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Showbiz Tonight for November 23, 2005, CNNHN

Aired November 23, 2005 - 19:00   ET


A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: I`m A.J. Hammer, live, in New York.
SIBILA VARGAS, CO-HOST: And I`m Sibila Vargas, live, in Hollywood. TV`s only live entertainment news show starts right now.


JASON ALEXANDER, ACTOR: And the water was cold.

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

JERRY SEINFEILD, COMEDIAN: You mean shrinkage?


HAMMER: But Seinfeld`s popularity just keeps growing. Tonight, the enduring legacy of "Seinfeld." Why the laughs keep coming, and America just can`t get enough of Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer. It`s a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT special report.

From Dear Abby to Dr. Phil, the never-ending quest to make yourself better. Books, tapes, TV shows on how to get richer, smarter, thinner. Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with an inside look at America`s self-help craze.

Today, a very big day for "American Idol" Carrie Underwood. From shy Oklahoma girl to chart-topper, this country gal has some big news to share and she will, right here, live, in the interview you`ll only see here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

GARTH BROOKS, COUNTRY MUSIC STAR: Hey, everybody. I`m Garth Brooks. And if it happened today, you can bet it`s on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


VARGAS: Hello, there. I`m Sibila Vargas.

HAMMER: I`m A.J. Hammer, live in New York City.

Tonight, a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT special report, the amazing endurance of "Seinfeld." One of the most popular sitcoms in TV history, it continues to not only master its domain, but to dominate it.

This week, two more seasons of the show released on DVD. Today, a reunion on "Regis and Kelly." Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on the "Seinfeld" sensation that shows no sign of letting up.


SEINFELD: You mean shrinkage?

HAMMER (voice-over): "Seinfeld" is showing no signs of shrinkage.

SEINFELD: Showmanship, George. When you hit that high note, say good night and walk off.

HAMMER: And seven years since "Seinfeld" walked off the primetime stage, it`s still going strong. "Seinfeld" DVDs rank among the top selling TV DVDs of all time, with sales of around $100 million. And years after "Seinfeld" was sold into syndication for a record $1.7 billion, the nightly repeats routinely draw about nine million viewers. That`s better than most first run primetime shows on the air today.

MICHAEL RICHARDSON, ACTOR: You`re going to be the first pirate.

SEINFELD: I don`t want to be a pirate.

NICK GOSTIN, "NEWSWEEK": There`s not a lot of great TV on. And a great sitcom is hard to come by. So people just love watching it, I think. It doesn`t matter how many times they`ve seen it.

HAMMER: The cast of "Seinfeld" was showered with appreciation as they reunited on "Live with Regis and Kelly."

REIG PHILBIN, CO-HOST, ABC`S "LIVE WITH REGIS AND KELLY": I just want to tell you what you meant to everybody. Everybody loved that show. It was the best.

HAMMER: And on "Larry King Live," Jerry Seinfeld himself talked about his show`s enduring appeal.

SEINFELD: Why is the show so successful?


SEINFELD: I`ll give you the same answer Gleason would always give when they asked him this question about "The Honeymooners." It`s funny. Funny.

HAMMER (on camera): I`m here at Tom`s Diner in Manhattan. You may recognize it as Monk`s, the fictional diner where Jerry and the gang swapped stories on "Seinfeld." Inside the real diner is a living shrine to the sitcom that made it famous. It was easy to find many fans here who told us why, seven years after it went off the air, this little show about nothing can still strike a cord.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s just funny stuff. Some things you see once and you`re done with. And sometimes things you just keep going back for, because they`re good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because it relates to life. I mean, it`s so true to life. Everything, even me and my friends, we still do a lot of the stuff from "Seinfeld" today. We`re here because of "Seinfeld."

We`ll kick it up a notch.

HAMMER: Oh, yes. The catch phrases. "Seinfeld" sure had a lot of those.


I just couldn`t decide if he was really sponge-worthy.

HAMMER: Still, when I talked to Jason Alexander, who played the neurotic George on the show, he told me "Seinfeld" has had an even more profound effect.

ALEXANDER: You know, what I do for a living is totally important until you get a letter than says, "Hey, man, you got me through chemotherapy," or "You got me through the loss of my child." Wow, OK. I love this show, and I will love it forever.

HAMMER: And so will "Seinfeld`s" many fans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s something very special that -- that will never go away.


HAMMER: Well, I think that`s a good thing. "TV Guide" recently named "Seinfeld" the No. 1 TV series of all time.

And now we want to hear from you. This is our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Is "Seinfeld" the funniest sitcom ever? What`s up with that? You can vote at Or you can send us your e-mail with more thoughts at and we`ll share some of what you have to say later in the show.

VARGAS: Tonight, a major arrest. A third fugitive from Oprah`s child predator watch list has been captured. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has learned that viewer tips led to the capture of accused child molester, Walter Edward Myer. He`s being held in Costa Rica, awaiting deportation to the United States.

Oprah also launched an initiative to round up child predators last month, offering a $100,000 reward for critical information leading to the arrests of the wanted pedophiles. Details of this latest capture will be featured on an upcoming "Oprah" show. No air date has yet been set.

