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Showbiz Tonight

Anna Nicole Smith`s Death Deemed Accidental Drug Overdose

Aired March 26, 2007 - 23:00   ET


A.J. HAMMER, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT ANCHOR: Britney Spears rushed to the hospital? I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.
BROOKE ANDERSON, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT ANCHOR: And Howard K. Stern speaks out about today`s stunning news, how Anna Nicole Smith died. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. TV`s most provocative entertainment news show starts right now.

HAMMER: On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, what killed Anna Nicole Smith? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with the explosive results of her autopsy.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are convinced, based on extensive review of the evidence, that this case is an accidental overdose with no other criminal elements present.


HAMMER: But tonight, startling new questions raised by today`s dramatic announcement. Will someone be charged with a crime? Could she have been saved?


DR. JOSHUA PERPER, BROWARD COUNTY MEDICAL EXAMINER: If she would have gone to the hospital, I think that she would have had a chance of survival.


HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT in Florida with the late breaking developments. And we are also in the Bahamas tonight for the investigation into the death of Anna Nicole`s son. Why is his death so suspicious? We go one-on-one with the doctor who says he knows why Daniel died, in the interview you will see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

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

ANDERSON: Hi there everyone. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. And tonight, we finally know what killed Anna Nicole Smith. But hold on just a second. Because SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you that solving that mystery has now created so many more mysteries. It`s simply unbelievable!

HAMMER: Yes, it is, Brooke. The shocking autopsy results were released today, more than six weeks after Anna Nicole Smith died. And tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is bringing you the main players in the Anna Nicole tragedy, one-on-one, as well as asking the tough questions, including why wasn`t Anna Nicole saved? Because I can tell you that the autopsy investigation makes it very clear, Anna Nicole Smith did not have to die.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This case is an accidental overdose.

HAMMER: With those words, the mystery over what killed Anna Nicole Smith is over. With live TV news coverage, and an entire nation hanging on his every word, Broward County medical examiner Joshua Perper announced what killed the troubled starlet, who was found unconscious in her Florida hotel room on February 8th and never woke up.

PERPER: The cause of death is combined drug intoxication with chloral hydrate being the major component.

HAMMER: Chloral hydrate is a rarely prescribed sleeping medication, known to be fatal if combined with the wrong drugs. In an eerie and sad parallel, the very same drug contributed to the death of Marilyn Monroe, Anna Nicole`s idol, who died of suspicious causes in 1962. In recent hearings, Anna Nicole`s companion Howard K. Stern testified that Anna Nicole always feared her death would mirror her idol`s.

HOWARD K. STERN, LAWYER FOR HOWARD K. STERN: She thought that she was going to be like Marilyn Monroe. So she thought she was going to die.

HAMMER: But like everything in Anna Nicole Smith`s life, her cause of death is not that simple. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT breaks it down for you and asks the shocking questions, including did she have to die?

The fact that drugs played a role in Anna Nicole`s death is, unfortunately, not that surprising. In the recent Anna Nicole hearings, we got reference after reference to her heavy prescription drug use.



STERN: She was taking medications before and during the pregnancy.

HAMMER: At his news conference, Dr. Perper said he found a variety of prescription drugs in Anna Nicole`s body. Nine, yes, nine of them to be exact, including three anti-depressants or anti-anxiety drugs. Dr. Perper tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT that most of the drugs, when combined with the sedative chloral hydrate formed a fatal mix.

PERPER: Contributory, to much less extent, was a local infection in the buttock and possibly an intestinal flu.

HAMMER: That infection came from an injection Anna Nicole took prior to her death, possibly of a Human Growth Hormone or Vitamin B-12. That infection is blamed for the high fever, as high as 105 degrees, that she suffered when she first arrived in Florida, and it may have contributed to her shocking death.

So now that we know what the cause of Anna Nicole`s death is, here`s what it isn`t. Officials say it is not a suicide. Anna Nicole was said to be suffering from depression, which increased after the drug-related death of her son, Daniel, last year. But that depression reportedly was lifting in her final days. And Perper tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, if this were suicide, there would have been even more drugs in Anna Nicole`s system.

PERPER: If somebody wants to commit suicide, they usually take insurance and take more than one drug.

HAMMER: Also, it is not a homicide, say police.

CHARLIE TIGER, SEMINOLE, FL POLICE CHIEF: We found nothing to indicate any foul play.

