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Oprah Defends Controversial Author; MTV Documents Afghanistan Quake Victims; Shirley MacLaine Opens Up About Career, Golden Globe Nod

Aired January 12, 2006 - 19:00:00   ET


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


HAMMER (voice-over): On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, Oprah`s intervention. Her startling appearance with author James Frey on "LARRY KING LIVE."

Anyone who has been wrong the book publishing at al know that by nature, they have a lot of embellishment and the controversy over the book she told millions to buy. Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with the inside story of why Oprah decided to speak out and what the fray over Frey means for her book club.

Tales of the tape. A store clerk bashing in a bandit like a pinata. The amazing video that`s stunning viewers and probably a few baseball scouts.

What happened on this walk to remember? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with the amazing video caught on tape that we can`t stop talking about.

Shirley`s stunning revelation.

SHIRLEY MACLAINE, ACTRESS: I don`t know anything about acting. I couldn`t teach it in a million years.

HAMMER: But critics and millions of fans beg to differ. Shirley MacLaine opens up to us about her Golden Globe nomination for "In Her Shoes." And what else has her kicking up her heels. Shirley MacLaine, surely surprising. It`s the revealing interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


SEAN HAYES, ACTOR: I`m Sean Hayes. If it happened today...

MULLALLY: Then what?



ANDERSON: Hi, there. I`m Brooke Anderson, live in Hollywood.

HAMMER: I`m A.J. Hammer, live in New York City. Tonight, Oprah Winfrey silent no more, speaking her mind on the controversy surrounding one of her most successful book club picks, "A Million Little Pieces."

ANDERSON: It was must-see TV, A.J. Oprah`s surprise call to CNN`s "LARRY KING LIVE" while the book`s author was on the air. So much to tell you tonight. The story, the aftermath and what Larry King told SHOWBIZ TONIGHT today when we caught up with him about the show everyone is buzzing about.


ANDERSON (voice-over): It was the shocker of the evening. As James Frey defended his book, "A Million Little Pieces," on "LARRY KING LIVE," an unexpected call from Oprah Winfrey.

OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: To me, it seems to be much adieu about nothing.

ANDERSON: It was the first time Oprah has spoken publicly about the controversy since it flared up earlier this week.

WINFREY: What is relevant is that he was a drug addict who spent, you know, years in turmoil from the time he was 10 years old, drinking and tormenting himself and his parents. And out of that, stepped out of that history to be the man that he is today and to take that message to save other people and allow them to save themselves. That`s what`s important about this book.

ANDERSON: Frey`s memoir is s dark tale of addiction to crack cocaine, alcohol and a deep criminal record.

WINFREY: At 23, James has no money, no job, no home and is wanted in three states.

ANDERSON: When Oprah chose "A Million Little Pieces" as her pick for her book of the month club, she catapulted James Frey into wild success.

KAREN HOLT, "PUBLISHERS WEEKLY": When Oprah recommends a book for her book club, that has -- that has the power to boost sales like nothing else in the history of the publishing industry.

ANDERSON: After Oprah`s endorsement, "A Million Little Pieces" wound up selling more than 3.5 million copies. But then, intense scrutiny.

Investigative web site decided to dig around a little and found large holes in Frey`s story about his criminal record.

ANDREW GOLDBERG, THESMOKINGGUN.COM: There`s been zero indication from anyone, anywhere, any record, anything that he`s being honest when he says, "This is my true story." Zero indication. Zero.

ANDERSON: Last night, on "LARRY KING LIVE," Frey for the first time defended his memoir.

JAMES FREY, AUTHOR, "A MILLION LITTLE PIECES": This is my recollection of my life, you know. A lot of the events I was writing about took place between 15 and 25 years ago. A lot of the events took place while I was under the influence of drugs and alcohol. And I still stand by my book.

ANDERSON: And so does Oprah. Although she says she`s disappointed by the controversy surrounding the book and that she relies on the publisher to define the category of the book and its authenticity.

WINFREY: I`m just like everybody else. I God to the book store. I pick out a book that I like. If it says "memoir," I know that maybe the names and the dates and the times have been compressed because that`s what a memoir is.

ANDERSON: But what was Larry king thinking when suddenly Oprah called into his show on CNN? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT caught up with Larry and asked if he was as surprised as everyone else.

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": I sure was, especially when you`ve gone through a whole program, often mentioning many times that Oprah had not yet commented. So I would assume, had she tried, it might have been a little earlier. It was sure a tremendous surprise.

ANDERSON: One big question today: why did Oprah even decide to call in? Up until now, she refused to address the controversy.

WINFREY: I first wanted to hear what James had to say, and I didn`t want to have that colored by any personal conversation that I had.

HOLT: I do think that it is an embarrassment for her, even though she is standing by the book. I have to think that privately she`s not happy about this controversy.

