Tuesday, December 19, 2006
The most controversial celebrity of 2006
Who do you think was the most controversial celebrity of 2006? Mel Gibson? Tom Cruise? Britney Spears?

The list of possibilities is long. Very long. So long you have to wonder whether someone slipped something into the water in Hollywood this year.

"Showbiz Tonight" on CNN Headline News has chosen the "Most Controversial Celebrity of 2006" and will announce the winner of this dubious honor Wednesday night at 11 p.m. ET.

As the Executive Producer of "Showbiz Tonight," I can tell you we thought long and hard about this, and picking just one celebrity was not easy.

After all, 2006 was the year of Mel "Mad Max" Gibson becoming unhinged and letting loose with an anti-Semitic tirade following his arrest for driving while drunk. It was a year that saw Michael "Kramer" Richards acting like a possessed Linda Blair in "The Exorcist" during a standup comedy routine, spewing the n-word and igniting a national debate over its use.

And even Tom Cruise, the man who was perhaps America's most beloved movie star (certainly the most bankable) -- who once became intoxicated with his professed love for Katie Holmes to the point of coming apart at the seams on Oprah's couch -- saw his star fall somewhat when "Mission: Impossible III" did less then stellar business. Later, he was fired by his own movie studio.

And in the end, all three -- Gibson, Richards and Cruise -- would apologize for their actions in one way or another.

Even Britney Spears offered at least one apology, for driving with her infant son in her lap. But that was just one of countless controversies that enveloped her in 2006, from posing nude while pregnant for a Harpers Bazaar cover to prancing panty-less, post K-Fed, while paparazzi snapped away. She's a primary source of the fuel that energizes the celebrity blog beast, an engine that roars mightily every day.

The list of controversies involving celebrities in 2006 actually seems to go from here to eternity. It also includes Anna Nicole Smith, Madonna, Star Jones, Kanye West, Naomi Campbell, Danny DeVito, Lindsay Lohan, Nicole Richie, Paris Hilton and so on and so on.

But only one can be the most controversial -- and "Showbiz Tonight" believes we have a winner! So watch at 11 p.m. ET Wednesday and please let us know your thoughts!
Who cares? Why don't you add something positive to the world? "The most controversial celebrity" definitely does not.
The correct question should be 'Why should we care about celebrity controversies?'. In every town every day more terrible and horrific things happen and yet they're outshone by the media spotlight on the latest Lindsey Lohan antics and her gal pals of ill repute Paris, Britney et. al and now Miss USA.

The president just announced we need more troops in Iraq and yet the media decides to focus on Miss USA and now that she has to go to rehab, whatever that means in this day and age.

Whatever it is they do its a short curt apology and off to the shores of malibu for a break in a 'rehab' clinic setup in multimillion dollar cliffside mansions. Yeah tough work lies ahead for them.
The most controversial is probably a fictional one: Borat. Niiiice!
who cares!
Looking over the list of "celebrities" who are allegedly controversial, I'm struck by the large portion of the list who have no discernable talent. Why exactly are Anna Nicole Smith, Naomi Campbell, Nicole Richie, and Paris Hilton considered to be "celebrities"? None of them has done anything to merit the attention they get. If it wasn't for the internet and tabloid journalism, these people would actually be living like the nobodies they are.
I must be a terrible thing to finish a hard days work, with only a blog titled 'The most controversial celebrity of 2006.' You have added nothing good to this world, and you have become the very writer that you despised when you were in college. Mr. Levine, you are talented, but you should stop worrying about your paycheck, and start writing about the things you truly love. This article is filth, and you know it.
My vote's for Kate Moss.

Funny how she's not even mentioned but had, by far, the biggest scandal in 2006.
how about Ann Coulter? what a prize fulla hate she is! Picking on widows and thinking Iraq is going"swimmingly" well... An idiot.
What a crock - The only thing your "blog" is good for is advertising, but then again, this will likely never be posted due to the extreme censoring of CNN.

Thumbs down - Why don't you engage in some real journalism?
I agree with everyone else. Isn't it sad that there is so much focus on what 'celebrities' do? Who really cares, what does it really matter, and what difference does it make? They're only celebrities for no other reason than they simply *are* and we are told they are.

