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Experts Weigh in on Stalker Site Dangers; Hulk Hogan Family Dishes on Reality Show; Mike Wallace Retiring from "60 Minutes." Many Girls With Eating Disorders Face Being Cut From Insurance
Aired March 15, 2006 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE ANDERSON, CO-HOST: I`m Brooke Anderson in New York.
SIBILA VARGAS, C0-HOST: And I`m Sibila Vargas in Hollywood. TV`s only live entertainment news show starts right now.
ANDERSON (voice-over): On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the growing outrage over star stalkers. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT first told the nation about a shocking new web site that shows exactly where stars are, right now, in real time. Tonight, coast-to-coast anger.
JANE SEYMOUR, ACTRESS: Something bad will happen.
ANDERSON: And who`s responsible if a crazed fan puts a celebrity in danger? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with the campaign to stop the star stalkers before someone gets hurt.
Also, the heart-breaking story of a family that will do anything -- anything to save their anorexic daughter.
MEGAN CUNNINGHAM, BATTLING ANOREXIA: I would almost even consider killing myself.
ANDERSON: But facing a ridiculous roadblock as they struggle to keep her alive. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with the emotional life and death story.
And crossing over cross country. Tonight, psychic medium John Edward. He`s going all over America to reconnect families with their loved ones. But what happens after his breaks through to the other side? John Edward, live, in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
ROBERTA FLAK, SINGER: Hi, it`s Roberta Flak. And if it happened today, it`s on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
VARGAS: Hello, I`m Sibila Vargas, live, in Hollywood.
ANDERSON: And I`m Brooke Anderson, live, in New York.
Sibila, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT viewers, people all across America, are absolutely furious tonight over a web site we first let the nation know about. It`s the site that lets people know where celebrities are, live, and almost in real-time. And in an almost bizarre way, it proudly uses the name "Stalker."
SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has been flooded by an unbelievable amount of angry e- mails and lots of new developments today since our first report.
ANDERSON (voice-over): This is the web site that SHOWBIZ TONIGHT worries could be a threat to the safety and privacy of celebrities across the nation. Gawker.com, Gawker Stalker.
Here`s how it works. If you are out and about and see, say George Clooney at Starbucks, e-mail his location to Gawker.com and within seconds, it`s posted online, even with a map.
Within hours after Gawker Stalker launched, it was the talk of the town.
STAR JONES, CO-HOST, ABC`S "THE VIEW": Within seconds, you`d know that Reese Witherspoon was at the Wal-Mart with her two little children. And you could then jump in your car and drive over to the Wal-Mart and see her and take pictures of her with her kids.
JOY BEHAR, CO-HOST, ABC`S "THE VIEW": They can follow you to your Botox doctor.
ANDERSON: The ladies of "The View" may joke, but Gawker Stalker is no laughing matter. Many industry big wigs have joined SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s stance. It`s giving serious stalkers dangerous information.
HOWARD BRAGMAN, FOUNDER, FIFTEENMINUTES.COM: It`s a real concern. We look at what happened to Rebecca Schaeffer here. Look what happened to David Letterman on his ranch. We look at what happened to John Lennon. We`re not talking about, you know, hypothetical here. We`re talking about real.
ANDERSON: That`s what the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT viewers, an overwhelming number, have been flooding our e-mail inbox, telling us. So we demanded answers from Gawker.com, who told us the celebrities` information is already out there. And they`re not to blame.
JESSICA COEN, CO-EDITOR, GAWKER.COM STALKER: If you found out George Clooney were getting a cup at Starbucks, had the time to click your web site, run downstairs, get to that Starbucks and inflict bodily harm, I think that`s something that not any single web site can take the blame for.
ANDERSON: Well, tell that to actress Jane Seymour. We broke the news to her she was on the site. And she told SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s A.J. Hammer the entire thing is dangerous and creepy. There she is, posted on Gawker Stalker yesterday after being spotted at the Museum of Modern Art.
A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: Kind of creepy.
SEYMOUR: Very, very, very creepy. I mean there I was at MOMA, yes. I went there. I went to see the Munchs. But that`s scary. That`s very scary. And I`ve had death threats, you know, a long time ago. It`s -- this is not a small thing. You know, this -- there are crazies out there. And crazy stuff does happen. And this whole real time thing is -- something bad will happen.
ANDERSON: What if something bad did happen? Many are concerned that Gawker.com could give stalkers the information they need in real time to go after celebrities. If that happened, could Gawker be responsible? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT decided to find out.
SHERWIN SIY, ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER: It doesn`t seem like it. First of all, they`re reporting truthful information. So there`s no -- no defamation case there. And what they`re reporting isn`t an incitement to violence. They`re basically doing what tabloids have done for centuries.
ANDERSON: Well just a short time ago, Gawker posted this on its web site. And we`d really like to think SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has something to do with it. Quoting now, "Mapped pinpoints are posted anywhere from 15 minutes to a couple of hours from when readers first send them in, which provides an ample window for celebrities to move about before facing certain death exacted by their violently obsessive fans."
OK. Let`s talk to a couple of people now who can tell us all about the celebrity concerns with the Gawker Stalker site. Live here in New York is Brad Zeifman, senior vice president of the Susan Blond public relations agency, which represents some big names, including Star Jones and Usher, among others.
