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A sneak peek at next year`s "Superman Returns" reveals a new superhero with a reworked costume. Celebrities turn out for Stars in the Sky, a frontrunner for Paul Newman`s Hole in the Wall Gang camps for sick children. Contestant Bren Olswanger says being fired by Donald Trump was painful, but considers "The Apprentice" a valuable learning experience. Why are comic book superheroes coming back to the movies in a big way? "People" magazine movie critic isn`t crazy about new movies "The Interpreter" and "A Lot Like Love."

Aired April 22, 2005 - 19:00:00   ET


KARYN BRYANT, CO-HOST: A superhero fly-by.
A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: And Stars in the Sky. I`m A.J. Hammer.

BRYANT: I`m Karyn Bryant. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

HAMMER: Holding out for a hero. Superheroes, summer blockbusters. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has your first look at the next "Superman."

BRYANT: Reaching for the stars, Stars in the Sky. We`re there as Julia, Paul and Tony come out for a good cause.

HAMMER: Plus, a royal visit. Dames Judi Dench and Maggie Smith connected in a new movie, and they tell us about their James Bond and Harry Potter connections, live.

BRYANT: Bow-tie bow-out. Networth can`t cut through the clutter, so buttoned-up Bren is undone.




BRYANT: The latest fired "Apprentice" live.

HAMMER: And a bow-wow birthday. Lassie comes home to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. She joins us live. Really.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, what`s up? I`m Brandy (ph). And if it happened today, it`s on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


BRYANT: Hello. I`m Karyn Bryant, and you are at the top of the show.

HAMMER: I`m A.J. Hammer. Friday night is on, and we are live with you from Headline Prime studios in New York City for the next hour.

BRYANT: Tonight, we have something super for you. We have your first look at "Superman Returns," which is currently filming in Australia.

HAMMER: Now -- I`m sorry.

BRYANT: Go ahead. No, it`s all yours.

HAMMER: Thank you. This movie`s not coming to theaters until next year, but this little sneak peek at the new Man of Steel does have "Superman" fans flying high.


(voice-over): He is Superman. Today, Warner Brothers released a hard-to-find photo of newcomer Brandon Routh in the new supe-suit he sports in the movie "Superman Returns." And what does film director and big comic book fan Kevin Smith say about the new look?

KEVIN SMITH, DIRECTOR, COMICS FAN: Boy, what an easy job that wardrobe or costume designer had. I mean, it doesn`t really deviate that far from the original, and that`s a plus.

HAMMER: Let`s play fashion expert for a second and compare the new Superman to the old-school Supermen. The new costume has been redesigned for crime fighting in the 21st century. The "S" is smaller, and now there`s one on the belt. And it features a darker hue of red, yellow and blue.

SMITH: The changes in the costume are so small, so as not to be noticeable, really. What`s new is just how bad his hair looks in that photo. I mean, you would imagine -- you know, it`s the 21st century. We could really move away from the spit curl and the greased-out hair.

HAMMER: The plot of "Superman Returns" is as big a secret as Clark Kent`s secret identity. But word is it`s a loose sequel to one of the late Christopher Reeve`s "Superman" movies from the 1980s. The new Superman, 25-year-old actor Brandon Routh, is largely unknown. But his "Superman Returns" co-stars are not. Kate Bosworth, from the movie "Blue Crush," plays the boy in blue`s crush, Lois Lane. And Kaiser Soze himself, Kevin Spacey, plays villain Lex Luthor.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your parents` death was not your fault.


HAMMER: Of course, Superman is not the only cape-wearing crime fighter who`s returning to the movies. "Batman Begins" hits theaters this June. And just this week, we learned that eight minutes of footage from that movie will premiere during the season finale of "Smallville," a show about a teenage Superman. That`s no coincidence. "Smallville," as well as "Superman" and "Batman," are in the same corporate family, Warner Brothers. This may be a case of one superhero helping another.

SMITH: I think they need "Batman Begins" to take off in a big, bad way, to prime the pump, as it were, for "Superman," because I guarantee you, "Batman Begins" comes out and doesn`t make any noise, they`re not going to be too thrilled that they got "Superman" coming out a year later.

HAMMER: And with recent box office smashes like "Spider-Man 2", the pressure is on for a new "Superman" to do a super performance at the box office.


HAMMER: Bryan Singer, the director of the last two "X-Men" movies is directing "Superman Returns." And in a few minutes, in "The Show`s Biz," we`re going to talk about the old-school superheroes that are making a return to the big screen.

BRYANT: From "Superman" to superstar. After giving birth to her twins, Julia Roberts made her return to acting last night. "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s" David Haffenreffer is here with more on a star-studded fund- raiser called Stars in the Sky -- David.

DAVID HAFFENREFFER, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT: Yes, Karyn, it did not take much to get Julia Roberts or Tony Bennett or other celebs to help raise money for Paul Newman`s Hole in the Wall camps for children with serious illnesses. All Newman had to do was pick up the phone.


JULIA ROBERTS, "STARS IN THE SKY": When Paul calls, I go. Before I had kids, after kids, even if I have 12 kids, call, I`ll go.

