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Hurricane Rita Batters Keys, Threatens Gulf Coast; New York Benefits Raise Funds for Hurricane Victims; Martha Stewart Opens up to Letterman

Aired September 20, 2005 - 19:00:00   ET


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


HAMMER (voice-over): On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The storm surge is really coming in and the wind is picking up. If I walk down there, it will come up to my knees.

HAMMER: ... Rita`s rampage. Hurricane Rita raking south Florida. Target: the Gulf Coast, again. And the reporters ready like never before. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT in the eye of the storm.

TED KOPPEL, HOST, "NIGHTLINE": I`ve known Peter since I was a kid and he was a kid. He is one of my oldest and dearest friends.

BRYANT (voice-over): Friends and colleagues remember the late Peter Jennings. The elegant anchorman`s elegant farewell. The journalist, the comrade, the legacy.


HAMMER: Martha, opening up like never before.

MARTHA STEWART, TALK SHOW HOST: I found out how strong I was during this whole ordeal.

HAMMER: Martha`s makeover. The new shows, the new attitude. Why Martha`s is saying, "Prison? What prison?"

PATRICIA ARQUETTE, ACTRESS: Hi. I`m Patricia Arquette. If it happened today, it`s on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


HAMMER: Hello, I`m A.J. Hammer.

BRYANT: I`m Karyn Bryant, and here we go again.

Another hurricane drama is playing out on TV tonight for all the world to see, and it could be shaping up to be a chilling repeat of Hurricane Katrina.

HAMMER: But as this storm goes by the name of Rita. Viewers are watching today as the Florida Keys took a beating, while the victims of Katrina shook their heads in disbelief that Rita may also be coming their way.

CNN`s Jennifer Westhoven live now in the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom with the latest -- Jennifer.


Tonight, forecasters are predicting Rita will be a Category 4 hurricane by tomorrow with winds reaching up to 155 miles per hour, just like Katrina.

Only this morning, Rita was just a tropical storm. Americans have watched on their TV screens as Rita grew and grew, intensifying by the hour.


WESTHOVEN (voice-over): It`s deja vu all over again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know we`re all weary from this season, but we have another storm to deal with.

WESTHOVEN: Katrina may be gone, but all day, it`s Rita that`s been on everyone`s minds.

MILES O`BRIEN, CO-HOST, "AMERICAN MORNING": We begin this morning with Tropical Storm Rita, the storm gaining strength and raising fears it could eventually hit the Gulf Coast.

WESTHOVEN: Fear, indeed, that an already very battered New Orleans may get pummeled again.

O`BRIEN: Did New Orleans given the compromised levees, it won`t take much of a hurricane to cause problems. As a matter of fact, just a lot of rainfall would cause a problem.

WESTHOVEN: And fears continued to mount as around 8 a.m. Rita grew.

O`BRIEN: This just in, it is now Hurricane Rita, Category 1.

WESTHOVEN: The trajectory? The Gulf Coast.

O`BRIEN: Just mentioning that prospect to folks in the Gulf shores of Louisiana, Mississippi and, for that matter, Texas sent shivers down their spine.

WESTHOVEN: The similarities between Katrina and Rita are striking. That had the live news media stepping up the questions.

O`BRIEN: In some respects, this storm parallels Katrina, doesn`t it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of the similarities to Katrina with Rita are the fact that it didn`t form until it got relatively close to the United States. And the fact that it`s passing over extreme southern Florida and that we think it has the potential to become a major hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico.

WESTHOVEN: It`s with urgency that TV forecasters tried to determine Rita`s path, an unpredictable storm that may or may not hit the Gulf Coast by the end of the week.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: The computer models have been a little bit confused lately. Yesterday, in the morning, they were all here. In the afternoon, they were here. Now they`re back out to the west. Sometimes I wonder why we look at these computer models at all.

WESTHOVEN: But as for today, Rita`s path is clear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Midday, early afternoon is when we think it will make its closest approach, perhaps directly over the lower Florida Keys.

WESTHOVEN: And around noon, that`s just what happened. And local reporters bore the brunt of this storm to tell America the story live.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The storm surge is really coming in and the wind is picking up. If you look, you can see it`s almost covering my boots. But if I walked down there, it will come up to my knees.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now, we are seeing the storm surge crossing South Roosevelt Boulevard from the ocean side. That right there, the Atlantic, this is the worst of it that we have seen since we`ve been out here since 6 this morning.

WESTHOVEN: And just when it got bad, it only got worse. An hour and a half later, Rita`s rampage grew stronger.

KYRA PHILLIPS, HOST, "LIVE FROM": Want to bring you in Jacqui Jeras real quickly. We`re getting word that Hurricane Rita has been upgraded -- Jacqui.

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That`s right. Just in, just in from the National Hurricane Center, the hurricane helicopters have flown into the storm and it`s now a Category 2 hurricane. It`s packing winds of 100 miles per hour.

WESTHOVEN: The storm was intensifying rapidly.

JERAS: Conditions are going downhill pretty quickly in the Keys. Now is the time that you need to hunker down. You need to be in your home at the safest place that you can be and wait out this storm.

