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Showbiz Tonight

Larry Birkhead Returns to the U.S. With His Daughter; Britney Spears Makes Surprise Performance

Aired May 02, 2007 - 23:00   ET


A. J. HAMMER, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT ANCHOR: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is there as Anna Nicole Smith`s baby comes home with her daddy Larry Birkhead. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.
BROOKE ANDERSON, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT ANCHOR: And the attorney who was in the middle of the Anna Nicole baby battle right here. Now she`s involved in one of the nastiest star divorces. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. TV`s most provocative entertainment news show starts right now.

HAMMER: On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, Britney`s big bounce-back. Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is right there as Britney Spears returns to the stage for the first time in years. But with Brit just out of rehab, the bizarre head shaving, is this really a good move? Plus, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s gotta ask the other controversial question -- can Britney ever be as big as she ever was?

The nastiest star custody battles ever. Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT picks the most chaotic courtroom clashes over kids; Kim and Alec, Howard, Virgie, and Larry. Plus, do these ferocious fights have a big emotional impact on these little ones? Grab your gloves, and get ready for the meanest child custody battles ever.

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

ANDERSON: And I`m in Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. Tonight, the lawyer who was smack in the middle of the battle over Anna Nicole Smith`s baby is right in the mild of one of the nastiest divorces in Hollywood. Our explosive interview with here coming up.

HAMMER: First, she`s back. Britney Spears has startled everyone again. But not by shaving her head, checking into rehab, driving with her baby in her lap or partying without panties. You know, I really could go on forever. This time, Britney has done something that she has done many times before certainly, but not in years. Britney actually got up before a crowd and turned into the Britney Spears we once all knew and loved. Yes, Britney`s back and it seems her long nightmare may finally be over.


HAMMER: It was supposed to be a surprise in San Diego, but SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you that didn`t last long. That`s Britney Spears in the red ball cap, surrounded by swarms of paparazzi, right before her, quote, unquote, secret, and we might add racy, comeback performance. TV crews weren`t allowed inside, but that didn`t stop the cell phone cameras. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT obtained this video. Freshly rehabilitated and scantily clad, Britney showed off her newly toned physique, and covered her shaved head with a long brown wig.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was Brittany`s first live performance in almost three years.

MIKE FLEEMAN, "PEOPLE MAGAZINE": She did a very quick, 14 minute, three and half, four song set and she got a great reception.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I shaved my head to be like Britney.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s the best artist ever. Every single song, every video, everything about her.

HAMMER: But SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is asking the tough question. While she`s in recovery, can the Britney Spears brand recover from a year where she basically imploded?

FLEEMAN: It may be too much too soon. On the other, just sitting around all day doing nothing could also be bad for her. This is, in some ways, her comfort zone. In some ways this could be the best thing for her.

HAMMER: Britney`s packed a lot, and we do mean a lot, into the three years since she last took the stage. She`s been married, had two kids, divorced --

BRITNEY SPEARS, SINGER: I would like to be a mom.

HAMMER: Self-destructed on "Dateline NBC," went off to deep end with late night partying, oh, and wait,and shaved her head. Plus did not one, but two stints in rehab. With so many ups and downs in her personal life, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you some wonder whether this is the right time for Brit to be getting back into show business.

FLEEMAN: The big question for Britney is will people think of her as a performer, as a singer, as a pop star and not just as a magazine star? This is going to be very difficult for her. She`s going to have to reestablish herself as a pop star. She`s going to have to gain some kind of credibility for her music if anyone is going to take her seriously.

HAMMER: Britney Spears has sold almost 80 million albums world-wide and is the eighth best-selling female artist in U.S. history. This latest performance was the first of several planned secret concerts, designed to get Britney`s feet wet after her break from the music business. We have to wonder if these performances are a way for Spears to personally gauge where she stands with her fans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She can be bald. She can be drunk, whatever.


HAMMER: Britney kicked off her 15-minute performance lip syncing, yes, not even singing, to her 1998 break-out hit, "Baby One More Time."

FLEEMAN: She stuck to the songs that she could perform in her sleep. This is her trying to get back into the groove, trying to find her sea legs, if you will, as a performer. It`s been three years and in pop music, that is an eternity.


ANDERSON: If you missed the first Britney Spears show, don`t worry. She`s got a few other gigs coming up in the next couple of weeks. But tonight, I`ve got to wonder is this the right move at the right time? Joining me in New York, development psychologist Cooper Lawrence, and "Radar Magazine`s" senior editor, Tyler Gray. Good to see you both.


ANDERSON: And, you know, I want to say, Britney`s image as the sweet and sexy pop star, that`s been thrown out the window, as we all know, in the past few years, with her two marriages that ended. She had two kids. The partying, the shaving of the head, the rehab. But Tyler, last night it was the old Britney back on stage. Does she need to make a change?