HAMMER: Tonight, surprising last words from Ted Koppel as he finally said good-bye on "Nightline." After 42 years at ABC Mews and 25 years as the original and the only anchor of "Nightline," Ted Koppel made a plea to viewers. In just a moment, why his last words could have a lasting impact on the news industry. But first, here`s what Ted Koppel said.


TED KOPPEL, FORMER HOST, "NIGHTLINE": Trust me, the transition from one anchor to another is not that big a deal. Cronkite begat Rather, Chancellor begat Brokaw, Reynolds begat Jennings. And each of them did a pretty fair job in his own right.

You`ve always been very nice to me, so give this new anchor team from "Nightline" a fair break. If you don`t, I promise you the network will just put another comedy show in this time slot and then you`ll be sorry.

That`s our report for tonight. I`m Ted Koppel in Washington. For all of us here at ABC News, good night.


HAMMER: So what are the chances that ABC would actually replace "Nightline" with a comedy show? Joining us live tonight from Pittsburgh, Jeff Allen, the author of "Anchor in America."

Jeff, it`s nice to see you. And when you first heard Koppel tell viewers that they would be sorry if "Nightline" was replaced by a comedy show, what was going through your head?

JEFF ALLEN, AUTHOR, "ANCHOR IN AMERICA": Well, you know, I had said those exact things in some radio and newspaper interviews the day before. The reason is very, very simple. Again, it`s back to the money.

First of all, look where "Nightline" is. It came out of a show called "Iran Crisis: American Hostage." Frank Reynolds did that show. It came out of the Iran crisis, obviously, in those days. And Ted Koppel took it over.

Roone Arledge was president of ABC News at the time, and he said, "My goodness. This thing is getting ratings late at night." So he changed the show to "Nightline" in March of 1980, found Ted Koppel, put him on the program. And Ted has been there for 25 years.

So A.J., what goes through my mind is were people watching "Nightline" or were people watching Ted Koppel? I think they were watching Ted Koppel.

HAMMER: So on the question of it possibly going away, and with all due respect to the fact that the show is an institution and to the fact that the show has been on for 25 years, you know, you say Koppel was really the driving force. So if "Nightline" does go away, would it really matter?

ALLEN: Well, these days, unless "Nightline" can prove that it is coming up with new material -- you know something? He compared himself -- I thought this was very interesting, and you just heard it. He compared himself to the last three anchors on the air. He didn`t compare himself to Brian Williams, as an example.

And that means that Ted Koppel really -- he was one of the last solo anchors, probably the very last solo old-school anchor on the air. So you know something? It`s not going to matter if "Nightline" goes away, because now we have cable news, we have the Internet and everything else. That`s strictly my opinion. And I`m sure the people at ABC News will think otherwise.

But this is a new show. Viewers are going to look at this as a brand new show. Either they`re going to like it and watch it or they`re not going to like it, and it`s going to go away.

HAMMER: It will be interesting to see what, indeed, does happen. Jeff, thanks very much.

ALLEN: Thanks.

HAMMER: That`s Jeff Allen, author of "Anchoring America," joining us on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Thanks.

VARGAS: Well, the big guest that got "Teen People" in hot water. We`ll tell you the shocking story behind what was promised racist twin teen stars who sing in order for them to talk.

HAMMER: And 12 steps to a better you. How your big hang-ups are big bucks in the self help biz. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT takes a look at the multibillion industry that is self help.

VARGAS: Plus, Marlo Thomas, a woman with a mission. How she gets Hollywood A-listers to pitch in for charity and change a child`s world. That`s next.


VARGAS: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Sibila Vargas.

Now you don`t see this on every Christmas list, but Tom Cruise bought pregnant fiance Katie Holmes a sonogram machine. Cruise says the device, which reportedly costs as much as $200,000, will help the couple monitor their baby`s development. The actor sat down with ABC`s Barbara Walters for a special on "This Most Fascinating People of 2005," which airs next Tuesday.

HAMMER: Tonight, in a "SHOWBIZ Sitdown," Emmy Award-winning actress and producer Marlo Thomas. She starred in her own hit sitcom, of course, "That Girl," as a single woman pursuing anything but a husband.

Marlo is a children`s book author, whose works include the ever- popular "Free to be You and Me," and it is her tireless work with the St. Jude`s Children`s Research Hospital that gets the attention of so many celebrities in and out of Hollywood. Marlo Thomas joins us live at SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

It`s a pleasure to meet you, finally...


HAMMER: ... because "Free to be You and Me" has everything to be -- everything to do with who I am.

THOMAS: That`s great. You turned out very well.

HAMMER: I hope so. I hope I don`t disappoint you in the course of the next four minutes.

So your dad, the legendary Danny Thomas...


HAMMER: ... made a promise to St. Jude that led to the work you`re here to talk about tonight with St. Jude Children`s Hospital and Research Center. So please, tell me what was that promise? What was that...

THOMAS: My father was a very poor kid. His dad had been on welfare, you know, when he was growing up. They called it relief in those days. And my father was terrified of ever being somebody who couldn`t provide for his family.

