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Virginia Democrats Want Ben Affleck for Senator; Helicopter Reporter Shares Birds-Eye View of Hurricanes; Geena Davis Dishes on Playing First Female President
Aired September 27, 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, "Benator" Affleck? Tonight, one state likes Ben Affleck so much they want him to be their senator? Why this daredevil could soon end up in D.C.
And what about other public figures in public office? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT asks, do politics and Hollywood make strange bedfellows?
HAMMER (voice-over): Also, shocking images from the sky. He`s the helicopter reporter that`s brought us non-stop, heart-wrenching scenes of the devastation left behind by Katrina and Rita.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even from the air, it was just very overwhelming, very emotional for us.
HAMMER: The memories and the moments. Tonight, his emotional story, live.
BRYANT: Plus, Mrs. Smith goes to Washington. Tonight, why Anna Nicole Smith is heading to the nation`s highest court. It`s the blonde bombshell`s battle for big bucks. We`re talking hundreds of millions of dollars. That`s in the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Legal Lowdown."
DONALD TRUMP, REAL ESTATE MOGUL: Hi, I`m Donald Trump.
MELANIA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP`S WIFE: Hi, I`m Melania Trump.
D. TRUMP: And if it happened today, it`s on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
HAMMER: Hello, I`m A.J. Hammer.
BRYANT: I`m Karyn Bryant.
Tonight, the hottest story in Hollywood and the biggest buzz inside the beltway is about the political aspirations of one of Hollywood`s a-list actors, and it may not be who you think it is.
BRYANT: That`s right. There is word tonight Ben Affleck -- I said Ben Affleck -- might go from the Hollywood hills to Capitol Hill. David Haffenreffer is live in the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom to sort out the fact from political fiction for us.
What the heck is going on, David?
DAVID HAFFENREFFER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Imagine that. Yes, it`s one of those rare occasions when Hollywood gossip columnists and Washington political pundits can dish about the exact same rumor.
It all started with an item in today`s "Washington Post," which said that Democrats in one state want Affleck to run for U.S. Senate next year. But it`s not Affleck`s home state of Massachusetts that reportedly wants him.
HAFFENREFFER (voice-over): Forget about Bennifer. We could soon be hearing about "Benator." If the stories coming from Virginia are true.
PROFESSOR LARRY SABATO, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: Maybe they`ve heard the old phrase that Washington is Hollywood for ugly people and they have decided to try a beautiful person.
HAFFENREFFER: Today`s "Washington Post" reports that some Democrats are dreaming of making Massachusetts native Ben Affleck the next U.S. senator from Virginia.
AMY ARGETSINGER, "WASHINGTON POST": Democrats in Virginia and on Capitol Hill, they need someone to run for Senate against George Allen, the current Republican senator who is eyeing the White House in 2008. They don`t really want him to have an easy ride of it, so they need to find someone spectacular and wealthy to run against him.
HAFFENREFFER: Adding fuel to this political fire, reports that Ben Affleck and his new bride, Jennifer Garner, recently went house hunting in the historic town of Charlottesville, Virginia. That has some Democrats in the Old Dominion salivating.
ARGETSINGER: In this day and age, sometimes all you need to slow down the leading candidate is a photogenic guy who can speak well and he has a lot of his own money to spend on the race. That`s Affleck.
HAFFENREFFER: Ben Affleck is no stranger to politics. He`s given money to Democrat candidates, and last year, he campaigned hard for Democratic presidential nominee, John Kerry.
BEN AFFLECK, ACTOR: I happen to know and be fortunate to know Senator Kerry and know him as an extremely warm, approachable, kind, principled, decent man.
JENNIFER GARNER, ACTRESS: Fire!
HAFFENREFFER: Don`t get your "Daredevil for Senator" stickers ready just yet. Ben`s publicist tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT that Affleck and Garner, who met on the set of "Daredevil," never did any serious house hunting in Virginia.
The publicist called us to say, quote, "Ben has never indicated to me any intention to run for office. Maybe one day I could see him running for office and most likely from Massachusetts and it would be a long ways in the future."
And even if he were to run, could he win?
SABATO: He would be much better off to go to New York and try to succeed Hillary Clinton if she`s elected president.
HAFFENREFFER: Political expert Larry Sabato says there`s no way Affleck would win a Senate race in Virginia.
SABATO: Virginia is a red state. It voted for Bush handily in both 2000 and 2004, and the kind of Democrats who get elected in Virginia are moderate Democrats. Affleck is clearly a liberal Democrat.
HAFFENREFFER: That`s one opinion, but SHOWBIZ TONIGHT wanted to get another opinion on Affleck`s political chances, so we went straight to the top, the president of the United States.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Any other questions?
HAFFENREFFER: No, not him. We asked Geena Davis, who plays the president in the new ABC drama, "Commander in Chief" about the "Benator" rumors.
GEENA DAVIS, ACTRESS: People should do whatever they`re inclined to do and, certainly, some actors have had great success with pursuing politics.
HAFFENREFFER: That`s certainly true. Everyone from Clint Eastwood to former Senator Fred Thompson have turned acting careers into political careers.
In California, there are rumors that former actor and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger may face a re-election challenge from fellow actor Warren Beatty.
