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Oscar Preparations Reach Fever Pitch; Interview With Latest `Apprentice` Casualty

Aired February 25, 2005 - 19:00:00   ET


KARYN BRYANT, CO-HOST: Countdown to Oscar, live from the red carpet. I`m Karyn Bryant in Hollywood.
A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: And "The Apprentice`s" latest castoff live. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. We`ve got you covered on both coasts. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Tonight, Oscar countdown kicks into high gear. So much to do, so little time. Karyn Bryant is live on the red carpet with your pre-Oscar timeline. Oscar show producer Gil Cates live. If the Oscars are a circus, he`s the ringmaster. Oscar suite swag. We`ll show you some of the cool and expensive stuff the nominees are getting -- for free! Red carpet etiquette -- the schmoozing, the smooching, stylist to the stars Philip Bloch live on the do`s and don`ts. She just got fired from "The Apprentice," but she still has lots to smile about, and she is live on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


TARA REID, ACTRESS: Hi. I`m Tara Reid. And if it happened today, it`s on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


HAMMER: Hello. I`m A.J. Hammer, and you are at the top of the show. We are live with you from Headline Prime studios in New York.

BRYANT: And live from the red carpet outside the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, I`m Karyn Bryant. And we are counting down to the Oscars. Oscar planners kicked it into high gear this morning, preparing for entertainment`s favorite event. And now, with less than 48 hours to go, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has what we look to call your tick-tock, giving you a minute-by-minute, blow-by-blow look at the race to the finish leading up to the big night.


(voice-over): The food, flowers, the frocks. Oscar is 48 hours away, and Hollywood is getting ready. This morning, finishing touches on the red carpet. The arrivals tent is ready for action. The flowers are here. An hour later, trees delivered to the governors ballroom for the big after party.

SID GANIS, CO-CHAIR, GOVERNORS BALL: After three-and-a-half hours of the tension -- the good, solid tension of the awards ceremony -- we provide the means for them to come in, let their hair down, take it easy, have a great Wolfgang Puck meal.

BRYANT: Chef Wolfgang Puck is making a meal to remember -- salmon, caviar, Kobe beef and lobster in a puff pastry and French truffles.

WOLFGANG PUCK, CELEBRITY CHEF: I actually love when the Oscars are early, like in February instead of March, because we really can get still some wonderful truffles and everything.

BRYANT: This afternoon, the votes are in. Pricewaterhouse partner Greg Garrison knows the winners. We tried asking. He ain`t talking.

GREG GARRISON, PRICEWATERHOUSE: Normally, two, myself and one other partner, will know who the winners are before we put them into those envelopes, and we`ll be the only two.

BRYANT: That is, until Sunday. Saturday morning, 10:00 AM, clock`s ticking. Mark`s Garden delivers flowers to the governors ballroom.

MARK HELD, MARK`S GARDEN: The flowers for this year`s event are from Africa, from Europe and from New Zealand.

BRYANT: Sunday, 6:00 AM, bright and early. Bleacher guests (ph) loaded. Security will be tight, hundreds of LAPD officers, four other city agencies, three federal agencies.

JOHN MILLER, LAPD: This is the third year we have done it in a post- September 11 mode. It`s not your father`s Oscars operation. It`s very different now.

BRYANT: Make-up artists, hairdressers and stylists dress, blow dry and buff the stars. Mad dash. Time`s running out! After all, it is a fashion show, too.

PATTI FOX, OSCAR FASHION COORDINATOR: I think so many people are looking to Hollywood and to the Oscar red carpet that people are designing for, you know, launching a look at the red carpet, like Elie Saab. That`s a name of a designer we didn`t know before Halle Berry wore him. It`s exciting!

BRYANT: Sunday afternoon. Time`s up. Lights, camera action. The celebrities start arriving on the red carpet, and the night begins.


Well, if the Oscars were a circus, Gil Cates would be the ringmaster. He is the producer of the big program, and he joins me now on the red carpet. Gil, thanks for joining me. And first and foremost, you just came out of rehearsals. What`s going on in there?

GIL CATES, 77TH ACADEMY AWARDS PRODUCER: We just finished rehearsing with Antonio Banderas, who, along with Carlos Santana, is going to sing the song from "Motorcycle Diaries," which is really very exciting. And Beyonce is in her dressing room now. She`s getting ready, and we`re going to start her in about 15 minutes. So it`s an exciting day for us.

BRYANT: Absolutely. Now, I do want to know -- there`s obviously been a lot of talk about Chris Rock as the host. Have you had to have a sitdown with him and talk about boundaries?

CATES: You know, he is so smart. I mean, he`s done a lot of network shows before. He`s done "Saturday Night Live." You know, he`s been on so many shows. He knows the difference between cable and network. And the thing that`s funny is he told me early on that he never curses in front of his mama, and his mother`s going to be in the fifth row of the audience. So there she is. He`s going to look down. So I promise you, you`re not going to hear any naughty words from him.

BRYANT: Well, and actually, I`ve read, too, that he`s been out working his -- you know, his gig, getting the jokes ready this week.

CATES: Yes, he`s been working -- my goodness, he`s been working now for about nine weeks, and he`s working with a wonderful group of writers. He`s been playing the clubs here in LA. I think he`s played at least 15 clubs, 15 times, so that he`d get the right material for it. And we heard the material in his dress rehearsal today, and it really is cool. I mean, it really is funny.

BRYANT: Great. Now, I want to talk about some of the changes you`ve made this year. You wanted to freshen it up, maybe make the show a little bit more youthful?

