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SHOWBIZ TONIGHT

Major Setback for Michael Jackson Defense Team; Interview With Jesse Jackson

Aired March 28, 2005 - 19:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


KARYN BRYANT, CO-HOST: A major ruling in the Michael Jackson trial.
A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: And close and personal with U2. I`m A.J. Hammer.

BRYANT: I`m Karyn Bryant, and this is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

HAMMER: A big day for Michael Jackson in court after his big radio interview with Jesse Jackson that has everyone talking. Jesse Jackson is talking to us live on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

BRYANT: U2 on the road.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BONO, U2: This is our moment right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRYANT: What Bono and the boys have to say about staying power as they head out on a world tour.

HAMMER: "The Boss" is back. Bruce Springsteen`s got a new single, and SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has your first listen.

BRYANT: Meet the new "Bachelor." He has all the roses, and he also has a famous brother. Charlie O`Connell live on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

HAMMER: Sandra Bullock, armed with talent and fabulous. Hollywood`s favorite girl next door on fame, fortune and marriage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REGINA KING, "MISS CONGENIALITY": Hi. I`m Regina King. And if it happened today, it`s on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Hello. I`m A.J. Hammer, and you`re at the top of the show.

BRYANT: I`m Karyn Bryant. We are live with you from Headline Prime studios in New York City for the next hour.

Well, it is a big start to the week in Michael Jackson trial, and in just a few minutes, we`re going to talk live with Jesse Jackson and get the lowdown on his astounding weekend radio interview with the pop star.

HAMMER: But first: Michael Jackson got some big news in court today, and it was the last thing he wanted to hear. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s David Haffenreffer is live with us right now with the very latest -- David.

DAVID HAFFENREFFER, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT: Hi, A.J. and Karyn. Certainly, yes, indeed, some bad news for Michael Jackson today. The judge ruled that the jury will hear evidence about past allegations that Jackson molested children. Also today, a face familiar to millions took to the witness stand. And no, it was not Michael Jackson.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over): Star seekers at the Michael Jackson trial got a dual dose of celebrity today. First, the defendant himself, Michael Jackson arrived a few hours after the judge`s ruling today. And later, comedian George Lopez got some cheers as he stepped out of a white stretch limo. The star of ABC`s "The George Lopez Show" is testifying about the accuser and his family, whom Lopez got to know after the boy was diagnosed with cancer. It was a serious day, but he kept his sense of humor.

GEORGE LOPEZ, TRIAL WITNESS: Genetically, Latinos are built with the gene that keeps you comfortable in court. My job wasn`t one for the defense or the prosecution, my job was just to get my side of the story out and to tell the truth as I knew it.

HAFFENREFFER: Lopez is the first celebrity to take the stand in the trial, and prosecutors say he will not be the last. Santa Barbara DA Thomas Sneddon says nine third-party witnesses who allegedly saw Jackson act improperly will testify. One of those he named, child movie start Macaulay Culkin. Culkin has repeatedly defended Jackson, and on CNN`s "LARRY KING LIVE," he denied Jackson ever molested him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MACAULAY CULKIN, FRIEND OF MICHAEL JACKSON: He`s a good friend of mine, and he still is. I mean, everything that`s going on, I mean, is unfortunate. It`s an unfortunate situation for everyone involved.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAFFENREFFER: Culkin`s publicist says Culkin has no plans to testify in the case. Over the weekend, Jackson did some testifying of his own.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

MICHAEL JACKSON, ON TRIAL FOR CHILD MOLESTATION: I`m still a human being, so it does hurt very, very, very much.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HAFFENREFFER: He called Jesse Jackson`s radio show to again say he`s innocent. Jackson even hinted that there`s a conspiracy against him by people who are after his vast music catalog. The rights to just about every Beatles song ever written is held by Sony ATV Music Publishing, which is half owned by the "King of Pop" himself. The catalog`s roster includes Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, Sly and the Family Stone and even Pearl Jam. Its estimated worth, between $700 million and $1 billion.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

MICHAEL JACKSON: There is a big fight going on right now, as we speak about that. Now, I can`t say whether or not -- I can`t comment on it, but there`s a lot of conspiracy. I`ll say there`s a lot of conspiracy going on as we speak.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAFFENREFFER: And we mentioned the celebrities involved in this trial. In addition to Lopez and Culkin, Jay Leno is expected to testify at the trial, as is "Rush Hour" star Chris Tucker. A big list for you there, A.J.

HAMMER: OK. Thanks very much, David.

And as you just heard, Michael Jackson raised some eyebrows with what he said during his live radio interview on the Reverend Jesse Jackson`s radio show called "Keep Hope Alive." Reverend Jackson, also the president founder of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, joins us now live from Atlanta.

Reverend, thanks for being with us tonight.

REV. JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: How are you?

HAMMER: Very well, thank you. Michael claims, without a lot of detail, that he is being targeted in some sort of conspiracy. Were you surprised that he mentioned this? And do you think that`s the case?

