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Showbiz Tonight

New Questions in Anna Nicole Case; Paparazzi Battles

Aired March 14, 2007 - 23:00   ET


A.J. HAMMER, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT ANCHOR: Another shocking Anna Nicole Smith twist. Why are Bohemian police in the United States. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.
SIBILA VARGAS, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT ANCHOR: And yes, they`re back. Rosie O`Donnell and Donald Trump at each other`s throats again. I`m Sibila Vargas in Hollywood. TV`s most provocative entertainment news show starts right now.

HAMMER: On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the celebrity paparazzi frenzy. Tonight, big stars, big trouble. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT goes around the world to investigate the startling dangers of photographers stalking celebrities.

Plus, the guy that calls himself the king of the paparazzi is right here to answer our tough questions. But come on, we`ve got to ask, should we really feel sorry for the stars?

Addicted to addiction, tonight, so many shocking stories of stars in and out of rehab, TV shows about drug and alcohol abuse; it seems we can`t get enough of this stuff. Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT asks the controversial question, why are we so obsessed with celebrity addictions?

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

VARGAS: And I`m Sibila Vargas in Hollywood.

HAMMER: Tonight there are breaking new twists in the ongoing Anna Nicole Smith saga. And it leaves us all asking the shocking question, just what is the problem with figuring out what killed her? That`s coming up in just a bit.

But first tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is all over the nasty and sometimes dangerous battle between stars and the paparazzi who chase them all over the place.

VARGAS: That`s right, A.J. Tonight, Lindsey Lohan in another scuffle with photographers. Get this, Leonardo Dicaprio in a chaotic struggle with the paparazzi in Israel while visiting one of the holiest sites in the world. All this has got SHOWBIZ TONIGHT asking, do stars really have a right to privacy, or does it just come with the territory?


VARGAS (voice-over): Lindsey Lohan letting loose on the paparazzi outside a hotel in New York City. Leonardo DiCaprio and his girlfriend being swarmed by paparazzi as they leave the Western Wall in Israel. And who can forget Britney Spears spearing a paparazzi car with her umbrella? That photo landed on the front page of the "New York Daily News."

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has got to ask, what`s with this latest series of skirmishes in the war between the stars and the paparazzi? Have the paparazzi taken it one step further, or do the stars who go out in public places know their privacy is lost?

COOPER LAWRENCE, DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGIST: I think there are some celebrities that ask for it all the time, so they can`t turn it on and turn it off. You can`t say, OK, I`m going to show up this red carpet, do this outrageous thing, and then one day decide, I`m not in the mood today. They`ve started that train rolling already.

VARGAS: And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you, that train is speeding full steam ahead.

HOWARD BRAGMAN, 15 MINUTES PUBLIC RELATIONS: The photos of celebrities doing things are worth more than they ever were before. And there`s certain celebrities, a Lindsey Lohan, a Paris Hilton, a Leonardo Dick Cheney, that have huge price tags on their head. Wanted dead or alive, you know, for literally hundreds of thousands of dollars and there`s a lot of incentive for the paparazzi to be aggressively chasing them.

VARGAS: And it`s not just the paparazzi chasing them anymore either. In a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT exclusive, Israeli photo journalist Gali Tibbon, a French photo agency AFC, was at the Western Wall, trying to snap pictures of DiCaprio. Tibbon says that even in a country with so much political conflict, when stars parade through a public arena, they`re going to get the media`s attention, no matter how hard they try to avoid it.

GALI TIBBON, PHOTOJOURNALIST: The Western Wall is a public place. It`s a holy site. It`s a public place. It`s open for everybody. We had other celebrities here on their private visits, that they were nice to the groupies. They were willing to give a small photo op and then everybody let go and respected the whole thing. But in this case, things got out of control very quickly. It was very violent.

VARGAS: So violent, in fact, that Israeli police slapped seven photographers with a restraining order, barring them from going anywhere near the couple for 30 days. And Gali Tibbon claims to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT she and six other photographers were physically bruised and assaulted by DiCaprio`s bodyguards.

TIBBON: Myself and several other still photographers that were physically bruised and had equipment broken that night. We went to the police station to file a complaint.

VARGAS: But SHOWBIZ TONIGHT still has to ask, does a celebrity like Leonardo DiCaprio, who rarely parades himself in public, except for his latest movie premiere, really deserve the same crush of paparazzi than Say, Lindsey Lohan, who hits the paparazzi hot spots on a nightly basis?

LAWRENCE: He`s one of the few exceptions that you feel it`s really not fair. He`s an actor. It`s what he does for a living. He`s not looking to be a celebrity.

VARGAS: But whether or not Leonardo DiCaprio is looking to be a celebrity, his appearance in public places will probably never go unnoticed. And photo journalists Gali Tibbon tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT that she thinks stars should keep a lower profile to avoid attention and the paparazzi.