HAMMER: In fact, police are saying there`s no, quote, criminal element present in this case, and no charges are pending against Howard K. Stern. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT right there as Stern`s attorneys reacted to the Anna Nicole findings.

LILLY ANN SANCHEZ, HOWARD K. STERN`S ATTORNEY: Howard is not vindicated. He`s not relieved. He is not at peace. Howard knew all along that something tragic happened. And he is the one that, more than anyone, wanted to know what happened, because he is the one that is suffering most deeply the loss of Anna.

HAMMER: Even though we know what killed Anna, there are still a lot of questions. Why was she prescribed all of those drugs in the first place? And the saddest question of all, did this have to happen? The answer, sadly, may be no. Perper says Anna Nicole refused to go to the hospital when she first started feeling ill upon her arrival in Florida. He says she may have lived if she`d made another choice.

PERPER: If she would have gone to hospital, I think, yes, she would have had a chance of surviving.

HAMMER: So, along with the formal cause of death, we`re seeing another sad conclusion in this case, that it was a tragedy that did not have to be.


HAMMER: So is there anyone who could have saved Anna Nicole`s life? And can Howard K. Stern really breathe a lot easier tonight? So many questions still need so many answers. Joining me tonight from Los Angeles, investigative journalist Jane Velez-Mitchell, who is also the author of the soon-to-be-released book "Secrets Can Be Murder." In New York, investigative journalist Diane Diamond. Diane is also the author of "Be Careful Who You Love: Inside the Michael Jackson Case." Also in New York tonight, Ashleigh Banfield, host of Court TV`s "Hollywood Heat."

So many things to sort through, trying to figure out exactly where we are, ladies. Ashleigh, let me start with you. The medical examiner made it very clear that had Anna Nicole been taken to the hospital earlier, she probably would be alive today. They would have sorted out her medical issues. Now Stern`s attorney insisted today it was Anna Nicole who, in fact, refused to go, not wanting the swarms of paparazzi around her.

But Howard K. Stern was with her. She had a nurse with her. She had a bodyguard with her. Does anybody, Ashleigh, bear responsibility here at all?

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, COURT TV ANCHOR: I think you could say, morally, yes, but legally, unfortunately no. Anna was a big girl. And I mean that because she was 39-years-old. She can`t be forced to do anything against her will. We don`t personally owe a duty of care legally to someone like that. So, legally speaking, the answer is no.

HAMMER: You know, Jane, I think there is still, regardless of the fact that everybody was cleared today, there`s still going to be a lot of finger pointing going on here.

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Absolutely, A.J. And, of course, there is always the possibility, if new information develops, for example, during the inquest into Daniel`s death, if a witness says something, they could reopen the case into Anna Nicole`s death. But right now, the chief said hey, the case appears to be closed, no criminal element. We have to respect that.

I`ve been very critical of Howard K. Stern, but we have to give him the presumption of innocence. They did not point the finger at him and we have to respect that. At the end of the day, Anna Nicole Smith was an adult and was ultimately responsible for her all self-destructive lifestyle cases. This is a cautionary tale about addiction, about addiction particularly to prescription drugs. We`re on a war in this country against illegal drugs, but we don`t look at the prescription drugs. They are being abused rampantly. The medical examiner says this happens every day. So, it is a cautionary tale.

HAMMER: Well, let`s talk about one of those prescription drugs, the name of which came up last week when the results started to leak, and then again today. It was Stern`s attorney who said it was Anna Nicole`s psychiatrist who prescribed chloral hydrate. That`s the sedative that is said to have contributed to her death. Now the medical examiners and others have said she never would have been taking that drug with all of the other drugs she was on. Diane, could one of the doctors wind up in legal hot water because of what has happened?

DIANE DIAMOND, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: I suppose. No doctor can ever know for sure exactly what their patient is taking. They do some prescriptions and they say, here`s what you do. And then, if they ad some others in from other doctors, other sources, you know, a doctor never knows. But look, Anna Nicole Smith had a history of drug abuse. Everybody knew that. There has been a fax floating around. It`s on the Internet. You can see it, from one of her doctors, trying to give her fist fulls full of narcotics, to be sent to the Bahamas just a couple of days after Daniel dies.

Again, to quote Jane, I think, or Ashleigh, morally this is reprehensible. Legally, I don`t know. Add in the fact that the doctor`s in California. She`s in the Bahamas. She dies in Florida. What authorities are going to pursue this? I fear, none of them.

