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Did Reporters Get Too Emotional Over Hurricane?; John Tesh Shares Video Diary of Hurricane Relief; Richard Simmons Visits Hometown of New Orleans to Provide Comic Relief; Martha Stewart Daytime Show Debuts
Aired September 12, 2005 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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.
BRYANT (voice-over): On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, reporters crying, anchors sounding off. Plus, the Oprah factor. Has Hurricane Katrina ushered in a whole new era of journalism? Tonight, how the hurricane has changed everything.
HAMMER (voice-over): Tonight, Martha`s back and sharing memories of New Orleans and prison. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is there as her new show hits the air, and we get the inside story from the studio audience.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Martha is definitely back.
BRYANT: A SHOWBIZ TONIGHT exclusive. John Tesh`s personal video diary of the hurricane aftermath. Armed with a video camera, he came back with remarkable stories and the pictures to go with them. Tonight, John Tesh joins us live.
HAMMER: Hello, I`m A.J. Hammer.
BRYANT: I`m Karyn Bryant.
Tonight, the raw emotions of covering Hurricane Katrina. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT takes you inside the story of reporters trying to stay cool, calm and collected in the midst of unbelievable death and destruction.
HAMMER: Yes, they`re asking the tough questions this time around. But sometimes, the gravity of the story is just too overwhelming.
Here`s CNN`s Jeanne Moos for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): First came the flooding, then the flood of tears.
OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: This makes me mad.
MOOS: We expect Oprah to cry.
WINFREY: I`ve been crying for two days here.
MOOS: We expect showbiz types to get emotional.
CELINE DION, SINGER: I`m not thinking with my head. I`m talking with my heart.
MOOS: It`s understandable.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s so sad, George.
MOOS: When overwhelmed officials break down, in this case recounting a story of a colleague who kept promising his mother help was on the way.
AARON BROUSSARD, PRESIDENT, JEFFERSON PARISH, LOUISIANA: "Somebody`s coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody`s coming to get you on Friday." And she drowned Friday night.
MOOS: But aren`t news people supposed to keep a stiff upper lip? Walter Cronkite did when breaking the news that JFK had died.
WALTER CRONKITE, FORMER CBS NEWS ANCHOR: Thirty-eight minutes ago.
MOOS: Cronkite`s pause pales next to Geraldo`s storm of emotion.
GERALDO RIVERA, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL`S "AT LARGE": I`ve got a baby. You know, I have a baby. And you see there`s so many babies here. It`s -- you know, it`s not a question -- it`s a question of reality. I don`t know, man. Let them walk out of here. Let the walk the hell out of here.
MOOS: From the brashest of reporters to the more reserved. CNN`s Jeanne Meserve.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You can hear people yelling for help. You can hear the dogs yelping, all of them stranded. But for tonight, they have to suspend the rescue efforts.
I was trying to keep a handle on my emotions. I don`t think I even realized how close they were to the surface until I began to hear them in my voice.
My cameraman has been working with a broken foot since 9 a.m. this morning.
MOOS: Meserve`s report marked the moment when the story changed from hurricane to catastrophe. You`d choke up, too, listening to a man who watched his wife float away.
HARVEY JACKSON, LOST WIFE IN STORM: She said, "Take care of the kids and the grandkids."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What`s your wife`s name in case we could put this out this there?
JACKSON: Tonette Jackson.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And what`s your name?
MOOS: CNN`s Christiane Amanpour has seen horrors from Rwanda to Bosnia to New Orleans. She says reporters have to show humanity, but like E.R. doctors, can`t afford to fall apart.
Not that viewers seemed to mind reporters` tears.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought it was very real. And they`re human.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I like it, kind of. It shows that they`re, you know, feeling it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m glad that they`re showing some sort of feeling. Maybe Mr. Bush would do something about it.
MOOS: Even media critics aren`t criticizing.
(on camera) You don`t think reporters should be embarrassed if they cry?
ERIC KLEINENBERG, SOCIOLOGIST/MEDIA CRITIC, NYU: I don`t think so. Perhaps they even help to make the nation understand just how grave a situation we had.
MOOS (voice-over): Some viewers draw the line on outright weeping.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My father told me, "Never let them see you cry. You can cry, but let God see you cry on your pillow."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It makes me want to cry even more, you know. It makes watching tough news even harder to watch, I think.
MESERVE: It`s a very difficult situation.
In the case, I was a human more than I was a reporter. I just couldn`t hold it back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How could you not?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How can you not cry?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, how can they hold it in? You`d have to be a machine.
MESERVE (on camera): So you don`t mind when we cry?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, not at all. And I like to see a laugh, too.
MOOS: But laughter seems a long way off.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": Sorry.
MOOS: When the levees that hold back tears threatened to break.
BRYANT: That was CNN`s Jeanne Moos reporting for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
And coming up later in tonight`s show, we`ll take a look at the big picture of how Hurricane Katrina has changed journalism, possibly forever. Some are saying the reporters are getting a new voice, and that is one filled with opinion.
And now we want to hear from you. It`s our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Covering Hurricane Katrina: is it OK for reporters to voice their opinions? You can vote at CNN.com/ShowbizTonight. You can also send e-mail to us at ShowbizTonight@CNN.com. Later in the show, we`ll read some of your thoughts.