WESTHOVEN: Weary communities, already tattered by Katrina, had enough.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can see the interesting sign there in front of the beauty shop, "Go away, Rita. We do not want you here. Leave us alone." The tattered tarp up there, by the way, is from Katrina.

WESTHOVEN: Not just the coastal towns but the reporters themselves were tired. Many have spent the last month in the rain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My next contract, of course, I am going to get that clause that says I don`t do anything else that messes up my hairdo anymore.

WESTHOVEN: Jokes aside, there`s no telling how strong Hurricane Rita could grow in the coming week. But for tonight, it doesn`t look good.

JERAS: It will continue to intensify.


WESTHOVEN: And this storm is still intensifying. As we mentioned earlier, by tomorrow, forecasters predict that Hurricane Rita will be a Category 4 and by the end of the week, it could hit land in the Gulf of Mexico around Texas -- Karyn.

BRYANT: Bad news. Well, thank you for bringing it to us, though. Jennifer Westhoven, live in New York.

HAMMER: Well, as Hurricane Rita threatens the Gulf Coast, tonight, some of the world`s biggest music stars are working together to help those whose lives were shattered by Katrina. New York City is hosting a pair of huge Katrina relief concerts. They`re calling it "From the Big Apple to the Big Easy."

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s David Haffenreffer has the latest -- David.

DAVID HAFFENREFFER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: ... held a fund-raiser for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Tonight, it`s the music industry coming together to do its part to help out.


HAFFENREFFER (voice-over): In two New York City concerts, one at Radio City Music Hall and the other at Madison Square Garden, musicians like Elton John, Jimmy Buffet, Elvis Costello, Dave Matthews, Simon and Garfunkel and Bette Midler are all performing.

Even New Orleans native Fats Domino is here tonight. He was rescued from the rising flood waters in New Orleans after he was missing with Katrina came ashore.

Aaron Neville is also performing. He tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT he`s excited to help out those who are most in need.

AARON NEVILLE, MUSICIAN: Right now, there`s people that was stuck in the Astrodome and all those places that don`t have no more homes. They don`t have nothing. They`re like vagabonds. They need to be taken care of.

I don`t know where the money is going and all, you know, but some money should be going to those people, you know? They should be building them houses somewhere.

I don`t know if they`ll get a chance to get back to New Orleans. I don`t know what they`re going to do with New Orleans. I hope they can build it back up soon.

HAFFENREFFER: And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT hit the streets to speak with fans coming to the benefit concert.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is just such an over pouring of love, and it`s just one of the greatest things that`s ever been done for this city. So...

HAFFENREFFER (on camera): Have you personally been affected by this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. My house is right by the Superdome.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m here to support a good cause. Friends like my friend in the hat over there lost everything down in New Orleans. Here to see some good music and help out. It`s all for a good cause and encourage people to come out if they`re not already doing anything tonight and come see the show.


HAFFENREFFER: And the icing on the cake here tonight is that Madison Square Garden is donating all of the production costs for this event, so 100 percent of the donations can go to the people who need it the most along the Gulf Coast.

A.J., back to you.

HAMMER: Thanks very much, David Haffenreffer. Now coming up a bit later on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, we`ll have my sit-down with Aaron Neville. You`ll hear what he has to say to people who think New Orleans cannot be rebuilt.

BRYANT: Tonight, new mom Britney Spears is opening up her checkbook for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Britney`s foundation announced two new grants to assist victims in Britney`s home state of Louisiana.

One hundred seventy-five thousand dollars will support Habitat for Humanity`s Operation Home Delivery, which is a long-term rebuilding plan for the Gulf Coast. Another $75,000 is pegged for a school system in Baton Rouge.

Britney`s web site says this is only the beginning of her relief efforts.

HAMMER: Well, coming up, we`ve got a final farewell to one of TV`s legends to talk about. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT takes you to the emotional tribute for the late Peter Jennings.

BRYANT: And Martha Stewart like you`ve never seen her before. Why she says prison was the best thing she could have done and how the slammer made her sweeter.

HAMMER: Plus, meet Earl. His near-death experience gave him a change to have a change of heart. Now he`s on a karma-cleansing mission. Actor Jason Lee joins us live for a SHOWBIZ SIT-DOWN.

BRYANT: Now tonight`s "Entertainment Weekly Great American Pop Culture Quiz." In "The Jetsons" theme song, who do you meet after George Jetson? Is it Elroy, Jane, Judy or Astro? We`ll be right back with the answer.


BRYANT: Once again, tonight`s "Entertainment Weekly Great American Pop Culture Quiz." I know you were singing the song in the whole break. In "The Jetsons" theme song, who do you meet after George Jetson? Is it Elroy, Jane, Judy or Astro? The answer is A, his boy Elroy.

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer.

Tonight, Martha Stewart opening up like never before about her prison ordeal in her most candid interview yet. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Sibila Vargas is live tonight in Hollywood with the latest on the Martha makeover -- Sibila.


Well, she`s definitely earned her stripes. You`ve got to say that, A.J. And now she`s earning new fans and a brand new image. And you thought Madonna was the queen of reinvention.

