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Showbiz Tonight for August 8, 2005, CNNHN

Aired August 8, 2005 - 19:00:00   ET


A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: I`m A.J. Hammer.
KARYN BRYANT, CO-HOST: And I`m Karyn Bryant. TV`s only live entertainment news show starts right now.


HAMMER (voice-over): On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, Peter Jennings. Millions of us watched; tonight we remember. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT mourns the loss of the legendary news anchor with a look back at Peter Jennings` 40-year career and memories of Jennings from friends...

BOB SCHIEFFER, ANCHOR, CBS NEWS: He was one of the greats.

HAMMER: ... colleagues...

BARBARA WALTERS, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: He pushed us. He made us better.

HAMMER: ... and even the president of the United States.


BRYANT: Also, the revolution in the news business. How you get your news, where you get it, how the networks and cable are trying everything and anything to keep you glued. But the Internet is changing everything. It`s a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT special series, "The New News."


BRYANT: Hello I`m Karyn Bryant.

HAMMER: And I`m A.J. Hammer.

A voice trusted by generations has been silenced.

BRYANT: And tonight, Peter Jennings is being mourned by his family, his friends, colleagues, and the tens of millions of people who relied on him to help make sense of the world for some 40 years.

HAMMER: That`s right. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s David Haffenreffer here with us live to begin our comprehensive coverage of Jennings` death -- David.

DAVID HAFFENREFFER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Karyn and A.J., Peter Jennings died of lung cancer at his home in New York City last night. He was just 67 years old. He`d anchored ABC`s "World News Tonight with Peter Jennings" from 1983 until this past April. And just a few moments ago, that newscast that bore his name for so long, dedicated tonight`s show to him.


CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: Peter Jennings once began this broadcast, his broadcast, by saying we have seen the news and it is us. Tonight the news is Peter. Would that it were not.


HAFFENREFFER: Of course, Peter Jennings` death impacted much more than his evening newscast; it impacted his colleagues and the nation he spent so many years informing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s an empty chair at "World News Tonight." It was Peter`s chair. And this was the way he saw the world.

HAFFENREFFER (voice-over): An empty chair and heavy hearts this morning at ABC`s "Good Morning America," where Peter Jennings` colleagues choked back tears, saying a sad good-bye to their network anchor and their friend.

DIANE SAWYER, CO-HOST, "GOOD MORNING AMERICA": Bear with us this morning. This a little rough for us here.

HAFFENREFFER: From numerous tributes around the airwaves today...

SOLEDAD O`BRIEN, CO-HOST, "AMERICAN MORNING": Peter Jennings is dead at the age of 67.

HAFFENREFFER: ... to this makeshift memorial at a New York City bus stop ad, tributes to Peter Jennings were inescapable, and once again his long term impact on television was made undeniable.

(on camera) This was shocking news.

SCHIEFFER: Yes, it was.

HAFFENREFFER (voice-over): This morning I talked to "CBS Evening News" anchor Bob Schieffer about the man who anchored the rival evening newscast at ABC.

(on camera) What kind of news man was Peter Jennings? What kind of legacy does he leave behind?

SCHIEFFER: Well, he was one ever the greats. When he`s your competition you better be on your toes or you`ll get scooped.

HAFFENREFFER (voice-over): From the time Peter Jennings hit the scene as a fresh faced 20-something reporter in the 1960s...

JENNINGS: This is my first story outside Saigon.

HAFFENREFFER: ... to his final appearance on the air this past April...

JENNINGS: I have learned in the last couple of days that I have lung cancer.

HAFFENREFFER: ... Peter Jennings was the face of ABC News, and he earned the devotion of millions of viewers with his worldly knowledge, his movie star good looks and his authoritative presence that was so soothing in a crisis.

JENNINGS: The landscape of New York City has changed once again. And in this instance it`s not New York City, it`s not New Yorkers` city. It`s everybody in the country`s city at this moment.

HAFFENREFFER: But it was Jennings` extensive journalism experience and the decades he spent reporting from around the world that earned him the respect of his colleagues at ABC...

WALTERS: I never saw anyone work so hard, do so much home work. If I new the name of a person of the parade, he new the name of the horse.

HAFFENREFFER: ... and his competitors at other networks.

DAN RATHER, FORMER CBS NEWS ANCHOR: Inside that tall, handsome eloquent and elegant exterior, inside that beat the heart of a fierce but principled competitor.

HAFFENREFFER: Former "CBS Evening News" anchor, Dan Rather, and former "NBC Nightly News" anchor Tom Brokaw, professional rivals, appeared together on "Good Morning America" today to remember Jennings.

For 20 years, they were the big three giants of the broadcast network news era, and to a grieving Tom Brokaw, Jennings was a giant among giants who fell to a particularly cruel disease.

TOM BROKAW, FORMER "NBC NIGHTLY NEWS" ANCHOR: I think what made his death particularly difficult for me and poignant is that Peter, of the three of us, was our prince. He seemed so timeless. He had such great elan and style. And to go through this very difficult seem seemed particularly cruel to me.

But I know Peter would want us to say this happens to families in America every day, and we can`t forget them either.

HAFFENREFFER: It was that kind of compassion that, amid all the talk of his journalism skills, people are always remembering about Jennings.