And there was a time in his life when he couldn`t do -- he couldn`t get a job. And he had me and my mom and so he prayed to St. Jude for just direction in his life. And he went to church and he put $7 in an envelope. And he said to St. Jude, "I need ten times this," you know, to pay for my family`s bills and so forth.

And the next day, which is a Monday, he got a phone call giving him a job as a singing toothbrush on the radio, and the pay was $70.

HAMMER: Right away.

THOMAS: And he felt that St. Jude was directing him, and he had great faith, my father. He wasn`t a pious guy, but he had great faith. And through the years, these promises kept being made. And he said, "Some day I want to build a place for other hopeless people," because St. Jude`s patron of the hopeless. And that because St. Jude`s Children`s Research Hospital.

HAMMER: And clearly, you made a promise to keep that dream alive. And it`s amazing what you`ve done with this Thanks and Giving campaign, just in time for Thanksgiving. With this amazing book, this amazing CD, and al of the celebrities you have involved, from Tiger Woods to Kevin Bacon to Ray Romano. And the PSAs we`ve been seeing on the television with Sarah Jessica Parker and Faith Hill and so many more.

THOMAS: Morgan Freeman.

HAMMER: Morgan Freeman. OK. We`ve seen the advertising. We have the book. We have the CD, which we want to sell. People can go to the web site.

THOMAS: All of the royalties go to St. Jude.

HAMMER: And we`ll tell them the web site in just a moment. But what else would you like to see people do?

THOMAS: Well, this is a time we call Thanks and Giving campaign. Giving thanks to the kids in our lives who are healthy and give to those who are not. So that one day all kids will be healthy.

And we need to be thankful for our healthy children and to really consider how to make other kids healthy. And the way we do that is by research. You know, if you have a disease and there`s no research for it, you`re a goner. What St. Jude does is study disease. That`s what my father wanted. And it`s the only place in the country where research and treatment is being done under one roof.

And we take children from all over the country. Doctors send us their toughest cases, and nobody pays. Everybody that comes to St. Jude, we pay for their travel and their housing through the great Target Corporation, built the housing. And food and treatment and medication for as long as it takes. That takes a lot of money.

HAMMER: It`s a lot of money.

THOMAS: Five hundred million dollars a year.

HAMMER: What are some of the ways this holiday weekend that you can raise some of that money?

THOMAS: You can go to all of our wonderful stores. We`ve Williams and Sonoma, Pottery Barn, and 7-Eleven and CVS and Brooks Brothers and -- and Marshall`s, and Domino`s Pizza, and Kay Jewelers. All of those wonderful stores, Nine West, are finding all different kinds of ways that you can give money to St. Jude.

By adding a dollar on at the cash register, by buying a bear and all the profits go to St. Jude, by buying the CD and the -- and the book, and help us raise the $500 million so that we can continue to do our research and give it away to the children in every community in this country.

And we are a national resource. And so this campaign is very important. And it starts Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, and it goes all through the Christmas season. So that`s why you`re seeing all those PSAs, our trailer in the movie theaters, our trailer on American Airlines.

There are so many people that have become our partners, all these wonderful stars, because they know that, you know, when you`re in your darkest hour as a parent, there has to be a place to go. And St. Jude is that place.

HAMMER: Well, hats off to you for keeping your dad`s dream alive. And happy holidays to husband Phil Donahue.

THOMAS: Thank you.

HAMMER: And your entire family. Enjoy the holiday.

THOMAS: Thank you very much.

HAMMER: We appreciate you dropping by SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

And if you would like to donate to the St. Children`s -- St. Jude Children`s Research Hospital, just log onto their web site, which is

VARGAS: Well, the prizes came in pairs last night at the American Music Awards. Four acts went home dual winners, with two AMA`s apiece: Destiny`s Child, Black Eyed Peas, Green Day and Tim McGraw.

But half of them weren`t even there. Kelly Rowland was the only member of Destiny`s Child present to accept their awards, and the Black Eyed Peas didn`t even show up at all.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT caught up with some of the winners backstage.


WILL SMITH, FAVORITE MALE POP-ROCK ARTIST: There`s a lot of darkness in the world. And I`m committed to really just, with all the strength I`ve got to bring the light.

MARIAH CAREY, FAVORITE FEMALE SOUL/R&B ARTIST: It`s a wonderful feeling. It`s great to be here at the AMAs with all the other great artists and just, you know, the diversity that this awards show, I think, has always been about.


VARGAS: Mariah Carey went home with just one of three awards she was nominated for: favorite female soul/R&B artist.

A.J., back to you.

HAMMER: Sibila, we got to see you hanging out there on the red carpet last night at the American Music Awards, hobnobbing with all the stars. Give me your favorite moment from the night, for you, not in the show. What happened to you?

VARGAS: Speaking to Rob Thomas. I`ve always been a fan. You know, and I know he`s, you know, gone off to do his solo career. And it was just nice talking to him. You know how it is on the red carpet. You know, the energy is palpable. It`s so nice to see these guys in person and get to know who they really are. That was my -- definitely one of my highlights.

HAMMER: And Rob Thomas certainly is the real deal. All right, Sibila, thanks very much.