TYLER GRAY, "RADAR MAGAZINE": Definitely. You know, just recently at Radar Online we talked to three publicists, Lindsey Groveman (ph) being one of them, Ron Terosi (ph) and Matthew Troub (ph). They each said she needs to take time off. She needs to go away for a little while. Be photographed doing normal things and chill out for a little while. What we saw last night was her going back to exactly the same thing that she`d been doing before, the thing that drove her over to edge. Why not a new Britney?

ANDERSON: A new Britney? Yes, of course, she has changed drastically since she was huge the first time. As we know, she just finished a month in rehab. Cooper, I`ve got to ask you, is it smart to be putting herself out there so quickly? You know, going on the road is stressful. What do you think? Could it lead to a relapse?

LAWRENCE: Well, of course it could lead to a relapse, because, you know, you don`t just go to rehab for 28 days and that`s it. It`s a long- term process. She`s got to keep going for follow-up and have somebody that`s with her that`s going to stop her from partying. She seems to be one of these people that really thrives on working. And her being bored seems to be the bad thing in her life.

So if she can work and find a way to not party afterwards and combine the two, then it could be a good thing that she`s out on the road.

ANDERSON: All right. Well, you know, one the one hand Tyler, you`re suggesting change her image. Maybe dirty it up a little bit. Cooper, it doesn`t sound like that`s what your suggesting. How do you reconcile the two?

GRAY: Well, there`s a dirty and then there`s a change. You don`t come out and do 12 minutes of show, for which, you know, fans are paying 500 dollars for. You do your old songs. You know, you shaved your head. Why not show off the scalp, be who you want to be. Maybe go a little punk rock. You know, you have all these fans who are rooting for you as an under dog now. Don`t go just back to the old cheesy pop star you were. How about punk rock Britney? How about that?

ANDERSON: How about that. I bet she wouldn`t call herself cheesy.


ANDERSON: Some might. People are going to be watching every move that she makes. Cooper, could this lead back possibly to where she was initially mentally?

ANDERSON: Yes, see, Brooke, that`s really going to be the problem. Because you don`t know if her being on the road and being with the same old people and doing the same stuff is going to throw her back to her old partying ways. I`ve been saying all along that part of the rehab thing, she really has some psychological issues she needs to deal with. So if she`s not getting help for that now, she could be home with her kids; she could be out on the road. It makes no difference. She still has the psychological and she needs to address that immediately.

ANDERSON: Well, speaking of the kids, you brought the kids up. Going back on the road, trying to make a career resurgence. She`s going to be away from those kids again, like she was in rehab. Before when she was huge, she didn`t have the children. Now she does. Cooper, how difficult is it going to be for her to juggle this and keep those kids in a healthy state?

LAWRENCE: Oh, see, not only difficult for her. It`s all about the kids. Because, remember, where were the kids when she was in rehab? They were with K-Fed, which means they bonded with him and they attached to him. So they need to form a real attachment with an adult care-taker, hopefully their mother in this case. So it`s really imperative, no matter what else she`s doing with her life, and no matter what else she`s doing with her career, she needs to get back with those kids and really form a bond with them. Because they`re at pivotal ages right now in their development.

ANDERSON: Tyler, quickly, if you were Britney`s manager, her publicist, her agent, whatever, what do you think? Do you have to strike while the iron is hot so people don`t forget about you? Is there that problem, that issue, or maybe should she really just think about hanging back?

GRAY: We`ve been down this road before. I know she hired her old people, but, you know, come on. Let`s get a new Britney. Take the wig off. Learn guitar. Mix it up with a weird DJ or something. Do some club gigs every once in a while. Let`s get a new Britney in there. Let`s get a punk rock, hard edge Britney that can be herself.

ANDERSON: Maybe she should hire you, Tyler Gray, for her image. Tyler Gray and Cooper Lawrence, thank you both for joining us.

LAWRENCE: Thanks, Brooke.

ANDERSON: OK, so what do you think about it? It`s our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Britney spears performs again -- can she ever be as big as she was? Vote at Send us e-mail at

HAMMER: So get this, tonight, I can tell you that Isaiah Washington is shooting public service announcements for one of the biggest gay rights group in the country. Here`s why this is all so shocking. You might remember the big scandal surrounding the "Grey`s Anatomy" star. He reportedly called co-star, T.R. Knight an awful gay slur during an on-set fight. Then he bungled his denial of using that slur and ended up being shipped off to rehab.

Well, now Washington`s publicist tells me that Isaiah is taping some PSA`s for the gay rights groups, GLAAD. They`re going to be shot in the next few weeks. We don`t know who approached who with the idea, but it does sounds like it could be a controversial public relations move. We`re just going to have to wait and see what happens when those ads finally do come out.

ANDERSON: A.J., I gotta tell you. I`ve seen some of these new pictures of Anna Nicole Smith`s baby, Dannielynn. So adorable.

HAMMER: She`s very cute and appears to be very healthy as well.

ANDERSON: Yes, she does, which is great. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is right there when Larry Birkhead and his gorgeous little girl finally come home to the United States.