Even Gopher from "The Love Boat" got elected to Congress and as we all know, one actor went from...
RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Win just one for the Gipper.
HAFFENREFFER: ... to...
REAGAN: I, Ronald Reagan, do solemnly swear.
HAFFENREFFER: So while it`s tempting to dismiss "Benator" rumors, keep in mind, stranger things have happened.
SABATO: I never rule anything out totally, because strange things happen in the world of politics just like the world of Hollywood.
HAFFENREFFER: That might be a big understatement right there. If Virginia Democrats don`t get Affleck, word is they`re eyeing another celebrity for next year`s Senate race.
"The Washington Post" tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT that best-selling author John Grisham has also been approached. Reportedly, he`s not interested. At this rate, Virginia Democrats may have to turn to an actual politician.
Karyn, back to you.
BRYANT: They might indeed. Thanks very much, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s David Haffenreffer, reporting live from the newsroom.
Well, we couldn`t wait until the election next year, so we wanted to hear from you. Tonight, it`s our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Ben Affleck for senator: would you vote for him? You can vote at CNN.com/ShowbizTonight. You can send e-mail to us at ShowbizTonight@CNN.com. And we will read some of those e-mails later in the show.
HAMMER: A dramatic confrontation on television today as the man who became the face of failure after Hurricane Katrina hit got grilled in Congress.
Fired FEMA director Michael Brown testified before a House panel looking into the bungled government response to the Katrina disaster.
During the hearings carried live here on CNN, Brown blamed everyone from local officials to the media for what happened. Take a look now at this particular face-off with Connecticut Republican Congressman Christopher Shays.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL BROWN, FORMER FEMA DIRECTOR: You should come over here and sit in this chair and see how protected you feel, feel how it feels to be yanked out of where you were trying to do your damnedest to make something work and told to go back home and make the decision that you`re going to quit because you`re no longer effective, and you`re no longer effective because the media is spreading lies about a resume.
REP. CHRISTOPHER SHAYS (R), CONNECTICUT: No, because you didn`t do a good job is why you were let go, because you were clueless about what was happening, and because you allowed the department to be eviscerated without publicly speaking out and making sure it didn`t happen. That`s why...
BROWN: You make -- Congressman, you make your choice about how to deal with it and I`ve made my choice about how to deal with it and I think that you and I can just respectfully disagree.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: Brown is reportedly being paid as a consultant to help FEMA figure out exactly what went wrong in the aftermath.
BRYANT: Tonight, a bird`s-eye view of the heartbreak of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. You`ve heard cameraman and reporter J.T. Alpaugh on CNN during the last month as he brought us the aerial images of the destruction left behind by the killer storms. He has seen both devastating loss but also human triumph in the Gulf Coast.
Joining us live from Hollywood to share some of his life-altering stories is J.T. Alpaugh, reporter for Helinet Aviation Services. Now J.T., before we talk, I want to remind people of how they know you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
J.T. ALPAUGH, HELINET AVIATION SERVICES: Some of the residences that -- you can just see the despair here. We`re going to park it. This is just what we`ve seen, and this poor woman is, obviously just got back down to her neighborhood and realized the damage of her house. This is very emotional moment being caught here. And we`re trying to show you this without being too invasive, but this is a scene that we`re seeing over and over again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRYANT: So, J.T., this was a scene of somebody going home to find that nothing was left. This is from your last day on the job, yesterday, is that correct?
ALPAUGH: That`s correct, Karyn. We stopped yesterday and this was the Chalmette area in the St. Bernard Parish, where numerous residents were let back into the area. And you could see them coming back into the areas and realizing that the glimmer of hope that they thought maybe some of their homes might have been saved or maybe spared some of the damage. They realize that it was not. And you can just see the body language and all the hope just leave their bodies. It was a very emotional day yesterday in the Chalmette area.
BRYANT: And you saw this over and over. So how were you feeling shooting all of this?
ALPAUGH: Well, it`s very different in a helicopter. You`re usually very removed from news stories, but this one, Katrina and Rita, you couldn`t help but be personally involved and feel the emotions for these people.
Several times we, you know, would realize that we took up a lieutenant with the police, the port police in New Orleans and took him through the areas where his home was at. And he realized that his home was gone, and his head sunk into his head and he started crying on board the helicopter.
And you really get sucked into the emotion of something like that. It was a very, very trying month for us, for myself and Alan Perlman (ph) of Helinet. And it became very emotionally involved for us, but it was a job that we needed to do and show the world these images.
BRYANT: I felt helpless sitting here in New York City watching these images. I couldn`t get hands on. You were flying over people, literally just a number of feet away from them in the helicopter. Did you feel helpless that you couldn`t go down there and just start rescuing people, plucking them off the roof one by one?
ALPAUGH: Well, yes, we came in about two hours behind Katrina, and we were in there with some of the first rescue helicopters with the Coast Guard. And we were seeing very many people waving signs of "help us" and flags and on rooftops.
And we have a very helpless feeling, because we didn`t have any hoists or rescue equipment on board the helicopter. So what we would do is we used our camera system as our rescue tool.
We would see these people and we would call in their coordinates to some of the rescue aircrafts and get these rescues in effect, where they would come in and pick them up.