They're rich, have it easy, and for no reason get preferential treatment everywhere. Let's critique celebrity culture rather than wallow in it.

What is wrong with our country?
Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat. So controversial. He offends EVERYONE! Wawaweewah!
I think anyone who invited their own controversy automatically disqualifies themselves, which lets out a whole lot of people. Mel Gibson has been accused of anti-Semitism in the past, so (whether or not it was true then or now) his actions were not a surprise. Michael Richards, on the other hand, produced a show on race relations while he was stationed overseas and still managed to behave appallingly, as if he was refusing to practice what he had preached. I call that a (dubious) winner.
I agree with most of the posters above. This is supposed to be CNN, the most trusted name in NEWS. With all the controversy going on in the real world that the rest of us live in, why are you focusing on this trivial BS?
Easy, it's O.J.
I clicked this link for a quick bit of useless information
and basically just read a commercial.
How depressing.
I vote for CNN's down in the gutter tabloid journalism as the most controversial of 2006.
IF Brittany Spears is someone that the 10-20 year olds look up to then she is the most controversial because those negatively influencing this age group are doing the most damage to the future of the human race. ANYONE who sends unethical, illegal or irresponsible messages to this age group of world citizens damages the future of the human race negatively.
Hmmmm, if only we cared about more important issues. But I do have to say I went from once thinking Tom Cruise was hot...about ten years ago to thinking today he is as scary as michael jackson! HAHA Come on people have some fun here!
I vote for Perez Hilton. He broke many of the celebrity stories we're talking about.
The most controversial, and famous, celebrity of 2006 had to be Robert Wagner. That's right, first he was controversial in the 70s with "Hart to Hart" (I heard he poured coffee on Stephanie Powers to ensure he would have top billing), now he's controversial in his recurring role as "cheerleader that saves the world" on NBC. I may be confusing Robert Wagner with someone else, but the guy is still awesome and needs to be on the All Time Cool Hollywood List - so lets see if this helps.
Tom Cruise, hands down. He didn't think he was being controversial but he shot himself in the foot & aimed at a few others on the way down. As I like to say....he's become "Omarosa" to me. Don't want to see him...don't want to hear him.
I'm personally sick of hearing about all them. We all make mistakes, don't see anyone writing about the time I was drunk in public. WHO CARES!!! we are just feeding there EGO'S
If I cared about the most controversial celebrity, I'd watch Entertainment Tonight or E. Doesn't the NN in CNN stand for 'news network'? Controversial celebs aren't news, just filler. With so many more obvious controversies in this world, including the poor in America and illegal aliens and whether the US needs to 'save' the world, why not focus on them instead? I won't be watching at 11PM ET Wednesday. If you want to choose the 'most' anything, why not something positive? Or are we so used to negatives as news that nothing else seems worthy?
I vote for the celestial baby Suri
They are all a bunch of self-centered brats who have somehow convinced themselves and the people in the U.S. that what they think, do, and wear is of some importance. Bring back the good old days when the Hollywood crowd "hid in the closet" and didn't seek all this publicity. The waste of money is absurd. Why don't they all get real jobs like most of us working folk do. No partying for me Sunday to Saturday. There has to be a big amount of drugs being used to allow people that party all night to show up for work the next day. I've stopped going to movies, sporting events and the like; I'm not spending my hard earned money on these egomaniacs any longer. Well it's back to work for me, I need to get paid this week so we can have a roof over our heads and food on the table.
So many people ask the question "who cares?". But you read the article anyway. If you read it, they will keep writing it. I read this because I read everything on CNN. What is your excuse?
I just have a comment-
If some of you are so offended that Mr. Levine is blogging about celebrities, why are you reading the "Marquee" Showbiz blog in the first place? This makes no sense to me. If you are willing to take the time to read, you must care to a certain degree. (Not that I am disagreeing with the point that our society as a whole focuses too much on celebrities. But most of us are guilty)
That said, my vote also goes to Borat. Niiiccce.
Mel Gibson is losing his mind, Tom Cruise is a child, and who cares about Britney Spares!
I agree with Doug from NC and others...really, who cares? You want to give these people even more publicity by giving them yet another inane title..."most controversial"? Leave that for the "journalists" at People magazine.
How about Rosie O'Donnell?

