way, on Oxygen`s new reality show, Tease. It premieres tomorrow.

HAMMER: The true story that got Brad Pitt to make a documentary, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has the moving story and exactly what Brad and Angie told us at the premiere. That`s coming up.

ANDERSON: Plus an emotional Suzanne Somers talks about losing her home in the Malibu fire, but why she says there is a silver lining. That`s ahead.

We`ll also have this.


FRANGELINA, COMEDIAN DUO: When the rest of us mess up, we`re just like, I messed up.

Yes, like, oh, you know what, my bad.

Celebrities are like no, no, I have an excuse.


ANDERSON: Excuses, excuses, from Nicole Richie`s cramps to Ashley Simpson`s acid reflux, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT presents the worst celebrity excuses ever. That`s coming up.


ANDERSON: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, TV`s most provocative entertainment news show. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. Suzanne Somers says she is keeping positive, even though her house was destroyed by a wildfire in Malibu today. Somers` home was among at least four that were destroyed by the fire. She and her husband were not at home at the time.

Today the cameras were there as Somers returned to survey the damage. It`s clearly emotional for her to see the house she lived in for seven years destroyed. But she told us that she is keeping it all in perspective.


SUZANNE SOMERS, ACTRESS: I don`t have a son or a daughter in Iraq, and there is not a death in the family. You know, we`ll rebuild. And I really think that we`ll learn something great from this. What else can you do with a tragedy but look for the opportunity to grow spiritually and emotionally. And I know that we`ll learn something great. It was a beautiful house. It was a beautiful place to live.


ANDERSON: Now these kind of fires happen every couple of years in the area. In 1993 Sean Penn also lost a home in Malibu in a wildfire.

HAMMER: Tonight we have an incredibly moving story to show you and Brad Pitt is one of the guiding forces behind it. It is the story of thousands of Sudanese boys who made a harrowing journey, fleeing their homes amid civil war. And it`s now the subject of a documentary called "God Grew Tired Of Us." Brad Pitt is the executive producer, and SHOWBIZ TONIGHT spoke with both him and Angelina Jolie at the Los Angeles premiere.

We`ll get to that in just a minute. But first SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Sibila Vargas on the remarkable story that inspired Brad Pitt.


SIBILA VARGAS, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT ANCHOR (voice-over): John Dau lives in a modest apartment building on a quiet street in Syracuse, New York, with the usual array of modern amenities -- computer, TV. But not so long ago his life was one of utter depravation when he was one of the so-called lost boys of Sudan.

JOHN DAU, SUDANESE REFUGEE: It was a war life. Life was just a matter of just running from place to place. You don`t know where you`re going to be tomorrow.

VARGAS: Dau was one of an estimated 25,000 boys in southern Sudan who fled their homes in the midst of a civil war in 1980s, hunted by militias from the north, the boys marched a thousand miles on foot to safety, and eventually wound up in the Kakuma refugee camp northern Kenya.

DAU: You go for like three days without food -- four days, you know, and even water. So it was very, very difficult.

VARGAS: Dau`s story and those of other lost boys are told in the new documentary, "God Grew Tired of Us," a project that has attracted celebrity support. Brad Pitt executive produced the film. Nicole Kidman narrated it.

NICOLE KIDMAN, ACTRESS: With little hope of finding their parents or families alive and the impossibility of returning to war-ridden Sudan, the United States agreed to resettle some of the lost boys to America.

VARGAS (on camera): In 2001 Dau and 4,0000 of the lost boys were allowed to immigrate to the U.S., closing a terrible chapter that, for him, lasted 15 years. The documentary shows Dau and others adjusting to a new life they had never imagined.

DAU: The first thing you have to learn here is the switch, to turn the light on and off. Come and see how it is done. And I want one of you, you have to learn how to turn it. On-off, on-off.

Your food, everything is here for you. OK, you have chicken.

VARGAS: A hot shower was something new.

DAU: Before you can take a shower, you have to see if the temperature is good for you.

VARGAS: So were potato chips.

DAU: In Africa, you just cook it. Here, they make them a different way. They call this a chip. They slice it, they fry it and they put it in a bag. OK?

VARGAS: Perhaps most strange of all, an American supermarket.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are donuts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These are colored sprinkles that we decorate them with. Do you want to try one? Do you want to taste it?


VARGAS: It`s been five years since Dau went through that initial adjustment.