CATES: Well, you know, obviously, people love tradition, but sometimes we`re bound by tradition. And one of the things -- we`re changing several things this year. Obviously, Chris Rock is a big change. The other big change is that instead of having the nominees, or the person who wins the Oscar, walk up on stage and accept the award, 25 times up and down, some of the awards are going to be giver with the nominees all on stage already, so we see them all together. Some of the awards are going to be given in the audience, where someone will simply get the Oscar by standing up and walking to the aisle. Some things are going to happen from the box.

We`re trying to break down the line between the orchestra, between the audience and the stage, and I think it`s going to be terrific. And I just want to add, the Oscars have started a lot of things over the years, from the first female announcer to the first, you know, necrology package with people who passed away. And we`re always in the forefront of it, so it`s appropriate that we do that this year.

BRYANT: Great. And last question. Are you the kind of producer who paces in the control room, or do you just sit back and watch from home?

CATES: Oh, no, no, no, no, no! I`m in the control room -- not pacing, seated. And then during the commercial breaks, I go out on the stage to speak to some of the presenters that are going up, some of them that I know that are perhaps more nervous than others and Chris, et cetera.

BRYANT: OK. Great. Well, thank you very much, Gil Cates. And I`m sure it will be another successful year at Oscars.

And Sibila now, I want to give you a little chance to say something.

SIBILA VARGAS, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT: Well, let me ask you a question. What do Leo, Hilary and Johnny Depp have in common? Well, they`ve all been here before. They`ve been Oscar nominees. But for other contenders, it`ll be the very first time they`re walking down the red carpet. And for them, you can bet it`ll be a life-altering experience.


VARGAS (voice-over): There`s a first time for everything. And for those actors and actresses who have been nominated for the very first time, does being a nominee mean bigger and better opportunities? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT went to the expert, "Entertainment Weekly`s" Dave Karger, who gave us the 411 on this year`s first-time Oscar nominees and how their careers may shape up after the dust settles.

DAVE KARGER, "ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY": Well, for a lot of actors, a first career Oscar nomination can really jump-start their career. Look at Virginia Madsen, who was kind of toiling in obscurity for a decade.

VARGAS: And look at Virginia Madsen. Soon after her nomination, she got an offer she couldn`t refuse, a movie with Harrison Ford.


VARGAS: Ms. Madsen is not the only one who`s reaping the rewards of an Oscar nomination. For two other-first timers, their nominations beat out their more famous co-stars.

KARGER: The thing about Clive Owen and Natalie Portman in "Closer" is that when people first started hearing about that movie, all the buzz was about the two less famous people, as opposed to Julia Roberts and Jude Law.

VARGAS: And proving even further that less famous people are getting a shot at the gold, Don Cheadle, who has made a living with supporting roles, got a nomination for his first lead role in "Hotel Rwanda."


DON CHEADLE: I cannot leave my family.


KARGER: Here`s a guy that everyone`s loved for years in supporting parts. But then, with this role as Paul Rusesabagina in "Hotel Rwanda," really showed off what he can do.

VARGAS: And showing off his acting chops in two dramatic roles this year, Jamie Foxx is not only a first-time nominee, he`s going down in Oscar history books.

KARGER: Jamie Foxx not only was a first-time Oscar nominee this year, he was a first and second-time nominee. And in fact, he became only the second man in history to get two Oscar nominations for different performances in the same year. Only Al Pacino had ever done that before.

VARGAS: So what`s Mr. Foxx`s future looking like, whether or not he goes home with on Oscar come February 27?

KARGER: He has automatically sprinted to the A-list, and I think he`ll be able to do whatever he wants from here on out.


VARGAS: All the contenders will be keeping their fingers crossed this weekend. Who knows? Maybe they`ll go into a Chinese restaurant, crack open a fortune cookie revealing that they`re going home to gold! Wouldn`t that be sweet, Karyn?

BRYANT: That`s pretty excellent, Sibila. Thank you.

Well, we will speak with first-timers and old-timers and everyone in between live. We are kicking off our pre-Oscar coverage with a special live edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT this Sunday. We`re always live, but we`re just bringing it to you on Sunday, as well. It`s going to start at 6:30 PM Eastern right here on CNN Headline News.

HAMMER: And then it`s over to CNN at 7:00 PM Eastern, as Karyn and Sibila do a fine job hosting "HOLLYWOOD`S GOLD RUSH" live from the red carpet. Once again, that`s at 7:00 PM Eastern on CNN.

And this, as Gil Cates and Karyn were talking about a few minutes ago, will be a different year at the Oscars. We`ve got a different host in Chris Rock and a different format, trying to move the show along a little bit faster.

So we here at SHOWBIZ TONIGHT have just one question for you. This year, will you be watching the Oscars? That is our "SHOWBIZ Showdown Question of the Day." So what do you think? Will you be at home in front of the tube? Take our poll at and let us know. If you have some additional thoughts you want to share, e-mail us at

One celebrity will be watching the Oscars with a new family member this year. It is 10 minutes past the hour and time now for more "SHOWBIZ Shorts." A pre-Oscar party delivery. Actress Holly Robinson Peete -- she`s the wife of NFL quarterback Rodney Peete, and most recently of the TV show "Like Family" -- went into labor at last night`s "Ebony" magazine party. She gave birth this morning. Peete`s publicist told us today that the baby boy has not yet been named but it will start with the letter R.

And more Oscar presenters were announced today. Barbra Streisand, Adam Sandler and Emmy Rossum will all hand out gold men on Sunday.

We have more "SHOWBIZ Shorts` coming up throughout the show.