And in Hollywood is Tino Struckmann. He`s a security expert whose company has protected people such as Bill Gates, Britney Spears, Cher and the Rolling Stones. He`s also author of "Stalked". It`s a book about how women can protect themselves from stalking.
OK, Tino, I want to begin with you. You are a security expert. You and your company have been responsible for protecting the likes of Robert De Niro, Cher, Britney Spears, Bill Gates. Is this site a realistic threat?
TINY STRUCKMANN, AUTHOR, "STALKING": This is a very realistic threat. And it`s very poor taste. It`s -- at best invasion of privacy. And it makes our life a whole lot more difficult.
Because these people, they don`t take into consideration what security threats or death threats a given celebrity may have. They are just giving this information to not only the people who may actively be stalking them and then harming them.
They also give this information to everyone else who blatantly invading their privacy. Putting them at great risk, because there are a lot of people out here who really want to harm these people. Or interact with them in inappropriate manners. And it`s just possible now.
ANDERSON: Even, Tino, with this 15-minute to two-hour delay that we just learned Gawker Stalker has put on the site?
STRUCKMANN: Even with that. It depends if somebody is sitting down in a restaurant they`re going to be there longer than maybe an hour. But this could also be 15 minutes. It could be 10 minutes. Just that they are giving this information out at all puts these people at great risk.
Also they know when they`re out of their house to open it up to robberies and all other things.
And even though they`re claiming that this is not their intention, this is still the reality that we`re going to be dealing with on the ground in protecting these people. That now we have all these multitudes of people who didn`t before have access to them, which can now go online and find out where they are. They make a pattern of where they`re going, where they`re having dinner. And it`s not right. It`s bad taste and it`s -- it`s...
ANDERSON: It`s a difficult situation to protect people.
STRUCKMANN: It`s very.
ANDERSON: I understand what you`re saying. And Brad, I want to bring you into this conversation. As a publicist, we`ve been talking to publicists throughout the week about this. And they are absolutely outraged. What do you think?
BRAD ZEIFMAN, SVP, SUSAN BLOND PR: I would say I`m actually more concerned for my clients` safety than outraged. I think this site infringes on our clients` personal lives. And they deserve to have personal lives.
ANDERSON: Have you been talking to your clients about this? Has anyone said anything?
ZEIFMAN: We`ve started conversations. We`ve started to talk about it. I think the buzz is starting. I think people just have to be more careful, will have to be careful and be -- and need to know that everywhere they go, they might be reported about.
ANDERSON: Well, we had one of the editors of Gawker on last night, and she said that basically she believes that celebrities, in essence, have given up their right to privacy, because they`re in this business and in the spotlight, that they`re fair game. What do you think?
ZEIFMAN: I think our clients give up their privacy when they`re working. But they deserve a public -- a private existence. They deserve - - there used to be a line between being a public figure and having a private life.
ANDERSON: Tino, your job is to protect celebrities. How do you protect them from something like this?
STRUCKMANN: Well it`s hard enough as it is. And with this blatant lack of common sense, it makes it a whole lot more difficult. We may have to go to more undisclosed locations. You may see the celebrities moving out of the country, out of the town, away from this -- not only the media. But also a lot of normal people we have to contend with.
We are watching out for possible attacks against our clients. Now we also have to watch about the multitudes of fans who may be overzealous approaching us. Some -- bodily harm could very easily come out of something like this. When you have large groups of people amassing on a site where a celebrity was last seen.
Tino, could be extreme changes as you say. And Brad...
ZEIFMAN: Could be a boom in the private security business.
ANDERSON: You`re right about that. More security personnel, possibly. And one of your main concerns is that there could be copy cat sites. Is that right?
ZEIFMAN: Well, Gawker says that they are screening and have a screening process. We have to worry about the copy cat web sites that might not have the same security.
ANDERSON: All right. Well, Brad Zeifman, Tino Struckmann, thank you both for your insight and your perspectives. We appreciate it so much.
STRUCKMANN: You are very welcome.
VARGAS: We asked this question last night and got a huge response. Celebrities in the public. Do they have the right to be left alone? An overwhelming 82 percent of you said yes they do. Eighteen percent of you said no they don`t.
Here`s some more e-mails we got on the question. Shirley from California says, "Celebrities do not need to forfeit total privacy for the sake of greedy and curious public."
But Carol from Nebraska thinks, "They can afford to hire an army of security. If they wanted so much privacy, perhaps they should have gone into showbiz -- or not gone into showbiz."
We`re asking you the same question tonight. Vote at CNN.com/ShowbizTonight. And send us your e-mail at ShowbizTonight@CNN.com. We`ll read some of your thoughts later in the show.
ANDERSON: Tonight, CBS is taking heat for one of its top shows in the form of a record $3.9 million. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has learned the federal government is fining CBS and dozens of its stations and affiliates for what it calls "indecent television programming" on the hit show "Without a Trace."
Officials cite a December 2004 episode for, quote, "graphic depiction of a teenage sexual orgy." And the FCC also upheld its $550,000 fine against 20 of the network`s stations for Janet Jackson`s infamous 2004 Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction.
VARGAS: Coming up, a world-famous supermodel speaks. Her startling statements about her sex life and abortion. That`s next.