Well, earlier, we told you how much the power "Seinfeld" and the franchise is still wielding these days. Enough power, apparently, to get Regis Philbin to lose the shirt off his back. Take a look at this "Talk of the Day" clip, from "Live with Regis and Kelly."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, let`s go. Is that what you`re wearing?

ALEXANDER: It`s so pretty.

KELLY RIPA, CO-HOST, ABC`S "LIVE WITH REGIS AND KELLY": And I want to point out, if you hand me the DVD packet, they actually also, they make one in my size, too, which is nice. That`s very nice.

PHILBIN: That`s right.


HAMMER: It`s not even a good look on Regis.

Well, tomorrow, Regis and Kelly are going to take a visit to Disneyland.

VARGAS: They`re teenagers. And with a sweetheart smile, they sing of white supremacy. Coming up, what a popular teen magazine is said to have done to whitewash their story. The story behind the story is coming up.

HAMMER: Well, she asked Jesus to take the wheel, but tonight, Carrie Underwood is in the driver`s seat with chart-topping news. The "American Idol" star joins us, live, for the interview you`ll only see here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

VARGAS: Self-help books: half of America owns at least one. And that`s just the tip of the iceberg. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT looks at shows, speakers and products out there to make you better.

HAMMER: First, tonight`s "Entertainment Weekly Great American Pop Culture Quiz." Which daytime talk show host got her big break performing stand-up comedy on an early episode of "Star Search"? Was it Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah Winfrey, Rosie O`Donnell or D, Caroline Rhea -- Caroline Rhea. We`ll be right back with the answer.


HAMMER: Once again, tonight`s "Entertainment Weekly Great American Pop Culture Quiz." Which daytime talk show host got her big break performing stand-up comedy on an early episode of "Star Search"? The answer, C, Rosie O`Donnell.


Tonight, it`s adios to "Alias." Just a short time ago, ABC announced that the spy drama starring Jennifer Garner will end its run in May 2006. In its five seasons on the air, the show has won seven Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe for Garner in 2002. She`s now married to Ben Affleck, and they`re expecting their first child next month.

HAMMER: Well, after months of waiting, video game fans are finally able to get their hands on Microsoft`s new gaming machine. Xbox 360 is the next generation video game console.

Now, it`s said to take digital media to the next level. But if you already have a bunch of Xbox games, there is one little catch.

Here`s SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson.


BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This isn`t a scene from the next "Fast and the Furious" sequel. This is "Need for Speed: Most Wanted," just one of the high definition video games making their debut along with the Xbox 360.

After months of waiting, Microsoft has finally unleashed their next generation game console that is bound to be the center of digital entertainment experience.

DAVID HUFFORD, MICROSOFT SPOKESPERSON: It does a lot more than games, but it`s primary purpose is to play earth shattering games.

ANDERSON: Along with gaming that offers sleeker, high definition graphics and surround sound, the new Xbox takes your other digital media to the next level.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can plug in any device, whether it`s an mp3 player, whether it`s your iPod, even a Sony PSP that you might have mp3 music on, you can plug that into your Xbox 360 and, with a very simple interface, you can access the music and make your own play tracks for while you`re playing games.

ANDERSON: For gamers, it`s the $299 question. Be the first one to own the Xbox or wait and see what else is in store.

Microsoft isn`t the only company looking to make itself at home in your living room. Sony is putting the finishing touching on the PlayStation 3, while Nintendo is also working on a new console.

At a special invitation only prelaunch party held by Microsoft high up in the Hollywood hills, one guest, comedian Dane Cook, already had his mind made up.

DANE COOK, COMEDIAN: I roll with Xbox, yes. I don`t even have -- I shouldn`t say, but I don`t even have the PS. Xbox born and raised.

ANDERSON: But there is a down side. While the basic unit costs $299, you won`t be able to play any of your regular Xbox games unless you buy the $399 premium edition 360.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would be a core package. You don`t get the hard drive. You get wire controllers. It`s a -- it`s a much more sort of basic bare bones system.

ANDERSON: And if you want to take advantage of those high definition graphics, you`ll need to invest in a high definition television. Still, gamers like "That 70`s Show`s" Wilmer Valderrama think the Xbox represents a major leap forward.

WILMER VALDERRAMA, ACTOR: It`s the next generation of video games. And I also believe that -- that it`s someone who is able to capture the image of old gamers is Xbox.


HAMMER: That was SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson, reporting for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Xbox 360 was released on Tuesday at midnight. No big surprise here: they`re already vanishing from shelves everywhere.

VARGAS: Well, they`re teenage girls who sing songs that glorify Nazis. Pretty controversial, and tonight, "Teen People" magazine has been pulled into the fray. We`ll explain, coming up.

HAMMER: Plus, he became one of the most powerful voices for hurricane relief after Katrina devastated his hometown. Aaron Neville, a native son of New Orleans, is here, live, coming up in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

VARGAS: And, got a problem? There`s a whole industry ready to fix it. But is all this self-help business really making people helpless? You can help yourself to that report, coming up.


SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT continues in one minute. Hi, everyone. I`m Susan Hendricks with your "Headline Prime Newsbreak."