TIBBON: To my opinion, if Leonardo DiCaprio and his girlfriend would have gone to the Western Wall with no body guards, I think half of the people wouldn`t have even recognized them. It happened before with other celebrities. The bigger the fuss, the bigger the commotion.

VARGAS: OK, but SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is asking this tough question, do stars have some right to privacy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think celebrities probably don`t have a legal right to privacy. But I really believe that they have a moral right to privacy. And that morality has to enter into the conversation. That the paparazzi and the media that buy their photos have to start respecting certain private moments, be they family photos, be it somebody at a doctor`s office, a drugstore. And I think there`s a moral imperative here.


VARGAS: And we have yet another example of the paparazzi going crazy for a celebrity. Check out this startling video of model Elizabeth Hurley`s wedding to a businessman in India this past weekend. It was all- out chaos in the streets as Hurley`s car made its way through tons of photographers. Look at it there.

The media and security clashing once again.

HAMMER: So are the paparazzi just doing their jobs or do celebrities have a totally legit right to privacy? E.L. Woody is the self-proclaimed king of the paparazzi. He has been a celebrity photographer for 30 years now. E.L. joining us from Hollywood tonight. Good to see you E.L. I appreciate you being with us.


HAMMER: So obviously, and I`ve heard you say this before, there is a give and take to your business. You can`t exist without the stars and they can`t stay stars without you and your colleagues. But do celebrities deserve at least some privacy, or is it something they just lose when they sign up for the job?

WOODY: Well, you know, a celebrity is a public figure. And as long as a celebrity is in a public place, then the public`s going to look at them and take pictures. And in today`s society, where everyone has a cell phone camera or a video camera in their purse, everyone`s now a paparazzi. All the citizens are paparazzi. And as long as public figures come into public place, their pictures are going to be taken by paparazzi of one kind or another.

HAMMER: As you well know, when there`s a demand for a picture, there`s going to be plenty of competition to get that particular picture. And sometimes it can get ugly. As we just saw, Leonardo DiCaprio and his girlfriend were in Israel earlier this week. They were on a private tour of the Wailing Wall. By the end of the day -- this is not something you hear often -- several photographers were beaten and bruised by Leo`s security.

Can you kind of understand the security measures that celebs need to take to protect themselves?

WOODY: I can understand that the security guards need to keep their hands to themselves. Many times they assault the photographers on the street, quite often, with impunity, I might add.

HAMMER: When you say with impunity, so they`re over stepping any legal right they may have to protect their clients?

WOODY: Absolutely. They have no right to assault anyone on the street, period. If their client is not being touched or assaulted by a photographer, why should they be allowed to assault or touch a photographer?

HAMMER: We see different celebrities, I think, being treated differently. And I would be curious to get your perspective on this. Does it sort of depend on how the celebs act toward the photographers? Does that dictate how aggressively they are treated by photographers and paparazzi when they`re out walking those lines and everybody`s getting in their face?

WOODY: Well, yes, you know, a lot of times, if they`re friendly and they have made relations on the street with the photographers, and stuff, they walk down the street and pose for pictures. They know it`s good for them. It`s the ones that -- Leo Has been ducking since "Titanic," ducking and hiding from the photographers. That just creates more of a demand.

If he just stood there and had his picture taken and went about his way, there wouldn`t be any frenzy.

HAMMER: So if a celebrity just wants to be left alone, is it basically a case of, they should just stay at home?

WOODY: Well, they are actors, and as great actors that they are, they could put on a phony mustache and a phony beard, and go anywhere in the world.

HAMMER: They wouldn`t stump you though. I`m certain of that. But some celebrities, even when they do stay at home, because obviously it`s more difficult to be photographed there, but that still happens. You have certain photographer that go out there with their long lenses, shooting right into people`s private spaces. Where do you think, as somebody who`s been at this for a long time, where do you think the line should be drawn?

WOODY: You can`t sell those pictures, so who`s out there shooting those pictures?

HAMMER: So where do you think the should line be drawn? The fact is people are out there doing that. Are you saying that should just not take place?

WOODY: Yes, I don`t agree with going to their houses and shooting over their fences or staking them out at their houses, camping out and following them, or doing high speed chases. We don`t approve of that and we don`t do that ourselves.

HAMMER: Well, it`s our hope that everybody can just get along and nobody gets hurt. E.L. Woody, self proclaimed King of the paparazzi, I do appreciate you being with us tonight.

VARGAS: Now we want to hear from you. It`s our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day: celebrity paparazzi frenzy, do you feel sorry for the stars? Vote at Send us e-mail at

And remember, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is the only entertainment news show that lets you express your opinion on video. Send us a video e-mail. Go to our website,

HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has the very latest on the Anna Nicole Smith saga. Coming up next, yet another shocking twist. Now, the mystery behind why Bohemian officials are in the United States today.

We`ve also got this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of the biggest trends in Hollywood is to take a break and go to rehab.