DAU: It was a big, big surprise to us, because when you see a lot of food in this, such huge grocery store, you can see aisles of food -- I mean, dog aisles and cat aisles of food.

VARGAS: The attention the film has been earning, it won the top prize at Sundance, has helped Dau raise over 150,000 dollars for a medical facility he plans to build in Sudan.

DAU: This is where I`m going to build a medical clinic.

VARGAS: In the meantime, Dau, who is now 33, is building a home in Syracuse for himself, his future wife, who is also a Sudanese refugee, his mother, and a sister, with whom he was reunited. He works full-time and he is going to school.

DAU: Start living the American dream.

VARGAS: He reflects on a journey that took him from destitution in Africa to a new life in America.

DAU: Just keep hoping that maybe sometime you will get to a place where you can maybe regain your, who you are, your identity, your integrity, who you are. You can regain that back. And to regain that back is to come to a good country like United States, where people are there to help you.


HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT was right there with the stars at the Los Angeles premiere of the documentary. Nicole Kidman, who narrated the film, was right there, as were the Sudanese men who were the subjects of the documentary. And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT caught up with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who told us that the message of the movie is strong and universal.


BRAD PITT, ACTOR: What I really hope is that this idea of our side and their side is completely abolished, and really see each other for our common ground and help out.

ANGELINA JOLIE, ACTRESS: Everybody has probably got somebody in their neighborhood, or some kid in school, that just came into a new country and has been through something really traumatic. And just to learn about them, learn about who they are, be welcoming, and help them to accept their past and know that they don`t have to forget who they are, and where they are from, and be proud of it, is a huge thing. And that`s what every individual person can do, and everybody knows somebody who`s come in from another country.


HAMMER: No surprise the film has received so many accolades. It looks like a really, really powerful story. "God Grew Tired of Us" is the name of it. It will be opening up this Friday in New York and L.A.

ANDERSON: Well, A.J., speaking of growing tired of things, good old K-Fed is at it again. We`re going to have his mysterious new statement about his plans for the new year, coming up. I know you`re on pins and needles.

HAMMER: Oh, good. Can`t wait for that.

Also coming up, Brooke, this actually could be Whitney Houston`s year. We hope so here at SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. She has a comeback in the works. We`re going to tell you, other than us, who is rooting for her this time around and how she can make it happen. We`ll also have this.


FRANGELINA: Well, I think we cannot continually be using menstrual cramps as an excuse. When you use it for that, it makes it harder to use it for smaller things, like murder.


ANDERSON: From Nicole Richie`s cramps to Ashley Simpson`s acid reflux, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT presents the worst celebrity excuses ever, still ahead.


ANDERSON: What in the world is Kevin Federline up to now? You know, his album bombed. He has had some bit acting parts, including CSI. He even beat WWE wrestling champ John Cenna in the ring. And tonight he says get ready for a big surprise. On his official website,, K-Fed writes, happy new year, everyone. I hope you all had a safe and happy holiday. 2007 is going to be bigger and better. Watch out, stay tuned for a big surprise, to be announced very soon. Well, maybe we`ll all get lucky and the surprise will be he is retiring.

OK, Britney and Kevin have agreed to joint custody of their two children for the month of January, but who should get them permanently? Last night we asked you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. It was this, Britney Spears, should she get sole custody of the children? Very interesting, look at this, 44 percent of you say yes, but 56 percent of you say no, she shouldn`t.

Here`s some of the e-mails we received. Sasha from Canada says, thousands of parents are doing things way worst than Britney Spears. She is going to slip up. All parents do.

Lynn form Illinois says, whomever is best for the children should get custody, and from what we are seeing, neither Brit nor Kevin is mature enough.

HAMMER: Well, as you know Brooke, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT named Britney Spears the most controversial celebrity of 2006. A lot of people not too keen on how she dressed or didn`t dress. But did she make the famous list of (INAUDIBLE) worst dressed list? We`ll get into that.

ANDERSON: That`s the question. We`ve got that answer coming up. And we`re also going to have this.


FRANGELINA: When the rest of us mess up, we`re just like, I messed up.

Yes, I`m like, you know what? My bad. Celebrities are like, no, no.

I have an excuse.


ANDERSON: From Nicole Richie`s cramps to Ashley Simpson`s acid reflux, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT presents the worst celebrity excuses ever.