SCHIEFFER: If you were sick, Peter would call you. You know, if you got a nice award or something, you`d hear from Peter Jennings. And that`s -- I think that`s probably the part that people didn`t see.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST, "RELIABLE SOURCES": Emotionally, not only did Peter Jennings touch so many viewers in so many times with stories over decades, but was truly a beloved figure at ABC News. He could be a tough task master, but people just have the deeper affection for him. And I know personally, grappling with his loss.


HAFFENREFFER: And there is so much for to talk about regarding Peter Jennings and his brilliant career. In just a few moments CNN`s Tom Foreman will take a look back at Jennings` life and the tremendous impact he had -- A.J.

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

Well, the impact Jennings had on journalism was so profound, truly hard to measure. So joining us live in New York to give us some perspective, Ron Simon. He`s the curator of the Museum of Television and Radio, and live in Miami, a friend and former colleague of Peter Jennings, ABC News` Miami correspondent, covering Florida and Latin America, Jeffrey Kofman.

Jeffrey, I want to start with you. Peter had an impact on anybody who worked for ABC News from the moment they entered the door, didn`t he?

JEFFREY KOFMAN, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. You start at ABC, you meet Peter Jennings. And I met had Peter a number of times and got to know him before I started at ABC.

But getting in the door was only the beginning. With Peter you had to earn his trust, and it was a process that at times could be grueling, could at times really force you to question your own skills. He was really demanding. But the thing about Peter was, you knew that what he asked of you, he asked of himself and he himself had been through.

HAMMER: And there was a bit of a hazing process, wasn`t there?

KOFMAN: Oh, absolutely. And you know, it never really ended. You could be on the phone from Baghdad or from Port-au-Prince in Haiti in the most harrowing circumstance, talking to the desk editor an hour or two before airtime, and suddenly, you`d hear this voice, "Jeffrey, what is this line trying to say?" And it would just stop you dead in your tracks.

"Hi, Peter, well, what I`m trying to say is this."

He said, "Well, then, say it that way." And you know, he was right. He was all about clarity, making sure people could understand complex stories. And you never stopped learning from Peter. And it`s something that all of us who worked with him, who were touched by him, really never ceased to admire.

HAMMER: Ron, I know, over at the Museum of Television and Radio, all day long, you`ve been fielding calls, people interested in knowing more about him. So you`ve had a little moment to sort of wrap your head around the legacy of Peter Jennings. You could share some of what you`ve been telling us today, as well as the profound impact that he has had on television news.

RON SIMON, MUSEUM OF TELEVISION AND RADIO: Well, first, he was a exceptional journalist. He knew the world as well as anyone. So he brought the world to us, told us what we should think about.

The thing about Peter Jennings, he was born to be a broadcaster. He had his first radio show at 9 years old. And he was too busy to go to school, so he learned about the world through the world of broadcasting. So he was just a natural.

He lived almost an Earnest Hemingway type of life. He was not only a network anchor but he was a renowned foreign correspondent. He was everywhere, in Beirut, in London, Vietnam. He knew the world as well as anyone.

HAMMER: Jeffrey, a lot of people don`t realize, when they see somebody sitting in an anchor chair, they think, "Oh, he`s just out there reading the news." Of course, Peter also the managing editor of his program, and he put his stamp on every single minute that was in that broadcast every night, didn`t he?

KOFMAN: Absolutely. It was almost unthinkable that a story would go to air on "World News Tonight" without Peter having seen the script, having talked to the desk editors, and as I was saying earlier, often talked to the correspondent in the field.

And Peter, his depth, his experience, his wisdom, could always add something. And sometimes, let`s be honest, it was exasperating. And he knew it, and had a sense of humor about it. But he would say, "Jeffrey, just work with me here." And he did this to everyone. And we all would laugh about it with him.

And it`s part of the culture at ABC: Peter`s wisdom, Peter`s strength, Peter`s demanding nature. But it was always, always about making the news stronger, clearer, more accessible.

HAMMER: We appreciate you chiming from Miami tonight to share some of your memories with us. Jeffrey Kofman, Ron Simon from the Museum of Television and Radio, thank you very much for being with us here tonight.

BRYANT: All day today the tributes to Jennings poured in from Main Street all the way to the White House and to the president of the United States. Earlier today, before boarding Air Force One, President Bush stopped for a moment and reflected on the passing of the ABC News anchor.


BUSH: He covered many important events, events that helped define the world as we know about it today. A lot of Americans relied upon Peter Jennings for their news. He became a part of the life of a lot of our fellow citizens, and he`ll be missed. May God bless his soul.


BRYANT: Now we want to hear from you. We`d like you share your thoughts with us and memories of Peter Jennings. E-mail us as We`ll read some of what you had to say a little later on in the show.

HAMMER: Well, the way you get your news is changing the future of news. It`s a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT special series, "The New News," still to come.

BRYANT: And tonight, two Michael Jackson jurors now say they regret their decision. The "Legal Lowdown" on what that means, that`s coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.



JENNINGS: Someone actually reached up and handed me a small piece of the wall that they had chipped away. It`s those small moments that make up this extraordinary day.

Well, a scene that has been repeated hundreds, and as far as we know, thousands of times.