VARGAS: Addicted to addiction. So many shocking stories of stars in and out of rehab. Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT asks the controversial question, why are we so obsessed with celebrity addictions?

HAMMER: Oh no, is this still happening? Is it going on again? Why can`t these two just get along? Yes, more hair-raising rage between Donald Trump and Rosie O`Donnell. Why their nasty feud has flared up yet again.


VARGAS: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, TV`s most provocative entertainment news show. I`m Sibila Vargas in Hollywood. People begged. They pleaded. They even prayed. But tonight SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you the Donald Trump/Rosie O`Donnell feud, well, it`s back.

Now, last week on "The View" Rosie revealed she`s been battling depression. She even showed her inversion therapy, where she hangs upside down for about a half an hour each day.

Well, now after hearing about her depression, Trump has ripped into Rosie, basically saying that he isn`t surprised she`s depressed. He says it`s because of the way she looks. Ouch. Rosie fired back on her blog, dissing Donald, "the dump truck is at it again," she says. "She`s depressed from looking in the mirror, hurtful to know he doesn`t find me attractive, as it has been my goal for so long to give a bald billionaire a boner, same, same, same."

But wait, there`s more. On today`s "The View," Rosie kept going on.


ROSIE O`DONNELL, "THE VIEW: Donald Trump does. He did last night. Did you see? He said to Entertainment, you know why she`s depressed, because she looks in the mirror. Oh, that`s funny, Mr. Woo!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We should all do the hair flip.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody, one, two, three.

O`DONNELL: The guy, he can`t get over me is he all I`ve got to say. We`re going to take a break, be back with more hot topics and never mention that dumb truck again.


VARGAS: We`re betting we hear from Trump again very, very soon.

HAMMER: Now, tonight, more of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s continuing coverage of the Anna Nicole Smith saga. And tonight, shocking new twists. We`re hearing that the medical examiner, looking into why Anna Nicole died, might actually be stumped. And with what Larry Birkhead just did, it looks like he thinks he`s got a pretty good shot at getting custody of Anna`s baby, Dannielynn.

Helping us sort all of this out, Court TV anchor and host of "Hollywood Heat," Ashleigh Banfield.

Ashleigh, thanks for joining us.


HAMMER: So we learned today that the head of the Bohemian police force traveled to Florida so he could meet with the Seminole, Indian police at the hotel where Anna Nicole Smith died. Now Ashleigh, here we are more than a month after her death, why are they getting involved?

BANFIELD: Well, there are a lot of people rumbling that some of the investigations regarding the death of Daniel may be intersecting with the investigations regarding Anna Nicole. Our correspondent, Michael Bryant, has been chasing down that story, and is getting a lot of good vibes on the combination of these two investigations.

Next week we do have that inquest into Daniel`s death, and maybe, just maybe, the Boahemians want to know if there were similar drugs in Florida, found at the crime scene, or the death scenes, I should say, that were within Daniel`s system. It`s just crossing the t`s and dotting the i`s.

HAMMER: And that connects us to my next question, because we`re still waiting on the cause of death for Anna Nicole Smith. The Broward County medical examiner, this Dr. Perper, who we`ve spoken with, said, we were going to get a cause of death, then he said I`m going to delay the cause of death until I get new information. Is this guy stumped or is he just waiting on some new information, perhaps connecting Daniel`s death?

BANFIELD: I think he`s just cautious, because he knows all eyes of the world and the country are certainly on him on this one. He was awaiting information from the Bohemians at first. Now he`s had a chance to talk with the last doctor who treated Anna Nicole, who`s also a friend of Anna Nicole`s. And that doctor has actually come out publicly, saying that some of the questions Dr. Perper had been asking her related to Anna Nicole`s patterns, and how she lived, and specifically, would it be possible that this could be a suicide.

So maybe this is just the last area he needs to explore before he can definitively right down cause and manner on those certificates.

HAMMER: Yes, I do believe he`s just trying to be as thorough as possible, especially with all eyes on him. Now on to Larry Birkhead. Of course, Larry, one of the guys who`s claiming to be the six-month-old Dannielynn daddy. Out and about, Ashleigh, in front of the paparazzi, shopping for baby things. Is this a P.R. move, trying to keep the public on his side, because he does seem to have public favor?

BANFIELD: Well I`ll tell you something, If I were Larry Birkhead, I don`t think you`d even need to call the press to tell them where you`re going. If you wanted to hit up Toys R` Us. I think they`re on him no matter where he goes or what he does. That said, he did have lunch at The Ivy, which means you`re going to be seen. But no, I think there`s a legal strategy here. He was buying things like a change table, a crib, clothing and safety gates.

And I say this as a mom, an expecting mom as well, because the welfare test of the child is going to be at issue in the hearings on Friday. So if Larry Birkhead can come to court saying that he has not only set up a wonderful home environment, but a safe one at that, with safety gates, it can be help his cause, even though it`s kind of last minute.