She is so full of hatred and venom that she's made a fool of herself four or five times on the View. DOn't let someone with that much anger slink into the shadows.
Who gives a rat's butt about these idiots who make more money than God and have no morals. And really, pantyless Paris Hilton and her dog purse is so much more important than the tens of thousands of people around the world dying everyday.
While reading this, I, too, was thinking "who cares??!!" Then it occurred to me: we all "clicked" on the article and read it. So aren't we justifying "news" of this sort?
I agree with the idea that it's an inane proposition, but if we're going to entertain ourselves, how about George Bush? He is certainly famous, and he has certainly polarized the nation. Find one, one person who is neutral on the President.
What a terrific way to teach our children how to behave. Get famous, dress like prostitutes, break the law and get away with it with a simple slap on the hand and give an insincere apology to the world. And all is well again.
I really don't care about the "controversial" celebrities. What I WOULD like to see more of are the stories and pictures related to the celebrities that are spending their money and time on helping others...such as, George Clooney, Angelina and Brad, Bono, Orah, etc. It's good to actually have respect for the few in Hollywood that care enough to help those less fortunate and with disease. Now this reporting is newsworthy.
The most controversial? If you ask me, Hollywood is an embarrassment to mankind.
I thought I was reading from cnn.com, not tmz.com
There is no doubt that Britney takes the Cake. She has been acting out of line... as once a wife, and now a mother of two! Get your act together Brit!
Obviously you didn't count recent drums such as Nicole Richie, Paris Hilton, and K-Fed.
I think there are far too many controversies besides celebrities and how they "behave" for us to focus on. War, racism, gas, etc. They should have done the most inspirational person of 2006, or the most controversial "person" not celebrity. We should pay more attention to what is really going on around us rather than people making fools of themselves throughout the year.
This is crap that you guys are putting on CNN.com. I find it pretty sad that mankind idolize people that walk around and get away with murder and worse, yet the lifesavers like our military people, firefighters, EMS, etc dont get hardly any recognition at all.
Much varied discussion but not enough!! Such petty outcry about violence and sex in a rather well description of true history. Someone mentioned Pulp Fiction and, bingo (!), there is Hollywood's glorified perception of violence and disgust that makes it cool! Folks, study your history books and question man's quest to conquer and destroy whether it is from within or from outside.
Interesting how so many people making comments out here had put-downs about the blog itself. If you think it's worthless, why even take the time to post about it?!?!
Tom Cruise by far is the most controversial celebrity of the past year. I mean, the guy goes toe to toe with the medical, pharmaceutical and media industries. You can't get more controversial that.
Well, it definitely wasn't Michael Richards.

Controversial? Yes.

Celebrity? Not anymore.
I agree with all the other "Who Cares!" posts...but the sad truth is there is a never ending supply of lifeless people that do care...so CNN, Page Six, Jossip, TMZ and all those other useless to mankind garbage sites will continue to rein.
Only in America can somebody without a job or talent like Paris or Nicole be celebrities. Americans wonder why the rest of the World no longer takes them seriously. Between the President and Paris, how can they.
I agree with the majority here, WHO CARES! Three binbos bare their crotches and get major publicity. Focus on what George, Matt Damon, Angelina/Brad, Bono are doing, trying to save lives. What kind of example are stories like this giving our youth? I'd love to see no paparazzi show up for the trashy trio.
donald rumsfeld would have to be the most remarkable celebrity, that is what he was to me a celebrity dacing around parading the war.
Jagshemash, Sacha Baron Cohen , hands down, period.
I agree with Andrea from St. Louis and Rachel from Bloomington--if you don't care, why are you reading it?
I think they should leave Brittany Spears alone. K Fed is an idiot and she should have left him a long time ago. You put her down for posing nude while pregnant for Harpers Bazaar but nothing was ever said about Demi Moore when she posed nude while pregnant for Hustler Magazine. As far as Mel Gibson goes he has a right to say what he wants and the cop who arrested him should have kept his mouth shut realizing that he was drunk. I understand that these are celebrities but they are still people just like the rest of us.
Very intelligent post Jolene Jones and I'm in full agreement. Hope chairs wherever the Three Bimbos have been are totally sterilized. Wish the media would focus more on people like George, Brad and Angelina, Matt Damon, etc. I'm so sick of trash media!
Good Lord, do some of you people not pay any attention to what blog you're looking at and commenting on?? It's SHOWBIZ TONIGHT!!! Hello, if you want doom and gloom go to some other blog!! This one is for having a bit of fun, and speaking of fun, is it my eyes or does this page keep flashing different colours??
There are many controversial people in 2006, but these two are the ones that take the crown.

