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SHOWBIZ TONIGHT

Sitdown Special

Aired December 30, 2005 - 19:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: I`m A.J. Hammer.
SIBILA VARGAS, CO-HOST: And I`m Sibila Vargas. A special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER (voice-over): On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, a "Sitdown Special." Some of the biggest stars having their biggest years on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

We sit down with the comeback kid of 2005, Mariah Carey. Mariah, now up for eight Grammys and revealing the other reasons she`s in the best place in her life. It`s the personal side of Mariah in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Once you start him up, he`ll never stop. Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones gathering no moss and sitting down with SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. A wildly successful world tour, a new album and a controversial song. It`s only rock `n` roll, but we like it.

Sir Elton John goes out with a bang, finishing off 2005 with new music, a TV gig and wedding bells. It`s Elton`s excellent year, and he`s sitting down with us.

So grab a seat for this "Sitdown Special" and the interviews you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VARGAS: Hello, I`m Sibila Vargas.

HAMMER: And I`m A.J. Hammer. You`re watching a special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. We`re calling it a "Sitdown Special," our favorite celebrity sitdowns of 2005.

Well, tonight, hers is the comeback story of the year. Mariah Carey bounced back into the business with "The Emancipation of Mimi." Mariah`s hit single "We Belong Together" stayed at No. 1 for 14 weeks, earning her the top spot on this year`s Top 100 Songs recap.

I sat down with her to talk about how her album, "Emancipation of Mimi," really set Mariah free.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARIAH CAREY, SINGER: This record, "The Emancipation of Mimi," is personal but it`s also like the fun side of me. The approach to making this record was very much like, I`m going to have a good time.

HAMMER: What`s your process for writing those songs? Is there somebody in mind? I`m not asking to you to name names. You can if you like. But what are you thinking about?

CAREY: It really depends on the moment. Some of them just like, you know, cute little inside jokes. There are a lot of -- that`s what kind of I`m trying to say, a lot of making this record was just fun.

HAMMER: Nothing is more important than taking stock in the moment when you have something really good going on or you just feel good about what`s going on.

CAREY: Exactly. And I think in the past, I`ve always kind of, you know, for whatever reason, the negative stuff can bring you down, it can make you react and, of course, we`re human. We all have that. It happens to everybody. But I mean, to not get enveloped by it is what I`ve had to learn. And that`s just a process. That`s just the way it is.

HAMMER: so are you still the workaholic that you always used to be? I always remember you would stay at the studio until, well, until the sun came up, basically.

CAREY: Basically. I still stay at the studio late because, you know, I`m most creative at night. I don`t think that I`m the same in terms of my workaholic nature of who I am. My people, it`s become like this legendary thing and it is true, but I have learned to set more boundaries.

HAMMER: So, what are your best hopes for this album? I mean, already around the world it`s getting a lot of attention, No. 1 in Japan.

CAREY: I can`t set any standards of I want to sell this or whatever because the music business is so different than it was like, you know, even five years ago, that you can`t compare apples and oranges.

Like when people are like, "Well, but will it reach the heights of `Music Box`?"

I`m like, "Hello, `Music Box` was a long time ago." Nobody sells 30- plus million records on one album any more because of the Internet. Nobody can do that.

So, I look at those moments as like, OK, those were great moments. This is about I want as many people around the world in America, whatever, to hear the record and to enjoy the music.

HAMMER: Let`s talk about this album cover of "Emancipation of Mimi."

CAREY: OK.

HAMMER: That must have been quite a process, not only the photo shoots to get exactly the look you wanted down, but again, you know, choosing the picture that`s going to be on the cover of this album. What`s that about?

CAREY: You know, it`s so interesting. It`s like, really, when I went to look with the photographer at the pictures in the studio, it was just like, bam, that`s the cover. There were a lot of choices. There were a lot of pictures that I liked Better, but I mean, not necessarily Better, but that were maybe more, you know, me giving you my good side and being more typically how I would be. You know what I mean? My good side I always call it.

And people aren`t used to me giving you like a dead on, in your face, like here I am. But that`s another thing that comes with confidence.

HAMMER: How`s life now? Outside of the working thing, you`re living still in the New York area most of the time when you`re not working?

CAREY: I`m living in, yes, most of the time, but whenever I`m not working, I try, if I can, to go to the island somewhere warm, somewhere I can swim and enjoy myself because that`s like my healing moment. Like, I love to be anywhere where I can just relax and go in the water.

My dog Jack loves to swim, as well. I don`t know if you`ve heard of Jack or not.

HAMMER: Tell me about Jack.

CAREY: He`s quite famous.

HAMMER: Is he? Let`s make him more famous.

CAREY: He has two web sites doted to him that I didn`t do. The fans did them.

HAMMER: It`s a little weird, isn`t it, Mariah?

CAREY: I think it`s great, because Jack deserves it. If you met Jack, you would know why. He`s a Jack Russell terrier.

HAMMER: OK.

CAREY: And he`s amazing.

HAMMER: So outside of traveling to the islands, don`t know if I`ll ever have the chance to do that with you.