Well, she was fired on last night`s "Apprentice" and fired up to be on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Well, I hope so, anyway. We`ll speak with Tara live coming up. Plus, check out the swag! We`re going to show you the pricey Oscar souvenirs that all the stars are getting, live.

BRYANT: Now tonight`s "Entertainment Weekly" "Great American Oscar Quiz." Oscar statuettes were first made of bronze before the Academy switched to which of these gold-plated alloys? Was it A, adamantium, B, britannia metal, C, cupronickel or D, brass? We will be right back with the answer.


HAMMER: And welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. So again, today`s "Entertainment Weekly" Oscar quiz -- Oscar statuettes were first made of bronze before the Academy switched to which of these gold-plated alloys, adamantium, britannia metal, cupronickel or brass? If you guessed britannia metal, you are correct. The answer is B.

Our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT pre-Oscar extravaganza continues now. And `tis the season for the stars to be picking up free goodies. You know they always get the coolest stuff. Let`s go back out to our own Karyn Bryant in Hollywood who is rockin` the red carpet. And you got some cool swag there with you, don`t you, Karyn.

BRYANT: Well, not yet, A.J., but I plan on hitting some of these suites because, I tell you, it`s not only the stars and the Oscar presenters that are getting goody bags, all over Hollywood, at hotels, boutiques, celebs, agents and their assistants, and hopefully, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT hosts, are invited to pick up some swag, as it`s commonly known. Actually, Brooke`s got more information on that. She`s got a peek. Anything good over there, Brooke?

BROOKE ANDERSON, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT: Karyn, we`ve got some good stuff, including these fabulous Robert Mark (ph) sunglasses. I`m here with Jessica Shaw from "Entertainment Weekly." You`ve got some Guccis on.

JESSICA SHAW, "ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY": I do. I feel very fabulous!

ANDERSON: Oh, you look very fabulous. Well, unfortunately, Karyn, we cannot keep these...

SHAW: No, we can`t.

ANDERSON: ... but we`re going to take look at some of the other things that are in the Oscar suites that the stars will be able to take home with them. Jessica, let`s start with the bling-bling, why don`t we?

SHAW: Yes, well, I have been going to these suites all week. And let me tell you, if you`re a celebrity, you just need to show up and you will clean up! Look at this bling! This is not cubic zirconium. These are diamonds! If you`re a nominee -- Hilary Swank, Natalie Portman - you get it! They give it to you -- $8,000 cufflinks. And the bling is everywhere! Look at these shoes. I mean, it is all over the place.

ANDERSON: Your feet even have to look good. Of course!

SHAW: Absolutely. Of course.

ANDERSON: This is also fantastic.

SHAW: Yes.

ANDERSON: A beautiful bag. I`m sure it`s pretty pricey.

ANDERSON: It is very pricey. Michael Corse (ph). You get it at the Estee Lauder suite. But you don`t just get the bag, you get Manolo Blahniks in there. You get about $30,000 worth of products, in addition to the bag!

ANDERSON: Oh, wow! And this is also beautiful.

SHAW: Yes.

ANDERSON: But with an inscription inside.

SHAW: With an inscription. This is actually Laura Linney`s bag and Liam Neeson wrote the inscription.


SHAW: And this will be in her arms some day.

ANDERSON: All right! Well, go, Laura. OK, well, and there`s always skin care...

SHAW: Yes.

ANDERSON: ... at these suites and in these gift bags. Now, this isn`t the gift bag for the Oscar presenters and nominees.

SHAW: Oh, no.

ANDERSON: You know, that will get bigger and bigger and bigger.

SHAW: Yes.

ANDERSON: But here we, of course, have this...


SHAW: The skin care is everywhere, but it`s not just products that have been -- you can show up -- you can get micro-dermabrasion, you can get botox...


SHAW: ... you can get teeth whitening, manicures, pedicures. I mean, at the Soho House, where Drew Barrymore had her birthday party on Tuesday night, you can actually get acupuncture with diamond needles!

ANDERSON: Oh, my goodness! Nothing is too over the top here in Hollywood, right?

SHAW: No, it is not.

ANDERSON: All right. And to top it all off, of course, you got a bottle of champagne.

SHAW: Yes.

ANDERSON: You`ve got the liquor.

SHAW: The champagne is flowing. Bacardi has their own suite. I mean, people are drinking, having fun, and basically, taking home as much loot as they can get their hands on.

ANDERSON: All right. Well, the stars are the last people on earth who need these things...

SHAW: Oh, of course.

ANDERSON: ... but it`s a good advertising incentive for these companies, right?

SHAW: Sure. Yes. I mean, they just want to get their products in the hands of a celebrity. But it`s kind of, like, you make $10 million, $20 million a picture, buy yourself your own lipstick!

ANDERSON: I know. I know. Jessica, I think we`re getting a call here on the Motorola phone.


ANDERSON: Leonardo? Leo? OK, hang on one second. We got to go to...


ANDERSON: I will. A.J., we got to send it to you. I think you got some fabulous swag, too, right?

HAMMER: Leo is not on the phone, Brooke! Put the phone down!

ANDERSON: Oh, yes, he is. Yes, he is.

HAMMER: You think you got cool stuff out there in Hollywood. Look what I got hooked up here in New York. There`s a company called On Three Productions (ph), and they`re hooking up the presenters at the Independent Spirit Awards with use of a Vespa, I mean, these shades. I got a leather jacket here. I got a watch and all kinds of really, really cool electronics and stuff. So you know, the Independent Spirit Awards have their people covered, too, not just at the Oscars.

Why do the people who need it the least get the most? I have no idea. Of course, the Independent Spirit Awards are happening on Saturday night.