JACKSON: No, I`m not surprised. Michael feels that he is being persecuted, not just prosecuted. He talks often about how the sheriff, after 10 years, took 70 armed guards into his house and ransacked it and then had this huge international presidents conference, seemed to be almost prosecutorial misconduct, and then reaching out now to go back into 10 years of challenges. So he feels persecuted. And yet this is beyond his control. He also has an amazing sense of strength and resolve through it all.

HAMMER: Do you feel, Reverend, yourself, though, that this could be the case, that there is a conspiracy behind all of this?

JACKSON: Well, there are questions that can be raised about the intensity of this prosecutor, and even his own politics. I mean, why would you go into someone`s house with 70 armed guards, as if you expected an armed confrontation, and take the media with you? That is a bit extraordinary. Attempt to pull a man out of jail, a convicted criminal, to testify in court in handcuffs -- that`s quite extraordinary. And so there`s that dimension. Then there are others who simply believe that his ownership in part of the Sony portfolio has forces move at Michael.

HAMMER: And he also mentioned that he believes this to be racially motivated, a la Nelson Mandela. What are your thoughts on that?

JACKSON: That`s not quite what he said, but he did say there is a history of blacks who loom large facing awesome attacks. You know, we love Nelson Mandela today, but for 27 years, he was considered to be a terrorist. We love Dr. King today, but in his lifetime, the FBI hounded him, our own official government. We love Paul Robeson today, but he was driven out the country. Jack Johnson couldn`t fight his fight. And so Michael sees himself in that legacy of black luminaries who`ve faced some kind of persecution. Whether it`s true or not, he feels that. And he gains strength out of being a part of that lineage.

HAMMER: And moments ago, you mentioned strength. Michael has said in the past that he prays with you every day. I`m curious, how did that start? Did you approach him, did he approach you?

JACKSON: Well, you know, I`ve known Michael since he was 8 years old. His father brought him and his brothers to our office in 1968 in a station wagon and a U-haul carrying some guitars and some drums, and could they do a performance at (UNINTELLIGIBLE), kind of a warm-up act. And of course, they stole the show. And of course, they began to explode. So I`ve known the family -- a praying family. I`ve known his mother, who used to make all of their uniforms. I`ve known the family in prayer, in circle (ph).

And so I`ve not advised him as lawyer. I`m not a defense lawyer. But I do share and counsel with him and his family and tell them in this hour of crisis to be prayerful. He can`t control fate, but he can use his faith...

HAMMER: Right.

JACKSON: ... to survive the storm.

HAMMER: And I have to ask you real quickly, Reverend, do you believe that Michael is not guilty?

JACKSON: I believe Michael is innocent because he says he is. He`s presumed innocent until proven guilty, and I have no information to the contrary, nor...

HAMMER: Right.

JACKSON: ... does anybody else.

HAMMER: OK. Well, thank you for your time, Reverend Jesse Jackson, of course, the president and founder of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition.

BRYANT: Today, the "King of Pop`s" ex-wife, who happens to be the daughter of the king of rock-and-roll, opened up. The famously tight- lipped Lisa Marie Presley spoke candidly with Oprah about her controversial marriage to Michael Jackson.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: What do you say to yourself when you look at that period in your life?

LISA MARIE PRESLEY, MICHAEL JACKSON`S EX-WIFE: Holy mother of God!

(LAUGHTER)

WINFREY: You said you loved him.

PRESLEY: Yes.

WINFREY: Do you think he loved you?

PRESLEY: Wow. God, it`s hard for me to answer that question. I don`t know the answer to that.

WINFREY: You obviously said, I`m out of here. So what was that? Was there a defining moment or a series of moments?

PRESLEY: Series. Just enough. You know, I just had enough. And none of that had anything to do with, you know, anything happening now. That`s a whole other -- I don`t even know anything about that subject. I`m just saying between he and I, I was, like, you know, This is not -- you know, I`m done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRYANT: Now, about her whirlwind 108-day marriage to actor Nicholas Cage, Lisa Marie told Oprah that Cage has since redeemed himself and today they are good friends. She says she is now involved with guitarist Michael Lockwood.

HAMMER: It is time for "SHOWBIZ Shorts," a look at more stories that are making news tonight. The divorce papers have been filed. Jennifer Aniston has officially filed for divorce from Brad Pitt, citing irreconcilable differences. They`ve been married for four-and-a-half years and announced their separation back in January.

"Desperate Housewives" back with a vengeance. Early numbers out today show last night`s new episode of "Desperate Housewives" pushed ABC to a Sunday night ratings win, even beating out the NCAA`s "March Madness."

More "SHOWBIZ Shorts" coming up throughout the show.

BRYANT: Cameron Diaz is taking her famous friends on eco-adventures in a new show that premiers tonight. In "Trippin," Diaz and friends go to exotic locales, including Africa, Honduras and Nepal. Guest include Drew Barrymore, Rebecca Romijn and Diaz`s boyfriend, Justin Timberlake.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAMERON DIAZ: I wanted to do a show with MTV to show everyone how beautiful this planet is and how we`re all connected to it. I wanted to travel with my friends to places that we`ve never been before, places that are not only environmentally unique but also in danger of being ruined. I love to go on adventures. I love to get dirty and take risks. And doing it with my friends makes it all the more fun.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRYANT: "Trippin`" premieres tonight on MTV.