HAMMER: So he`s planning ahead, doing safety gate thing, maybe some cushions around the tables, covers over the outlets. We don`t know if those sorts of things exist in the mansion where Anna lived in the Bahamas, where supposedly baby Dannielynn also is.

But today there was another legal battle over that mansion. What`s the story? Is this going to ultimately force Howard K. Stern and Dannielynn out onto the street?

BANFIELD: Well, a lot of parties are saying that it`s a bit of a slam dunk, that so much paperwork -- and this case is based on paperwork. It`s not based on witness testimony, et cetera. But that so much paperwork is in favor G. Ben Thompson in this case.

And I have to bring in, again, this welfare test. Because if Howard K. Stern doesn`t have a place to live, if he gets evicted and he`s out on his proverbial butt, that means the little baby won`t have a place to live either. And for all intents and purposes, this other house that apparently he and Anna had been purchasing, or at least had their eyes on, it`s not ready yet. It still needs a lot of construction.

So, it`s not as though he could just jump from one house to the other. So, again, the welfare test of this child, does this child have somewhere to go, and not if he`s out on his but by the end of this week.

HAMMER: Court TV`s Ashleigh Banfield, thanks as always.

BANFIELD: Nice to talk to you, A.J.

HAMMER: Obviously so much talk that Anna Nicole Smith was addicted to something. So many other shocking stories of stars in and out of rehab these days. Coming up at 30 minutes past the hour, why are we so obsessed with celebrity addictions?

We`ve also got this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It really is amazing when you figure that so many talented people, who later became famous, came out of a single era of the Mickey Mouse Club.


VARGAS: M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E, the mysterious legacy of the Mickey Mouse club stars. Some are doing well, while others aren`t. We`re talking about you Britney Spears.

HAMMER: And is Angelina Jolie about to add to her family? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT knows where she is right now, working on a deal that could make her a mom again in just a couple of days.


HAMMER: Angelina Jolie is about to become a mom again. Now, we`ve told you that she was in the process of adopting another kid, a three-year- old Vietnamese boy. Reports said it would happen in a few weeks. But tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you that Angelina is in Vietnam right now. And if all the paperwork goes smoothly, she could take him home this weekend.

Here she is in Ho Chi Minh City with her son Maddox. The orphan boy is reportedly healthy, a bit shy and he likes to play soccer. Jolie had to file for the adoption by herself, not jointly with boyfriend Brad Pitt. And that is because Vietnamese law does not allow unmarried couples to adopt. Jolie and Pitt have three other kids, Zaharra and Maddux, who are adopted, and Shiloh who was born last May.

VARGAS: More star kid news. Congrats to first time mom Tori Spelling. 90210`s Donna Martin gave birth to a baby boy in Los Angeles with husband actor Dean McDermit. Liam Erin McDermit weighs six pounds, six ounces. Liam`s middle name, Erin, honors legendary TV producer father Erin Spelling, who died last June.

Now this baby has helped to bring Tori and her mom Candy back together. They weren`t talking for a while. Their nasty battle reportedly began when Tori dissed Candy during VH1 show "So Notorious." Then Tori blamed her mom for cutting her out of her dad`s will. But tonight, Candy tell`s "People Magazine," "words can`t describe the joy and elation I feel at this truly happy event. I am looking forward to doting on my new little grandson and the memorable fun that comes with it."

HAMMER: So Heather Mills, they really seem to hate her over in the U.K. I mean, vitriol. But with the "Dancing With the Stars Show" putting herself out there, the question is, is Paul McCartney`s soon to be ex-wife trying to get people to like her? That`s coming up.

Plus this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of the biggest trends in Hollywood is to take a break and go to rehab.


VARGAS: Addicted to addiction. So many shocking stories of stars in and out of rehab. Tonight SHOWBIZ TONIGHT asks the controversial question, why are we so obsessed with celebrity addictions?

HAMMER: And Mickey Mouse, get ready, the mysterious legacy of Mickey Mouse Club stars. Some really doing well, some not so well, Britney Spears, anybody? A SHOWBIZ TONIGHT special report is coming up. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT for Wednesday night, coming right back.


HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It`s 30 minutes past the hour. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

VARGAS: And I`m Sibila Vargas in Hollywood. This is TV`s most provocative entertainment news show.

HAMMER: Well, it`s an unfortunate trend we`re seeing in Hollywood: stars from Britney Spears to Eddie Van Halen are among the many celebrities who we`ve seen enter rehab recently. These stories of substance abuse and recovery are now a real big draw in celebrity news. And now, even reality TV.

Why is it that we seem so addicted to stories about addiction?


HAMMER (voice-over): Where`s Britney Spears? Working on her new album? Nope. She`s in rehab.

Guitar legend Eddie Van Halen and his bandmates from Van Halen just got inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But where`s Eddie? In rehab, leaving his bandmates to tell SHOWBIZ TONIGHT how much they miss him.