HAMMER: And Brooke, Debra Opri is right here with me. She was actually Larry Birkhead`s lawyer in his baby battle. Now, Opri`s in the middle of one of the nastiest divorces in Hollywood, involving David Hasselhoff. An explosive interview with her is coming up.

ANDERSON: Yes, A.J., that split has a really ugly custody battle going on. Coming up, I`m picking the meanest star custody battles. Plus, do these ferocious fights have a big emotional impact on the kids? We are asking that question coming up. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT for Wednesday night heading straight back. Stay with us.


HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. Tonight, Larry Birkhead is back in the U.S. and he`s got the daughter he had with Anna Nicole Smith with him. Of course, this was a long battle, but yesterday a chartered plane went wheels up from the Bahamas, taking Birkhead and Dannielynn to his native Kentucky. "Access Hollywood" correspondent Tony Potts has been with Birkhead for some time now and he traveled with the proud papa as he brought his baby back to his native soil.

I spoke with Tony about how Birkhead and Dannielynn were doing.


HAMMER: So, Tony, you had exclusive and extraordinary access to Larry Birkhead. Here`s a guy whose efforts had been thwarted so many times before. I`m curious, even up to the moment the plane actually took off, was he worried that something else was going to stop him from leaving with his baby?

TONY POTTS, "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD": No, not really. Although his emotions almost stopped him. As we were taxiing and he had a hand on Dannielynn`s left hand, as she was in the car seat, in the plane, looking out the window, right when you make that final turn before you head down the runway, I could see his eyes well up with tears and he got really emotional. I asked him about it after we took off.

He said there`s so many things I was thinking on the runway of leaving her. Her body`s here. Daniel`s body`s here. But yet I`m happy to be getting out of here. Should I be happy? So he was, you know, a lot of emotions for him yesterday. But I saw him this morning, just about an hour or so ago, and he is -- he`s fine. Got some rest last night, and he`s very happy. He looks relieved.

HAMMER: Well, what a victorious plane ride for him. So I`m curious how those emotions carried over onto that ride. Obviously you were there. Were there more tears? Was it celebratory or was it sort of a quiet relief going on?

POTTS: It was quiet relief after he wiped his tears away. Once he got in the air, we`re talking about everything and he was just happy to be going home. He never -- as he looked down at the Bahamas and the islands leaving, you know, in the distance, getting smaller and smaller and we`re getting closer to Florida, you can just sense that he was changing a bit, you know? Like the shackles had been taken off and he relaxed a little bit. And he was playing with Danny and having fun.

And she was great on the flight. You know how everybody always thinks, oh god, there`s a little kid on the flight. She was fantastic. Fussed a couple of times, ate some food and passed out, much like I do on the weekend.

HAMMER: We`re actually looking at some photos from when you guys got off the plane in Louisville. Actually, we`re watching you get on the plane right now. From this video that we`re seeing, she looks healthy and happy. A lot of people had been concerned for her health over the past several months. She`s only eight months old at this point, and obviously not able to comprehend what was going on, but she really seems in good health and spirits to you?

POTTS: Absolutely and I`m a father of two girls. My youngest is two and half years old. The first time I saw Danny, the pictures of her, I thought, man, she`s a little bit thin, small for her age. And Larry was concerned as well for that. Once he got in there and started seeing her more, she`s fattened up, as it were. She looks great. She`s alert. She`s -- she has fun. All of the things you would expect from a seven, eight month old kid, she`s doing.

Now we have to get Larry to start eating. I think all the weight that Danny`s gaining, Larry has lost. So, Larry has lost about 20 pounds. But he was home last night. We sat in. The family invited us in. They had a big old home-cooked meal. His sister Judy made some spaghetti and some meat sauce. And then at the end of the night, they even asked him to take out the garbage, which I thought was so appropriate.

HAMMER: Well, he should be back getting into a normal routine, I guess, as much as he`s going to try to get Dannielynn into some kind of normal routine. Of course, Tony I can`t talk to you without bringing up the name Virgie Arthur, because here is the woman who has basically been the primary person lately standing in Larry Birkhead`s way. She`s been trying to get custody rights of Dannielynn.

You`ve been hanging out with Larry Birkhead for some time, really getting to know him now, particularly over the last couple of weeks. Do you find that he`s bitter at Virgie Arthur? I know he had wanted that level of cooperation that just doesn`t seem to be coming together.

POTTS: I don`t think he`s bitter as much as he is disappointed. Because, like you said, he expected that level of cooperation and he expected to have Virgie come up to Kentucky and spend time with Dannielynn and maybe, you know, he and Danny would go down to Texas in the future and spend some time there. I think he`s more disappointed than anything. Now, you know, I know for a fact that Virgie wants -- once that Danny steps on this soil, after the custody hearing in June, if she doesn`t win there, Virgie has a plan, a legal plan here to sue Larry right away and try to start for custody here in the United States.