CAREY: You never know.

HAMMER: Who knows where life takes you.

CAREY: I think that we need a CNN feature devoted to the islands. And I can be your guide.

HAMMER: Yes, I think, I think we`re on to something there.

But, let`s say you and I are in town here in New York City. It`s a Saturday night, we`re going out. What are we doing? What are you really going out to do that you enjoy, not because it`s an event or something like that?

CAREY: Probably go eat with friends somewhere.

HAMMER: Type of food?

CAREY: I would probably have Italian food.

HAMMER: OK.

CAREY: Something, you know, fattening mess that I shouldn`t be eating. Probably go to a club. The only thing with the clubs is that the rule of the nonsmoking, some people don`t actually listen to that rule.

HAMMER: They don`t follow that here in this town.

CAREY: And I really hate that. They need to follow the rules or I`m going to have to spill the beans on CNN right here, the names of those clubs, but I won`t, as long as I get free drinks every time I go.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: Something tells me not too hard for Mariah Carey to get her hands on free drinks whenever she wants.

The 48th annual Grammy Awards will air on February 8, as we mentioned earlier. Mariah has eight Grammy nominations. She is tied with rapper Kanye West and R&B singer John Legend.

VARGAS: Brooke Shields went public this year with her postpartum depression and ended up embroiled in one of the biggest celebrity controversies in 2005, fending off criticism from actor and Scientologist Tom Cruise.

Well, now she`s pregnant again and Shields sat down to talk with SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson to talk about how she`s making room for baby No. 2.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BROOKE SHIELDS, ACTRESS: It was in an odd way incredibly planned and not at all. We had gone through all of our fertility to have our first daughter. And we were in the process of going through it all again, so it was just the beginning of the process when we discovered that we were actually...

BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, natural, like anatomically, has your body changed, maybe?

SHIELDS: My body actually anatomically has changed considerably only through, I mean, again, without going into too much crazy detail because it`s just my story, but the fertility that I went through in the beginning that -- and the conception and the delivery all contributed to the fact that I actually, surprisingly, did -- did conceive.

ANDERSON: You suffered severe postpartum depression. Are you worried or are you anxious that that will happen again?

SHIELDS: I`m not anxious, because I now know that I`m a possible candidate for it.

TOM CRUISE, ACTOR: You got to understand, I really care about Brooke Shields.

ANDERSON: What about the negative attention, the Tom Cruise publicly criticizing your use of anti-depressants? I have to ask, where were you when you heard he did that and what did you think?

SHIELDS: You know, I really didn`t think too much about any of it. I was in London. But I -- what I`ve been sort of shocked by, to be honest, is how my one little story, although very big to me, has become this sort of provided this template for so many different stories to come to light and people to be willing to speak about it.

ANDERSON: Your name came up on "The Today Show" again this morning.

SHIELDS: Oh, no.

ANDERSON: A top Scientology official on "The Today Show" today mentioned you by name and then criticized Paxil, the drug that you used for postpartum depression.

SHIELDS: That I successfully used, that I got off of.

ANDERSON: Criticized it more than all other drugs, mentioned you by name.

MICHAEL RINDER, CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY: The very drug that Brooke Shields was on, Paxil, a study came out and said that people who are taking Paxil are seven times more likely to commit suicide as someone who takes a placebo.

ANDERSON: What do you think about that?

SHIELDS: I think it just goes to show you that -- that this whole fertility issue, this whole -- this whole situation with women and families and -- is really, really changing. As people are needing to come on in different formats, and they`re needing to speak their voice about it.

ANDERSON: Ironically, Tom Cruise`s fiance pregnant, as well. No one would wish for her to have postpartum depression, but if she did, what would she do? Could you handle it without a little medication?

SHIELDS: You know, I don`t know her. I don`t know what her biology is. So I can`t -- I`m not a doctor, so I don`t really -- I mean, I couldn`t.

I was in a position where I was declining rapidly. And my biochemistry was in such flux and was in such imbalance that had I not, I would not have -- I mean, I missed time anyway. I missed, like I missed that day when I got home. I missed those few weeks before I even started to gin to feel Better.

ANDERSON: Can you now focus on this pregnancy? "Chicago," you wrapped up your run there.

SHIELD: Yes, "Chicago."

ANDERSON: So what are you planning to do? And when is the baby due? Do you know?

SHIELDS: It`s too early to tell. We haven`t gotten to that place yet, because it`s harder to chart this one. It`s just -- I don`t know. I mean, it`s a relief to not have to put my dancing shoes on and climb up a ladder, so I have to say that that`s a bit of a relief.

ANDERSON: Last question, is Rowan excited to be a big sister?

SHIELDS: She announces it to whoever she meets, that I have a chubby belly.

ANDERSON: But you don`t.

SHIELDS: Well, it`s definitely not a -- it`s not Fosse ready any longer. I sat there, you know, the good news is, "You`ll always be my baby. You really, really always will be my baby and if you decide you don`t want to be, tell me and it will be our little secret."

