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Tragedy Overload: How Much is Too Much to Watch?; New Bond Actor Announced

Aired October 14, 2005 - 19:00:00   ET


A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: I`m A.J. Hammer.
BROOKE ANDERSON, CO-HOST: And I`m Brooke Anderson. TV`s only live entertainment news show starts right now.


HAMMER (voice-over): On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, TV tragedy overload. A tsunami in Southeast Asia, Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast, an earthquake rocks Pakistan, the war in Iraq. Tonight, why so many viewers are tuning out and saying no news is good news.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Also tonight, you`re watching the Pentagon Channel.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Bush says winning the war in Iraq will require more sacrifice.

ANDERSON: Uniformed broadcasters delivering the news on cable, produced by the government. Tonight, the cable controversy: is it propaganda? And is Uncle Sam breaking the law?

HAMMER: It`s official: the next James Bond has been chosen. But tonight, the big question: who will be the woman at 007`s side?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m beginning to like you, Mr. Bond.

HAMMER: We already know the spy who loved her. Now SHOWBIZ TONIGHT goes in search of the next Bond girl.

RICKY MARTIN, SINGER: Hello, everyone, this is Ricky Martin, and if it happened today, it`s on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


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

ANDERSON: I`m Brooke Anderson.

HAMMER: Tonight, TV tragedy overload. America has been watching for months now as tragedy after another unfolds on their television screens.

ANDERSON: Yes, A.J. It seems lately there`s been no reprieve from these natural disasters. From the tsunamis in Indonesia to hurricanes Katrina and Rita in our own backyard, viewers have recently been bombarded with a lot of devastating images. And it`s taking a toll.

Our DVD Haffenreffer is live in the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom with that story -- DVD.

DVD HAFFENREFFER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brooke and A.J., natural disasters and terrorist attacks, the images that come out of the hot zones around the world, are certainly taking a toll on viewers. They`re beginning to feel overwhelmed, anxious, even helpless.


HAFFENREFFER (voice-over): Tragedies around the world brought straight to your living room 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and viewers tell SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, enough is enough.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I tell you one thing, I`m overwhelmed with everything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s been a terrible, terrible year. It`s like one catastrophe after another.

HAFFENREFFER: in the last year, through television, the world has witnessed everything from the tsunami in Indonesia to terrorist bombings in London and Madrid to hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the gulf, unrelenting pictures of death and destruction and now, a massive earthquake in Pakistan that, in a single blow, killed tens of thousands of people.

It gets to be too much after awhile and has many viewers suffering from TV tragedy overload.

PROF. ROGER KLEIN, PSYCHOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH: In general, this becomes upsetting. To some people, though, it`s almost surreal. It`s as though you`re watching some prime-time movie.

HAFFENREFFER: Roger Klein, an associate psychologist at the University of Pittsburgh, says while not everyone is negatively impacted by the barrage of tragic images on the news, tragedy fatigue is a real phenomenon.

KLEIN: I think it may even be more than fatigue. In fact, there is some research literature that suggests that some individuals actually develop characteristic signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.

HAFFENREFFER: And it`s the media who need to be careful on how they report the news.

JEFF ALAN, AUTHOR, "ANCHORING AMERICA": The overload comes when day after, day after day after day, they see death and destruction. They see people floating in the rivers after the hurricanes we had in the South. They see dead bodies in Pakistan, little children on TV.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can`t take a look at little kids who are dying, or parents worrying about their children underneath slabs of cement and not feel moved by that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A little overload on all the negative news right now. Kind of need some positive energy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Feeling of helplessness is very real.

HAFFENREFFER: Helplessness because the tragedy viewers have witnesses on TV Is on an unprecedented scale.

KLEIN: Of course, there`s horror and there`s disbelief. There`s a tremendous amount of anxiety and sadness and anger.

AARON BROWN, HOST, "NEWSNIGHT": The huge and unprecedented attack.

HAFFENREFFER: And since America watched the planes crash into the World Trade Center on September 11, anxiety levels have been even higher. America is in a state of alert.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nothing feels safe anymore. You know? Just even getting on the subway.

HAFFENREFFER: Just last week, New York`s subway system was on high alert for a terrorist attack.

And while images of devastation around the world bombard viewers, one thing you don`t see much of these days is the Iraq war, which is going strong half a world away.

ALAN: People want to see news stories that affects them, their families, people they may know and that, all of a sudden, takes a big precedence over things that are going on in Iraq.

HAFFENREFFER: Different people cope with the barrage of tragedies in different ways, like tuning out when the disaster is in a place far, far away.

KLEIN: When a tragedy occurs on our own ground, our own territory, we identify with it much more. I mean, for years, we had tragedies in Ethiopia and Somalia. And I think most people empathized with the people there, but they didn`t feel the same kind of impact.

ALAN: It`s very, very difficult for somebody to watch people who could be friends and neighbors, people they might have run into, who are in trouble or especially laying their dead somewhere like in Louisiana, where, if we watch somebody laying dead in the street in a foreign country, it just doesn`t have the impact.


HAFFENREFFER: And children are most susceptible to the jarring images coming from these kinds of tragedies. Klein says it has prompted the American Psychological Association to make a general recommendation that children simply should not be exposed to this type of video at all -- A.J.

HAMMER: And it certainly is hard to continuously watch. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s DVD Haffenreffer, thank you very much.

