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Sheryl Crow Battling Breast Cancer; Legal Lowdown: George Michael Arrested, Author Dan Brown Sued, Anna Nicole Smith Headed for Supreme Court; Jake Gyllenhaal Discusses Oscar Nom; Opera Singer, 13, Hopes to Inspire Others

Aired February 27, 2006 - 19:00:00   ET


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


HAMMER (voice-over): On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, Sheryl Crow goes public. Tonight, the rock star comes forward with the startling news that she has breast cancer. Her brave battle with the deadly disease and how she hopes it will save millions of others. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has Sheryl Crow`s inspirational story.

Plus, is TV causing dangerous drug addictions? Tonight, the shocking suggestion that your favorite shows could be making Americans into a pill- popping people and lead to prescription drug abuse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your cousin goes to an HMO?


And, the wacky world of "Viral Video." Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT brings you the funniest and most talked about clips that are coming to an e-mail in-box near you. It`s our continuing series on outrageous and contagious "Viral Videos."

CUBA GOODING JR., ACTOR: Hi, I`m Cuba Gooding, Jr., and if it happened today, it`s on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


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

VARGAS: And I`m Sibila Vargas live in Hollywood.

HAMMER: Sibila, I know that in Hollywood and all across America, people are just shocked over this news about Sheryl Crow.

VARGAS: That`s right, A.J. Crow is fighting breast cancer and, like Melissa Etheridge, Kylie Minogue and Olivia Newton-John before her, at 44, she`s taking aggressive steps to make sure she beats it, for good.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has all the details on Crow and her brave battle against the cancer that afflicts millions of Americans.


VARGAS (voice-over): With her soulful wail and soulful eyes, Sheryl Crow is one of the most successful faces of rock `n` roll. This is a woman who has sustained more than a decade in the music business with a slew of top 40 hits.

This is a woman who now, suddenly, is diagnosed with breast cancer.

ROBIN MICHELI, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Sheryl Crow had surgery for breast cancer on Wednesday. Then on Friday, she announced the news.

VARGAS: It`s hard not to miss the sad irony of it all. Earlier this month she split with fiance and Tour De France champ, Lance Armstrong, a man who, against all odds, beat his own very aggressive cancer.

And like her ex-fiance, Crow plans on beating this thing.

MICHELE: Sheryl herself has said that the prognosis is excellent. She said that the surgery was minimally invasive. And Lance says the he has every confidence that she`ll get completely better.

VARGAS: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT went to the experts, and they agreed. They say it sounds like Crow caught the cancer at the very best possible time.

DR. SHERYL PERKINS, SUSAN KOMEN BREAST CANCER FOUNDATION: It sounds like her odds of surviving and going ahead and living a full and healthy life are very good.

VARGAS: Crow says early detection is key and is turning her own personal struggle into an opportunity for people everywhere.

PERKINS: My hat`s off to her for what she`s doing, and you know, just wish her well. As a breast cancer survivor myself, I understand some of what she`s dealing with right now. So for her to take this step and deliver this message is really powerful.

VARGAS: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has the facts. An astonishing one in seven women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. And more than two million Americans are living with breast cancer today.

PERKINS: The earlier we detect breast cancer, the more treatment options women have and the longer they can live. Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer in its early stages can expect to be alive in five years about 97 percent of the time.

VARGAS: Crow calls herself a testament to importance of early detection, saying, quote, "I encourage all women everywhere to advocate for themselves and for their future. I am inspired by the brave women who have faced this battle before me, and am grateful for the support of family and friends."

And with this support, it looks like Sheryl isn`t giving up on herself or any of her fans who may potentially be at risk of breast cancer.

MICHELI: Because Sheryl is well known, well loved in the music industry and by fans, because she`s a great female rocker, when she has breast cancer, it really can do a lot to raise awareness.


VARGAS: And on her fan web site,, there`s been an outpouring of support. She`s also undergoing radiation therapy as a precaution and says that regrets she`s going to have to postpone her tour, which was slated to kick off next month.

HAMMER: Time now for the "Legal Lowdown." It`s a look at what`s going on in the world of entertainment legal news.

And on the docket tonight, wake me up before you bust me. London police arrested singer George Michael on drug possession charges after he was found slumped behind the wheel of a car.

And while we`re in London, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT cameras were in London. Check out this crowd in front of the high court. That`s where author Dan Brown is being sued by two British authors who say "The Da Vinci Code" is their idea.

And Ms. Smith goes to Washington. Anna Nicole Smith is going in front of the nine justices of the U.s. Supreme Court in the case that pits her against her dead husband`s son, and millions of dollars are at stake.

Joining me from Fresno, California, is Harvey Levin, managing editor of

All right. This always makes me sad, Harvey. What happened with George Michael, under arrest?

HARVEY LEVIN, MANAGING EDITOR, TMZ.COM: Yes, I mean, he`s -- he was pretty much busted, dead to rights. And now he has even come out and said that it`s all his fault, that the cops acted appropriately and that he screwed up, as he put it, again. So he seems to be owning up to this and also bracing himself for what would presumably be a reporter`s field day on him.