ANDERSON: So what about Frey? He says that only about five percent of the book is in question, which he says is about right for a memoir.

HOLT: Anyone who`s been around the book business at all knows that memoirs by nature have a lot of embellishment.

ANDERSON: But Larry King tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT her call was an important one.

KING: I think she may have well changed this story. In other words, I understand the book zoomed up today on Amazon. It`s No. 1 on Barnes & Noble. She could almost put it away. Or she could have very well ended this story.


ANDERSON: And if you missed Oprah`s dramatic call in to "LARRY KING LIVE," the entire episode will re-air this Saturday.

And later on, on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, we will get the thoughts of someone who`s been following this story very, very closely, talk radio host Michael Smerconish.

Now we want to hear what you think about it. It`s our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Oprah book controversy: is it OK to exaggerate in memoirs? Vote at and send us an e-mail at We will read some of your thoughts later on in the show.

HAMMER: Well, you got so say one thing about Harry Belafonte: the singer and activist doesn`t change his mind, and he`s standing by his explosive comments that President Bush is a terrorist.

During a trip to Venezuela, Belafonte called the president, quote, "the greatest terrorist in the world." Well, just hours ago, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT cameras were in New York at a Children`s Defense Fund event with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Check out what he said when reporters pressed him on his comments.


HARRY BELAFONTE, SINGER/ACTIVIST: I (UNINTELLIGIBLE). So what I said was the more humane way to describe it. Yes, I think he`s a terrorist. I think the tyranny (ph) of Katrina, I think the tyranny (ph) of 30,000 innocent Iraqi citizens killed in a war that`s dishonorable and illegal.


HAMMER: Well, there has been some backlash from what Belafonte said. The magazine for the American Association of Retired People recently honored Belafonte with one of its annual Impact Awards for making the world a better place. But then the AARP distanced themselves from him, calling Belafonte`s comments reckless and irresponsible.

ANDERSON: Well, no apologies from Harry but tonight, the Reverend Pat Robertson says he`s sorry. A week ago tonight, Robertson went on his TV show, "The 700 Club," and suggested Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon`s massive stroke was God`s punishment for what he called dividing God`s land.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT updating you now on this controversy. Robertson went on "The 700 Club" today and, in front of an estimated one million people who watched, apologized. He called his comments inappropriate and insensitive.

Israel threatened to exclude Robertson from a proposed Christian heritage site in northern Israel. Sharon, meanwhile, remains in critical condition.

HAMMER: Tonight, the devastation in Pakistan from perhaps the last place you`d expect to see it, MTV. MTV has a startling documentary about the real world impact today in Pakistan today as a result of last October`s devastating earthquake.

The quake killed nearly 75,000 people in Pakistan, injured 250,000 and left at least three million people homeless. Last month, MTV News sent its reporter Gideon Yago to the region, and Gideon joining us live tonight.

Quite a scene. You got to be a part of it. And I watched the documentary earlier. Not a bikini, not a rapper in sight. Why in the world did MTV undertake this?

GIDEON YAGO, MTV NEWS REPORTER: Well, you know, we do these kind of things. I mean, that`s kind of the beauty of MTV is that you can do something on a rapper or on spring break and also talk to your audience in a way that gets through to them about things like this disaster or the political process or any issues of the day which we have a long history of doing.

HAMMER: And in this case, you did it through the eyes of a lot of young people that you had the opportunity to meet...

YAGO: Yes.

HAMMER: ... while you were over there, which obviously makes sense for your audience. What`s one story that really has stayed with you?

YAGO: Well, we met, I think the most exceptional place that we went was a rehab clinic for paralyzed women in downtown Islamabad that a 28- year-old guy and a 19-year-old guy were staffing. And this was because the hospitals had been so full, they had taken his burned-down old theater in three days, repainted it, brought in beds and turned it into a rehab facility.

And you know, it being an Islamic country, obviously, these women can`t move their legs, their role in the family, you know, who they are, what they signify, really changes.

And, I mean, these guys were working around the clock just to -- just to care for them. And it was really inspiring, because you hear a lot of things from, a lot of times from 19-, 20-, 21-, 22-year-olds.


YAGO: They`ll say, "I`m looking for something. I`m looking for something of meaning." And you know, when you find people who have that and found that, it`s brilliant to see because you just see all this energy that is, you know, channeled toward some of those great causes.

HAMMER: Some of the numbers I rattled off a few moments ago, nearly 75,000 dead, so many people left homeless. One of the things that you point out in the documentary is that they`re really entering into act two of this tragedy.

YAGO: Right.

HAMMER: I`ve been in the Himalayas, you know, just before winter`s onset.

YAGO: Cold.

HAMMER: So with winter coming, do you think that they`re prepared and what do you think the net result`s going to be?