And that leads us to our Friday night SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of day. TV news: are you watching less because of tragedy overload? If you want to vote tonight, please do at You can also e-mail us your thoughts at We`re going to read some of what you have to say later in the show.

ANDERSON: Well, co-ed days are cut short for one of the Olsen twins. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has learned half of the dynamic duo is leaving school.

Mary-Kate Olsen has taken an approved leave of absence from New York University. Her rep says Olsen wants to focus on running her company, Dual Star, which she co-heads with twin Ashley. Mary-Kate on the right in that video there.

According to a rep, Olsen`s decision has nothing to do with an eating disorder and she is not returning to a treatment facility. Olsen is planning to take classes again in the future.

HAMMER: Well, as expected, after all the guessing games and all the type, it was announced today that the role of the next James Bond will, in fact, be played by British actor Daniel Craig. And if you haven`t heard, he`s going to be the very first blond 007 ever. A blonde Bond.

Also tonight, a new mystery: who`s going to be playing the next Bond girl? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT goes looking for answers. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Sibila Vargas is live in Hollywood with all those details -- Sibila.


Well, only five actors have played Bond since the first film, "Dr. No," came out more than 40 years ago. Tonight the talk of the town here in Hollywood is just who is this new blond Bond, and who will be the next Bond girl to star with him in the new 007 flick, "Casino Royale"?


VARGAS (voice-over): British actor Daniel Craig arrived by boat in London today for the big announcement. A spectacular entrance for a spectacular role, looking dapper enough to fill the shoes vacated by the last Bond...

PIERCE BROSNAN, ACTOR: Shaken, not stirred.

VARGAS: ... Pierce Brosnan...

SEAN CONNERY, ACTOR: Bond, James Bond.

VARGAS: ... and the others before him.

MICHAEL G. WILSON, PRODUCER, "CASINO ROYALE": We`ve spent about a year and a half, two years, looking for someone and in the end, we chose Daniel.

VARGAS: At a press conference today announcing the news of the new and first ever blond Bond, it came as no surprise, and Craig said he`s ready.

DANIEL CRAIG, ACTOR: Because it`s a huge challenge and I think life is about challenges and this is -- it`s one of the big ones as an actor. It`s a huge iconic figure in movie history, and these things don`t come along very often, so why not?

I am the future.

VARGAS: Daniel Craig has proven his range as Paul Newman`s son in "Road to Perdition," starring opposite Angelina Jolie in the first "Tomb Raider" and opposite Gwyneth Paltrow in "Sylvia" and most recently in this year`s "Layer Cake."

CRAIG: I know who you mean.

VARGAS: There was wide speculation that the new Bond would be blond.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was your reaction?

CRAIG: I need a drink.

VARGAS: Shaken, not stirred. He`s got that down, and he`s also got down the playboy image. Craig`s reported affairs with supermodel Kate Moss and actress Sienna Miller have been all over the British tabloids. That explains the first question at the press conference.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who would be your ideal Bond girl? Kate Moss or Sienna Miller?

CRAIG: I`m not going to get into that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: James! What are you doing?

VARGAS: But it was the hottest topic at the presser: who will be the next Bond girl and follow the sexy, sultry screen sirens of Bonds films past?

"Casino Royale" director Martin Campbell wasn`t talking.

MARTIN CAMPBELL, DIRECTOR: Most of our time arriving at Daniel, which is -- and now, we`ll put our mind to the girl. It`s a terrific part. It`s actually probably the best Bond girl part.

VARGAS: So, who would be the best Bond girl for the part? Here`s the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT staff picks. Our top five choices.

"Sin City`s" Jessica Alba is right up there.

We like Jessica Biel, too. She proved herself in the latest "Blade" flick.

Sorry, no votes for any other sexy Jessicas. Not you, either.

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY, ACTRESS: I want to have a little fun.

VARGAS: And we think it would be fun if Keira Knightley got the part.

BEYONCE, SINGER/ACTOR: I`m a whole lot of woman.

VARGAS: Beyonce sure is a whole lot of woman, which is why she also made our list.

But we`d love it if Gwen Stefani became the Bond girl. She rounds out our top five.

HONOR BLACKMAN, ACTRESS: My name is Pussy Galore.

VARGAS: As for Bond girl names, a lot to live up to there. Some SHOWBIZ TONIGHT staff suggestions. Our executive producer liked Zsa Zsa Galore. Some other SHOWBIZ TONIGHT staff suggestions: Ivana Havsix, Frenchie Tung, Arockana Hardplace or maybe something like Pickles Devereaux.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dr. Jones. Kirsten Jones. And don`t make any jokes.

VARGAS: Joking aside, the next Bond film, "Casino Royale," is set to start shooting in January.

CRAIG: I want to make the best film we can, the most entertaining film we can, and it`s not a question of redefining, but it`s a question of taking it somewhere, maybe where it`s never gone before.


VARGAS: And director Martin Campbell said at today`s press conference that Craig wasn`t the only actor who was offered the role and that, despite the blond hair, this Bond will be a bit darker. He`ll have more character, fewer gadgets and will be based more on the Bond books.

And you won`t catch him smoking, either, A.J. Martin said that this would send the wrong message to young people.

HAMMER: You know, this might be very predictable of me to point out, Sibila. But Sibila Vargas, a name with such phonetic magic.

VARGAS: I love you.

HAMMER: I believe you should be a Bond girl.

VARGAS: I love you.

HAMMER: Although I`ve always taken exception to the fact that they use Bond girl and not Bond women. But that`s just me. Thanks very much, Sibila, live in Hollywood.