HAMMER: Well, tonight, in an exclusive first look, John Tesh`s video diary from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. For the past few days, John has been a part of Radio Relief, an effort to help the victims of the disaster.
John joins me now live from Hollywood.
John, welcome home. You were in Biloxi when we spoke to you last week. You were unsure about the things that you were about to see. Were things as bad or worse than what you thought, as it turned out?
JOHN TESH, MUSICIAN/RADIO HOST: Worse, definitely. And you know, just watching that story, it was hard for me to watch those reporters get so emotional. Because I just don`t think there is any stiff upper lip in this story.
And when you -- just like when we were in Southeast Asia, you know, when you`re actually there and you`re seeing what`s going on, every single person that comes by you has one of these horrible, horrible and touching stories. There`s no way not to get involved.
HAMMER: John, I want to ask you about one of those stories in just a moment.
First, let`s roll some video from John`s visit down there. You did document what you saw along the way. Tell me a little bit about we`re seeing.
TESH: This is Pass Christian, Mississippi. And this is a town that almost literally exploded. And about, you know, maybe a mile off the shore here, and this is very reminiscent of what we saw -- that`s the police station in Pass Christian -- of what we saw in Southeast Asia.
Here is a group of church people from Phoenix, Arizona. And they arrived there when I was in Slidell, Louisiana. Here they are right here. They just decided to raise a bunch of money, and they dumped off 20,000 water bottles.
And this is really saying a lot for what`s going on in America right now. People just saying, "I have to do something. Let me raise some money. Let me make a difference."
And this is me, just chatting in a -- with a couple of the survivors in Slidell. This lady right here spent seven days in her attic with five feet of water and so -- in the rest of the house.
So we were just trying as reporters, trying to help these people while we were covering them.
Now these three people, and I didn`t -- I didn`t show their faces. The woman on the right, and the two children, she`s a single mom. And she can`t get food stamps because the food stamp office literally exploded in 190 mile-an-hour winds.
So it`s just story after story. I threw this in, because one year ago, I was playing in this casino with my orchestra, and it basically split in half and floated away, in Biloxi, Mississippi.
And when you`re in a helicopter looking at this, you realize that, "Oh, my gosh. This area has changed forever."
This is another group of people who -- who just filled this container with -- with gasoline and brought a lot of those red containers there, and decided to drive to Slidell, Louisiana, to see how many cars they could fill up gasoline to help the people there.
And that`s what I love about this, is that Americans and North Americans are just trying to figure out ways that they can help. And they`re just jumping in and doing it.
HAMMER: I have some really good friends who went down to Slidell over the weekend. They`re spending the week there. And they talk about all of the gasoline that they have to try to help bring into town, because so many people are operating simply off of generators, if they have power at all.
And John, of all the people that you met along the way, and the stories that you heard, is there one that`s going to stay with you?
TESH: Yes, I mean, there are so many of them. But -- and it`s a simple story. But it`s of a young girl who was in the back of a pickup truck. And you know, two weeks she was eating at McDonald`s, and I was trying to interview her for the radio show. And she burst into tears, because she was embarrassed that she had stand for two hours in a food line and never thought in her whole life that she would have to do that. And you could just tell that she felt so helpless.
And you know, having an 11-year-old little girl at home, and looking at this girl`s face, I could see, you know, it just -- it completely destroys you and at the same time, humbles you. And in the blink of an eye, it could be you and it could be I. It could be me.
And the thing that I love about this whole thing is -- is what I mention about people helping. The churches, you know, the faith-based organizations, didn`t wait for the government. A lot of churches, the small groups got together, and they said, "Let`s find a way to get involved here."
And so they just rented Winnebagos. They rented semis and filled them up with food. And a lot of police officers are jumping in their police cruisers and going down there to help. And it`s really working.
HAMMER: Well, John, thanks again for, as I mentioned last week, for the work that you`re doing and for sharing your stories and your video footage with us tonight.
TESH: It`s my pleasure. Thanks.
HAMMER: And once again, if you would like to help in the relief effort, you can simply log on to John`s web site at Tesh.com and get all the details right there.
BRYANT: Hurricane Katrina is also on the mind of Angelina Jolie. She`s a U.N. goodwill ambassador who travels the world on humanitarian missions.
Jolie recently joined forces with U.N. adviser Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, traveling to Africa to learn more about the poverty crisis. Ended up turning the trip into an MTV documentary.
Angelina stopped by the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT studios earlier today. And we spoke about her work abroad as well as her reaction to Hurricane Katrina.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELINA JOLIE, ACTRESS: Like most people, I was just shocked. And I had friends there, close friends of mine. A lot of her best friends there. And it`s just very personal for a time.
But really, it`s just -- you look at it, and you think, I mean, I`ve seen refugees -- refugee camps around the world, and I know what this looks like. This is kind of a global scale. This is what`s happening. And this is what we`re talking about.
That when you see the people that really were hit the worst, that were kind of, in many ways, abandoned, and they were the poorest of the poor. They didn`t have -- they weren`t thought of ahead of time. You know, this is what happens. And when things explode, then it`s -- these are the people that are the most vulnerable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRYANT: We`ll have more of my interview with Angelina Jolie and U.N. adviser Dr. Jeffrey Sachs on tomorrow`s SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. MTV`s "Diary with Angelina Jolie" debuts Wednesday night.