ANDERSON: Also, why in the world is one of the best-known wrestlers of all time getting Botox? Tonight, Hulk Hogan and his family stop by in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, next.
Plus we`ll also have this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
M. CUNNINGHAM: I would almost even consider killing myself just to escape.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VARGAS: The emotional, heart-wrenching struggle of a young girl`s battle with anorexia and the ridiculous roadblock she`s facing to beat her struggle with the eating disorder. That`s coming up in SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, a special report.
ANDERSON: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Tonight wrestling legend Hulk Hogan and the real deal on his family reality show, and boy, is it real. Believe me, those cameras show everything. It`s called "Hogan Knows Best." It was a run away hit last season on VH1, and we`re just about to get into season two.
We`ve got the whole fam here for a "SHOWBIZ Sitdown". Hulk Hogan, his wife Linda, their children Brooke and Nick.
Welcome to you all. Great to see you again.
HULK HOGAN, "HOGAN KNOWS BEST": Thank you.
LINDA HOGAN, "HOGAN KNOWS BEST": Hi, how are you?
ANDERSON: Doing well, thank you. Now did you know, we`ve been talking this during the show. The Gawker Stalker web site. You guys, Hulk, you and Brooke, were actually posted on the site, seen leaving a restaurant. Here it is. We`re going to put it up here. There you were on the right.
H. HOGAN: Wow.
ANDERSON: Seen leaving a restaurant yesterday.
H. HOGAN: Late this morning.
ANDERSON: Many people are concerned about their safety, their family`s safety when something like this happens. What do you think about it?
H. HOGAN: Well, I`ve always been kind of on the side of the paparazzi. Because I thought they helped the celebrities. And I thought the celebrities were cunning enough to play cat and mouse and use it, you know, to their positive side.
But I think now we`ve crossed the line, in that when safety becomes a factor. And such as if my son Nick or my daughter Brooke. They see them out and they`re alone. I mean, there`s all kind of weird things that could happen. So I think the line has been crossed now. And I think this is not a good thing.
ANDERSON: People obviously aren`t going to mess with you, Hulk, out there. But your family.
H. HOGAN: Well, that`s my main concern. As soon as you guys told me today that we were on the web site. And I`m sure they have posted us now here at CNN, the whole family.
L. HOGAN: We`re here.
H. HOGAN: Yes, we`re here. Hey, guys. But I mean, it just -- it just makes me realize that this is happening.
ANDERSON: A little scary.
H. HOGAN: It definitely kind of gave me the creeps when I saw that, you know, they posted we were out and about in the restaurant. And now it makes me realize when Brooke`s alone or my wife`s alone or my son, it`s a real threat. They`ve crossed the common sense safety line, which is -- now you have to defend yourself. Now you`ve got to be ready. It is a weird feeling.
BROOKE HOGAN, "HOGAN KNOWS BEST": Well, it`s also scary too. I`ve heard stories from my mom. Her dad was a cop. And you know my aunt, her sister, was followed, actually, by the Hillside Strangler.
H. HOGAN: In California.
B. HOGAN: She was followed.
ANDERSON: You have to beware. And Hulk, you have been in this business for a really long time. You`ve been a celebrity in the public eye for a long time. But now all of you guys are famous because of this celebrity reality show. I want to ask you, are you besieged by fans on this street? And does it ever frighten you?
B. HOGAN: What do you think?
NICK HOGAN, "HOGAN KNOWS BEST": Well there`s a lot of fans who are extremely over-the-top nice to us. And just -- they`re loyal. And then there`s some people who are just, you know, there getting your autograph just to sell it on eBay. Or you know, just to be able to say they met you. And that`s the kind of scary thing. They don`t really care about you that much. And those are the type of people who will go on Gawker and say hey, they`re here. So anyone who wants to go mess with them, have at it.
L. HOGAN: It`s a living. And if it`s a living for somebody else then they`re going to do it. And I`m surprised that it hasn`t been done sooner, to be honest with you. And I think that the problem is only going to get worse.
So kind of like buyer beware, in a way. I think that all celebrities at this point now have to take action and take protection and measures in order to protect themselves.
H. HOGAN: As far as the fans go, you know, my antennas went up. Because usually they come to me. Sometimes they`ll run by me and go to my wife or to my daughter. So now this is like triple intense with this web site and the fan base. It`s really like putting...
ANDERSON: Things have certainly changed.
H. HOGAN: Yes, it`s different now.
ANDERSON: And your lives have changed dramatically because of this reality show. And Hulk, you`re a handsome guy, but this season you`re getting Botox.
H. HOGAN: Wow. Well, I went to somebody...
H. HOGAN: ... because everybody said you`re always tired. Man, you look tired. And I said, "Oh, my gosh, these wrinkles on my face." So I went to a friend of mine, Dr. Diocco (ph) and had the laser treatments. And some things followed. But you`re going to have to watch.
But it`s great for all of us. I mean, the show`s been awesome. We love doing it. And Nick now is inside by -- he`s the youngest pro driver ever.
N. HOGAN: Thank you.
ANDERSON: Brooke, record deal.
H. HOGAN: Thank God. Scott still works for me (ph). Cecil Barker (ph) in Miami signed Brooke. So -- and Linda is getting ready to do some of your own business with QVC.