HAMMER: Yes, it sounds like that`s probably about right. So, OK, no criminal charges are being filed here. I still think this whole thing is probably far from over. Ashleigh, is it possible that we may see some civil lawsuits in connection with her death down the line?

BANFIELD: You can always file a civil lawsuit. It just depends on how far it gets. Would a judge dismiss it right away? It`s entirely possible. Look, if Anna Nicole was doctor shopping, it`s not the doctor`s fault that they don`t know what she was taking and who was prescribing what to her.

And then when it comes to Howard K. Stern, a lot of people out there might be thinking, well, for heaven`s sake, wasn`t he procuring these drugs for her? Doesn`t he have some responsibility here? Couldn`t he be sued for wrongful death. The truth of the matter is, A.J., unless he was actually shoving them into her mouth or secretly putting them into her drink or her food, no, it`s her. She was taking the drugs. She`s 39 years old. It`s her fault.

HAMMER: And from the sound of it, unless she`s the one to disclose to the person prescribing the drugs, whether it`s the doctor or the pharmacist, she really has to bear that responsibility.

BANFIELD: That`s true.

HAMMER: Tomorrow, of course, the inquest is going to begin into the death of Anna Nicole`s son, Daniel. Finally that`s getting under way in Bahamas. Now, Jane, we already know what killed Daniel. It was that lethal combination of prescription drugs. If there`s no criminal element here, why the need for an inquest?

MITCHELL: Well, because we haven`t had a full explanation of why Daniel died. How did he get the methadone? He had arrived in the Bahamas the night before. He was not known as a druggy. He certainly didn`t have time to go on the streets and buy Methadone from some dealer. So how did he end up with this methadone that was found in his system along with half a dozen other drugs. That`s the question. And, as TMZ has reported, there will be one witness, supposedly, according to TMZ, who will claim that Howard K. Stern supplied the methadone to him, and then after his death flushed it down the toilet.

But again, what happened today, I think, is good news for Howard K. Stern, certainly, because it gives him creditability to go into court and say, hey, that person is lying. I didn`t do any such thing. He`s more likely to be believed now that the Seminole police have said hey, no foul play here.

HAMMER: Cleared maybe, but it`s hard to ignore the fact that you have two people here, Anna Nicole and Daniel, surrounded by some of the same cast of characters, the same prescription drugs, both die due to lethal combinations of those drugs. Diane, I only have a few seconds here, but it really seems to be a little more than coincidental. Or, at least, it`s some very bad judgment.

DIAMOND: Yes, enough bad judgment to fill Yankee Stadium, I think, A.J. You know, when you look at Howard Stern, why don`t you just be a man and say, your temperature is 105, you`re going to the hospital. The bodyguard, who was a trained EMT, his wife, who was the nurse. Daniel himself was grown up. If he was ingesting something, it`s his responsibility that he put it in his mouth.

But, you know, the bottom line is Anna Nicole Smith didn`t exercise a lot of good judgment in her life. Look at her reality show, look at her marriage, look at her weight gain and loss. It`s a tragic tale, period.

HAMMER: And sadly, as we`ve been saying, the people around her that should have been helping her with those decisions really appeared not to have been.

Diane Diamond, Jane Velez-Mitchell, Ashleigh Banfield, thank you all for joining us tonight.

ANDERSON: A.J., as you just mentioned, Anna Nicole Smith`s stunning autopsy results come just before an investigation into her son Daniel`s suspicious death -- before that inquest starts. Now he died just days after Anna`s daughter was born. So coming up at 32 past the hour, we go one-on-one with the doctor who says he knows why Daniel died.

HAMMER: And coming up next, we`re getting Larry Birkhead`s reaction to today`s stunning news. Plus, what his next steps will be in the fight for Anna`s baby girl, Dannielynn.

ANDERSON: Also, Britney Spears, just out of rehab. Was she rushed back to the hospital? Plus, some very powerful advice for Britney from a star who is battling alcohol problems of her own. That`s straight ahead.



SANCHEZ: Howard is not vindicated. He`s not relieved. He is not at peace. Howard knew all along that something tragic happened. And he is the one that, more than anyone, wanted to know what happened.


HAMMER: That was Howard K. Stern`s attorney this afternoon. Emotional reaction to today`s explosive news about the results of Anna Nicole Smith`s autopsy.