And in the meantime, while they waited to be picked up, because there were so many victims on rooftops and survivors, we would hover above them, maybe throw them down some food or water, or whatever we could do to help in the meantime before they were rescued.
So it became a very, very emotional reason that we couldn`t really -- we couldn`t really do as much as we would have liked to have done, but we needed to show the world the pictures and help with the rescue operations as best we could.
Our images were also going not only to all the networks but to some of the EEOC operations, and they were making deployment decisions on the images they were seeing.
BRYANT: So when you got home, I mean, you were there for a month, what was it like because, certainly, Anderson Cooper, Brian Williams, other journalists have said, it was so hard to leave even though it was a heart- breaking scene. How did you feel about leaving?
ALPAUGH: Yes, it was very difficult to leave. We were -- you know, we came to a point yesterday where we said, well, you know, we had to make a cumulative decision as a company and said we think we`ve done all we can do right now and it was time to leave.
But it was a very hard thing. You become very emotionally attached to the incident and to the people and to the plight of everything that`s gone on in that area, and -- but it was time to go. But it was hard to do. But it`s good to be back with my wife and family, and it`s good to be home.
BRYANT: Well, thanks so much for your diligent work. You did a great job. Helinet reporter J.T. Alpaugh, live from Hollywood. Thank you.
ALPAUGH: Thanks, Karyn.
HAMMER: Amazing work out there.
Why Donald Trump just might need to add a little more space to his "Apprentice" boardroom. His exciting news coming up next.
BRYANT: Plus, why Anna Nicole Smith is heading to the Supreme Court. She`s making her case for some serious cash. That`s coming up in tonight`s "Legal Lowdown," and that`s live.
HAMMER: And Geena Davis is holding court. In fact, she`s the president of the United States on TV. But does she think we`ll ever see a female president in real-life anytime soon? We`re going to ask the "Commander in Chief" star, Geena Davis, coming up next.
BRYANT: Now tonight`s "Entertainment Weekly Great American Pop Culture Quiz." What 1996 hit film did Tom Hanks turn down? Was it "The Bird Cage," "Fargo," "Jerry Maguire" or "Primal Fear"?
We`ll be right back with the answer.
BRYANT: Once again tonight`s "Entertainment Weekly Great American Pop Culture Quiz." What 1996 hit film did Tom Hanks turn down? The answer is "c," "Jerry Maguire."
HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer.
Well, tonight Donald Trump is expanding his empire, but it`s not through a real estate purchase or even through his "Apprentice" TV show. It`s the news today that people just can`t stop talking about, and we`ve got the latest.
Let`s go right to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson, live in Hollywood with the story. Fill us in, Brooke.
BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All right, A.J.
Well, people are fascinated with the news that Donald Trump and wife Melania have just made public that they are expecting a baby. And from the tabloids to the talk shows, it`s today`s talk of the town.
ANDERSON (voice-over): It`s the baby news everyone has been buzzing about.
D. TRUMP: They`ve been asking us almost every day, is she pregnant? Is she pregnant? Is Melania pregnant?
ANDERSON: Yes, now she is. The 59-year-old real estate and reality TV mogul is ready to spill the beans. His 35-year-old new wife Melania is pregnant. Regis talked to the Donald just last night.
REGIS PHILBIN, CO-HOST, ABC`S "LIVE WITH REGIS AND KELLY: I was talking with Trumpster last night, and he told me this is happening.
KELLY RIPA, CO-HOST, ABC`S "LIVE WITH REGIS AND KELLY": He told you first.
ANDERSON: The Slovenian-born model actress and mogul`s big news was the talk of the morning, and everyone was claiming they knew first.
Here`s Barbara Walters on "The View."
BARBARA WALTERS, CO-HOST, ABC`s "THE VIEW": I saw her, what, three -- two or three weeks ago at Oscar de la Renta`s fashion show which is the only one I go to, and I knew that she was pregnant. And you know, I`m such a great reporter, I didn`t tell a soul.
ANDERSON: And "The View`s" Star Jones was in the know, too.
STAR JONES, CO-HOST, ABC`S "THE VIEW": I spoke to Melania this morning, and she is thrilled out of her mind.
ANDERSON: So thrilled that Melania called into Martha Stewart`s daytime show today to let the world know she`s three months pregnant.
M. TRUMP: Thank you, I feel very good.
MARTHA STEWART, HOST, "MARTHA": You don`t want some of my homemade pickles?
M. TRUMP: No, no! No. And they say that the women, they crave, when they`re pregnant, they creative ice cream and pickles, and I never have that.
ANDERSON: No ice cream, but Martha, too, claimed to have the inside scoop.
STEWART: And when you were here last week, you looked just too wholesome and plump and...
M. TRUMP: Well, a lot of people were asking.
ANDERSON: It`s Melania`s first child, and the baby is due in the spring, gender unknown.
It will be the fifth child for the Donald, who has three kids with first wife Ivana Trump, Donald Jr., 27; Ivanka, 23; and Eric, 21; and an 11-year-old, Tiffany, with second wife Marla Maples.
With five kids from three wives, the Donald is a fine example of the new American family. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT went to Lola Ogunnaike of "The New York Times" for more.
LOLA OGUNNAIKE, "NEW YORK TIMES": Well, you can`t really ignore the fact that he is about to be 60. I mean, when the kid is 20, he`ll be 80, God willing, if he survives.