So we`re rolling. We`re having a blast.
ANDERSON: Very good (ph).
H. HOGAN: And now we have to worry about the star web site.
ANDERSON: You have to worry about that, protecting your family and protecting Brooke from the cutthroat music business. How are you going to do that?
H. HOGAN: Well, I don`t know. I`m a pretty good bluffer. But we live with some really good people. You know, it`s hard the find really good people. And with Scott Swords (ph) and Cecil Barker (ph), the people that are helping us out. We feel really good about it. Because it`s been 4 1/2 years of pounding the pavement.
And I just told Brooke, "You`re such a good person and you work so hard. Some day something good`s going to happen." And I think we finally -- we got there now.
ANDERSON: Nice words from your dad.
B. HOGAN: It`s to the point where I`m not really worried about the music business anymore. Like, my mind is set on this Gawker Stalker thing. My heart`s beating just thinking about it.
ANDERSON: It`s frightening.
H. HOGAN: It`s crazy.
ANDERSON: I know. I know. And you are also protecting her from al those boys that want to date you.
H. HOGAN: Still, yes.
ANDERSON: You want to date. Do you ever resent how protective and strict he can be in that sense?
B. HOGAN: You know what? No. Because like Nick said, you know, there`s really nice people out in the world and then there`s really, you know, people that are out to get you.
ANDERSON: Are the guys scared to come over and pick you up for a date because your dad is Hulk Hogan?
H. HOGAN: I`m a great bluffer. I`m a great bluffer.
B. HOGAN: You know what? Exactly what you think happens, happens. "Hi, Mr. Hogan. Can I please date your daughter?" "No, brother." Boom.
ANDERSON: And that door is slammed in your face.
B. HOGAN: Exactly.
ANDERSON: Oh, well, that is so funny.
And also I want to ask you. Moving forward, what else can we expect in season two? Because the cameras, they`re there pretty much all the time. Right?
H. HOGAN: Well, it`s tough. I mean, season one was great. But then we became friends with the production crew. And all the camera guys Nick hangs out with. And I`m friends with all the producers. And it`s gotten to where we don`t even -- when people say you don`t realize the camera is there, that is the truth now. So there`s real Hogan emotion and real Hogan, you know, aggressiveness. Sometimes there`s a lot of love.
But the kids, you know, are getting older. Brooke`s almost 18.
H. HOGAN: Nick`s almost 16. They`re starting to want their own independence. So we`re fighting to keep our families a tight-knit group.
ANDERSON: So this reality show is real?
H. HOGAN: It`s real.
L. HOGAN: Yes. It`s going to get a lot more gritty now.
ANDERSON: We are going to have to leave it there. Hulk Hogan, Linda, Brooke, Nick, thank you all for being here.
H. HOGAN: Sunday night you better watch.
ANDERSON: Great to see you all again. And "Hogan Knows Best" premiers Sunday on VH1.
VARGAS: Tonight, legendary newsman Mike Wallace once said he wouldn`t leave "60 Minutes" until his, quote, "toes turned up." But now, he jokes, they`re "beginning to curl." Wallace says he`s retiring from the CBS newsmagazine, but will retain the fancy title of correspondent emeritus.
CNN`s Jeanne Moos turns back the clock on Wallace`s amazing career.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "60 Minutes" is just the last leg of a more than 60-year career. Mike Wallace puffed his way through interview after interview.
MIKE WALLACE, CO-HOST, CBS` "60 MINUTES": May you offer you one?
FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT, ARCHITECT: No thank you.
MOOS: He did ads for everything from lipstick to shortening.
WALLACE: Get Golden Fluffo. That`s some apple pie.
MOOS: As American as apple pie were Wallace`s tough interviews.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Be careful, because I`m going to call my lawyer right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because you`re contemptible.
WALLACE: Now let`s stop it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m ready any time you want to repeat the stupid question.
MOOS: No such thing.
WALLACE: Imam, President Sadat of Egypt calls you a lunatic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want you to get it right. I don`t want to look like an ass, OK?
WALLACE: Got you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because my kids are watching this.
MOOS: But the only way you could lick Mike Wallace was when he ended up on a stamp issued by a Caribbean nation.
Even when he asked indelicate questions, you could hear the smile.
WALLACE: And you really believe in extra terrestrial -- do they come visit you on the porch? Now you`re being unpleasant, Wallace, is what you`re saying.
SHIRLEY MACLAINE, ACTRESS: Yes, this is what I was a little afraid of.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`ve got a nice smile. And I`ll fight for you now, boy.
MOOS: If anyone doubts Wallace`s sense of humor, remember the meatloaf affair. Here`s how we covered it. Mike Wallace goes to pick-up take-out meatloaf. While waiting outside, his driver is nabbed for double parking. But Mike is the one who ends up in handcuffs.
WALLACE: I`m Mike Wallace.
MOOS: And I`m Jeanne Moos, the Mike Wallace busted over meatloaf story and more. A traffic cop handcuffed Wallace, claiming he lunged at officers.
WALLACE: I find it difficult to lunge into bed.
MOOS: Now he`s lunging toward retirement.
VARGAS: That was CNN`s Jeanne Moos for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
Well, coming up, a world famous super model speaks. Her startling statements about her sex life and abortions. That`s next.