HAMMER: Well, debuting today was Martha Stewart`s brand new show. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT will get some secrets from her studio audience coming up in just a little bit.
BRYANT: Plus, fitness guru Richard Simmons has some very personal connections to the area affected by Hurricane Katrina. He joins us live next.
HAMMER: And Jane Kaczmarek is doing her part in the relief effort with a very unique charity that she`s been passionate about for years now. The Emmy-nominated actress is going to join us live. That`s still to come here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
BRYANT: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Karyn Bryant.
Two weeks after Katrina hit the Gulf, the stories of families searching for loved ones continue. Richard Simmons is a New Orleans native who has already been down to help families in need, and he`s been down to check on his own family members, who were evacuated safely before the storm. He joins us live on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT from Hollywood.
Hi, Richard. Thanks for sitting down with us.
I know you`re an emotional guy. I`m sure a lot of things down there really moved you. But what hit you the hardest when you were down there?
RICHARD SIMMONS, HEALTH AND FITNESS EXPERT: I think the hardest was going to the shelters, Karyn. That was, you know, I cried in my own privacy. And cried walking down the street in the French Quarter. And I cried in front of my St. Louis Cathedral Church.
But there were no tears when I went to all the shelters, where there were thousands of people all across Louisiana. My job was to be their court jester and to put music on in the boom box to make them stretch and move a little bit.
My job there was to pray, and I prayed with thousands of people. My job there was to give them hope.
You know, I got to see my brother and his wife, Lenny and Cathy (ph), when I to Natchez (ph), Louisiana, because they left from New Orleans two days before the hurricane.
But the tough part for me is where are these people going? You know, there`s lots of charities. We`re giving lots of money. But I`m worried about where they will go back again. Will they stay in New Orleans? Will they be relocated? Will they find their families?
You know, when you have so many different people, a room full of mattresses, with everyone`s lives right there on their beds, you know, like I said, we prayed. We talked about trying to find relatives. There was seven or eight girls that were pregnant there, all in their early 20s. None of them were around their husbands. It was very difficult. That was the tough part in me.
Also, seeing the dead bodies floating. You know, I`m born and raised in this city. New Orleans is my other home. And to see the people still not wanting to leave. You know, I begged people, some people, that I saw. "Please leave. Please get out of this city."
But they have dogs, you know? They`ve been in this house for such a long time.
So my job there was to be the court jester. And with my sparkly tank tops and shorts, I went in and I served -- I served a lot of food. I would never be caught eating.
SIMMONS: But I served it, and I served it with humor. And I made people laugh and smile at this very horrible part of this catastrophe.
BRYANT: And do you feel that celebrities like yourself have an obligation to get down there and help?
SIMMONS: Well, not -- I mean, look, celebrities always come together when there is a tragedy. Now New Orleans, if anyone who`s eaten a beignier, a praline, anyone that`s had breakfast at Bremen`s (ph) or dinner at Antoine`s knows the gem that city, what a beautiful city it is. And so everybody wants to save it.
But thank God, even with all the saints and sinners we have in New Orleans, God did not touch the French Quarter. He left that like a little -- a little gem, a little jewel. Very little was done. I walked all the streets I went to school with, you know, all the church, everything I went in New Orleans. I saw everything.
BRYANT: And is that -- were you -- personally, did you lose your house down there? I know you said your brother, your family was able to get out. But as far as the Simmons family, how do you guys fare?
SIMMONS: We do not know yet. We`re not allowed in the neighborhoods that we live past the French Quarter. Because all around, there are areas that are still flooded. But I`ve looked at it on the computer, the satellite. And it looks like it`s pretty much -- but I won`t be able to go and see that for two to three weeks.
BRYANT: All right. Well, Richard, we thank you for joining us. We wish you and your family...
SIMMONS: I just ask -- I just ask all of the people who are watching this, to please, hold these people in their prayers each night. That`s what you can do.
BRYANT: Absolutely. Thank you very much for joining us, Richard Simmons.
HAMMER: Well, with prison and that now famous ankle bracelet behind her, Martha Stewart today stepped, unencumbered, back into television with the live premiere of her daytime show, "Martha."
Her comeback started with a very poignant moment. She gave memories of New Orleans and her hopes for the city`s future.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTHA STEWART, HOST, "MARTHA": We`ve all been following the destruction in the Gulf states. And our hearts go out to everyone. The stories that we`ve heard and have seen are just heartbreaking to all of us.
One thing that I can say is that the people in this whole area are strong Americans with a rich heritage and strong traditions. And I am positive that they will come back in a very big way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: The premiere of Martha`s new show also included some "Desperate Housewives," as well as a few jokes about her life under house arrest and in jail.
SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson has more on Martha Stewart.
BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We`ve all seen her make gourmet meals, make a country fire and, of course, make some very public trips to court and to prison. But now, she`s making jokes.
STEWART: I am unfettered. I am free. No ankle bracelet.
ANDERSON: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT was right there in New York as Martha Stewart said good-bye to the past and hello to a live studio audience on her new lifestyles show, "Martha."