WALTERS: He pushed himself; he pushed us; he made us better. He wrote like a dream. You would think that he was reading a script, and it was all ad lib. He was an anchor, in every true sense of the word.


HAMMER: Tonight, Barbara Walters among the many who are remembering Peter Jennings. Well, for the millions of people who watched him every night and through the years, Jennings` death really hit an emotional chord. So today, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT took to the streets to hear from those who let Jennings into their living rooms each and every night.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I always remember him the most out of the three of them. And there was something about him. He had a really nice quality to him. He was really -- he came across as very genuine and very sweet, in a way, which is strange. I don`t know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were walking past a news stand and just saw his picture there, and we both were shocked, that it happened so quickly, because we had heard that he had been ill. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was a good guy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I used to watch Peter Jennings every night, and I missed him a lot, but now I know that I`m never going to see him again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was very saddened by his passing. He was a great journalist and a lovely person. And he`ll be missed in the world of journalism.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First time I saw Peter Jennings was on the Bob Costas show, and I was blown away by how smart Bob Costas was, but I was even more blown away by Jennings had an answer for every single thing he said.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was very sad. I would watch Peter every evening. Wonderful guy, a warm guy that made everybody feel part of his family. Very sad. I have some friends from Toronto that knew him personally, so it`s extra sad.


BRYANT: Peter Jennings career responded more than 40 years. He reported from all corners of the world. And in the "World News Tonight" anchor chair, guided Americans through the changing times.

Here is CNN`s Tom Foreman for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Peter Jennings was born in Toronto, died in New York and lived for the world`s news.

ANNOUNCER: This is World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.

JENNINGS: Good evening everyone. We`re going to begin tonight with Saddam Hussein.

FOREMAN: For 32 years he was ABC`s chief anchor.

JENNINGS: I`ve had -- I`ve been in a lot of countries. I`ve covered a lot of great stories. I`ve been there for some of the great moments of the last 30 years. And I`m really lucky.

FOREMAN: Jennings was born to broadcasting. His father Charles was an anchorman in Canada. At 9, Peter hosted a kid`s show. In his teens, he took a radio job. And at 26, without ever completing high school, he joined ABC News.

JENNINGS: This is my first story outside Saigon. And I found out in a hurry. This is Peter Jennings, ABC News.

FOREMAN: An early stint as anchor pitted him against the legendary Walter Cronkite on CBS and the Huntley-Brinkley team on NBC. Jennings was too young, too inexperienced, too Canadian. He lost the position.

JENNINGS: Most Egyptians` thoughts are not on war; they`re on inflation.

FOREMAN: So he began building his reporter`s resume, the Middle East. On the civil rights trail in the south.

JENNINGS: Started with a single man, and it ended with a crowd.

FOREMAN: In the farm fields of Cuba.

JENNINGS: Never in the history of a revolution has sugar cane been as important as this year.

FOREMAN: At the Olympic village in Munich.

JENNINGS: Some negotiators who went in just a few minutes ago have now come back out and are standing in a group.

FOREMAN: And when he rose to become ABC`s chief anchor again after Tom Brokaw turned the job down, he was ready.

JENNINGS: Ginzberg is charged with anti-Soviet behavior. Sharansky is charged much more seriously with treason.

FOREMAN: A demanding, often unpredictable boss, he was equally capable of relentlessly driving his staff or showing great compassion.

JENNINGS: How are you feeling these days?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I feel much better than I did.

FOREMAN: He always delighted in reporting, whether describing a makeshift lamp in Sarajevo...

JENNINGS: They fill it up to almost to the very top with water and then put a thin film of oil on the top.

FOREMAN: ... or matching wits with world leaders.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I will go to my grave being at peace with that. And I really don`t care what they think.

FOREMAN: Oh, yes you do.

CLINTON: They have -- no I don`t...

FOREMAN: Oh, excuse me, Mr. President, you -- I can feel it across the room, you feel it very deeply.

CLINTON: No, I don`t. You don`t want to go here, Peter. You don`t want to go there.

FOREMAN: But Peter Jennings was at his best when news was breaking.

JENNINGS: Because this was an attack on these -- on the United States, no question about it. Everybody said it all day, a declaration of war, an act of war against the United States.

FOREMAN: He loved hockey, history, culture, politics.

JENNINGS: I think when you come home and -- and participate in the democratic process, even vicariously as journalists do, I thinks it`s extraordinarily moving.

FOREMAN: And he loved trying to understand what drives Americans to work, to play, to dream, to pray.

JENNINGS: I`ve been in search of America ever since I came to America, 30 some odd years ago. All journalists are.

FOREMAN: He wrote books, married four times, had children and became an American citizen himself, finally, two years ago.

Peter Jennings promised to keep working throughout his illness, and he did, right up to the end of his own story.

JENNINGS: Have a good evening. I`m Peter Jennings. Thanks and good night.


BRYANT: That was CNN`s Tom Foreman for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. No word yet on funeral arrangements.

HAMMER: Well, we invite you to share some of your memories of Peter Jennings. You can e-mail us at if you have something you`d like to share with us. And we`re going to read some of your letters later on in the show.

More than ever, the news is the news. It`s a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT look at the future of the news business. Our series, "The New News," still to come.