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, TV`s most provocative entertainment news show. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. This is our continuing coverage of what killed Anna Nicole Smith.

ANDERSON: Just like so many others, Larry Birkhead, who says he is the father of Anna Nicole`s baby, watched today as the medical examiner revealed the results. Joining me tonight from Davey, Florida is Larry Birkhead`s attorney, Susan Brown. Welcome Susan.


ANDERSON: OK, Larry Birkhead, as I said, just like so many others, waiting to see what really killed, for Larry, the love of his life, Anna Nicole Smith. Is Larry satisfied, Susan, with the medical examiner`s determination that she died from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs?

BROWN: I have unfortunately been playing phone tag with him. So I don`t have an official comment at this time.

ANDERSON: Prior to the revealing of the autopsy results, in your conversations with Larry, did he suspect that would be the cause of her death?

BROWN: Well, one of the problems is you`re kind of asking me to get into attorney-client privilege. But let me address it this way: I don`t think anybody was surprised that she died of a drug overdose. I think it`s what was suspected from the beginning.

ANDERSON: OK, well look, during the court hearings over the battle over Anna Nicole`s body, on the witness stand, Larry said that at one point he had taken the drugs away from Anna Nicole, but that Howard K. Stern told him to give the drugs back, that Anna needed them to live. Does Larry think -- even though, you know, no charges are being filed as a result of the autopsy, and I know you`re going to have to go back to previous conversations, but does Larry want somebody to be held responsible here? I know this entire thing has been very, very emotional. He`s very distraught since her death.

BROWN: Right now, Larry`s main focus is getting custody of his daughter. I think, any other issues are for another day, after the dust settles a little. You know, there`s some big stuff coming up. I think the paternity and custody issue are the priorities right now.

ANDERSON: OK, well let`s talk about that. You know, all of this happening just as we are expecting the results of the DNA test that will determine whether Larry is the father of Dannielynn. Now does Larry have any doubt, any doubt whatsoever that the DNA will show that he is the father?

BROWN: As Larry testified before Judge Seidlin in Florida, he`s 110 percent sure that he`s the father. Larry is confident he`s the father. And hopefully we`re going to know very soon.

ANDERSON: Hopefully so. And speaking of that, there have been reports, Susan, that the court will not reveal the results of the DNA test until at least April 3rd. Is there anything that leads you to believe this could happen sooner than that, later than that, Howard could file an appeal? What are you hearing?

BROWN: Well, again, I`m only going to respond, and attempt not to violate the gag order, to what I`ve heard in the media. And I have also heard that the results will not be addressed until April 3rd. I suspect Howard Stern will file an appeal. I would be shocked if he did not.

ANDERSON: So that could delay the entire procedure and everyone getting the results, correct?

BROWN: Yes, I think an appeal could delay it. I don`t know how quick the appellate system works in the Bahamas, but our appeal with Virgie Arthur was very unusual in Florida. Usually it takes a substantially longer time. But I expect an appeal. Again, I would be shocked if there isn`t one.

ANDERSON: rMD+IN_rMDNM_Well, once the results are revealed, even if the DNA test shows that Larry is the father of the baby, under Bohemian law, Howard K. Stern can maintain custody of that child, because he`s listed on the birth certificate as the father. Does Larry believe that Howard will still refuse to give up the baby, even if the DNA shows Larry is the dad?

BROWN: It`s a guess at this time. However, my understanding of Bohemian law is that if the DNA rebuts the presumption, Howard K. Stern will have no claim whatsoever.

ANDERSON: All right, Susan Brown, attorney for Larry Birkhead, thanks so much for joining us and sharing what you could with us. We appreciate it.

BROWN: You`re welcome.

HAMMER: Tomorrow is a big day in the Bahamas. The investigation into what really killed Anna Nicole`s son begins. And coming up at 32 past the hour I`ll be going one on one with the doctor who says he know what killed Anna Nicole`s son. We also have this.


STERN: Anna, in a lot of ways, always thought she was going to die young. She said that. She thought she was going to be like Marilyn Monroe.


ANDERSON: It`s such a sad, tragic story. Coming up, a very special, emotional look at Anna Nicole`s death from her friends, family, even the lawyers, in their own words.

HAMMER: And listen to this, of course, Britney Spears just out of rehab. Was she rushed back to the hospital over the weekend? Plus, some very powerful advice for Britney from a star who is battling alcohol problems of her own. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT coming right back.