Sixty-four-year-old Martha Stewart is hotter than ever. And she just opened up to David Letterman at length and in detail about life behind bars and life after.


DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": Well, every now and then I would make jokes about...

STEWART: I heard.


STEWART: We had a TV.

LETTERMAN: And -- well.

VARGAS: Well, if you haven`t heard, Martha`s back, and she`s through being the butt of late-night jokes. For the first time ever, last night on "The Late Show with David Letterman," Martha opened up about her life then and her life now.

LETTERMAN: What are you thinking when you`re waiting to hear the return of the verdict? Do you have the feeling of which way it`s going to go, or you don`t know?

STEWART: We were pretty optimistic, actually. And when I heard the verdict, I actually thought I was in a bad dream. And then I heard a thunk behind me, and my daughter had fainted. And then I kind of woke up and realized that not only, you know, not only was I hurt but a lot of other people would be hurt by this verdict.


STEWART: So I was shocked back into reality.


VARGAS: And she spoke about all the negative attention.

STEWART: Well, I was less embarrassed than horrified, and that`s a very different feeling. And, and horrified, not only for me, but for everybody around me.

VARGAS: It was Martha like we`ve never seen her before. Almost sexy.

STEWART: Am I more attractive?

LETTERMAN: Yes, you are. Believe me.

VARGAS: And even funny. Time for her own prison jokes.

STEWART: I called it Yale. I always wanted to go to Yale. So -- but if I had not gone to Yale, I would have no TV show this fall. Not two TV shows. I wouldn`t have even one TV show this fall.


STEWART: I would not have -- probably not have a business. Going to Alderson was the best thing I could have done.

VARGAS: You can say that again. Yes, two new shows. Her syndicated talk show premiered last week.

STEWART: Nice to meet you.

VARGAS: And this group of smiling Martha wannabes will compete to be Martha`s staff on "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart." That show premieres tomorrow night on NBC.

The "Hollywood Reporter`s" Ray Richman told SHOWBIZ TONIGHT September is Martha Stewart national resurrection month.

RAY RICHMOND, "THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER": It`s just amazing the difference a year can make. I mean, you know, a year ago at this time, we`re like, "Yes, throw away the key." And now we`re like, "We love you, we love you."

VARGAS: Martha`s story is so good CBS couldn`t resist another made for TV movie. Talk about timing. The promo aired during the Letterman interview.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Martha Stewart was the queen of perfection until the stock scandal put her in jail.

VARGAS: Her ads for Kmart are back. And just today, Martha unveiled this new five-minute PETA expose, showing how animals are killed for their pelts. The expose was filmed on the set of her show.

STEWART: I used to wear real fur but like many others, I had a change of heart.

VARGAS: Seems like the public`s had a change of heart, too. The slammer made Martha sweeter than ever.

RICHMOND: The spin began even when she was in prison. The word was that she was getting along so well with her fellow inmates and she was teaching them how to cook and how do this. And, you know, it`s like prison just sounded like, you know, an extended Club Med. It just sounded like a terrific thing that all of us should aspire to.

VARGAS: And as she told Dave, all the better for it.

STEWART: This can`t ruin my life. Because I just don`t think -- I don`t feel guilty. And I don`t feel -- and I feel I had an unfair trial.

LETTERMAN: There must be then a great sense of...

STEWART: I feel good.


VARGAS: Quite an honest interview. Martha told Dave that her fellow inmates said that she was in a complete daze her first day in jail, and she said she doesn`t even remember that.

She didn`t talk about her appeal, because that`s still underway.

And it looks like Martha`s breaking records. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has word that at today`s taping of Martha`s daytime show, 164 women whose legal names were Martha Stewart gathered for the show, setting a brand new Guinness world record.

A.J., can you say it`s a good thing?

HAMMER: My goodness. That must be amazing. That many Martha Stewarts and their lives must have been severely affected most recently, I`m sure. Sibila Vargas, live in Hollywood. Thanks a lot.

VARGAS: You`re welcome.

BRYANT: Tonight, a major about face from the H&M clothing chain after supermodel Kate Moss` cocaine confession. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has learned H&M today dropped Moss as a spokesmodel.

H&M originally said it would proceed with the Kate Moss campaign in spite of her recent admission to cocaine use. The company now says it decided keeping Moss on board was not consistent with its clear disassociation from drugs.

Now, Moss was set to help launch a collection designed by fellow Brit and Paul McCartney`s daughter Stella McCartney.

And we do want to hear from you on this one. It`s our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Cocaine confession: does supermodel Kate Moss deserve to lose her endorsements? You can vote at You can send e-mails to us at We`ll read some of those e- mails later in the show.

Tonight in a SHOWBIZ SIT-DOWN, Jason Lee joins us live. His face has been plastered on billboards just about everywhere. There`s escaping them.

His new series, "My Name is Earl," debuts tonight. He plays a guy who`s basically on a mission to clean up his bad karma. And tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is on a mission to learn more about the man on all of those billboards.

Jason Lee, thanks for joining us live here in New York City.

JASON LEE, ACTOR: Thank you.

HAMMER: And seriously, a lot of publicity. There are so many new shows for the fall season, yet your show seems to be the one that I`m seeing the most, including -- I get my new copy of "Entertainment Weekly." I flip it open.