HAFFENREFFER (voice-over): And new mom Julia Roberts isn`t the only one who feels that way. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT was there as Tony Bennett, Robin Williams and other A-list celebs showed up last night for their friend, Paul Newman. It may have been called Stars in the Sky, but it featured big-name stars on stage, helping to raise money for the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps, a network of camps Newman started 17 years ago for sick children.

(on camera): Does it still resemble what you were envisioning when it got under way?

PAUL NEWMAN, STARS IN THE SKY: You know, all the camps are different. All of them have a different signature. But ultimately, they serve the kids, and they kind of give them back their childhood. It`s nice.

HAFFENREFFER (voice-over): Roberts was mostly mum about her 5-month- old twins, Hazel and Phineas (ph), but she did tell me what fueled her desire to fly to New York for the fund-raiser.

ROBERTS: Paul drove my desire.


ROBERTS: I`ve been lucky enough to, you know, be near the Hole in the Wall Gang camp for a while.

NEWMAN: She`s been in the Hole in the Wall Gang camp.

ROBERTS: I`ve been in the Hole in the Wall!

HAFFENREFFER: For Robin Williams, Stars in the Sky was a great excuse to come together for a great cause.


(on camera): Did you go to camp as a kid?

ROBIN WILLIAMS, STARS IN THE SKY: Yes. One of them was fun, one was awful. I think it was kind of one of those camps, like, Hey, everybody, we`re going in the lake, once it rains. (INAUDIBLE) We`ve got one kayak and 10 kids. So it`s pretty much like "Survivor."

HAFFENREFFER (voice-over): For this Hole in the Wall gang, surviving won`t be a problem. By the end of the night, they`d raised more than $3 million.


HAFFENREFFER: That`s what I call a successful night. There are Hole in the Wall camps in six countries, including Thailand and Africa. A total of 10,000 kids will attend these camps this year -- A.J.

HAMMER: All right. Thanks very much, David Haffenreffer.

Well, it`s time now for "SHOWBIZ Shorts," a look at more stories that are making news tonight. Nick and Jessica are taking it to the troops. Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson are taking their variety show act to service members serving overseas. Nick`s brother, Drew, Willie Nelson, Brian McKnight and Big & Rich will join them for an ABC special, which will air on May 23.

"Survivor" sacrifice. Last night, Janu did something never before seen on "Survivor." She snuffed out her own torch, even before the tribal council vote. She couldn`t stomach the food from the reward challenge and couldn`t stomach the competition. Premature, though. The others wanted to boot Steph (ph). The torch wasn`t put out in the ratings, too. "Survivor" did well, helping "CSI" win the night for CBS.

BRYANT: The torch went out on "Survivor," but NBC`s "Apprentice" was fired up. The latest task for "Apprentice" hopefuls? Create a product for the office supplies store, Staples, that will help minimize office clutter. The winning design was a rotating organizer, the losing design a storage table with a top that folds open.

Well, joining us live from Networth, which was the losing team, the most recent "Apprentice" cast-off, Bren Olswanger. Thanks for joining us her, Bren. Now, you made to it the finals. But before we chat, we want to take a look at your sitdown with Mr. Trump.


DONALD TRUMP, "THE APPRENTICE": But Bren, don`t you think to be a successful entrepreneur, you have to be a risk taker, to a certain...

BREN OLSWANGER, CONTESTANT: I`m learning -- I`m trying to learn how to be a risk taker, but...

TRUMP: You seem to be starting off awfully far behind.

OLSWANGER: I am far behind, but I can make it.

TRUMP: And I don`t mind being a teacher, but I don`t want to start off from kindergarten. I want to start off from high school, from college...

OLSWANGER: Well, I`d like to think the past...

TRUMP: And for entrepreneurship, sadly, I`m dealing with you as a kindergarten student. You might be a very good lawyer, but you`re really very far behind. And I think you`re going to be very successful, but right now, Bren, you`re fired.

OLSWANGER: Thank you, Mr. Trump.


BRYANT: So how did it feel getting sacked?

OLSWANGER: Well, it doesn`t get any easier, every time I watch that video. But you know, I guess, in some ways, it was bittersweet. It was a release. It was finally over with. It had been a long, you know, 13 weeks. But you know, at the same time, I was sad to go. I really thought that I was going to make it to the end.

BRYANT: So what -- the idea that you guys came up with was a table, basically, to move the clutter from your desk to the other desk. In hindsight, do you think maybe that wasn`t such a great idea?

OLSWANGER: Well, you know, I think if you got clutter on your desk, there`s no contraption that`s going to fix that. That`s -- you`re not going to modify your behavior.

BRYANT: Right.

OLSWANGER: So you know, in essence, you`re just moving it from one place to another. I`m a pack rat, and that`s generally what I do, and it keeps my wife off my back. So I thought maybe I could help others.

BRYANT: Right. Now, you said, originally, you came, you know, with hopes of fame and fortune and working for Mr. Trump. Do you think that`s what everybody really goes for, or are you really hoping for, you know, life lessons in business?