YAGO: It`s -- it`s really hard to say. I mean, you know, you just had 47 people freeze to death last weekend. You know, it is a two-act tragedy, and that`s why we went there. It was, you know -- and it kind of got bowled over. Because you know, 2005, you have the tsunami, you have the hurricanes, you have these landslides. There`s just so much disaster that you can take. And these numbers pile up and pile up and pile up.


YAGO: So, but unfortunately, in the case of the earthquake, with all these people so susceptible, you know, you might see tens of thousands of more die. And that`s really what we were hoping to kind of prevent or get people to mobilize around or donate money towards.

But it -- really the mobilization wasn`t anything else. If you know, people on college campuses or high schools see this show and say, "I want to start a clothing drive" or "I want to start a food drive" or "I want to raise money to buy mule trains or something," you know.

HAMMER: Well, you really do a good job of getting that message out there, and it`s really quite compelling. And Gideon, I appreciate your dropping by.

YAGO: Thanks so much.

HAMMER: And you can check out "Aftershock Diary of Gideon in Pakistan." It premieres tomorrow night on MTV.

ANDERSON: Coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, great expectations, great material. Brad and Angelina`s pregnancy gives comics plenty of baby banter. That`s next in "Laughter Dark."

HAMMER: Also ahead, MacLaine`s magic. Shirley MacLaine`s is captivating the critics in "In Her Shoes." And she`s got a Golden Globe nomination to boot. A Hollywood -- Hollywood legend you`ll surely love. Shirley MacLaine in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

ANDERSON: And tale of the tape. These amazing encounters are proof that truth is stranger than fiction. And they`re all caught on tape. Shocking video you have to see to believe.


ANDERSON: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It is TV`s only live entertainment news show. I`m Brooke Anderson.

Well, it is official: after weeks of rumors and whispers, the world now knows Angelina Jolie is pregnant with Brad Pitt`s baby. Yesterday, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT brought you the news, and it didn`t take long for the hosts of late night to roll out the jokes at the couple`s expense.

Take a look in this expanded edition of "Laughter Dark."




LETTERMAN: Thank you very much.

SHAFFER: Oh! Gosh!

JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, ABC`S "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": I guess she had to announce it because she`s showing. She`s, well, as you`ll see here, she`s either pregnant or got a huge collagen injection in her stomach. Video of Angelina Jolie today. Well, that`s a still photo. You can see inside the paparazzi has already positioned themselves in her fallopian tubes, so...

LETTERMAN: It is true, apparently, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt going to have a baby. And I thought, well, this is great. It`s nice to see the couple finally getting some attention.

JAY LENO, HOST, NBC`S "THE TONIGHT SHOW": Well Judge Alito was in front of the Senate today trying to answer some of the tougher questions. I don`t think he`s ready for the Supreme Court. Did you know he was not even aware that Angelina Jolie is pregnant with Brad`s baby? Did you know that? And you want to be on the Supreme Court? I don`t think so.

CONAN O`BRIEN, HOST, NBC`S "LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O`BRIEN": "People" magazine is reporting that Angelina Jolie is pregnant. Yes. Yes. Yes, Jolie`s doctor said it was the first time he`s ever seen lips on an ultrasound.

LETTERMAN: If there`s one thing I can`t stand, though, it`s celebrities who have kids without getting married. I hate that!

KIMMEL: According to a statement released by her publicist today, Angelina is very happy about the pregnancy and says she promises to love it just the same as if she adopted the baby.


ANDERSON: And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is generating major baby buzz as our wonderful viewers weigh in on Brad and Angelina`s new arrival. We received an overwhelming response to our question: Brad and Angelina`s baby, are you happy for them? The tally, 59 percent of you say yes, 41 percent say no.

HAMMER: Tonight, our Golden Globes coverage continues with the heart- felt and revealing interview with nominee Shirley MacLaine. She`s nominated for her supporting role in the Cameron Diaz flick "In Her Shoes," and she told our Sibila Vargas a little bout what it`s like to be in her shoes.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Sibila Vargas joins us now from Hollywood with that story -- Sibila.


Well, I caught up with the Golden Globe nominee at the Palm Springs Film Festival gala awards, where MacLaine, at 71, picked up the festival`s lifetime achievement award.

Shirley talked to me about why her impressive career does not mean she`s ambushes, why her belief in metaphysics does not make her wacky, and why she thinks she`s got the Golden Globe nod.


MACLAINE: I think those foreign press people stick together with senior citizens. That`s what it is to me. Because a lot of them are as old and older than I am.

I`m good with them. I can help, if you like.

VARGAS: You did a great job in "In Her Shoes." What was it like playing that character?

MACLAINE: I love the experience of being really subtle. And underdone and very, each little thought playing about the face, that is an act. That`s what I love.

VARGAS: There is one line in the film "In Her Shoes," what holds you together, Rose? What holds Shirley MacLaine together?