HAMMER: What exactly is the charge that he`s facing here?

LEVIN: Well, it`s a class C drug violation, which is the lowest level of illegal drugs. And it could be amphetamines; it could be marijuana. But it`s nothing like heroin or cocaine or anything like that. Nonetheless, he admits that he was in possession of something that he shouldn`t have had.

HAMMER: And as you mentioned, not his first run in with the law. Maybe you could remind everybody very quickly?

LEVIN: Well, there was a bathroom and -- at a Beverly Hills park where George Michael got into some trouble awhile back, where he was caught inside. And in that case, he ultimately made a music video kind of poking fun of the arrest. He said this time he will -- he will resist the temptation of doing the same.

HAMMER: And as a result, as you said, he knows very well what he`s in for from the press.

Let me read the statement he actually put out, saying, quote, "I have been through enough in the 24 years of dealing with the media to know what I`m in for from them this week. Much of it will be inaccurate or simply untrue. I can handle that. It is my own stupid fault, as usual."

Kind of sounds like he`s throwing himself at the mercy of the court already, at least court of public opinion here

LEVIN: Yes. And you know, that`s kind of the Hugh Grant theory, that basically you do a public mea culpa and then people will forgive. I mean, this was not a murder or anything like that. And it`s not like we haven`t heard of celebrities in possession of marijuana or regular folk, for that matter. So I mean, I don`t think this is necessarily going to be a career breaker for George Michael.

HAMMER: Now while we`re on that side of the pond, Harvey, author Dan Brown, of course, the author of the wildly popular best-seller "The Da Vinci Code," is now being sued in London by two guys who say the central plotline of the code was ripped off from them. More than 20 years ago is when they put out a book. And this was the scene at the London courthouse.

What gives here?

LEVIN: Well, what I think gives is a ridiculous lawsuit. I mean, every time somebody comes up with a hit book or a hit television show, there are always other people who say, "Gee, we thought of that first. Gee, somebody had exposure to our work and they copied it."

I mean, for crying out loud, this is about Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. It`s not like nobody thought of them before. So the notion that -- that Brown is creating some kind of a relationship between the two and that these guys did the same thing earlier, is just, to me bogus.

HAMMER: All right. Well, let`s move on to one final note. Anna Nicole Smith. Sure, we`ve got to talk about her. She`s had this very public fight with the family of her dead husband`s over the $474 million that she says is owed her by his estate. This has now reached the Supreme Court. What the heck is going on here?

LEVIN: It`s just unbelievable. I mean, this is -- actually, there`s a technical legal issue involving whether the federal courts can get involved in these probate and bankruptcy matters. But the probate really is the issue here.

The bigger issue is that Anna Nicole Smith is going to walk up all those steps tomorrow. And what I would like to do -- I`m so envious not being in Washington, D.C., because what I`d like to do is I would like to just watch the justices, and I`d like to look at Scalia in particular, and see how many times he turns and looks at Anna Nicole during the hearing.

HAMMER: It is unbelievable, Harvey. Harvey Levin, managing editor of Thanks for joining us.

And we will be in Washington, D.C. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT will be right there as Anna Nicole Smith goes in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

VARGAS: Coming up Hollywood mourns the loss of the three of its biggest stars. That`s next.

HAMMER: Plus, our weeklong road to the Oscars coverage kicks off. We go one-on-one with "Brokeback Mountain" nominee Jake Gyllenhaal. He reveals one of his biggest surprises about the film.

Plus, we`ll also have this.

VARGAS: Oh, rats. Why is this guy screaming his lungs out? Find out in the return of our outrageous and contagious "Viral Video" series. They could be coming to an e-mail or in-box near you. Stick around.

But first, tonight`s "`Entertainment Weekly` Great American Pop Culture Quiz." What cartoon strong man was made into a live-action big- screen hero alongside Courtney Cox in 1987? Was it A, He-Man B; The Incredible Hulk; C, Hercules; or D, Popeye? We`ll be right back with the answer.


HAMMER: Once again, tonight`s "`Entertainment Weekly` Great American Pop Culture Quiz." What cartoon strong man was made into a live-action big-screen hero alongside Courtney Cox back in 1987? He-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Hercules or Popeye? Dolph Lundgren, remember him as Drago in "Rocky IV"? He co-starred as He-Man in "Masters of the Universe" with Courteney Cox. So the answer is "A."

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. This is TV`s only live entertainment news show.

Tonight, sadly, Hollywood is mourning the passing of three of its most beloved stars.

Don Knotts has died from pulmonary and respiratory complications. He was 81. Knotts played deputy sheriff Barney Fife on "The Andy Griffith Show" and was Mr. Furley on the 80s sitcom, "Three`s Company."

And Dennis Weaver has died from cancer complications. Weaver won an Emmy for his role as Matt Dillon`s deputy on "Gunsmoke." He also played a cowboy sheriff in the NBC series "McCloud" back in the 1970s. Weaver was 81.