HAMMER: Illegal downloads on the Internet. Should file-sharing companies pay the price for what people do with their technology? That`s the debate coming up in the "SHOWBIZ Showdown."

BRYANT: Plus: It`s the hottest ticket in towns all over the world. U2 is setting out on tour tonight. We`re up close and personal with the band.

HAMMER: Now tonight`s "Entertainment Weekly Great American Pop Culture Quiz." Andy Griffith played a defense attorney on "Matlock" from 1986 to 1995. Where was this show set? In Denver, Washington D.C., Houston or Atlanta? We`re coming straight back with the answer.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Welcome back. So again, tonight`s "Great American Entertainment Weekly Pop Culture Quiz." Andy Griffith played a defense attorney on "Matlock" from 1986 to 1995. Where was the show set, Denver, Washington, D.C., Houston or Atlanta? The answer is D, Atlanta.

BRYANT: Well, it is 13 minutes past the hour, time now for the "SHOWBIZ Showdown." Here`s tonight`s hot topic: Internet file-sharing. If you were one of 60 million people who swapped music and video for free on the Net using a file-sharing service, this is a big heads-up because tomorrow, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a landmark case that could decide whether companies, like Morpheus and Grokster, which provide the software that allows people to swap things -- if they should be held responsible for so-called Internet piracy.

Joining us live from Washington, D.C., to discuss and debate this is Michael Weiss, CEO of Streamcast Networks, the makers of the file-sharing software Morpheus. And here in New York, Hank Goldsmith, an attorney with Proskauer Rose. Now, tomorrow, his firm is taking the case to the Supreme Court on behalf of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, also on behalf of copyright holders and various artists.

So Hank, I want to start with you. What`s the problem with free downloading?

HANK GOLDSMITH, ATTORNEY, PROSKAUER ROSE: Well, Karyn, one of the problems is that people call it sharing. In fact, that`s how we opened the segment, by calling it sharing. It`s not sharing. Sharing is a good thing. I have a 4-year-old boy at home, and I teach him that sharing is a good thing. It`s not always easy. But what I`m also going to teach him is that it`s not OK to go into a record store and put a CD under his jacket when he gets older. We`re not talking about sharing here, we`re talking about taking a product that people worked very hard to make and just grabbing it for free.

BRYANT: Now, Michael, how do you feel about the idea, though, that you, as sort of the middleman, may be held responsible for this?

MICHAEL WEISS, CEO, STREAMCAST NETWORKS: Well, exactly. What`s at stake here is whether Hollywood gets to control the development of new technology just to protect their own self-interests, whether it was a manufacturer -- in the case of Sony, it was their Betamax VCR, or in the case of Streamcast Networks, our Morpheus file-sharing software -- if we need to first seek permission from the entertainment industry before we develop our products and only develop products that they think that they want to see on the market. Look, for 100 years, the entertainment industry has gotten it wrong with new technology, and they`re wrong again today.

BRYANT: Well, some people say that file swapping is actually a great way to -- it`s the new format of radio. What do you think about that, Hank? I mean, it just could be a way to get new artists broken these days.

GOLDSMITH: It`s not radio. It`s very different from radio. It`s certainly a way that, properly controlled and filtered, could be very useful for artists who want to get known. And there are ways to do that and filter it and sort of get rid of the bad activity and concentrate on the radio-like activity. But what`s different about radio is -- I remember being a kid and listening to the radio and, you know, sticking a cassette in my little $10...

BRYANT: Sure. And you record a song and...

GOLDSMITH: Yes. Yes.

BRYANT: Right.

GOLDSMITH: But here -- and of course, you hear yourself clicking on the buttons and doing all kinds of stuff. You don`t end up with a perfect copy, but if you`re a kid, it`s...

BRYANT: Right, but couldn`t you say that -- Michael, I want to you jump in -- isn`t this really an argument that the record companies just want to keep all the money and -- and -- because I -- who`s really losing money here, you know?

WEISS: Well, it really comes down to a matter of control. The record industry wants to control this new distribution channel that our technology, Morpheus, has created. It`s always been about control. I`ll tell you, you know, there`s the three phases of old media versus new media. Phase one, old media will always try to stop new media, and they`ll take people like us to court, they`ll take their users to court. Phase two is when they can`t control it, they`ll try to stop it. They`ll go to Congress. They`ll try to change laws. But phase three is when they can`t stop it or control it, they`ll embrace it. They`ll work with it and they`ll make more money, more revenues, more profits than ever before.

I`m telling you, right now, we`re in the golden age of creativity, where artists get to communicate directly with their fans. And it scares the hell out of the record companies.

BRYANT: Well, it does. It does. You`re right. Well, you know what? Obviously, this debate is going to go on and on. And we`re going to let the people at home pipe in. But I do want to thank you, Hank, and I do want to thank you, Michael, for joining us here.

We want to know your thoughts at home. Our hot topic debate leads us to our "SHOWBIZ Showdown" question of the day. Internet file sharing: Should it be legal? What do you think? You can take our poll at cnn.com/showbiztonight or e-mail us at showbiztonight@cnn.com. We`ll share some of what you had to say later in the show.

