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Anna Nicole`s Mother Appeals Recent Ruling Over Burial Rights; Oscar Preview
Aired February 23, 2007 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
A.J. HAMMER, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT ANCHOR: The eerie connection between Anna Nicole Smith and Britney Spears. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.
BROOKE ANDERSON, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT ANCHOR: Is the judge in the Anna Nicole Smith`s hearing out of order? TV judges weigh in. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. TV`s most provocative entertainment new show starts right now.
HAMMER: On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the battle over Anna Nicole`s body. It`s over, right? Hold on just a second. There could be a catch.
Plus, new developments in the battle over her baby. And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with the shocking video of Anna Nicole that`s almost too strange to believe.
Tonight, why was Howard K. Stern shooting Anna Nicole like a clown and making jokes about drug use? Explosive new accusations about his relationship with Anna. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is all over the whole big mess.
Tonight Britney gone wild. Why in the world would she attack a car with an umbrella? Tonight, is Britney unraveling? Will she make it through rehab? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with the very bad days for Britney Spears.
Friday night is here. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.
ANDERSON: Welcome to the weekend everyone. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. And get out of the way if you see Britney Spears coming at you with an umbrella. The unbelievable picture of Britney on the attack. That`s coming up.
HAMMER: It is wild, but first tonight, the battle over the body moves on to the battle over the baby. Now, if you thought that the drama in the Anna Nicole Smith legal drama was settling down now that there seems to be an agreement to bury her body in the Bahamas, forget about it. We still have a baby, Anna Nicole Smith`s baby, who legally at this point does not have a father.
Now, in just a moment I`ll be joined by Debra Opri, the attorney for Larry Birkhead, who says he`s the daddy. Debra will be with us from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida tonight, which is where today it was back in court for the battle over baby Dannielynn.
HAMMER (voice-over): If you thought or hoped that the Anna Nicole Smith case ended with this week`s wild and unpredictable court hearing --
JUDGE LARRY SEIDLIN, FAMILY COURT JUDGE: Your objection is overruled. Sit down. Don`t test me anymore. Don`t test me.
HAMMER: Think again. Because with more talk about DNA, Anna Nicole`s alleged drug use, not to mention the lingering mysteries of her death and that of her son, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you this soap opera is still on.
HARVEY LEVIN, TMZ.COM: There are a lot of moving parts in this. It`s like watching "Days Of Our Lives," only on Methadone.
HAMMER: For starters, there`s that paternity battle, as Anna Nicole`s ex-boyfriend Larry Birkhead and her companion Howard K. Stern fight about who is the father of Anna Nicole`s baby, Dannielynn. That means, for TV news viewers, it`s another day, another televised Anna Nicole court hearing.
Attorneys for Larry Birkhead went to court in Florida to get DNA samples from Anna Nicole`s body turned over to them before it leaves the state for burial. Why? Well Birkhead`s attorneys say they want to prevent any possible baby switching shenanigans from Howard Stern, in the event Birkhead gets the paternity test he`s fighting for.
SUSAN BROWN, ATTORNEY FOR LARRY BIRKHEAD: If he brought a baby that wasn`t Dannielynn -- there haven`t been many pictures of her -- who would know. And then our client, Larry Birkhead, would be improperly excluded.
HAMMER: Stern lives in the Bahamas, presumably with the baby he claims is his daughter, while he continues, continues to resist the paternity test that would prove it. That`s posing an issue for the Florida judge deciding the DNA issue.
JUDGE LAWRENCE KORDA, FLORIDA JUDGE: At this point I don`t think I have jurisdiction. But I`m not going to shut the door completely at this point.
HAMMER: OK, so that`s not settled. And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is asking, is the question of where Anna Nicole Smith will be buried a done deal?
SEIDLIN: Richard Milstein esquire, as the guardian ad litem for Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern, is awarded custody of the remains of Anna Nicole Smith.
HAMMER: TV viewers are still reeling from the surprise court decision to give little Dannielynn`s court-appointed guardian the right to decide where Anna Nicole Smith will be buried. That guardian says it`s going to be in the Bahamas next to Anna Nicole`s son, Daniel.
RICHARD MILSTEIN, GUARDIAN AD LITEM FOR ANNA NICOLE`S DAUGHTER: We`re moving forward with making final arrangements. No matter what occurs, there will be a need to bury Miss Smith in a dignified, expedited matter.
HAMMER: Not so fast. Anna Nicole`s estranged mother, Virgie Arthur, still wants to have her daughter buried in her native Texas. She went on NBC`s "Today Show" to slam the judge`s decision and the judge himself.
VIRGIE ARTHUR, MOTHER OF ANNA NICOLE SMITH: He took four or five days to do what would take a normal judge one day, maybe a couple of hours to do. So my opinion, I don`t know, maybe he wants to be a movie star.
HAMMER: Ouch, it`s true that Judge Seidlin`s unconventional antics in the case --
SEIDLIN: I have to look tough, mama.