And it`s funny, you know, A.J., I asked Larry`s father last night -- I said, you know, you are a grandparent, why aren`t you doing anything? He said, because I`m normal. I just want to see the baby. That`s all I want. I said do you have anything to say to Virgie? he said I don`t want to speak to that woman.

HAMMER: I`d like to see her take a cue from him. Tony Potts from "Access Hollywood," thanks as always, my friend.

POTTS: A.J., always a pleasure.


HAMMER: And yesterday, we asked you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. What we asked was, Dannielynn goes home with daddy -- do you feel sorry for Howard K. Stern? The vote is pretty one-sided; 33 percent of you said you do feel sorry for him; 67 percent of you don`t.

Among the e-mails, one from Corinne in Montana, who feels very sorry for Howard, writing, "he has suffered more losses than most people do. He loved Anna Nicole so much that he would do anything for her.

But Terry from Canada doesn`t feel sorry for Howard at all. "Why should anyone feel sorry for someone who has deliberately lied? He was her gopher. He was her drug supplier."

ANDERSON: We do appreciate your e-mails. Keep them coming. And listen to this, another celebrity DNA battle is just getting underway that could turn nasty. Melanie Brown, you know, Scary Spice from the Spice Girls, says she`s taking Eddie Murphy to court to make him take a paternity test. Brown says Murphy has so far refused to take a DNA test or sign the birth certificate of her one-month-old baby girl. Here they are in "OK Magazine."

She says that Murphy hasn`t even contacted her or seen the baby since she was born, so the issue is going to have to go to court. Brown says she doesn`t think any woman or child should have to go through this, but says she absolutely loves being a mom and is very happy.

HAMMER: Well, good for her. But Brooke, yet another nasty battle involving kids. Talking about David Hasselhoff`s divorce. This thing is ugly.

ANDERSON: Yes. A lot of he said, she said. The whole thing is really, really terrible.

HAMMER: I`ll be going one-on-one with Debra Opri. Of course, she was the lawyer right in the middle of the Anna Nicole Smith baby battle and now she`s involved with this very nasty fight. You`ll hear my explosive interview with Debra at 31 past the hour. We`ve also got this.


LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: The story didn`t jibe. I know how them and I know they had some sort of relationship, but it was not sexual, in my opinion.


ANDERSON: Here`s something you`ve just got to see. I turned the tables on our very own Larry King. I make him answer my questions on his set. Wait until you have to hear what he has to say about Anna Nicole Smith.

And next, that awful rumor about Tommy Hilfiger doesn`t want blacks, Asians, Jews buying his clothes. It`s terrible. Well, Oprah has stepped in, next.


ANDERSON: Well, I can`t tell you how many times I got his e-mail forwarded to me. The one about Oprah Winfrey asking clothing designer Tommy Hilfiger if he ever said something like he didn`t want blacks, Hispanics, Asians and Jews to buy his clothes. When he supposedly said yes, Oprah kicked him off the show. Terrible, right, the whole thing.

Well, the thing is, he says he never said that disgusting stuff and it`s also totally untrue because Tommy never appeared on Oprah`s show before today, when he finally got the chance to set the record straight.



TOMMY HILFIGER, DESIGNER: It hurt my integrity, because, at the end of the day, that`s all you have. If people are going to challenge my honesty and my integrity and what I am as a person, it hurts more than anything else. You know, I have four children. My children would come home from school and say, daddy, I go to school with a Jewish boy who says you don`t like him.


HILFIGER: And they know it`s not true and they`re out telling kids, no, it`s not true. Tommy is not that way or my dad is not that way. So that has really hurt. It`s really hurt my heart.


ANDERSON: Tommy added he enlisted the help of the FBI to try and track down how the rumor got started, but couldn`t pinpoint it.

HAMMER: Well, the lawyer in the middle of the Anna Nicole Smith baby battle is now in involved in another big time star scuffle over kids. I`ve got Debra Opri right here with me next. She`s got explosive stories about the David Hasselhoff divorce battle.

ANDERSON: And, A.J., more nasty stuff. I`m picking the ugliest star custody battles. I`m also kind of concerned, because what kind of emotional impact do these fights have on the kids? Also this,


KING: I knew Larry Birkhead, and I liked him. I had lunch with him. And he had been on this show. And he was so believable. And Howard was not.


ANDERSON: Here`s something you`ve just got to see. I turn the tables on our very own Larry King. I make him answer my questions on his set. Wait until you hear what he has to say about Anna Nicole Smith.



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

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

All right. Tonight, I get to turn the tables on our very own Larry King. Yes, I sat down with Larry, A.J., on his set, and we talked about - well, we talked about just about everything, including the night that Howard K. Stern told Larry that he was the father of Anna Nicole Smith`s baby.


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: The story didn`t jibe. I know Howard cared for her, and I know they had some sort of relationship. But it was not sexual, in my opinion.


ANDERSON: All right. Straight ahead, Larry also tells me what he really thinks about Britney Spears` chances for a comeback, and his thoughts on Alec Baldwin.