OLSWANGER: I think a lot of people that come on the show certainly are enamored by the fame and fortune that would come with becoming the next "Apprentice." You know, that was certainly a motivating factor for me. Once I got up there, I realized that, you know, it`s not -- not what it`s cracked up to be, not near as important as I thought it was. And you know, you find satisfaction in what`s around you.

BRYANT: Right. Well, we actually have something for you here. If we could -- you know, Mr. Trump -- thanks, Mike. Mr. Trump said that you were not a risk taker. We know it`s your 33rd birthday today. This is from all of us here at SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It`s Risk. Right? A little happy birthday for Bren.

OLSWANGER: I appreciate that. Thank you.

BRYANT: Live and learn. Maybe you can take over countries and companies after the fact, OK?

OLSWANGER: Absolutely.

BRYANT: Thanks for joining us.

OLSWANGER: Thank you for having me.

BRYANT: Bren Olswanger. Of course, you can catch "The Apprentice" Thursday nights on NBC.

HAMMER: Look! It`s a bird, it`s a plane, it`s your favorite superheroes, and they`re flying into theaters this summer. "The Show`s Biz" coming up.

BRYANT: And a dames debut. Judi Dench and Maggie Smith on their new movie and their ties to Harry Potter and James Bond.

HAMMER: Now tonight`s "Entertainment Weekly Great American Pop Culture Quiz." In the movie "Batman and Robin," who played the role of George Clooney`s sidekick, Robin? Was it Ethan Hawke, Chris O`Donnell, Sean Astin or Matt Damon? We`re coming straight back with the answer.


HAMMER: Welcome back. So once again, tonight`s "Entertainment Weekly Great American Pop Culture Quiz." In the movie "Batman and Robin," who played the role of George Clooney`s sidekick, Robin, Ethan Hawke, Chris O`Donnell, Sean Astin or Matt Damon? Well, the masked man in the green- and-red tights from the 1997 flick is none other than Chris O`Donnell. B was the answer.

BRYANT: It is 13 minutes past the hour. All this talk about superheroes brings us to "The Show`s Biz." Just a short time ago, we gave you a first look at the new Superman, Brandon Routh, who stars in the upcoming "Superman Returns." And if the kid inside gets all excited about superheroes, then stay right where you are for tonight`s "The Show`s Biz."

"Batman Begins" starring Christian Bale opens June 17, and it tells the story of how Bruce Wayne became the Caped Crusader. Then on July 8 comes "Fantastic Four," bringing Marvel Comics` longest-running comic series to the big screen as the four superheroes take on Doctor Doom. And finally, as we mentioned, "Superman Returns" is on the way. That`ll be flying into theaters in June of 2006. And in this film, "Superman" returns to Metropolis after being absent for six years.

So why are all these superheroes returning? Well, joining us live in New York is Neil Rosen, who is the entertainment critic for the cable news station NY 1. Good to see you, Neil.

NEIL ROSEN, NY 1: Good to see you, Karyn.

BRYANT: So what do you think is the reasoning behind the superhero renaissance?

ROSEN: Well, I think you have to look at "Spider-Man." I think that`s where it all emanates from. The last -- you know, the "Spider-Man" movies, $400 million-plus. I think somebody just -- you know, studio executives looked at this and said, We can`t ignore this. There`s so much money being made here. You know, prior to the "Spider-Man," Marvel comics really weren`t being made. You had "Batman." You had "Superman." Those were DC Comics. The Marvel door got opened, so you saw all these other Marvel Comics being made. You had "The Hulk," which was a pretty disastrous movie, but they went after that. Daredevil, Elektra, Blade. You know, if there`s money to be made...

BRYANT: Right.

ROSEN: ... they`ll follow the money. I mean, you had in the `70s disaster movies. "Jaws" made a lot of money, so then you had "The Towering Inferno" and, you know, millions of clones of that.

BRYANT: Right.

ROSEN: So pretty much, that`s where you`re at. If there`s money to be made somewhere, people will try to imitate that success.

BRYANT: That`s right. And certainly, some of those comic book heroes have fared better at the box office than others. But I still do think that there is a sense of escapism when you`re looking at a superhero movie. Would you agree?

ROSEN: Oh, absolutely. I mean, people -- most kids grow up, you know, reading comic books. I certainly did. And to see those pictures, those comic book pictures translated to the big screen, you know, with all the CGI and modern effects, to be able to watch Spider-Man or the Fantastic Four, which, as you said, is the longest-running Marvel comic book, to be able to see that up on the screen, people are very excited. Like, oh, the Human Torch. You know, there used to be a limited animation cartoon series in the `60s that was very poorly done, but to be able to see that translated, where you see the Invisible Woman and you see Thing...

BRYANT: Right.

ROSEN: ... being played by Michael Chiklis...

BRYANT: The Thing looks amazing.

ROSEN: Right. I mean, you know, to be able to see these images that are, you know, burned into your brain since you were a little kid, being done on a big screen with state-of-the-art special effects brought to life, that`s something. And it is escapist entertainment.

BRYANT: Right.

ROSEN: You`re absolutely right, Karyn. It`s exactly what people want to see.

BRYANT: OK, well, now, you`re a fan. Last question real quick. If you could choose another superhero to take the screen, who would it be?