BRYANT: And it`s supposedly the dirtiest joke of all time. It was told by George Carlin, Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg and more. Tonight they, Penn Gillette, and actor Bob Saget come clean and tell it to us. That`s next.


HAMMER: It`s been a difficult day in TV and TV news. So a little levity might be in order.

Tonight`s Hollywood`s dirty little secret. "The Aristocrats" is a new movie about the dirtiest joke ever told. It features over 100 of America`s best known comedians telling their own version of it.

Joining us live tonight in Las Vegas, the film`s executive producer, my good friend, Penn Gillette, of the famous magic illusion duo, Penn and Teller. Live here in New York, comedian Bob Saget who many are saying tells the dirtiest version of "The Aristocrats" in the entire film. So, Bob, what is going...


HAMMER: What is going on with you, though? You know, I watched "Entourage" a couple of weeks ago...


HAMMER: ... and I see this -- this sort of crass Bob Saget, not the clean, "Full House," "America`s Funniest Home Videos" Bob Saget. And now in this movie, again, you`re said to be saying it the dirtiest of all.


HAMMER: A little image makeover here?

SAGET: I didn`t do it purposely. I`ve been doing standup a long time. And those are my roots. And Penn knew that those were my roots and Paul Provenza, the other director.

And that`s -- first thing, it is odd to be following the loss of a great man. This is the hardest segment. But humor is necessary.

HAMMER: It is.

SAGET: And this man, Penn, and Paul made a movie which is meant to be a comic relief kind of project.

HAMMER: And Penn, you said his version of the joke is the dirtiest? But before I get your take on that, can you just give us the synopsis for people who don`t know what this joke is about? The version we can tell, in a few seconds?

GILLETTE: Well, this is the joke I can tell you. A guy walks into a talent agent and says, "I got a great act for you." Then it gets dirty for a really long time.

And then it`s, "What would you call an act like that?"

"The Aristocrats."

And I`m not sure that Bob Saget tells the absolute dirtiest, but he certainly is in the running. He`s always been like that. There`s no change for him. Saget has always been the dirtiest comic who ever lived. Now he`s just coming out about it.

HAMMER: He is coming out, exactly. So Penn, you have said not a movie for everyone. Bob, I want to get your take on that. What about your family? What members of your family are going to get to see this? That might give us some perspective.

SAGET: I`m going to take my dad. He`s 87. He loves things like "Teen America" and "The South Park Movie." My mother, I don`t want her to see it. I love my mom, but it just -- for her, I don`t think.

My oldest daughter saw it on Saturday last week in Santa Monica with her -- she`s 18, with a lot of friends and thought it was hilarious, said the crowd, she never heard an audience rumble that loud with laughs. My other two children are too young. They will not see it, ever.

GILLETTE: My daughter -- my daughter is 9 weeks old, and I`ve taken her two or three times. She loved it.

HAMMER: That doesn`t surprise anybody.

This has been an inside joke in Hollywood for a long time. Why now? Why did you decide to do this movie?

GILLETTE: I think that -- I think that it`s been, you know, it`s more of a Vaudeville joke, with there`s a certain amount of nostalgia now. When Eminem was at the top of the charts and 50 Cent, things have opened up enough that comics who have always kind of kept this to themselves can kind of -- can kind of open up a little bit and share it with the rest of the country, the rest of the world.

HAMMER: And Bob, this was something you just had to be a part of?

SAGET: Well, I think we`re at a time right now where we`re not trying to lower the bar for standards. But we`re trying to lower -- raise the bar for freedom of speech and for being able to get out what used to be behind the school yard and you were just a kid with your friends.

I`m sure when you were 15 you would tell disgusting jokes with your buddy friends. Not something that -- I didn`t mean to put you on the spot there, but not something a lot of people might have a taste for. People are offended. As Penn often says, they shouldn`t go see this movie if they know that this is a movie that -- it`s unrated but it might be NC-17 or a hard, hard R. You don`t go see this. And that`s like saying, "Don`t go into the attic."

HAMMER: And I have to imagine Penn didn`t do this for the money.

GILLETTE: Oh, no. The fact that anyone is seeing this is a miracle. Provenza and I -- Provenza is the director, Paul Provenza, we were just having this discussion about how wonderful this joke was, and how there was nothing more American than dirty jokes. You got freedom of speech and you`ve got comedy together.

And we just went around filming our friends. I mean, there`s nobody in this movie that we don`t know personally. We went around doing this. And it turned out that Provenza spent more time on it than I expected and actually ended up making a good movie.

But that was totally Provenza. That was not my plan. I did not intend to make a good movie. That was an accident.

HAMMER: Just kind of worked out that way. Well, good to see you, Penn. Appreciate you joining us from Vegas. Bob Saget, nice to see you, as well.

SAGET: Wonderful. Thank you.

HAMMER: "The Aristocrats," opening nationwide in theaters on Friday. Look out.

BRYANT: Will Eddie Murphy`s divorce get nasty? And did a "Baywatch" beauty breach? That`s coming up in the "Legal Lowdown."

HAMMER: Plus, "The New News." It`s SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s special series on the future of how you get your news. We`re doing that next.