And Darren McGavin. He played tough talking private eye Mike Hammer. You also knew him as the grouchy dad in "A Christmas Story." McGavin`s son says he died of natural causes. He was 83.

VARGAS: Tonight, we start our "Road to the Oscars" coverage. Now, it`s pretty safe to say that this year is the year of the "gutsy" Oscars, with controversial films tackling controversial themes.

And the film that`s been at the center of all the buzz is the gay cowboy romance, "Brokeback Mountain," which is up for best film. I sat down with best supporting actor nominee Jake Gyllenhaal and asked him if ever imagined the film striking a chord with so many people.


VARGAS: How are you feeling? I mean, what does this all mean to you?

JAKE GYLLENHAAL, ACTOR: To me, you know, it`s just incredible history. You know, it`s like so much history behind this. And the people who have been nominated, one, and just all the members of the academy. There`s so much history and film history. And it`s something I just love so much. You know, in a way, I think somewhat premature, but I love it and I`ll take it.

VARGAS: Are you surprised at how controversial the film was, and also within that controversy, how much it was embraced?

GYLLENHAAL: We just live in a time where I guess the artists have had an opportunity to kind of -- the grain is theirs to go against, almost, you know? And this movie is one of those things. It`s -- I`m surprised in a way that it has become so mainstream and people have really fallen for it in such a deep way. But then again, I fell for it when I read it.

VARGAS: Could possibly be maybe a trail blazer. How do you feel about possibly having that title that this film and you, your work as a trail blazer in that?

GYLLENHAAL: It`s an honor, you know? I think it`s a true honor to be a part of a movie that has the message that this movie has. To be acknowledged in the way that this movie has been acknowledged.

The difference between these characters and others who have had opposition in the past. There wasn`t as much of the issue of self-hatred. I think there is a dealing with that, that issue in this movie, and it`s very different from a lot of other stories in the past.


VARGAS: And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT will be live on the red carpet before the Oscars. So be sure to join me, A.J. Hammer, and Brooke Anderson, for a special Oscar edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT this Sunday at 5:30 p.m. Eastern on CNN Headline News. Then at 6 p.m. Eastern our live coverage moves to CNN with "Hollywood`s Gold Rush." Again, me, A.J., and Brooke bringing you all the action, so be sure to join us.

HAMMER: Well, tonight, there`s a new king and queen of the dance floor. "Dancing with the Stars" crowned its new champions last night.




HAMMER: You are looking at a very understandably excited Drew Lachey, younger brother to Jessica Simpson`s soon to be ex-husband, Nick. Along with his dancing partner Cheryl Burke, the former 98 Degrees pop singer wowed the crowd, and the judges, with his rip-roaring routine of Elvis Presley`s "Hound Dog."

Lachey beat out NFL great, wide receiver Jerry Rice and, favorite, WWE wrestling star Stacey Keibler.

This was the second season of the hit ABC reality dancing contest. Among other celebrities competing, actresses Tatum O`Neal, soap talk host - - talk show host Lisa Rinna, and rapper Master P.

So were you watching? Because we want to hear from you. This is our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. "Dancing with the Stars": did the right couple win? Get online to vote at Got more to say, e-mail us any time, And we`ll read some of your thoughts later in the show. And the winners joining us here tomorrow night live on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

VARGAS: Well, we don`t know if opera singer Holly Stell can dance but we certainly know she can definitely sing.




VARGAS: Dubbed the Petite Pavarotti, she`s performed alongside opera superstar Andrea Bocelli, recorded a duet on his latest album. And she`s even performed before the president of the United States. And she`s just 13. I`m not kidding.

If that isn`t enough, she`s got her own self-titled debut album. And live in Hollywood is 13-year-old Holly Stell.

Thirteen years old. Most kids are going to the mall, or they`re playing sports, getting into trouble, but you`re singing opera. Not a big thing with the teenage movement. How did you get into it?

HOLLY STELL, OPERA SINGER: When I was 2 years old, my mom was tripping the channels to find something for me to watch while she was cleaning the house, and Pavarotti came on, and for some reason I was just fascinated with him.

VARGAS: You were 2 years old?


VARGAS: And your mom said that you were upset because she tried to change the channel?

STELL: Yes, she tried to change the channel, and I told her to turn it back. And she was kind of like, "Why do you want to watch Pavarotti?"

VARGAS: Right.

STELL: And so I was just staring at the television screen.

VARGAS: And you said, "Who that?" You couldn`t even talk. That`s wonderful.

So let`s talk about what you want to do as an artist, because there`s been a lot of artists that have started like you, very young. I think of Lindsay Lohan, Hilary Duff. You want to go in a different direction, though?

STELL: Yes. I like the genre that I sing. It`s not necessarily opera, even though on my album, I have two opera songs. I kind of want to go for, like, a genre one called "popera." It`s like Josh Groban and Sarah Brightman, kind of like that crossover into pop music. I think it`s really awesome, and I`d like to do that.

VARGAS: What do you hope other children -- or not children but teenagers could learn about this style of music? Because of course, it`s all about pop music. But what can they learn about opera and about your music in particular?