HAMMER: Aren`t exactly winning him many fans among TV legal analysts.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He made Judge Judy look like John Roberts.
HAMMER: OK, comparing Seidlin to Judge Judy and the chief justice of the United States may be a bit unfair. But TMZ.com`s Harvey Levin tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, there might be a bright side to the circus that Judge Seidlin presided over, it may bring a quicker end to this whole Anna Nicole mess.
LEVIN: He was able to expose so much of the underbelly of this case, that I think a lot of people may have lost their taste for fighting, and it could settle.
HAMMER: But as everyone goes in and out of court, it`s clear there`s a lot to settle before the curtain finally falls on the Anna Nicole soap opera.
HAMMER: Well now, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is bringing you the attorney who is at the heart of this amazing battle over Anna Nicole Smith`s baby. Joining me from the Broward County Court House, attorney for Larry Birkhead, Debra Opri.
Debra, I know it`s been an insane week. I do appreciate you taking the time to be with us tonight. Well let`s talk about the battle for the baby, which we have to get on to now that the battle for the body is apparently over. Things really have not been pleasant up until this point. Is it just going to get uglier, Debra?
DEBRA OPRI, ATTORNEY FOR LARRY BIRKHEAD: Listen, we are all in conversations right now to put a final resolution to everything. I`m hoping we can. Larry basically initiated a conciliation between the three parties. We left the courthouse arm in arm. Virgie`s attorneys had to do what they had to do. They have reasonable arguments. There was a battle over which statute was to be interpreted.
Larry, under the law, has rights of appeal, because he believes the judge had no legal basis upon which to assign Milstein, a guardian ad litem of a daughter, when there was a natural, living parent that could have been determined with the DNA tests. That`s why I was arguing so vehemently in that courtroom. We are now in a courtroom, Judge Korda, for family law, asking three simple questions. Please enforce this court order from February 7th, this court order from February 20th, and another court order, I believe, from February -- I guess it`s 9th.
But Judge Korda is basically saying, please don`t come here. From what we understand, he just doesn`t want any involvement. We have full protections under the law. The judge does not have to interpret whether California order is good or bad. We reminded him today that the appellate court in California said it was a good order for paternity. He believes we should be in the Bahamas. The law says otherwise for the paternity test.
All his requirements and obligations are is that he has to give full faith and credit to the standing orders of the California court, and we have every confidence he will.
HAMMER: And I appreciate you filling me in on all of this, because it actually is clearing up a bunch of issues. Legalese aside, just boil it down for me, are we going to seeing resolution to this baby question anytime soon?
OPRI: I think we are. It all boils down, A.J., and the world knows, a DNA tests that Howard K. Stern could allow by providing DNA from Dannielynn. Will it happen? I want it to happen. Will Anna be buried and rest in peace? We all want it to happen. Virgie has to do what Virgie has to do, but we are all in conciliation. We are all working to a resolution, so that we don`t have to live in the courtroom for another year.
HAMMER: Yes, we hope that doesn`t happen. I hope I`m not having the same conversation with you in another year. I want to go back to that conciliation and something that you mentioned, how you guys after the hearing emerged from the courthouse arm and in arm. I have to tell you, Debra, something I just -- and probably most of the world watching -- never thought they would see, Larry Birkhead and his, quote, unquote, mortal enemies, coming out side by side.
You got take me inside to how that happened, because it was truly an amazing moment. How did it come together?
OPRI: It was Larry`s idea. I went up to Larry and said, you know, Larry this is your opportunity. He said, I think we should try to talk. And I went up to Howard K. Stern`s attorney, Christa, shook her hand, and I said Christa, we are all in agreement that we want to lay Anna to rest soon and in accordance with her wishes. She wanted to be with Daniel. What do you want to do? Howard agreed.
HAMMER: I have to say, I think a lot of people were happy to see that happening, wondering if it was for show. Nice to hear that it wasn`t.
OPRI: It was not.
HAMMER: Everybody, Debra, of course, has been talking about the amazing three-ring circus that the courtroom was this week. It was astounding to me to watch some of the things coming out of this judge`s mouth, and with the crying and everything. For somebody sitting right there in the thick of it, you have to tell me please honestly, were you just appalled, as a lot of people were, and just shocked?
OPRI: A.J., I like Judge Seidlin. He`s from my neck of the woods, good old New York City. I understand him. I respect him. I admire him. I would have liked more time off of his clock and onto the attorney`s clock, but it wasn`t to be.
I believe Judge Seidlin made a ruling to effectuate a resolution between the parties. I believe Judge Seidlin`s rulings are correct until a court of appeals out here say he`s not correct. And that`s the law.
HAMMER: But what a big wheel he built to get there, Debra. I mean, there was all that airing of the dirty laundry, some humiliating stuff said about your client up there on the stand. Did he have to do all that? Were you as bothered as I and a lot of people were by the fact that all of this was coming out when it didn`t seem to me like it needed to?