ROBOTIC VOICE: My name is Earl.

HAMMER: And there you are.

ROBOTIC VOICE: May good things happen to you.

HAMMER: I mean, you know, you`ve got the trailer in the magazine.

LEE: Wow.

HAMMER: If you could sign that for me after the show, I`d appreciate it.

The reviews have been amazing, things like best new comedy. A slam dunk hit. Comedic bull`s eye. Most promising new show. No. 1, that has to feel pretty good.

LEE: Yes, I mean, this is the most buzz anything I`ve ever been a part of has gotten, so it feels really good.

HAMMER: But does it add at all to any of the pressure, particularly with NBC really looking to score a comedy hit?

LEE: It would, but I`ve seen the first few episodes of the show, and it is very, very good. So I`m proud of it. So I`m not as nervous as I would be if it were something that I wasn`t -- I wasn`t as proud of as I am. It`s really good.

HAMMER: And of course, since "Friends" went off the air, as I mentioned, NBC really looking for their next big comedy hit. Does that at all involve you in terms of, you know, the big executives coming around to you saying, you know, "We need another `Seinfeld`"? Are they saying, you know, "This has to fly, man"?

LEE: I don`t know, you know, what goes on behind the scenes on that level. But you know, I think they are banking on the show. But again, you know, I think it`s going to do well.

And they genuinely love the show. Kevin Riley, you know, really pushed for it to happen at the very beginning, supposedly. And loved the show right away.

So, you know, it takes -- you know, I don`t have nearly as much pressure as they do or as, you know, Greg Garcia does who created the show.

HAMMER: Right.

LEE: But I think it will do well.

HAMMER: And did you watch, like, "Seinfeld"? Were you a huge fan?

LEE: Yes. "Seinfeld" was good. Yes, "Seinfeld" was good.

HAMMER: Favorite episode? Everybody`s got one.

LEE: I don`t know the show that well. I`m a "Family Guy" guy. I like, you know, "The Simpsons" and stuff. I like the stuff that`s a little dark. Little twisted.

HAMMER: Your guy is a little twisted. Earl, your character looking to turn things around in his life. He has an epiphany of watching, of all things, "Last Call with Carson Daly." He learns the meaning of life from "Last Call with Carson Daly."

Has it ever happened to you where you`re watching TV and you`re like, "Oh man, I suddenly get it"?

LEE: No, no. That`s the beauty of it. I mean Earl doesn`t know who Carson Daly is. He`s never heard of this concept of karma. And so that`s a part of -- the side of Earl that makes him likable is that innocence. You know? He`s watching Carson Daly. He`s talking about this thing called karma.

And it clicks. I lost this lottery ticket of mine worth $100,000, because I`m a terrible person. So, there`s humor in that, that this guy doesn`t know who Carson Daly is.

HAMMER: And you say -- come out saying bad things happen to bad people who do bad things and good things happen to good people that do good things. You`ve had a pretty solid career. Do you believe that karma is sort of on your side? Have you done good things all your life?

LEE: For the most part, you know, I think I`ve made some good choices as an actor. I`ve made some not so good choices. But I think the good outweighs the bad and that`s ultimately why I`m here today, I think.

HAMMER: And tell me if this is correct. I had read that you decided to become an actor after seeing Steve Buscemi in, of all things, "Barton Fink," way back in 1991.

You were about to turn, or you had turned pro-skate boarder.

LEE: Yes.

HAMMER: And you said, "That`s what I want to do."

LEE: Yes. I -- and it`s funny that I`m on "My Name is Earl," which is similar in tone to the world that -- or the worlds that the Cohen brothers have created.

Yes, I watched that movie and was genuinely intrigued by this -- by making movies. I had no idea what actors went through. So it was a genuine interest to want to become an actor because of worlds -- these worlds that were being created.

HAMMER: And the next thing we`ll get to see you in once the show is off and running is a movie that you just wrapped with Steve Buscemi. And thank you very much for coming on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Best of luck with the show, man.

LEE: Thank you very much.

HAMMER: Have a fun time watching it, I guess, back in the hotel room.

LEE: Yes, exactly.

HAMMER: And Jason Lee, who can be seen, again, on "My Name is Earl" when it makes its series debut tonight on NBC.

BRYANT: Katrina all over again? Rita`s rage may be worse than expected. We are going to hear from the reporters stuck in this new storm.

HAMMER: Plus, Aaron Neville`s personal crusade for his ravaged hometown of New Orleans. What the singer says must be done to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. It`s coming up in a "SHOWBIZ Sit-down."

BRYANT: And "Redbook" rolls out the carpet for mothers and shakers, including "AMERICAN MORNING`s" own Soledad O`Brien. The magazine`s honorees and their small steps for big change.


BRYANT: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Karyn Bryant.

Tonight, the spotlight is on super star ladies. "Redbook" magazine honored its favorite mothers and shakers on a pink carpet at New York City`s Lincoln Center.