Well, a lot of people are wondering, Brooke, about the government run television channel. Is it there to serve or is it there to persuade? Well, coming up, we`ll take a look at the Pentagon`s cable channel in the U.S. The hot controversy tonight, is it news or is it propaganda and are they, in fact, breaking the law?

ANDERSON: Those are big questions. And plus, the political cartoon taking a jab at the outsourcing of American jobs. The Jib-Jab guys are back with their spin on a debate that has many Americans fuming.

HAMMER: And from world famous rapper to ordained minister to reality star. Reverend Run`s amazing story, live, in the interview you will see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

ANDERSON: But first, we go to tonight`s "Entertainment Weekly Great American Pop Culture Quiz." Who recorded a top five song that was written or co-written by Carole King? Was it The Shirelles, The Monkees, The Drifters or, D, all of the above? We`ll be right back with the answer.


HAMMER: Once again, tonight`s "Entertainment Weekly Great American Pop Culture Quiz." Who recorded a top five song that was written or co- written by Carole King? The Shirelles, The Monkees, The Drifters or all of the above? The answer, "D," no surprise with Carole King, all of the above.

ANDERSON: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Brooke Anderson.

Legendary R&B singer Fats Domino has gone back to his home in New Orlando to survey the damage. Seventy-seven-year-old Domino had refused to leave his home as Hurricane Katrina approached and was trapped inside in his home after water rose nearly 20 feet.

In the days after the hurricane, he was reported missing and was rescued after flagging down an emergency boat. Well, after staying with family and friends in Baton Rouge, Domino returned to see what was left of his home in New Orlando.

HAMMER: Tonight, a "SHOWBIZ Sit-down" with one of the founding fathers of hip-hop, Reverend Run. You know him, of course, as Run from the rap group Run DMC.

Well, in addition to being a world class rapper and an ordained minister, he`s now a reality television star. His show, "Run`s House," is on MTV right now. The Reverend Run joining us live here.


HAMMER: It`s a pleasure to see you. Very nice to meet you.

RUN: It`s good to see you.

HAMMER: There are some people who may not be aware that rap impresario Russell Simmons is your brother

RUN: Yes.

HAMMER: And there`s something that has always impressed me about the two of you. In addition to both being hip-hop and rap pioneers, you`ve always been very involved in the community. You`re big voices in the black community. You`ve always been involved in getting a positive message out there.

RUN: Always.

HAMMER: Was there something that you can think back to, something that existed when you were a child that, when both of you were children, that led you to becoming role models?

RUN: My dad is always involved in philanthropic efforts and helping people. Our life has always been about giving us, and our parents taught us so service is just our life. We always want to help people. We realize that helping people is what life is all about, so that`s what we do.

HAMMER: And you balance that out with the hip-hop world, too, which can be, you know, a tough, tough place and a tough environment at times.

RUN: Well, I know I`m here to inspire. So that`s my life. I`m here to give my life away. I`ve got this gift that God gave me, poetry, rap. And I think once he gives you that gift, you`re supposed to wrap it and just give it away. So I`m here to serve.

HAMMER: Excellent. Well, you do a good job at it.

So much of what Run DMC did when it first started back in the `80s is responsible for not only the sound of hip-hop now but also the look of hip- hop now. You guys were certainly show men. You certainly put on big, great shows.

But you weren`t really decadent in the way that hip-hop artists appear now or that the hip-hop genre appears now. I`ve read -- I`ve read where you find it a bit distasteful perhaps, the flashing of the cars and the money and the bling all the time.

RUN: No, I don`t think of it as distasteful. I love what is going on now. I think it always goes in different phases. You think about Public Enemy, they came with their message. Now you have Kanye West with the "Jesus Walks."

I believe that rap is today`s CNN. You know, we come to bring a message, and whether it`s from the streets or from Will Smith`s house, we`re just here to deliver a message, and that`s what it`s all about.

HAMMER: So all the cars and the money flashing around?

RUN: I`ve got a Phantom Rolls Royce myself. You know, it`s just not about flashing; it`s about feeling good about yourself. And rap is always about self-esteem and feeling good about yourself.

HAMMER: It`s a nice ride, the Phantom.

RUN: Yes, I like it.

HAMMER: You know, in addition to having, you know, your rap career, you`re a father of five.

RUN: Yes.

HAMMER: You`re an ordained minister. You have five children, aging in -- ranging in ages...

RUN: Twenty-two to 9.

HAMMER: Twenty-two to 9. So now you have this reality show on MTV.

RUN: Fun.

HAMMER: Is it already chaos in your house, I mean, even before the cameras came in? I can`t imagine what it`s like.

RUN: No. It`s a lot of fun. Over and over, I just know that I`m here to serve, so I`m here to inspire. As I walk down the block people say all the time, "I love the rap that you did. I grew up on you."

Now I`ve opened my doors for people to come in and see what it`s like, too. I`m just a dad trying to please my wife, trying to raise my kids and keep some function in a dysfunctional/functional type of family. So it`s my job to do right. I`m the rev.

HAMMER: And you`re a generous man, as well. I noticed in the program that was on right before we went on the air tonight, you gave your daughter a red Mercedes.

RUN: Yes.

HAMMER: That`s pretty nice, Rev.