And she went, "OK, Mommy."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VARGAS: That was SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson.

Brooke Shields urges anyone with fertility concerns to call Fertility Lifelines at 1-866-LETS-TRY or log on to FertilityLifelines.com.

HAMMER: Coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s "Sitdown Special," the Divine Miss M, Bette Midler, sitting pretty at age 60 and absolutely loving life. Plus, her no-holds-barred opinions on 2005`s top issues: gay rights and the war in Iraq.

VARGAS: And the Rolling Stones. They have one of the top tours of 2005, and they`re showing no signs of slowing. How do they do it? The "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Sitdown" with Mick and Keith ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s "Sitdown Special." I`m A.J. Hammer.

Well, the Divine Miss M, Bette Midler, marked 2005 with her 60th birthday, a new album. And as you`re about to see in this "SHOWBIZ Sitdown," she`s not shy with her views on the news, gay rights and the war in Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BETTE MIDLER, ENTERTAINER: I was born in 1945 and so much has happened between 1945 and this year, and I`m just happy to be alive. I`m happy to be healthy. I`m happy to have my family around me. I`m just -- my expectations are lower but I am, you know, I`m very pleased. I`m very, very pleased.

HAMMER: Well, It`s interesting because so many people, particularly people who were very strong personalities throughout their life and who accomplished so much and you look at all of your accomplishments, look at all of your awards. And I was curious if there was anything that has eluded you in life.

MIDLER: Well, I never won an Oscar, which makes me gnash my teeth.

HAMMER: A big disappointment? Because you were nominated.

MIDLER: It used to be a disappointment, but I do not feel -- I have no disappointment about it at all. I have to really put that -- push that aside because I see the way it works. You know, that`s the interesting thing about getting older. You see the way things work.

HAMMER: And life certainly coming full circle with the release of your new CD, the beautiful "Peggy Lee Songbook," certainly because you may not realize this, this month marks the 33-year anniversary of the release of your album, "The Divine Miss M."

MIDLER: Oh, my goodness. I had no idea.

HAMMER: Barry Manilow, of course, was your producer. He produced that album with you. He was back two years ago for your Rosemary Clooney tribute album and now for the Peggy Lee album. But you weren`t really in touch with Barry over the years.

MIDLER: Oh, my God, no. I make big jokes about that. And he`s such a good sport, he lets me make them.

He -- we hadn`t talked for a long time and then suddenly out of the clear blue, he called me and said, "I had a dream that we" -- I had a dream. Who has dreams that they can even remember?

And he remembered, and he called me up and said, "I had this dream that you and I made a tribute to Rosemary Clooney." Well, I loved Rosemary Clooney, and I knew her and she had been kind to me. And in this business, when people are kind to you, you never forget.

So I said, "Oh, my God. That`s a great idea." And we went in, and it was such an easy -- it was like two days. And I was so overjoyed and happy with the result that, when he called me again last May to say, "I had another dream," I said, "Hey OK. Let`s put that, you know, strap that microphone on. Let`s go."

HAMMER: What`s coming now? Is he going to say Eminem, you know?

MIDLER: I don`t know what he`s going to -- I knew it was going to be a girl, a fabulous -- because we both really love the female voice. But this time he came up and he said, "Peggy Lee." And I didn`t know her that well.

She was so brilliant. She was a songwriter at a time when women didn`t write songs. She was a publisher. She was a -- she stood up for herself.

HAMMER: And you are very similar to her in so many ways. I mean, very live out loud personality. Certainly I`ve heard it once or twice been said that you`re opinionated about certain things.

MIDLER: Well, I have -- I have my opinions. I have my standards. They`re low, but I have them.

HAMMER: I have a question for you regarding, perhaps, an opinion, because it`s interesting. You worked with Barry Manilow back in the early days.

MIDLER: Yes.

HAMMER: And you performed legendary performing in the bathhouses through the `70s, which made you a gay icon.

MIDLER: One bathhouse, baby. One bathhouse.

HAMMER: The Continental Bathhouse back in the 1970s.

MIDLER: Yes.

HAMMER: So here we are some 35 years later, and a big question in this country is gay rights. Do you believe -- you know, while things certainly have changed, do you believe we`re still having this argument? Do you believe or how do you feel about the idea of gay marriage?

MIDLER: When I see, the evidence is out there that people are still in -- that there`s still a lot of struggle going on. And I think that people have -- I think that certain rights are unalienable and they are -- they are, as you say, human rights.

And human rights are human rights. And people should be allowed to -- should be allowed to do what they need, should be allowed, if people need love in their lives, they should be -- that`s their love. They should be allowed -- the greatest thing you can do is find someone and be their mate for life. It really is. It`s -- I wouldn`t want -- for people to find that and to be wedded, to be together, I think is a great thing.

HAMMER: I...

MIDLER: I have a lot of opinions.

HAMMER: OK. Let`s talk about some of your opinions.

MIDLER: Well, I really think that the news is -- the news is, it`s really important that people watch the news and it`s really important read the papers. And I think it`s really important that people should acquaint themselves with what is going on in their world.