OPRI: It`s part and parcel of what we do for a living. When you have three parties, who have been burned and bruised and hurt over the years, all connecting to one individual, Anna Nicole Smith, it was part and parcel of this trial. Judge Seidlin did the best he could with a very hot topic. The boiling down issue, the issue that we need to concentrate on right now, is getting Anna`s remains laid to rest, getting the paternity test done, and getting Dannielynn to an environment, a family environment with the biological father, where she can be raised, and she can become a healthy, healthy, educated girl.
HAMMER: Debra, as a key player in this entire amazing story, I really appreciate you being able to take the time, and I wish you the strength in getting through the rest of it. Debra Opri, thanks for joining us.
ANDERSON: Coming up, the disturbing video of Anna Nicole Smith wearing clown makeup.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STERN: Is this a mushroom trip? Is this a mushroom trip?
ANNA NICOLE SMITH, ACTRESS/MODEL: What do you mean?
STERN: I`m kidding.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: The guy behind the camera? Howard K. Stern. Coming up, shocking new accusations involving Howard, drugs and his relationship with Anna.
HAMMER: Plus, judging the judge, in the hearing where Anna would be buried. There was laughter, quips, little stories, even some tears. Is he just an eccentric guy, or was it disorder in the court? We are calling in the TV judges to find out. And that`s coming up.
ANDERSON: And even more bizarre Britney behavior. Tonight, new and shocking photos of Britney Spears, the outrageous pictures that are making people wonder if she`s unraveling, straight ahead.
ANDERSON: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood and this is TV`s most provocative entertainment news show. All right, while Howard K. Stern may have, in effect, won the initial battle to bury Anna Nicole Smith in the Bahamas, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you that his fight to improve his reputation may have taken quite a hit in court, because so much of what we saw and heard was shocking, including his alleged involvement in Anna Nicole`s drug use and whether he was with Anna Nicole just for the money.
Joining me tonight from New York, Ashleigh Banfield, host of Court TV`s "Hollywood Heat," hear in L.A., attorney and advocate Gloria Allred. Welcome to you both.
We have got to start off by taking a look at this piece of video that was shown in court yesterday. Stunning footage, showing an eight-month pregnant Anna Nicole Smith looking and talking completely out of it, wearing grotesque clown makeup, while Howard K. Stern videotapes all of it. Let`s take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STERN: Is this a mushroom trip? Is this a mushroom trip?
SMITH: What do you mean?
STERN: I`m kidding.
SMITH: What does that mean.
STERN: This footage is worth money.
SMITH: Why? What footage?
STERN: This thing you`re looking into.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: All right, Gloria, in that videotape, it would seem to me that Howard K. Stern, again, with his reference to taking mushrooms and his reference to making money, raises questions about his role in this whole sordid matter.
GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY: Yes, but I think that the most important issue for the court was, was she impaired? But nobody tried to show a connection between her being impaired on that videotape and her intention to bury Daniel in the Bahamas, and then whether she wanted to be buried with him there, which is really the issue before the court. Yes, I agree, Howard K. Stern`s reputation has taken a hit. He was dirtied up, he was muddied up. That`s what the opposition tried to do to him, but in the end, he did prevail, in the sense that she is going to be buried where she wanted to, in the Bahamas, unless, of course, that`s overturned on appeal.
ANDERSON: Ashleigh, what do you think about that tape and about Howard`s involvement there?
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, COURT TV ANCHOR: IT might have been one of the reasons Judge Seidlin was crying. I don`t know. I thought it was hideous. I was so sad to see it. I`m six and a half months pregnant. So to see someone that pregnant, that stoned is tragic. However, here`s something else it might say down the line, and that is if there`s some kind of custody battle, don`t forget paternity is different than custody, it doesn`t look good for Howard K. Stern, that he thought it was cute that someone who was eight months pregnant was that out of it.
ANDERSON: Yes, I was appalled when I saw that. And Gloria, under oath, Stern admitted that Anna took pills, that at times, when she got stressed out, she took even more. Larry Birkhead has said that she had a drug problem. Should Howard K. Stern get the blame for not doing more to help Anna?
ALLRED: Well, I don`t think we know everything about what he did to help her. We know the bad stuff. We know that apparently she was either over-using precipitation drugs, or maybe using some substances that were not prescription, or both. And apparently, you know, that isn`t something that was very helpful to her health, and thank god the baby is OK.
So, you know, we`ll have to see. I think the issue is going to be paternity. It`s going to be decided in the Bahamas. And then whoever is the biological father, most likely, is going to get custody. So I don`t really anticipate a long, drawn-out custody battle once the biology is determined.
ANDERSON: Let`s hope not, Gloria. And Ashleigh, another really big shocker today, "People.com" is reporting that it has gotten ahold of documents from a witness to the police in the Bahamas, claiming that he saw Howard K. Stern basically flush drugs down the toilet after Anna`s son Daniel died. Now, this is an explosive claim, clearly just adding to the negative perception that people have of Howard K. Stern, don`t you think?