RUN: She got all A`s. You know, when you get all A`s, you know. She wanted a party, a really great party. I said, "OK, we`ll make the party smaller," but I surprised her at the end with the Benz. And she`s excited. She`s a good kid. I spoil kids. So she got it, and it was a lesson to be learned for the rest of my kids. If you do good, you`ll get something good, too.

HAMMER: Well, thanks for dishing out the good lessons, and it`s really a pleasure to meet you.

RUN: God bless you.

HAMMER: All right. "Run`s House" does air on Thursday nights on MTV -- Brooke.

ANDERSON: Wow, Rev, a Benz for all A`s. I just got a pat on the back.

Well, we all know the life of Jennifer Aniston is tabloid front page news. Well, tonight, the "Friends" star opens up about her last moments of anonymity before her hit sit-com took off. She tells "Movies 101 with Professor Richard Brown" how she was advised by the "Friends" director to brace for fame. Good advice. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has your "Sneak Peek."


JENNIFER ANISTON, ACTRESS: Going on a plane and we go to Vegas and he sits us down at Spago`s at Caesar`s Palace, and we have dinner.

And he sits down and he looks each and every one of us in the eye and he says, you know, "You all have to really, really take care of each other because this is going to be a ride. And a lot`s going to happen. There`s going to be a lot of -- there will be people that will say really mean things. There will people that will praise you. You have to just be prepared for everything, and you have to really take care of each other."

And then, as we`re walking out of the restaurant and we`re walking towards the casino, he basically hands us all $500. And when he said, "Now, go into that casino and enjoy yourselves, because it`s the last time you`ll be walking into a casino without -- with your anonymity." So -- and he was right.


ANDERSON: When asked if she`d ever do another TV show again, Aniston says, "Probably not. It would be pretty difficult to top the success of `Friends`."

You can catch the entire different view tonight on AMC`s "Movies 101."

HAMMER: Well, you won`t catch this guy jumping on the furniture. Actor Chris Klein opens up about his ex, Katie Holmes, and the whirlwind Tom Cruise romance. That`s coming up.

ANDERSON: And, headed to the movies this weekend? Kirsten Dunst and a star-studded cast grace the screen in "Elizabethtown." But should you go see it? The "SHOWBIZ Guide" with "People" magazine`s "Picks and Pans," coming up next.

HAMMER: Also, I`m so looking forward to this. He has sat down with every major movie star in Hollywood. And now we`re going to ask James Lipton the tough questions. The host of "Inside the Actor`s Studio" joins us live for an interview you`ll see only here, on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


JESSICA ALBA, ACTRESS: Hi, I`m Jessica Alba, and I`m wearing Monique Lhuillier because it`s comfortable. And cute and `80s.



ANDERSON: Well, now, it`s time for the "SHOWBIZ Guide" and this is where we help you decide where to spend your dollars on movies, music, DVDs and more. Tonight we have "People" magazine`s "Picks and Pans." We`re going to talk about new movies. "Elizabethtown," "Domino" and "Where the Truth Lies" are all new in theaters.

And joining us from "People" magazine is movie critic Leah Rozen. Nice to see you.


ANDERSON: All right. I want to start with "Elizabethtown." Great cast here: Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst, Susan Sarandon.

ROZEN: Great cast, great director. Cameron Crow, who did "Jerry Maguire," did "Almost Famous."

ANDERSON: High expectations.

ROZEN: Yes, and big, big disappointment. Yes, I`m sorry to say, but this film`s just kind of a mess. It`s one of those sort of six movies in one. Cameron Crow, writer/director, is trying to tell too many stories, and you`re sort of the whole time you`re watching going, wait, which movie am I watching?

ANDERSON: Right. Revolves around Orlando`s character.

ROZEN: Orlando Bloom is a young man. He`s a shoe designer. He`s just made a shoe that`s been a huge bomb. He`s thinking about committing suicide when he finds out Dad has died. He has to go to Kentucky to reclaim the body. And then, you know, over the course of a week in Kentucky falls in love, bonds with family. But too much stuff is going on.

ANDERSON: Too much going on.

ROZEN: And about 20 minutes into the film, you just go, I don`t care.

ANDERSON: Like you say, I was a bit disappointed in this one.

All right. Moving on, we`ve got "Domino." This is a Keira Knightley film, based on a true story. Now everybody seems to love Keira. She was in "Bend it Like Beckham," most recently "Pirates of the Caribbean." How does she do here?

ROZEN: This is Keira Knightley trying to change her image in terms of she`s playing a bad girl. She is -- it was based on a real-life. Domino Harvey was the daughter of movie star Domino Harvey and a British model, and she became a bounty hunter in L.A.

So it`s sort of girl from posh London/Beverly Hills background, you know, gets to be her big, bad self.

ANDERSON: Fascinating story.

ROZEN: Good story but the movie -- the movie`s fun in this entertaining, wildly delirious way. But it`s in one eye, out the other. The next day, you won`t remember it, any of this.

ANDERSON: Not impressed?

ROZEN: Difficult plot to follow and they`re changing time. Keira Knightley`s OK, but you never quite buy with her the big gun.

ANDERSON: All right. Not impressed.

All right, Leah. Well, lastly, we have "Where the Truth Lies." This one is based on the best-selling novel by Rupert Holmes. We`ve got Kevin Bacon, Colin Firth. What do you think?

ROZEN: Again, I`m sorry. It`s a disappointment. This is an interesting case, though. Kevin Bacon is terrific playing a sort of Jerry Lewis-like comedian, but he`s really a smart guy.