HAMMER: Meet the new "Bachelor." Charlie O`Connell is looking for love. The series starts tonight, and he`s stopping by SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. That`s coming up.

BRYANT: Plus: She`s so congenial! Sandra Bullock talks about her new movie and why she isn`t married. That is coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: welcome back. It is time for stories making news in "The Show`s Biz." MTV and "Seventeen" magazine announced today they are teaming up for a new show. "Project Seventeen" is the working title. It will follow the magazine`s search for America`s sweetheart.

Everybody loves bedtime stories. Ray Romano`s first children`s book is out today. He and his brothers wrote the book based on their experiences growing up. It`s called "Raymie, Dickie and the Bean." Romano jokes that he and his brothers, quote, "manufactured some love just for the sake of the book."

BRYANT: The new season of "The Bachelor" premiers tonight on ABC. This single guy this time around, 29-year-old Charlie O`Connell. Now, Charlie is an actor. So is his brother, Jerry O`Connell. And last Thursday, of course, we got to know Jerry pretty well here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT when he joined us to talk about his own show, "Crossing Jordan." Hard-working family you got here. Well, we`re going to be chatting live with Charlie in just a second, but first a look at the new season of "The Bachelor."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLIE O`CONNELL, "THE BACHELOR": Welcome to my LA home. That`s my brother.

JERRY O`CONNELL, "CROSSING JORDAN": Hey, what`s up, little brother? Yes!

CHARLIE O`CONNELL: My brother and I were very close growing up. We did everything together. And we`ve been each other`s best friends ever since we were little.

JERRY O`CONNELL: Yes, I mean, I think there`s, like, part of you that would like a significant other in your life.

CHARLIE O`CONNELL: I don`t know. I think I`m a sucker to fall in love, so I think there`s definitely a good chance that I could fall in love.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRYANT: Charlie, a sucker to fall in love! You think you`re going to be successful in the show?

O`CONNELL: Oh, I think it`s definitely working out. Right now, I`m down to two girls. And it really is working out. But you got to check them out in real life, too, and see if a relationship can happen. And so far, so good.

BRYANT: Now, this time, they`ve done things a little definitely. I saw also that you had a quick speed date type of thing going on, where you had to make quick judgments?

O`CONNELL: Yes, this thing -- this time around, when I got chosen to do it, I said I was going to do it, things were going to be different. And they`re different because I`m a jeans guy. I don`t like to wear suits. And I didn`t want it to be like a fairy tale thing, you know? I`m no Prince Charming. So I just thought it should be something that`s more real. And yes, it was mean of me, but the girls got five minutes to get dressed right off the bat on the first minute...

BRYANT: Yes.

O`CONNELL: You look like you`re ready to kill me...

(CROSSTALK)

BRYANT: No, I just -- I thought it was amusing that you did that because they didn`t have the chance to primp and, you know, get everything ready and...

O`CONNELL: And the first -- and the first thing, I had two minutes to spend with every girl, and it`s just something to get a spark, whether it be, you know, just -- you know, obviously, attraction is something that`s important. But then once you get past that, it`s, like, just go for it, you know? I`m nervous, you`re nervous. But let`s just see if we can -- wrong or right, we got two minutes here. Let`s see if this can grow.

BRYANT: Right. But what I don`t understand is how you can be nervous. You`re a successful actor. I got to believe your brother`s hooking you up on dates. You don`t, like, double date with him? He`s got a gorgeous girlfriend.

O`CONNELL: I`ve double dated with my brother my whole life, and frankly, it`s overrated.

BRYANT: Is it?

O`CONNELL: He does...

BRYANT: He`s not good wing man or what?

O`CONNELL: No, he`s an OK wing man. He`s an OK wing man. But every once in a while, there`s a silent one, and you know, he doesn`t own up to it. He`s got nerve.

BRYANT: OK. All right. All right.

O`CONNELL: Got you nervous there.

(CROSSTALK)

BRYANT: OK.

O`CONNELL: No, it`s (UNINTELLIGIBLE) no, he`s a good wing man. But I prefer to -- I prefer to just -- you know, this is a great opportunity, to have thousands of girls try out for it and then narrow it down to 25, and then it`s up to me from there to pick a great girl.

BRYANT: Right.

O`CONNELL: It can work.

BRYANT: Do you think you could have done it in reverse, if there was a woman who...

O`CONNELL: I couldn`t have -- I definitely couldn`t have done it in reverse, and I couldn`t have -- and I said that to the girls. A lot of the girls, obviously, you know, I don`t know how you do it, being 1 of 25. But they also said that they wouldn`t want to be me.

BRYANT: Right. Well, we`re looking at some of this. This is, I guess, some footage of your speed dates here. I saw a couple of young women come in with, you know, drinks, for body shots. Some of them stripped down into bikinis right away. I mean, this was a tough morning for you, wasn`t it.

O`CONNELL: It was definitely wild. I didn`t expect it. I didn`t know it was happening. I was just getting to meet the 25 girls, and I thought -- and that was overwhelming enough. And then all of a sudden, bam, they throw you right into two minutes with each girl.