HAMMER: I can`t wait to see you and Larry together on his set.

Also, Brooke, speaking of Alec Baldwin, tonight, we are taking a look at the nastiest celebrity custody battles ever. As you no doubt know, Baldwin and Kim Basinger are in a drawn out and very public fight over custody of their daughter, Ireland. And they are just the beginning.

Coming up, you won`t want to miss the ugliest custody battles in Hollywood.

But first tonight, the attorney who was smack in the middle of the nasty fight over Anna Nicole Smith`s baby is now caught up in one of the nastiest divorces in Hollywood: the fight between David Hasselhoff and his ex-wife Pamela Bach. She is making explosive charges against Hasselhoff, accusing him of being abusive in their fight over custody of their kids.

Bach is now being represented by the attorney who represented Larry Birkhead. Debra Opri, who joins us tonight from Los Angeles.

Debra, it is always a please to welcome you to the show. Obviously, so many outrageous things to go over here. We will do just that in just a moment.

But first, I got to get your thoughts on your former client Larry Birkhead. Because of course, after months of fighting, he`s now home in Louisville, Kentucky, with the baby he had with Anna Nicole, Dannielynn.

I got to know what was going through your head the first time you saw the picture of Larry leaving the Bahamas, holding Dannielynn in his arms.

DEBRA OPRI, ATTORNEY: I - I cried. I am proud because I helped. I got him his daughter, and I got him his life. And what a life it`s going to be.

I`m very happy for Larry. I`m sure Larry`s watching tonight. Love you. Want you to be happy.

HAMMER: And - and Debra - and Debra, we`re happy for you, because from the very beginning, you said unequivocally on this show he was the father. You were proved correct, of course.

Let - let`s now move on to what`s going with David Hasselhoff. You and his ex-wife Pamela Bach were in court on Monday. I got to tell you, as - as you well know, she made some pretty serious charges, that Hasselhoff abused her verbally, abused her emotionally, and claimed there would have been physical abuse if she didn`t have a restraining order.

Debra, those are some explosive claims.

OPRI: I don`t put words in my client`s mouth. She speaks from her heart. She speaks of 17 years of pain, agony, grief. She has two daughters now who are at the age where they know what`s going on. And I think this is why I was asked to come into this case and help her, because she`s very concerned about her two daughters.

Is there truth to this? I believe her. I believed Larry; I believe Pamela. She is a fantastic human being, very religious. Her daughters come first. She is a mother first. She put her entire life into those two girls, in her marriage. And she said, `I couldn`t save my marriage and I couldn`t save David. I`m going to save my two daughters.`

HAMMER: And - and the daughters you refer to now at the age of 16 and 14.

I want to read to you from a statement that David Hasselhoff shared with SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. He says - quote - "I have the respect of my daughters and my fans, and most importantly, my self-respect. I will continue to keep my personal life private for the sake of moving on and living a happy life with my children."

Now Pamela is seeking sole custody of their two girls, if I understand this correctly. Debra, do you think it`s really a good idea for them not to have a relationship with their father?

OPRI: No one said that, A.J. And your father - fathers are important; mothers are important. Healthy parents are important. And are there allegations of abuse in terms of alcoholism and the daughters seeing it? Yes, there are. Are there concerns for the safety of the children? Yes, there are. Has Pamela been using the press all this time? No, she hasn`t.

It`s her ex-husband who has, in our opinion, been leaking untrue, horrific allegations of drug usage. Pam is not a drug user. She has never in the time I have known her, in terms of her being a mother, has any - has ever had any substance-abuse problems.

I beg to differ with Mr. Hasselhoff and his publicist`s comments. Time will prove us right. Time will prove us to be correct in our legal battle.

HAMMER: Well, Debra, one of those reports that was making big news in the press last year, that David Hasselhoff was telling police that one of his daughters tried to commit suicide, and that Pamela has alleged he made it all up to make her look like a bad parent.

Why is it necessary to air so much dirty laundry? It can`t - it can`t be good for the kids. And the stuff is getting out there.

OPRI: It`s been getting out there for awhile. And let`s be - let`s keep everything in its proper perspective, A.J., as we`ve always done.

Things getting out in the public, in the media, it`s one thing. It`s the extreme, much like the tape with Alec Baldwin, with the way he spoke to his daughter. Everybody makes mistakes.

But David Hasselhoff, in our opinion, has not made mistakes when he intelligently, deliberately and belligerently contacts 911 to set his wife up. And you don`t misuse the system for that, and it`s not going to be done on my watch.

Mr. Hasselhoff better duck, because he`s not going to get away with those antics any more.

HAMMER: Debra Opri, as always, I appreciate your absolute honesty, and I thank you for joining us on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

ANDERSON: Well, if you think the Hasselhoff custody battle is bad, hold on just a second. Because SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is also bringing you more of Hollywood`s nastiest custody battles ever.