MACLAINE: Right now, it`s where I live in New Mexico with my 10 dogs and my horses and my ducks and geese and chickens and bear and elk and nature. It`s nature that holds me together.

VARGAS: I have to ask you, I mean, when you`re acting, at this point, because you`re so unbelievably natural, what is going through your head? Is it work?

MACLAINE: I can`t describe that little mystery. Can`t do it. Never have been able to. I don`t know anything about acting. I couldn`t teach it in a million years.

But I have not been worried. I`m worried on the stage. On the stage, you`re always concerned about, you know, instant humiliation or something. On the screen, you know that you have another shot at it. And the wonderful feeling of the lights and the camera crew and the people who are pulling for you. And everybody has your best interests at heart, whereas on the stage, you are really on your own.

VARGAS: Do you feel that you`ve accomplished everything that you have set out to do, as an entertainer?

MACLAINE: People call me overachieving but I`m not very ambitious. I don`t go out and make things happen. Probably what got me into metaphysics, because I`m on the receiving end of something that seems to have been orchestrated from another place.

VARGAS: If you could go back to a year in your 20s, what would you tell a younger Shirley?

MACLAINE: A younger me, I don`t know. Never did know. Someone younger who wants to be in this business, take some time every day to look into yourself and ask, who am I and why am I doing this?

VARGAS: Now, you`ve played almost every genre. Is there a genre of film that you`d like to do or...

MACLAINE: I`d like to do something really important in metaphysics, but those scripts are very hard to come by.

VARGAS: You talked about, like, when people thought you were wacky. What do you feel about that?

MACLAINE: And why do you think I think I`ve lived several lives? That`s not so wacky.


MACLAINE: You wouldn`t say that to the Dalai Lama now, would you? You would not say people think you`re wacky because you believe in it, would you? So why do it to me?

This business of making fun about having lived before, these people are afraid that maybe they have. And, therefore, that they have to now be responsible for what they do, because the laws of cause and effect are in play. And therefore, what you do now will come back to haunt you.

VARGAS: Do you feel blessed?

MACLAINE: Oh, absolutely. I feel blessed from the beginning. That`s what I mean, it was sort of like I didn`t have to be ambitious. It just all happened. Isn`t that interesting?

VARGAS: That is.

MACLAINE: So, I mean, I think we all create our own reality.


VARGAS: Great talking to her. A.J., Shirley told me that even though she doesn`t think she`s wacky, she would call herself eccentric, but she also thinks of herself as planted and practical. A lovely person for sure, A.J.

HAMMER: Not wacky, definitely fascinating. Sibila Vargas, thanks very much for joining us from Hollywood.

Tomorrow, our Golden Globes coverage continues. We`re going to bring you an in-depth and very revealing interview with Mel Brooks. His movie, "The Producers" got multiple nominations this year.

And don`t forget, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the only entertainment news show live next Monday at the Golden Globes.

ANDERSON: Yes, and we`ll be live, and we will have fun with it.

All right. Coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, "Curtin call." Funny lady Jane Curtin talks about her new comedy, "Crumbs," and why making the show is not a piece of cake.

HAMMER: Plus, we`ve got Oprah`s surprise shout-out. Her book club gets clubbed by controversy and she is fighting back. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with the inside story of what she said and why.

ANDERSON: And this is not a scene from the latest action flick. The heart-stopping video was all too real, and it`s all caught on tape. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has the shocking footage that has America shouting, "Let`s go to the video tape."


ANDERSON: It`s a big night for Jane Curtin. The fan favorite from "Third Rock from the Sun," "Kate and Allie," and "Saturday Night Live" hits the small screen again with a brand-new ABC sitcom, "Crumbs."

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT got a special invitation to the set. "Crumbs" stars Jane Curtin as the crazy mother of Fred Savage, crazy as in she was just discharged from a psychiatric facility. And Jane told us that with all her experience, it`s still not easy.


JANE CURTIN, ACTRESS: Well, it`s never super easy, because you`re learning a new show every week and they all have their own problems that you have to overcome and nothing is perfect. And that`s a challenge every week. You`re doing a different play every week. Except with the same people.


ANDERSON: Joining Fred and Jane on the show, Eddie McClintock as Jody, Jane`s other son, and William Devane, as her ex-husband, who has run off with a new woman. Fred Savage, who plays a closeted gay screenwriter, told us that while it`s a comedy, it`s also deeper than that.


FRED SAVAGE, ACTOR: I think that, you know, people respond to compelling stories and I think that`s why, you know, you see all these dramas doing so well. Even reality shows. You know, they`re compelling. You know, the stories are real and they`re compelling. And they`re honest. So, I think that we`re trying to do that here, you know, and then let the comedy come out of that.


ANDERSON: "Crumbs" debuts tonight on ABC.