HAMMER: And they are no spring chickens, but from Rocky to Indiana Jones they are springing back into action. We`ll be getting into where have all the young action heroes gone, straight ahead.



HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It`s 30 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 most provocative entertainment news show.

HAMMER: Brooke, Whitney Houston, Britney Spears both poised for a big comeback in the `07. They`re both getting set to release brand new albums. They need for those albums to do well.

But which one of them is America behind? You know, there`s a poll for everything these days. There`s a poll on that. We`ve got the results coming up.

ANDERSON: Woo. Hopefully, they can both bounce back this year, A.J.

Also, you know, I think age is nothing but a number. And apparently, so do a lot of aging action heroes. Because I`m talking from "Rocky" to "Indiana Jones," they are all jumping back into action.

But coming up, we ask, Where are the young action heroes? Do they even exist?


ANDERSON: That is straight ahead.

But first, excuse them. Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is dissecting the lamest, most pathetic excuses stars have used when getting into trouble. And we`ve heard them all on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, especially those doozies - the so-called "official statements" from celebrity publicists.

So excuse us. Here`s our list of the worst celebrity excuses ever.


ANDERSON (voice-over): It was the lip-synching Milli Vanilli moment Ashlee Simpson will never forget on "Saturday Night Live." And she is just one of many celebrities who excuses we are dissecting, cutting, slicing, dicing and picking apart.

A recording of Simpson`s vocals came on while her band broke into a completely different song. She did a crazy jig and left the stage.

Ashlee was all full of excuses for what happened, and SHOWBIZ TONIGHT goes to comedy duo Frangela for the worst excuse, play by play.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When Ashlee Simpson got caught lip-synching on "Saturday Night Live" - what I didn`t understand, she went through a series of excuses. Do you remember?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At first it was the band`s fault.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. Right. Right. Right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then it was acid reflux.


ANDERSON: But why the excuses? Why didn`t Ashlee just fess up that she messed up?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When the rest of us mess up, we`re just like, I messed up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. I`m like, Oh you know what? My bad.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But celebrities are like, No, no, no. I have an excuse.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, no. No. This is not my fault.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. No, no, no. I didn`t - no, that wasn`t me. It was the boom (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Condition (ph) around me.


JESSICA SIMPSON, SINGER: Dolly, that made me so nervous.

ANDERSON: And conditions for Ashlee`s older sister Jessica proved to be just too nerve-wracking when she blundered her way through a prestigious tribute to country music legend Dolly Parton, mumbling that her nerves got the best of her as she exited the stage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is what I don`t understand: Jessica Simpson can actually sing.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now we expect Ashlee to mess up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE), Jessica? She had a meltdown. I mean, she lost it. She sang the song, and then she was like, Ahh. I`m sorry. I`m so - I was nervous.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) better on, you know, like, children.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Or "American Idol."

ANDERSON: So what`s with America`s idols giving the media these lame, ridiculous excuses when they screw up?

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT went right to PR expert Howard Bragman.

HOWARD BRAGMAN, FIFTEEN MINUTES PUBLIC RELATIONS: I think we have to be really clear that we live in the age of spin, and - and we`re in an era of personal responsibilities. And celebrities have jumped on this bandwagon. And instead of saying here`s what happened, and - and I apologize, they come up with these outrageous explanations that really don`t have any credence and make them look even more ridiculous.

ANDERSON: And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you that even more ridiculous is when Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe offered one of the worst excuses ever when he hurled a phone at a hotel employee in New York City.

The star from Down Under claimed he lost his cool when he couldn`t phone home to his wife from his cell phone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, how much pressure is Russell Crowe`s wife putting on him when he throws a phone at somebody because he can`t get a ride home? And also, that`s Naomi Campbell`s weapon of choice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really. Get yourself a whole `nother thing, Russell.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You need, like, a PDA. Use something different.



ANDERSON: And known for her creativity on and off the screen, Oscar- nominated actress Winona Ryder told police she was doing research for a role when they arrested her for shoplifting. Yeah right. She was later convicted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m doing a roll called "The Craziest Stealer." Yes, I`m - I`m the lead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s about character work.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. Right. Right. We`re going to try to use that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really. See how far we get.

ANDERSON: So do these excuses go very far? Is it better sometimes to just shut up?

BRAGMAN: If it`s something really egregious, maybe you should just shut up and not offer an explanation. Because maybe the explanation is the most obvious one, and you don`t want to go there.