ANDERSON: Britney Spears just out of rehab, but tonight, was she back in the hospital this weekend? I can tell you that the media went nuts on Sunday when reports got out that Brit was being rushed to a Los Angeles medical center. But fortunately, it was false alarm. She was just going to see a dentist because she had a toothache. Now his office happened to be near the hospital.

Aside from this molar mess, "People Magazine" reports that Brit made her first post-rehab public appearance on Friday. Nothing crazy though, just a hip-hop fitness class and dinner with some friends. Now when I was at the Miss USA pageant this weekend, outgoing crown holder Tara Conner, who just went through rehab herself, and Miss Usa Judge Jerry Springer both had some very good advice for Britney: take it easy!


TARA CONNER, FORMER MISS USA: Just take it one day at a time. Don`t just try to jump out there and fully go out. Take time for yourself every day, keep a clear mind, and, you know, keep things in check, always just focus on yourself.

JERRY SPRINGER, MISS USA JUDGE: If you`re going to be a singer, be a great singer. But that doesn`t mean that your personal life should be a means of you making a living. Once you do that, once you let the public in, you can`t then keep them out when things go bad. So, be a singer. When the songs are over, go home.


ANDERSON: If only that were the case, right? Oh, by the way, yes, Miss USA owner Donald Trump was there with Tara and he thinks Britney is going to be just fine.

HAMMER: Well Brooke, there have been so many twists and turns, questions in this whole Anna Nicole Smith saga.

ANDERSON: Yes, enough dramatic twists and turns, A.J., for a soap opera, don`t you think?

HAMMER: Certainly indeed. And coming up, a very emotional look at Anna Nicole`s death, her friends, her family, even her lawyers in their own words. We`ve also got this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He came to celebrate the birth of his baby sister, and died during the night in his mother`s hospital room.


ANDERSON: We finally know why Anna Nicole died, but the death of her son Daniel still a baffling mystery. Straight ahead we`re heading to the Bahamas where the inquest into what really happened to him starts tomorrow.

HAMMER: And I`ll be going one on one with the doctor who says he actually knows why Daniel died. It`s the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, coming straight back.



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

ANDERSON: And I am Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. You are watching TV`s most provocative entertainment news show.

HAMMER: Brooke, do you remember a not-so-quiet moment in television history last June when Star Jones Reynolds bolted from "The View" after she found her contract wasn`t being renewed? Everybody`s been wondering, where is she? When`s she coming back to TV?

Well, she has announced what her new home is going to be. She`s going to join us in just a couple of minutes so we can fill you in. Wait till you see how good she looks, and wait till you hear what she has to say about the whole Anna Nicole saga. Because, you know, Star Jones not known for holding back her opinions.

ANDERSON: No, she`s always got something to say, A.J.

Also, you remember - we all do, we couldn`t forget - Ashlee Simpson`s lip-synching disaster on "Saturday Night Live." Well, remember she made that really bizarre excuse?

So coming up, we pick the "Worst Celebrity Excuses Ever." And that was a good imitation of what she did.

HAMMER: Pretty good, huh?

ANDERSON: Yes, pretty good.

But first, the nation spent Wednesday in the grips of Mega Million mania, as everybody was checking to see who won a record-breaking lottery jackpot that comes close to $400 million.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is asking, what is it about these lotteries that makes them so addictive?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re just waiting here to see who the lucky winner will be. At least two winning tickets were sold.

ANDERSON (voice-over): The entire nation spent the day in the grips of Mega Millions mania, a 12-state, $370 million jackpot that had everybody singing.


ANDERSON: Sounding like Taviya (ph) from "Fiddler on the Roof," the Mega Millions jackpot had everyone fantasizing about become millionaires. Even the millionaires who host daytime TV shows.

KELLY RIPA, TALK SHOW HOST: I could be walking out here, and - and (INAUDIBLE)

ANDERSON: Fans of Kelly Ripa don`t have to worry; she didn`t win, so she`ll presumably keep her talk-show gig.

But the husband of "Today" show host Meredith Vieira might have reason to worry.

MEREDITH VIEIRA, "TODAY" SHOW HOST: If a man has won, I will leave Richard. I really will.

ANDERSON: She was kidding - we think.

Fortunately, lottery excitement isn`t limited to real life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want half that lotto money, Earl.

ANDERSON: The main character on NBC`s hit show "My Name Is Earl" is on a perpetual good-deed quest that was initially financed by his lottery winnings.