BANFIELD: Well, lots of people have lots to say about this, and unfortunately, the person who is the witness in this case is Ford Shelly. Ford Shelly is, shall we say, a biassed party. He`s the son-in-law of G. Ben Tompson, the man who claims to own the home, and is suing to try to get Howard K. Stern and his daughter pitched out of that home. So, you have to look at evidence and you have to look weight of evidence, and what bias someone might have in bringing in that kind of evidence.
ALLRED: On the other hand, if it can be proven to be true, depending on the context, it could potentially lead to a criminal charge of obstruction of justice.
ANDERSON: Gloria, 20 seconds, you know, Howard has admitted he was living off Anna Nicole basically, and that he`s living off his parents now. Do you think that just cast a further shadow of whether he was in it for the, or, you know, let me take the cynicism away, could it be he loved her and he dedicated his life to her?
ALLRED: Or could it be both. We don`t know. Of course, in addition, he was acting as her personal attorney, so apparently indicating that he was not charging her for that. I personally don`t think he should have been her attorney and her lover all at the same time, because that affects his impartiality, his objectivity. I don`t think that`s appropriate. But that`s what he was doing.
No, I don`t think that helps his reputation with the public. But, of course, as the court pointed out, everybody has made money off of Anna Nicole Smith.
ANDERSON: Hopefully all of this will be resolved soon. We can only hope. Gloria Allred, Ashleigh Banfield, thank you both so much for your insight.
And whether he made the right decision or not, one thing is for sure: people have had a very strong reaction to the style of the judge in the Anna Nicole Smith hearing, A.J.
HAMMER: That is right. We`re going to call in the TV judges so we can get their take on whether he was out of order. That`s coming up. We`ll also have this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SMITH: To Britney Spears, if you see this, for some odd ball reason, because I look at your stuff too, and you want to be friends, I would so much love to hang out with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: Is that just not wild? It`s an eerie piece of videotape. The Anna Nicole Smith/Britney connection. We`re going to show you the whole Anna video. You may have forgotten about it.
ANDERSON: And Britney gone wild. Why in the world would she attack a car with an umbrella. That`s straight ahead. Is Britney unraveling? Stay with us.
HAMMER: Well, we`re just two days away from Hollywood`s biggest night. You can count on a lot of things on Oscar night. There, of course, will be the inevitable fashion disasters, a surprise or two, a couple of tearful acceptance speeches and for 26 years now we can count on Barbara Walters` Oscar special.
I sat down with Barbara, and she told me that this is the best one yet, of course. And I just had to ask Barbara where she watches the Oscars.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARBARA WALTERS, "BARBARA WALTER`S OSCAR SPECIAL": Most people think that I go to the Academy Awards. I don`t. I watch them in my apartment, with our very small staff, who produce this,and we all cheer, and we look as if we`ve never seen it before. This is about the 20th time we`ve watched it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: And Barbara makes the cheese dip. Barbara`s guests this year on the show are host Ellen Degeneres, and nominees Jennifer Hudson, Eddie Murphy and Helen Mirren. Now Mirren is favored to win for her role in the "Queen." And she is not shy about the odds. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALTERS: If you don`t win, though, is it terrible? It would be for me, I think.
HELEN MIRREN, "THE QUEEN": No, because usually you have a pretty good idea going into it whether -- you get a sense of what`s going to happen. And so it`s quite relaxing to kind of know that you`re probably not going to win.
WALTERS: Now wait, you don`t think that you`re probably not going to win?
MIRREN: This time I`m not relaxed. Let`s put it that way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: Brooke Anderson, Sibila Vargas and I are going to be right there for Hollywood`s big night. Be sure to watch SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s live Oscar coverage Sunday at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. Eastern.
ANDERSON: A.J., it`s kind of a fitting end to bizarre week of Britney Spears news, outrageous new photos of her going bonkers with an umbrella.
HAMMER: Yes, really shocking. We`re going to have that for you coming up next. Also, an eerie piece of videotape, the Anna Nicole Smith/Britney connection. We will show you the outrageous Anna video you may have forgotten about. We`ll also have this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEIDLIN: Listen to me. I`m running the courtroom. Direct everything to me. It`s not who talks louder. It`s who signs the report card in the end.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Disorder in the court? Here come the judges. Two television judges are here with their take on the quirky judge and the hearing over Anna Nicole Smith`s burial. That`s straight ahead. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT for Friday night coming right back. Wave to the camera, guys.
HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT for Friday night. It is 30 minutes past the hour. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.
ANDERSON: I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. You are watching TV`s most provocative entertainment news show.
HAMMER: Brooke, you know that somebody in that Anna Nicole Smith court room this week wanted to jump out of their seat, look at the judge, and say, `Judge, you`re out of order.` He - he was.
ANDERSON: Probably more than one person.
HAMMER: Yes, I would say that`s probably true.
A wacky guy, some people say he just wants his own TV show. What do the top TV judges actually think? We`ll go to two of the best coming up and get their opinion in minutes.