The holiday travel rush is in full swing. And winter weather is getting in the way in some places. An early winter storm is already dumping snow on the upper Midwest. The National Weather Service has issued winter storm watches for parts of the mid-Atlantic and northern New England.

To Texas now, with one dozen antiwar activists have been arrested near President Bush`s Texas ranch the day after he arrived for Thanksgiving vacation. The arrests are the first under new bans on roadside camping and parking around the president`s property.

And despite all of the Hurricane Katrina devastation in New Orleans, the city has decided to let the good times roll. Officials say there will be a Mardi Gras in February. The city`s asking for corporate sponsorships to cover some of the costs it can`t afford right now because of Katrina.

And that is the news for now. I`m Susan Hendricks. We return you now to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It is 31 minutes past the hour. I`m A.J. Hammer, live in New York.

VARGAS: And I`m Sibila Vargas, live in Hollywood. You`re watching TV`s only live entertainment news show.

Now, A.J., it`s not very often that you see a magazine that wants to publish a story and decides to not go through with it. But apparently, "Teen People" magazine did just that. They had a story about two teenage white supremacists and apparently it was too hot. We got that, coming up.

HAMMER: Interesting story there.

And, of course, Sibila, from Dr. Ruth to Dr. Phil, the self-help industry is big business. It`s like a billion-dollar business. But is it making people who pay money for it helpless? We`re going to investigate that, coming up in just a few minutes, as well.

But first, let`s get into tonight`s "Hot Headlines." Tonight, another accused pedophile has been caught, thanks to Oprah Winfrey. Today, we learned that tips from "Oprah" viewers led to the arrest of Walter Edward Myer, who was on Oprah`s child predator watch list. Oprah launched the effort last month, offering a $100,000 reward for information about wanted child molesters. Myer is the third fugitive to be caught.

Well, Madonna is on the top of the charts once again. For the sixth time, Madonna has an album in the number-one position on the "Billboard" album chart. In numbers out today, her latest record, "Confessions on a Dance Floor," sold nearly 350,000 copies in its first week alone.

Britney Spears may be heading to the bright lights of Broadway. That`s right. There are reports that Britney is in negotiations to play the lead role in the musical "Sweet Charity." Britney would reportedly replace Christina Applegate in January, and the show would move to a larger theater to accommodate a bigger audience.

And those are tonight`s "Hot Headlines."

VARGAS: Tonight, a stunning about-face by "Teen People." The magazine landed a rare interview with the twin teen sisters who make up the white supremacist music group Prussian Blue. But the glossy has now dropped the story, and that move couldn`t have come soon enough for many who are the saying the duo is the new face of hate.


VARGAS (voice-over): Their looks are innocent, but their messages are disturbing. They`re Prussian Blue, 13-year-old California twins Lynx and Lamb Gaede. And some are saying their songs are racist and filled with hate.

With one album out, another on the way, and their wholesome looks, they`ve even been compared to the Olsen twins, Mary Kate and Ashley. Lynx and Lamb`s lyrics, though, are anything but wholesome. In a song called "Sacrifice," here`s what they say about Rudolf Hess, one of Hitler`s top men and a Nazi.

"Rudolf Hess, man of peace. He wouldn`t give up and he wouldn`t cease to give his loyalty to our cause."

And in "Lamb Near the Lane," "If the white men won`t battle for life and race, the women and children the terror will face."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These two young ladies, their parents, they are neo-Nazis. They believe the Holocaust was exaggerated. They believe that Adolf Hitler was a good guy.

VARGAS: After word got out that "Teen People" was working on a profile of Prussian Blue, groups rallied to protest. And the magazine decided to shelve the story. But according to "Teen People," the uproar is not the reason they decided to pull the article.

In a statement obtained by SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the magazine said, "During an editorial review of this assignment, we learned that a junior employee made unauthorized assurances to the mother of the Gaede twins regarding the prohibition of certain words in the story. Such an agreement is a violation of Time, Inc., editorial policy. And, as a result, we are killing the story and pursuing a formal inquiry."


VARGAS: A source tells CNN these "certain words" in question are "hate," "supremacist" and "Nazi." And late today, "Teen People" told us no action was taken against the employee who made the unauthorized deal. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT reached out to Prussian Blue`s representative, but we haven`t heard back yet.

Angelina Jolie and her reported boyfriend, Brad Pitt, are off to Pakistan. Jolie and Pitt plan to visit earthquake survivors in northern Pakistan in the next few days. The couple arrived in Geneva yesterday for private briefings at the U.N. High Commission for Refugees.

Jolie has been a goodwill ambassador for the agency since August of 2001 and has visited more than 20 countries. Staff members at the Geneva headquarters reportedly swarmed Pitt and Jolie, wanting pictures and autographs as they left after their unannounced visit.

HAMMER: It`s time now for another "Showbiz Sitdown," this time with Carrie Underwood. Tonight, this "American Idol" made history. She is the biggest-selling debut artist in country music, according to Nielsen Soundscan.

Another feather in her cap: In her first week out with her new CD, Carrie`s debut album outsold fellow "Idol" Kelly Clarkson`s first week. And she`s just getting started. The new album is called "Some Hearts."