BRYANT: Yes.

O`CONNELL: But after the end of it, I realized that that`s a great -- that was a great way to do it because I want to spend time with all of them, and to have a two-minute equal opportunity is -- it seemed fair.

BRYANT: OK. And this time, though, you`re saying you`re keeping it more real. There`s not going to be -- you know, because you see women falling in love, but it`s because they flew to Paris for dinner, do you know what I`m saying? That`s...

O`CONNELL: Right. No, that`s exactly why I felt that this -- it has to -- it had to be more real because at the end of this, you know, you`re coming outside this bachelor bubble, and if you want a relationship to work...

BRYANT: Right.

O`CONNELL: ... you`ve got to...

BRYANT: Got to -- got to keep it real.

O`CONNELL: Yes.

BRYANT: All right. Well, thank you, Charlie O`Connell, for joining us. You can catch the 7th season of ""The Bachelor" tonight on ABC.

HAMMER: Well, they`ve 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. On "The View," Elizabeth Hasselbeck showed off her unusual Easter eggs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELIZABETH HASSELBECK, "THE VIEW": I started off with Martha.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get a close-up!

HASSELBECK: There she is.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You did a great job!

HASSELBECK: And then, of course, her buddy, Michael.

(CROSSTALK)

HASSELBECK: There`s Michael.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right there. Wait, wait.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can love this egg.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kidding!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Throw Michael away.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think Michael cracked!

(CROSSTALK)

MEREDITH VIEIRA, "THE VIEW": No, wait! You have said many times that blacks don`t crack, but in this case...

(CROSSTALK)

HAMMER: Well, I guess it did crack. Over to you, Karyn.

BRYANT: OK. Well, guess who`s on top of the weekend box office? Ashton Kutcher and Bernie Mac hit it big with their take on "Guess Who`s Coming to Dinner?" We will take that to the "Buzz Bench" coming up.

HAMMER: Plus, "The Boss" is back with some new music. Bruce`s new single is born on the AOL, so to speak . We`ll have that for you later on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BRYANT: Vertigo, on the go, U2 kicks off its gigantic global tour and we`re with them before the curtain goes up.

HAMMER: And Sandra B here, a showbiz sit down with Sandra Bullock. The "Miss Congeniality" star walks the runway again but will she walk down the aisle?

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It is 30 minutes past the hour. I`m AJ Hammer.

BRYANT: I`m Karyn Bryant, Michael Jackson dominating the hot headlines tonight.

HAMMER: The past will be present. Prosecutors in the Michael Jackson trial will be allowed to introduce evidence of past molestation allegations against him. One of those former alleged victims is child movie star Macaulay Culkin who has repeatedly denied anything happened.

Also today, comedian George Lopez became the first celebrity to testify. He said he befriended Jackson current accuser`s family, but that relationship fizzled and Lopez called the boy`s father quote, an extortionist.

BRYANT: And as the Reverend Jesse Jackson told us live earlier, in an interview this weekend, Michael said there was quote, a conspiracy against him, comparing his plight to that of Nelson Mandela and Mohammed Ali.

HAMMER: Well, as we told you earlier, there`s big file sharing showdown going down before the U.S. Supreme Court tomorrow and it could have a huge impact on the entertainment industry. We`ve been asking you to vote on our showbiz showdown question of the day. Internet file sharing, should it be legal? We`d like you to continue to vote by going to cnn.com/showbiztonight. If you have a few more thoughts to send us, please do. The e-mail address is showbiztonight@cnn.com and we will share some of what you have to say at 55 past the hour.

BRYANT: U2 has been one of the more popular legally downloaded groups and tonight the Irish rockers are kicking of their vertigo world tour in San Diego. That of course is in California. Now SHOWBIZ TONIGHT got up close and personal with the band. Brooke Anderson is live in Hollywood with the scoop on the toughest ticket in town. Brooke.

BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And absolutely Karyn. It`s no surprise that tickets for the nine month tour are selling out as soon as they go on sale. After 25 years of rocking, U2 is bigger and better than ever.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON (voice-over): The countdown to U2`s vertigo world tour is over. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT caught up with the Irish rockers ahead of opening night and Bono told us success hasn`t gone to their head.

BONO, U2: I haven`t met anyone who was really great at anything who isn`t insecure. If you`re secure in yourself, you -- you know, you`d steer clear of rock `n roll, wouldn`t you or trying to prove yourself on any grand scale.

BRYANT: U2 has got nothing to prove. Concerts put on sale so far sold out in a heartbeat, breaking records for the number of tickets sold in a single year and they`re loving every minute of it.

THE EDGE, U2: When you see people that know every word of every song, that know more about your music than we probably do, that is an incredible feeling and we`ve been very lucky. I think as a band we started out really as a live band almost before we were anything else. And it still, in many ways the proving ground, I think for any U2 songs, how it sounds in front of our audience live.

ANDERSON: They`ve been rocking live audiences for 25 years. We asked them, how do you keep it fresh?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a suggestion box.