ANDERSON: All right.
Also, A.J., SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has uncovered a really strange video of a pregnant Anna Nicole Smith basically sending a message to Britney Spears and asking her to be her friend.
HAMMER: Wild (INAUDIBLE).
ANDERSON: We`re going to show it to you, coming up, straight ahead.
But tonight, some advice from SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. If you see Britney Spears coming your way, duck. Get out of the way.
All right. You just got to see this picture of Britney on the front page of today`s "New York Daily News." In what can only be described as bizarre behavior, she was photographed outside of what is reported to be her ex, Kevin Federline`s apartment, grabbing an umbrella and an attacking an empty car that may belong to a paparazzo. And from the looks of it, she`s enraged.
All right. That was before Britney checked in to rehab reportedly for a third time in a week.
With me tonight from New York, Jill Dobson, news and style at-large for "Star" magazine. Also in New York, Tyler Gray, senior editor for "Radar" magazine.
Jill, Tyler, good to see you both.
TYLER GRAY, "RADAR" MAGAZINE: Thanks.
JILL DOBSON, "STYLE" MAGAZINE: Good to see you.
ANDERSON: All right. The story in "The New York Daily News" that went along with this stunning picture said that K-Fed had the kids with him. Britney went to see them; he wouldn`t let her in, and that set her off.
While this is unconfirmed, Jill, I would have to say that if anybody had any doubts that the girl needs serious help, this is just more proof.
DOBSON: Yes. I was trying to decide today, which was more upsetting and which seemed more crazy, the shaving her head - the hair off her hair or this. And I think the hair-shaving thing is still the most upsetting and shocking thing she`s done. But this is a close No. 2.
She - there`s all these different pictures of her apparently just wailing on this SUV that reportedly belonged to a photographer. The report is that after her blowup with Kevin, she tried to get away and then later in the evening, some photographers kept taking her pictures. And she said, `OK guys, that`s enough.` And when they wouldn`t stop, she took action.
ANDERSON: Well - well, look, Tyler, we know that Britney, going through some issues. That`s clear.
But should we be surprised when she reacts that way? I mean, she is hounded by the paparazzi. She`s not the first person to freak out in that sort of situation. They can be absolutely relentless.
Should be just cut her some slack?
GRAY: Well, maybe so.
If you see the video that accompanied these photos, and that - the video isn`t quite as telling. But what you hear is how they were pleading and begging the paparazzi to leave them alone when they were trying to get gas. There`s a lot of polite asking, `Please stop, guys. Don`t do this, guys.` And then here we have Britney finally exploding. In addition to taking some swings, there`s some expletives that come out of her mouth. There`s some, you know, pretty declarative statements against photographers. They - they - you can see where she wacked the side of an SUV and left a decent dent. Also left a pretty big red welt on the back of one of the photographers with that green umbrella.
ANDERSON: Yes. It just sounds like, you know, they may have reportedly just driven her to take this sort of action, which is just shocking to see.
Now, Jill, she has reportedly checked into rehab for a third time in a week. As someone who has covered her every move, do you see her sticking it out this time? Do - do you think maybe she`s seen the light?
DOBSON: Gosh, I sure hope so, for her sake and the sake of the kids. But I think it`s really tough when you`re a celebrity and when you were a child star. And your whole life, every one around you is a yes man who just does whatever you want. It must be so hard to go to rehab and have people tell you what to do, give you certain hours, tell you which room to stay in. And it probably goes against the whole lifestyle she`s led her entire life.
So I don`t know. It`s going to be a really hard road for her. But I certainly would like to see her stick with it, and hope it works out for her.
ANDERSON: As - as do I, Jill.
And Tyler, the Britney story has been happening and unfolding at the same time the Anna Nicole Smith tragedy has. And a lot of people have been talking about parallels between the two of them.
Do you think Britney could possibly be headed down the same path of destruction?
GRAY: Well, certainly if you think about fast forwarding 10 years, five years even from now, if Britney doesn`t take a drastic turn off of the path that she`s on, it could get scary.
What you do see is Britney giving rehab at least a chance. And - and at press time right now, we - we - we find her in rehab, and at least sticking it out for a few more days than her last try.
Anna Nicole, there were only rumors that she went to rehab, and only rumors when she was pregnant that she might have gone to rehab. So at least Britney is - is taking some steps.
It`s got to be tough. You know, she has to leave her kids to go to rehab. And that probably seems like doing the opposite of what she wants to do right now.
And you talk about looking into the future, 10 years, five years. I want to talk predictions. One year from now, will we still be saying, `Britney is messed up`? Or, `Britney has made a big comeback; she`s back on track`? What do you think, Jill?
DOBSON: I think it`ll take a little longer than a year.
Originally, when we started 2007, I thought this could be the year for her, because we expect an album to come out this year. But it looks like she`s got a long road. She`s moving very slowly in terms of progress, and even staying in rehab. So I don`t think one year she`s going to be back, but I hope that she will be back. Maybe in five years.