Carrie Underwood, Great to see you back here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


HAMMER: Big news today. Number one on the country chart, number two on the Billboard album chart. Where were you when you got the phone call? What was that like, finding out this news?

UNDERWOOD: I was in the car this morning on the way to something. And I don`t even remember, but, yes, they told me in the car. And they told me how much I`d sold and what numbers and this and that and the other. And I don`t know what any of it means.

HAMMER: Do you remember the number?

UNDERWOOD: I think it was around 315,000.

HAMMER: 314,549 copies.


HAMMER: Yes, something. Yes, OK. Did you have any idea that that was going to happen?

UNDERWOOD: No. I mean, most of the time when people tell me things like that, I`m like, "Is that good?" You know? Because I don`t know.

HAMMER: Being number one is always good.


HAMMER: Well, I`m sure you`re being particularly reflective this time of year with the holidays, about the enormous year that you`re coming off of. If we were to flash back a year, I guess you were just in the initial audition phases for "American Idol," so let`s go back two years.

You were actually thinking about maybe a career in journalism at that point two years ago?

UNDERWOOD: I sure was.

HAMMER: To be on television, maybe?

UNDERWOOD: I hadn`t really decided yet if I wanted to be in front of or behind the camera.

HAMMER: But that was something that perhaps interests you.


HAMMER: Because I was thinking, you know, here we are at CNN. This might be an opportunity to see what it would feel like if, in fact, that had come true as opposed to "American Idol."

UNDERWOOD: What do you got in mind?

HAMMER: Can I throw to you for a story?


HAMMER: Well, this just in: Here`s Carrie Underwood with the latest.

UNDERWOOD: Thanks, A.J. Tonight, "American Idol" Carrie Underwood made music history. Her debut album, "Some Hearts," landed at number one on the country album charts, and her first single, "Jesus, Take the Wheel," opened in the second spot on Billboard`s top 200, making her the highest debuting new country artist in the nation.


HAMMER: Ladies and gentlemen, Carrie Underwood filing that report for showbiz -- that was very good. How did it feel?

UNDERWOOD: Thank you. I think I was talking a little fast. I probably should have slowed down a little bit, paced myself.

HAMMER: I think you went right into, though.

UNDERWOOD: I`m a little nervous.

HAMMER: You`re happier that it wound up being, you know, big-time country star instead of reading the news?



HAMMER: OK, but that was good nonetheless.

UNDERWOOD: Weird talking about myself, though.

HAMMER: OK, yes, well, that was -- you know, just normally that doesn`t happen.

All right. So you had this enormous year. And I`m going to put you on the spot here. It would be very easy for you to say it was all great, but I really want to know, in your mind, what was the single greatest moment of the year? What was that one thing that happened in the course of the last 11 months that just blew your mind?

UNDERWOOD: I`d say, other than, of course, winning "American Idol," getting to perform at the CMA Awards here in New York. I mean, that was just an awesome experience for me to be in front of all of the people that I`ve idolized, you know, my whole, entire life, and get to sing to them, so...


HAMMER: And you sang for them, and you presented. You also sang at the Grand Ole Opry.

I`ve heard you say before, because you won instant fame through "American Idol," that you feel a little bit of pressure. You feel like you have to work a little harder to prove yourself.

OK, you`re number one now. Do you still feel that way? Or is there more to do?

UNDERWOOD: You know, I always hope that I feel like I have to prove myself, because that will just make me push harder to do the best that I can. And, you know, I certainly don`t want people to view me as just a contest winner. I want people to, you know, see me and see what I do and like what I do. So I always hope I strive to prove myself.

HAMMER: Well, tomorrow, you will get to prove yourself once again, riding in a float in the Thanksgiving parade. Did you watch the parade growing up?

UNDERWOOD: It was always in the background, yes.

HAMMER: So is this very surreal for you, that you`re going to be on a float?

UNDERWOOD: Well, I mean, it`s a total, you know, traditional kind of thing that everybody knows about, the Macy Day Parade. So it`s really awesome to get that opportunity to freeze my little buns off out there.

HAMMER: Yes, dress warm, Carrie. Well, congratulations on your big success today. And we look forward to big things from you in the future, as well.

UNDERWOOD: Well, thank you very much.

HAMMER: And, of course, the album, once again, is called "Some Hearts." You`ll find it in stores now.

VARGAS: Coming up, the self-help nation. From books, to videos, to TV shows, it`s a billion-dollar industry. But is self-help really helping? We`ll look into that, next.

HAMMER: Plus, new movies for the Thanksgiving weekend. Should you fork it over for "Rent"? We`re going to find out, coming up in "People`s" picks and pans.

VARGAS: And Aaron Neville is here live. He has a new Christmas album with a strong connection to helping his native New Orleans. Aaron Neville, coming up in the interview you`ll only see on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.



Let the good times roll. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has learned Mardi Gras is coming back to a devastated New Orleans. Just moments ago, the city announced a plan to truncate the season`s parades, called Crews (ph), to just eight days, instead of the usual 10. And the city is asking for corporate sponsors to help with police overtime costs. So mark your calendars: Mardi Gras is February 28th.