HAMMER: Coming up, grace under pressure. The cast of "Will & Grace" is just a little bit nervous. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT stopped by their set and unbuttons the secrets.

HAMMER: Plus, a "Lost" star is found to have broken the law. We`ll have more on the crime and punishment coming up in our "Hot Headlines."

HAMMER: Plus, this is one reality show that is truly unscripted. Amazing adventures caught on tape, coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


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

ANDERSON: I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood, and you are watching TV`s only live entertainment news show.

HAMMER: Brooke, still to come, the controversy continues to swirl around the book "A Million Little Pieces." Author James Frey defending the book last night on "LARRY KING LIVE" on CNN. Of course, Oprah Winfrey put this book on the map by making it a choice in her book club. Millions of people have purchased this book.

Oprah Winfrey herself tuned in to "LARRY KING" last night, listened to what James Frey had to say, and then called in at the end of the show. You will hear what Oprah had to say and some reaction coming up in just a few moments.

ANDERSON: It was pretty compelling.

And, A.J., also very compelling, cars plowing down people. Also, baseball bats gone wild. These are dramatic moments caught on tape. Coming up, we`re going to have the gripping video and also tell you what happened to everyone who was involved.

But first, we are going to get tonight`s "Hot Headlines." And for that, we go to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Sibila Vargas. She is joining us live, again, from Hollywood.

Hi, Sibila.

VARGAS: Hi, Brooke.

Well, "Lost" actress Cynthia Watros has been ordered to go to substance abuse counseling. Watros was in court in Hawaii today where she pleaded guilty to drunk driving. In addition to 14 hours of counseling, she has to pay about $500 in fines. Watros was arrested in early of the morning December 1st, the same night her co-star, Michelle Rodriguez, was arrested for DUI. Rodriguez`s trial is set for March 30th.

Well, Ted Koppel isn`t having any trouble keeping busy since his final "Nightline" broadcast back in November. Today we learned that Koppel has made deals with the "New York Times" and National Public Radio. Koppel is joining the "Times" as a contributing columnist later this month and will contribute analysis and commentary for NPR.

This comes just a week after he signed on to make news documentaries for the Discovery Channel.

Well, director Robert Altman is getting an honorary Oscar at this year`s ceremony on March 5th. Altman, who`s films include "MASH," "Short Cuts," and "Gosford Park," has been nominated for best director five times but has never won. And that`s a dubious distinction that he shares with Martin Scorsese and Alfred Hitchcock, among others. Well, congratulations to him.

And those are tonight`s "Hot Headlines." Brooke, back to you.

ANDERSON: Pretty good company to be in, that honor in itself.

VARGAS: It sure is.

ANDERSON: Well-deserved. All right, Sibila. Thank you so much. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Sibila Vargas.

HAMMER: Tonight, the story everyone is buzzing about. Oprah Winfrey speaking out for the very first time in support of controversial best- selling author James Frey. Frey has been accused of making up parts of his memoir, "A Million Little Pieces," especially one story about a confrontation with police. After Oprah chose it for her book club, sales went through the roof. Frey appeared last night on CNN`s "LARRY KING LIVE" to defend himself and then came a surprise phone call from Oprah Winfrey.


OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: If you`re an addict whose life has been moved by this story and you feel that what James went through was able to help you hold on a little bit longer, and you connected to that, that is real. That is real. And it`s irrelevant discussing, you know, what happened or did not happen to the police.


HAMMER: Someone who has spent a lot of time talking about all of this on his radio show, Michael Smerconish. He`s live in Philadelphia tonight. Thanks for being with us, Michael.


HAMMER: Last night, Oprah called the controversy much ado about nothing. What do you think?

SMERCONISH: I think it was great television, but I think it was absolutely appalling. James Frey was revealed to be a fraud last night on CNN. I mean, he admitted to Larry King that he initially shopped this book as fiction, couldn`t get it published, repackaged it, started to call it nonfiction, and got a book deal.

And he`s given false hope to addicts, folks who are out there and who can ill-afford to be misled. He has misled them. And I`m terribly disappointed in Oprah Winfrey.

HAMMER: Well, the book, of course, in part about beating substance abuse without the use of self-help programs. Anybody I`ve spoken to -- and I`ll admit I have not read the book myself -- anybody I`ve spoken to says the parts that were either, you know, not true or the parts that are in question inconsequential to any help that people may have gotten from this. This has helped a lot of people, as Oprah even said. What about those people, Michael?

SMERCONISH: Well, A.J., don`t lose sight of the fact that -- see, I think he`s playing the system. What he`s saying is that only 5 percent of the book has been drawn into question, but he knows that 95 percent of the book cannot be brought into question without his cooperation. And I say this as a trial lawyer.

This is a guy who knows that doctor-patient confidentiality precludes anyone who is involved with his in-patient treatment from commenting upon his medical records. If he`s really ready for an analysis of what went on here, he should release his medical records to the public.