ANDERSON: Hopefully so. Hopefully it won`t take too long for her. We wish her the best.
"Star" magazine`s Jill Dawson (ph) (sic), "Radar" magazine`s Tyler Gray, thank you both for your insight.
DOBSON: Thank you.
GRAY: Thank you.
HAMMER: Well, yesterday we asked you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." A lot of people writing in on this: "Britney Spears Vs. K-Fed: Should Kevin Federline get custody of their children?
Very interesting; I don`t think this would have been the result a couple of months ago. Sixty-one percent of you say, `Yes, the kids to K- Fed.` Thirty-nine percent of you said, `No.`
As I said, a lot of e-mails came in, including one from Yulia in Canada, who writes, "I`m sure it`s a temporary weakness for Britney. In the meantime, her mom will be the best guardian for the kids."
We also hear from Joanne from West Virginia. Joanne writes, "Until Britney gets herself straightened out, Kevin should get temporary sole custody of the children."
ANDERSON: Well, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has uncovered a shocking and eerie video of a pregnant Anna Nicole Smith reaching out to Britney Spears and asking her to be friends. It`s from Anna Nicole`s Web site, annanicole.com. She was making these videos and charging people for a look into her private life.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNA NICOLE SMITH, ENTERTAINER: I just wanted to say to Britney Spears, if you see this for some (INAUDIBLE) reason, because (INAUDIBLE), and you want to be friends, I would so much love to hang out with you. I think you`re totally cool, and I think we`re about to have our babies around the same time.
And I don`t know. I`d just love to meet you. (INAUDIBLE).
So if you want to get in touch, you can call my lawyer, my best friend, my confidant, Howard Stern. I think everyone has his number. (INAUDIBLE) to you, Britney. Big kiss, and I hope that you do great on your second pregnancy.
(INAUDIBLE). Thank you (INAUDIBLE)
ANDERSON: Hmm. A little bit odd, right?
Well, now there`s another really important thing in there. Did you hear when Anna mentioned Howard K. Stern? She didn`t say anything about him being the father of her soon-to-be-born baby at the time, or that he was even her lover. Just best friend.
Howard, by the way, was the one that shot some of those videos.
HAMMER: Wow. Really, really weird.
Brooke, tell me honestly, what - what did you think of that kind of wacky judge in the Anna Nicole Smith trial, Larry Seidlin?
ANDERSON: Well, at times I thought he was animated and entertaining, but at other times, I have to tell you, A.J., I thought it was distracting. And I was getting very impatient. Just get to the task at hand.
HAMMER: And - and a lot of people just think he was playing up to the cameras.
Well coming up, we`re going to ask two star TV judges, was this guy way out of line?
We`ve also got this:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAMIA HILL, SINGER: He had always looked at the glass half full. Never blamed anyone or pointed fingers. And when I was diagnosed, he was like, We just got to - we got to figure this out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: The heart-wrenching story of a big-time NBA player and his music-star wife. How they`ve kept going despite her debilitating illness. That`s next.
HAMMER: And we are right there for the final Oscar preparations. Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres tells our own Sibila Vargas why anyone who might diss her better watch out for her mom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: G sound (ph) for tonight`s Oscar promo. 3, 2, 1 - roll C, and take sound.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fade up, start your push. Go music under. Stand by, A.J. Pre-set Camera 1. Open his mike. Dissolve. Go.
HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT director Gnarls Wegmann (ph), I thank you.
And welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.
And ladies and gentlemen, it`s time for the Judge Larry Seidlin Show. Yes, he`s the guy, of course, that made the Anna Nicole court room battle for her body must-see TV. But he`s making headlines now for pretty much all the wrong reasons.
Watch now as Judge Larry Seidlin steals the show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE LARRY SEIDLIN, PRESIDING JURIST IN ANNA NICOLE SMITH CASE: I (INAUDIBLE) talked to everybody. That`s why I bring my in-laws with me, because I know my wife will be yelling, `I`m not taking care of the kids.
(INAUDIBLE) we were in the chambers, you all had me crying. I got to look tough, Mama. And I`m not going to talk about this case every again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: Whatever you think of the guy, does Judge Seidlin have what it takes to make a career as a TV judge?
Well, joining me tonight, two star TV personalities who hold the gavel. Joining me from Hollywood, Judge Cristina Perez of "Cristina`s Court." And in Chicago, Judge Greg Mathis of "The Judge Mathis Show."
Your honors, good to have you both here.
JUDGE CRISTINA PEREZ, "CRISTINA`S COURT": Hi, A.J. How are you?
HAMMER: I am well.
So Judge Mathis, let me start with you. I want to get your take on Seidlin`s court room behavior - Judge Seidlin; I should be proper about this.
Of course, we`ve all heard throughout the course of the week, a lot of people criticizing him for being way over the top and way out of line.
What do you think?
JUDGE GREG MATHIS, "JUDGE MATHIS": Well, in a probate court and the case that was at hand, I think it was beyond dignity of the court that he was - court case that he was hearing, the behavior he exhibited.