And the other thing that you have to think about, I mean, age is really funny in this whole family. His eldest son, Donald jr., is only eight years younger than his wife, Melania, who is 35.
ANDERSON: The Donald tied the knot with his Slovenian-born bride at January at Trump`s Palm Beach, Florida, estate and club, Mara Largo. The happy couple just told me at the Emmys that all was good in paradise.
(on camera) How`s married life?
D. TRUMP: Great.
ANDERSON (voice-over): The two were glowing and laughing about Donald`s song and dance routine with Megan Mullally at the Emmys.
M. TRUMP: I think it was very different. I`m not used to it. But it was fun. It was fun to see him. You know, he -- I think he did a great job.
ANDERSON: Has a good sense of humor, doesn`t he?
M. TRUMP: He does, yes, always.
ANDERSON: Looks like the Donald`s loosening up, and he`s busier than ever.
D. TRUMP: Who will be the apprentice?
ANDERSON: The fourth season of his reality show, "The Apprentice," just premiered last week.
ANDERSON: And with five kids soon to be splitting the pie, there`s less of the Trump empire to pass down but not bad shakes. "Forbes" magazine estimates Trump`s net worth at $2.7 billion. That puts him among the top 100 richest Americans. A.J., not too shabby.
HAMMER: Not too shabby. And not the front cover of "The New York Times" or "The L.A. Times" but right here on the front of "The New York Post" today. Thanks a lot, Brooke Anderson live in Hollywood.
BRYANT: Earlier on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, you say that we went right to Geena Davis to ask her about whether fellow actor Ben Affleck could be senator in real life. Well, that`s because the Oscar winning actress makes her return to the small screen tonight in her new ABC drama, "Commander in Chief."
She plays McKenzie Allen, the first female president of the United States.
Well, Geena stopped by SHOWBIZ TONIGHT earlier today, and I asked her if she thinks we`ll see a woman in the White House any time soon.
BRYANT: Mackenzie Allen is the first female president of the United States. In reality, what do you think of the chances that this could happen in the near future?
DAVIS: Well, first of all, I would have to say that I think it`s an incredible shame that it hasn`t happened yet. America ranks 61st in the world as far as female representation in government goes. America, we`re supposed to be, you know, on the cutting edge of stuff and leading the way and it`s just -- I think it`s a shame.
And so, the whole idea that it`s strange and wow, will it ever happen, you know, it`s like, what century are we living in now, you know? Because, you know, I thought we figured this out.
BRYANT: Why do you think it is so hard for people to wrap their minds around that idea?
DAVIS: You know, I don`t have a personal theory. Supposedly, one theory is that people have trouble picturing a woman being strong on defense. But that`s changing, as well. The latest polls show that the majority of people would trust a woman to make defense decisions. So I think we`re getting there slowly.
BRYANT: Don`t you think it is time, though, that this enters the national dialogue for real? There`s been rumblings about Hillary, but for real, shouldn`t we be talking about women in office?
DAVIS: Absolutely. Yes, we really should. It should have happened a long time ago. "New York Times" magazine did a study that showed if women are added to Congress at the same rate they have been, we`ll achieve parity in 500 years.
DAVIS: So, you know, we do need to have a dialogue about this. That`s too slow, in my humble opinion.
BRYANT: You think? So let`s talk about Hillary Clinton, though, because people are saying potentially she could run in a few years.
DAVIS: Right. Right.
BRYANT: Do you think she would make a good president?
DAVIS: I do. I do. I think she would. And I think that the conversation about a female president being so narrowly focused on her is a mistake. I think certainly, she`s an incredibly potent potential candidate, but, you know, there is some talk about Condoleezza Rice. But there`s so many women that today are up to the job, and there`s so many women that have been in the past that, you know, I think it`s a little narrow to just make it all about Hillary.
BRYANT: Do you think that Condoleezza has what it takes?
DAVIS: You know, I`m an actor. I don`t really -- my personal politics are, you know -- I`m just, you know, I`m just an entertainer.
BRYANT: An entertainer and a lovely lady. Geena`s new show, "Commander in Chief," premieres tonight on ABC.
HAMMER: Tonight, the story of a "Growing up Gotti" star`s brother, the mob, and a popular radio show host who was almost killed. Curtis Sliwa, the talk radio host who barely escaped death, joins us live, just ahead.
BRYANT: And Motley Crue re-records one of its classics for hurricane relief. Which one did the rock band decide to redo? We`ve got your first look, still to come.
HAMMER: Plus, Pink Floyd remains one of the most popular rock bands of all time, and now one of its members is releasing an opera. Pink Floyd`s Roger Waters explains that, live.
SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, back after this.
HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer.
It`s time now for "Laughter Dark," where we show you the best from late night TV. On last night`s "Tonight Show," Jay Leno goes through some of the most bizarre headlines to hit newsstands in the past week. Here are some of our favorites.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY LENO, HOST, NBC`S "THE TONIGHT SHOW": Here`s what happens when you build a playground a little too close to Chernobyl. Can you get a shot of the kid on the swing? Go in close, go in close.
Here`s Ashley Voyles (ph), very attractive young woman, 17 years old, one word which best describes you? "Blonde cheerleader." OK.