"AMERICAN MORNING`s" own Soledad O`Brien served as the keynote speaker. Looking good there. Country singer Tricia Yearwood and actress Sharon Stone were also rewarded for their work with charities and for their work as mothers.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT caught up with the busy ladies, and they all agreed that their superstar status makes them no different from any other woman.


TRICIA YEARWOOD, COUNTRY SINGER: It really shows how charity is born out of just a desire to do the right thing. Not necessarily having a lot of money, not necessarily knowing exactly how you`re going to go about it. A lot of these things, a lot of these women are being honored because they had an idea that turned into something really huge.

SOLEDAD O`BRIEN, CO-HOST, "AMERICAN MORNING": You know, these are all women with a lot going on. They`re very busy. And who understand that, you know, this world is ours to make a difference in. And they`re all incredibly impressive. So I`m just thrilled to be a part of it.

SHARON STONE, ACTRESS: The phone`s ringing and stuff is happening, like all women. It`s nothing new at my house. It`s just you running and doing and making it happen.


BRYANT: "Law & Order: SVU" star Mariska Hargitay wasn`t able to attend but she was honored, as well, for her work with victims of rape and sexual abuse -- A.J.

HAMMER: Well, Karyn, yesterday we were talking about Kate Moss, how she found herself in a little bit trouble when she was caught on video doing something she shouldn`t have been doing. And basically it is not going well for her. We`re going to talk about that coming up. And the "Legal Lowdown" on the way in a few moments.

BRYANT: A musical memorial for anchorman Peter Jennings. Thousands pay tribute to a man they say is irreplaceable. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is there.

HAMMER: Plus, more danger is headed for the Gulf Coast as Hurricane Rita gains strength. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT takes you into the trenches as the news media braces for another bit storm from Mother Nature.


BRYANT: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. it`s 31 minutes past the hour. I`m Karyn Bryant.

HAMMER: And I`m A.J. Hammer. You`re watching TV`s only live entertainment news show. Still to come in the next half hour, a memorial held in New York City today for the late anchor Peter Jennings. It was a who`s who of the news business. Our David Haffenreffer attended and talked to some of those folks. That is on the way.

BRYANT: Also on the way, we`ll be going in the trenches with a reporter in the middle of the storm. Hurricane Katrina Rita is strengthening and it`s going to get more and more severe and we`re going to find out what we have learned from hurricane Katrina when it comes to covering a hurricane.

But first, let`s get tonight`s hot headlines. Sibila Vargas joins us again from Hollywood.

Hey there, Sibila.

VARGAS: Thanks Karyn.

Tonight a deadlocked jury in the case of the alleged plot to kidnap a popular radio talk show host. A federal judge in New York today declared a mistrial in the case of John "Junior" Gotti. He was accused of plotting the kidnapping of Curtis Sliwa because of comments Sliwa made about his late father, mob boss, John Gotti.

Tonight, explosive allegations against R.Kelly, his estranged wife claims he beat her up. Today SHOWBIZ TONIGHT obtained a copy of restraining order filed by Andrea Kelly in Illinois. In it she says that Kelly hit her when she asked him for a divorce. No word from R.Kelly tonight.

The international H&M clothing chain did an about-face today dropped supermodel Kate Moss as the face of it`s new ad campaign. After previously standing behind Moss, she admitted to recently using cocaine. H&M backed down today and said it will not use Moss to promote a new line of clothes designed by Stella McCartney.

And those are the hot headlines, A.J., back to you.

BRYANT: I`ll take it from here.

VARGAS: Sorry Karyn.

BRYANT: That`s OK. Sibila Vargas, live in Hollywood, thanks for that report.

And this does lead to our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." The last story there, about Kate Moss. Cocaine Confession: Does supermodel Kate Moss deserve to lose her endorsements? Keep voting at You can write at your e- mails are coming up at 54 past the hour.

HAMMER: Tonight, remembering Peter Jennings. He was a one-of-kind newsman, a veteran in the business. And today, friends and colleagues gathered to share memories and to celebrate the life of the longtime ABC anchor. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s David Haffenreffer was at the memorial service in New York City and joins us now.

HAFFENREFFER: A.J., a who`s who of celebrities from the news and entertainment industry showed up today to remember ABC newsman Peter Jennings. For those who attended the memorial service at Carnegie Hall, it was an opportunity to reflect, not only on an incredible career but also, say goodbye to a dear friend.


ALAN ALDA, FRIEND OF JENNINGS: Others will step in and do his job with excellence, but no one can replace the unique person that was Peter.

HAFFENREFFER (voice-over): A public tribute to a public man. Actor Alan Alda on the late, great, Peter Jennings at his memorial service held today in New York City.

ALDA: He was complex and simple at the same time. Knowledgeable and inquisitive, kind and tough, all at the same time.

HAFFENREFFER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT was there as hundreds of Jennings` friends and colleagues and public showed up to remember and celebrate the life of one of TV`s veteran newscasters, among those, his lifelong friend, "Nightline" anchor, Ted Koppel.

TED KOPPEL, NIGHTLINE ANCHOR: When we began at ABC together, he was known as the handsome one and I was known as the smart one. Over the course of decades, he was still known as the handsome one but also, as being very, very smart.