BRYANT: And Carly Simon is coming around again with a new CD. Should you buy it? Find out. That`s coming up in the "SHOWBIZ Guide" to new music.


THOMAS ROBERTS, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT continues in one minute. Hi, everybody, I`m Thomas Roberts with your "Headline Prime Newsbreak."

It is legislation that`s been four years in the making. But President Bush says the new energy bill he signed into law today is just the first step toward more affordable sources of energy. He says it`s going to take years to solve the nation`s energy challenges. Incidentally, oil prices closed at an all-time high today.

The crew of the space shuttle Discovery should be back home by now, but cloudy skies in Florida delayed their landing keeping them in space for a little while longer. NASA will try again tomorrow morning. The agency is also considering alternate landing sites in California and New Mexico.

Two jurors from the Michael Jackson trial say they regret their decision to acquit the singer of child molestation charges. They`re both working on separate books about their experience and teaming up to do a TV movie.

That is the news for now. Thanks for joining us. I`m Thomas Roberts. We take you back for more of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

BRYANT: Welcome back to the second half-hour of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, TV`s only live entertainment news show. I`m Karyn Bryant.

HAMMER: And I`m A.J. Hammer. Lots to cover in this half-hour of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Eddie Murphy, we don`t see him in the news an awful lot, but he`s making news today, going for a divorce. And a lot to talk about there. We`ll get the details from "Celebrity Justice`s" Harvey Levin. There`s money, kids.

BRYANT: That`s right. And we`re also going to be talking about news and how much it`s changed. It`s not as though people tune into the big three anymore. There`s cable, there`s Internet, there`s everything. So we`re going to dig in deep, A.J., and talk about it and talk about the future of it.

HAMMER: That`s on the way in our special series.

But first, we`re going to get tonight`s "Hot Headlines." And for that, we`re joined once again by SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s David Haffenreffer -- David?

HAFFENREFFER: Thanks, A.J. and Karyn. Here are tonight`s "Hot Headlines."

A photographer who was staking out a house in Malibu, California, trying to get a picture of Britney Spears ended up getting shot in the leg by a b.b. gun and was taken to the hospital. Police say they don`t know who fired the b.b. gun. Spears` bodyguards say they had nothing to do with it, and it`s unclear whether Britney was even at the house at the time.

Paula Abdul has stepped away from a new reality show called "So You Think You Can Dance." Abdul was going to show up as a guest choreographer. But today we learned that she has decided not to because she`ll simply be too busy with "American Idol."

It`s official. Rosie O`Donnell is coming back to Broadway. Today, producers of "Fiddler on the Roof" confirm that O`Donnell will join the cast September 20th playing the wife of Harvey Fierstein`s character. O`Donnell has performed on Broadway in "Grease" and "Suessical."

And you`ll have two more chances to see what it`s like "Being Bobby Brown." Today, Bravo announced that it has added two extra episodes to the schedule. The season finale airs August 25h.

And we got word late today that the publisher of "Ebony" and "Jet" magazines has died. John Johnson was 87 years old. As of now, there is no word on the cause of death.

Karyn, back to you.

BRYANT: All right. Thank you very much, David Haffenreffer.

Well, once upon a time, Americans would get their news by reading a newspaper or by watching television. But the news business is now going through an historic shift. And all this week, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is bringing you a special series, "The New News." We are going to focus on the revolution in the news industry and how it is evolving to stay relevant.

As America mourns the death of ABC anchor Peter Jennings, his passing also means that two of the three big news show are now without a permanent anger. Now more than ever, people are logging on to their favorite news sites to watch streaming feeds and blogging is the newest player in the evolution of the news biz.

Blogs, of course, are online journals written by average Americans. And they`re often beating the news media to the punch and breaking stories first.

Well, joining us live from Pittsburgh to discuss the state of the news is Jeff Alan, news director from WPGH in Pittsburgh. He`s also author of "Anchoring America."

Also joining us, live here in New York, Bart Feder, president and CEO of the Feed Room. It is a broadband video company that powers the online video for major media companies.

And live from Washington, D.C., Brian Stelter, editor for And this is a blog site about TV news.

Gentlemen, thank you, the three of you, for joining us. Now, I want to start off, Jeff, with Peter Jennings` passing. As I mentioned, two out of the three networks now have rotating anchors. They don`t have somebody permanent. Do we need a permanent anchor anymore?

JEFF ALAN, AUTHOR, "ANCHORING AMERICA": Well, to tell you the truth, Karyn, the answer is no, we don`t. And it`s sad, rewind. Let`s start your series by rewinding all the back to the early `80s -- 1982, to be exact -- when Peter, Dan and Tom took over these anchor chairs.

There weren`t remote controls sold with television sets. CNN was in its infancy. It was only less than a year old at that time. And the Internet really didn`t exist, for all practical intents and purposes.

So people had to make an appointment to be home by 5:30, 6:30, depending on the city you were in, to get their international and national news. Thus, Peter, Dan and Tom garnered tens of millions of viewers every single night.

Well, look what`s happened since then. Here you are, here`s CNN. CNN has formidable competition at other cable channels. People are getting their news from everything from the Internet to "The Daily Show." So this has changed.