MICHAEL ANTHONY, VAN HALEN BASSIST: Hopefully, you know, he`s -he`s doing the right, and he`ll come out a better person.

HAMMER: Eddie and Britney are not alone. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you, in the past year, we`ve seen more talk about celebrity addiction and efforts to kick it than ever before.

Chris Rock even joked about it on "Good Morning America."

CHRIS ROCK, COMEDIAN: How are you? You know, rehab was tough, you know? My hair grew back, and now it`s all about the new record.

HAMMER: You can`t blame Chris for channeling Britney Spears. Addiction and rehab are all the talk in Hollywood.

KATRINA SZISH, "US WEEKLY": One of the biggest trends in Hollywood is to take a break and go to rehab.

HAMMER: Robin Williams recently spoke with SHOWBIZ TONIGHT about his very public stay in rehab.

ROBIN WILLIAMS, ACTOR: Yes, it`s public. There`s no way to hide it on that level.

HAMMER: Sure, stories about stars and the substances they abuse are as old as Hollywood itself. But we`re no longer obsessed with just celebrity addiction.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you on drugs now?

HAMMER: The A&E reality show "Intervention" draws 1.3 million viewers a week, showing that American audiences are fascinated by real people dealing with substance abuse.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is asking: are we becoming addicted to addiction?

Addiction is a real problem in America, affecting 23 million people. "Us Weekly"`s Katrina Szish tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, when celebrities battle addiction, they`re on ground with countless people.

SZISH: When a celebrity admits flaws or admits that they do have a problem with drugs or alcohol or anything else, by going to rehab, they almost make themselves more human. And it definitely can be a very good PR move for them.

HAMMER: Sometimes rehab is a part of PR crisis-management for celebrities. When photos caught Miss USA Tara Conner partying it up in the clubs of New York City, her boss Donald Trump all but forced her into rehab.

DONALD TRUMP, OWNER, MISS USA PAGEANT: She knows that if she makes even the slightest mistake from here on, she will be immediately replaced.

HAMMER: Tara Conner now tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT she wasn`t exactly traumatized by rehab.

TARA CONNER, MISS USA: It was absolutely amazing. A lot of fun.

HAMMER: But don`t say she did it for the publicity.

CONNER: I don`t think it`s something that you just do for good publicity, you know? It`s something that you - it`s hard. It`s a really hard thing to go through.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My drinking`s killing me.

HAMMER: The reality of rehab is the subject of HBO`s multi-film project titled "Addiction." Its producer tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, addiction is fertile ground for gripping TV.

SUSAN FROEMKE, PRODUCER, "ADDICTION": More people are willing to come forward and talk about, because they realize that by speaking out, it can help other people.

I think that`s one reason why there have been so many shows lately coming out about it, because I think there`s a big viewership for it.

HAMMER: But it`s about more than good TV. Of the 23 million people with an addiction problem, only 10 percent seek help for it. Susan Froemke, from HBO`s "Addiction," tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT she hopes projects like hers can help change that.

FROEMKE: Most people feel that it`s a hopeless disease. They just think that if you become addicted, your life is over. And that is not true. And I think that`s one reason why HBO was so committed to making this program, which is to - to show that there is hope now, that there are ways of managing this disease.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was surprised to hear all the drugs you did.

HAMMER: So whether it`s a reality show that gets our attention, or a celebrity rehab veteran.

WILLIAMS: You fall down, you get back up again and you get back in the race.

HAMMER: .if it influences those who need help to get it, our addiction to addiction can be a healthy one.


HAMMER: HBO begins airing its "Addiction" project on Thursday night. You know people will be watching.

Well, Heather Mills has been slammed by the British press ever since she and Paul McCartney announced their separation back in May. In fact, there are those who say she is the most hated and reviled woman in Britain at this moment.

So when Heather makes her "Dancing With the Stars" debut on the wildly popular ABC show, the question is: will she be welcomed warmly on this side of the pond? Or does she need a total PR makeover?

Joining me tonight here in New York, Rob Chilton, features director for "OK!" magazine.

I appreciate you stopping by. Your perspective, particularly as a Brit, is going to help us out here.

As I mentioned, people just hate her over there. She has earned this title of "the most reviled woman in the U.K."

Why did she earn that title?

ROB CHILTON, "OK!" MAGAZINE: Well, if you - if you mess with a Beatle, you`re in trouble. You know, they are the most loved band in the U.K., maybe in the world. Paul McCartney is the most loved member of that band. So if you mess with him, you know, then you really are going to get a pasting from the British press and the public.

HAMMER: So people just see her as - sort of as a money grubber, and - and just trying to take a piece of - of that magical pie of - of Paul McCartney?

CHILTON: Yes, "gold digger" was always the phrase that - that sprung up when articles were written by Heather Mills McCartney, you know? It was just - it appeared in every single story. People thought she married Paul just for the money.