ANDERSON: But still, there are celebs who did go there when they were arrested for driving while under the influence.

We are, of course, talking about Paris Hilton, whose excuse was she was exhausted. And besides, she only had one drink.

And then there was her "Simple Life" co-star, Nicole Richie, who told police she was taking Vicodin for stomach cramps when she was pulled over for driving erratically.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we cannot continually be using menstrual cramps as an excuse. And when you use it for that, it makes it hard to use it for smaller things.




ANDERSON: While never arrested for DUI, Britney Spears did get in trouble when she was caught driving with her baby son Sean Preston perched precariously on her lap instead of in a car seat.

Her excuse: she was being chased by the paparazzi.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know how it helps to have your child in your lap. I can`t have my purse in my lap and drive. You going to put your baby in your lap?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. What if he slides off down between the pedals, Britney?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s why that safety seat. And they call it that.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your child`s safety seat.

ANDERSON: And hasn`t Britney learned by now that taking a backseat and passing on a poor excuse is best for your career?

BRAGMAN: Very often, a poor excuse is worse than no excuse. I mean, it really becomes laughable. And in this era of blogs and this era of YouTube, the bad excuses get played again and again and again, and actually are a lot amusing than what happened in the first place.

ANDERSON: And to this day, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is still waiting for Britney to give us an excuse - any excuse - for her now-infamous video shot by her soon-to-be-ex Kevin Federline.


ANDERSON: Ah, Britney, when you burp, you are supposed to say, "Excuse me."


ANDERSON: Britney`s latest excuse?

Britney Spears` publicist tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT she didn`t pass out on New Year`s Eve at a night club in Las Vegas because she was drunk. No, no. But rather, she was - quote - "tired and falling asleep."

HAMMER: Ah, of course she was.

Well, Whitney Houston and Britney Spears are both shaping up to the comeback kids of 2007. But it seems Whitney is the favorite here.

Listen to this: in a "USA Today" Gallup poll, 41 percent of those polled said they hoped Whitney would make a comeback. But only 17 percent can say the same thing about Britney.

And it looks like Whitney fans may get their wish. Between dumping Bobby Brown and bouncing back from drug problems, Houston is slowly overcoming her career problems.

We here at SHOWBIZ TONIGHT have a little bit of advice on exactly how she can take some more steps.


HAMMER (voice-over): With her divorce to Bobby Brown in the works, it looks like Whitney Houston is finally trying to get ahead with her life, and put the past behind her.

MARVET BRITTO, THE BRITTO AGENCY: Right now, Whitney`s main focus should be Whitney: Whitney being healthy; Whitney being focused on Whitney`s, you know, triumphant return.

HAMMER: But SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you, after years of rumored drug and alcohol abuse, getting Whitney back on track could be difficult.

MICHAEL LEVINE, LEVINE COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE: And it`s hard to change. It`s a long walk up a steep mountain once you`ve fallen as low as she has.

HAMMER: In the 1980s and early 90s, Whitney Houston was on top of the world. With blinding beauty and millions of album sales, she was America`s sweetheart.


HAMMER: But her good-girl image took a hit after her marriage to bad boy Bobby Brown in 1992.


HAMMER: Her behavior, once so polished and perfect, became erratic. It seemed to everyone like Whitney was sliding into dependency.

In January of 2000, a pot bust in Hawaii. In March, Whitney misses her cues and gets booted from performing at the Oscars.

Then, one year later, Whitney looking positively skeletal at a tribute concert for Michael Jackson. "People" magazine`s Peter Castro says that was the turning point.

PETER CASTRO, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: It was like, if there`s any doubt before that Whitney Houston was having problems with substances, look no further. This is the ultimate proof.

HAMMER: Whitney even admitted to using drugs in the now-infamous interview with Diane Sawyer. She stopped short when it came to crack.

WHITNEY HOUSTON, SINGER: First of all, let`s get one thing straight. Crack is cheap. I make too much money to ever smoke crack. Let`s get that straight, OK?

I don`t do crack. I don`t do that. Crack is whack.

HAMMER: And while that interview may have raised eyebrows, image experts say after several public slipups, a few stints in rehab and years away from the spotlight, Whitney has no other choice but to get back out there and come clean.

BRITTO: An addiction is a difficult thing to address.