HAFFENREFFER: His memorial service read like a who`s who in the news industry. Barbara Walters, Dianne Sawyer, Ed Bradley, and Dan Rather all showed up to say a final good-bye to their colleague and their friend.

Jennings was a mentor to former ABC News anchor Kevin Newman. Newman told me he aspired to be just like Jennings.

KEVIN NEWMAN, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: I can honestly say that everything I learned of value in live television I learned from watching Peter Jennings because he had a way of being at the center of this enormous information flow, processing it and bringing it out as poetry.

HAFFENREFFER: As anchor of "World News Tonight" more than 20 years.

PETER JENNINGS, ABC WORLD NEWS TONIGHT: The polls beginning to close.

HAFFENREFFER: Jennings presented news to millions of viewers each night. He was known for being honest and open. He even shared on-air, the news of his own illness.

JENNINGS: As some of you now know, I have learned in the last couple of days that I have lung cancer. Yes, I was a smoker until about 20 years ago and I was weak and I smoked over 9/11.

HAFFENREFFER: After that announcement, he told viewers he would still continue to do the broadcast.

JENNINGS: On good days, my voice will not always be like this.

HAFFENREFFER: He would never appear on air again. Jennings passed away from lung cancer on August 7 at the age of 67. But even if the man who used to occupy the center chair is gone, Jennings is still being celebrated by those who knew him like CNN`s Christiane Amanpour.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He was the foreign correspondent`s foreign correspondent. You know? Before he became an anchor, he was, you know, pounding the foreign beat. So, those of us who wanted to be foreign correspondents, looked up to him.

DAN RATHER, CBS NEWS FRIEND OF JENNINGS: Peter Jennings was a hell of a man. He had terrific character, stood by his friends, took care of his family.

HAFFENREFFER (on camera): The death of Peter Jennings came at a time of seismic change for the broadcast network news divisions. A time in which we saw the retirement of two of Peter Jennings` biggest competitors, NBC`s Tom Brokaw and CBS` Dan Rather.

(voice-over): Millions continued to watch the network newscasts, but some say there`ll never going to be anyone like Jennings, people like Sharon Stone.

SHARON STONE, ACTRESS: The genuine step in there, walk into things courageously, quietly, elegantly, and try to do the right thing person.

JENNINGS: And I`m Peter Jennings. Thanks and goodnight.


HAFFENREFFER: ABC hasn`t announced a permanent replacement for Peter Jennings` anchor seat. Charles Gibson and Elizabeth Vargas continue to do the bulk of the fill in work on a nightly basis -- A.J.

HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s David Haffenreffer, thank you very much.

Well, as we told you earlier, tonight New York City plays host to two huge Katrina relief concerts called "From the Big Apple to the Big Easy." Grammy award winning singer Aaron Neville is a big part of that effort. I had a chance to sit down with the New Orleans native and he`s got a pretty strong message for those who think the Crescent City will never be the same.


HAMMER: Has the shock of what happened in New Orleans and hometown, has it turned to reality for you yet?

AARON NEVILLE, SINGER: I don`t think so. You know, I`ve been keeping busy and you know, like the first seven days was like reality watching New Orleans and watching the people holler, screaming for help and nobody was coming. That`s definitely been a reality.

HAMMER: What needs to be done to make sure celebrities stay involved in the cause and keep after it.

NEVILLE: Well, I tell you what, I talked with Winton Marsalis and talking about his family and my family getting together at least once a month or twice a month and doing something to keep the focus on what`s happening with the people that were displaced and lost they homes and all. You know, it was -- the musicians in New Orleans, you know, they scattered around and we not going to let it just go, fall by the wayside.

HAMMER: This is going to be, inevitably, a part of your life for the rest of your life, in one way or another.

NEVILLE: Definitely. I think it`s going to be all right, you know, but they got to do something about New Orleans. They got to build it up so they won`t be below sea level. First of all, they got to take care of those people. Those people are hurting, you know, especially the ones left that was and had to get out on the -- whatever, you know, get rescued. I`m sure they`ve had nightmares every night.

HAMMER: From your perspective, what is one thing that`s not being done that absolutely should be getting done right now?

NEVILLE: Right now, there`s people, those stuck in the Astrodome and all those places with don`t have no more home, they don`t have nothing. They like vagabonds. They need to be taken care of.

HAMMER: We certainly know the value of the culture of New Orleans.


HAMMER: You know, it is the cradle of jazz and so much wonderful music and food and people. I always say to people, it is pretty much as close to come to leaving the United States without leaving the United States.

NEVILLE: It`s like a island just stuck onto the States, you know?

HAMMER: So, what do you say to people who might even suggest it`s not worth rebuilding?

NEVILLE: Well, I think that`s -- I say they`re crazy, you know, like, New Orleans is, you know, people come from all over the world to go to New Orleans and see its cultures, it`s different -- it`s gumbo of cultures, you know, because there`s so many different -- it`s like a melting pot, you know.

HAMMER: And you are doing your part with the various relief efforts you`ve been involved and you have part of the proceeds from album sales, both Neville Brothers as well as your forthcoming Christmas CD?


HAMMER: Going to be donating money to various charities?