STELL: Opera is really cool. So is pop music. But opera`s just kind of something different. And I think if a lot of kids just kind of like gave it a chance and maybe started listening to it, then they might really enjoy it. Because it`s awesome.

VARGAS: Yes. And I know you got to sing with Andrea Bocelli.


VARGAS: Are you going to tell me about that? Was that like a dream come true for you?

STELL: That was a great experience. Just like singing with him was amazing. And I just feel very fortunate that I got to do that opportunity. Even being in his presence. Like, he just has this thing about him that you can`t really describe. But it`s like, it`s Andrea Bocelli. So I mean, what more can that say?

VARGAS: And I know you`re a big fan of Pavarotti, of course.


VARGAS: And you just talked about that. He`s an idol of yours. Have you ever met him before?

STELL: No, I`ve never met him. I saw him on the Olympics perform there. And like, the whole cape thing that he had going on, I think that was really awesome. Yes, he`s just a really gifted opera singer, and I really do admire him.

VARGAS: What would you say to him if you got a chance to finally meet him?

STELL: That I was fascinated with him at a young age. And he`s an inspiration to so many people. He has an amazing voice and he is just brilliant.

VARGAS: Well, I hope that you can also inspire a lot of people, because you are, already -- you are, actually, 13 years old. Good luck on your career.

STELL: Thank you.

VARGAS: With your singing (Ph). Thank you so much, Holly Stell.

Holly Stell`s self-titled CD is currently available exclusively at Barnes and Noble stores nationwide.

HAMMER: Well, coming up, monkeys, cats and more. That`s in the "SHOWBIZ Guide" to what`s new in music. That`s next.

And we`ve also got this.

VARGAS: Also, "Deal or No Deal" is back and Donald Trump involved. The show`s star, Howie Mandel, joins us live, coming up in the interview you`ll only see on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Plus, we`ll also have this.

HAMMER: What the heck is going on there? Well, still to come, more outrageous and contagious "Viral Videos" that are coming soon to an e-mail inbox near you.



Let`s get into the "SHOWBIZ Guide." This is where we help you get the biggest bang for your entertainment buck.

Tonight we`re doing "People`s Picks and Pans" for what`s new in music, talking about U.K. important Arctic -- or Arctic Monkeys, depending on how you say it. Folk soul -- folk soul musician Cat Power and R&B singer Ne- Yo.

Here live in New York to walk us through them, "People" magazine senior writer Ann Marie Cruz. Nice to see you, Ann Marie.


HAMMER: Let`s talk about the Arctic Monkeys. This album just out. "Whatever People Say I Am, That`s What I`m Not." It`s a long title. Check out the track, "I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor."




HAMMER: Well, I know that your critic`s choice. This band has gotten huge acclaim in their native U.K. What`s all the fuss about here?

CRUZ: You know, I`m sure that the jaded audiences out there are so sick of hearing the next big thing. It`s kind of like those "Peanuts" adult voices, "Wa-wa, wa, wa."

HAMMER: Right.

CRUZ: But we gave these guys four stars for a reason. Because they`re kind of like The Strokes with a British accent and the delivery of Franz Ferdinand. So even if that doesn`t sound appealing to you, I would still say go out and get it. Because you can tell that these guys have testosterone and gasoline running through their veins with the tight guitars and the cleverly arranged. It`s fantastic.

HAMMER: So if you like that kind of hard banging guitar sound, this is a good band to go with?

CRUZ: Yes, definitely.

HAMMER: All right. Now Cat Power has got her seventh CD out. This is called "The Greatest." Let`s check out the track "Living Proof."




HAMMER: Always loved her voice. And you guys gave this album 3 1/2 stars.

CRUZ: Yes, you know what? I would say that for the audiences who are not familiar with her, think of "Son of the Preacherman" -- "Son of a Preacherman." That`s what this album is like.

And that weird video that you just saw. Credit that to Harmony Korine from "Kids." Remember him? Back in the day. That`s why it`s so strange.

HAMMER: And Al Green`s great backing musicians, the legendary soul singer Al Green`s backing band joining in with Cat Power on the CD.

CRUZ: Yes.

HAMMER: All right. Let`s move on. Finally, a lot of young R&B stars are out there. There`s one out right now called Ne-Yo. His song "So Sick," No. 7 in the country at this moment. What`s the album "In My Own Words" all about?

CRUZ: Well, you know, Jay-Z said that what celebrates him from all the other solo artists is that he`s an absolutely brilliant songwriter. And it was his pick for the best new artist for the Grammys next year. So he wrote the song that Mario hit the charts with, "Let me Love You." And he`s got just like baby face credentials of a fantastic voice and the songwriting talent.

HAMMER: Sounds like he`ll be around.

CRUZ: Yes.

HAMMER: Thanks very much, Ann Marie.

And for more "Picks and Pans," your copy of "People" magazine is on newsstands now.

Well, Mariah Carey has got a big announcement. And we promise it`s not "Glitter 2." Find out next.