HAMMER: Mariah Carey hired Marvet Britto to repair her image after a very public breakdown. Marvet tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, Whitney needs to do interviews again and face her fans.

BRITTO: She`s been gone for a long time, and a lot of this has really, you know, affected her standing, if you will. Whenever she made public appearances and things went a little left (ph), I think that she does owe the public an explanation.

HAMMER: Celebrity publicist Michael Levine agrees. He tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, before Whitney can make a comeback, she needs to take personal responsibility for her actions.

LEVINE: You`ve got to get out and declare that "I have had a problem; I`m doing everything possible to - to restore my life and my career."

HAMMER: That`s the way redemption goes in show business.

Just look at Robin Williams and Robert Downey Jr. Those actors struggled with substance abuse.

ROBIN WILLIAMS, ACTOR: When you fall down, you get back up and get back in the race.

HAMMER: Both men openly and successfully got their addictions under control in rehab, and are now working successfully in Hollywood.

BRITTO: Well, America`s very forgiving. Because, you know, at some point, each of us has a family member that`s struggling with some sort of addiction.

HAMMER: Whitney`s got a long road ahead of her. But those in the know tell SHOWBIZ TONIGHT she`s on the way, with her positive outlook and reconnecting with the right people, including her mentor, the legendary record producer Clive Davis.

BRITTO: You don`t want her to be, you know, another tragedy. But when we saw her emerge with Clive, we felt really, really happy about the fact that she was making and taking steps in the right direction.


HAMMER: And Clive Davis tells us that he and Whitney are hard at work on a comeback album. No word yet on when it might be released.

ANDERSON: Hey A.J., do you consider yourself a good dresser?

HAMMER: Never made a worst-dressed list, if that means anything.

ANDERSON: I think you always look really sharp.

But coming up - speaking of worst-dressed lists - Hollywood`s worst- dressed stars. Here`s a taste of the top of the list: a partying pair - and they are being called "screamgirls," A.J.

HAMMER: Looking forward to that.

So why have (ph) these movie action heroes gone from young and grand to - well, grand-pa. We love you, Harrison, Sylvester and Bruce, but SHOWBIZ TONIGHT needs to know: where are all the young action stars?

ANDERSON: And a just-born gadget that`s going to really shake up Hollywood and the way you watch movies and listen to music. That`s next.

First, tonight`s "`Entertainment Weekly` Great American Pop Culture Quiz": "In what city did the `80`s TV cop drama `Hill Street Blues` take place?" Chicago, Philadelphia, New York or an unknown city?

Think about it. We are coming right back with your answer.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fade up music under, go Camera 3. Stand by, Brooke. Pre-set 7. Open her mike. Dissolve L.A. Go.

ANDERSON: Thank you, Charlie.

So again, tonight`s "`Entertainment Weekly` Great American Pop Culture Quiz": "In what city did the `80`s TV cop drama `Hill Street Blues` take place?" Chicago, Philadelphia, New York or an unknown city?

Well, the exact setting of the series was never revealed. So the answer is D, "Unknown."

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. This is TV`s most provocative entertainment news show. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

Well, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton both on top of a list every celebrity fears. Talking about Mr. Blackwell`s 47th Annual "Worst Dressed" list. The retired designer calls Brit and Paris - quote - "screamgirls"; two peas in a pod - I`m sorry, "two peas in an overexposed pod." Very important word there. And "style free" and "fashion deprived."

It`s kind of funny that these two made the worst-dressed list, because - well, how many times have we seen them undressed, as in not wearing any underwear?

Anyway, Lindsay Lohan, Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey also fashion faux pas.

And the fashion fabulous this time around from Mr. Blackwell: Katie Holmes, Angelina Jolie and Marcia Cross. And I agree with all of those.

All right. Is it me, or are today`s big-screen action heroes getting older? I mean, instead of, you know, hopping in some kind of sexy car and cruising off into the sunset, they`re chasing down their bad guys with a walker.

All right, that was mean, and I don`t really mean that. But look at what we got going on here: a 60-year-old Sylvester Stallone starring in "Rocky Balboa" right now; we got a new "Die Hard" with 50-something Bruce Willis right around the corner; and 60-plus Harrison Ford has just signed for another "Indian Jones," some 20 years after the first one.

We here at SHOWBIZ TONIGHT are wondering, much as we love these guys, where are all the new, young action stars?