I was just saying how much I admire the coverage of CNN on -- on the hurricane. I thought they did an exemplary job.

HAMMER: And trying to keep things honest in the war in Iraq. I imagine you have opinions there.

MIDLER: I do, I have very strong opinions and I never stop reading about it. I think it`s one of the most -- I think it`s one of the most fascinating things that I`ve ever lived through. I think it is the most fascinating thing.

HAMMER: And coming up on 60 years old, you`ve lived through a few things.

MIDLER: I have.

HAMMER: So really, that`s a big statement. What is happening and what aspect of it makes it the most fascinating?

MIDLER: Well, all -- I find all of it -- I find all of it. I find the players fascinating. I find the level of deception fascinating. I find the level of defense fascinating.

I find the sides jockeying for position and the techniques, the tactics that each side uses, I find the whole thing so unbelievable. I know that it`s a quagmire and I know that it`s -- it`s -- that it`s -- but I don`t think we can leave. I don`t see how -- I don`t want to see -- do you want to see the country descend into civil war?

HAMMER: Do you think it`s irresponsible, though, when people -- a lot has been said, you know, when people start protesting the war -- even if you support the troops and protest the war, you`re still doing a disservice.

MIDLER: I think that it`s -- I think it`s the American -- no, I don`t think there`s any disservice. I think it`s the American way. That`s what we`re allowed to do and that`s what we have to do. And people have very strong opinions and they can be -- they can move mountains. They really can move mountains.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: Bette`s new CD, "Bette Midler Sings the Peggy Lee Songbook," is in stores now.

VARGAS: Ahead on the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Sitdown Special," Sir Elton John. The singer/songwriter is branching out and breaking barriers.

HAMMER: And Leeza Gibbons. She`s using her heart break into a national crusade against death in slow motion. It`s the emotional interview you`ll see only here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s "Sitdown Special."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Superstar Elton John has been in the spotlight for more than 30 years now, and he is still going strong. Just last week, he married his partner, David Furnish, under Britain`s new gay civil union law. Elton`s also still working tirelessly with his AIDS foundation, on his music career and getting started as a TV producer.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson caught up with Sir Elton John and got the scoop.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON (voice-over): SHOWBIZ TONIGHT was right there as superstar Elton John performed "Bennie and the Jets" at a benefit in New York City. He was raising money for his charity, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, something near and dear to his heart. Elton established the foundation 13 years ago, and he tells us he regrets not getting involved in AIDS work sooner.

ELTON JOHN, MUSICIAN/ACTIVIST: It`s something that I felt I didn`t get involved with enough in the 1980s when I needed to, and I`m trying to make up for lost time.

It is a huge pandemic that`s affecting the whole world and will, unless it -- it`s stemmed in some way or another, it`s going to have catastrophic consequences for the economy of the world.

ANDERSON: Elton keeps very busy with his fundraising and his music, but that doesn`t mean he`s stopping there. Elton tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT he`s branching out to television. He`s already starting work on a TV show for ABC, a comedy with the writer from "Sex in the City" about a big music star and his entourage.

JOHN: It`s not entirely based on me. We have such a laugh on the road. And being British, we`re fairly lethal. And we thought it would be a great idea to do a show on the people that follow this star. That`s a show called "Entourage" which is very successful in HBO. This would be straight-up comedy.

ANDERSON: Elton`s TV connection doesn`t stop there. He`s teaming up with one of the hottest stars in prime time for his new music video.

TERI HATCHER, ACTRESS: Well, I work at home.

ANDERSON: He casts "Desperate Housewife" Teri Hatcher in the video for his latest single, "Turn the Lights Out When You Leave."

"Turn the Lights Out When You Leave" is Elton`s newest single. He`s also out with a brand-new Christmas album. "Elton John`s Christmas Party" is a collection of the Grammy Award winner`s favorite holiday songs from artists like John Mayer, Joss Stone and U2.

JOHN: It`s got so many great tracks on it, and it`s the sort of record I would play at home on Christmas day if everything was on one record.

ANDERSON: The album will be sold exclusively at Starbucks. Elton tells us $2 from each sale will go directly to his HIV and AIDS charity.

Selling CDs at Starbuck`s, not a bad business move. The coffee chain estimates that 33 million people visit their stores each week. Elton`s hoping those caffeinated customers will also pick up copies of his CD.

JOHN: Any way that artists like myself who are older, like McCartney, like the Stones, like Bob Dylan, who don`t get played on the radio so much, we have to look at alternative ways of marketing our product.

ANDERSON: Bruce Springsteen has also gone the Starbucks route; so has Alanis Morissette. Even the late, great Ray Charles.

An estimated 25 percent of all Ray Charles` "Genius Loves Company" CDs sold were bought in Starbucks. That album went on to win eight Grammy awards.

JOHN: Well, you know, the Ray Charles record, "Genius Loves Company," was the real breakthrough moment for that. It seems to me that that`s -- if people are buying in Starbucks, that`s a good way of looking at it from a business point of view. It seems to work.