All the excitement about this real-life lottery has SHOWBIZ TONIGHT asking: why do we find lotteries so irresistible?

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Because it`s instant.

ANDERSON: CNN`s resident money expert, senior business correspondent Ali Velshi, tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT there`s something about the get-rich- quick nature of lotteries that just appeals to all of us.

VELSHI: It`s the easiest fantasy to see realized. I`m not going to become a famous actor overnight. I`m not going to lose 50 overnight. I`m not going to be beautiful all of a sudden. But I can be a multimillionaire by morning if I buy the ticket.

ANDERSON: But that doesn`t always mean happily ever after.


ANDERSON: Hurley, from the ABC show "Lost," had a run of bad luck that began with him winning the lottery. And he`s not alone.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has a word of warning: look for those who literally win the lotteries, or those who do so figuratively. Yes, Howard Stern and Heather Mills McCartney, we`re talking to you.

Real-life lottery winners often end up falling on hard times. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you the same is sometimes true of stars who hit the proverbial lottery of instant fame and fortune.

MC HAMMER, RAPPER: Hammer time!

ANDERSON: Like the rapper MC Hammer, who earned tens of millions of dollars in the early 90s, only to end up bankrupt and a permanent cautionary tale on VH1`s "Behind the Music."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): When it came to managing his multi- million-dollar earnings, MC Hammer got hammered.

COOPER LAWRENCE, DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGIST: The reason why we love celebrities so much, because we assume that with the money comes this fabulous life. And then people that are thrown into this, whether it`s because they`ve become rich on their own or because of the lottery, they realize that the life isn`t as fabulous as they thought it was going to be.

ANDERSON: OK, we`ll stop with the lottery buzzkill. Even with those cautionary tale and those stats that all but say you have a better chance of being abducted by aliens than striking it rich in the Mega Millions, the lottery still makes for great TV.

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It`s a fun story. That`s for sure.

ANDERSON: .and undeniable fun, even for people who should know better.

Remember Velshi, the CNN business correspondent we talked to? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT asked him if he bought a lottery ticket.

VELSHI: Warren Buffett calls the lottery "a tax on the stupid."

ANDERSON: Yes, Ali, but did you play the Mega Millions?

VELSHI: And empirically, he`s probably right.

ANDERSON: Noted. Now please, answer the question.

VELSHI: But I got to tell you, I bought a ticket.

ANDERSON: That`s OK. We`re not judging. It seems that no one, real or fictional, is immune from the grips of lottery fever.


ANDERSON: Now if you didn`t hit the Mega Millions jackpot, don`t despair. Listen to the odds: they were 1 in 176 million.

HAMMER: All right. I won`t despair over not winning all that money. Fine.

Tonight, Star Jones Reynolds is back. And true to form, Star is not holding back. Some nine months after leaving "The View" in a blaze of controversy over whether she was fired or whether she had quit, Court TV has announced today that Star`s going to be the host of a new daytime talk show, as well as executive editor of daytime at the network.

Soon after the announcement, Star came right here to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, and she gave us a piece of her mind about the ridiculous Anna Nicole Smith, and exactly what we can expect from her new show.


HAMMER: Let me say this, and - and I mean this in the nicest possible way, Star. If I were walking down the street and I walked right by you, I don`t know if I`d instantly recognize you.

STAR JONES REYNOLDS, TV PERSONALITY: And we`ve been friends a long time.

HAMMER: We`ve known each other for quite a while. And - and I have to say, and you heard the reaction of the crew when you walked in - and this has happened when you walked in here - you look terrific.

REYNOLDS: I feel terrific.

HAMMER: I imagine it`s - it`s in and out.

REYNOLDS: I feel very, very healthy inside and outside. You know, when you are making changes in your life and you are starting new chapters, it`s a wonderful opportunity to change from the inside out, but also from the outside in.

HAMMER: Everybody`s been wondering for some time now, where is Star going to wind up? You wound up at a place where you kind of started out in television, Court TV.

Why - why did you choose to go there this time?

REYNOLDS: Absolutely.

I started in television - I was an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn. And got a call to go and be volunteer commentator at Court TV in 1991 on the weekend that it launched.

HAMMER: Right.

REYNOLDS: So 15, 16 years later, I am back, this time as executive editor of daytime for Court TV, and the host of my own legal issues, with a little pop-culture spin, talk show.