STEWART: Please welcome Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominee Marcia Cross.
ANDERSON: She kicked off her first show today with a visit from Emmy nominated actress Marcia Cross. Here`s Marcia sounding a lot like Martha on "Desperate Housewives."
MARCIA CROSS, ACTRESS: If everybody would please take your seats, dinner`s served.
ANDERSON: Martha got to the bottom of it all.
STEWART: Do you really think that your character is based on me?
CROSS: Well, I mean, that`s how they described her.
ANDERSON: She tried to show Marcia how to make scrambled eggs but soon found out art does not imitate life.
STEWART: Put a piece of butter -- as much butter as you want. OK.
CROSS: Like this?
STEWART: No, no. In there.
ANDERSON: Then onto a segment where Martha surprised two desperate housewives making dinner.
STEWART: How are you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God!
STEWART: I brought you something for your dinner.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God!
ANDERSON: She helped out in the kitchen and played cards with the men.
STEWART: I know every card game. I got Hoyle`s book of card games in prison.
ANDERSON: Prison was the past. Now fans are embracing Martha Stewart`s comeback. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT caught up with members of the studio audience moments after today`s live show.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Martha is definitely back. Martha never left. You just didn`t know it.
ANDERSON: No seem to care about her time in jail.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think she did her sentence like a lady. And she just did in stride, like Martha Stewart does everything in stride. And it was phenomenal. And she`s great.
ANDERSON: This self-described Martha wannabe told SHOWBIZ TONIGHT it was all a good thing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s thinner than she was. Wouldn`t we all like to be? And you know, she was a little more relaxed than you`re used to seeing her. I liked that Martha Stewart. A little more humble.
ANDERSON: And fans will be seeing a lot more of the new Martha.
DONALD TRUMP, REAL ESTATE MOGUL: You`re fired.
ANDERSON: On September 21, Martha will hit prime time in her very own version of the NBC show that Donald Trump made famous, "The Apprentice."
Martha recently told "TIME" magazine, quote, "That may be a peculiar feature of being an American. Once you rise, you can fall and rise again. I would never wish that on anybody, but other people seem to take glee in that sort of thing."
HAMMER: As Brooke mentioned, "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart" will air on NBC. Her daytime show is syndicated by NBC Universal. Now, Stewart has reportedly signed up more than 20 top advertisers. Their products are going to be worked into both shows. Look for some unprecedented integration here. Big time product placement. Martha, of course, a businesswoman just as much as she is a domestic diva.
BRYANT: Another star decides not to stick to the script at a telethon for hurricane relief. That`s coming up next.
HAMMER: Plus, to see that Katrina has changed the media, look no further than Brian Williams` blog. It`s just one example. We will look into how the story has changed journalism, coming up.
BRYANT: Plus, Bill Cosby is protecting "Fat Albert" from Internet porn. We`ll explain in the "Legal Lowdown." That`s still to come.
BRYANT: Three Hurricane Katrina fund-raisers took place over the weekend, and this time, everyone pretty much stuck to the script, except Chris Rock.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS ROCK, COMEDIAN: George Bush hates midgets.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRYANT: That`s how Chris Rock began his appearance on Friday`s "Shelter for the Storm" live telethon. It was seen by nearly 24 million people. It was a nod, of course, to rapper Kanye West`s comments during an NBC telethon, when he shocked everyone by saying, "George Bush doesn`t care about black people."
But Kanye West`s only comments during this Friday`s appearance were in the song he performed, adding a line during "Jesus Walks" about what it would be like to lose his home and live in the Superdome.
MTV and BET also hosted star-studded telethons this weekend, as well.
HAMMER: And the race issue that Kanye raised for everybody continues to be debated, everywhere from fashion shows to living rooms. It`s on the front cover of "Newsweek," as you see here, and a major topic of conversation all across the country.
This weekend at the Baby Phat fashion show here in New York City, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT asked Def Jam Records founder Russell Simmons for his thoughts. He produced the BET telethon over the weekend and is the co- creator of the Baby Phat fashion line.
And former "Apprentice" contestant Kwame Jackson also weighed in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KWAME JACKSON, FORMER CONTESTANT, "THE APPRENTICE": I think, unfortunately, you know the response to the hurricane has been second rate. You know, people have stepped it up now, but you know, it`s been unfortunate. Race and class are definitely issues. I always tell people, "Since when haven`t race and class been issues in America?" I mean, like that`s new with Katrina.
RUSSELL SIMMONS, FOUNDER, DEF JAM RECORDS: Rappers emotionally come from a lot of struggle, a lot of poverty. And they speak for a lot of voiceless people. And so he said what a lot of us were thinking.
And Kanye`s job and all the poets` job, to say what`s in their heart. And promote thought and dialogue in thought-provoking statements. And so he said some things that you make you think.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: Simmons also says he is putting together an album for hurricane relief. So far, Kanye, Jay-Z, Wyclef Jean and Mariah Carey all onboard for that.
BRYANT: It could be a new era in news. We`ll go in-depth to find out how Katrina has changed everything, next.
HAMMER: Plus, will the hurricane change anything about the Emmys? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT asked stars at an Emmy event. And the answer is coming up.