VARGAS: Also, Howie Mandel wants to give you lots of cash, but he may not want to shake your hand. Self-professed germophobe Howie Mandel, live in the interview you`ll only see on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Plus we`ll also have this.

HAMMER: Why the heck is this guy screaming at the top of his lungs? You`ll find out in the return of outrageous and contagious "Viral Videos." They could be coming to an e-mail inbox soon, but they are coming to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT next.


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

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

Tonight, we`ve got somebody special here. Of course, A.J., I know you love him, Howie Mandel. Comedian, funny man, host, I mean, the guy wears a lot of hats. And he`s going to be talking about his new show. Well, not his brand-new show, but it`s back, "Deal or No Deal." You may have heard of that one. Big ratings juggernaut for NBC. That`s coming up a little later.

HAMMER: I want you to give Howie a hug for me. He will let you hug him. You can`t shake his hand, but you can hug him.


HAMMER: All right, Sibila, you`ve been doing live TV for a while. I am sure you`ve had maybe one or two bloopers in your time on the air, correct?

VARGAS: Yes. I don`t like to admit it, but yes.


HAMMER: Any clips that have been circulated around the Internet, as far as you know?

VARGAS: Not as far as I know, thankfully.

HAMMER: Well, maybe they`re on the way, because TV news bloopers make among the best little funny video clips that have now become viral videos. They`re getting e-mailed all around the place. We have a bunch of those and some others in our continuing series of viral videos coming up in just a few moments. We`ll explain what it`s all about here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

VARGAS: All right. But first, let`s get to tonight`s "Hot Headlines."

Singer Sheryl Crow has called off her tour as she`s being treated for breast cancer, but she promises to reschedule as many shows as possible. Crow underwent surgery last week and will receive radiation treatment as a precaution. Her doctors say her prognosis is excellent. Crow`s former fiance, Lance Armstrong, a cancer survivor himself, said in a statement, quote, "Once again, I`m reminded of just how pervasive this illness is, as it has touched someone I love deeply."

Mariah Carey is getting back into the movies. Today we learned she`ll star in an indie drama called "Tennessee" about a waitress who goes on a journey to find her estranged father. Carey, who starred as an aspiring singer in the 2001 flop "Glitter." Now, you may remember that one, or you may not. "Tennessee" starts filming this spring.

Jamie Foxx is continuing his winning streak. Foxx has won best male musical artist at the NAACP Image Awards. Alicia Keys took home best female artist, as well as best song and music video. The Image Awards will be broadcast this Friday.

And those are tonight`s "Hot Headlines."

Well, Drew Lachey danced his way -- is the winner of "Dancing with the Stars" last night, beating out pro wrestler Stacy Kiebler and the NFL great Jerry Rice. And that`s our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." "Dancing with the Stars": Did the right couple win?

Keep voting at And write us at Your e-mails are coming up a bit later.

HAMMER: Well, there`s already a big party going on in New Orleans, as hundreds of thousands of people are flocking to the Crescent City to celebrate Mardi Gras. Yes, let`s take a look at this live shot. There you go. There`s Bourbon Street at the center of it all, in the French Quarter in New Orleans. One of those places for me that`s as close as you can come to leaving the country without leaving the country.

And this really comes, as we all know, at a time when New Orleans really needs the business bad. Six months to the day that Hurricane Katrina hit.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT cameras caught local Britney Spears in the thick of it all. She joins Toby Keith and Dan Aykroyd, who will also be there for the big celebration tomorrow. But New Orleans favorite son Harry Connick, Jr., will not be on hand.

Here`s CNN`s Soledad O`Brien for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


SOLEDAD O`BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): In the days after Hurricane Katrina, jazz musician Harry Connick, Jr., came back to a hometown he didn`t even recognize.

HARRY CONNICK, JR., MUSICIAN: It`s unbelievable. It`s like it`s the end of the world.

O`BRIEN: He`s helped raise money for victims, but feels it`s still not enough, especially for the musicians who he calls the soul of New Orleans.

CONNICK: Keep in mind these are guys that I`ve played with since I was five years old. These are heroes to me. These are my Michael Jordans, my Muhammad Alis, coming up to me saying, "Harry, what do we do?"

O`BRIEN: Connick, along with another popular New Orleans jazz musician, Branford Marsalis, have been making plans, along with Habitat for Humanity, to build a musicians village, hundreds of homing for musicians with nowhere else to live.

CONNICK: If they don`t come back, you know, this is a tradition that`s been going on for a long time, being passed on. I mean, that`s how I learned how to play, going in and sitting in with these guys when I was a little boy. And, you know, they don`t talk; they just play. And if nobody`s around to do that, then it`s going to be a bad scene. So we have to get those people back.

O`BRIEN (on-screen): Sort of no alternative?

CONNICK: Not to me, no.

O`BRIEN: Failure is not an option.

CONNICK: No, it really isn`t. And it`s a very delicate sort of balance, cultural balance in New Orleans. And if you remove the musical equation, it`s going to die.

O`BRIEN (voice-over): Now he`s giving Broadway audiences a touch of New Orleans jazz each night in the hit musical comedy "The Pajama Game."