HAMMER: I imagine you have been just chomping (sic) at the bit with what`s been going on lately. So let`s just talk about a couple of things right now.


HAMMER: The Anna Nicole saga - you have to be sitting and watching this go on, and I am sure you have got a lot to say.

Are - are you, like most people, just blown away by the spectacle that this has become?

REYNOLDS: You know, it`s very interesting from a - I - I really approached it from a lawyer`s perspective.

First thing I was struck by was, everybody needs to have a will. Let`s talk about that.

HAMMER: Yes, I think that`s a - a real lesson learned.

REYNOLDS: Let`s write it down. If there`s a lesson to be learned in this, even if you`re 39 years old and beautiful and you think your whole life is ahead of you, you need a will.

Not only do you need a will to tell everyone that you want your Great Aunt Lucy to get your good gold hoop earrings, you need to put in there, if something happens to you, where do you want your most precious asset to go - your child.


REYNOLDS: That is your precious asset. And if you had done that and done it legally without having any of the interested parties involved, we would never have had this discussion.

HAMMER: So do you feel the outrage that I know I`m feeling, and I think it`s shared by so many people, over the fact that this paternity test has not yet taken place? I know they`re working on it.


REYNOLDS: Are you the baby`s father?

HAMMER: No, I - you know what? I tell you what.


HAMMER: I am not coming forward to say that I`m the baby`s father.

REYNOLDS: Then it doesn`t matter.

HAMMER: But it just - it seems to me, from everything that we have been learning over the course of this saga, that the baby needs to be in a stable environment with somebody with whom she is going to make a bond.

REYNOLDS: Do you really - OK, now I`m about to - I`m about to give you a hard time.

HAMMER: Please.


Do you know how many children right now are in foster care.

HAMMER: Absolutely.

REYNOLDS: .that have nobody who care about them at all?


HAMMER: Huge numbers. I get that.

REYNOLDS: Huge numbers of every age, racial group and economic background. And this baby has a whole lot of people to care about her.

She`s not going to miss a meal. She`s not going to be mistreated. She - her diaper is always going to be changed.

So let`s keep it in perspective for a minute on what we are talking about. Right now, what everybody`s really talking about is, the potential of this child to be heir to an estate that is hundreds of millions of dollars. If we cared about children, we`d be talking about something else.

HAMMER: I - I don`t disagree with you. But I want to get your take as a lawyer on this particular part of the case.

Howard K. Stern, who a lot of people are looking at as the villain in this whole thing - a lot of people are saying, `Well, you know what? Hey, huge conflict of interest here.` Not only was he her lawyer, but also her lover, and now the executor of her will.

REYNOLDS: Well, it happens. You`re executor; it`s the person closest to you.

It`s rare that it is your lawyer also, but it can happen. This is not unheard of that the executor of your - of your estate is your boyfriend, your husband, your mother, your brother, and that`s the person who ends up controlling everything. It happens everyday.

And I should also tell you, in real life, the biggest controversy that ever happens in families is around death and wedding.


HAMMER: Star also opened up about - about her days on "The View" and everything that she`s been going through ever since she left that particular show. We`re going to have all of that coming up tomorrow on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Plus her take on Britney and Kevin. Again, see Star back on TV tomorrow.

So Brooke, there`s some shocking news to divulge tonight. One of the biggest superheroes out there was killed off today.

ANDERSON: I am devastated, A.J.

HAMMER: A lot of people share that sentiment. And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has the details of exactly who was knocked off. You won`t want to step away from your TV, because you`ll want to find out why.

ANDERSON: Also, A.J., from Nicole Richie`s cramps to Ashlee Simpson`s acid reflux, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT picks the "Worst Celebrity Excuses Ever."

Also this:


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "Will have to control myself when I see you. First urge will be to rip your clothes off, through you on the ground and love the hell out of you."


HAMMER: Talk about the perfect TV soap opera. Shocking new twists in the out-of-this-world astronaut love triangle story. That is next.


ANDERSON: And welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, TV`s most provocative entertainment news show. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood.

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, the so-called "official statements" from celebrity publicists.

So 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 role 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: One of our favorite Britney Spears excuses? When her publicist told SHOWBIZ TONIGHT she didn`t pass out on New Year`s Eve because she was drunk. She was just tired.

HAMMER: You remember that shocking story of the astronaut love triangle? Lisa Nowak allegedly tried to kidnap the woman dating the guy that she really liked.