HAMMER: Tonight, in a "Showbiz Sitdown," New Orleans` native son, Aaron Neville. Since Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, Aaron has been front and center, helping to raise money and awareness for survivors of the disaster.

And now, his latest CD, "Christmas Prayer" is in stores, just in time for the holidays. And for every CD sold, the American Red Cross gets 60 cents. And that is a good deal.

Aaron Neville joins us live on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. And you`re also performing in the big Thanksgiving parade tomorrow, as well, doing "White Christmas."


HAMMER: I understand you`re the next float from Carrie Underwood`s.

NEVILLE: Oh, cool. All right, yes.

HAMMER: So I told her, "Be careful; don`t crash."


You came by SHOWBIZ TONIGHT just after Hurricane Katrina and the disaster and when your personal efforts to get involved were beginning. How is everything going with that?

NEVILLE: Well, we`re still trying to, you know -- the thing about it is that people not forget, you know, because they`ve got a lot of people that are displaced all over the country that don`t know what really hit them, you know?

All of a sudden, everything is gone, and they`re somewhere in a foreign city or whatever, you know, don`t have anything to go back to yet, you know.

HAMMER: So the efforts to rebuild homes and facilitate...

NEVILLE: And to help those people, you know, to be able to go forward, you know.

HAMMER: So what is not being done still, you know, a couple of months later, that needs to get done, in your mind?

NEVILLE: Well, there`s a lot of people that, you know -- I guess FEMA gave them $2,000 or something like that. And I don`t know what they expect them to do with $2,000 after they lost their homes and their livelihoods. Because, I mean, you know, they don`t have no jobs, they don`t have anything.

And they need help, you know? That`s why we`re still are trying to do something. You know, that`s my extended family, you know, the people from New Orleans.


HAMMER: Sure. So you`re hoping the government steps up to the plate with even more money and more resources, or what do you think is the most needed solution right now?

NEVILLE: Well, the government needs to step up with some more needed help, and the people have been so great around the country. I mean, as far as, you know, giving of themselves, donating, taking people in their homes and all, you know.

They have been just over the top, you know. We need to continue that. We need to not forget, you know, because, you know, after a while, you don`t see it on TV.


NEVILLE: But still, somewhere, there`s some people that are suffering, you know...


HAMMER: Well, and you coming here right now and talking about it keeps the word out there. And how are you doing? Because when you came here last time, I mean, you really -- you were clearly in a lot of pain. And you were very tired. And you were overwrought with emotions.

Are you able to sort of get through life a little more easily now?

NEVILLE: Yes, you know, I`m -- the thing about musicians, you know, our work never stops, you know. It helped me a lot because we were doing the benefits and all. I didn`t really have a chance to actually think and, you know, actually what was going on, you know, except that we wanted to do something to help the people, you know. And that gave me a lot of whatever I needed to get through it, you know.

HAMMER: Sure. And now, with the "Christmas Prayer" CD, and you`re performing "White Christmas" at the parade tomorrow. And as a mentioned, a lot of the money going to the Red Cross with all of the sales of the CD. What are hoping people who buy and listen to this CD walk away feeling or thinking about?

NEVILLE: Well, the song, "A Christmas Prayer," you know, it was recorded way before the storm. But it can be so appropriate, I think, for people to look out for each other, you know.

It`s like, you know, I remember seeing a caption in the paper one time, you know. A guy said, "I wonder why God doesn`t come down and do something for all these poor and helpless people, you know." And then another caption is showing God saying, "I wonder why these people don`t do what I put them down there for and look out for each other," you know?

But the people definitely have been great, trying to help. You know, we need more input from the government, you know, to try to see that these people are -- you know, give them some kind of life back.

HAMMER: We will try to help you keep the message alive, Aaron. Have fun at the parade. And as I told Carrie, dress warmly tomorrow.

NEVILLE: Oh, yes, definitely.

HAMMER: Once again, Aaron`s brand-new CD, "Christmas Prayer," is in stores now. And as I mentioned, 60 cents from every album sold goes to the American Red Cross.

VARGAS: Self help, from TV to radio to infomercials to books and tapes, it`s an industry expected to be worth $10 billion this year. But some say all of this self-help is making us helpless. Here`s CNN`s Adaora Udoji for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


DR. LAURA SCHLESSINGER, RADIO HOST: I`m Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Got problems in your life? Let`s talk about it.

ADAORA UDOJI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Americans like a fix. Want to live better? There`s Steve Covey.

STEPHEN COVEY, SEMINAR SPEAKER: To live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy, represent the essence of it.

UDOJI: Or to love better? Cue John Gray.

JOHN GRAY, AUTHOR: There`s a whole gold mine of love you can create in your relationship.

UDOJI: Just want to be a little more interesting? Tune in to Dr. Phil.

DR. PHIL MCGRAW, "DR. PHIL": I have a theory. I really do have a theory. I think that bored people are boring.

UDOJI: Self-help celebrities, motivational speakers, websites, books, and tapes, and books on tape are all selling us promises: We can be richer, thinner, better investors, have better sex, and, oh, yes, find God. And we`re buying it.