(on-screen): It struck me watching it last night how the music so fits the style of music you`re famous for.

CONNICK: Well, it does in a sense. I love singing melodies, and I like singing lyrics that you can play around with.

O`BRIEN (voice-over): The style certainly won over his audiences; he sold more than 20 million albums, won several Grammys, and has scores of sold-out concerts. One event, though, that Connick will miss is this year`s Mardi Gras. But he says he feels strongly it`s an event and a tradition that must go on.

CONNICK: You have to move on. You have to -- yes, you`re bitter; yes, you know, you feel like you`ve been failed on some level by some level of your government, but I say absolutely have Mardi Gras.

And it`s probably very painful for some people. And it must sound like I`m speaking on some pedestal, because I don`t, you know, have my primary residence there, but I think you got to have it and you got to start sometime.


HAMMER: That was CNN`s Soledad O`Brien reporting for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is going to be live from New Orleans tomorrow as the big day comes on Fat Tuesday. We just won`t be able to bring you up beignets from Cafe Du Monde. And as they say in New Orleans, "Laissez les bons temps rouler," let the good times roll.

VARGAS: "Madea`s Family Reunion" debuted at number one at the weekend box office. Tyler Perry wrote, directed and starred in three roles in the film. It made more than $30 million, according to final figures released this afternoon. The sled dog survival adventure, "Eight Below," was in second place, followed by Steve Martin starring in "The Pink Panther" and the romantic spoof, "Date Movie." And coming in fifth, the animated "Curious George."

HAMMER: I can`t wait. Coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the return of viral videos. We`re going to find out why this guy is screaming, plus other outrageous videos that are making their way around on the Internet. That`s next.

VARGAS: Also, "Deal or No Deal" is back. And tonight Donald Trump plays a part on the show. Find out the real deal when Howie Mandel joins us live, coming up in the interview you`ll only see on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

HAMMER: And now, for your consideration, a look at the nominees for best actor in a leading role at this year`s Oscars, which will be awarded, of course, on this Sunday night.

First up, Philip Seymour Hoffman for his role as Truman Capote in "Capote." Many consider Hoffman the frontrunner in this category. He`s already won honors for this role at the Golden Globes, the SAG awards, and others.

Also nominated, Terrence Howard for "Hustle and Flow." Howard plays a drug dealer and a pimp looking for a new life through music. This is Howard`s first nomination.

Also the first Oscar nod for Heath Ledger. He`s nominated for his role in "Brokeback Mountain." "Brokeback" has the most nominations overall, eight, including best picture and best director.

Also up for best actor, Joaquin Phoenix for his role as Johnny Cash in "Walk the Line." Phoenix the only actor in this category who has been nominated for an Oscar before. Back in 2000, he was nominated for best supporting actor for "Gladiator."

And finally, David Strathairn nominated for "Good Night, and Good Luck," in which he plays journalist Edward R. Murrow.


HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, TV`s only live entertainment news show. I`m A.J. Hammer.

Tonight we`re continuing our weekly series dedicated to showing you the most bizarre and hilarious videos that end up in your inbox. We`re talking about something called viral videos. That`s the name we`ve given these things. We`ve all gotten them, video clips sent to us via the e- mail. And now we`re going to show you some of the most popular videos that are circulating around on the Internet right now.

And joining me live, Andrew Cohen, vice president of programming and production for the Bravo network, where tonight you can catch "Outrageous and Contagious: Viral Videos."

So, Andrew, it`s good to have you back. We got such response to doing the segment with you last week. I get these things all the time. Roll this clip here right now. This is something called "Lazy Monday." And this one actually showed up in my inbox just today.


HAMMER: Where are you guys getting these things from?

COHEN: We scour the Internet. I mean, we scour our inboxes. And Bravo viewers are as crazy about viral videos as you are and everyone else. And they e-mail them to And so we put on the best of what is e-mailed to us, as well.

HAMMER: And among those clips that you`re getting, TV news clips, live news, taped news. There`s never a shortage of bloopers from these shows. And these clips have been around on the Internet for a while. And, actually, I`ve gotten a couple of these e-mailed to me, as well. Let`s roll this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... dangerous games kids play is to tunnel in snow banks near the road. A few years ago, one boy...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Normally, the closest you can get to these giraffes is a couple of hundred yards away. Oh!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is probably close to five feet. Texas rat snakes are going to be one of the largest snakes that you find in the Metroplex area.


HAMMER: Just priceless.

COHEN: It`s a classic. Local news is the gift that keeps on giving, for sure with viral videos. I mean, they come out everyday. That last one was from Arlington, Texas.

HAMMER: And I`m sure he will never live it down.

COHEN: I`m sure he won`t.

HAMMER: Well, let`s move from the snake incident to a turtle having an incident, or shall we say an amorous encounter with a rock. You just have to see it to believe it.

COHEN: Yes, yes.

HAMMER: I mean -- I don`t know what to say.

COHEN: A, I`m so glad that that made it on CNN Headline News.

HAMMER: Yes, thank you very much.