And what he knows is that we can`t get them without his cooperation. So I`m not about to fall into that. The way that I say it is those elements that we are able to question, it`s now reasonable to conclude that they are bogus.

HAMMER: You think that`s a fair presumption, really?

SMERCONISH: Absolutely. And you know, A.J., what really angers me about this book is that he maintains that he`s clean and sober by virtue of having attended what is arguably the best in-patient facility in the country. It`s located in Minnesota.

What he says in the book is that he cast aside the advice to follow a 12-step program from Alcoholics Anonymous while he was an in-patient. And my concern -- and what I wish Oprah would have been given voice to last night -- are those addicts, those folks caught up with drugs and alcohol, who have read the book and are saying, "Well, what the hell. James Frey didn`t have to follow the 12-step program and he`s OK. So maybe I don`t have to, either." Those are the people that he`s let down.

HAMMER: Well, Michael, you certainly have given us additional things to think about as far as this controversy is concerned, and we do appreciate you doing this tonight.

SMERCONISH: Let him release his chart. Release the chart, Mr. Frey.

HAMMER: OK, Michael. Thanks very much for joining us tonight. Michael Smerconish live in Philadelphia.

In case you missed James Frey on "LARRY KING LIVE," you`ll be able to catch it again Saturday night on CNN.

And this again leads us to our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." Oprah book controversy: Is it OK to exaggerate in memoirs? You can continue to vote at Got more to say? Our e-mail address, We`re going to read some of what you have to say at 55 past the hour.

ANDERSON: Right now, the folks over on the set of "Will & Grace" might be getting a little nervous. Well, that`s because they`re getting ready to put on tonight`s show live. I had a chance to catch up with the stars from "Will & Grace" and get some inside information about tonight`s episode and this, their eighth and final season.


SEAN HAYES, ACTOR, "WILL & GRACE": So things might get a little crazy.


ANDERSON (voice-over): "Will & Grace" is going live tonight. The pressure shouldn`t be too bad tonight, though. The cast went live back in September and 10 million people tuned in.

DEBRA MESSING, ACTRESS, "WILL & GRACE": There`s no saying "cut" when it`s live. It`s just you dive in and...


MESSING: ... hold on tight.

ANDERSON: I got a chance to speak with the cast on their set and got the dirt on tonight`s episode.

(on-screen): What are you going to do differently from the first live show you guys did?


HAYES: Yes, all nude, all girls, all live.

ANDERSON (voice-over): OK, that`s a bit of an exaggeration. We don`t know exactly what`s going to happen, but we can tell you that the show will center around Karen`s birthday party. Things will go downhill, and the cast will spend most of the episode in the bathroom of all places. Now, that`s a first.

MULLALY: Well, I mean, sometimes we`re like loofahing each other, but beyond that -- I mean, we`re nude.


MULLALY: God, I`ve been doing sit-ups all week.

MESSING: It`s fantastic.

ANDERSON: The ground-breaking "Will & Grace" has been on TV for eight years now. It ends its run this year.

(on-screen): Nearing the end of "Will & Grace," everyone is very upset about this.


ANDERSON: How do you feel?

MCCORMACK: We want it to end properly. We want it to end well. We want it to end big. And now seems the time for that. Television is a competitive place. And I just think -- I think we all agreed last year that one more great year and go out with a bang.

HAYES: Yes, it feels right. You know, it feels like, with the stories that I`ve heard are coming up, it feels like a nice kind of closure for all of our characters.


ANDERSON: Crazy kids. The cast will do two different live versions of tonight`s show, one for the East Coast, and one for the West. Now, in its eight years, "Will & Grace" has been nominated for 73 Emmys. It`s won 14 times.

A.J., the show will be a half-hour show each time. You and I do that every night times two without all those rehearsals, right, trying to make it look easy, too.

HAMMER: This is a live hour. I don`t know how funny we are, but it`s a live hour.

Well, coming up, baby talk with Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes possible baby names and a possible godmother? We`re going to hear what the super couple has to say, coming up.

ANDERSON: Plus, it`s another revolution, as Starbucks will tell you what`s brewing that could change your plans for the weekend, coming up.

HAMMER: And caught on tape. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has a flurry of heart- stopping scenes and an update on the 7-year-old who went for a joy ride that ended up in a police chase.

ANDERSON: But first, a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT birthday shoutout. And this is where we give fans a chance to wish their favorite stars a happy birthday. Tonight, a birthday shoutout to Howard Stern. He`s celebrating his 52nd today.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, it`s Richard in New York. I want to wish Howard a happy birthday. Howard, we`re going to miss you on KROCK, but we`ll see you on Sirius. You`re a New York icon. We love you. And congratulations.



ANDERSON: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It is TV`s only live entertainment news show. I`m Brooke Anderson.