Fercos -- "Fercos Brothers Untamed Illusion, unlike anything else you`ve ever seen!" Unless, of course, you`ve seen these guys! Then it isn`t anything like, like nothing you`ve ever seen!
I like the caption, "Michael Jackson, second from right."
Look at this, "comprehensive gynecological care." Now, you know something? I`m no expert; that looks like the wrong end to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRYANT: Uh, uh.
Brooke Shields takes on Tom Cruise again. Hear what she says now about her battle with postpartum depression, next.
HAMMER: What do you do with that?
And Anna Nicole Smith heads to the U.S. Supreme Court to fight for a whole lot of cash. That is coming up in tonight`s "Legal Lowdown."
BRYANT: And, it`s the story of a "Growing up Gotti" star`s brother, the mob, and a talk radio host who barely got out alive. So what`s next for Curtis Sliwa? He tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, live, coming up.
THOMAS ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT continues in one minute. Hi, everybody. I`m Thomas Roberts with your "Headline Prime" newsbreak. A very surprising resignation today, by New Orleans Police Chief Eddie Compass. He steps down as the police department launches an investigation into the desertion of 250 officers after Hurricane Katrina struck.
Meanwhile, President Bush made another visit to the disaster area, this time flying over areas affected by Hurricane Rita.
Army Private 1st Class Lynndie England says she`s sorry for posing with Iraqi inmates in those notorious Abu Ghraib abuse photos. England was convicted yesterday of mistreating prisoners, and today made a statement for the jury. She`s now awaiting sentencing and could get up to nine years behind bars.
Almost half of all Americans think a woman will be elected president in the next 10 years. That`s according to a new CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll. Among men, 40 percent think they will see a female president. That`s compared to 51 percent of women. Six percent of responders say a woman would never be elected president.
That`s the news for now. I`m Thomas Roberts. Back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
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.
BRYANT: Still to come, in the legal lowdown, you know the phrase, A.J., want some money? That would be Anna Nicole Smith in those Trim Spa ads. Well, apparently, she really does want some money. She may be going to the Supreme Court to get some money from her late husband. She could potentially score hundreds of millions of dollars. We`re going to find out about that.
HAMMER: Also, after a mistrial, John Gotti Jr. being released from prison tomorrow. One of the charges he was on trial for, that he had arranged and ordered the beating of radio talk show host Curtis Sliwa. How`s Curtis Sliwa feeling right about now? We`ll talk to Curtis and find out.
BRYANT: All that and more is still to come to on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, but first, let`s get tonight`s hot headlines. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson joins us once again live from Hollywood. Hi, Brooke.
BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Karyn. Well, we begin with some sad news tonight. Broadway star Bernadette Peters` husband has died. Michael Wittenberg was on a business trip in Montenegro when a helicopter he was riding in crashed after hitting a high-voltage cable. He was just 43 years old. Wittenberg and Peters were married at her friend Mary Tyler Moore`s home in 1996.
In happier news tonight, Jennifer Jason Leigh is now a married woman. "People" magazine says the actress married director Noah Baumbach over the weekend. It`s the first marriage for both. Baumbach`s directed indie gems "Kicking and Screaming" and "Mr. Jealousy." His new movie, "The Squid and the Whale" opens in limited release October 7th.
And baby makes five. Today we learned Donald Trump is going to be a dad for the fifth time. His wife Melania is pregnant. It will be her first child.
And how do you like the sound of this, Senator Ben Affleck? Today, we learned that Democrats in Virginia are floating the actor`s name as a possible candidate to run against George Allen. Affleck`s publicist tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT he isn`t looking for a political career at the moment. He has his hands full directing a movie and expecting the birth of his first child with Jennifer Garner. And those are the hot headlines. Karyn, back to you.
BRYANT: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson, thanks very much.
And that leads us, the last story there, again, to the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Ben Affleck for senator, would you vote for him? You can keep voting at cnn.com/showbiztonight. You can write us at email@example.com. Your e-mails are coming up at 55 past the hour.
HAMMER: Well, tonight, the house that millions of people have seen in the reality TV show "Growing Up Gotti" has helped become the ticket out of jail for one of New York`s most notorious alleged mobsters. Victoria Gotti has put up her $4.5 million mansion as part of a $7 million bail package for her brother, John Gotti Jr., who is set to leave prison tomorrow after a sensational trial in New York that ended in a mistrial.
Among the charges, that Gotti Jr., allegedly ordered the beating of Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa, who now hosts one of New York City`s most popular radio talk shows, "Curtis and Kuby," on WABC.
Sliwa was shot in 1992 by Gotti`s alleged henchmen after making derogatory remarks about Junior`s father, Gambino crime boss John Gotti Sr.
Joining us live tonight, Curtis Sliwa.
A lot of information, I think I got it down. So Curtis, let`s get right to it. Gotti Jr. says he left the mob back in `99. Once he`s out of prison tomorrow, he`s going to be on house arrest. They`re going to be watching him like a hawk. I`ve seen you quoted as saying you feel your life is in danger. Do you really feel that way? Because, obviously, if anything happens to you, they`re going to be looking right at him.