Britney Spears -- not much explanation is needed. Divorce, hard partying with Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan, and of course, cavorting around town with no undies.

Rosie O'Donnell -- does not need much explanation either. Just look at what she's going through now with Trump and Barbara Walter. And let's not forget her "imitation" of how Chinese people speak.
Occasional musings and gab about the world of entertainment.
• 10/22/2006 - 10/29/2006
• 10/29/2006 - 11/05/2006
• 11/05/2006 - 11/12/2006
• 11/12/2006 - 11/19/2006
• 11/26/2006 - 12/03/2006
• 12/03/2006 - 12/10/2006
• 12/10/2006 - 12/17/2006
• 12/17/2006 - 12/24/2006
• 12/24/2006 - 12/31/2006
• 12/31/2006 - 01/07/2007
• 01/07/2007 - 01/14/2007
• 01/14/2007 - 01/21/2007
• 01/21/2007 - 01/28/2007
• 01/28/2007 - 02/04/2007
• 02/04/2007 - 02/11/2007
• 02/11/2007 - 02/18/2007
• 02/18/2007 - 02/25/2007
• 02/25/2007 - 03/04/2007
• 03/04/2007 - 03/11/2007
• 03/11/2007 - 03/18/2007
• 03/18/2007 - 03/25/2007
• 03/25/2007 - 04/01/2007
• 04/01/2007 - 04/08/2007
• 04/08/2007 - 04/15/2007
• 04/15/2007 - 04/22/2007
• 04/22/2007 - 04/29/2007
• 04/29/2007 - 05/06/2007
• 05/06/2007 - 05/13/2007
• 05/13/2007 - 05/20/2007
• 05/20/2007 - 05/27/2007
• 05/27/2007 - 06/03/2007
• 06/03/2007 - 06/10/2007
• 06/10/2007 - 06/17/2007
• 06/24/2007 - 07/01/2007
• 07/01/2007 - 07/08/2007
• 07/08/2007 - 07/15/2007
• 07/15/2007 - 07/22/2007
• 07/22/2007 - 07/29/2007
• 07/29/2007 - 08/05/2007
• 08/05/2007 - 08/12/2007
• 08/12/2007 - 08/19/2007
• 08/19/2007 - 08/26/2007
• 08/26/2007 - 09/02/2007
• 09/02/2007 - 09/09/2007
• 09/09/2007 - 09/16/2007
• 09/16/2007 - 09/23/2007
• 09/23/2007 - 09/30/2007
• 09/30/2007 - 10/07/2007
• 10/07/2007 - 10/14/2007
• 10/14/2007 - 10/21/2007
• 10/21/2007 - 10/28/2007
• 10/28/2007 - 11/04/2007
• 11/04/2007 - 11/11/2007
• 11/11/2007 - 11/18/2007
• 11/25/2007 - 12/02/2007
• 12/02/2007 - 12/09/2007
• 12/09/2007 - 12/16/2007
• 12/16/2007 - 12/23/2007
• 12/30/2007 - 01/06/2008
• 01/06/2008 - 01/13/2008
• 01/13/2008 - 01/20/2008
CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. Please note that CNN makes reasonable efforts to review all comments prior to posting and CNN may edit comments for clarity or to keep out questionable or off-topic material. All comments should be relevant to the post and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying information via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statement.