HAMMER: You see, we`re peripherally aware of that here. But - but basically, we know her as the woman who`s divorcing Paul McCartney, and we know her as animal-rights activist and an amputee. That - that`s - that`s pretty much it.

Do you think she`s doing this - joining up with one of the most popular shows here in the United States, "Dancing With the Stars" - to sort of do a little PR and change her image?

CHILTON: Absolutely. And I keep thinking about Sarah Ferguson, the duchess of York, who pretty much did exactly the same thing.

You know, she had a terrible time in the - in the British media. You know, she divorced Prince Andrew; then she (INAUDIBLE) stories about her weight. And she - she fled Britain because she was getting hounded all the time.

So she came to America and relaunched herself. You know, great PR and - you know, sort of new image. And now she`s very popular over here.

HAMMER: Oh, we love her.

CHILTON: But in the U.K., people have - have kind of forgotten about her.

HAMMER: Well, this very issue has come up as Heather`s been going around and doing some press.

Let`s take a listen to what she responded when she was asked if this whole thing is a big publicity stunt.


HEATHER MILLS, "DANCING WITH THE STARS": If I was worried about, you know, critics, then I wouldn`t do anything in my life. Because this is the first thing I`ve done in 10 months, and I`ve been chased and hounded for 10 months, and been told I`m a publicity seeker. Yet I`ve never gone out and done anything except one interview, and that was about vegan (ph).

So, you know, you do something or you don`t do something. It all amounts to the same critics coming out who don`t do anything for anybody.


HAMMER: And - and she has said how she hates being hounded by the press. But if - if you don`t want to be hounded by the press, don`t you just stay home?

CHILTON: Exactly. You don`t appear on, as you rightly called it, "a wildly popular TV show," "Dancing With the Stars," you know?

Yes, she had it a - quite, you know, the spell there, where she laid low, because the court case - you know, all - all those stories about the court case were terrible, and there were awful allegations being made about, you know, her and Paul`s behavior. So, yes, understandably, she laid very low. Good thinking.

But now she - she wants to come out, and she wants to sort of move her career forward and kind of put the divorce behind her. And she wants to make some money.

HAMMER: And real quickly, because she`s showing a little sense of humor, joking about whether or not her leg may fall off in "Dancing With the Stars" -- could that actually make her more approachable and less reviled overseas, or is that a - is that a done deal?

CHILTON: I think it`ll - it`ll show some humility, and it`ll - you know, it`ll show that she doesn`t take herself too seriously. But it might make her a figure of fun.

HAMMER: Rob Chilton from "OK!" magazine, I appreciate your insight on all this. Thanks so much.


VARGAS: Well, A.J., you spoke with "Ugly Betty" star Vanessa Williams, right?

HAMMER: Yes, and she really opened up about whether or not she thinks the show is changing the way women feel about themselves. She`s got a lot to say, so that`s coming up.

I also spoke with Laura Prepon. She has gone from "That 70s Show" to one of the most buzzed-about new shows, called "October Road." Coming up, what Laura told me about how Hollywood is portraying women these days.

We`ve also got this:


BRIAN HIATT, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, "ROLLING STONE" MAGAZINE: It really is amazing when you figure that so many talented people who later became famous came out of, basically, a single era of "The Mickey Mouse Club."


VARGAS: The long, strange legacy of "The Mickey Mouse Club." It`s not all cheers for the former Mouseketeers. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT investigates how Britney Spears went from the Mouse House to rehab. That`s next.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ready A-sound for tonight`s promo. And Tiffany (ph), roll it (INAUDIBLE)


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fade up, music under. Start your push, 3. Pre-set 7. Stand by, Sibila. Open her mike. Dissolve. Go.

VARGAS: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, TV`s most provocative entertainment news show. I`m Sibila Vargas in Hollywood.

Now, you remember "The Mickey Mouse Club." Come on. You know? M-I-C - see, you do remember. Well, do you remember the 90s version of "The Mickey Mouse Club," that featured young stars in the making, like Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Ryan Gosling - and yes, Britney Spears.

Well, while all of them have had career success, Britney has had some very public trouble in her personal life. You`ve gotten a peak already, but what will become of the legacy that is "The Mickey Mouse Club."



VARGAS (voice-over): Ah, "The Mickey Mouse Club." It`s come a long way since it first appeared back in the 1950s.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: C-you real soon.

VARGAS: And so have some of its Mouseketeers.





HIATT: It really is amazing when you figure that so many talented who later became famous came out of basically a single era of "The Mickey Mouse Club."

VARGAS: It was so cute. Talented? Yes. Famous? For sure. Even-keeled? Well, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you, maybe not everybody.


VARGAS: Yes, we`re talking about, you, Britney?

SPEARS: Huh? Me?