BONO: We so don`t want to be, you know, one of those crap bands that, you know, have done their best stuff. We just really would rather be shot in the head. There`s a point in time you need to just get it over with. You`ve had your moment and we haven`t. We really haven`t. This is our moment right now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Their moment couldn`t be more now. Their recent album "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" has sold more than, has sold 9 million copies worldwide. Their hit single "Vertigo" won them three Grammys in February and earlier this month, the band was inducted into the rock `n roll hall of fame. Karyn.

BRYANT: All right. Well, thank you very much Brooke and tomorrow, we`ll have more from our U2 interview plus all the details from the band`s world tour kickoff tonight in San Diego tonight.

HAMMER: Well, there`s no question on who topped the box office this weekend. "Guess Who?" the Ashton Kutcher Bernie Mac update of the 1967 Sidney Poitier classic landed at the number one position with more than $20 million in ticket sales. And other final box office figures just out this afternoon, Sandra Bullock`s "Miss Congeniality 2" came in at number two with $14 million. "The Ring Two" rang down two spots, $13.6 million. "Robots" in fourth place, just shy of $13 million and "The Pacifier," rounding out with top five with $8 million.

BRYANT: Well, she may not have topped the box office this week but she`s still one of Hollywood`s favorite funny girls. Sandra Bullock is back in action as Gracie Hart, the FBI agent turned undercover beauty queen. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT sat down with her to clear up a few things about her life on and off screen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRYANT (voice-over:) Just call her the Hollywood A lister who gets better with age, from playing an innocent bystander who jumped into the hot seat on an out of control bus in "Speed," to her starring role in the romantic comedy, "While You Were Sleeping," it was pretty clear that Sandra Bullock was on her way to the top. But it was her role in "Miss Congeniality" where she played FBI agent Gracie Hart, who goes under cover as a beauty pageant contestant, that cemented Bullock as Hollywood`s reigning funny girl. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT sat down with Sandra to talk about bringing back Gracie Hart, winning awards and the question we want answered, why is everyone in America itching for her to get married?

SANDRA BULLOCK, ACTRESS: I think it`s the fantasy. I think what they want is the pictures of the wedding dress and the fantasy of how great everything is. I`ve had a union where I`ve been committed and I felt married. I wound have been divorced. I would do it over again, because it was the great moment of my life. I would do it and I would still be divorced. So I respect it too much to look at it as a frivolous union. It`s not about being on the cover of "People" in my dress going, look at how happy I am. It`s not what it`s about. I value it too much to be frivolous about it.

BRYANT: So what is it all about for this leading lady? She`s got enough awards to prove her acting is not just good, it`s great. And even though she`s been nominated for Golden Globes for her starring roles in the first "Miss Congeniality" and "While You`re Were Sleeping" Bullock still doesn`t think that awards equal success.

BULLOCK: I don`t care about awards because I think the minute you set your sights on that, it becomes something different. It doesn`t become about where you are presently. The award is icing on the cake. If it happens, great for the people. I don`t go, oh, God I haven`t gotten this award. I`m so happy where I am and so fortunate and so I`m working. I`m working and I`m getting paid for something I love to do.

BRYANT: And from the looks of "Miss Congeniality 2" Armed and Fabulous, Bullock is loving what she does, even when she changes it up a bit.

BULLOCK: She kind of goes into left field and it`s because she`s feeling a little low about herself and she feels she has no other option. But it`s kind of fun taking someone we love seeing a certain way and watching her go into left field and you go, how in the world is she going to come back?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRYANT: Sandra next stars in "Crash" alongside Oscar-nominee Don Cheadle.

HAMMER: Well, our buzz bench is a genial group. In fact, they`ve got a whole lot of love to talk about tonight, Courtney Love`s racy role.

BRYANT: And an R&B debut that`s got OutKast and Lil` Jon stopping by, and a country star who shaved her legs nine years ago is back with the story of her life. That is in "People`s" picks and pans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAYLIE & HILARY DUFF: I like "Desperate Housewives". It`s really like juicy and entertaining. So I like that.

I love "Desperate Housewives" too and I`m a big huge fan of "24." I love Kiefer Sutherland. That`s my favorite.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Time now for tonight`s buzz bench where today`s water cooler topics take center stage. And tonight, that of course includes Michael Jackson`s conspiracy theory, "Guess Who?`s" box office take and Courtney Love`s new, deep role.

BRYANT: Joining us on the buzz bench is "New York" magazine`s Sarah Bernard, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT contributor Amy Kean and CNN`s pop culture correspondent Toure. So I want to get started. We`re talking about Michael Jackson. They`re going to allow past cases to be brought into the court proceedings. He was on the radio with Jesse Jackson. There`s a vast conspiracy out to get him according to Michael Jackson. What do you think about all this?

TOURE, CNN POP CULTURE CORRESPONDENT: I think he is in a huge trouble. I think like two weeks ago when it looked like the mom and boy had lied in previous cases, oh Mike`s going to get off. Now that we`re going to have testimony on five boys that he touched before and one boy is going to come and say who will testify he touched me over the clothes and under the clothes. That is devastating testimony.

BRYANT: And the fact he had paid before.

TOURE: Five times.