With us tonight from Hollywood, investigative journalist Pat Lalama.

Hey, Pat.


ANDERSON: I want to start with one that none of us could ever forget: the battle between Michael Jackson, his ex-wife Debbie Rowe. Now they were married for only three years. She gave up all custody rights when they divorced.

But Pat, she then went after custody again, didn`t she?

LALAMA: Well, I`ll tell you what I have always thought about this case: you can`t even say this marriage was premised on love. I don`t believe it; I don`t think it was romantic. I think it was all for, `something`s for me and something`s for you. I want kids, you want money, and this is what`s going to work - how it`s going to work out.`

So I would like to even disqualify this as a true union, because it wasn`t about love and kisses and happiness forever. It was all about self- serving interests.

ANDERSON: Well, hopefully, those kids are having a stable life. After all, anyway.

LALAMA: Please. Well, let`s hope that, you know - there you go.

ANDERSON: Let`s hope.

OK, now let`s move on to rapper Eminem, his ex-wife Kim Mathers. Pat, unbelievable. They got married not just once, but twice, and then they got divorced twice. And there`s this 11-year-old little girl in the middle of it.

So it had to be bad not just for them, but for that child, didn`t it?

LALAMA: I can tell you that children always want their mommies and daddies to get back together. Now that doesn`t mean that`s what should happen, but it`s always a wish for a child.

And so mommy and daddy got back together, and that poor child probably thought, `Oh great. Whoopee!` And then they break up again. So it`s a double whammy. And there were also allegations of drug use. So there`s all kinds of issues there.

I give them credit for making a go of it a second time around. I do give them that. But there`s no way that the child is not going to be scarred in some way doubly for that.

ANDERSON: Yes, to have those hopes dashed the second time around.

Pat, you know, we just can`t talk about nasty custody battles without talking Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger. You always (INAUDIBLE), if they could scratch each other`s eyes out, they would.


ANDERSON: Of course, the voicemail that Alec left for his 11-year-old daughter - judge suspended his visitation rights temporarily because of it. You know, it`s all going back to court.

Why is this one so bitter and nasty?

LALAMA: Because they`re both immature, and because they must get some sort of a fun little creepy little insidious joy out of carrying something like this on for years and years.

I say go get therapy and give this child a break. I`ve never seen two people want to use the court system to just hatchet each other as much as these two.

ANDERSON: And Alec has called Dr. Phil for help. So hopefully, they`re all getting some therapy and some help there.

LALAMA: Exactly.

ANDERSON: OK, Pat, finally, not only one of the nastiest, but maybe one of the most bizarre custody battles ever - because it wasn`t between a husband and an ex-wife. We`re talking, of course, about baby Dannielynn in the Anna Nicole case.

LALAMA: Right.

ANDERSON: Two men claiming to be the dad - Larry Birkhead won that battle. But it also involves Birk - Anna Nicole`s estranged mother, Virgie Arthur.

Now you throw an in-law in there, Pat - and I love my in-laws, sometimes, bound to be - bound to be trouble.

LALAMA: Could we do a lie-detector test on that, Brooke? No, I`m just kidding. I know you do.

In-laws can always stir up the pot. We might as well throw in a couple of two-headed sheep while we`re at it. This is quite the potpourri of angry mob (ph).

Here`s the thing: I still say Virgie has every right to pursue grandparental rights. And I don`t think as - from what I can see, she is any more nefarious in her efforts than Howard K. Stern was, or anybody else who has dollar signs in their eyes.

So I say we give her a break, and let`s - maybe she wants to prove herself after allegedly being a bad mom.

But it is blood. So why shouldn`t she be able to pursue it?

ANDERSON: Well, hopefully, you know, she won`t drive Larry away in the entire thing.

LALAMA: Well, that`s true, too. That`s true.

ANDERSON: She runs that risk.

Yes, you know, very quickly, do you think that some of these stars should stop airing their dirty laundry in public for the sake of the kids?

LALAMA: Well, you know what? Just listening to my good buddy, Deb Opri, on the Hasselhoff case, I was thinking, `Oh, here we go. This is going to be nasty.`

So no, they`re not done airing yet, clearly.

ANDERSON: Too bad. Too bad.

All right. Investigative journalist Pat Lalama, thanks so much.

HAMMER: Well, Brooke, you know that we like to have a lot of fun with our "That`s Ridiculous!" segments. But I got to tell you, this one we have coming up, it could be the daddy of them all. I can`t wait. A - a guy`s actually suing his drycleaner to the tune of 65 million bucks for losing his pants.

ANDERSON: Outrageous!


ANDERSON: Outrageous.

HAMMER: The story gets even more ridiculous, I promise. We`ll have that next.

Also this:


KING: I knew Larry Birkhead, and I liked him. And I had lunch with him. And he`d been on this show. And he was so believable. And Howard was not.


ANDERSON: I`m turning the tables on Larry King. Straight ahead, I am asking the questions and getting Larry`s take on everything from the Anna Nicole Smith saga to Britney Spears` comeback.