VARGAS: Yes, Britney. Of all your friends from "The Mickey Mouse Club," you have arguably been the most successful, but sadly - well, you know the rest.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT wants to know what the heck happened.

HIATT: The question of what went wrong with Britney is the really big one. It sort of seems bad to be piling on right now.

VARGAS: OK. OK. True. But was being a Mouseketeer a career curse?

Let`s pull out "The Mickey Mouse Club" yearbook. First up, Christina Aguilera. The year was 1993.


VARGAS: Christina may be right; so far, there ain`t no other. Because when it comes to the obscenely famous people to come out of "The Mickey Mouse Club" in the 90s, like Britney, Aguilera is in a class of her own.

HIATT: First of all, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears are two different people. Britney was very good at being a pop star; Christina was very good at being a singer.

VARGAS: Look who else we found - look closely; you won`t believe it. But SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you also in 1993, that was actor Ryan Gosling.

STEVE KANDELL, DEPUTY EDITOR, "SPIN" MAGAZINE: You wouldn`t know from looking at Ryan Gosling now that he sort of comes from the same - the same background as Christina Aguilera or - or a Britney Spears.

VARGAS: And a lot of good it did him, too. The star of countless films like "Remember the Titans," Ryan Gosling went on to earn himself an Oscar nomination for "Half-Nelson."

GOSLING: Well, I feel good today. Anyone else feel good?

HIATT: Well, you know, Ryan Gosling is pretty famous at this point. But he`s nowhere near the kind of fame or infamy of a Britney Spears.

VARGAS: Good point.


VARGAS: JT`s bringing sexy back, but let`s not forget where he came from. The SHOWBIZ TONIGHT staff clearly remembers when Justin wasn`t only a fellow Mouseketeer to Britney, he was her longtime boyfriend. That was before they shocked the world and split up.

KANDELL: She must be waking up every morning and - and looking at, you know, clips of Timberlake on "Saturday Night Live" and playing sold-out shows in Madison Square Garden, and just thinking, `What happened? I was right there.`

HIATT: Justin Timberlake seems to be kind of on a more solid footing psychologically than Britney Spears.

KANDELL: You`re not going to catch any crotch shots of him with - with Paris Hilton.

HIATT: He`s really aware of - of where he comes from, and he has a sense of humor about it. And he`s not trying to deny that that`s where - that that`s where he comes from, or that he is a pop kid at heart.


VARGAS: After his breakup with Brit, Justin channeled his energy into a chart-topping freshman solo album, and one song in particular seemed to be directed at Britney, complete with a video and a Britney look-a-like.

But now who`s crying? It seems like it`s all of us shedding tears for our lost pop princess.


VARGAS: As much as we`d like to try and smack you back to reality, we`ve got some other suggestions.

First of all, as much as we kid you, Britney, it`s great you realized you have a problem.

HIATT: Yes, Britney has a problem. It`s gotten to the point where it`s a little scary. You know, and it`s clear that she has maybe multiple problems, psychological problems, substance-abuse problems, eating disorders - who knows? Now that she`s sort of at what we`re hoping is rock bottom, I think people would really, you know, want to see her come back.

VARGAS: We do want to see you come back, Britney.

HIATT: She can be something, but I don`t think - she`s never going to be America`s teen queen anymore. That`s over.

KANDELL: She really hasn`t tightened it up on the home front. But the minute she does that, I think people are ready to see her do well.

VARGAS: Whatever happens, Britney, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is behind you. So do what you got to do to keep the legacy of "The Mickey Mouse Club" strong. And if you do, maybe one day, we`ll being singing "B-I-T-N-E-Y."

KANDELL: Y? Because we love you.



VARGAS: We really do wish Britney the best.

And there are other surprises in the club`s roster of alumni. One of Justin`s former NSYNC buddies, JC Chasez, and Keri Russell, of "Felicity" fame, were also part of the 90s "Mickey Mouse Club."

HAMMER: Vanessa Williams certainly no stranger to the spotlight. You can catch her every single week playing glamazon magazine editor Wilhelmina Slater on the hit show "Ugly Betty."

Well, I recently sat down with Vanessa, and I had to ask her if she thinks that the show has changed the way women feel about themselves these days.


VANESSA WILLIAMS, ENTERTAINER: It`s a phenomenon. And it`s - not only is it, you know, across all ages - I mean, teenagers, people in their 20s, 30s, 40s - it`s - it`s really kind of - I mean, an ugly Betty is now part of the American lexicon, and people say, `I have my ugly Betty days,` or, `I knew an ugly Betty then.`

And it`s - it`s - it`s such a phenomenon that sometimes it`s astounding.

HAMMER: And your character is one that everybody loves - a Botox- crazed diva, if you will. Somebody who is absolutely obsessed with trying to hide the signs of age.

Now, Vanessa, you are always beautiful. You have always been beautiful. You will always be beautiful. But.

WILLIAMS: Oh, thank you.