Were he hearing a small-claims case, like myself, Christina and the other judges here, $5,000 or less, then perhaps you could have been a little colorful and entertaining. But in this case, you were dealing with a serious probate case, and a - the death of someone and the disposition of the body and families finding over it and a very sensitive issue. I think he was a little over the top for such a case in such a court room.
HAMMER: Yes, the stakes were high, and certainly all the world was watching.
What do you think, Cristina? Do - do you think he was a little too over the top in this case?
PEREZ: Well, listen, I - I definitely think he wore his heart on his sleeve.
Btu one thing I have to commend Judge Seidlin on, is that we always knew what he was thinking; we always knew his thought process. And if you look at the end result, his opinion is a 22-page opinion or a little bit more. It`s well-researched, it`s scholarly, it cites law. He was there to do a job, and he did it. And it`s a very sound decision.
Yes, he was a little flamboyant and at times a little eccentric. But does that make him a bad judge?
HAMMER: And among those eccentricities, I thought it was a little odd how at one point, it didn`t seem like he was getting anybody`s name right. He was calling Birkhead Birkhart (ph). Instead of calling the lawyers by their names, which would seem the proper thing to do if you ask me, he was calling them "Texas" and "Los Angeles." And as you mentioned, he was wearing his heart on his - his sleeve. We - we knew exactly how he felt. A lot of emotion, a lot of tears.
Let`s take a look at this particular clip of the judge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEIDLIN: And we all - we all cried for her. You know we were in the chambers. You all had me crying. I got to look tough, Mama. But, you know, this gets to me, too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: A lot of people, Judge Mathis, were saying, `Here`s a guy who wants his own TV show.`
So do you think because of that, perhaps he was doing a little acting and playing up to the camera?
MATHIS: If it`s true that he wants a television show, that was a great audition. He did a great job. He was very colorful. He was very witty. And those are the type of the characteristics you need to have a television judge show, which is - the purpose is which to provide entertainment and adjudicate cases with real law.
So if that`s the case, if that`s what he desired, I think he did a pretty good job.
HAMMER: And Cristina, do you - do you think he was effective in - in sort of breaking up the tension, by keeping it so real, as - as he seemed to at least be attempting to do?
PEREZ: I - I think you`re right, A.J. I think sometimes when - this was a very high-tension case. I mean, tensions - tempers were flaring. And sometimes when you`re casual in court, when the judge makes you feel comfortable, you know, people calm down, they become more candid. They - they concentrate really on the issue at hand. And they - they leave those emotions aside.
So I think he was very successful in letting these lawyers say, OK, come on. Give me exactly - give me your argument. Let`s leave all the - the antics aside, and let`s get to the case. And I think that was successful for him.
HAMMER: So Judge Mathis, you mentioned that this was a great demo tape for him. And - and my guess is, he`s got plenty of copies of it now.
If Judge Seidlin was to go - go ahead with his dream to become a TV judge, you as a professional who`s been doing this for awhile, and as a real judge, what do you think his biggest reality check in terms of how he would need to do things differently in a TV job?
MATHIS: Well, you`d have to be a little more entertaining. He gave a good .
HAMMER: More entertaining?
MATHIS: But I don`t know if he can consistently - if he can consistently provide that type of entertainment.
After all, judge shows are for a combination of entertainment and real law. If you want just real law, then you turn to Court TV or you watch CNN if you want all seriousness. But if you want a combination of both, you watch a judge show.
HAMMER: Watch one of your shows.
MATHIS: You have to consistently - you have to consistently provide both interesting and colorful administration and adjudication of the law, and at the same time provide serious law, based on serious cases.
HAMMER: Got to get it done.
Guys, I`m out of time. And - and so maybe he does have what it takes.
Judge Cristina Perez, Judge Greg Mathis, I think you both for your insight on all this.
PEREZ: Thanks, A.J.
MATHIS: Thank you.
ANDERSON: We`re asking you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." It is this: "Anna Nicole Body Battle: Did the judge make the right decision?"
Keep voting, cnn.com/showbiztonight. Write to us, email@example.com. We`re going to 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. To send us a video e-mail, just go to our Web site, cnn.com/showbiztonight.
HAMMER: And now making it work in Hollywood and beyond. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s continuing coverage of couples who are making their relationships work, which is always refreshing to hear about.
And tonight is the amazing story of Grant and Tamia Hill. He is an NBA star; she is an R&B superstar, singer. In 2003 however, while Grant was recovering from a career-threatening injury to his ankle, his wife Tamia learned that she had multiple sclerosis, MS.
And now, after eight years of marriage, their bond is stronger than ever.
I sat down with Grant and Tamia Hill, and I asked Grant how he reacted when they first got the news about Tamia.
GRANT HILL, NBA PLAYER: I think initially it was - it was shock. I didn`t know what MS was. I had heard of it, but didn`t really understand the desire. And so initially - you know, I had to say it, but you think it`s almost a death sentence, you know? And so I didn`t want to show that, but you wanted to be strong for your wife and supportive.