BRYANT: Plus, Jane Kaczmarek is up for an Emmy again this year. She joins us live. We`ll find out why she`s literally giving hurricane victims the clothes off her back. That`s still ahead on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
RENAY SAN MIGUEL, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT continues in one minute. I`m Renay San Miguel with your "Headline Prime Newsbreak."
The controversial head of FEMA, Michael Brown, has resigned as director of the agency. Administration sources say the leader of FEMA`s emergency preparedness force, David Paulison, is taking over.
Meanwhile, President Bush is back at the White House after visiting New Orleans today. It was his third trip to the region.
In Los Angeles, the lights are coming back on after a massive power outage hit the city this afternoon. About 700,000 electric customers lost power and traffic was snarled as signal lights went out in a large area. Officials say the blackout was accidentally caused by workers.
The man who may be the next chief justice of the United States says he has no agenda and no platform, that from Judge John Roberts, as Senate confirmation hearings got under way today.
That`s the news for now. I`m Renay San Miguel. Now back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
BRYANT: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It`s 31 minutes past the hour. I`m Karyn Bryant.
HAMMER: I`m A.J. Hammer. You`re watching TV`s only live entertainment news show.
Still to come in this half-hour, there was an article from the Associated Press today that suggested that news coverage since September 11th has been somewhat muted and that has all changed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, with reporters sharing their opinions, getting involved with the story, and showing emotion.
Has the face of journalism changed forever? It`s a question we`re going to ask in just a few minutes.
BRYANT: And we`re also going to talk to Jane Kaczmarek. She plays Lois on "Malcolm in the Middle," the mom, of course. She`s been nominated for an Emmy six times. She`s the first guest in our "And the Nominee Is..." series. All this week, we`re going to be talking to Emmy nominees. So she`s going to be joining us live in just a bit.
All that and more is coming up. But first, let`s get tonight`s "Hot Headlines" from CNN`s Jennifer Westhoven, live in New York.
JENNIFER WESTHOVEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, thank you, Karyn.
Well, tonight, the lights are back on in L.A. Traffic was snarled, worse than usual. And Hollywood studios had to resort to backup generators after about 700,000 customers lost power in Los Angeles today. The reason? A worker mistakenly cut a wrong line. But we do hear that the power is back almost everywhere.
Martha Stewart powered her way back on the air today with the premiere of her new daytime talk show called "Martha." She kicked off the broadcast by pointing out she`s free of her ankle bracelet. She also presented a tribute to New Orleans. And Marcia Cross, "Desperate Housewives`" Bree Van De Kamp, also stopped by.
Another "Desperate Housewives" star is helping out with Katrina cause. Eva Longoria, who plays sultry Gabrielle Solis, said today she`s auctioning off the sexy bikinis she wore during last month`s MTV Video Music Awards. Proceeds will go to hurricane victims.
And Demi Moore`s former husband and current boyfriend are spending some time together. FOX said today that Bruce Willis will make a guest appearance on "That `70`s Show" in November. Ashton Kutcher, who`s currently dating Demi, stars on the show. Willis will donate his appearance fee to the Red Cross for Katrina relief.
Those are the "Hot Headlines." A.J., back to you.
HAMMER: Jennifer, thanks very much. CNN`s Jennifer Westhoven joining us in New York.
Well, tonight, they`re thinking about the victims of Hurricane Katrina. But they say the show must go on. That`s what many TV stars are feeling about the upcoming Emmy awards, which are less than a week away now. At last night`s Emmy ceremonies for technical achievement in Los Angeles, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT asked celebs if they think the tone of the Emmy broadcast should change to reflect the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
JOHN O`HURLEY, "DANCING WITH THE STARS": I think that America needs to continue moving forward with the life that we live, to be as kind and as gentle as we can.
KATHRYN JOOSTEN, "DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES": I think we should celebrate the way we do. I mean, I think that life should go on. I think it should be full and lived fully. I don`t think you should pull back at all.
HAMMER: And what I believe is a nice touch to honor the survivors and remember the victims of Hurricane Katrina, the Emmy presenters and performers are going to get magnolias. It`s the state flower of both Louisiana and Mississippi. The 57th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by New Orleans native Ellen DeGeneres, will air this Sunday on CBS.
BRYANT: Tonight, Jane Kaczmarek, Emmy nominee and star of the hit sitcom, "Malcolm in the Middle." Well, Jane and her husband are teaming up with other celebrities to help bring relief to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
She is the founder of the Close off our Back Foundation. It`s an organization that auctions off star`s clothing.
This year, part of the proceeds will go to hurricane relief. And Jane is joining us live tonight from Hollywood. She is part of our week-long series called "And the Nominee Is..."
Jane, thank you for joining us.
JANE KACZMAREK, ACTRESS, "MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE": It`s my pleasure.
BRYANT: First and foremost, can you tell us about the charity, the Clothes off our Back, and how you and some of your other celebrity friends this year will be helping out the Katrina victims?
KACZMAREK: Clothes off our Back is a online celebrity auction that we`ve been doing after awards shows, where we auction off the clothes that people wear on the red carpet that they can never wear again to benefit children`s charities.
This is the fourth year we`re doing it. We started in 2002. And we`ve raised over $500,000 for charity selling these shoes, and dresses, and tuxedoes, and purses that celebrities wear to award shows.