JOHN LAROSA, MARKETDATA ENTERPRISES, INC.: Fifty dollars for, you know, buying some self-improvement books, ranging all the way up to $10,000 or more for personal sessions with one of the big celebrities.

UDOJI: But who`s buying this stuff? Larosa says half of all Americans have bought a self-help book, like "Chicken Soup for the Soul," one of the fastest movers in the genre, and women, mostly. Female consumers buy 75 percent of the material. The self-help "it" girl tends to be 40-something earning more than $50,000 a year.

LAROSA: Willing to try new things and experiment with things. You have to remember that the self-improvement industry is really an experience industry.

UDOJI: And marketers say the sexes like the experience different things. Men gravitate toward money-making and improving memory; women like spirituality and relationships. But does all this self-help help?

Oprah is just one self-help celeb who has built a billion-dollar business around the assumption it does.

OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: ... there`s one thread running through each show we do, it is the message that you are not alone.

UDOJI: Nor is Oprah and the enormous multimedia self-help market. But be careful: Anyone can dish out self-help advice. There`s no license required. And that has some critics calling it a sham.

STEVE SALERNO, AUTHOR, "SHAM": Anybody can get in. There`s no basis in any kind of testing for any of these regimens that they preach. The people that they`re preaching to may or may not have the problems that the supposedly go to the (INAUDIBLE) for. And it causes all sorts of collateral damage along the way.

SCHLESSINGER: I got a new attitude, yes.


VARGAS: And, again, that was CNN`s Adaora Udoji for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

HAMMER: It is time now for the "Showbiz Guide," where, throughout the week, we help you decide where to spend your dollars on movies, music, DVDs and more. Of course, the big Thanksgiving weekend is upon us.

And in tonight`s "People" picks and pans, a little something for everyone: George Clooney`s CIA thriller, "Syriana"; the big family film, "Yours Mine and Ours"; and "Rent" takes the great white way to the silver screen.

Here in New York to talk with us through each one of these films, "People" magazine movie critic Leah Rozen. Let`s get right into what is probably the most confusing of the films on the list, but a solid one that will have people asking questions, "Syriana."

LEAH ROZEN, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Yes, "Syriana," is a really admirably ambitious film. But for the first 90 minutes, you`re going to be sitting there going, "Huh? Huh? What`s going on?" You really have trouble making the connections. Who are those people? What are they doing? How do they all relate to each other?

However, about in the last third of the film, it suddenly all becomes clear. It just hits you in the solar plexus. So it`s one of these films that`s sort of frustrating, because the reality is, when you come out of it, you want to discuss it in a way you so rarely do a film. And yet, for that first part, should a movie be quite as much hard work as this one is?

Terrific performances by George Clooney, Matt Damon. It`s the same director-writer who wrote "Traffic."

HAMMER: Stephen Gaghan.

ROZEN: Stephen Gaghan. And, again, he`s, you know, taking a big issue, geopolitics, U.S. politics in the Middle East, and looking at it through all kinds of different peoples` stories.

HAMMER: And using a great convention that he did in "Traffic," showing the story from all different perspectives, which was a nice touch.

ROZEN: Exactly.

HAMMER: Very often, when Broadway shows are taken to the silver screen, it just doesn`t work. Rent, a beloved musical. How does it translate?

ROZEN: It just doesn`t work. I am sorry. "Rent" is no "Chicago." In many ways, "Rent" feels like when they made "Hair" into a movie. You just sort of said, "Who cares anymore?"

In some ways, it feels very dated, and yet not enough time has really passed for it to in any way seem nostalgic. It`s just there`s no -- the cast is singing its heart out, but you don`t care.

HAMMER: All right. We have less than 30 seconds to talk about "Yours Mine and Ours," a comedy thrill ride?

ROZEN: Kids are going to like it, because kids like every movie they see. For adults, it will seem extremely plodding and predictable. That said, Dennis Quaid, Rene Russo are game to be there with 18 kids.

HAMMER: All right. "People" magazine movie critic, Leah Rozen, thank you very much. Have a happy holiday weekend.

ROZEN: Same to you.

HAMMER: And, as always, for more picks and pans, grab your copy of "People" magazine, which is on newsstands now.

VARGAS: There`s still time for you to sound off in our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." Is "Seinfeld" the funniest sitcom ever? Vote at or write us at We`ll read some of your e-mails live, next.


HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, where, throughout the show, we`ve been asking you to vote online on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." As we take a look at a beautiful shot of New York City, where the Thanksgiving Day parade is going to be passing through Columbus Circle tomorrow.

Here`s how the vote`s been going in our "Question of the Day" so far, on is "Seinfeld" the funniest sitcom ever? Thirty-two percent of you say yes; 68 percent of you say no.

Among the e-mails we received, we got one from Thomas who lives in Toronto, and Thomas writes, "The funniest sitcom of all time is `All in the Family.` Honorable mention goes to `Mary Tyler Moore.`"

You can continue to vote by going to

Have a totally festive Thanksgiving holiday. That is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

VARGAS: And I`m Sibila Vargas in Hollywood. Stay tuned for the latest from CNN Headline News.


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