But it really shows you how a fatal piece of miscasting can just throw a whole movie off. And the young woman in the movie, Alison Lohman, she`s just miscast, miscast, miscast. It`s not her fault.

ANDERSON: I want to say it`s not rated.

ROZEN: It`s not rated, because it was going to be NC-17. But there`s a big naked nude scene with some sex so they pulled the rating, and you know, don`t take the little kids.

ANDERSON: All right. Leah Rozen, thank you so much.

ROZEN: You`re welcome.

ANDERSON: Not a good weekend for new movies. All right. For more "Picks and Pans," check out the new issue of "People" magazine. It is on news stands now.

HAMMER: He is the quirky coroner on "CSI," but there`s another side to actor Robert David Hall few people know about. He`s going to join us live to talk about the amazing odds he`s overcome.

ANDERSON: Plus, the political cartoon duo Jib Jab takes a swing at the American job market. The brothers go overboard and overseas with their latest laugh. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has your look.

HAMMER: Plus, their motto is to serve those who serve. But a new cable channel has some pointing the finger at Uncle Sam`s TV. We`re going to take a look at the Pentagon Channel, coming up next.


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

Insurgents have knocked out power to much of Baghdad, just one day before Iraqis are set to vote on a new constitution. Officials say insurgents hit a main power line, leaving about 70 percent of the city in the dark. Earlier today, insurgents carried out attacks at four offices of a Sunni Arab party. The group made a last minute deal with the Shiite coalition that could help passage of the constitution.

Top presidential adviser Karl Rove has made what could be his fourth and final testimony before a federal grand jury. Rove spent four hours answering questions about who leaked the name of an undercover CIA agent. Prosecutors have said there`s no guarantee Rove won`t be indicted in the case.

Rain is falling for an eighth straight day in parts of the northeast. The downpours have triggered flooding, caused power outages, and sent hundreds of people looking for shelter. Forecasters predict another two to three inches of rain by tomorrow in certain places.

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

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, 31 minutes past the hour, Friday night. I`m A.J. Hammer.

ANDERSON: And I`m Brooke Anderson. You`re watching TV`s only live entertainment news show.

A.J., in just a few minutes, we`re going to go inside the Pentagon Channel. It`s a military channel on cable produced by the government. Only uniformed broadcasters are used, but there`s some controversy surrounding this. Some are questioning whether it`s a tool for propaganda. We`ll get all the details, coming up.

HAMMER: Kind of seems that way, but we`ll take a closer look.

Also, a lot of actors don`t feel they`ve truly arrived in Hollywood, no matter how many awards they`ve won, no matter how big the parts are that they get, until they`ve appeared on "Inside the Actor`s Studio."

Well, the show goes into its 11th season this weekend. James Lipton is the man who has interviewed over 150 guests on that show. He`s got a lot of stories to tell, and we will speak to James coming up in just a few moments.

But first, let us get to tonight`s "Hot Headlines." SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Sibila Vargas joining us live once again from Hollywood -- Sibila?


Michael J. Fox is coming back to the small screen. Today we learned that Fox is feeling well enough to guest star on three episodes of "Boston Legal" which will air in December and January. Fox left "Spin City" in 2000 after revealing that he has Parkinson`s disease.

Melissa Etheridge says she smoked medical marijuana. In an interview with "Dateline NBC," Etheridge says her doctor said that it was the best help for dealing with the side effects of chemotherapy when she was treated for breast cancer. She said she smoked pot every today that she was in pain.

And tonight, it`s official. Tori Spelling`s husband has filed for divorce and he wants money. After little more than a year of marriage, Charlie Shanian is speaking spousal support from the actress, according to papers filed in Los Angeles. The couple separated last month.

And those are tonight`s "Hot Headlines." A.J., back to you in New York.

HAMMER: Sibila, have a nice weekend. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Sibila Vargas in Hollywood.

ANDERSON: Well, tonight, we`ve got a hot controversy over a cable TV channel that`s run by the Pentagon. It launched over a year ago. And now critics are questioning if the government could be using the programming as a propaganda tool.

Here`s senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Bush says winning the war in Iraq will require more sacrifice.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Cable subscribers in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Prince Georges County are the latest in a potential audience of 12 million households who can now watch the Pentagon Channel.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Operations aimed at stabilizing Iraq before the referendum and upcoming election are going well.

MCINTYRE: The new channel`s slogan is "Serving Those who Serve."

MEL RUSSELL, SENIOR MANAGER, PENTAGON CHANNEL: We use only uniformed broadcasters on the air so they know it`s a military channel.

MCINTYRE (on-screen): The Pentagon Channel originates from studios here in Alexandria, Virginia. There`s everything here you`d expect to find in a modern television station, cameras, teleprompters, computers. The one thing it says it doesn`t have is an agenda to advance administration policies.

(voice-over): Petty Officer First Class Jennifer Gray anchors the evening`s main newscast.

JENNIFER GRAY, PETTY OFFICER FIRST CLASS, U.S. NAVY: No one ever tells me, "Do not write this. Take this slant."

MCINTYRE: But at the University of Delaware, journalism professor Ralph Begleiter, a former CNN correspondent, asks his students to consider whether the Pentagon Channel could also be a propaganda tool.

RALPH BEGLEITER, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE: You want to have Radio Free America or some such hypothetical title broadcasting propaganda to the United States? No. We don`t allow that in this country. It`s a law.