BRYANT: It`s fantastic. And have you already lined up some of your fans this year?
KACZMAREK: We are. This is a tough week, because as far as the ladies are concerned, they`re still on the fence. People still don`t know what they`re wearing, a lot of them don`t.
KACZMAREK: But I have gotten confirmations from Jennifer Garner, who has done it with us every year now. Me, of course, my husband, Bradley Whitford. Felicity Huffman I saw the other night. She`s on board. Star Jones, Charlie Sheen. We`ve got the whole cast of "Two-and-a-Half Men."
We have got William Shatner`s shoes.
BRYANT: Oh, goodness.
KACZMAREK: Hollard Taylor (ph), Sean Hayes. Terry O`Quinn, who plays Locke on "Lost," is giving us our Hugo Boss tuxedo.
KACZMAREK: Hugo Boss has been great. Mosquino Terranrowe`s (ph) shoes. It`s a win-win for everybody.
The celebrities get to do something constructive with these beautiful clothes that they get to wear. And children`s charities are the beneficiaries.
BRYANT: Great, that`s...
KACZMAREK: And as you said, we`re giving a big chunk to hurricane relief.
BRYANT: Right. Great, great. Well, your husband, Bradley Whitford, of course, is on "The West Wing." And I saw him in "Little Manhattan," the new movie. It`s very, very great, very good in that.
Do you two feel, as a celebrity couple, that you have a responsibility to use your star power, you know, for good?
KACZMAREK: I do. I feel we all have 15 minutes. And I feel that there`s a certain currency that you get to spend as a celebrity. And how you choose to spend that celebrity, how you spend that currency is really important to me. I don`t want to be lying on my death bed wishing that I did one more TV movie.
Nothing feels better than helping kids who need it. And there are so many clothes we never wear again and so many children in need. And I just wish everybody knew how good this feels when you give the clothes off your back.
We don`t want your time. We don`t want your money. We want you to join us by giving your clothes to raise money for kids.
BRYANT: Nice, well, certainly helping the children, something that you do on "Malcolm in the Middle," as Lois, the hardest working mom on television.
KACZMAREK: I don`t know how much I help them on "Malcolm."
BRYANT: Well, yes, that`s true.
KACZMAREK: I keep them in line.
BRYANT: That`s true.
KACZMAREK: And that`s helping.
BRYANT: Well, you have six Emmy nominations. At this point, I`m wondering, does it just come with your name pre-printed on the ballot?
KACZMAREK: Oh, I burst in tears this year. I couldn`t believe I got nominated again. It`s a wonderful, wonderful feeling to be invited to the party.
I said, at this point, I kind of feel like a mom on Christmas morning, as opposed to a kid on Christmas morning. There`s a different kind of excitement now. But I`m so proud to be a member of the Hollywood community, which is the most generous community on the face of the Earth.
So I`m glad to call myself an actor.
BRYANT: Generous, by sometimes a little bit nitpicky on the red carpet with what you wear. Have you picked the dress yet? And also, will you be wearing the girdle you spoke of a few years ago after childbirth?
KACZMAREK: I have warn it to every single awards show. It`s a good girdle from Sears. It`s not one of these whisper-thin things. It`s got panels.
KACZMAREK: I`ve had three c-sections in my 40s, so I need a little bit of oomph.
BRYANT: Oh, well, you`re looking terrific. And we thank you. And we wish you good luck. Thanks for joining us, Jane Kaczmarek.
KACZMAREK: Thank you.
BRYANT: And the new season of "Malcolm in the Middle" kicks off Friday, September 30th, on FOX. You can check out the celebrity clothing option at Clothesoffourback.com.
HAMMER: Jane Kaczmarek, one of the best smiles on television there.
Next, Hurricane Katrina`s certainly going to go down in U.S. history as one of the worst natural disasters ever. But it`s also created a historic moment in television journalism. Is Katrina coverage changing TV journalism forever? We`re going to deal with that next.
BRYANT: Plus, what`s in a name? For Bill Cosby, it could have been porn.
And A Michael Jackson juror changes his mind. Those stories are coming up in tonight`s "Legal Lowdown" live.
HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
And tonight, a major turning point in television journalism is unfolding as we speak. The way TV networks cover stories and the way journalism is taught to aspiring journalists could actually be changing for generations to come, starting now.
Many reporters on the ground covering the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts have finally found their voice. They`ve been asking the tough questions in a way that has never been done before.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: ... at the anger that is out here?
SOLEDAD O`BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: How is it possible that you`re not -- that we`re getting better intel than you`re getting? We had a crew in the air. We were showing live pictures of the people outside the convention center.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why has the response has been so slow? Why has the major of New Orleans issued an emergency SOS?
HAMMER: From our stand, a refreshing change. Tonight we ask, is the way Katrina`s being covered changing the face of TV journalism forever?
Joining me live to deal with this situation, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Jeff Alan. He`s the author of the book "Anchoring America," also news director for WPGH-TV in Pittsburgh. And joining us live from Baltimore, Maryland, Brian Stelter, from TVNewser.com. This one of the most popular blogs on the Internet, all about the TV news business.