Well, coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the latest contestants -- I got to take these off. The latest contestant to get kicked off "The Apprentice" is right here. We`re going to ask Tara what it is like to face the Donald. She`s coming up live. Plus, when the stars walk the red carpet, there are some definite do`s and some definite don`ts, and we`re going to get a lesson in red carpet etiquette from star stylist Philip Bloch.

BRYANT: Time now for tonight`s "In Style" "Oscar Fashion Challenge," where we test your fashion sense and your Oscar know-how. Tonight`s question: This is a close-up of which Oscar-winning actress? Is it Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth Paltrow or Jodie Foster? We`ll have the answer later in the show.


BRYANT: It is Karyn Bryant with you. You`re looking at a live picture of the Kodak Theatre. Of course, I`m standing here on the actual red carpet, and it`s pretty exciting. And we all want to know, will Chris Rock rock on Oscar night? Everyone is wondering if he will hip up the room on Sunday night. We`re going to take that to the "Buzz Bench" coming up.

HAMMER: It is time now for more "SHOWBIZ Shorts." Developments in the Michael Jackson molestation trial today. The judge ruled that some evidence may be introduced from a shoplifting case in which the accuser`s mother claims she was sexually assaulted by a department store guard. The defense wants to use the case to challenge her character. Opening statements in the Jackson trial are scheduled to start on Monday.

Both sides rest. Earlier today, the prosecution and defense closed out their cases in the Robert Blake murder trial. Closing arguments start Wednesday. The jury is expected to get the case next Friday. Blake, the star of "Baretta," is accused of killing his wife.

More "SHOWBIZ Shorts" coming up throughout the show.

Well, another night and another candidate on "The Apprentice" gets canned. Last night, the task for the Trump wannabes was to create a graffiti billboard for Sony Playstation`s Grand Turismo 4, although they took it to the Harlem streets, the street-smart team, Net Worth, came up a little short last night. It was the Magna team, the book-smart group, that won. Tara, the losing team`s project manager, heard the famous two words.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The concept was made before we left. And it was her idea, and she owned it all the way up until even when she pitched to the executives. She said, I -- I wanted to do this.

DONALD TRUMP, HOST: In other words, the concept was already formulated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The concept was formulated...


TRUMP: ... that Tara has made, really, a pretty bad mistake.


TARA DOWDELL, FIRED FROM "THE APPRENTICE": I admit that the concept that I used, that there were miscalculations with that...

TRUMP: And they were bad miscalculations.

DOWDELL: I don`t think they were bad miscalculations.

TRUMP: Look, this was a marketing task and you didn`t get it. No matter what you say, no matter what you do, forgetting about even leadership, you didn`t get the marketing task right. I think you`re going to have a great future. I really believe that. But I have to say in this case Tara, you`re fired.


HAMMER: Joining us live is Tara Dowdell. Thank you very much for coming in, Tara. Now, for people who weren`t watching last night or haven`t been paying attention, you appeared to have made up your mind about this whole marketing campaign before you talked to the executives. Did you actually do that, or was it just portrayed that way? And do you regret having done that?

DOWDELL: I definitely had a concept prior to talking to the executives. It did change a bit after talking to the executives, but I came in there with a pretty strong mind.


DOWDELL: I`ll admit that.

HAMMER: All right. Well, something you did change your mind about was who you brought in to the boardroom with you. You were bringing in a couple of people first, and then you said, No, I think I got to change my mind. Do you regret having done that? Do you think the outcome would have been different if you stuck with your original plan? I think it was John you were going to bring in with you, and you ended up bringing in Craig in instead.

DOWDELL: I ended up bringing Craig and Audrey into the boardroom. Originally, I did say I was probably going to bring John and Audrey. And basically, I don`t know if the outcome would have been different because whenever you bring people in the boardroom, it doesn`t make them very happy.

HAMMER: Right.


DOWDELL: So typically, that doesn`t put you on -- you know, in a good stead with those individuals.

HAMMER: Right. Yes. You can`t stay in somebody`s good graces if there`s a chance you want to get them canned, as well.

DOWDELL: Exactly. So I`m not too sure. I mean, you know, hopefully, I made the, yes, right decision. But what are you going to do?

HAMMER: Well, here you are now.

DOWDELL: Exactly.

HAMMER: Now, the shows like "The Apprentice" and all the reality shows are obviously cut for the biggest dramatic bang. There has been the contention that African-Americans are being poorly portrayed and playing into stereotype. Do you agree with that contention? Do you feel that that happened in the case of "The Apprentice"?

DOWDELL: You know what? As far as I`m concerned, you know, this issue is one that I think about a lot. I think the media in general is a microcosm for society, and I think that society, there are issues relating to race and gender. And that`s a fact. And the media, I think, represents what`s we already see generally in our society.

And I think that the argument needs to be sort of reshaped. I don`t agree with the debate as it`s being debated. I think that the fact that you have certain African-American women and men who had been received differently by the public than non-African-American men and women who have conducted themselves similarly but have not gotten the same negative response...

HAMMER: Right.

DOWDELL: ... I think that`s an issue that we need to look at.

HAMMER: Do you feel you were fairly portrayed, the way they cut it all together?

DOWDELL: I think for the -- you know what? For the most part, yes. I mean, I am definitely strong-minded, and I think that came through. I could have definitely been a little more balanced in my approach. I own it. I step to the plate. But you know, every quarterback has a bad game.

HAMMER: That`s right.


DOWDELL: But you know -- even the great ones. But you know what? At the end of the day, I think that we need to look at ourselves as a society and how we`re contributing to the problem.