ANDERSON: Plus, his AIDS charity will benefit from it.

From fundraising to performing, even to TV, Elton tells us he loves being involved in several differently things.

JOHN: When you have other things on your plate (ph), it makes life much more interesting.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: That was SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson. As for that TV show for ABC, Elton says he hasn`t cast it yet.

VARGAS: Coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s "Sitdown Special," rock and royal. The Rolling Stones song that`s starting up controversy. What`s behind "Sweet Neocon."

HAMMER: And hello Dolly. Her song, "Traveling Through," is up for a Golden Globe for best song in the film "Transamerica." The country legend tells us what she`s like when she`s traveling through. What happens when Dolly`s on the road riding on her tour bus? That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

VARGAS: And I`m Sibila Vargas. You`re watching a special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, "The Sitdown Special." We`ve had the biggest names in showbiz right here and tonight, our favorite celebrity sitdowns of 2005.

One of my favorites was Leeza Gibbons. We`ve got that coming up. Leeza, you know, just an entertainment host and radio host, she`s done so many things. Little did I know that she`s been struggling with this very personal problem. She`s got Alzheimer`s disease in her family for generations. She opens up in one of the sweetest, most heartwarming interviews that I have seen on this show. Very touching.

HAMMER: Really touching. And Kleenex are standing by, Sibila.

Also, as we move closer to New Year`s Eve, people are always asking me who my favorite people to interview are. Dolly Parton always at the top of the list.

VARGAS: I love her.

HAMMER: She`s full of life. She`s so much fun. But what`s life like for Dolly when she`s not out on the road, when she`s not out touring or performing? You`ll find out in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, coming up in a few.

VARGAS: I can`t wait for that.

Well, they`re one of the biggest touring acts of 2005, and the Rolling Stones are showing no signs of slowing down. Their first new album in eight years hit shelves amidst a storm of controversy over a little tune called "Sweet Neocon." SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s David Haffenreffer joins us with more -- David?

DAVID HAFFENREFFER, CNN HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: That`s right, Sibila. Yes, the song made headlines as being fiercely anti-President Bush, but Stones frontman Mick Jagger was hoping to clear all that up when I caught up with him and the rest of the band recently in Toronto.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HAFFENREFFER (voice-over): Are the Rolling Stones starting something up with President Bush? Don`t get Mick started.

MICK JAGGER, LEAD SINGER, THE ROLLING STONES: It`s not an attack on President Bush.

HAFFENREFFER: Some are saying otherwise. A song on the Stones` new album includes lyrics that some think might be aimed at the commander-in- chief. The song, called "Sweet Neo-Con," includes the lyrics, "You call yourself a Christian. I think that you`re a hypocrite. You say you are a patriot. I think that you`re a crock of" -- well, use your imagination.

But when I sat down one-on-one with Stones` lead singer Mick Jagger, he said the song wasn`t aimed at any one Republican, including the main one.

JAGGER: I mean, it certainly criticizes policies he espouses, I`m sure. But, you know, it was really a spot of by some rouse I had with some Republican friends of mine. We disagreed, and we argued about Iraq, and we argued about this and that.

HAFFENREFFER: Be that as it may, Mick did have a mini-argument about the song with Stones` guitarist Keith Richards.

KEITH RICHARDS, GUITARIST, THE ROLLING STONES: I said to Mick, "Hey, that`s pointy, pointy."

HAFFENREFFER: Keith certainly knows what happened to one musical act that got "pointy, pointy" with President Bush. Country music band, the Dixie Chicks, touched off protests and boycotts with their on-stage Bush- bashing two years ago.

I asked Keith if he`s worried about the Rolling Stones getting Dixie Chick-ed because of "Sweet Neo-Con."

RICHARDS: My only thing about this song was (INAUDIBLE) the album is cool and it`s good by itself. I don`t even want to be side-tracked by some little political storm in a tea cup.

HAFFENREFFER: Keith might be talked about being sidetracked with a movie role. Rumor is, actor Johnny Depp is trying to recruit Keith Richards to play his father in the sequel to "Pirates of the Caribbean."

JOHNNY DEPP, ACTOR: Do you have the courage and fortitude to follow all those mistakes (INAUDIBLE)

HAFFENREFFER: You have to admit the resemblance is striking. And while Keith told me...

RICHARDS: Neither confirm nor deny.

HAFFENREFFER: ... he did suggest to me that, if the scheduling works out, he might be walking the plank with Depp pretty soon.

RICHARDS: And I`ve loved to do it. I don`t mind giving up a couple of weeks of spare time for a laugh like that, you know? And so I told Johnny, "Yes." I mean, as long as they can sort out all the business.

HAFFENREFFER: Mick Jagger`s courting political controversy. Keith Richards is possibly doing movie blockbusters. Not bad for a band that`s a combined 245 years old.

And as Keith and Mick near retirement age, I had to ask them: Will the Stones ever stop rolling?

(on-screen): Any thoughts on when you might want to hang it up or if you`ll ever hang it up?