CURTIS SLIWA, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Oh, no question about it, but I feel like a human pinata. I`ve been hit with baseball bats 28 times. That didn`t shut me up. So then they shot me up, air rated my lower intestines with hollow-point bullets. Only me jumping out of the back of a cab kept me from turning into a human speedbump and being at room temperature.
So they do crazy things. This perception, oh, they`d never be that crazy -- the father did this to me twice, and the son carried out the orders.
Now, I`m not saying the son would do it, but one of his sycophants, toadies and lackeys, who wants to earn some stripes, make their bones, if they could report to John Gotti, Jr. that Curtis Sliwa is no more, he won`t be testifying at February again at the retrial, you don`t think this guy would have a jackal smile on from ear to ear?
HAMMER: But not -- with the idea, though, that he would be creating all kinds of problems for Gotti Jr. if somebody were to, you know, pull something out on you.
SLIWA: Yeah, but think of it, they`ve already created this ruse that somehow in 1999, he was a Neanderthal, he was a thug, a mobster, and yet he resigned from organized crime. Could you please show me where you sign on the dotted line your resignation papers? Which window do you go to? Do you get a pension and welfare plan? No, the only way you leave the mob, as has been the history of it, in a pine box and you go six feet under, and it`s el morte. Lights out. Other than that, you`re still a mobster for life, right down to the marrow of your bones.
HAMMER: So you believe the mea culpa, the 1999 revelation by John Gotti Jr. that he has left the mob, not true?
SLIWA: You`d have to be hopelessly naive. It`s revisionism. Obviously it`s a great legal trick and ploy to bamboozle a jury, but anyone who is street smart knows that John Gotti, Jr. is the head of the Gambino crime family, and now that he`s back, he`s bigger and better than ever, because they think he`s inherited some of the teflon of his father, John Gotti, Sr., who beat the rap three times before he finally got convicted and put away for life.
HAMMER: And known as the Teflon Don.
OK, so the news comes in to you that there`s been a mistrial in this case. Were you surprised?
SLIWA: I`m saying, I`m a dead man walking. Because even John Gotti, Jr. didn`t expect to beat the rap. He was looking at a big 30 years for the kidnap of me, and as was testified before the jury, to beat me within an inch of my life.
Now, you shoot me up multiple times, I think you`re trying to kill me. I don`t think you`re trying to beat me up within an inch of my life. So to be able to walk away from that only to go before a retrial again, if you were me, you`d feel you had a target on your back, because three might be the charm. Hit me with the baseball bats first time, shot me up the second time. Obviously, the next time, I may be knocking on the door of my maker up there.
HAMMER: So you think he was surprised, but were you surprised when you found out?
SLIWA: Oh, I was stunned. I was devastated. I mean, it wasn`t just him. The guy who shot me up, they exonerated. They acted as if they had window shades on their eyes, cotton balls in their ears, and a zipper on their mouth.
But you know something, they were scared. This is a mob trial, an anonymous jury, and they saw what this guy who shot me up did. He was already charged with two murders. He shot them up 30 times with a machine gun. He left his pager on the scene. And they bought an O.J. defense on that, that it was wasn`t his pager, somebody planted it there.
Another attempted murder, the attempted murder of me, and that enemy of society, that cretin with chromosome damage, walked on those charges.
So John Gotti, Jr., who gave him the orders, and him, figure they got over like fat rats. They figure they`ll be able to do it again and again and again.
HAMMER: Well, please stay safe, Curtis. And please come back and let us know how you`re feeling from time to time.
SLIWA: I have to. I want to testify against him in February when we do this all over again.
HAMMER: Curtis Sliwa, thanks for joining us.
SLIWA: Thank you.
BRYANT: Well, tonight, Brooke Shields strikes back at Tom Cruise. Shields was a guest on "Oprah" today, for the first time since admitting to using antidepressants to battle postpartum depression in May. Shields says that Tom Cruise was way off base. Cruise had sparked a very public battle after criticizing Shields, calling her promotion of the drugs irresponsible.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROOKE SHIELDS, ACTRESS: This plan of action for me worked. You know, I never promoted -- was trying to go out and promote drugs. I mean, my responsibility is not to say, do exactly what I`ve done. It`s just to say, this is what I did. I feel good about what I did. I feel good about the choices I made, but it is purely a choice that I had to make, in conjunction with my doctor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRYANT: Brooke Shields says she is ready to have another child.
HAMMER: Heavy metal rockers Motley Crue have dusted off one of their fan favorites, all in the name of charity. The single, which is a 20-year- old song, "Home Sweet Home," was rerecorded, with proceeds going to the hurricane victims. Fans can download the single "Home Sweet Home" from iTunes. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has one of your first looks at the new music video for the single that has been running on America Online.
HAMMER: A lot of powerful footage there from the Gulf Coast.
The band joined forces with Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington to record the new version, with a 25-piece orchestra and a gospel choir. It was a song that Motley Crue first performed at the MTV-VH1-TMC React Now music and relief initiative, which was earlier this month in Nashville.
Lead guitarist Nikki Sixx told me that the group got first involved this way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: Were you guys all instantly on the same page when you came up with the decision to do all this? It`s a big undertaking.
NIKKI SIXX, MOTLEY CRUE: It was a big undertaking. We did a gig the night before -- I forget where -- and we drove through the night to get to Nashville. Chester Bennington from Linkin Park flew in from Los Angeles. We showed up at the studios. We hadn`t rehearsed the song but we`d done everything over the phone as far as having a choir and an orchestra.