Plus, we`ve also got this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAMMY CUNNINGHAM, MOTHER: I want her in a hospital now. I am so scared she will die before she ever gets the treatment that she needs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: A parent`s emotional struggle with their daughter`s eating disorder. Tonight, why the life and death battle has hit a ridiculous road block. It`s a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT special report.
VARGAS: And crossing over cross-country. Psychic medium John Edward, he`s going all over America to reconnect families with their loved ones. We`ve got those feelings -- we`ve got a feeling, actually, that he`ll join us live, in the interview you`ll only see on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. That`s still to come.
VARGAS: Tonight, one of the world`s most famous super models says abortion is a crime. What`s more, she`s proud to be a virgin. In the April edition of "GQ" magazine, Adriana Lima, who has been splashed across Victoria`s Secret catalogs, says she agrees completely with the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Lima says she`s pro-life and even considers abortion a crime. She also doesn`t believe in pre-martial sex and admits she`s waiting until she`s married. The underwear model goes on to chat about love. She thinks true love only happens to a person once. And now, she actually wants to become a pediatrician.
For more on Adriana Lima`s interview, pick up "GQ" magazine, on sale next Tuesday.
ANDERSON: OK, picked off of primetime. Tonight, why your favorite TV shows are killing off your favorite characters. Is it good TV or has Hollywood reached a dead-end?
VARGAS: Also, psychic medium John Edward. He`s reconnected families with loved ones who have passed away. Now, he`s reconnecting with those families. John Edward, live, in the interview you`ll only see on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
Plus, we`ve also got this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
M. CUNNINGHAM: I would almost even consider killing myself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: The emotional, heart-wrenching struggle of a young woman`s battle with anorexia and the ridiculous roadblock she`s facing to beat her struggle with the eating disorder. That`s coming up in a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT special report. Stay with us. We`ll be right back.
ANDERSON: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It is 31 minutes past the hour. I`m Brooke Anderson in New York.
VARGAS: And I`m Sibila Vargas in Hollywood. You`re watching TV`s only live entertainment news show.
ANDERSON: Hey, Sibila, tonight world-renowned psychic medium John Edward will join us live. He`s got a new television show on WE. It`s called "John Edward Cross Country." And coming up, I will find out just exactly how he is able to connect people with their deceased loved ones, just a few minutes.
VARGAS: I have always wanted to know that. Also, have you noticed that on TV they`re killing off all these characters? I mean, we don`t even know if Tony Soprano is going to make it.
ANDERSON: Soprano, that`s right.
VARGAS: What`s going on? I mean, are they trying to boost the ratings? Well, we`re going to try to find out, coming up.
ANDERSON: All right. Thank you so much, Sibila.
But first, a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT special report. They`re mental health illnesses that wreak havoc on the body, anorexia and bulimia. As many as 10 million girls and women in this country are fighting a life-and-death battle with an eating disorder. And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has learned the treatments covered by insurance companies are almost never enough.
As CNN`s Elizabeth Cohen reports, the disease not only rules the victim`s lives, it sometimes takes them.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When most people exercise, it`s a sign of health; for Megan Cunningham, it`s the opposite, because she exercises compulsively. Megan weighs 84 pounds, but she thinks that`s too much. A few months ago, she went 12 days without eating. Megan`s frightened to take even one bite of dinner. Her parents don`t know what to do; neither does she.
(on camera): Are you afraid of dying?
MEGAN CUNNINGHAM, BATTLING ANOREXIA: Yes.
COHEN: What do you think will kill you?
M. CUNNINGHAM: I don`t ultimately know. I think, in times of severe desperation, I would almost even consider killing myself, just to escape.
COHEN (voice-over): Megan`s 20, and she`s had anorexia nervosa since she was 12, when, at 5 feet tall, she dropped to 54 pounds.
M. CUNNINGHAM: I would just pray every night. I would say, you know, "God, if you just get me through this night, I will eat something tomorrow. I promise, but don`t let me die yet."
COHEN (on camera): And did you eat something the next day?
M. CUNNINGHAM: No.
COHEN (voice-over): Very little has changed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That doesn`t sound like it`s going to help you eat them.
COHEN: Her dietitian`s challenge: keep sunflower seeds on the table at every meal and try to eat one, just one.
M. CUNNINGHAM: My fear is that, if I eat that fat, if I have those many more calories, I`m going to feel it on my body. I`m going to gain weight really fast and just bloat up.
COHEN (on camera): Even just one sunflower seed?
M. CUNNINGHAM: It terrifies me.
COHEN (voice-over): Anorexia kills more women than any other psychiatric disorder. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, one out of five anorexics will die from medical complications or suicide.
Megan`s parents are scared; they want her in the hospital, where she`d get constant therapy and monitoring.
(on camera): Do you see progress when she`s in the hospital?
TAMMY CUNNINGHAM, DAUGHTER BATTLING ANOREXIA: Oh, definitely. When you get there, you know, you can see there`s two or three pounds on her. And you realize maybe things are going to get better. And then, so much sooner than you expect, they`re releasing her and they`re bringing her home, and you don`t know what to do.