HAMMER: Yes, I`m - I`m - I`m here to make you smile.

But - but is that something that you had to deal with, that maybe we might not even imagine, dealing with the pressures of - of getting older in a business that really always focuses so much on youth?

WILLIAMS: I - I am so lucky that I do more than one thing. If I think - if I had to be in front of a camera all the time, I think I`d be a little more hypersensitive. But the fact that I can do theater and sing and be on stage, and it has nothing to do with my wrinkles but my voice and - and being in great - great shape in terms of - of what I`m doing as a performer, it hasn`t really affected my career in its scope as maybe somebody who has to be on television every day and worry about their appearance.

And again, you know, you have to embrace - you know, I`m a mother of four. I`m 43 years old. And I am who I am, and, you know, this is the age that I am. And I`m happy that I get an opportunity to keep working, and - and doing things that I love.

HAMMER: Well, you`ve got a great new movie, too, "My Brother." In it, you`re playing a mom who`s trying to get her sons adopted before she dies. One of her sons has Down syndrome.

I know this is a story that`s very special to you, isn`t it?

WILLIAMS: Well, it`s one of those jewels as an independent film, you get a chance to do roles that you normally - wouldn`t even get made. And Anthony Lover, who wrote and directed this, came to me because he knew that I was a mother of four and I would have the sensibility to - to bring my experience on screen.

And the fact that I`ve been involved with Special Olympics on the board member - on the international board for over seven years, and actually was part of the movement for - oh, 15 years - it`s been wonderful to use all the experiences I`ve had working with athletes and - and what I do as a passion on - on - on my down time to bring it to what I do as a profession.

And the story is a story of love between mother and sons, between two brothers. It`s - there`s certainly some obstacles that they go through. But it`s really a story of triumph and learning about how to be a man and being responsible.

HAMMER: Is it not the best thing in life when the things you`re passionate about can merge and come together?

WILLIAMS: Full circle. You know, it - it`s been fantastic.

HAMMER: Vanessa Williams, it`s always a pleasure to see you. Thanks so much.

WILLIAMS: Thank you so much.


HAMMER: Vanessa`s new movie is called "My Brother." It will be in theaters on March 16.

She has always been one of my favorite people in showbiz. And I think if there`s any young star who needs advice on career longevity, Vanessa is the person they should seek out, because she has certainly had it on many platforms.

Well, Laura Prepon has gone from "That 70s Show" to what is one of the most buzzed-about news shows. It`s called "October Road."

Coming up, what Laura told me about how Hollywood is portraying women these days, especially on TV. Laura Prepon on the way, in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

We are coming right back.


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

And tonight, the lovely Laura Prepon. You remember her as Donna from "That 70s Show." Well, now she`s starring in a new TV show. It`s called "October Road." The show`s getting a lot of buzz already.

In it, Laura plays a single mom who reconnects with her high school sweetheart after he moves back to town.

Laura dropped by the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT studios, and we got to talking about all the pressures on actresses to always look young and thin. Now, Laura`s only 27; of course, she looks fantastic. And she says that she thinks things are actually improving in Hollywood overall.


LAURA PREPON, ACTRESS: It kind of feels like over the last or so - don`t you think that there have been more kind of - that whole kind of waif thing is going out now, and more voluptuous, like, healthier women are coming out - like on "Lost," all those women are, you know, voluptuous, have muscles. They`re, like, you know, really healthy looking.

You know, on that "Heroes" show, a lot of those women are, like, more, you know, curvy. And you have like, you know, "Ugly Betty."

On "October Road," we have, you know, women who are much curvier, you know what I mean? And I think - I know that a lot of girls like - and I`ve told - told me in the past that they think that I`m not, like, this waif, and they can kind of relate to that more, because I look, you know, healthy.


HAMMER: And you can catch Laura in "October Road," tomorrow on ABC, right after "Grey`s Anatomy."

VARGAS: Well, we`ve been asking you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." "Celebrity Paparazzi Frenzy: Do you feel sorry for the stars?"

Keep voting at Write us at 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. Send us a video e-mail; go to our Web site, cnn.coms/showbiztonight.

HAMMER: And what shall we do now? Oh, let`s find out what`s coming up tomorrow on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

And tomorrow, where have all the bad boys gone? From Nicole to Paris to Britney, it really seems like it`s all about Hollywood`s bad girls these days. Are they so bad they out-bad the boys? We`ll get into that tomorrow on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Also tomorrow, how LL keeps it cool. With all the stars who are going wild, getting into all kinds of trouble, checking in and out of rehab, how is a guy like LL Cool J managed to keep it clean all these years? We will find out tomorrow, when LL Cool J joins us for the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

And that is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Thanks a lot for watching. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

VARGAS: And I`m Sibila Vargas in Hollywood. Good night, A.J. Good night, everyone.

"GLENN BECK" is next, right after the latest headlines from CNN Headline News.