We wanted it to be heartfelt and relatable also with the sentiment to New Orleans and to the south in general, you know, with all the hurricanes that have been happening. We actually ran it down one time and then, the next take was it. It was sort of magical.
This was a perfect fit for us, as soon as we saw what was going down and the ability to be part of something, we know that with our visibility, and with Chester also having such a high visibility, that the two being a really unique combination of artists could do something really special.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: This could really damage their bad boy image. Nikki Sixx also told me that everyone involved with the production of the video, from the guitar techs to record executives, they all worked for free to ensure all the proceeds go to the hurricane victims. The money will go to Mercy Corps and also to the American Red Cross.
Anna Nicole Smith goes to Washington. We`ll find out why the Supreme Court is about to get a little more outrageous. That`s coming up in the Legal Lowdown.
Plus, a founding member of Pink Floyd releases his magnum opus. From "Dark Side of the Moon" to the history of the French Revolution, maybe we do need some education after all. We`re going to get it from Pink Floyd`s Roger Waters, coming up live, next.
HAMMER: Tonight in a Showbiz Sitdown, Roger Waters. In 1966 he co- founded Pink Floyd, a band that is arguably one of the most influential progressive rock bands in history. Well, now, 4o years later, Waters` latest project -- it`s not so much about rock, as it is about opera. You`re hearing a bit of it right now.
Since 1989 on and off, he`s been working on a full opera, Ca Ira, based on the history of the French Revolution. That opera finally arrived in stores today and Roger Waters joining us live on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It is a pleasure and an honor to have you sitting here.
ROGER WATERS, CO-FOUNDER, PINK FLOYD: Nice to be here.
HAMMER: Ca Ira, a massive undertaking, the operatic history of the French Revolution. Now, I had read that along the way, you started to acknowledge some parallels between what was taking place in the late 18th century in France and what`s happening socially right now in the world.
WATERS: You heard that, did you?
HAMMER: I did.
WATERS: Right in the deep end. Yes, well, clearly, in 18th century France, there was a, you know, a discrepancy and an inequality in the way the wealth was distributed in that there was the king and the nobility and the clergy who had everything and the rest of the population had nothing at all.
And it seems to be now, certainly in the global situation, that a lot of the wealth is accumulated in a very few hands and there are a lot of people who are literally starving to death or dying of disease and so on and so forth.
And what`s interesting about that within the context of the piece that I`ve worked on for the last however many years it is, is that 200 years ago in the Declaration des Droits de L`Homme and also in your Declaration of Independence here and in the constitution that followed it, there was a lot made of the founding fathers, those brilliant men, wrote about all men being created equal and certain inalienable rights and all those high- sounded phrases that we all understand.
And it just seems to me that maybe we`ve been drifting quite fast enough to actually realizing those ideals.
HAMMER: And those similarities that you discovered actually provided you with some of the impetus to be part of the Live 8 concert which happened back in July, which of course was bringing attention to the ideas of the extreme poverty still existing in the world, and obviously, and, obviously, a big enough notion to you to get Pink Floyd back together to perform for the first time in 24 years.
WATERS: Well, that`s true. Yes, it was great to be able to support Bob Geldorf in that initiative. But it was also -- you know, for us, it was fantastic to have that opportunity to stop sort of scrapping like spoiled brats and get back on stage ...
HAMMER: Nice going.
WATERS: ... and play some of the old songs together. And I don`t know. If it looked cool on TV, believe me, it was very cool to do. It was great to be back.
HAMMER: And you all got along and everything went swimmingly?
WATERS: It was fine, yes. We behaved like proper grownups.
HAMMER: And of course, ever since then, the rumors have been flying around the Internet. I`m sure you`ve been hearing it yourself, people wondering, is that it? Will there be another tour. Will there be another record with the band? Do you want to just set the record straight for us right now?
WATER: Well, I don`t know what`s going to happen. I`m not being a palm reader, but I think it`s very unlikely that we`ll do the grand mega bucks tour. I don`t think that`s where any of us particularly want to go.
However, it was great to have -- to, you know, to reconvene, to play those songs and if a situation was to appear like that in the future, where there was some good reason, either political or charitable, for us to get together again and play some music, I have a feeling that we might all agree again. Certainly, I would be up for it.
HAMMER: I don`t think you`d get a lot of opposition from your long- time fans. There are a number of artists like the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, who all began their careers right around the same time that you guys began, who are still relevant today.
There`s a lot of focus and attention being pointed in their direction this day on. Are there any artists that you hear, contemporary artists now, who you think 20, 30 years from now could be garnering that same level of attention?
WATERS: I`m not very good at listening to pop music, I have to say. So that`s a very tricky question to answer and I wouldn`t attempt it. I have certain heroes and I have to confess that they can`t -- John Prine is one, and Bob Dylan obviously and Neil Young -- but they all tend to come from that same generation.
I`m sure they`re there, I just don`t know who they are. You know, I`m not putting the new generation of artists down. I`m sure they`re there and I`m sure -- and from time to time, obviously, people who may seem old hat now but are much younger than me and came up since, I don`t know, bands like REM, you know, come up with an unbelievable song or two which I respond to because it strikes an emotional chord.