COHEN (voice-over): Megan recently had to leave the hospital after a 24-day stay. She`d exhausted the 60 days a year covered by her health insurance. She now has to wait four months until she can get back into the hospital.
(on camera): What`s going to happen to you between now and July?
M. CUNNINGHAM: If I falter, I`m done. If I fall and I can`t pick myself back up, I don`t have any place to turn.
DR. DOUG BUNNELL, THE RENFREW CENTER, CONNECTICUT: It`s a gut- wrenching discussion to have with a family, to tell them that their daughter can`t stay in treatment anymore because their insurance company has denied treatment or they`ve run out of benefits.
COHEN (voice-over): Typically, insurance companies cover, at least in part, 30 to 60 days a year of hospital care. Eating disorder experts like Dr. Doug Bunnell say that`s almost never enough. Even with insurance coverage, Megan`s parents said they paid tens of thousands of dollars in co-payments for her two months in the hospital. Now that her benefits have run out, they would have to pay at least $30,000 or more per month out of pocket.
T. CUNNINGHAM: This past Christmas, my husband said, "I can`t do this anymore. Cash in the rest of our mutual funds; I want her in a hospital now. I am so scared she will die before she ever gets the treatment that she needs."
COHEN (on camera): Have you spent your life savings on Megan`s care?
T. CUNNINGHAM: Oh, definitely.
COHEN (voice-over): Megan`s insurance now pays for her to see a therapist once a week, a psychiatrist once a month, and her family doctor every other month. Her insurance company declined to speak on camera and referred us to an industry group, America`s Health Insurance Plans.
(on camera): How can you tell someone who weighs 84 pounds, "You don`t need to be in the hospital anymore"?
SUSAN PISANO, VP, COMMUNICATIONS, AHIP: Well, I guess I would ask the question a different way. Is there evidence that being in the hospital longer will be the thing that will work? I don`t know of anything that says those patients would be helped if they had a 60- or 90- or 120-day stay in the hospital.
COHEN: But how do you get that evidence when insurance companies won`t pay for anything longer and people can`t afford anything longer?
PISANO: You get the evidence through well-designed studies.
COHEN (voice-over): The fact is, there never has been a well-designed study to establish the best level of care, but the Cunninghams say they don`t need a study to tell them what does and doesn`t work.
T. CUNNINGHAM: She can`t ever get a long enough stay to get over it. She knows she`ll have a relapse.
COHEN: The insurance industry points out that families like the Cunninghams could ask their employers to purchase policies with unlimited coverage for anorexia. Tammy Cunningham says the policy she has is all her company offers.
Brian and Mary Smith thought their daughter, Janelle, had the best coverage money could buy.
BRIAN SMITH, DAUGHTER SUFFERED FROM ANOREXIA: You can see it. When you open the first sheet on the inside, it refers to in-patient and it says "unlimited coverage."
COHEN: Like Megan, Janelle battled anorexia for years. In 2003, when she went into this treatment facility, she was 5`3" and weighed 68 pounds.
MARY SMITH, DAUGHTER SUFFERED FROM ANOREXIA: She was afraid because she said, "Mom, I almost died." This was not just, you know, a place to try to learn how to eat again; this was a place that was going to save her life.
COHEN: Janelle was slowly getting better. She was gaining weight and confidence. She wrote her parents from the hospital.
B. SMITH: "Please know that I see in my mind a green pasture where the disorder does not rule. I am willing to do what it takes, Dad."
COHEN: Five weeks into her stay, her father got a call from Janelle`s insurance company. They were discharging her into out-patient care. The insurance company said it was medically safe for her to leave the hospital.
B. SMITH: I vehemently protested. Basically, I just said, "Don`t do this. She`s not ready." Even being out of the hospital for a day or two worried me.
COHEN: Her own doctor protested, too. He wrote it was premature to transition her out of the hospital, that it put her at greater risk for regression and relapse.
B. SMITH: I didn`t expect it to ever end the way it ended.
COHEN: Six days after she left the hospital, Janelle took her own life. Her father found her in her apartment. Janelle died from an overdose of pills and alcohol.
B. SMITH: The day she got out of the hospital, the disorder took over right away. I think it does say that she wasn`t ready to be let out.
COHEN: In a statement to CNN, Janelle`s insurance company, Magellan, said, "We recognize that conditions such as Janelle`s can be complex to treat and often require comprehensive, long-term therapy. What we can tell you unequivocally is that Magellan authorized all the care that was requested by Janelle`s treating providers and that additional services could have been authorized if they`d been requested by her providers."
Despite his concerns, Janelle`s doctor, indeed, did not appeal the insurance company`s insurance decision to discharge her from the hospital. Janelle passed away three years ago. Her parents are convinced that if she`d stayed in the hospital, she would be with them today. They sued the insurance company; their case was dismissed and is now under appeal.
M. SMITH: I don`t think they realized how sick she was. I think they just discharged her for monetary reasons.
COHEN: Megan Cunningham knows there`s no easy road to recovery, but she`s convinced that, with better coverage, she would have a better chance.
(on camera): Do you see a way out of this?
M. CUNNINGHAM: It`s foggy. I know there`s something else out there for me. I want to be happy. I want to know what that feels like more than anything.