ROSEN: Oh, gee, that`s a real tough question. Another superhero? Maybe the Flash. I always liked the Flash. It was always kind of interesting how they would -- you know, in the panels of the comic book, he would be -- run fast. I`d like to see with CGI how they can get -- or Aquaman. How about that?

BRYANT: Exactly. All right. Well, thanks very much, Neil Rosen.

ROSEN: You`re welcome.

BRYANT: I`d like to see one of the water-based heroes, as well.

ROSEN: There you go.

BRYANT: So now we want to know your thoughts. Our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Superhero movies. This is a big, important question, people! Do you like Superman better than Batman? You can take our poll at, or you can e-mail us at We`ll share some of what you had to say later in the show.

HAMMER: I actually would like to see Bartman (ph) come to the big screen. But that`s just me.

The movie "Batman Begins" is just one of the summer movies that will make this summer of nostalgia at the movie theaters.

BRYANT: And if you can remember your favorite TV witch twitching her nose, or that sassy brunette baring (ph) a bikini on the side of the road, then you are in for a fun summer movie season, full of yesteryear. And on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, got your summer movie preview covered.


(voice-over): This summer, movie studios are taking audiences back. Whether you`re a fan of early comic books or 1970s sitcoms.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh! And me with this basket full of lemonade and chitlin` sandwiches!


BRYANT: ... the new movie season is shaping up to be a summer of fun for everyone. Some of your favorite TV shows and movies from the 1970s are hitting the big screen. And movie studios have tweaked the stories and characters you know in hopes of delivering something fresh to audiences of all ages.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has your summer movie calendar. And helping us out is "Entertainment Weekly" senior writer Steve Daly. He`s got the scoop on this summer`s movie menu. Daly says that movie studios are counting on nostalgic audiences to help fill those seats on opening weekends.

STEVE DAILY, "ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY": Pre-sold, pre-sold, pre-sold, you know? I think Hollywood feels if you don`t have that audience there for the first opening weekend, you are absolutely sunk. So you see a lot of comic book movies, TV adaptations, anything that Hollywood can do to make it a property that you`ve heard about or read about before the movie opens.

BRYANT: Now, unless you`ve been living under a rock, George Lucas is planning on nostalgia to sell tickets to his last installment of the "Star Wars" franchise.

DALY: "Star Wars" is the `50s to people who were kids in the 1970s. Everybody can remember going to see that first movie, that big shot of the starship coming over your head. And you know, their pitch is, It`s the last one, you know, you`ve got to go see it for old time`s sake.

BRYANT: Studios are also hoping audiences will go see some of their favorite TV classics remade with a twist. Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell star in "Bewitched," a slight twitch on the TV version, and Jessica Simpson dons the denim duds made famous by Daisy Duke in "The Dukes of Hazzard." Paramount studios has even included Burt Reynolds in the remake of "The Longest Yard."


BURT REYNOLDS, "THE LONGEST YARD": Looks like you could use some help there.


BRYANT: In a role made famous by Gene Wilder, Johnny Depp reprises the role of Willie Wonka in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

DALY: Tim Burton and Johnny Depp are remaking "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," which was a big Gene Wilder movie, which, of course, was based on a book by Roald Dahl called "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." So they`ve gone back to the original title.

BRYANT: Playing the father role, Tom Cruise stars in the classic "War of the Worlds." It`s a present-day take on the `30s radio classic that panicked America.

DALY: Steven Spielberg, he`s done it as a much more contemporary take about a divorced father played by Tom Cruise, who has two kids, one of whom is Dakota Fanning. It`s really more of a story about this little fractured nuclear family that happens to be set against, you know, giant, devastating ships from the planet Mars.

BRYANT: And if you`re craving a little history behind one of your favorite action heroes, "Batman Begins" may be what you`re looking for.

DALY: "Batman Begins" is a big question. Can you take a movie series that pretty much has been beaten to death and run out of steam and resurrect it? This is about how Bruce Wayne first becomes Batman. It looks really interesting. He`s got this enormous wingspan. I mean, the way they`ve designed the outfit doesn`t look the same as the other movies. He looks more like a pterodactyl than a human being. I mean, he just, you know, comes down in these staircase shots like a giant bird or something.


BRYANT: For the complete list of summer movies coming out, you can pick up this week`s issue of "Entertainment Weekly" at newsstands everywhere.

HAMMER: Well, since purple is a royal color, it is no wonder these ladies are in lavender. They`re the dames of the British empire. Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, coming up live. And you`re looking live at Lassie. Lassie`s back in the Green Room, getting a little make-up. We celebrate a special birthday with her, live, coming up.


HAMMER: It`s time now for "People" magazine`s movies "Picks and Pans," and we`ve got two very different movies to talk about tonight, "The Interpreter" and "A Lot Like Love," which are both in theaters today. And joining us from "People" magazine will be critic Leah Rozen. Nice to see you, Leah.


HAMMER: So Nicole Kidman is back in another action-adventure film, and the first one to ever be shot in the U.N.

ROZEN: That is correct. It`s the first one on location in the U.N. This is a film with Sean Penn, as well. She`s an interpreter at the U.N. She overhears an assassination plot. Is it real? Can they save her in time? It`s an OK film, but in the end, it`s a film that sets out to be about something real -- politics, terrorism -- and in the end, it`s really just a glossy Hollywood thriller.