NEVILLE: Yeah. I donate some and then the report company will match what I donate, you know. So, you know, it`s my people, my hometown and I feel kin to all of those people down there, you know?

HAMMER: You`ve talked about the difficult things you`ve experienced through the whole aftermath of Katrina. What`s the best thing that you`ve seen come through all this?

NEVILLE: The best thing I guess is to see so many people rally around, you know, to come and help. You know? To do benefits, you know, people from all over the world. Because I know the world was watching those seven days when those people were lost down there, you know?

HAMMER: Have you been angry?

NEVILLE: I haven`t had a chance -- I was angry that first week, you know. At first I was sad. I was, you know, wow, I wanted to cry, you know? But, you know, getting mad don`t do nothing, you know?

HAMMER: Raising money does, though.

NEVILLE: There you go.

HAMMER: Aaron Neville, always good to see you.

NEVILLE: Always a pleasure.

HAMMER: Thanks.


HAMMER: Aaron`s efforts have not stopped. The Neville Brothers will take to the stage tonight, along with the Dave Matthews Band, Elton John, and a super-rare reunion by Simon and Garfunkel, among many others. "From the Big Apple to the Big Easy" is on pay-per-view and every single cent is going towards the hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

BRYANT: Well, tonight, Hurricane Rita could hit the Gulf Coast. How will TV crews cover it if it hits that area again? We`ve got a live report next.

HAMMER: Also, Kate Moss does drugs and is dumped. But, how did a huge clothing store get out of it`s contract with her? It`s coming up in tonight`s "Legal Lowdown."


BRYANT: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT I`m Karyn Bryant. As we reported earlier, officials, residents, and journalists are bracing for the unthinkable. The possibility of another deadly hurricane striking the Gulf Coast. Hurricane Rita could reach category 4 status today, the same strength that Katrina reached when it devastated the Gulf Coast. So, with TV crews both physically and mentally drained, how will they cope with the possibility of having to do it all over again?

Well, CNN`s Rick Sanchez is live in Key West, Florida for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT where the effects of the storm being felt.

Rick, thanks for joining us. And I have to ask, you were in the trenches covering Katrina. You`re down there now with Rita. Are you exhausted? Are you whooped? Tell me how this is wearing on you.

RICH SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You get tired. I mean, I`m not going to lie to you. There`s -- there`s a certain -- conditions are difficult. This is one of the most -- some of the most beautiful places in town. Unfortunately, it`s not so beautiful when you don`t have electricity, you don`t have light or running water, the bathrooms don`t work, there`s no food. It`s -- you know, it is very difficult. But, remember, we come in and we`re able to get out. The people who have to put up with this, for them, it`s very, very, very difficult because they have to live with this and for them, there usually isn`t a way out.

BRYANT: Were there news survival techniques you learned with Katrina that you`re applying to Rita?

SANCHEZ: Well, I think part of the -- part of the answer is what you mentioned a little while ago. And I`ve been covering storms and grown up around storms in south Florida most of my life and I`ve never seen a year like this, one after another. You know see storms and see a Category 1, maybe a tropical storm that threatens, one that`s going to come and never actually hits but to actually see some -- and -- I`m here in Key West now - - from New York and Atlanta telling me, you know, don`t -- don`t get ready to do anything else except head for Galveston because it looks like they could be hit with a Category 4, Category 5. It almost gets to the point where you want to -- you say to yourself, even a news hound like myself, "No, enough." I mean, you don`t want to see people suffer. You don`t want to see infrastructures affected the way they are and it`s very difficult to go in time and time again and cover a story like this. This has been, no question, a remarkable year when it comes to Mother Nature and hurricanes.

BRYANT: You know, I have come family down in Florida, as well. And Rick, I know you have called this area home. So, tell me how this feels in your heart covering this? It must be very personal.

SANCHEZ: Did you say does it get personal?

BRYANT: You must be feeling personal, I would imagine, because that`s your home.

SANCHEZ: Oh, there`s no question. I mean, I was here through Andrew. I`ve been here through so many storms in south Florida and the people here, their hardy. You know, it`s amazing what`s going on (INAUDIBLE), just below me. So many, 50 percent of the people chose here not to leave because they`re sophisticated enough to know that, you know what, maybe CNN maybe the local stations talking about it, but this is a Category 1 or Category 2 hurricane, it`s not going to require my leaving. I know how to stay and do things. So, the people are sophisticated, but you wonder after a while how beat up they can get before you start to see an effect; for example, the real estate market. South Florida, hottest market in the country, has it shown even a little bit of a bubble as a result of what`s going on with these hurricanes? Absolutely not. People are convinced that this is in their minds one of the best places to live. So, so they keep coming back and stay here.

BRYANT: All right, well Rick, take it easy out there. Stay safe. Thanks for joining us. CNN`s Rick Sanchez in Key West.

Well, it is time now for the "Legal Lowdown." Tonight on the docket, a stunning about-face, for a pretty face. Today, clothing giant H&M changed their mind and dumped supermodel Kate Moss as the face of their new ad campaign. This, just a couple of days ago said they were sticking with Moss, even after she admitted to recently snorting cocaine.