You know, "Everybody Hurts" is a particular REM song I think struck everybody. You know, so let`s see in another, you know, 30 years time whether people are still paying attention.
HAMMER: Paying attention to REM.
WATERS: Paying attention to them, and I`m sure -- they may well be, you know, but we just have to wait and see, contradict.
HAMMER: I`m sure you`ve been listening to a lot of opera lately.
WATERS: Well, I have.
HAMMER: And we appreciate you stopping by SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
WATERS: Thank you, A.J.
HAMMER: Roger Waters, thanks so much. And Ca Ira arrived in stores today. A live concert of Ca Ira premieres November 17th in Rome.
BRYANT: It is time now for the legal lowdown. a look at what`s going on in the world of entertainment legal news. On the docket tonight, former Playboy model and reality TV star Anna Nicole Smith is going to the Supreme Court. At stake, part of her late 90-year-old husband`s billion dollar fortune.
Plus, R&B star R. Kelly`s wife is having a change of heart again. She`s now dropping a restraining order against her husband. Joining us live from Glendale, California, to dish all the legal issues, Harvey Levin, who is the managing editor of the soon-to-be launched entertainment news site TMZ.com. Harvey...
HARVEY LEVIN, MANAGING EDITOR, TMZ.COM: Hi, Karyn.
BRYANT: Hi. Good to see you. Anna Nicole Smith. She married an 89- year-old billionaire when she was in her mid-20s. A year later, he dies. Ever since, she`s been fighting for some of his money, fighting his son. She potentially could go before the Supreme Court. Is that really going to happen?
LEVIN: Oh, my God. You got to love America. It`s going to happen. The court said that it will review this case.
Remember, Anna Nicole Smith initially won $474 million, basically saying, hey, you know what, her husband wanted to give her this money, and the son tried to steal it right out from under her. It was ultimately reversed by a federal court, and now the U.S. Supreme Court said it will settle this once and for all.
So, Anna Nicole Smith is going to the Supreme Court. Mrs. Smith goes to Washington.
BRYANT: Right, and you know, I really, those in glass houses, the whole stones thing, and it`s no fair to pick on her, but she`s a little bit nutty. What are we going to see her do in front of the Supreme Court, and is the fact that she is who she is the reason she may be getting the chance?
LEVIN: Well, I just want to see her walk up the steps of the Supreme Court. I think that would be the most hilarious thing ever.
Her case will go before the Supreme Court. Anna Nicole Smith is not going to testify before the court.
BRYANT: Oh, damn!
LEVIN: Damn, I know. But she will be there. She said she will absolutely be in the courtroom, watching the oral arguments and, you know, ultimately, the court is going to decide.
This is going to be an uphill legal battle. It`s a very technical issue that she`s appealing under, and, basically, she`s saying that the federal court didn`t have the power to do what it did. And it`s a tough argument to make, but she will have her day in court.
I don`t think this was -- I don`t think that the justices took the case because it`s Anna Nicole Smith. I`m guessing that`s not the case.
BRYANT: All right...
LEVIN: I mean, I hate -- this is like the worst thing I`ve ever said, but does Ruth Bader Ginsburg really want to be in the same room as Anna Nicole Smith?
BRYANT: Yes, well, you know, if John Roberts gets there, then we could have something good.
LEVIN: There you go.
BRYANT: How much money could she walk away with, if this all happens?
LEVIN: Well, if the U.S. Supreme Court decides to reverse what this federal court did, she could theoretically get $474 million if that award is reinstated. But again, this is I think pretty much an all-or-nothing proposition. It`s going to be tough for her in this case.
BRYANT: And do you think that the son, Pierce, will still -- I mean, even if she wins this time, do you think he`s still going to stay out of it, because this has been contentious now for, what, 10 years?
LEVIN: Right, and this has been -- and it`s gone back and forth, where one person won one day, and then, you know, the next day they`re a big loser. So yeah, I mean, they`re both going to fight this thing, but the court will ultimately settle this once and for all. I mean, it`s amazing to me that it`s gone this far.
BRYANT: All right, well, I -- geez, I would pay good money to see her in court.
LEVIN: Scalpers, scalpers will be at the U.S. Supreme Court.
BRYANT: Absolutely. Harvey Levin, thanks for joining us. We here at SHOWBIZ TONIGHT will be right back.
HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. We`ve been asking you to vote online on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Ben Affleck for senator, would you vote for him?
Not too many people think they would. Sixteen percent of you say yes, you would vote for Ben Affleck, but 84 percent of you say no, you would not.
Here`s one of the e-mails we received. From Chandler from Virginia, who just turned 18, so Chandler can now vote, and Chandler writes: "I would definitely vote for Ben Affleck for senator in Virginia. However, I doubt that most of Virginia would agree."
If you`ve got something to say, please vote at cnn.com/showbiztonight. Would you vote?
BRYANT: Well, you know, I am from Massachusetts. Ben is from Massachusetts. I don`t think I`d vote for him there or here. I think he`s a good actor, but that`s about it.
That`s it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Karyn Bryant.
HAMMER: I`m A.J. Hammer. Stay tuned for the latest from CNN HEADLINE NEWS.