MCINTYRE: He`s referring to a 1948 ban that stops the government from controlling the news sent to domestic audiences, a law inspired by abuses in Nazi Germany. But Pentagon officials say the Pentagon Channel is simply internal communications for the military and rejects the idea its programming is propaganda.

RUSSELL: I would totally disagree with that, absolutely.

MCINTYRE: While much of the Pentagon Channel programming is more like C-SPAN than CNN, this original documentary, called "Inside the Wire," purports to show that the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo is humane. That, argues Professor Begleiter, sounds a lot like the Bush administration of the truth.

BEGLEITER: Let`s say you need to know about treatment of prisoners. Would you get the full story from the Pentagon Channel? No. You would get what the Pentagon wanted you to know about treatment of prisoners.

MCINTYRE: Begleiter warning to his students: When watching the Pentagon Channel, consider the source.


ANDERSON: That was CNN`s senior Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre, reporting for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Well, it has been a year filled with tragedy, with the tsunami, the hurricane aftermath, and now the earthquake in Pakistan. And we`ve been asking you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." TV news: Are you watching less because of tragedy overload?

Keep voting at and write us at Your e-mails coming up at 55 past the hour.

HAMMER: Tonight, in another "Showbiz Sitdown," we put the host with the most memorable interviews with Hollywood`s biggest actors in our hot seat. James Lipton is the host, writer and the executive producer of Bravo`s TV series "Inside the Actor`s Studio."

This Sunday, the series runs for its 11th season. James Lipton joining us live.

Nice to see you.

JAMES LIPTON, HOST, "INSIDE THE ACTOR`S STUDIO": You`ve subtracted one year from us.

HAMMER: I have?

LIPTON: It`s our 12th season.

HAMMER: This is your 12th season? Hold on. Make a note here. I got my math incorrect. I apologize for that.

LIPTON: It`s our 12th.

HAMMER: In that time, you`ve had such a varied number of artists and guests, well over 150, who you`ve spoken with. What makes somebody a candidate to appear on your program?

LIPTON: Very simple. Remember that that`s a classroom. That`s a course. Those are master`s degree candidates sitting out in the audience. Does this person have something to teach these students? That`s the only criterion.

HAMMER: And you`ve always stayed true to that?

LIPTON: Absolutely.

HAMMER: And by the end, you`ve felt satisfied they`ve learned a lesson?

LIPTON: They`ve always learned a lesson.

HAMMER: And, I have to say -- you know, I have to prepare for this program. We`re live every night. One hour, there`s a lot of material to cover a night. I do a lot of research before my program, but within a few hours. I understand you do all of the research for each one of these guests that you have on your show.

LIPTON: That`s right. It takes two weeks to prepare for each guest. There`s no pre-interview. Therefore, I have to work seven days a week, about 14 hours a day.

HAMMER: And you get all your questions on those blue cards that you carry out to the set with you.

LIPTON: They`re on the blue cards. If they`re not on the blue cards, I don`t know where they are.


HAMMER: Sometimes the piles are bigger than other times. What`s the most number of blue cards that you`ve carried out there with you?

LIPTON: I would guess maybe about 550.



HAMMER: Would you feel more comfortable being out here if I gave you some blue cards? I just happen to have a few extra, if you want. You can sit those right there.

LIPTON: Thank you very much.

HAMMER: So talk to me about your most memorable interview. You`ve, as I said, had over 150 people. Is there one that actually sticks out?

LIPTON: No. There are a lot that stick out. They stick out for different reasons. I`ve never been able to zero in on one episode that was above all the others. I have a lot of favorites, obvious ones.

HAMMER: Name one for me.

LIPTON: Streisand.

HAMMER: OK, Barbra Streisand, perfect choice.

LIPTON: Yes, or Spielberg. There are some, actually, there are nearly 200.

HAMMER: Here`s Barbra right here. What made her appearance on your program particularly memorable?

LIPTON: She was unbelievably frank and vulnerable. Vulnerable. I had to be careful at times; I felt that I could hurt her. She was that naked, that open, that vulnerable.

HAMMER: This is someone who doesn`t admittedly love appearing in front of crowds.

LIPTON: No, she doesn`t.

HAMMER: And here she is...


LIPTON: This was the first interview she had done in many, many years.

HAMMER: And you learned so much. And because you have so much time to take with these guests and artists, you learn so much from them. Was there one that you would say was the most revealing moment that may have occurred, something that somebody said that totally set you back, put you back in your seat?

LIPTON: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Oh, yes. That would be Jack Lemmon.

When we were talking about "Days of Wine and Roses," and I was trying to demonstrate to the students that you don`t have to push to be a good actor. And I said there was a famous scene in the strait-jacket and in the greenhouse when he was looking for the liquor.

But the simplest, most beautiful, and most moving scene in it was the moment when he stood up in front of A.A. and made that famous first pronouncement.

And when he said -- and then I asked -- I was waiting for Jack to say it. I like to get people to say it. I tried to get De Niro to say, "Are you looking at me?" He wouldn`t do it. I did get Tom Hanks to say, "Life is like a box of chocolates."

I waited for him and he said, "My name is so and so, and I`m an alcoholic." And I said to the students, "See? Simple. Simple, no pushing." He said, "My name is so and so, and I`m an alcoholic."

And I said, "That`s simple." He said, "No, Jim, I`m an alcoholic." I said, "Are you talking to me as the character now or as Jack Lemmon?" And he said, "I`m talking as Jack Lemmon. I`m an alcoholic."