HAMMER: When I saw the trailer, I thought, I`m seeing a lot of movie here, aren`t I?

ROZEN: Yes, you are. But it`s one of those movies, you see it on Saturday night, you`re perfectly entertained. Sunday morning, you have no memory of it at all.

HAMMER: All right. Sounds like some of my Saturday nights anyway.


HAMMER: But moving right along to something completely different, "A Lot Like Love," Amanda Peet and Ashton Kutcher. They had the big premiere in New York City earlier this week. It`s in theaters today. What`s that about?

ROZEN: Make it stop!


ROZEN: It`s one of those movies you go to, and you just go, Please end this thing, put us all out of our misery. It is a romantic comedy. It takes place over seven years. They meet cute and then spend seven years sort of getting together, breaking up, getting together, breaking up. And you`re just going, We know you`re ending up. Figure it out, you knuckleheads. It`s the kind of movie where they put straws up their nose, and that`s supposed to be humor.

HAMMER: Is it still going to open up at number one?

ROZEN: Gee, I`ll be disappointed if it does, but you know, it may. Ashton Kutcher is very popular. And indeed, 15-year-olds may go to this and like it. It`s the kind of movie, if you`re 15, you might like because you haven`t already seen it 40 times.

HAMMER: All right.

ROZEN: But anyone older is going to be really disappointed.

HAMMER: As always, thanks for the advice, Leah Rozen. And of course, for more "Picks and Pans," you can check out the new issue of "People" magazine, which is on newsstands everywhere.

BRYANT: It is a dog-eat-dog world out there, but after 50 years, one pup is still walking tall. A "SHOWBIZ Showdown" with Lassie, coming up. Get it? Sit down, Lassie. Good girl. Stay.


BRYANT: "Ladies in Lavender." Dame Judi and Dame Maggie, a dame`s drop by. Let`s put the tea kettle on, AJ.

HAMMER: And here we go. Wow, wow, wow. Yippee yo, yippee ya. Lassie is in our house live.

MICHAEL ROTAN (ph) Hi, I`m Michael Rotan and if it happened today, it`s on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

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

BRYANT: And I`m Karyn Bryant. Here are tonight`s hot headlines. The bow tie couldn`t help Bren and he was the latest apprentice shown the door last night. The task was to create a product for the office supply store Staples minimizing office clutter. The winning design was a rotating organizer. The losing design, a storage table with a top that folds open.

HAMMER: What was he thinking? Look, up in the sky. It`s a bird. It`s a plane. Nope. It`s the next Superman. The first photo of the next Superman has just been released. (INAUDIBLE) takes over the role of the man in steel. The Internet already abuzz about this photo.

We`ve been asking you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day, superhero movies. Do you like Superman better than Batman? You can keep voting at or send us an e-mail if you`ve got more to say. is our address. We`re going to share some of your feedback coming up at 55 past the hour.

All right. Here we go. Tonight another show biz sit down. This one`s a little bit different, a little doggy drama now.

BRYANT: It is a sit and stay.

HAMMER: It is a sit and stay down.

BRYANT: That`s right. We`re hanging out with Lassie.

HAMMER: He`ll get a treat tonight.

BRYANT: Yes. (INAUDIBLE) She`s the most famous dog in Hollywood. Lassie is celebrating 50 years in television. That`s 350 dog years, in case you`re counting. TV land is honoring the pooch with an all-day Lassie marathon this Sunday. Lassie is right here along with Tom Hill, creative director from TV land and Nick at Nite to talk to us about the legacy of Lassie. Thanks for joining us.



HAMMER: She`s so beautiful.

BRYANT: To what would you attribute this 50-year love affair with Lassie?

HILL: Well, what`s not to love? She`s gorgeous. She`s, you know, she`s a huge celebrity. I think she came by our (INAUDIBLE) office earlier and everyone was just abuzz. And I think it`s because big celebrity who you know is going to love you back. You know? So everyone has to come meet her.

HAMMER: Now which Lassie is this, because obviously, it`s not the first Lassie.

HILL: This is the ninth descendant of the original Lassie that was in movie with Liz Taylor and Roddy McDowell.

HAMMER: Have they all been descendants all along the way?

HILL: Yes.

HAMMER: I didn`t know that.

BRYANT: I would think there would be a little trick. You have to make sure that the maternal and the paternal are the same. Do you know what I`m saying? Are they the same all the way down or just the same mother? You`re on the spot.

HILL: See, it`s the same -- no, I believe it`s a number of -- well it`s always the father, I think, actually.

BRYANT: So obviously now, you`re saying she`s one of the biggest stars around the world. Does Lassie travel a lot? Does she do a lot of sort of...

HILL: Yes, she does. She has special privileges on the airlines. So she`s never in a crate. She`s a big star, so she doesn`t have to deal with that.

HAMMER: Lassie, do you enjoy all the traveling? Do you enjoy all this traveling around?

HILL: Absolutely. She`s off to Ireland and England to do a new movie this year, so her 11th movie.