Let`s get to the bottom of this, shall we? With me tonight from Hollywood, Richard Walter. He`s the professor of film studies at the University of California - Los Angeles.

And also with us, our good friend who we like to call "Paulie D" - Paul Degarabedian, president of Media By Numbers. It`s a company that monitors box office sales.

This is important stuff, guys. I want to find out what`s going on.

Paulie, let me start with you. Where have all the action heroes gone?

PAUL DEGARABEDIAN, PRESIDENT, MEDIA BY NUMBERS: Well, they went away, and now it seems that they`re coming back. I mean, you look at Sylvester Stallone in "Rocky Balboa," and I think in the fact in that movie that they embraced the "he`s older" and didn`t shy away from that was why that movie worked.

And I think what`s going to have to happen with a lot of these roles where you have these stars, as you said, over 50, maybe sometimes even over 60 years old, playing action heroes.

So I think for the audience to buy off on this, they`re going to have to acknowledge that these stars are older and that their characters are older, and make that part of the story.

HAMMER: But we`re not seeing a crop of - of new up-and-comers. There`s - there`s no farm team for this stuff, Richard.

What`s going on?

RICHARD WALTER, PROFESSOR OF FILM STUDIES, UCLA: Well, there are plenty of actors who could do it. They may not be stars yet.

The truth is, among all of the myths and hoaxes about Hollywood - and there are so many of them - one of them is that the stars are really important, really essential to movies because they can be counted upon to get audiences to open that movie. That is to say, to really attend the movie, especially the first weekend.

But it`s just not true. None of the actors that you just mentioned - not Sylvester Stallone, not Harrison Ford, not Bruce Willis - have consistently opened movies well. They`ve all had pictures that have - have bombed.

So it`s really about the writing; it`s really about the movie. Audiences aren`t stupid; they`re smart. And they know when there`s a really, really good - good story.

And I quite agree that the reason "Rocky Balboa" is working, audiences are responding to it, is because they have indeed, in that movie, embraced Sly`s age. They`re not - he`s not trying to just do himself as - as a man 20 years younger.

HAMMER: Yes, that - that - that would be a huge mistake.

OK, so we have "Rocky Balboa" doing well. We have the new sequels of - of "Die Hard" and "Indiana Jones," as I mentioned. Those are due out before too long.

But what`s going on here, really? Paul, what`s at the bottom of this? Are they running out of ideas? Are they - are they ceasing to be creative in Hollywood? Or - or are they really answering the public`s cries? Is this something that they want?

WALTER: Oh, they`re - it - it`s the death of the - it`s the suffocation of the imagination. It - it`s - it`s cowardice.

What movies have done so well is - is - is take risks, reach, stretch. And here they`re just trying to - to rehash the same old stuff.

HAMMER: Paulie, what do you think?

DEGARABEDIAN: Well, I think that`s part of it. Certainly they`re going back to the - to the well, so to speak, to find these iconic action stars who, you know, you would think would be too old to do these type of things.

But it - it`s true, there really isn`t a farm team; there`s not a crop of new, young actors. However, Daniel Craig in the new James Bond, he`s a terrific action star. Jason Stafen (ph), who starred in the "Transporter" movies, and in "Crank," which actually I believe opens on - in - you know, it comes out on DVD today - he`s a terrific action star.

But again, I think we`re having to go back to the tride-and-true guys. But again, to do that, when these guys are this - you know, in their 50s or 60s, you have to acknowledge the fact that they`re older.

But it`s tough - those are tough shoes to fill.

HAMMER: And do you think Bruce Willis is going to do that? Do you think Bruce Willis, a guy in his 50s, will do that for "Die Hard"?


I mean, look, if you put Bruce Willis in "Die Hard," it`s going to sell tickets. If you put Sylvester Stallone in "Rocky," it`s going to sell tickets. And especially if you put Harrison Ford back in the "Indiana Jones" character, I think that`s going to sell tickets.

HAMMER: Real quickly...

DEGARABEDIAN: At the end of the day though...

HAMMER: Let me - let me run it real quickly, Richard - yes or no - "Die Hard" a big hit.

WALTER: Only if it`s well-written. It`s not about the acting...

HAMMER: That`s yes or no.

WALTER: No. My guess is no.


And Paulie, what do you - what do you think for "Indiana Jones," yes or no, big hit?

DEGARABEDIAN: I think yes. It almost depends on who`s directing it, who`s writing it, and - and as the professor said, it has to be a good movie.