And afterward there was a 15-second silence then.

HAMMER: I imagine.

LIPTON: And then afterward, in the green room, his wife said to me, "That`s the first time Jack has ever said that in public."

HAMMER: Amazing. Amazing moment. I`m sure you get some from Elton John, who is your guest on Sunday night`s program, as you kick off your 12th season. Give me a little nugget, something we`re going to learn about Elton by watching the show on Sunday night.

LIPTON: You`re going to learn a lot of things. For one thing, he did eight musical numbers. It`s a two-hour show.

He went to the piano eight times and illustrated the way in which he writes songs. And he played some of his greatest songs for the students and me. It was magic, absolute magic. Five-and-a-half hours he was with us and did eight musical numbers.

HAMMER: Highlight song for you?

LIPTON: It was during the classroom session when he -- he had explained to me that he writes a song in 30 minutes. One of the students said to him, "How could you possibly write a song in 30 minutes?" He said, "Well, I do."

And the student seemed not to believe him. And he said, "Anybody got a book?" Well, 200 books went up. They`re students. And he took the questioner`s book. And he said, "Ah, Ibsen`s `Peer Gynt.`"

He went to his piano, put it on the piano desk, wedged it under his microphone, studied it for a moment, played two chords, and began to sing. And he sang -- and you will see him on Sunday night -- singing an entire scene from Ibsen`s "Peer Gynt" without stopping, beautiful music, just using Ibsen`s words.

The only time he ever did not sing was when he came to a parenthesis for a stage direction. He turned to the students and said, "To Solveig," and then he resumed singing. It`s the most remarkable thing I`ve ever seen on our stage, and the students cheered him after.

HAMMER: We look forward to seeing that on Sunday. James Lipton, it`s a pleasure having you here.

LIPTON: Great pleasure to meet you.

HAMMER: Twelfth season of "Inside the Actor`s Studio" premieres Sunday night on Bravo.

ANDERSON: Well, everyone seems to have a strong opinion about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, including Katie`s ex. Chris Klein speaks out for the first time on TomKat. That`s next.

HAMMER: Plus, a "CSI" star who has overcome a lot of personal drama to get where he is today, Robert David Hall joins us live with his survival story, coming up in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


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

Chris Klein opens up about Katie Holmes and her fiance, Tom Cruise. For the very first time, the actor best known for his role in "American Pie" is talking about his broken engagement to Holmes. He says they simply grew out of the relationship.

Klein and Holmes split just eight months ago. And in an interview with "Details" magazine, Klein also had some expletive-laden thoughts about Tom Cruise`s couch-jumping antics on "Oprah." You`ll remember that.

He said, quote, "That`s Tom. He can do whatever the bleep he wants. Who gives a bleep? I mean, we`ve all felt the need to jump up and down on a couch, or not." "Details" magazine is on newsstands now.

ANDERSON: Oh, didn`t hold back.

All right. Tonight, a "Showbiz Sitdown" with one of the most prominent disabled actors today, Robert David Hall. He plays the quirky coroner on the Emmy-nominated series "CSI," and he does it as a double amputee.

Hall wears prosthetic legs because his own were amputated more than 25 years ago. And he`s become an outspoken advocate for disabled actors. He has an amazing and courageous story to tell. And Robert David Hall is joining us live tonight.

Nice to see you, Robert.

ROBERT DAVID HALL, ACTOR, "CSI": Brooke, nice to see you.

ANDERSON: You were in a terrible accident back in 1978, not even 30 years old, 29. Tell us what happened.

HALL: Well, actually, I was 30 when it happened.

ANDERSON: Oh, excuse me. Pardon me.

HALL: That`s all right. Probably my bad information. But, no, it`s been so long, you know? I`ve lived a long time as a person with a disability.

You know, there`s 54 million of us in America. So I think of myself as an actor, a father, a husband first. But I am -- you know, I`m a person with a disability, and I`m happy to do what I can to draw attention to the things that affect people with disabilities. It`s a group I never planned to join, but it`s one that I`m very proud to be a part of.

ANDERSON: It was a car accident that caused it, and you`ve really beat the odds.

HALL: Right.

ANDERSON: Robert, do you feel that you`re, in a sense, a role model for anyone out there with any disability, because people may be watching who watch "CSI" and say, "I had no idea."

HALL: You know, it`s interesting. The producers and the writers on "CSI" don`t make a big deal about the fact that I walk on two artificial legs. I`m just Dr. Robbins. And my job is to provide clues to the other CSIs, to Billy Petersen and Marg, and to help them solve the grizzly crime that week.

So, in a way, what they`re doing is really helping people with disabilities, because we have a lot of abilities. We`re not some special freak group. Dr. Robbins is a medical examiner, you know? It`s not like, "Oh, that poor disabled guy." It`s, "Dr. Robbins may be a little weird. Robert David Hall may be a little weird," but the character is fun to play.

I`m playing, essentially, my late father, as if he were a coroner. And I have a lot of fun doing it. That`s the main thing.

ANDERSON: Well, you know, with "CSI" it`s not an issue, but do you feel Hollywood is ever discriminatory when it comes to casting actors with disabilities?

HALL: You know, I`m concerned not only about actors with disabilities, but all people with disabilities. I want to see kids with disabilities believe that they can become lawyers, and doctors, and television anchors, and commentators.

Your disability should not be the determining factor. Your ability should be the factor that changes things.