JAGGER: I don`t really think about that. I`ve got a whole year-and- a-half (INAUDIBLE)

HAFFENREFFER: Got a long road.

JAGGER: At the end of it, I might think differently. Now, I`m all like, "Yes," but a year-and-a-half from now, I might tell you, "God, I`m exhausted."

RICHARDS: The wheels haven`t fallen off. I mean, you retire when your backside hits the ground and there`s a cloud of dust on the horizon, you realize you`re retired. But otherwise, no, no, no way.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAFFENREFFER: Classic group. And as the Stones make their way around the world on their Bigger Bang Tour, they`re consistently selling out arenas, as you might imagine. Experts say they`ll likely break all records for top grossing tour in 2006 -- Sibila?

VARGAS: Wow. Thank you, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s David Haffenreffer, thank you so much.

HAMMER: Country superstar Dolly Parton is a music legend, to be sure. Her song, "Traveling Through," from the film "Transamerica" is up for a Golden Globe award. And she`s got a new album of covers, putting her country spin on classics like "Imagine" and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone."

Well, in this special "Showbiz Sitdown," Dolly reflects on her long career, what she`s got cooking in her kitchen, and she tells me what`s on her iPod, or not.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: Take us inside the Dolly Parton bus. Because I`ve got to imagine this is a pretty tricked-out -- may I say pimped out -- I can`t believe I said that...

(LAUGHTER)

HAMMER: ... kind of a ride.

PARTON: Well, it is.

HAMMER: What do you got in there?

PARTON: Well, in my -- I have the whole last half of the bus. And, of course, I`ve got to have my food. So I`ve got about two or three refrigerators. And then I got a shower and a bathtub.

And then I`ve got a big cabinet in the back for all my wigs, all my show wigs, and the casual wigs, and all that. Then I have a place for all my costumes and all that. Then I have a TV, and a DVD, and everything I need for that. So I just got everything I need.

HAMMER: What`s in the fridge? What`s the most popular item in the Dolly Parton refrigerator?

PARTON: Well, I cook, and then I bring all my stuff, like chicken and dumplings. And, you know, I just carry...

(CROSSTALK)

HAMMER: So you don`t cook when you`re out on the road? You don`t...

PARTON: No, I cook when I`m home.

HAMMER: Right.

PARTON: And then I put it in containers. Then I put it in the refrigerator or in the freezer. But then I love to stop along the highway, if there`s a great rib place, or if there`s a -- you know, all road people know where the road kill is.

(LAUGHTER)

HAMMER: And when you walk into a truck stop on the side of the road, do people just go berserk?

PARTON: Yes.

HAMMER: Or they don`t quite believe it? What happens?

PARTON: Well, I don`t go in as much as I used to. But in the years past, oh Lord, I used to love to go in, because I loved -- you know...

HAMMER: You love creating the chaos.

(CROSSTALK)

PARTON: Yes, I do. And playing the jukebox. And it`s like being (INAUDIBLE) I get up, play your own records just for a laugh, you know, so -- but I hardy ever go in the truck stops now.

Usually, the driver or somebody will go in and get the meat loaf. But, usually, like I say, I carry all my own stuff for the most part and I just cook on the bus.

But the bus is set up perfect. I got my makeup mirrors, with my makeup lights, and, you know, just some of everything I need. So when I`m out, I enjoy it.

HAMMER: Talk to me about being at home and doing other stuff. I`m just curious, a little insight into -- you know, for instance, if you`re off, if you`re not working on a Saturday night, are you hanging out at home, watching a couple of DVDs, cooking up some chicken and dumplings?

PARTON: Yes, I am at home. I`m usually home with my husband or some member of my family. My sisters and I have sister nights. And we get together, different sisters, different nights, sometimes all of us. I have five sisters and six brothers.

And so, but I say, when I go home, my husband and I have a camper, a little RV that we travel around in. We don`t go to campgrounds. You know, we just love to travel around in that. We stop at specialty places...

(CROSSTALK)

HAMMER: I love it. You`re on a bus all the time, and you`re still getting in a camper.

PARTON: My husband gets the biggest kick out of it. He`ll meet me at the bus in the camper. And then we`ll go all the way back to east Tennessee, 200 miles. But I`m a true gipsy. I just love that motion. It doesn`t bother me, because it`s a whole different thing.

But anyway, if I`m home, I`d be cooking. And we`d be hanging out. We`d be catching up on things. Then I would probably read a book.

HAMMER: Do you e-mail? Does Dolly Parton have her own personal e- mail address?

PARTON: No, no.

HAMMER: Do you stay in touch with people -- do you have a laptop computer?

PARTON: No.

HAMMER: Do you have an iPod?

PARTON: No.

(LAUGHTER)

HAMMER: How do you listen to music, just CDs that people give you?

PARTON: I just have CDs, yes. And I still listen to cassettes. I even got some eight-tracks.

(LAUGHTER)

HAMMER: Are you technologically impaired, Dolly? Is that what you`re saying?

PARTON: I am. I`m totally stupid, if you want to know the truth.

HAMMER: No, no...