I mean, the whole landscape of television news has changed. So people know now they can get their national and international news on demand, 24/7. So the question of, do they need another Peter Jennings? The answer`s probably no, but the networks do want to continue with a show of record.

BRYANT: Well, now, Brian, I know you disagree, because, in an event such as 9/11, there is something about tuning into one guy and getting the story from one guy. And it`s an anchor. It`s a man with gravitas, you know?

BRIAN STELTER, TVNEWSER.COM: They don`t call it an anchor for nothing. He is an anchor. He`s a guide for the viewers.

And for me, the day I fell in love with Peter Jennings was the millennium, 2000. He was on for 24 straight hours. Then on September 11th, he was there for us. And I think day to day, we probably don`t need an anchor. But in those kind of news events, we need someone there to be with us.

BRYANT: OK, now, Bart, I want to talk to move on and talk about streaming video, the Internet, a little bit of a sound byte. We talked to Bob Schieffer and talking to him about how the Internet and broadcast news can fit together. So let`s take a listen to Bob Schieffer.


BOB SCHIEFFER, HOST, "CBS EVENING NEWS": What`s changed with the Internet and with cable is we assume now that everybody who sits down to watch the "Evening News," for example, already knows what the news is. We have to tell them something that they didn`t find out during the day on their computer.


BRYANT: (INAUDIBLE) So CBS is talking about expanding their broadband presence. Who is watching the streaming video, and is this really the new direction for the news?

BART FEDER, THE FEEDROOM: Well, it absolutely is. When you think -- when we started our business five years ago, we asked the question, why would a TV news organization have a text web site? They`re not in the text news business. They`re in the TV news business.

What`s changed now is that the technology is there so that you can have a great experience online. And the organizations recognize they have to reach people where they are, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

As an example, when I first got up this morning, my first video about Peter Jennings came off at 6:30 in the morning, a half-hour before their first scheduled programming started. So that is exactly where the business is going.

It`s not really about whether it`s on a computer, or whether it`s on a cell phone, or whether it`s on a television, or whether it`s on your refrigerator. It`s really going to be about finding the right content, marrying that with the end user that desperately wants to get that content.

BRYANT: How does the Internet come into play, when you`re putting your broadcast together?

FEDER: Well, we`re actually providing that service now for a host of other companies. We work with Reuters, for example. They don`t have a cable news operation. But they have a 24-hour broadband news service now that we help them operate that is reaching people with the news, and they`re gathering it worldwide and presenting it on the Internet, because now the broadband audience is, in fact -- the potential broadband audience is, in fact, the same size as the potential cable audience.

BRYANT: Right.

Now, Brian, what do you think about the sense that blogging is now scooping the broadcast news?

STELTER: Well, I think, in some instances, blogging can break stories before the so-called mainstream media does it. But frequently, we need the mainstream media to follow up and give us context. And I think that`s, for instance, what the evening news is for. It`s for coming in and telling us good stories.

You know, I think blogging can be another way for television news to reach viewers. For instance, when the space shuttle launched, CNN and NBC had blogs online with minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour updates. And they were great. They were actually more compelling than the television show.

So I think we`re seeing blogging become a complement to the on-air product.

BRYANT: And, Jeff -- go ahead, yes.

ALAN: Except I will interrupt, because blogging right now is not a very credible source. And the problem is, if blogging becomes organized then, yes, we would look at it.

But right now, without articulating this in such a way that everybody can understand it, and a running news room on a daily basis, looking at bloggers who are not sourcing their stories is more like looking at rumor mills right now.

If the bloggers are coming from ABC News then, of course, we look at them. But bloggers, in general, right now have a way to go, as far as making it in the mainstream.

FEDER: But we`re in a world of niche communication. And the bloggers are the niche experts. And they`re helping people organize their own personal media universe. We all have our own personal media universe now.

And so I think they`re providing a good service that way. And we have to learn to trust them or not.

BRYANT: All right. Well, that`s certainly -- I`m sure the blogging isn`t going to stop any time soon. And neither will our series. I want to thank you, Jeff Alan, and Brian Stelter, and Bart Feder.

And we, of course, will be continuing our news series throughout the week -- A.J.?

HAMMER: All right, Karyn. Of course, we`ve been asking for your perspective on the big news of the day, the death of Peter Jennings. We`d like you to e-mail us, if you have any thoughts or memories you want to share about Peter, is our address. And we`re going to read some of your comments a bit later in the show.

A juror in the Michael Jackson trial says her fellow jurors should be ashamed of themselves. Plus, Pam Anderson is being hauled into court. We`ve got those stories and more coming up in the "Legal Lowdown."

And Faith Hill is out with a brand new album called "Fireflies." Is it worth catching? We`re going to have the answer, coming up in "People`s" picks and pans for new music.


HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Tonight, in the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Legal Lowdown," strong words from jurors in the Michael Jackson case. Will Eddie Murphy`s divorce trial turn raw? And Pam Anderson gets sued.

Joining me live from Hollywood to give us the "Legal Lowdown," "Celebrity Justice`s" Harvey Levin. Harvey is also an attorney. Good to see you, Harvey.


HAMMER: Well, last week, here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, of course, we talked to you about the two Jackson jurors who are saying that they should have voted to find him guilty. Well, there is a new interview out today in which one of them, speaking about her fellow jurors says, quote, "They ought to be ashamed. They`re the ones that let a pedophile go."