Well, today, she was fired by NASA. Sounds like it`s something right out of a TV soap opera.

Here`s CNN`s Susan Candiotti for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


CANDIOTTI (voice-over): It may be freezing outside those shuttle hatches, but inside zero gravity, steamy e-mails can keep astronauts warm: "Will have to control myself when I see you. First urge will be to rip your clothes off, throw you on the ground and love the hell out of you," writes Air Force Captain Colleen Shipman, to her lover, astronaut Bill Oefelein.

At the time last December, he was circling Earth, piloting the shuttle discovery. Oefelein tells Shipman he`s - quote - "a moron" when she`s not near. He writes, "you must really have me around your finger that I can`t even function without you here. And with you here, I am slightly smarter than a slug."

E-mails between Shipman and Oefelein apparently sent romantic rival Lisa Nowak over the edge. Prosecutors say after fellow astronaut Nowak found the love letters on Oefelein`s computer, she plotted revenge - a mind-boggling, 900-mile cross-country drive from NASA headquarters in Houston to Orlando, in adult diapers, to meet Shipman`s plane.

Nowak is charged with trying to kidnap Shipman from an airport parking lot. Even though a Nowak, a mother of three who is seeking divorce from her husband, downplayed their affair, Oefelein told police he was involved with both women, but told Nowak he wanted to date Shipman exclusively.

In this newly released letter from Nowak to Oefelein`s mother, Nowak pours out her soul: "Bill is absolutely the best person I`ve ever known, and I love him more than I knew possible."

(on camera): Lisa Nowak has pleaded not guilty. No comment from the two other players in this case, who just might be regretting those oh-so- personal e-mails, sent from outer space, and back.


HAMMER: That soap opera brought to you by CNN`s Susan Candiotti for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Lisa Nowak has pleaded not guilty.

ANDERSON: You remember those two teenage girls who allegedly robbed a Georgia bank? The Barbie bandits? They were wearing sunglasses, smiling. The absolutely stunning video of these two before they were caught getting their hair.


HAMMER: Time now for the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Video of the Day."

You inevitably have heard about the so-called Barbie bandits, those two teenage girls who allegedly robbed a Georgia bank. But get this: they were so carefree about it, just one day after, and still not caught, that they actually stopped by to buy some makeup and get their hair done - blonde, like Barbie, of course, and it was all caught on this just-released tape.

Salon workers said they were even talking about the robbery. Amazing. It is the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Video of the Day."

ANDERSON: We`ve been asking you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." Angelina Jolie about to adopt another kid, this time a Vietnamese boy. She`s already got three other kids; two of them are adopted.

So here`s the question: "Angelina Jolie Adopting Again: Is it time for her to marry Brad Pitt?"

Keep voting, Write to us, We`re going to read some of your thoughts tomorrow.

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

HAMMER: Oh, say it ain`t so. Is this right? Yes, unfortunately, tonight we`re really upset about something. We have to report it though: the shocking death of one our favorite superheroes, Captain America. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you that the popular comic book character was killed off in the issue that came out today.

He was shot by a sniper on the steps of a federal courthouse in New York City on his way to face charges for his role in the recent superhero civil war. Now, Captain America was created by 1941. But if you know comic books, you know sometimes they tend to bring these characters back.

Superman was, of course, knocked off back in 1993. But of course, they brought him back.

ANDERSON: So what do you think? Will Kevin Federline become our new favorite superhero? Yesterday we asked you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day" - could K-Fed save the day? "Kevin Federline: Is everyone too hard on him?"

Forty-seven percent of you say "yes"; 53 percent of you say "no."

Here are some of the e-mails we received:

Paul from Florida writes, "Please give K-Fed a break. He is the one who has stepped forward and been the responsible parent."

Logan from Missouri says, "The media painting Kevin as a good father is a bit disturbing, considering he had a similar nightlife."

HAMMER: Here`s what`s coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT tomorrow:

Dangerous messages older stars are sending to their younger sisters: Britney, Lindsay, Paris, Mischa - partying all the time, shocking headlines. Can lil sis learn from the big mistakes of big sis? That`s tomorrow.

And the comeback kings. It`s not long these guys were punchlines. Now everybody is lining up to work with them. From Alec Baldwin to Eddie Murphy to Patrick Dempsey, back in the spotlight tomorrow on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

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

ANDERSON: I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood.

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