PARTON: But, no, I really am not that involved in that. But everybody in my office, everybody in my family, and tons of stuff. I buy tons of equipment for everybody to do all that.

HAMMER: You`ve heard of the iPod?

PARTON: Oh, yes, I`ve heard of it. I know what it is.

HAMMER: It`s the wave of the future.

PARTON: I know what it is.

HAMMER: So you`re not just surfing on the Internet and shopping online?

PARTON: No, no.

HAMMER: I don`t know. That might be a good thing for you, because it`s dangerous.

PARTON: Well, I`m just dumb as I can be with that stuff. And I don`t care about it. But, to me, I`m out there creating stuff to put out there on those things. That`s my excuse.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: You got to love Dolly. And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is going to be at the Golden Globes, of course, on January 16th. We`ll be right there on the red carpet. We`ll be right there backstage, because we want to see first- hand if Dolly Parton snags the award for "Traveling Through." And, of course, we wish her luck.

VARGAS: Well, coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, she`s watched Alzheimer`s disease slowly consume members of her family. Now Leeza Gibbons wants the world to know her story. The emotional sitdown, next on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Sitdown Special."

HAMMER: Here`s tonight`s "Entertainment Weekly" "Great American Pop Culture Quiz." Which famous celebrity is not mentioned in Madonna`s hit single, "Vogue," Greta Garbo, Marlon Brando, Fred Astaire, or Humphrey Bogart? Stick around. We`re coming straight back with the answer.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Once again, tonight`s "Entertainment Weekly" "Great American Pop Culture Quiz." Which famous celebrity is not mentioned in Madonna`s hit single "Vogue," a, Greta Garbo, b, Marlon Brando, c, Fred Astaire, or, d, Humphrey Bogart? The answer: d, Humphrey Bogart.

VARGAS: Welcome back to this special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, our "Sitdown Special." I`m Sibila Vargas.

Tonight, Leeza Gibbons. She`s a very public figure, as a TV and radio personality for more than two decades, and that includes her stint as hosting a daytime talk show called "Leeza." You remember that one?

But it`s her private life that`s occupied much of her time recently. Her mother`s battling Alzheimer`s disease. In a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Sitdown" that generated an enormous response, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson spoke with Leeza about her day-to-day struggle and her ongoing mission to raise awareness about the illness.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LEEZA GIBBONS, JOURNALIST: Memory disorder is especially cruel, I think, Brooke, because you watch someone slowly disappear. It`s death in slow motion.

You know, it`s like taking your life story and then rewriting it. And so that parent that you love, or that spouse that you love, they change before you have to say good-bye. And so it`s like Nancy Reagan said. It is the longest goodbye.

ANDERSON: It`s heartbreaking. I had a great-aunt succumb to the disease years ago. Just to watch that decline in their health. And your mother was the impetus for your involvement, for your action. She actually asked you to do this, to educate people.

GIBBONS: Don`t you love a woman with that strength? You know, she was such a steel magnolia, this woman from the South who, when she got her diagnosis, she said to me, "OK, honey." She`s the one who helped me figure out that I was a story teller in life.

So she said, "Take this story, and I want you to tell it, and use it, and make it count." So that`s what I try to do with our work with the Memory Foundation. And when we open up what we call Leeza`s Place, which we are now -- from coast to coast, these are intimate settings and communities to honor caregivers and those who have been diagnosed with a memory disorder.

ANDERSON: Kind of a safe haven.

Walk us through the emotions that you went through when your mother was diagnosed, and what you`ve been through, and how that compares and contrasts to how other people are most likely dealing with the same sort of thing.

GIBBONS: Oh, this battle is a deeply personal one. My mother, I believe, when she put her head on the pillow at night, knew that abyss where she was headed, because she saw her mother.

For me, getting the diagnosis was the end of the innocence because, until we got that moment, we were able to say, "You know, mom`s drinking too much," or, "Mom`s life isn`t so full anymore, so she`s repeating herself." But she was the one who said, "I have paid this bill three times. Something`s wrong."

She really took the lead. I remember the day we were in the doctor`s office, and they said, "We`ll need to take Ms. Gibbons back and give her a little test." And I got up to go with her and they said, "You can`t go."

And I said, "I can`t be with her?" And they said, "We just need your mom." And I watched her walk down the hall. And, Brooke, it was like watching a little girl. She looked over her shoulder. And I so wanted to stop it, you know? Like a parent wants to stop the hurt for a child, and...

ANDERSON: The roles were reversed.

GIBBONS: They were reversed, exactly. I think that what happens with all families is, first, a lot of guilt, because it creeps up on you. And when the memories are faded, then you`ve lost your best chance to get that family history, to appreciate that person, to let them know how much they mean to you.

ANDERSON: So this is you and your mom. Talk to us about what pictures we`re seeing here.

GIBBONS: This picture was taken at home in South Carolina with my mom after she was diagnosed, shortly before my dad was no longer to care for her anymore. And she wanted to be an advocate.