BRYANT: Now, when it comes to the marathon, what did you use for the criteria to decide which episodes to show?

HILL: There were 691 TV episodes, so plenty to choose from and basically the day starts with the very first episode back in 1954, when she`s adopted. And then basically tries to cover all the major events through the years. (INAUDIBLE) with Timmy and on into the Ranger Corey environmental years. But my personal favorite happens at 8:30 in the morning. You got to get up for that one where, the transition, it is really emotional.

BRYANT: They`re all emotional.

HILL: But that`s the one where Timmy takes over and it`s a heart wrencher.

HAMMER: Did you do a little math to figure out how many times Lassie rescued Timmy?

HILL: Luckily every time Timmy needed help. That`s what we`ve been able to know.

BRYANT: This is one thing because people joke about it all the time. What, girl? Timmy fell down the well? Did Timmy ever fall down a well?

HILL: Actually in our marathon, we went through it and there`s only one well and, actually, Lassie`s in the well.

BRYANT: Lassie`s in the well.

HILL: All the people she helped over the years get together and find a way to get her back.

HAMMER: Lassie, do you have a good agent? Do you have somebody - good representation? Are you in the union?

BRYANT: What would Lassie`s favorite treat be?

HILL: She`s well cared for. Lassie loves to play. She`s a lot like every dog. But, you know, it`s always the finest things for her, too.

BRYANT: Good girl.

HAMMER: Tom, Lassie, thank you very much for joining us tonight on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Tom Hill is the creative director from TV land and Nick at Nite and you can catch the Lassie marathon all day Sunday on TV land. One more bark, one more?

BRYANT: Come on, girl.

HAMMER: Thank you. From barking to buzz. Superheroes and Seinfeld soup? Yeah, our buzz bench bowls us over.

BRYANT: And a couple of dames stop by. Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. They`ve got a new movie out and it premiered at Robert de Niro`s film festival.


FERGIE, SINGER, BLACK EYED PEAS: Hi. It`s Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas and I`ll tell you something about my pearls. I`m wearing these pearls from (INAUDIBLE) Australia. I love them because they`re always about doing `50s designs. Everything is from vintage or from original 50s material. So there you go.


HAMMER: We have stories to bring you. In the legal lowdown, papers served. "People" magazine reports this afternoon Michael Jackson`s ex-wife Debbie Rowe (ph) has been ordered to testify as early as next week against her superstar ex-husband in his child molestation case. They have two children together, of course. Prince Michael and Paris, who lives with Jackson.

Guilty. That`s what actor Aidan (ph) Quinn pleaded to a charge of drunk driving. Police in Maine pulled him over back in 2003 while he was filming the HBO movie "Empire Falls." They say his blood alcohol level was just over the legal limit and he was driving erratically. He won`t be driving anytime soon. The judge pulled his driver`s license for three months. We`re coming right back with more of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


BRYANT: It is time for the buzz bench where today`s entertainment chatter takes center stage. Tonight, the new impossibly improved Superman. And first, it was "no soup for you! And now Seinfeld`s soup Nazi says, soup for everyone.

HAMMER: And joining us on our Friday night buzz bench tonight we have SHOWBIZ TONIGHT contributor Amy Kean, "Time" magazine`s Belinda Luscombe and comedian and television and radio personality Chuck Nice. On to topic number one. So today we got our very first look at the new Superman, Brandon Ralph (ph) in his full Superman gear. Of course, "Superman Returns" will be returning to theaters 2006, making his first appearance. Chuck, why don`t you field this one?

CHUCK NICE, COMEDIAN AND TV PERSONALITY: All I know is this. They`re saying that they`re not going to give him muscles. I`m a little disturbed by that. I don`t want puny man showing up to save me. Really, who wants -- come on, you`re going to do my taxes or what?


BRYANT: They`re not adding muscles to the suit.

NICE: OK. I`m just jealous. All right?

KEAN: What I don`t get is the really low cut Michael Phelps briefs? What is up with that?

NICE: When you look at that picture we know what`s super, that`s for sure.

KEAN: Especially the pin curl? I also like his traditional old fashioned haircut and I think his body looks amazing.

BRYANT: You`re blushing.

KEAN: I thought he`s really cute. I looked him up and I thought, he`s almost a completely an unknown as we were talking about before we came out. And I think it`s really great that they`re picking this guy totally out of nowhere. And I think he`s really cute. He`s young. He looks strong. I can`t stand when people have fake padding. It is just so phony and ridiculous. I think this is going to be really good.

BELINDA LUSCOMBE, "TIME" MAGAZINE: She`s more a superman girl than a batman girl. You can tell.

KEAN: Those red boots, please.

HAMMER: You`re always very fashionable.

NICE: It`s the fashion.

HAMMER: What do you think about some of the changes they`ve made to the uniform. As you can see, some things are three dimensional. They got the "S" on the belt now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They had to do something. It couldn`t be exactly the same.

BRYANT: But it`s new and it`s throwback at the same time.

LUSCOMBE: There`s nothing dark or ironic about that costume and especially the pin curl. It`s very straight up and down. Those boots are - - ee!


NICE: Maybe we should call him ironic man.