HAMMER: Well, I`m sure you did terrific. And Tara Dowdell, we thank you for stopping by SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. We are coming right back...

DOWDELL: Thank you.

HAMMER: ... after this break.

DOWDELL: Thank you.




HAMMER (voice-over): Red carpet etiquette: should you wear million- dollar sandals, bring mom as your date? Star stylist Phillip Bloch tackles the do`s and don`ts live.

It`s all about Oscar on the "Buzz Bench." Who`s going to win? And is Rock going to rock?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. We`re Good Charlotte. And if it happened today, it`s on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.



HAMMER: And welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Thirty minutes past the hour. I am A.J. Hammer, live in New York.

BRYANT: And I`m Karyn Bryant, live on the red carpet outside the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. Here are tonight`s "Hot Headlines."

The clock is ticking. Oscar ballots were tallied this afternoon in preparation for the big show Sunday. Earlier today, finishing touches were put on the red carpet and the arrivals tent, and the trees were delivered to the governor`s ballroom for the big Oscar party.

HAMMER: The envelope, please. Three more Oscar presenters announced today. Barbra Streisand, Adam Sandler and Emmy Rossum will be on hand Sunday to hand out awards.

Here`s what we want to know from you about the Oscars, and it`s pretty simple today. Are you planning to tune in? That`s our "Showbiz Showdown Question of the Day." Will you be watching the Oscars?

We`d like you to keep on voting by going to, and you can also send e-mails with further thoughts to We`ll share some of what you had to say at 55 past the hour.

Well, the show before the show is watching the Oscar red carpet arrivals, of course. And that`s where own Karyn Bryant will be on Sunday night. As a matter of facts, as we see, that`s where she is right now with some red carpet do`s and don`ts.

BRYANT: That`s right, A.J. I`m here live on the red carpet with celebrity stylist Phillip Bloch. And we wanted to get some tips on red carpet do`s and don`ts, things that all the celebrities should keep in mind when they arrive for the Oscars on Sunday night.

Now, Phillip, fashion obviously a main concern here.


BRYANT: What do people do?

BLOCH: You`ve got really dress for the event. And what looks good inside doesn`t always look good outside.

So a lot of times they put the actresses in the dress, take them outside in the light, put a Polaroid photo of them, because you don`t want one of those dresses too see-through, like Jennifer Lopez. She had that Chanel dress a couple of years ago that everybody said it was too see- through. So you want to avoid that. We don`t want any wardrobe malfunctions.

BRYANT: Geena Davis wore a sheer dress once, too, I think, but...

BLOCH: Oh, boy.


BLOCH: We saw a lot more Geena than we needed to that year.

BRYANT: Well, I also want to talk about the idea that, you know, some use the Oscars as an announcement to the world, "Here I am," and they wear outrageous clothes.

BLOCH: Well, the interesting thing is, a lot of times what you`re seeing, couture on the runways of Paris, like Celine Dion wore that Dior tuxedo, it was beautiful on the runway. But then by the time it got here, with the hat and the sunglasses, it was a lot of look.

And then you have the famous Bjork dress. Hmm. I don`t know where that looked good. It didn`t look good anywhere, but it really didn`t look good on the red carpet. I know it was a political statement somewhere along the way.

BRYANT: But also, then, some of the people decide, "I`m going to use this space as a billboard, and I`m going to wear, you know, products, and I`m going to see what I can get for free."

BLOCH: Well, and we`re still looking at that dress, the American Express credit card dress that Lizzie Gardiner, the wardrobe designer, costume wardrobe designer, she wears a credit card dress. American Express is probably still paying her to this day.

BRYANT: That was bad. And it wasn`t even platinum, was it?

BLOCH: No, it wasn`t even a platinum card. It was only a gold card. She`ll never work in Hollywood again. Well, actually, I think she`s done pretty well.

BRYANT: Actually, I think she`s doing very well.

I want to move on now and talk about the dating. Who do you bring with you to the Oscars if you`re a nominee?

BLOCH: Well, you know, Leonardo`s been dating Giselle for a long time, but he always shows up with his mom. Mama`s boy. You can`t go wrong with your mother as a date or your father if you`re a girl.

Great. But you know what the fans really don`t like? Like Julia Roberts, the year she was with Benjamin Bratt and they were everywhere like, oh, we love each other, we`re so happy. Two weeks later, broken up.

BRYANT: Splitsville.

BLOCH: Yes. So, you know, you lose a little credibility in the love life there. Not that anyone in Hollywood is worried about their love life credibility, clearly.

BRYANT: But if you`re on the skids, you`re saying probably don`t bring that person to the Oscars?

BLOCH: Probably not the best idea, but then everyone is going to be talking that you didn`t bring him. So you can`t win either way, really.

BRYANT: Can`t win for losing.

What about -- you know, this red carpet, as you can see, is very, very long. There are a lot of interviews that the actors have to take place in -- take part in, rather. Any advice for them?

BLOCH: A couple words of advice. Do not be such a kiss-ass.

There`s some interviewers that are like, "Oh, we love you! I love everything you did ever."

You know, they don`t even know the name of the movie they were in. You know? So that gets a little cheesy.

We don`t need to love everything. You can just actually say hello, you like someone. This `I love you, I love you" is a little -- they don`t really love you that much.

BRYANT: And for the actors who have to, you know, just keep answering questions, anything that they can do to sort of, you know, stay alive in the game?

BLOCH: Well, it`s been really interesting this year, because you have someone like Jamie Foxx, who`s so out there and so happy, and he`s riding that ride for all its worth. And it`s really great because he`s reigning - - R-E-I-G -- you know, he`s like reigning in Hollywood and he`s having a ball.