COHEN: Second of all, we call that "Romancing the Stone." I think that`s kind of cute.

HAMMER: It`s perfect.

COHEN: Yes, yes, yes.

HAMMER: Don`t know exactly what to do with the turtle and the rock, but he seems to be enjoying himself.

COHEN: He really does.

HAMMER: Let`s move along to the next one, which actually comes from a television show. Prank shows, shows like "Punk`d" and other types of prank shows, really produce great reactions from the victims. I want you to setup this next clip for us.

COHEN: They do. This is from a show called "Scare Tactics" from Sci- Fi Channel, hosted by Shannon Dougherty. The object of the show is just basically to scare the heck out of people, really nice. And they took someone who`s an animal lover, put him in a laboratory where they said some genetic testing was going on. And it scared the heck out of him.

HAMMER: Here`s what happened. Check this out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let`s calm down. Take a deep breath, OK?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come here, come here.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve got to get them out of here.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you scared? Are you scared?


HAMMER: You know, another one of the things that makes these so terrific, particularly this clip, is I`ve enjoyed it more each time I`ve seen it.

COHEN: They are the gift that keeps on giving, actually. The more you watch it, the funnier it gets, for some odd reason. It`s really funny.

HAMMER: Which is exactly the reason that somebody will get them in their inbox, see it, and then have to forward it to everybody in their address book.

COHEN: Exactly. And most people watch viral videos more than once when they get them. They think it`s funny; they watch it again, they watch it again.

HAMMER: Well, let`s bring another clip, back by popular demand, actually, in the continuing series of unlikely commercials for a car dealership. The trunk monkey returns.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The trunk monkey theft retrieval system. Because sometimes getting your car back is simply not enough.


HAMMER: If only we could really have the trunk monkey, Andrew.

COHEN: It`s true. You don`t need a car alarm with the trunk monkey.

HAMMER: Well, I know there are more trunk monkey commercials out. Maybe we`ll dig another one up next week.

COHEN: For sure. For sure.

HAMMER: Andrew Cohen, thanks for joining us on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. And once again, for more viral videos, you can catch "Outrageous and Contagious: Viral Videos" tonight on Bravo or just check your inbox.

VARGAS: Now a "Showbiz Sitdown" with comedian-turned-game show host Howie Mandel. Mandel is the face of NBC`s hit show, "Deal or No Deal," which returns to TV tonight. The game is about luck and playing the odds.

Howie Mandel joins me live in Hollywood. You and I, we`re just finishing that viral videos...


VARGAS: Laughing hysterically.

MANDEL: Yes, we were.

VARGAS: People think that stuff is really funny.

MANDEL: I do this everyday myself. I wear these hidden camera classes and annoy -- I have restraining orders. I`ve been beat up. I do that. But that`s a whole other show. I`m here to talk about "Deal or No Deal."

VARGAS: That`s a deal.

MANDEL: I can`t shake hands.

VARGAS: Let`s talk about that.

MANDEL: Yes, it`s huge. It`s a phenomenon in 45 countries. And now it starts again tonight on NBC, every night this week at 8:00. We give away a million dollars tonight and then we up it every night by a half a million dollars, to Friday, $3 million. No skill, no stunts, no trivia, you can be a moron and change your life.

VARGAS: You don`t have to be a "Jeopardy" genius to get on the show.

MANDEL: I just said a moron. That`s the other end of the spectrum.

VARGAS: Moron, yes, that would be -- right.

MANDEL: Yes, a moron. All you got to do is pick a case and it`s yours to keep.

VARGAS: No, that`s not nice.

MANDEL: No, but it`s true.

VARGAS: It`s true.

MANDEL: You can sit at home in your underpants and actually pick a number and text it in live. They give away tens of thousands of dollars to people who pick numbers. Just pick numbers.

And then, throughout the game, I offer you money to go home. If you say no deal and stay in the game, whatever`s in your case you can keep, or you, throughout the game, you could sell your case.

VARGAS: Why do you think people love it so much? Because, I mean, people have really started watching this thing.

MANDEL: Right. It`s huge.

VARGAS: And they love this.

MANDEL: It`s huge.

VARGAS: It`s huge.

MANDEL: You have no idea. You should be so excited to be sitting with me.



MANDEL: I`m huge. It`s just great.

Why? It`s simple. Because there`s no game. It`s just you pick a case. You know, and then I start revealing the other cases. And as I open them up, whatever you see in those cases, obviously, is not in your case. And based on that, I`ll make you offers.

If we get down to two cases, like tonight, if we get down to two cases, a dollar and a million dollars -- we know there`s two cases, either yours and one other case, I`ll offer you a half a million dollars right now, deal or no deal. Do you take the half a million dollars? You. Do you take the half a million dollars or do you say no deal and go for a 50/50 shot that there`s one million dollars in your case?

VARGAS: I`m going for the half a million, but that`s just me.

MANDEL: That is just you.

VARGAS: Some people -- right.

MANDEL: A lot of people say, "I came with nothing. I`m going for broke." But they can go home with just a dollar in their case. Or you don`t show up, and you sit at home, and wins tens of thousands of dollars.