SARAH BERNARD, "NEW YORK" MAGAZINE: Don`t you think that all of those people on the jury knew about this anyway? Honestly, how could they have not known?

AMY KEAN, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT CONTRIBUTOR: I don`t think everyone knew it was five people.

TOURE: That`s a lot.

KEAN: I think maybe people thought one or two but five is different.

TOURE: This is the second kid. Now, we think about him as the fifth or sixth or eighth kid because there`s two kids that they`re not allowing testimony about. So we have seven that are codified including Jordie Chandler from what `93, now this one.

KEAN: I was fan of Michael Jackson. But even I`m getting a little bit -- also, he`s starting to seem a little desperate with the whole Jesse Jackson.

TOURE: . conspiracy.

KEAN: Comparing himself like Martha Stewart did, comparing himself to Nelson Mandela.

(CROSSTALK)

KEAN: The conspiracy theory is the obvious thing that you say when you have nothing left to say. That`s just what you pull out. Everyone`s attacking me. But I think it was really smart that he went on the radio to do this because if you separate his voice from what he looks like, for two seconds you actually think, oh maybe he has a point. What am I saying? Forgot it.

HAMMER: On to something completely different that happened over this weekend. Box office clout for Bernie Mac and Ashton Kutcher. "Miss Congeniality 2" was thought to be a big winner over the weekend, didn`t work out that way, about $7 million more at the box office for "Guess Who?"

KEAN: At first, when I was looking at these numbers, I was thinking "Miss Congeniality 2," when this was coming out I thought, are there really people interested in "Miss Congeniality 2," but then I was think there`s "Legally Blonde" and there have been so many other kind of stupid sequels. So maybe I`m wrong. And then I looked up at the box office returns, and it was actually number 67 of all time, "Miss Congeniality" the first one. So to give us a perspective, I mean think about it. Number 267, right now, even "The Aviator" has just barely reached the same amount of money as the first "Miss Congeniality."

BERNARD: It doesn`t say why either of these movies made any money. This is the time of year where studios dump their dogs. This is it. This is like from Oscars to summer blockbusters, this is when you get rid of it.

HAMMER: $20 million is not a bad take.

TOURE: The reason why the film did well is because there`s a black man in the lead. I kid you not. This is the fifth film led by a black actor to debut number one. "Hitch," "Are We There Yet," I had it all written down. "Coach Carter," "Diary of a Mad Black Woman."

BERNARD: There`s nothing else to see.

BRYANT: I guess though, Regina King being the co-star in "Miss Congeniality," it`s Bernie. Bernie outweighs Regina in this case.

KEAN: It`s a wake up call also that you leave five years between the original and the sequel. People, you can`t really pick up on the momentum.

TOURE: It looks interesting. It`s got the whole "Guess Who`s Coming to Dinner" theme.

BRYANT: Guess what? There`s going to be a movie made that Courtney Love is going to have a job again, it looks like. They`re going to make a movie about Linda Lovelace, the famous porn star and Courtney Love has signed on to play this character, the star of "Deep Throat."

BERNARD: So classy, Courtney, isn`t she? This is old terrain for her right, because she was actually one of her most legit acting roles was in "The People Versus Larry Flynt" where she played Althea, his wife, and she actually got a Golden Globe nomination for that so this is kind of exactly in her genre.

BRYANT: Porn seems to bring her good luck.

HAMMER: She`s also a good actress.

BERNARD: She isn`t bad, especially when she`s playing those kind of edgy roles. But the one thing is, she just got her kid back. I don`t know if this is going to go over well in the custody suits.

KEAN: This is a great part. A lot of people may not know that Linda Lovelace, they just think of porn, "Deep Throat," the fact that this is a story about a woman who became sort of a feminist and spoke to Congress with Gloria Steinem. This is a great part.

TOURE: It`s not Gloria Steinem that`s going to get us into the theater. AJ and I will be there week one.

HAMMER: OK, we got to wrap it up there, Sarah Bernard of course, Amy Kean, Toure, thanks for buzzing with us guys.

BRYANT: We`re back. Where-o is he?

HAMMER: Where-o is hero?

BRYANT: Where-o is hero? Should you get it? Where-o is the name of his record people. We`ll tell you about in "People`s" picks and pans.

HAMMER: And its hero and so is Bruce Springsteen`s new album, well not yet, not for about another month, but the single, yeah, we`ve got your first listen. That`s coming up too.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BRYANT: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It`s time for more showbiz shorts. Let`s play Donald double vision. Can you pick out the real Mr. Trump? If you said the one on the left, you are correct. The other guy is actor Justin Lewis. We just got his picture today and he`s the guy who`s going to be playing Donald Trump in the upcoming ABC film, "Ambition." No air date has yet been set though. An idol returns. Last season`s winner, Fantasia will return to "American Idol" on April 6th. She`ll sing her latest single, "Baby Mama."

HAMMER: It`s time now for "People" magazine`s music picks and pans. And there`s something for everyone tonight, Beck, Brooke Valentine and Deana Carter all have new releases but should you check them out? Joining us from "People" magazine, senior writer Julie Dam. Julie, to say this Beck "Guero" is highly anticipated is an understatement. It was supposed to come out last fall, finally arriving tomorrow. It`s his eighth CD.