HAMMER: And could Ricki Lake possibly be taking Rosie O`Donnell`s place on "The View"? She certainly knows her way around a talk show set. But would she be into this job?

Well, I`ll let you know what Ricki told me, coming up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Master, roll your break, and effect black now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go 3 music under. Stand by, A.J. Pre-set 1. Open his mike. And dissolve. Go.

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, TV`s most provocative entertainment news show.

It`s time now for another story that made us say, "That`s Ridiculous!"

This is a story of a man in Washington, D.C. He`s suing a drycleaner for losing his pants. But get this: he`s suing for $65 million.


HAMMER: Yes, you hear me right. The guy`s name is Roy Pearson (ph). He should know all about frivolous lawsuits, because he`s a judge.

Pearson says he should get $65 million because of mental suffering, inconvenience and discomfort. And because he has to rent a car so he can look for another drycleaner.

By the way, the family-owned cleaner did offer him a settlement for 12,000 bucks. But Pearson is holding out for the $65 million.

Now "That`s Ridiculous!"

ANDERSON: This week, we here at SHOWBIZ TONIGHT and all over CNN are celebrating Larry King`s 50 years in broadcasting. Larry has interviewed every big name in news, politics and entertainment.

So what`s his take on Britney Spears returning to the stage after so many missteps? And who could forget that Howard K. Stern declared on Larry`s show that he was the father of Anna Nicole Smith`s baby, Dannielynn?

I turned the tables on Larry King and asked him the tough question. Take a look.


ANDERSON: Larry, I`m honored to be sitting here across from you. I just want to say that.

KING: Brooke, it`s my pleasure. I`m giving you an exclusive tonight, Brooke. No suspenders. Yes, I`m casual for you.

ANDERSON: Casual Larry King. I don`t believe it.

KING: The audience is (INAUDIBLE)

ANDERSON: I know. Well, you look very dashing, let me say.

KING: Thank you. You don`t look bad yourself.

ANDERSON: Well, I appreciate that.

And I want to say - you know, you`ve been in the middle of so many celebrity - huge celebrity stories that have broken and - and have been headlines around the world, including, most recently, the Anna Nicole Smith case. You know, Larry Birkhead has just returned to Kentucky with the baby he had with Anna Nicole Smith.

But Howard K. Stern first made this claim, right here on your show to you. Let`s take a listen.


KING: So you are the father?


KING: By the way, have there been any DNA tests taken? Is that.


KING: What?

STERN: I said, "proud father."


ANDERSON: All right, Larry. When he said, that - that he`s the - the father, did you believe him?



KING: I - I didn`t know - how would anyone know who`s the father of someone else`s child? In fact, you never know you`re the father of a child unless you take a DNA. You really don`t know.


KING: But I knew Larry Birkhead, and I liked him. And I had had lunch with him. And he had been on this show. And he was so unbelievable. And Howard was not. He was just - the story didn`t jibe. I know Howard cared for her, and I know. But it was not sexual, in my opinion.

ANDERSON: So sitting in that chair, when - when guests say things to you that you don`t believe, what do you do?

KING: Well, you can`t say, "You`re lying," since I - I - how would I know he was lying? You just - you maybe show a little face or you go on to other things and try to ask the best questions you can.

But the it`s up to the audience. And eventually though, in those kind of stories, as we`re - the Frey story who wrote the book that he - saying he was places that he wasn`t, when Oprah Winfrey called and defended him.

Eventually, the truth comes out.

ANDERSON: The truth does come out.

KING: Yes, you can`t beat that.

ANDERSON: No, you can`t.

Well, Howard K. Stern - you know, he`s lost the baby now. He lost Anna Nicole Smith, Daniel. He`ll probably get kicked out of that house in the Bahamas.

Some people are concerned for him, for his health, his well-being.

Do you think we should be concerned for Howard K. Stern?

KING: No, I think Howard`s all right. I think he`ll be OK. You know, he`s - he`s a pretty resolute guy. And he`s handled this well. You got to admit that.


KING: I mean, for a guy who - to be so bold as to make certain claims and then have them proved wrong, and then - I think he`s acted press classy. I know there were rumors that he had some sort of financial deal, but then again, I don`t know. And I don`t like to speculate.


KING: But I - I wouldn`t worry about Howard`s health.

ANDERSON: You know, another big celebrity story that - that you broke and you covered right here on "LARRY KING LIVE," the whole Alec Baldwin-Kim Basinger, really ugly divorce mess. And - and recently, Alec has made headlines for that blistering voicemail he left for his daughter, Ireland.

But you had the last big interview with Alec Baldwin before all of this happened. Let`s take a look at that.


KING: What kind of father are you?

BALDWIN: Well, I think I`m like a lot of men I know. I`m kind of a slave to my daughter, whenever my daughter`s around.

KING: Tell me about it.