Also tonight, ABC`s hit reality show, "Extreme Makeover" is being sued for a tragic suicide. But we wonder who is really responsible. Joining us live from Las Vegas, Nevada, is investigative journalist, Pat Lalama.

Pat, thanks for joining us again, Pat.

H&M had originally forgiven Kate Moss because she said she used cocaine, now they`re dumped her. We have to wonder, was there a morals clause in her initial contract? Is that why they`re able to just sort of get rid of her now?

PAT LALAMA, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Oh, absolutely. And I think the fact that initially they said, "No problem, Kate. Everything`s going to be OK," it was just a matter of time before they sat down and page by page by page with all the men and women in suits and said, "You know what? We really can`t do this." Because clearly, this kind of behavior, if true, is not a good reflection on the products. They have every right to do what they`re doing. And I thought what they were trying doing to do is appear like stand-up people in the beginning by saying it`s OK but had to do that and then once they look at the contract, then they came to their senses and said, "You know what? We cannot justify this." And I believe they did the right thing.

BRYANT: So, Kate Moss is also the face of Remmel Cosmetics, she has done Chanel campaigns, Burberry, Dior. If she loses the other endorsements, does she have any right to sue the "Daily Mirror," the magazine that published the pictures of her, does she and any right to sue them for ruination if she can`t get more work?

LALAMA: Well, I hope that somebody would challenge me if I`m wrong, but to the best of my knowledge, unless she can prove that that paper, with malice, set out to ruin her life, that she really doesn`t have a leg to stand on. If what they did is within the parameters of the law, then tough for her she should have known better. And I really doubt you`re going to see that happen.

BRYANT: Not feeling the sympathy from you.

LALAMA: I`m not feeling the sympathy. Listen, she is the one that broke up with her on again, off again boyfriend saying she is a bad influence on 2-year-old child? Excuse me.

BRYANT: Yeah. Pot calling the kettle black is what I like to call that one.

LALAMA: There you go. There you go.

BRYANT: Well, let`s move on to this story. This is so sad. "Extreme Makeover," a candidate had gone through the process of being on the show. The producers of the show basically had her family members say mean things about her, you know, so that when the transition is made, everything`s lovely. Well, this woman did not end up being on the show. Her sister then committed suicide because of the things she said. It`s just terrible. Who is responsible for this? Is there any way to have a claim against "Extreme Makeover"?

LALAMA: Karyn, it`s so sad and I could have predicted this with reality television. First of all, let`s start with the fact that the beast is hungrier and hungrier now in reality television. Everybody wants the ratings. And you have to believe there`s pressure put on these people to perform and do things that shock and outrage us. This was one of those cases. Legally, they make them sign deals saying don`t come to me for a hangnail. I am not responsible for anything that was to you on this show. They have these ironclad contracts. But, what I quantity to see now is let`s talk about some moral or, you know, personal humane qualities on the parts of the people who do push the people too far. I think you are going to see is it`s more of a morals issue. I would ask myself if I`m a producer, can I sleep at night?

BRYANT: Right.

LALAMA: Am I responsible for this? But is that illegal to do what they did? I don`t know. I don`t think so.

BRYANT: It`s just icky is what it is.

LALAMA: Yes it is. It`s icky.

BRYANT: Well thank you very much for joining us tonight. Pat Lalama joining us from Las Vegas.

HAMMER: So many moments from the Emmy Awards, this weekend. Jay Leno happened to find one that was tucked away, so to speak. Take a look at this clip from "The Tonight Show" in "Laughter Dark."


JAY LENO, THE TONIGHT SHOW: Probably the most memorable moment when the actress S. Epatha Merkerson, you know, she`s on "Law & Order." She also won Best Actress for "Lackawanna Blues." She accidentally dropped the acceptance speech down the front of the gown.


LENO: Same thing happened to Elton John at the Grammys last week. Remember?


LENO: And did she try to fish it out? It was -- show the tape from last night. Take a look.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the Emmy goes to. S. Epatra -


S. EPATHA MERKERSON, ACTRESS: Oh my god. I actually wrote something and put it in the thing and went down and I can`t get it. It`s in there. So, um, it`s probably stuck to me.


HAMMER: You know, I hadn`t seen that camera angle before. Thank goodness for "The Tonight Show."

Still time for you to sound off in our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. The Cocaine Confession: Does supermodel Kate Mss deserve to lose her endorsements? Vote at Or write to us your comments at is our address. We`re going read some of your e-mails live, next.


HAMMER: Throughout the show, we`ve been asking you to vote online on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Cocaine Confession: Dodoes supermodel Kate Moss deserve to lose her endorsements?

Well, here`s how vote`s been going tonight: 78 percent say yes, she does deserve to lose the endorsements. Twenty-two percent of you say no, she does not.

We got an e-mail from Kathy in Montana who writes: "Most people deserve a second chance, but she is in a profession that should know better."

Diane from New Jersey thinks differently. "By firing her because she admitted the truth, the industry continues to send the message that `lying` is better."

You can continue to vote if you`d like, is our address on the World Wide Web -- Karyn.

BRYANT: It will be interesting to see what happens with the other endorsements.

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

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


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