ANDERSON: That was CNN`s Elizabeth Cohen reporting for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
VARGAS: Well, as we first told you on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, a new Web site is posting where celebrities are hanging out soon after they`re spotted. So we`re asking you: Celebrities in public: Do they have the right to be left alone?
Keep voting at CNN.com/showbiztonight and write us at showbiztonight@CNN.com. Your e-mails are coming up a bit later.
ANDERSON: Coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the body count is on the rise, your favorite TV characters bumped off. Miss an episode and you might miss the dearly departed altogether. Is it for ratings to jumpstart a story line? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT investigates.
Plus, we`ve also got this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN EDWARD, PSYCHIC MEDIUM: It is a medium for the medium. It is a way of helping to teach people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VARGAS: He`s a man with a mission. John Edward is crossing over all over the country. And now John`s going the extra mile right into the living room. The psychic medium joins us live for the interview you`ll only see on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
VARGAS: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Sibila Vargas in Hollywood. And you`re watching TV`s only live entertainment news show.
Now, if you haven`t watched your favorite TV show in a while, we have some sad news for you. Your favorite characters could be dead. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has noticed that a lot of shows have been killing off characters lately, and these aren`t just random guest stars. No, no, no, no. Beloved regular characters, the ones in the opening credits, are biting the dust with shocking regularity.
VARGAS (voice-over): It`s bye, bye, bye to some of your favorite TV characters. Is it just us or does it seem that lately primetime TV is killing off people left and right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s dead.
VARGAS: The FOX terrorist thriller "24" has been the body count leader. In just the past few episodes, it`s killed off its lovable computer geek, Edgar...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chloe!
VARGAS: ... and good-guy Tony.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no.
VARGAS: Even Superman`s dad isn`t immune to the TV death squad. John Schneider was rubbed out on "Smallville." And on "Lost," first Boone and then Shannon bought the farm. So did Bree`s poor husband on "Desperate Housewives." This primetime massacre is enough to make you scared to skip an episode of any show.
DEVON GORDON, "NEWSWEEK": You come back and find your favorite character on the show is not even on it anymore.
VARGAS: Of course, TV characters have always been killed off. "MASH" fans will never forget when McLean Stevenson`s character, Blake, died in a plane crash.
UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Do you want me to take your ring?
VARGAS: And more recently, "NYPD Blue" fans sobbed when Jimmy Smits` heroic character died of a heart disease and when "ER`s" Mark Greene died of a brain tumor. But those were all deaths by necessity. That`s because the actors who played the characters left the show on their own.
But nowadays, many TV producers are doing just what the "Sopranos" did when it killed off Adriana, intentionally choosing to kill off a popular character just `cause.
GORDON: I think TV shows are killing off characters because it`s an easy way to drive up ratings in a hurry. It`s an easy way to attract new eyeballs to your shows, to keep eyeballs that might be drifting, inject new juice into a show that may be running out of steam or give it a kick in their pants.
VARGAS: Sometimes actors take the prospect of sudden unemployment in stride. When Jorge Garcia, who plays Hurley on "Lost," stopped by SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, he told A.J. Hammer he`s not afraid of someday leaving the "Lost" island the hard way.
JORGE GARCIA, PLAYS "HURLEY" ON "LOST": Well, I just don`t think it`s a way to live, to be living afraid that your character might die on the show, but you do kind of have to accept that this is a dangerous place that we all are tromping around in.
VARGAS: But Dennis Haysbert, who played President Palmer on "24," told SHOWBIZ TONIGHT he wasn`t quite as thrilled about getting killed off on "24."
DENNIS HAYSBERT, CHARACTER KILLED OFF ON "24": It was the, you know, first African-American president on national television in a three- dimensional role. And they chose to, you know, kill him to start a season. And I understand why they did it. But I think it leaves a bad taste in the mouth of the people of this country.
VARGAS: Bad taste or not, reports say you can expect the body count to continue rising on "24" and other shows like "The Shield." But death is inevitable in life. So it`s natural that it should be inevitable on TV. So we can keep watching and mourn the losses of our dearly departed TV friends. Rest in peace.
VARGAS: There have also been big deaths on "One Tree Hill" and "The L Word" this season, and "24" fans will have to one day break out their hankies. Yes, the show`s executive producer tells "The New York Times" that they want to kill of star Kiefer Sutherland`s character in the final episode. But now seeing that "24" is still a top-20 show, that probably won`t be happening any time soon.
ANDERSON: Probably won`t. OK, tonight, a man who has been crisscrossing all over the country to reconnect with the dead. We`re talking about psychic medium John Edward. On his new WE series, "John Edward Cross Country," the psychic reconnects with families he`s helped before.
John Edward joins us live for a "Showbiz Sitdown." John, great to have you. Welcome.
EDWARD: Thanks for having me.
ANDERSON: What is the most outrageous reading or feeling you`ve ever had, something that we wouldn`t even believe?
EDWARD: You know, I think, for me, the entire process is outrageous and amazing, and I`m constantly -- you know, I`m watching the footage of the readings and stuff. I sit back all the time going, "Wow," like I can`t believe this stuff comes through.
ANDERSON: So is it a surreal, like you have to...
EDWARD: Oh, totally.
ANDERSON: ... look at it afterwards to remember?