BRYANT: Yes, they did deepen the colors and it`s not that real cartoony red and yellow and everything. So it`s a little...

LUSCOMBE: More serious.

KEAN: Very few guys could look as good in that costume.

NICE: Very few guys can away underwear in public, too.

BRYANT: On the outside. OK, well, let`s move on. You mentioned that the soup Nazi, from the SEINFELD episode. Everybody knows this guy, the soup Nazi. Well, he is actually a real live person that was based on, has a chain of soup stores here in New York. He`s going to be selling heat and serve soups available in the grocery stores now. So how do you feel about this?

KEAN: I can`t believe this guy waited this long. He`s such an idiot. Why didn`t he do this when people were talking about the soup Nazi?

BRYANT: Has the soup Nazi gone away?

HAMMER: Didn`t Elaine get all the recipes anyway?

NICE: Exactly.

BRYANT: She did. She did.

NICE: I just want to know, how do you market a product where the slogan is "no soup for you?" I went to the grocer, I asked for it, he told me no.

HAMMER: Maybe he`ll just change it to "soup for you."

NICE: It sounds like a SEINFELD bit actually. I went to the store. I asked for the soup. What`s the deal with the soup Nazi?

LUSCOMBE: It is supposed to be a franchise where you can go to the store and get treated badly. What`s the point of that? Come here and you`ll feel like you`re really in New York City. Come here and we`ll insult you.

HAMMER: A lot of people here in New York City enjoy that. I got to tell you.

BRYANT: Well, that does it for the buzz bench. Amy, Belinda and Chuck, thanks for joining us here on a Friday night.

HAMMER: Have a good weekend.

BRYANT: That`s right. Now Judi Dench and Maggie Smith are in a new movie together but do you know about their Harry Potter and James Bond connection? Dames Judi and Maggie, live coming up.

HAMMER: And the jib jab folks pass over politics for something else. That`s coming up in laughter dark. Can you guess?

BRYANT: And now, the very latest "Entertainment Weekly" must list just out today. Five things that "EW" says you must do in the coming week. They say you must check out the new reissues of the Cure`s early material. "EW" says you ought to first buy "Faith." They say it`ll put a smile on even the moodiest person`s face. Another must, the Bob Newhart show on DVD. In book stores "Mrs. Ballard`s" parrots by Arnie Swenson (ph). Parrots are dressed up in corny clothing.

HAMMER: You got to have it.

BRYANT: Another must suggestion, "Dig." This is a music documentary now out on DVD and it looks at the questions of fame and artistic integrity. And on TV DEADWOOD on HBO. My friend Garrett is in this show. He`s fantastic. "EW" says it is still not too late to catch up to David Milch`s (ph) profound western.

There is much more on the must list. You`ll find it in the new "Entertainment Weekly" on news stands now.


HAMMER: Well, tonight in yet another show biz sit down, Dame Maggie Smith and James Judi Dench, two actresses who are legends in their own time. A whole new generation has also become fans. Dame Maggie Smith of course for her role in the Harry Potter series and Dame Judi Dench for hers in the James Bond franchise. They are starring together in a beautiful really terrific new movie called "Ladies in Lavender." It is being showcased at this year`s Tribeca film festival, as a matter of fact tomorrow in New York City. Joining us live here in the headline prime studios in New York City, Dames Maggie Smith, Judi Dench. Is that what I call you, do I call you dame Maggie? I don`t want to mess this up here. I`m already flustered by the fact that you`re here.

MAGGIE SMITH: Drop the dame.

HAMMER: Maggie and Judi?

JUDI DENCH: Absolutely.

HAMMER: And if I seem to be gushing, I apologize. I normally don`t do that but I`m just thrilled that you guys are joining us. I understand you enjoyed hanging out with Lassie back in the green room. (INAUDIBLE)

DENCH: But it`s the family.

HAMMER: And are you enjoying the fact, do you enjoy the fact that Lassie gets to fly first class and gets all this --

SMITH: It`s outrageous.

HAMMER: Are you guys being accorded the respect that you deserve as you walk through the streets of New York?

SMITH: Not so much as Lassie is clearly.

HAMMER: Are the New York City rats steering clear of you guys?

SMITH: The rats?

HAMMER: Because they should. We have rats here in New York City, not here in the studio.

DENCH: We haven`t had time to encounter the rats.

SMITH: We haven`t been anywhere. They let us out to come here.

HAMMER: The reason you`re here of course "Ladies in Lavender" will be screening tomorrow at the Tribeca film festival. You guys have to be absolutely proud of this movie. It`s as I mentioned, beautiful, terrific, the story of you two playing sisters who - it`s in the 1930s. And a young man just washes up on a beach. You guys come to his rescue and the drama and hilarity ensues. It is really quite touching. Before we talk about it, we`re going to take a look at this clip. Check it out.

You guys were perfectly cast as sisters in this movie. I know you`ve been on stage and screen before together and you`ve been friends for a long time. How long have you been friends?

DENCH: 50 years. We were just children when we met.

HAMMER: You guys pretty much the time you each got into acting. It was in the 1950s, early 1950s or so.


HAMMER: And is this first time you`re playing sisters?