In Hollywood -- just to answer your question, which I have -- I sometimes like to get off the thing -- in Hollywood, I had two auditions for every 10 that my able-bodied friends did. But it all turned out pretty good for me, you know?

ANDERSON: I would say so.

HALL: Yes, I mean, it`s a thrill to be on this show. And I really -- I look forward to going to work. I look forward to getting out of the morgue sometimes. And I`ve always worked diligently to be the best actor that I can be.

ANDERSON: And you`re also working diligently -- you`re planning to help victims of Hurricane Katrina, as well. What do you hope to do?

HALL: I`m so glad you asked that. I serve on the board of the National Organization on Disability in Washington, D.C. And that`s another thrill.

The late Christopher Reeve was on the board. And after Chris passed, they actually asked me to join. And I was thrilled to do it.

NOD has just done a study, it`s called a SNAKE study, but it stands for the Special Needs Assessment of Katrina Evacuees. And we all know the chaos and the calamity of Katrina.

ANDERSON: Absolutely.

HALL: But people with disabilities had an especially difficult time. And the reason is that there has not been a coordination of...

ANDERSON: Efforts and...

HALL: ... efforts to help people with disabilities specifically. Ever since 9/11, NOD has been trying to help with the emergency preparedness initiative.

ANDERSON: That`s great.

HALL: So we want to just make sure that people with disabilities are thought of and accurately assisted when a tragedy comes along.

ANDERSON: It`s wonderful what you`re doing. Unfortunately, we are out of time, Robert. But thank you so much for joining us tonight.

HALL: Brooke, thank you so much.

ANDERSON: I do appreciate it. Of course.

And you can catch Robert on "CSI" Thursday nights on CBS.

HAMMER: Well, the Jib-Jab guys are back with a new political cartoon. This time, the Spiridellis brothers set their sights on the outsourcing of American jobs. Take a look in tonight`s "Showbiz Showcase."


UNIDENTIFIED GROUP (singing): Oh, it starts with sweatshop labor in a foreign factory, and gets packed on a vessel and shipped over the sea. It`s loaded onto trailers and it`s spread across the map.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): Big Box Mart is the place I go to buy all of my crap.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP (singing): Oh, Big Box Mart...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): What do you have for me?

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP (singing): ... because our shopping carts are empty and we`re on a shopping spree.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): I come to the Big Box Mart, because I do have lots of needs. And they sell crap the cheapest with their discounts guaranteed.

When I`m walking through the aisles, it`s like I`m hypnotized. With a wallet full of credit cards, I never leave deprived.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP (singing): Oh, Big Box Mart...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): ... thank you for serving me. My house is crap now and it used to be empty.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP (singing): The next day at the factory, the news was very grim.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): My job was being outsourced to the slums of east Beijing.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP (singing): Management was streamlining the company`s board chart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): They got to make crap cheap enough...

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP (singing): ... to sell to Big Box Mart.

Oh, Big Box Mart...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): ... look what you`ve done to me.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP (singing): He`s got to start all over at the age of 53.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): I still go to Big Box Mart. Yes, I`m there most all the time. These days you`ll likely find me sweeping aisle number nine.

My dreams of our retirement have gone up in a blaze. And I`ll be scrubbing toilets till they stick me in the grave.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP (singing): Oh, Big Box Mart...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): ... what have you sold to me?

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP (singing): We used to be your customers; now, we`re your employees.

Oh, Big Box Mart, my paycheck reminds me, your everyday low prices have a price: They aren`t free.

Paper or plastic?


HAMMER: All the faces in the song, just regular folks who sent their photos into the Jib-Jab web site. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s coming right back.


ANDERSON: The quiz show, "Jeopardy," is hard enough as it is, but when played by celebrities in drag, it takes on a whole new meaning.

HAMMER: Well, let`s play. I`ll take SHOWBIZ TONIGHT for $200, Brooke.

ANDERSON: All right, A.J. Answer: "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno.

HAMMER: What is the "Laughter Dark" clip of the day?


JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": That sound means it`s time for Final Jeopardy. Here is the Final Jeopardy answer: "Nick at Nite."

All right, contestants, start writing, "Nick at Nite."

All right. Final answer, of course, "Nick at Nite." Mr. President, what did you write?

PRESIDENT BUSH IMPERSONATOR: What TV network do I get my news from?


LENO: Not the right answer -- Mr. Fredericks?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where can you see one of my many infomercials?

LENO: No, that`s not it, either.

All right, one last chance. Harriet, the answer, "Nick at Nite," you wrote?

GILBERT GOTTFRIED, COMEDIAN: What is something that Jessica Simpson doesn`t do anymore?

LENO: Nick at night, that`s correct. You`ve won. You`ve won the game. Thank you very much.


ANDERSON: How would Gilbert Gottfried know? That`s my answer, in the form of a question.

All right. Moving on. We`ve been asking you to vote online on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." TV News: Are you watching less because of tragedy overload?

The vote so far: 72 percent of you say yes; 28 percent of you say no.

Here are some e-mails. Rob from Virginia writes, "It got to be too much. I haven`t seen anything about the earthquake, and I probably won`t. Time for some good news."

Norma from Nevada writes, "I am profoundly feeling news tragedy overload. I`m giving it a rest to some extent, but not to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT."

Keep voting at We`re glad you`re not giving us a rest.

HAMMER: Thanks so much. Great to be back. Have a good weekend. That is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer.

ANDERSON: I`m Brooke Anderson. Stay tuned for the latest from CNN Headline News.


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