EDWARD: They do, and the producers on the show make fun of me, because I`ll talk about myself in the third-person, like, you know, "Does he get it? Or did he get the name?" They`re looking at me like, "Does he? You mean, don`t you?" It`s I`m very disconnected from the person that`s doing it to the person that`s watching it.
ANDERSON: Well, explain it to me. What is -- we say "reading." What is a reading? Is it like fortune-telling?
EDWARD: You know, fortune-telling would be the old name that people would use, and it has a really negative connotation. It`s a psychic reading. It`s a reading of someone`s energy to either talk about what`s happening in their life now, what`s coming up for them, or the reading of the energies of the people who have crossed over, who have left the physical world.
And they come through to validate their connection still to their family, which is where the comfort, closure and healing comes in. And it`s probably the most rewarding aspect of doing this.
ANDERSON: How do you do it? Is it like a dream that comes to you while you`re awake? Is it something that we all have the capability of doing, we just don`t know how to tap into it?
EDWARD: It`s funny you use the word "dream," because I use the word a "daydream." It`s kind of like I`m having a daydream, and then I`m describing what I think the daydream means or what I`m feeling, what I`m seeing, what I think I`m hearing.
And then I feel like I`m playing psychic charades sometimes. And I`ll give the information to the person and then say, "Do you understand this? Does this make sense?"
And then what all that is, is to validate that their family`s still around them, that they still love them, that they`re still connected, that they survived this thing called physical death, that there`s a survival of consciousness, and more importantly that the love that we have here does go with us to the other side.
ANDERSON: I`m sure it makes people feel warm and happy at times, but also it could be a part of the grieving process. And do you ever connect with your own family members that you`ve lost?
EDWARD: I do connect with my own families. It`s a little different, because I don`t have the objectivity that I would have for somebody that I don`t know. But you touch upon something, and this work can be healing.
But I`m very, very clear in saying that mediumship is not a cure for grief. And I do not advocate somebody going to find a medium to have a reading in lieu of conventional therapy.
I think you need to honor you grief in order to really be able to get through it and then make connections.
ANDERSON: John, what happens, say, if you`re in a rush? Say you`re in the supermarket, and you get a reading on somebody in line in front of you, a perfect stranger, but you just need to get your milk, and your bread, and get out of there. Do you ignore the feeling that you say you`re getting or do you approach that person?
EDWARD: Well, it`s funny you should say that.
ANDERSON: Does it happen?
EDWARD: It does happen. Now I don`t normally just attack read someone, but, like, 20 years ago...
ANDERSON: "Attack read."
EDWARD: ... I used to manage a video store. And one of the things that used to happen is people would come up to the counter with their, like, boxes and their movies. And as I was, like, checking them out, I`d be like, "So Bill`s your dad?"
And they`d, like, look at me and I`d be like, "He had lung cancer, right?" And I used to -- the owner of the store, her name was Mrs. M., Ms. Mackenzie (ph), and she said, "Would you stop doing that? You`re scaring the clients."
ANDERSON: Had to cut you off.
EDWARD: Yes, well, you know, for me, it was like I was learning about the subject matter and like, "Oh, look what I can do," that type of thing. It`s not so ethical to do that, just to walk up to somebody if they`re not asking you for it. So it depends upon the situation, but nine out of 10 times I really probably would not say something unless directed.
ANDERSON: We only have a few moments left, but I know there are a lot of people out there watching, our viewers. A lot of people may be skeptical.
EDWARD: They should be.
ANDERSON: What do you say to the skeptics?
EDWARD: They should be. I think it`s very, very important to approach anything that`s deemed psychic by the physical new age with an open mind, an objective mindset, but with a very healthy sense of skepticism, not cynicism, but skepticism, because that means that you`re really just thinking about it.
And if people do that in their own lives, I guarantee that they`re going to see things differently, and experience things differently, and then appreciate it differently.
ANDERSON: John Edward, thank you for being here and sharing your work with us.
EDWARD: Thanks for your time.
ANDERSON: Congratulations on the new show, of course.
ANDERSON: And you can catch "John Edward Cross Country" on the WE channel this Friday at 10:00 p.m.
VARGAS: Throughout the show, we`ve been asking you to vote online on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." Celebrities in public: Do they have the right to be left alone?
Let`s take a look at how the vote is going so far now: 82 percent of you say, yes, they do; 18 percent of you say, no, they don`t.
Here are some of the e-mails we have received. Natalie from Florida writes, "Celebs have a right to live their live if they want. They are people just like you and me and deserve to be respected."
And Kelly from Texas writes, "They should be left alone. No one else would like to have the media following their every move."
Well, you can keep voting at CNN.com/showbiztonight. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT will be right back.
ANDERSON: It is time to see what`s coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. So for that, let`s take a look at the "Showbiz Marquee."
Natalie Portman under the buzzer. What it`s like to take a little off the top in her new movie, "V for Vendetta," and Portman`s politics. That`s tomorrow on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
Plus, adult men struggling with eating disorders. Dennis Quaid came forward, but he`s not the only one. Manorexia, what made these men recognize their problem and why some just can`t beat the disease. That is tomorrow on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
Thanks, everyone, for watching. That`s SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Brooke Andersen in New York City.
VARGAS: And I`m Sibila Vargas in Hollywood. Stay tuned for the latest from CNN Headline News.