But in a way, it starts to be a little too much. And now I know this week I`ve heard people saying, "You know, I am so tired of hearing about Jamie Foxx! I`m such a" -- because the media does tend to overdose you.

So a little Leonardo and Johnny Depp, a little begrudging Don Cheadle, stay back a little, is all good, too.

BRYANT: OK . Well, thank you very much, Phillip Bloch.

BLOCH: And one tip for you.


BLOCH: Be nice to the starlets...

BRYANT: Of course.

BLOCH: ... because there`s nothing worse than when a big star comes - - "Oh, yes."

BRYANT: Oh, I won`t dis anybody.


BRYANT: You can bet on that. Thank you, Phillip Bloch. No dissing here.

We`re going to see if the celebrities take that red carpet advice. I certainly will. And we will invite you to watch as we give you our "Hollywood Gold Rush." It`s a special edition of CNN`s Oscar coverage.

It`s going to be taking place after our 6:30 edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. And that is happening right here on Headline News.

A.J., back to you.

HAMMER: Well, of course, Karyn, 7:00 p.m. is when you kick off your special, "Hollywood Gold Rush," with Sibila. You`re going to be live from the red carpet. And we don`t want anybody to miss this, so mark it down in your day planner, 7:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN Sunday night.

And we here at CNN will be pulling for an Oscar nominee of our own this Sunday.


SUE RUBIN: My name is Sue Rubin. I`m 26 years old. I have written these thoughts about life, because I don`t really talk.


HAMMER: The "CNN PRESENTS" film "Autism is a World" is up for best short subject documentary. It`s narrated by former "ER" star Juliana Margulies, and it follows the story of Sue Rubin. Sue was diagnosed with autism at the age of 4.

"Autism is a World" will air on CNN in May.

Well, it is 36 minutes past the hour. Time for more "Showbiz Shorts."

Bob`s bouncing over to "Wisteria Lane." Bob Newhart, who, of course, starred in two self-titled sitcoms, and most recently "Elf," will appear on "Desperate Housewives." His publicist told us today that shooting will start Monday and could turn into what they call in show speak a multi- episode ark.

"Six Feet Under" is taking a hike to Mondays. HBO is moving "Six Feet Under" to Mondays when the show comes back in June. The show, of course, is about a family that own as funeral home.

It`s the biggest gig in Hollywood this weekend. Chris Rock ready to roll. The "Buzz Bench" is ready with their comments on what kind of Oscar host Chris is going to be. And that`s coming up.

Plus, your invitation to the Oscar parties, including one where the tears are expected to flow. That`s tears, along with the champagne. We`ll tell you why in just a few minutes.


BRYANT: I`m Karyn Bryant with you live on the red carpet outside of the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. And moments ago we were invited inside to take a look at Antonio Banderas performing -- or rehearsing his performance for this Sunday. Take a look.




BRYANT: Rehearsing the song from "The Motorcycle Diaries." Once again, that`s Antonio Banderas.

And A.J., I`m going to send it over to you now.

HAMMER: Well, Karyn, you look terrific out there on the red carpet, but I miss you here on the "Buzz Bench." There`s like a big empty space for you. So I`m looking forward to your return on Tuesday.

Right now, well, let`s get to the "Buzz Bench," because we have some hot topics to talk about dealing with the Oscars. What else, of course?

Will Chris Rock give the performance of his career? Will the format changes make for a smoother show? And the bench`s predictions on what the biggest surprise is going to be on Sunday night.

Joining us on the "Buzz Bench" tonight, radio host Frank DeCaro. He`s a virgin voice on the "Buzz Bench."

Happy to have you here, Frank.

Comedian and TV personality Chuck Nice, and SHOWBIZ TONIGHT tonight`s own Amy Kean.

Amy, let`s jump right into it. It`s been Chris Rock, Chris Rock, Chris Rock. Is this going to be the performance of his career?

AMY KEAN, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT: Well, I think that he couldn`t have been smarter. We were talking about this before we came on.

I mean, first of all, everyone -- nobody cared about the Oscars. Now everybody is talking about the Oscars. As we remembered, he said that only gays watch the Oscars, it`s just a fashion show. He said he`s never seen the Oscars.

And the academy came out and said, we`re horrified. But they`re not horrified. They`re thrilled, because every person who wouldn`t normally watch the Oscars is now putting it on to see, what`s he going to do, what`s he going to say?

I mean, you know, you`re a comedian.

CHUCK NICE, COMEDIAN: Yes, absolutely. It`s a great thing that Chris is -- what he`s doing. And that`s with straight up, I`ve got to do this to create some buzz.


KEAN: He`s smart. He`s smart.

NICE: You know? Because he knows that he`s watched the Oscars. I`m a straight man and I`ve watched Oscars.

I mean, granted, I`m curious. I`m curious. OK?


FRANK DECARO, RADIO HOST: Yes, aren`t we all... Oscar curious. Oscar curious.

HAMMER: A little earlier on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT we had the producer of the Oscars, Gil Cates. And he told us, you know, Chris is a smart guy, he`s done network television before. He`s a professional, he knows what he`s doing.

Frank, what do you think?

DECARO: No, terribly. He`s terrific. Because Chris, I think, is someone who unifies audiences.

I mean, he brings people in from very disparate demographics, which they`re dying to -- kids love him, older people love him. He`s smart, he`s funny, he`s just chancy enough, and people really are fond of him.

So I think it will be great having him there. That`s what we`re tuning in to see.

HAMMER: All right. OK. Well, let`s move on from there, and hopefully the audience will stay with the show, because, you know, it can be 10, 12 hours long.