But as - as it all sort of was digested by both of us and we learned more about the disease, we learned a lot of people have it, and a lot of people continue on with - with medication and with - with rest, diet and so on, and have productive lives.
But at first it scared me.
HAMMER: And as you guys well know, any adversity in a relationship, whether it`s disease or death, whatever, can really put a strain on a marriage, and it can even lead to divorce.
For you guys, it just made you stronger, it seems.
T. HILL: It - it wasn`t easy for sure. But I don`t know. For me, it - it - watching him and how he had gone through what he was going through, and how he had always looked at the glass half full, and had always - never blamed anyone or pointed fingers. And when I was diagnosed, he was like, We just got to - we got to figure this out.
HAMMER: That`s great inspiration.
T. HILL: Yes.
HAMMER: It - it really is.
And now look at how you`ve come out on the other end of things. You know, you`re back on the basketball court. Your latest CD, called "Between Friends" - and I love how you categorize it as "The R&B guide to beauty and dynamics of relationships." Certainly you - you know something a lot about.
So if - if you had one piece of advice for a couple going through some kind of major adversity, trying to figure things out, what would you tell them in terms of how to - how they can make it work?
G. HILL: Well, I just think communication is important. And in any relationship, it`s important. But when you`re going through adversity, you`re going through your - your tough moments, you know - when she was going through her part and my part as well, being able to share that with one another, so we know how each other feels.
I think that was - it`s very important. And it`s helped us through the good and the bad, and will help us going forward.
HAMMER: They have certainly made their marriage work. Tamia is back on track with her new CD. As I said, it`s called "Between Friends," and it`s in stores now.
ANDERSON: We`re really excited here; the Oscars are on Sunday. Up next, as the finishing touches are put on the Kodak Theatre, Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Sibila Vargas why critics better watch out for her mom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ..music under, start your push, Phil (ph). Pre- set Camera 7. Open Brooke`s mike. And dissolve L.A. Go.
ANDERSON: (INAUDIBLE) ways.
All right, welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, TV`s most provocative entertainment news show. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood.
Less than 48 hours to the 79th Annual Academy Awards. We are pretty excited here at SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It is Hollywood`s biggest night, right?
Well, we were right there as the finishing touches were being put on the Kodak Theatre just down the block here in Hollywood. And our very own Sibila Vargas caught up with first-time Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres. Ellen knows she`s got her work cut out for her; ratings have been down.
And even though she`s really excited, she wants to make sure to stop and smell the Oscar roses.
SIBILA VARGAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: How excited are you?
ELLEN DEGENERES, OSCAR HOST: I`m, like, vibrating inside.
I`ve wanted to do this for so long, so I - I really want to - you know - I mean, I`ll be nervous and I`ll be excited, but I want to relax, because I really want to enjoy it.
VARGAS: You want to take it all in.
DEGENERES: Yes, I do.
VARGAS: You`ve done the Grammys. You`ve done the Emmys. Where does this stack for you?
DEGENERES: There`s nothing bigger than the Oscar. Nothing. So I don`t know what I can do to challenge myself more than this. I like challenging myself, and I like, you know, getting out of my comfort zone, which is why I choose to do things like this.
VARGAS: The next day, everyone talks about, `How did Ellen do?` Are you prepared for that?
DEGENERES: You know, I - I can`t - you know, you can`t please everybody, so I can`t worry about that. I - I just have to - I have to know that I did the best job, and that I - I felt good about it. And if somebody doesn`t like it, I can`t worry about that.
VARGAS: You`ve got to be so proud of yourself. And your mom must be just beaming.
DEGENERES: She is my biggest fan. She is - she - you know, I`m telling you, if somebody writes something that`s not nice about me the next day, they should look out for my mother. Because she`ll - I`ll let it go, but my mother - my mother will be the one who`s, `How dare you?`
VARGAS: You don`t mess with your mom.
DEGENERES: Yes. No. No.
ANDERSON: Watch out for mom. And we are rooting for Ellen DeGeneres. We think she`s going to do a great job. You go get them, Ellen.
HAMMER: And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is the place, of course, for the most complete and provocative coverage of the Oscars. I`m actually about to hop on a plane, fly to Hollywood in a bit so I can join Brooke Anderson and Sibila Vargas right there on the red carpet outside the Kodak Theatre.
Please be sure to tune in to two very special live editions of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. You can join us this Sunday at 6 and 11 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN Headline News.
Brooke, I suppose it`s time I started looking for something to wear.
ANDERSON: It probably is past time, A.J. Safe travels to you. Can`t wait to see you out here.
HAMMER: All right. Here we go, into Oscar weekend.
Thanks for watching. That`s it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.
ANDERSON: Have a great night, everyone. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood.
"GLENN BECK" coming up next. That`s right after the latest headlines from CNN Headline News. Keep it right here.