So if there`s a civil trial, could those comments be used against him or in fact hurt him?

LEVIN: Could the comments by these jurors?


LEVIN: Oh, not only could they not be used, but the people who need to be ashamed are these people who are coming out on television now writing books. How dare this woman say something like that. She`s the one that voted not guilty. She didn`t have to say guilty. Nobody had a gun to her head.

And on top of that, now there`s all this coming out that these jurors were trying to bring in evidence to rig this jury to show them tapes of news reports? If those reports are true, these jurors should be prosecuted for basically trying to tamper with the jury.

It`s outrageous. And really, this kind of conduct -- it really needs to be stopped or there will never be another trial with a celebrity where there will be a fair verdict, because everybody`s after book deals and movie deals. It`s crazy.

HAMMER: I mean, do you get the sense that this is just all about publicity for these jurors and for moving forward their book deals and other deals?

LEVIN: It`s about money. These people are making book deals. This woman apparently was making overtures for a book deal while she was a sitting juror. Her granddaughter was doing her bidding.

It`s gotten absolutely crazy. I am so serious about this. As a lawyer, I`m outraged about it. And the idea that this woman would say somehow the others should be ashamed when she voted not guilty? She`s crazy.

HAMMER: Well, I feel your passion and anger coming through loud and clear.

Let`s talk about another case where there`s certainly going to be a lot of money involved. Eddie Murphy, heading for a divorce. You were actually the one to break this story. Did it come as a surprise, Harvey?

LEVIN: Well, it came as a surprise to the public. We found out that Eddie Murphy actually had hired a lawyer, very high-powered lawyer, before his wife actually hired her own high-powered lawyer and filed last Friday.

It looks like she acted rather abruptly, even though they were clearly having some kind of problems, because they were lawyered up. What I`m hearing is, he didn`t really expect it was going to be filed this quickly or abruptly. But for some reason, and I don`t know what that reason was, Nicole, his wife, did file it very quickly.

HAMMER: Well, is there any sense -- because they both lawyered up. But obviously, you know, again, there are kids involved, there`s a lot of money involved. Any sense of whether this is amicable situation, or is it going to get nasty, or can you even tell at this point?

LEVIN: Well, no, I`m told right now it is absolutely amicable. But, remember, there`s a lot at stake here. And there are emotions here. They have five children. They`ve been married since `93.

So oftentimes, what happens is you go into these things, you know, with some measure of peace, but things can upset the apple cart. And it just remains to be seen.

HAMMER: All right. But let`s talk about Pam Anderson quickly. She`s being sued for breach of contract. Can you run it down? Who`s suing her? And are they looking to get money or are they looking to basically have her fulfill whatever obligation she`s breached?

LEVIN: Well, she basically made a deal to promote this company`s products. And they`re saying that she did not make herself available enough and she was disapproving a lot of the things that they wanted pitched.

These are really difficult contracts. No, they cannot force her to do it. That`s just not the way the law works. You can`t force somebody in a personal services contract.

The problem is, it becomes very subjective. How much time should Pamela Anderson give? What is she allowed to say no to? And these things get real murky. And my guess is, these are the very things that often settle before there`s ever a trial.

HAMMER: Sure. Well, you sign a deal, people are going to hold you to it. Harvey Levin from "Celebrity Justice," always good to have you.

LEVIN: See you, A.J.

BRYANT: Jessica Simpson`s film debut with the good old boys pulled in lots of moviegoers over the weekend. The final numbers out today say that the "Dukes of Hazzard" was number-one at the weekend box office, crashing the party for last week`s number-one. The "Dukes" pushed the Owen Wilson- Vince Vaughn comedy "Wedding Crashers" down to number-two. They`re followed by "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." "Sky High" came in fourth, and the romantic comedy, "Must Love Dogs," was fifth.

It`s time now for the "Showbiz Guide," where, throughout the week, we help you decide where to spend your dollars on movies, music, DVDs and more. Because money is hard to come by, that`s the thing.

Tonight, "People`s" picks and pans, new music. And joining us live is "People" magazine senior editor Julie Dam.

Julie, I want to talk about Faith Hill. "Fireflies" is her record. Is she doing the country-crossover stuff? Because I`m not as fond of the crossover. Keep the country country.

JULIE DAM, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Well, you should be happy about this. She`s gone back to her country roots on this album. It`s like her sixth or seventh album. And the last one was so pop, she`s really doing it for her country fans this time around.

BRYANT: OK. We actually have a sample of it. Let`s check out some of this "Mississippi Girl," so we can...


BRYANT: So it`s got some rock too it, too, though, a little oomph.

DAM: But it`s a little more country. And "Mississippi Girl" is all about how, even though she`s rich and famous now, she`s still a small-town girl. She hasn`t forgotten her roots.

Some of the other songs are not so great. There`s one that`s called "Dearly Beloved," which is a very cynical wedding song about how a couple will be together until they find someone new. So, yes.

And her husband does backup vocals, Tim McGraw, of course, on one song. But maybe, you know, if he`d done a little more, it would have been a better album.