KEAN: And the ratings have been going down steadily.

HAMMER: They have been. But they`re hoping to speed it up not only by bringing Chris Rock in, but by the various changes that we were talking about earlier, Gil Cates spoke of, you know, they`re going to be handing out some awards in the audience.

What do you think about that stuff?

NICE: Oh, man, I`ve got to tell you that that may make the show go quicker, but I`m outraged. I`m outraged.

KEAN: Why?

NICE: Quite frankly, I want to se best sound editor up on the stage! Okay?

HAMMER: And hear all the names that they have to say.

NICE: That`s right. I need to know that he thanks his grandmother and Jim, the guy down at the Tackle Box Shop. You know, these are the things that make the Oscars good to me.


KEAN: It`s really bad luck for these people, for the makeup people and some of these lower-profile categories, because, you know, they wait their whole lives to go up on the stage, and it`s so terrible that they`re going to keep them in the audience.

HAMMER: But isn`t that part of the reason for the big tune-out, is because these people who nobody knows -- and honestly, mainstream America probably doesn`t really care about?

KEAN: Yes, but there are other things they could get rid of. You know, like when they had the whole little segment about the Price Waterhouse, about how they count the votes, and they show the little suitcase.


NICE: The accountant is up on stage with the suitcase...

KEAN: Who cares about that?

NICE: ... shackled to his wrist.

DECARO: And the dead people, just forget it. Let`s not do the tributes.


DECARO: They`re gone already. What do we care?

No. I think they should have -- but I was going to say...

KEAN: It`s the best part.

DECARO: Yes -- no, but I -- can you imagine? It`s like your year, and you get nominated, and you`re like and now you don`t get to go onstage?

KEAN: It`s terrible. It`s terrible.


HAMMER: Well, Frank wants -- we know Frank wants to do away with the dead people. But what about big surprises on Sunday night? What do you think?

DECARO: I think if Paul Giammati gets it over Jamie Foxx, it will be astounding. It will be shocking.

HAMMER: What if Jamie Foxx doesn`t get the award? Is there any chance of that?

DECARO: Oh, no! Of course he`s going to win that award. He`s got to get it.

I`d like to see him get both of them. I think that would be a thrilling moment on television.

NICE: I think the biggest surprise will be he will get both of them. And he will give an F bomb-laden speech...


DECARO: That seven-minute delay -- seven-second delay. They need a seven-minute delay, actually, is what they need, I think. But...

KEAN: And the way we really know he`s going to win also is because Ray Charles died this year. So in a way, people think you`re celebrating the life of Ray Charles and...

HAMMER: Sort of like the Grammy Awards and how that was the big winner.

KEAN: Yes, exactly.


HAMMER: We`ll all be watching Sunday night. And Frank, thank you very much for stopping by for your first version -- your voyage with us here.

DECARO: Oh, it`s my pleasure.

HAMMER: Frank DeCaro of the Frank DeCaro Radio Show.

Chuck Nice, radio and television personality and comedian.

NICE: Always good to see you.


And from co-starring on "Everybody Loves Raymond" now, we move to washing windows. We`re going to find out what that`s all about, coming up in "Talk of the Day." What a transition.

Plus, the Scissor Sisters perform for famous people. We`re going to get the scoop from "PEOPLE Hollywood Daily."


BRYANT: Well, we`ve been giving you some insider looks from "PEOPLE" Magazine`s "Hollywood Daily," and all this week the magazine has been out and all over town. But it`s something that only you can get here in town if you`re a Hollywood insider.

So we figured we`d share some of it with you. We`ve got you covered.

We`re going to take a sneak peek at some of the big Oscar parties that are happening this weekend. And joining us on the red carpet is "PEOPLE`s" L.A. associate bureau chief, Mike Fleeman.

Mike, welcome. And I want to get right to it. Let`s talk about the "Vanity Fair" party.

MICHAEL FLEEMAN, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Well, this has got to be one of the biggest parties. All the A-listers and a lot of winners are going to go there to Morton`s restaurant. I mean, a star can get star-struck there is what they like to say. And the party is so big, they literally knock a wall out of the restaurant so you can go into a tented area. The next day, they build the wall back.

BRYANT: And that`s an institution steakhouse. Forever that`s been around.

FLEEMAN: That is. And it`s one of those places to see and be seen. And Hollywood and this night, it`s going to be spectacular.

BRYANT: Wow. Now, I want to talk about Elton John`s party as well, because every year he does a benefit. But he`s changed locations or partners this year?

FLEEMAN: Well, he`s not with "InStyle" anymore. But, you know, the cause is the same, and that`s to raise money to fight AIDS.

It`s $2,500 just to get in the door. And it`s not just money. You have to be at the top of the showbusiness field.

Only 500 people are going to be here. And it`s sort of -- it`s the meeting of pop stars and film stars. So you can see Christina Aguilera and Leonardo DiCaprio at this party.

BRYANT: And the Scissor Sisters are performing. And they`re fantastic.

FLEEMAN: That`s right. And they`re going to be on stage with Elton.

BRYANT: Great. And I want to talk about the Miramax party. We mentioned before, there`s a party where there might be some tears. And this is the one, right?

FLEEMAN: Well, this is a bittersweet party. Miramax, of course, has two best picture nominations, "Finding Neverland" and "Aviator." Yet, the company as we know it is not going to exist after these Academy Awards because the brothers who founded it are leaving. So it`s going to be a sad night and a happy night.

BRYANT: So both a celebration and tearful goodbye in a way?

FLEEMAN: Exactly. Exactly. A lot of tears and a lot of fun.