VARGAS: So it`s a little bit of gambling in a way?

MANDEL: No, calculated risk. I think you don`t have to gamble. If you want to win a lot of money, no gambling. You just look at the odds. If you don`t want to play the odds, you know, if you have five cases more to open before the next offer and I`m offering you a quarter of a million dollars, I think take the quarter of a million dollars and go home.

VARGAS: Right. Well, "The Apprentice 5"...

MANDEL: Right, follows us.

VARGAS: Tonight.

MANDEL: And Trump is on my show before that.

VARGAS: Right.

MANDEL: Because his show is on at 9:00. I guess he got there early and showed up to our show. And he helps people make the economic decisions of their life.

VARGAS: Now, you have also -- I don`t know. You`re probably aware of the Martha Stewart-Donald Trump...

MANDEL: Right.

VARGAS: ... he said-she said thing, you know.

MANDEL: And he said -- tonight, he`s coming on -- and he said that I could fire him. And if he doesn`t let me and my show goes into the toilet, let him write me a letter. I don`t care.

VARGAS: Right. OK, you`re not messing with him.


VARGAS: What do you think about that whole thing though? If you were to put bets down, would you go -- who would you think is the winner in the war of words?

MANDEL: In the war of words?

VARGAS: The war of words between Martha Stewart...

MANDEL: Who has the primetime show? There you go.

VARGAS: There you go.

MANDEL: I think he won.

VARGAS: You`re right. You`re right.

MANDEL: I think he won. And he`s on our show tonight, so catch him. That`s every night this week, it goes up to $3 million.


MANDEL: That`s what I was going to say.

VARGAS: It`s pretty impressive.

MANDEL: It is. I`m very impressive.


VARGAS: You are. You are.


VARGAS: You don`t give much handshakes, but we did get a little thing like this.

MANDEL: Yes, a little bump. I can`t -- but I hug.

VARGAS: Yes, a little bump.

MANDEL: You see the people on the show, I`ll hug, and I`ll hold. I`ll kiss. I just can`t shake hands.


MANDEL: Do you have a problem with that?

VARGAS: No, I don`t have a problem with that.

MANDEL: No, I know you don`t.

VARGAS: That`s OK. To each his own.

MANDEL: It is.

VARGAS: But you can kiss. I mean, that seems to me a little bit more intimate than actually shaking hands.

MANDEL: I know. I know. I know. I can`t -- but I have children. So obviously the shake -- and I never shook their hand. You don`t have to shake somebody`s hands to have children.

Well, you saw a turtle on a rock. There was no handshaking.

VARGAS: No handshaking.

MANDEL: You can have fun without shaking hands. I have OCD, and that`s one of my little issues.

VARGAS: Right.

MANDEL: Yes. I have OCD and ADD, so I can`t even concentrate on my possible for any length of time.

VARGAS: But you`re doing just fine.

MANDEL: Do you even have any idea what I said?

VARGAS: And we love you. Yes, I do. I heard everything.

MANDEL: But you`re wrapping it up.

VARGAS: But you know what? You`re all over the place.


VARGAS: That`s it. There you go.


VARGAS: Thank you. All right. Thanks, Howie.

MANDEL: Thank you.

VARGAS: Such a pleasure talking to you.

MANDEL: My pleasure.

VARGAS: "Deal or No Deal" again airs all week long on NBC.

HAMMER: OCD with the ADD on the NBC. Just perfect.

Well, throughout our show here on CNN Headline Prime, we`ve been asking you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." "Dancing with the Stars": Did the right couple win?

Still time to vote? Well, sure, if you want to hop online. But here`s how the vote`s going so far: 79 percent of you say yes; 21 percent of you say no.

Got a bunch of e-mails, too, including one from Sally in Maryland who writes, "It was the most unfair contest I ever saw. Stacy should have won because she was much better than Drew and especially Jerry."

Also heard from Kerry in Texas who writes, "Yes, yes, yes, the right couple won. I was glued throughout, and Drew threw himself into it so well I loved it."

You can keep voting at And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT will be right back.


VARGAS: Time now for a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT birthday shoutout, where we give fans a chance to wish their favorite stars a happy birthday. Tonight we`re sending one out to Elizabeth Taylor, who is celebrating her 74th birthday today.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, I`m Sharon (ph). I just wanted to wish Elizabeth Taylor a happy birthday. Hope you have many more, and good luck. And have a nice day.


HAMMER: All right.

It is time now to see what is coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT tomorrow. Here comes your marquee.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s going to be live from Bourbon Street. It is the first Mardi Gras, of course, since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. Make sure you join us tomorrow for Fat Tuesday. We`ll have our live report.

Also tomorrow, it`s the show everybody is talking about today, and tomorrow, and for some time to come, I`m sure, the big "Dancing with the Stars" finale. Tomorrow the winning couple, Drew Lachey and his dance partner, Cheryl Burke, are going to join us live to tell us exactly how they pulled it off.

And that is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. Thanks for watching.

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


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