SMITH: Yes. This is the first time.

HAMMER: It was absolutely ideal. And you`re only 19 days apart in actual age. Your birthdays are both in December.

SMITH: Yes. But she`s Sagittarius and I`m Capricorn.

HAMMER: Just a little bit older.

SMITH: I didn`t say that.

HAMMER: Just a couple of days. Such a sweet movie. And what it really showed -- from where I sit, longing and desire can happen at any age to anybody.

DENCH: Absolutely. Yes.

HAMMER: What did you take away from it?

DENCH: Yes, I think that that`s true. And especially with these two led quite curious lives in the `30s, when all those young men had been killed in the first world war. And they`re very, very much -- you know, they`re isolated in this place. And not much has ever happened to them.

HAMMER: Well, you two have always had the great luxury, I believe, you certainly have chosen terrific art house or films that are more about the craft than they are about big blockbuster numbers at the box office. However, you have done some huge blockbusters as well. You`re both involved with two huge franchises which I got to ask you about for a second. Of course we all know Maggie Smith from "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer`s Stone" and you`re getting set for the next one?

SMITH: We`ve just finished one. I`m trying to remember what it`s called.

HAMMER: "The Goblet of Fire."

SMITH: Yes, I get them all confused. "The Goblet of Fire," we finished that one. I don`t know what the -- what`s the next one?

HAMMER: After that, we`ll all have to wait and see. And, of course, Judi as M, we`ve been M now in four of the James Bond films. And there`s all this buzz about the James Bond franchise, because it`s going to be changing hands in terms of who owns the rights and who is going to be the next bond? First of all, have you signed on for the next film?

DENCH: I haven`t signed it, but I`ve been asked about it, which is very nice indeed.

HAMMER: And there are a lot of names being tossed around as to who James would be? Do you have any ideas? Can you clue us in a little bit?

DENCH: I have no idea. They haven`t told me yet. So I actually don`t know.

HAMMER: Do you know actor Daniel Craig is one of the names that`s been tossed around?

DENCH: I do know him.

HAMMER: You think he`d do a good job for that?

DENCH: Do I what?

HAMMER: Do you think he`d be good for the role.

DENCH: Well, actually there are lots that have been named. (INAUDIBLE) has been up for it.

HAMMER: We`ll have to ask you more during the commercial break and another time. But Dames Maggie Smith and Judi Dench, it`s a pleasure having you here. Thanks for joining us. And of course, good luck with "Ladies in Lavender" screening tomorrow at the Tribeca film festival.

SMITH: Thank you.

DENCH: Thank you very much.

HAMMER: My pleasure.

BRYANT: Well, they are usually taking jabs at Washington, but you can see what the jib jab crew is getting a rise out of not this time. That`s coming up in laughter dark. There`s still time for you to sound off in our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. It`s the most important one of the week. Super hero movies, do you like Superman better than Batman?


HAMMER: It is time for more show biz shorts. Passover starts tomorrow and one of the questions asked during this holiday, why is this night different than all other nights? We think we may have found the answer.

Yes, Twisted Sister`s Dee Snyder and Scott Ian of Anthrax, along with some other metal music friends held their own Seder. That`s of course the traditional Jewish gathering and meal where the story of the exodus from Egypt is told. Matzo and metal, a very classic Passover, will air on Sunday on VH1 classic.

BRYANT: That`s fantastic. Just in time for Pesach or Passover, right on the (INAUDIBLE) Jay Leno debuted the latest Internet cartoon from the jib jab brothers. They are known for political satire.

HAMMER: This time they got into the holiday spirit. As we do every night, it is time to get your laugh on in laughter dark.


JAY LENO: 50 million hits. Tonight we have the world premier of the latest jib jab cartoon. It`s a rap song about Passover, called Matzah.


BRYANT: You have got to love jib jab. Well, tonight Jay welcomes "A Lot Like Love" star Amanda Peet.

HAMMER: We`ve been asking you to vote online on the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Super hero movies, here we go, do you like Superman better than Batman? How did the vote go? 44 percent of you said you do like Superman better than Batman which means 56 percent of you said no. You prefer Batman to Superman? Did I get that right?


HAMMER: You`ve also been sending us some e-mails including one from Thom in San Antonio who wrote "why did you do this question?" Superman is too perfect, aside from the kryptonite, he has no flaws. Batman is a far more intriguing character. Please continue to vote at

BRYANT: It is time to see what`s playing on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Monday.

HAMMER: Rolling us into the weekend, it`s the marquee guy. Take it away.

ANNOUNCER: Rock and royalty comes together for a great cause. It will be fashion and big stars. Brooke Shields, LL Cool J and a personal fantasy, Earth Wind and Fire, Monday on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT goes to the dogs again. Tonight we had Lassie, loved him. Monday (INAUDIBLE) fashion for Fido with Melissa Rivers and Virginia Madsen. These pampered pooches will need doggy bags Monday on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. This is the marquee guy saying, who let the dogs out? I`m sorry. Somebody had to say it.

HAMMER: Lassie`s a her, by the way.

BRYANT: Lassie is a she.


BRYANT: Nancy Grace is up next after the latest from headline news.


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