BALDWIN: Yes. I mean, when my daughter`s around, I just.

KING: She owns you.

BALDWIN: Yes, I mean, I just do whatever she tells me to do.


ANDERSON: OK. A judge has temporarily taken away visitation rights. Some people say Alec is a bad man.

But you`ve spoken to him. You`ve spoken to him about family. What do you think?

KING: No, I don`t think he`s a bad man. I think he had a bad day.

You know, if you (INAUDIBLE) - without sin cast the first stone. If you never had a bad day, tell me about it.

I like Alec. I like Kim. I know Alec much better than I know Kim.

Something interesting though as a postscript that the audience may not know, Dr. Phil was on a subsequent talking about Alec Baldwin. And on the - on the program he offered to help both parties. Alec called him. Alec`s PR guy told me the other day in New York. And they have talked. And Dr. Phil is willing to help Alec.

And I think Alec would be willing to accept the help. But Alec called Dr. Phil based on this program.

ANDERSON: I know. I saw that show. And - and that`s a great guy for him to get help from.

KING: Absolutely.

ANDERSON: Dr. Phil very qualified.

And, you know, another story in the news right now: Britney Spears. She last night hit the stage trying to make a comeback.

You know, she`s gone through a divorce, gone through rehab. She shaved her head.

Larry, you`ve seen so many celebrities come and go. The big have fallen, and then after falling, they make a comeback.

What did you think about Britney Spears? Could she come back?

KING: Oh yeah. He`s too old - she`s too young! Anybody - anybody in America can come back. There is a second act. You can - you can - America is forgiving, understanding. She can go in tomorrow, record a song that goes through the roof, and she`s back.

See I don`t know anyone, beyond a child molester - if you`re a child molester, you`re dead. Beyond the child molester.

ANDERSON: Everyone else.

KING: Can come back.


ANDERSON: And the one person Larry King told me that he hasn`t interviewed but he still wants to get that chat with is Fidel Castro. He is a living legend, and it was a great pleasure to interview him - turn the tables on him.

And tomorrow night, be sure to check out CNN for a special edition of "LARRY KING LIVE": "50 Years of Pop Culture" with Anderson Cooper and Ryan Seacrest.

HAMMER: So what do you think? Is Ricki Lake going to take Rosie O`Donnell`s place on "The View"? I think it seems like a great match. And Ricki`s fantastic. But would she do it?

I`ll tell you what Ricki said when we sat down together to talk about it, coming up next on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


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

So of course we all know now that Rosie O`Donnell is leaving "The View," leaving a spot, of course, for a new co-host.

Could it be Ricki Lake? Ricki was a guest host on "The View" yesterday. There`s been a lot of buzz that she may be one of the people in the running to take over for Rosie.

Well, Ricki stopped by the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT studios after guest-hosting on "The View." Take a look at what she said when I asked her if she`d ever consider making it a permanent gig.


RICKI LAKE, ENTERTAINER: I don`t know. I mean, I would be very flattered. I love that show; I`m a huge fan of the show. And just the fact that they might even be considering me is an - is an honor.

HAMMER: So you wouldn`t rule it out?

LAKE: I would - never say never. That`s what they say.

HAMMER: That is what they say.

If not you, who - who do you think make a great person? Anybody that ran through your mind when you found out Rosie was leaving?

LAKE: No, because I - I mean, I don`t really - I mean, though I watch "The View" and "Oprah" - those are the two shows I TiVo everyday - I - I haven`t really given it much thought. I mean, I think it`s going to take a really special person, because obviously Rosie`s one of a kind.


HAMMER: Doesn`t Ricki just look great? And I think she`d be perfect on "The View."

You can see my complete interview with Ricki Lake tomorrow on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. We had a lot to talk about, including her struggles with weight over the years, and her fascinating new documentary about childbirth, in which you get to see Ricki herself naked in a bathtub giving birth.

ANDERSON: We`ve been asking you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day": "Britney Spears Performs Again: Can she ever be as big as she was?"

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

And you can now stay on top of the latest and most provocative entertainment news stories and find out what we`re working on. All you have to do is sign up for the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsletter.

So go to our Web site, Look on the left-hand side of the page, where it says "newsletter." It`s really easy. Just click to sign up. And after that, we will send you an e-mail of the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsletter every single day.

HAMMER: It is time now to find out what is coming up tomorrow on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

And tomorrow, we`ll be dealing with the children of star divorces. Of course, it is always hard when parents split up. But what is the impact on kids when mom and dad are duking it out in court and in the press? We`ll be looking into that tomorrow.

Also tomorrow, fired by Donald Trump, hired by Hugh Hefner. A former contestant on "The Apprentice" poses for "Playboy." And she`s going to tell us why she decided to trade in a business suit for her birthday suit. That is tomorrow in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

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

ANDERSON: Have a great night, everybody. I am Brooke Anderson in Hollywood.

"GLENN BECK" is coming up next. That`s right after the latest headlines from CNN Headline News.