Jeff, I want to start with you. Point-blank, what do you think? Is this the marking point for TV journalism changing from here on out?
JEFF ALAN, AUTHOR, "ANCHORING AMERICA": Well, A.J., I`ve got to tell you, I think it`s more changed journalists then it`s changed journalism. There`s been this newfound sense of importance.
When you`re out there, and people are pulling at you for food and water, the government hasn`t shown up, you know, these journalists are -- they were getting mad.
I think, at the very, very beginning, you saw a lot of them out there just to cover a hurricane. They were down there the very first day, leaning into the wind, and doing what you normally do when you cover hurricanes.
But then they saw the face of human tragedy put on this story. And all of a sudden, they weren`t prepackaged reporters anymore. They were human beings with a microphone. And there`s a big difference.
You know something? I think the viewers these days want to see those human beings more than they want to see the prepackaged reporters.
HAMMER: And I want to ask you about some of that interaction that they`re having as human beings, not just reporters, in just a moment.
But, Brian, you have a broad scope of all of the coverage. It`s what you blog about every day on your web site. So do you think this is a real turning point and marking a change for the future of TV news?
BRIAN STELTER, EDITOR, TVNEWSER.COM: You know, I kind of hope it is, because it`s about time that journalists starting looking at something and saying, "Hey, that doesn`t match up to what the government`s saying." And that`s really what we saw in the last two weeks down in New Orleans.
Journalists were standing there, seeing something, and saying, "That`s not exactly what the president and FEMA are telling us." I would call that a lie. They would call it a misstatement of fact. But whatever you call it, they`re noticing something, and they`re reporting it, and they`re just telling it how it is. They`re telling it like it is. And it`s really refreshing to see on air.
HAMMER: And as I mentioned, getting involved. We`re seeing reporters rescuing stranded dogs. We`re seeing them actually help families find each other. It`s really almost impossible for these reporters in the field to stay detached from the story.
So, Jeff, is that a good thing or is that a bad thing, that they`re not so detached from the situation?
ALAN: A.J., it`s a good thing. Let me go back to something that Brian said for a second.
You know, a lot of times, reporters are afraid to ask real tough questions in a White House news briefing or at the Pentagon or what have you. And the reason is they`re afraid of repercussions from their own company or maybe even the government.
But how can you have repercussions when people are dying around you and starving, and what have you? So they became human. They went to rescue the people, rescue the animals. They got involved in the story. And I think we saw lot of reporters actually turn into reporters.
HAMMER: And, Jeff, let me follow-up with you on that, because after 9/11, it was basically unpatriotic to ask the tough questions of the government. We went to the war in Afghanistan. We went to war in Iraq. And if you were asking those tough questions, you were getting a hard time, whether it was from the organization you worked for or from the government itself.
So, has that really gone away with the Katrina story? How this sort of opened the door for reports to do their jobs better now?
ALAN: Well, first of all, you`d hope it does. But, you know, you`re really talking apples and oranges here, too. You`re talking a human catastrophe by Mother Nature versus something that was, you know, terrorism and what have you.
So, really, there`s two different feels to these two different stories. However, I think a lot of the journalists who are out there right now would want to, you know, really reflect on what`s happened in the last week or two, because it`s been a very, very different feeling, even in newsrooms, not for just the people who are sitting out, you know, in New Orleans and in Mississippi. People who are sitting in the newsrooms are feeling this, too. And I think that`s really important.
HAMMER: Yes, we`re definitely feeling it here at CNN Headquarters in New York City.
And I want to get back to the emotional side of that, which is always playing into how we`re all feeling. And, Brian, I want to ask you about this. In an Associated Press article today, NBC`s Brian Williams is quoted as saying, "If I let my emotion or anger get the better of me, what some would have a failing of a journalist I think should be taken the other way around on this story."
Should be getting a pass on this story and showing emotion, Brian?
STELTER: Well, hopefully this story won`t happen again for another 100 years. So this is such an abnormal and unusual situation. But I think journalists had to go above and beyond what they normally did. It wasn`t just enough to show the images. They had to get involved.
I don`t think they have to on every little story that comes along. But in this case, because it was extraordinary, they couldn`t help it. They couldn`t help themselves.
HAMMER: It would be a good thing for TV news if we keep going the direction we`re going. I think that`s for certain.
Brian Stelter, Jeff Alan, thanks for joining us on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
BRYANT: That does lead to our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." We have been asking you to vote on this question. Covering Hurricane Katrina: Is it OK for reporters to voice their opinion? You can keep voting at CNN.com/showbiztonight. You can also write us at showbiztonight@CNN.com. Your e-mails are coming up in just a few, at 54 past the hour.
Well, a majority of Americans say the media are acting responsibly in the coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. In a new CNN-"USA Today"-Gallup poll released today, 77 percent of those polled say they feel the news media has been responsible; 27 percent feel the media have been irresponsible. Either way, though, the vast majority of Americans are following the coverage; 96 percent say they are following the news; 58 percent say they`re following very closely; 38 percent, somewhat closely.
HAMMER: Time now for the "Legal Lowdown," a look at the top legal stories in the world of entertainment. Tonight, the Michael Jackson trial is over, of course, but another bizarre turn in the story of the jury. A juror is actually suing to get out of one of those book deals we were recently talking about.