And we took these pictures. And I had no idea that this would come to symbolize wrapping my arms around what she represents. She did it for me for so many years. And now I can wrap my arms around her and embrace all that she is. And now she really needs me. And I want to be there for her.

ANDERSON: And you`ve wrapped your arms around so many others that are suffering, as well.

GIBBONS: I hope so.

ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely. I think we have some more pictures that we`ve...

GIBBONS: This was after Mom began to fade behind that veil of Alzheimer`s disease. The little baby is actually my sister`s child, Blake. But my mother couldn`t quite figure out who it was.

And she didn`t really know -- we didn`t think the baby was safe in her arms, because she would say, "What is this? And what am I supposed to be doing with this?"

And we`d give her a bottle, and she didn`t know what the bottle was. And it was important, though, to my sister that she hold that baby and that some day she was able to say to Blake, "This is your grandmom, and she loved you."

ANDERSON: Wow, very powerful image. How`s your mom now?

GIBBONS: Thank you for asking.

ANDERSON: Of course.

GIBBONS: I must be honest with you and tell you that I know my mom didn`t want to linger on in this state, so she`s here, but she`s gone. She`s in the final stages. She doesn`t speak. She has no glimmer of recognition.

She has transformed physically into someone that doesn`t look like my beautiful, confident mom. And yet, she said to me early on, "When I can`t call you by name, honey, I don`t want you to waste your time. I don`t want you to come visit me, because you have other things to do. Don`t come visit me. I won`t know that you`re there."

And I said, "But you know, Mom? I`ll know that I`m there, and I`m never going leave you."

And we don`t know what the thought process is. I don`t know which part of her can still feel, and touch, and need. I don`t know what`s transcended. So she`s doing as well as she can do.

ANDERSON: That is the saddest thing. I am so sorry to hear that. I`m teary-eyed from what you`re going through, but you`re doing something with it and you`re making a difference. Has this experience made you a stronger person?

GIBBONS: Oh, I think all pain makes us stronger, you know? My mother would always say those mom-isms, you know, like, "Well, God gave you those big, strong, broad shoulders for a reason, honey," and, you know, all those things that she said that were so true. Yes.

ANDERSON: You need to write all of those down...

GIBBONS: Oh, my gosh.

ANDERSON: ... and keep them as a memory book for your kids, for her, about her.

GIBBONS: That`s why I started scrap-booking.

ANDERSON: That`s right. And you have this book in stores, where other people can scrapbook and make memory books for their family.

GIBBONS: Tell the story of your life, you know? And for anyone that`s fading, anyone that you`re losing or have lost, keeping them alive in a scrapbook page is really cool.

So all of our proceeds from the book and from my scrapbook products all go to the foundation. I`m just looking for ways to tell our message, and to keep funding out there, and to keep helping families.

ANDERSON: What a noble cause. And I wish the best for you, and your family, and your mom.

GIBBONS: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VARGAS: That was SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson. For more information on Alzheimer`s or about Leeza Gibbons` foundation, you can go to www.LeezasPlace.org.

HAMMER: You`re watching a special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Sitdown Special." We`ll be right back with more.

But first, the "Entertainment Weekly" must-list. These are five things "EW" says you have to check out.

First up, Tilda Swinton in "The Chronicles of Narnia." "EW" says her role as the White Witch will send shivers down your spine.

Next, "Entertainment Weekly" says to check out Bravo`s second season of "Project Runway." Sixteen new fashionistas compete in hopes of breaking into the business.

Then, pick up a copy of the book, "The Areas of my Expertise," John Hodgman`s almanac of absurd tall tales.

Next, "EW" says a must-have is the special edition DVD of "Office Space," with funny deleted scenes, with enough flair to keep most fans happy. And finally, Golden Globe nominee "Brokeback Mountain." It`s Ang Lee`s drama about two cowboys who fall in love.

For more on the must-list, grab your copy of "Entertainment Weekly" on newsstands now.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VARGAS: It`s time to see what`s playing on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Monday. Let`s take a look at the "Showbiz Marquee." Marquee Guy, take it away.

MARQUEE GUY: And the nominees are -- well, we`ll show you, Monday on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. The biggest one-on-ones with the biggest Golden Globe nominees, including George Clooney, Felicity Huffman, and Peter Jackson. We ring in the New Year with a star-studded special, "And the Nominee Is," Monday on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

This is the Marquee Guy feeling all weak-kneed and sentimental as we end a great year on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. So have a happy New Year and an even happier tomorrow.

HAMMER: Nice sentiment from the Marquee Guy.

VARGAS: Yes, very nice.

HAMMER: And, Sibila, I wish you a very happy New Year.

VARGAS: Likewise. All the best.

HAMMER: Well, that is it for this very special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer.

VARGAS: And I`m Sibila Vargas.

HAMMER: We`re going to leave you now with the names of my heroes, the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT staff. These are the producers, the writers, all the technical people that work so hard behind the scenes to bring you our show day in and day out.

VARGAS: And, of course, to make us look good. From all of us here at SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, have a safe and happy New Year.

HAMMER: And, of course, as Ethel Merman said, "There`s no business like show business."

END

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