JULIE DAM, SENIOR WRITER, PEOPLE MAGAZINE: It is a great album. It`s actually our critic`s choice this week and you know, he looks like he is having more fun than he has in years. I mean he`s still doing the sampling. He`s still low five and he`s also experimenting with Latin music, with funk, with all these different things. He`s playing slide guitar. He`s playing the harmonica. He`s rapping.

HAMMER: He always keeps it interesting. All right. Let`s move on to Brooke Valentine. Her chain letter came out a couple of weeks ago. She had an unsuccessful attempt back in the `90s at a group type of a thing. She`s finally making her solo debut with this and working with a couple of heavy hitters on it too.

DAM: Her first single, she works with Big Boy from Outkast and also Lil` Jon and even though it might sound - this all might sound a little familiar, she`s not just a Ciara clone. She`s actually a great new singer.

HAMMER: And people have likened her to a combination between Kelis and Pink? Is that right.

DAM: Exactly.

HAMMER: All right. Let`s move on to a country edition to tonight`s list, Deana Carter, of course her last single nine years ago or she had a single nine years ago, "Did I Shave My Legs for This?" How do you go wrong with a title like that? But the story of my life, her new CD has been out for a few weeks as well.

DAM: I mean it`s hard to follow up a song called it`s hard to - about shaving your legs. It`s a really solid album and it puts her in the pantheon of great new country artists.

HAMMER: And this one of course came out in early March and is starting to get a lot of attention right now. A little trivia question, a little trivia about her. Her dad played with Elvis.

DAM: How about that.

HAMMER: I`m here to teach you something. All right. Thanks for stopping by. Julie Dam, senior editor from "People" magazine of course and for more "People`s" picks and pans, you can check out this week`s "People" magazine. It is of course available at newsstands everywhere.

BRYANT: The boss -- Bruce Springsteen -- is back with a new album, but before you can hear it anywhere else -- you can hear it first on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. That`s next!

HAMMER: There`s also still time for you to sound off in tonight`s showbiz showdown question of the day. Internet file sharing: should it be legal? You can go to the web to vote cnn.com/showbiztonight is our address. Email us as well if you have more to say, showbiztonight@cnn.com is the e- mail address. We`d love to hear from you. Send us a note with your thoughts and we`ll read some of them coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: It`s been three years since the boss` last album "The Rising" was released. Now Bruce Springsteen returns with his latest, "Devils and Dust" and critics are calling the title track powerful and now, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has teamed up with AOL music for your exclusive first listen.

It is good to have Bruce back. "Devils and Dust" the album drops on April 26th.

BRYANT: it`s time to get your laugh on in laughter dark. As we do every night, we bring you the late night laughs you may have missed.

HAMMER: On the TONIGHT SHOW with Jay Leno, Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson got a visit from an Easter bunny.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY LENO: I understand. I`m told the bunny has a present for you two.

NICK LACHEY: The bunny?

LENO: Did you see the bunny that was just here?

JESSICA SIMPSON: That`s what nick calls me.

LENO: Let`s bring the bunny out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Earlier, Jessica, they were playing touch the bunny, and I thought we`d continue it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Did you see any Easter bunnies like that over the weekend?

BRYANT: No and I could have missed that one right there.

Throughout the show we`ve been asking you to vote online on our showbiz showdown question of the day. Internet file sharing, should it be legal? Let`s take a look at how the vote is going so far, 72 percent of you said, heck, yes, Internet file sharing should be legal; 28 percent of you said, no, Internet file sharing should not be legal.

And you`ve also been sending us e-mails on this question. Joseph from Queens, New York says the cost of a CD should be five bucks, then the piracy will stop. Chris from Fairport, New York says, downloading pirated software or music is just like walking into a store or taking it off the shelf and we know that isn`t legal.

And Stetson from Gainesville, Georgia, says, I believe that music sharing should be legal because it doesn`t harm anyone. Now remember, you can continue to vote at cnn.com/showbiztonight or send us your thoughts to showbiztonight@cnn.com.

HAMMER: All right. It`s time now to see what`s playing on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT tomorrow. Let`s take a look at the showbiz marquee. Oh, marquee guy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re going crazy for Alicia Silverstone, but we`re not clueless about where she is. She`s headed to the beauty shop with a stop on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Alicia Silverstone tomorrow, live!

She`s got a famous last name, but she`s got a famous voice all of her own, Lisa Marie Presley! Her new album is called "Now What." So now what? Will Lisa Marie air her dirty laundry? She`s on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT tomorrow. Good bye for now. The marquee guy has left the building.

HAMMER: Have you heard any of the Lisa Marie album?

BRYANT: I`ve not heard it yet. I`m really excited about the Bruce Springsteen.

HAMMER: It`s got a nice sound though. I`ve listened to Lisa Marie.

BRYANT: I`ll check it out. I`m not as hip to it as you are.

HAMMER: We got to go.

BRYANT: That`s it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. We`ll see you here tomorrow.

HAMMER: Nancy Grace is next right after the very latest from headline news.

END


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