And hey, hey, hey! It`s Fatalbert.org. I can`t believe I just did that.
Today, Bill Cosby, the man behind the big voice of the popular `70s cartoon, wins a battle to keep the Fat Albert name away from cyber porn. I`ll give you the skinny on that in just a moment.
Right now, joining us live to give us the "Legal Lowdown" from Hollywood, investigative journalist and attorney Harvey Levin.
Let`s get to the Michael Jackson juror, Ray Hultman, Harvey. He had signed this book deal. He was all set to write about his experiences on the jury, and now he wants out of the deal. What`s the story here?
HARVEY LEVIN, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: I mean, I hate to say this, A.J. This guy is just a jerk. I mean, you know, he says he was completely sandbagged on the jury because he really felt Michael Jackson was guilty. Now he`s saying that he was hoodwinked by this book publisher that he signed with, even though he shouldn`t have signed, because you`re not supposed to within 90 days of a verdict.
He says he had no idea what he was getting into, the book publisher deceived him. So this guy is the world`s greatest victim. And now he`s trying to get out from under the deal that he struck with the publisher.
HAMMER: And now, not only trying to get out of the deal, but he`s seeking damages of some sort?
LEVIN: For emotional distress. I mean, the most overwrought jury in the history of America. I mean, it is absolutely ridiculous.
This guy signed a deal that he knew he shouldn`t have signed to begin with. He came up with this crazy story that he had to say not guilty or else he would have been kicked off the jury.
When you think about it, well, then get kicked off the jury rather than doing what you don`t think is just. So, I mean, this guy is so in left field right now that, you know, my great hope and wish is that he will simply go away.
HAMMER: Well, before...
LEVIN: And by the way...
LEVIN: And by the way, he`s saying that his reputation was damaged, as if he`s John Grisham and can`t write any more books, like this guy has some kind of a track record to begin with. This lawsuit is absurd.
HAMMER: And just real quickly on that, you know, you`ve never been shy about your opinion of him having this book deal and about the fact that he`s gone on record saying that Jackson -- he shouldn`t have said Jackson is not guilty.
In this lawsuit that he`s pushing forward, is that going to affect him, do you think? Do you think -- if you were on the jury, I know how it was go, anyway.
LEVIN: I mean, he has absolutely -- look, you`re dealing with a guy who signed a book deal that he shouldn`t have signed in the first place. And now one of the reasons he`s trying to get out of it is he`s saying to the judge, "I shouldn`t have signed it, so let me out."
I mean, this guy wants everything. And, you know, I would not believe him if his tongue came notarized.
HAMMER: Well, let`s get to Bill Cosby. I got a minute left here. Cosby won the right to use the name "Fat Albert." We would think he should be able to use that name.
He`s able to use it on the Internet, should he choose now, thanks to this complaint that he filed with the U.N. And that`s because it crossed international boundaries.
Cosby said that fatalbert.org was being using in bad faith, because it was directing people to sites selling sexually explicit products.
The question I have for you, Harvey, how common is it for celebs to have to fight for the use of their own name?
LEVIN: It`s pretty common. One of the problems is that people take celebrity names and they think, "Wow, that`s going to be a marketable community." So people like Nicole Kidman, Pam Anderson, Madonna, all sorts of people, they just buy up their names. They only cost a few dollars. And they`re really not doing it for legitimate purposes.
So this U.N. organization is really there to protect people and say, "Look, this is really underhanded. You`re only doing it, you know, to basically make money off of somebody else`s name." And they`re really putting the brakes on, but we`ve been seeing this more and more.
HAMMER: And because it is the brand identity of those superstars, they`re entitled to use the name. I`m going to go back to my office right now and to see if Harveylevin.com is available.
LEVIN: I`m doubting there`s going to be a problem with that.
HAMMER: Appreciate you joining us tonight, Harvey. Have a good night.
LEVIN: OK, A.J.
BRYANT: There is still time for you to sound off in our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." Covering Hurricane Katrina: Is it OK for reporters to voice their opinions? You can vote at CNN.com/showbiztonight. Or write us at showbiztonight@CNN.com. Your e-mails are on the air, live next.
HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
Throughout the show, we have been asking you to vote online on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." Hurricane Katrina: Is it OK for reporters to voice their opinions?
BRYANT: Let`s take a look at how the vote is going so far. It`s very close: 52 percent of you say, yes, it is OK; 48 percent of you say, no, it isn`t.
These are the e-mails. Josh from Oklahoma writes, "A free press is essential to our democratic nation. It is absolutely imperative that people in the media share their opinion.
But Shauna from North Dakota says, "No way. A reporter`s job is to report the news, both sides. My job as the viewer is to make my own judgment."
You can continue to vote by going to CNN.com/showbiztonight.
Whether sharing opinions or just asking the hard questions, it is refreshing that reporters are doing that again, because there has to be accountability.
BRYANT: Certainly. And I think a lot of the time, though, the people agree that you should voice your opinion when they agree with you, you know what I mean?
BRYANT: But it is nice to see some hard news questions again.
Well, that is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Karyn Bryant.
HAMMER: I`m A.J. Hammer. Stay tuned for the latest from CNN Headline News.