HAMMER: We will hope...

DEGARABEDIAN: Because you can`t fool people...


HAMMER: We`ll hope for the best. We`re out of time, guys.

Paul Degarabedian, Richard Walter, I appreciate you joining us...


HAMMER: ...and helping us out with this.

WALTER: Anytime.

ANDERSON: We`ve been asking you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." SHOWBIZ TONIGHT getting a hold of a shocking letter Donald Trump sent to Rosie O`Donnell, where he says Barbara Walters lied to both of them about whether she really regretted hiring Rosie for "The View."

So, "The Donald Versus Rosie Feud: Is Barbara Walters the biggest loser?"

Keep voting at Write to us, We`ll read some of your e-mails tomorrow.

And remember, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is the only entertainment news show that lets you express your opinion on video. So send us a video e-mail. Just go to our Web site to learn how to do it,

HAMMER: And the whole SHOWBIZ TONIGHT crew here in the studio aflutter with this huge announcement today that`s really going to change the way you listen to music. Oh, these guys are aflutter indeed.

Coming up, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with your first look at a gadget that`s going to shake up Hollywood and the way you watch...


HAMMER: Well, if there are two things out there today that just about every body seems to have: a cell phone and an iPod. Today, you`re cordially invited to their wedding.

The big announcement came today - Apple has created what has been dubbed the "iPhone." It will change the way Hollywood does business.

With us tonight, CNN`s senior business correspondent, our good friend Ali Velshi.

All right, Ali. So we had Apple chief Steve Jobs out there calling this "revolutionary" when he made the announcement today at the MacWorld conference out there in San Francisco.

It looks really, really cool. But is there anything really special about the iPhone, or are we just looking at an iPod converged with a telephone?

ALI VELSHI, CNN SR. BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: A.J., I - I`m a business guy, I don`t get to get on the cool shows too often. But I - I usually have some cynicism about this, even about Apple.

But I got to tell you, Steve Jobs is right. It is revolutionary. It`s the phone; it`s the iPod all in one. Aside from letting you look a little skinnier because you can shed one of these devices, the fact is it`s an Apple. It`s about the connectivity; it`s about the star (ph).

You been to one of those Apple stores lately? It`s a bunch of starling people. Apple makes it seamless, makes it feel good, makes you feel good. And that`s what this thing is.

You can get every thing that this thing does already, probably for less money. But Apple has made it hot.

HAMMER: And - and they did it with this cool interface, with the touch screen and all that.

VELSHI: That`s right.

HAMMER: When these new products are introduced, they`re always pretty much at the high end, in terms of cost.

What - what is the price point on this right now?

VELSHI: Apple doesn`t give anything away. This thing`s going to cost you $500 for a 4 gig phone, which - which you need a contract for anyway. They`re - they`ve got a deal with Cingular, which is going to be the same as AT&T wireless now. So you`re going to have get a Cingular phone. You`re going to have a two-year contract.

If you want 4 gigs, it`s going to cost $500. If you want 8 gigs - and that`s not a lot in the world of downloading music and movies - if you want 8 gigs, it`s going to cost you $600.

But you know what? If there`s anybody who can make this work, it`s Apple. Their stuff works; they get it right. And they`ve got the cool factor. People will leave the - the phone carrier they`ve been on for years to go over and do this. Because frankly, the phone companies haven`t given you any reason to stay with them, because they`re not cool.

There are phones that download music. They haven`t worked. People don`t buy them; they`re not interested. They want the iPod cool. They want the iPod ease of use. They want something familiar.

HAMMER: And I`ve - and I`ve - I`ve noticed that people are willing to pay more money to Apple.

Now it - it`s a game changer in the phone industry, isn`t it?

VELSHI: It completely is.

First of all, you see that - that screen. It`s all the kind of thing that you can - you can touch, they can upgrade. It is cool. It`s the future. It`s going to have Internet. It`s got that phone. It`s one less device. We`ve all been looking for a way to get one device - get rid of one device. Apple is changing the - the world today. Today is actually a - a monumental day (INAUDIBLE)

HAMMER: Good to have you on the cool program. CNN`s senior business correspondent Ali Velshi, thanks for joining us.

VELSHI: Happy to be here (ph).

HAMMER: And that is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

ANDERSON: I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. "GLENN BECK" coming up next, right after the latest headlines from CNN Headline News.