Tonight, a rare chat with Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes about the baby they`re having together, everything from possible names to whether Katie is practicing her breathing for the big day. Tom and Katie chatted with Ellen DeGeneres and, on her show today, Ellen had a suggestion for them.






If it`s a girl.

CRUISE: If it`s a boy?


CRUISE: Ellen?


DEGENERES: What`s wrong with that?

CRUISE: That`s perfect.

DEGENERES: See what Katie thinks. You wanted to ask her?

CRUISE: Hey, Kate?


CRUISE: It`s Ellen if it`s a boy, Ellen if it`s a girl.

DEGENERES: Yes? I was saying, you know, if you thought about a godmother or anything, that I have extra bedrooms.

CRUISE: Hey, look at this. Isn`t this amazing?

DEGENERES: I know. She looks beautiful. You look fantastic.


DEGENERES: You really do. I knew you`re practicing the breathing and all that stuff. You ready?

HOLMES: I feel good, yes. I feel ready.

CRUISE: We haven`t started those classes yet.


DEGENERES: Well, I teach on weekends.


It`s basically just, "Ah!" Like that.

CRUISE: On Sunday mornings, it`s just, "Ah!"

DEGENERES: "Ah!" Like that.

CRUISE: Is that right?

DEGENERES: Yes, it`s exactly like that. It`s that easy.


ANDERSON: Tom and Katie have a lot to say there, huh. All right, Cruise, who is 43, and Holmes, 27, went public last April about their relationship, announced their engagement in June, and reported her pregnancy in October. Whew, it`s been a whirlwind. But no due date has been announced for the baby.

HAMMER: So how would you like a DVD along with that grande no foam skim latte? Well, you may have to be thinking about that soon, because tonight, Starbucks is planning on getting into the movie business. You heard me right. Starbucks said today it`s going to start selling DVDs and books, along with those music CDs that we`re already used to seeing in Starbucks and a booming business for them.

And for the very first time, Starbucks actually getting into the movie promotion business. Joining us tonight, CNN business news anchor Ali Velshi for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Always good to see you, Ali.

ALI VELSHI, CNN BUSINESS NEWS ANCHOR: And you, A.J. And anybody who can separate from you from five bucks to buy one of those grande, whatever- you-call-them latte things could probably sell anything you want them to buy.

HAMMER: Well, let`s talk some specifics about this particular deal. They`re not moving onto, you know, tractor trailers and farm equipment yet, but they are going to be promoting in their stores in April a brand-new movie called "Akeelah and the Bee." Eventually, their plan is to sell the DVD of this movie and other DVDs. When Starbucks talks, do people really listen?

VELSHI: Yes, believe it or not, they do. They have mastered the ability to get the unwitting to pay lots of money for coffee. So they are expanding.

They, of course, have been selling CDs in the past. Now, "Akeelah and the Bee," Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett, and presumably someone named "Akeelah," it`s about a spelling bee. And "Star Wars" is saying they`re not going to -- Starbucks is saying they`re not going to have posters.

They`re going to have those little cuppy things that they have. They`re going to have promotions on that. They`re going to spelling bee things. One of the words they`re going to have is "pulchritude."

But "Akeelah and the Bee," strong cast. It ain`t "Star Wars." Starbucks is starting small. If it works, I suspect they`ll have the big movie houses. And Lion`s Gate is not a small one, but they`re going to have some big movies lining up, because I think that getting your DVD into Starbucks might be like getting your book on Oprah or getting your toy into a Happy Meal at McDonald`s.

HAMMER: Or perhaps like getting a CD into Starbucks.


HAMMER: They have this music business. We`re used to seeing those CDs by the register when we go into buy our coffees. Artists, everybody from Bob Dylan to Sheryl Crow to the Rolling Stones, and that really has worked for Starbucks, hasn`t it?

VELSHI: Three and a half million CDs in the last year, and they`ve got a business called Hear and Now, which they`re expanding into a lot more of their stores, where you can go in, download, choose from like a million songs, and burn a CD right there, walk out with your CD that`s already mixed for what you need.

So Starbucks has had that worked for them. Now they`re thinking they`re going to expand into the movie side of things. This movie, "Akeelah and the Bee," is about literacy. Starbucks is sort of playing up the fact that this isn`t pure, unadulterated consumerism. This is a message movie.

HAMMER: I only have a few seconds left, Ali, but we`re also hearing that they may be selling books in the future, and they`re selling the DVDs, and they`re selling the music CDs. Any danger that they`re going to be diluting their brand, which really essentially is coffee?

VELSHI: They`re probably OK with books, DVDs, and movies, but as you said, if they start getting into either flat panels or farm equipment, you need to start to worry about it.