BRYANT: Well, thanks for joining us, Mike Fleeman. And, of course, he is of "PEOPLE Hollywood Daily."

Now, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has got you covered with this weekend`s Oscar parties. We are calling it the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT RSVP. And we`ll be taking you everywhere you want to be. So don`t forget to tune in on Monday`s SHOWBIZ TONIGHT to see all the highlights -- A.J.

HAMMER: We still have more party stuff for you. Doesn`t anybody get any sleep around here? Lead singer Fergie shook her thing as the Black Eyed Peas rocked the "Vanity Fair" party last night. Jessica Biel, Luke Wilson and Daphne Zuniga rounded out the guest list.

Coming up, Conan O`Brien reveals an Oscar fashion faux pas that Paris Hilton would blush at.

And remember, there`s still time for you to sound off on tonight`s "Showbiz Showdown Question the Day." Will you be watching the Oscars?

Go to the Web to vote,, or hit us with an email at We`re going to share some of the results and read some of your thoughts live next.


BRYANT: They have been talking all day, and we`ve been listening. Now, as we do every night on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the best from today`s talk shows.

Ellen has been pretty helpful to the now unemployed cast of "Everybody Loves Raymond." On today`s "Ellen DeGeneres Show," she hooks up Brad Garrett with a pretty sweet gig.



BRAD GARRETT, ACTOR: Hi, how are you? How you doing? Hi.

Listen, roll down your window. Keep your hands where I can see them. I`m Brad Garrett, and I`m out of work. Can I wash your window? She said yes.

DEGENERES: All right, great. Great!


DEGENERES: All right. You`re missing a couple of other cars. You need to go faster than that.

GARRETT: I can only do one at a time, Ellen. I`m one person!


GARRETT: Missing a couple of cars!

DEGENERES: Ask her...

GARRETT: Ask her what?

DEGENERES: Ask her for a couple of dollars.

GARRETT: OK. I know -- I`m Jewish. You got to tell me that?


BRYANT: And it is time to get your laugh on now in "Laughter Dark." As we do every night, we bring you the late-night laughs you might have missed.

On "Late Night With Conan O`Brien," Conan looks back at a fashion faux pas that would embarrass just about anyone at the Oscars.


CONAN O`BRIEN, TALK SHOW HOST: Well, of course fashion`s a huge part of the Oscars. Actresses spend a lot of time and money making sure their outfit is perfect. So it`s especially embarrassing when two celebrities show up wearing the same thing.

We`ve all seen that happen. Remember the Oscar night when Paris Hilton and Dakota Fanning wore the same dress? That was embarrassing.


O`BRIEN: It was really...


BRYANT: My, my, my.

That`s all I`ve got for you right now -- A.J.

HAMMER: All right, Karyn.

Well, of course throughout the show we`ve been asking our viewers to vote online, and it`s our "Showbiz Showdown Question of the Day," which is, will you be watching the Oscars on Sunday?

This went a little surprising. Let`s see how the vote`s going so far.

Forty-seven percent of you said, yes, you will be watching the Oscars. Fifty-three percent of you said no. You will not be watching the Oscars? That`s what you`re saying.

You`ve also been sending some emails on the question. We got one from Roxanne. She`s in Muttontown, New York, and she says, "I plan on watching the Oscars until 10:00 p.m.. That`s the legal limit before a work day."

We heard from Sarah, who lives in Richmond, Kentucky, who said, "I love the Oscars. I`m sure Chris Rock will give the show a great laugh. I can`t wait to watch the new changes and the spectacle."

Remember, you can still send us your vote and send us your thoughts. is the address on the Web, or our e-mail address, if you have more to say,

BRYANT: Time to see what`s playing on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT next week. Let`s take a look at the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT marquee.


ANNOUNCER: And the Oscar goes to -- Monday on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, it`s an Oscar extravaganza!

BEASTIE BOYS, SINGING: You`ve got to fight for your right to party.

And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is fighting for your right to party on Oscar night. We`re partying like there`s no tomorrow, or the next day, or the next day, too, and we`re taking you along for the wild ride.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look out! Yes. I got it all!

ANNOUNCER: Also, it`s fun with fashion. The hits, the misses and everything in between. Be there Monday night for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Oscar extravaganza!


HAMMER: It will be an extravaganza. Remember, we are all over the Oscars this Sunday. Please join us for a special live Oscar edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. We`ll get it going at 6:30 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN Headline News.

BRYANT: Then join Sibila Vargas and me for "Hollywood`s Gold Rush" right after that at 7:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN.

That`s it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT from the red carpet in Los Angeles. Headline Prime continues next with Nancy Grace.

SOPHIA CHOI, CNN HEADLINES NEWS ANCHOR: Good evening. I`m Sophia Choi. Let`s get to your Headline Prime Newsbreak.

A suicide bombing outside a nightclub in Tel Aviv has killed four people and wounded at least 65 others. It was the first terrorist attack since Israel and the Palestinian Authority agreed to a cease-fire.

Connecticut is one step closer to legally recognizing same-sex unions but not gay marriage. A state legislative panel has passed a bill that would give gay and lesbian couples the same rights as married couples but would not allow them to get a marriage license.

Pope John Paul is said to be alert and writing up messages just a day after throat surgery. Doctors say the greatest threat to his health now is his increasingly frail condition and Parkinson`s Disease.

And the woman charged with stalking actress Catherine Zeta-Jones has pleaded no contest. An L.A. judge ordered Dawnette Knight to undergo diagnostic testing. She faces up to five years in prison.

Those are the headlines. I`m Sophia Choi. "NANCY GRACE" starts right now.


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