BRYANT: OK. Well, let`s touch on Babyface. Basically, this guy is an R&B crooner. Are you going to score if you bring this one into the bedroom, Julie? That`s what the people want to know.

DAM: That`s the thing you want to know. You know, he`s kind of the king of, you know, the sexy slow jams. Even though he`s better known as a producer these days, this is actually his ninth solo album. And he really is doing what he does best, those great slow jams, and very much about getting into the mood.

BRYANT: OK. Let`s move on to Carly Simon. And we got a video of her, as well. She got a new, sort of pop hit, I mean...

DAM: Standards, right.

BRYANT: Standards, that`s the word I`m looking for.

DAM: This is her fourth album of standards, actually. And, you know, it worked for Rod Stewart. So, you know, this is actually her highest debut album in a long time. And though she uses a lot of the songs that you`ve heard before, like "I`ve Got You Under my Skin," you know, she has such a great voice. If you`re a Carly Simon fan, you`ll like this album.

BRYANT: Well, and that seems to be a way that people are kind of reinventing -- not reinventing, but you bring something old, you make it new. That way you get a bigger audience...

DAM: Right.

BRYANT: ... because you`ve got the older folks, you`ve got a new generation.

DAM: Right. Like I said, Rod Stewart, it worked for him. Patti LaBelle was trying to do that with her last album, and now Carly.

BRYANT: So out of the three of them, which one am I buying this week?

DAM: I think if you`re a Faith Hill fan, a fan of her country music, you`d buy that.

BRYANT: All right. Well, Julie Dam, thank you for joining us.

And for more picks and pans, pick up a copy of "People" magazine. It`s on newsstands now.

HAMMER: And it is time now to get your laugh on in "Laughter Dark." We do this every night, so we can bring you the late-night laughs you just might have missed. On "Late Night with Conan O`Brien," Conan exposes one of those myths about late-night talk shows. Take a look.


CONAN O`BRIEN, HOST, "LATE NIGHT": Finally, another commonly held belief about "Late Night" -- a lot of people think this -- a commonly held belief about "Late Night" is that our guests get paid to come on the show. People think the guests are paid. That is absolutely false. Our guests don`t get paid a cent.


JEFF GOLDBLUM, ACTOR: That`s it, that`s it, that`s it.


GOLDBLUM: One word, O`Brien. One word: No pay, no Goldblum. That`s it.


HAMMER: Jeff Goldblum, crashing Conan`s green room.

Hey, Danny, can we bring up our green room here? Bob Saget was on the program earlier, see if he -- no, looks like just the cheese plate`s gone.


HAMMER: Saget walked off with the cheese plate. Call security.

Tonight on Conan, Ryan Phillipe and our friend Wanda Sykes. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT will be right back.


HAMMER: Throughout our show, we`ve been asking you to send us your thoughts and memories about Peter Jennings. And here are some of the e- mails we`ve received this evening. William from Arizona writes, "Peter Jennings` career no doubt inspired many of the reporters who give the news today. He will be missed."

We also hear from Kristen who writes, "He was so well-spoken and articulate, with a smoothness that really drew in the audience. He made me want to watch the news."

Also heard from Daniel who wrote that "Peter was the role model of what it meant to be a broadcast journalist, integrity, dedication, and a sense of humor."

BRYANT: Some viewers wrote in to say that Jennings` journalism on September 11th and in the aftermath was their strongest memory. Katherine from Ohio writes, "Even with the world going crazy, his constant presence helped me feel a little more secure."

Well, before we leave you tonight, just a short time ago, Charlie Gibson signed off the broadcast that Peter Jennings made his own. Here`s a look.


CHARLES GIBSON, HOST, "GOOD MORNING AMERICA": Behind me is what we refer to around here as Peter`s chair. And we thought it only fitting that it remain empty at the end of tonight`s broadcast. I`m Charles Gibson, speaking for all of us at ABC News, Peter, Godspeed.


HAMMER: Truly one of the smartest men on television.

BRYANT: Oh, absolutely.

HAMMER: You always had the sense that he was never faking it.

BRYANT: That`s right. And I walked by ABC on my way to work. I said a little good bye him. He was great. And just terrific, terrific. He will be missed.

Well, that is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Karyn Bryant.

I`m A.J. Hammer. Stay tuned for the latest from CNN Headline News.

ROBERTS: Hi, everybody. I`m Thomas Roberts. And it`s time for your "Headline Prime Newsbreak."

The crew of the shuttle Discovery is spending at least one more night in space. Low clouds over Florida forced NASA to postpone today`s scheduled landing. NASA twice tried to bring Discovery home but decided the weather was too unpredictable. The next opportunity is tomorrow morning.

The U.S. is going after a terror suspect already in custody in Britain. Today, the Justice Department unsealed charges against Haroon Rashid Aswat, accused the British citizen of conspiring to build a terrorist training camp in Oregon. Aswat was arrested in Zambia last month and deported to England in connection with the July 7th attacks in London.

More U.S. troops are likely headed off to Iraq. Pentagon officials say the extra troops (INAUDIBLE) provide security ahead of the December election. The military still plans to reduce troop levels in Iraq next year.

That is the news for now. Thanks for joining us. I`m Thomas Roberts. And stay tuned for "NANCY GRACE."



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