HAMMER: CNN business news anchor Ali Velshi, thanks for joining us on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


ANDERSON: Tonight, we have it again, caught on tape. All day today, the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom has been filled yet again with even more dramatic video. And we also have some updates for you on that 7-year-old who took a joyride and the woman and her two kids who were hit by an out- of-control car.

Take a look.


ANDERSON (voice-over): Last night on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, we showed you this amazing video from Bakersfield, California. It shows the out-of- control car driven by a 79-year-old woman plowing into another woman and her two kids in front of a supermarket. It was all caught on tape. And tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has an update for you: The victims in the crash all survived.

On to Tennessee. Remember the 7-year-old boy who took his parents` pickup truck for a drive? His joyride is no laughing matter now. Cops say that 7-year-old boy is being charged with reckless driving. Yes, charged.

And tonight, we have more gripping incidents caught on tape. Thanks to this videotape, police in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, might be able to identify the two thugs who senselessly attacked a homeless man near a Florida university building. This hidden camera video shows two men beating the man with what looks like baseball bats. Police have given the media this tape in order to help catch the bad guys.

And wielding his own baseball bat on a would-be robber, this gas station attendant in Pennsylvania pounced on this masked man, who flashed a knife and demanded cash from the clerk. Instead of grabbing cash, the clerk grabbed a bat and struck his attacker, not once but six times before he fled.

The clerk managed to push an alarm to police, and the battered and bloodied robber was caught. Thanks to this tape, police say they expect to charge him with four other robberies at that same gas station and three more robberies at different locations.

All these videos, all amazing stories, all caught on tape.


ANDERSON: The Florida police have not captured the two men in the video beating the homeless man, but say publicizing that video is a big help.

HAMMER: Well, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has the secrets of the new season of "American Idol." Today, we found out there are going to be a few changes and things you haven`t seen before when the new season starts next week. It might be a little ugly up there on stage. We`re going to tell you how the show will be different, coming up.

ANDERSON: But first, a look at what`s new at the movies. Opening tomorrow, Queen Latifah in "Last Holiday," about a woman who learns her days are numbered and embarks on a dream vacation to Europe. The film also stars LL Cool J and Gerard Depardieu.

Also opening tomorrow, Josh Lucas starring in "Glory Road," based on the true story of the Texas western basketball team, the nation`s first all-African-American starting lineup, which won the 1966 tournament title.

Stay with us.


HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. We`ve got a big week coming up for television, as "American Idol" is going to launch into its much- anticipated fifth season next Tuesday. I had the chance to speak with executive producer Nigel Lythgoe earlier today. He gave me a little preview of what we can expect in this coming season. Brooke, of course, needless to say, he said it will be the best season ever.

ANDERSON: Don`t they say that every year?

HAMMER: They say it every year. One of the things I asked him about was if there were any contractual changes made for the potential contestants. Remember, Mario Vasquez, a real front-runner last year, bowed out because he wanted to get his own recording deal. They haven`t changed anything.

They say, if people are unhappy, they don`t want to keep them on the show, but he did say expect to see some fireworks that we haven`t seen before. We will actually see contestants berating one another and blaming one another on stage. And you will even see, in a couple of instances, contestants who are not happy with what the judges have to say to them actually talking back to the judges and quitting the competition right there.


HAMMER: It`s all going to get under way...

ANDERSON: Shooting themselves in the foot, really.

HAMMER: Exactly right.

ANDERSON: Oh, well. It is a juggernaut. That`s for sure.

OK. Moving on, we have been asking to you vote online on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." Oprah book controversy: Is it OK to exaggerate in memoirs?

The vote so far: 40 percent of you say, yes, it is; 60 percent of you say, no, it isn`t.

Here are some of the e-mails we`ve received. Burma writes, "I agree with Oprah. I don`t care if some of it was embellished. It`s still a good tool for addicts everywhere."

Carolyn from New York writes, "I think most memoirs would be too dull to bother with if not embellished in some ways."

We do appreciate your e-mails. Keep on voting at

HAMMER: Tomorrow is Friday. And let`s see what`s playing on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT tomorrow night.

He probably feels he should have been nominated for a Golden Globe, but he wasn`t. Here comes your Marquee Guy.

MARQUEE GUY: Tomorrow, "Desperate Housewives," golden opportunities. The ladies are vying for Golden Globes, and SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is there live. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT live -- did I mention live? -- on Wisteria Lane for the Golden Globes smackdown, tomorrow.

Also tomorrow, babbling Brooks. Mel Brooks talks a blue streak on everything from the Golden Globe nominations he got to growing up in Brooklyn. Marquee Guy trivia: I also grew up in Brooklyn. He`s one of the funniest guys around, Mel Brooks, tomorrow, in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

This is the marquee guy, busily working on the story of my life. I think I`ll call it "The Marquee Memoirs."

ANDERSON: Now, I think that one would probably be embellished just a little bit.

OK, that is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Brooke Anderson.

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


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