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"Extreme Makeover" Seeks Specific List of Hard Luck Stories; MySpace Biggest Trend Online
Aired March 28, 2006 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: A star of the Oscar-winning movie, "Crash," tells us if he thinks race relations have really changed.
And the Internet phenomenon that has parents everywhere concerned.
I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. TV`s only live entertainment news show starts right now.
HAMMER (voice-over): On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, "Extreme Makeover", extreme tragedy. Tonight, why one hit TV show is looking for people with terrible illnesses, like cancer or Down Syndrome. Is it good TV or eerie exploitation? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT investigates this extreme casting.
Plus, the undercover world of shocking sex. Tonight, men who seem straight but are secretly having sex with other men.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My kids were taken from me. I lost my home. I lost my car, lost my dignity.
HAMMER: Could they be putting the lives of their wives and girlfriends in danger? Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT investigates what happens on "the down low."
ASHLEY JUDD, ACTRESS: Hi, I`m Ashley Judd. And if it happened today, it is on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
HAMMER: Hello, I`m A.J. Hammer live in New York City.
If you have ever watched the show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition", you probably wondered how do they find these people? Well, tonight there`s actually a major controversy brewing and that is because among the people they`re now looking for for that program, the disabled, the diseased, the down and out. And now, it`s out in the open.
HAMMER (voice-over): When you`re talking "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition", you`re talking extreme hard luck stories.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly 10 years ago today, Colleen`s 6-year-old daughter was kidnapped.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was worse than a bad dream. We have nothing.
HAMMER: About 16 million people a week watch and cry with the ABC reality show which stars celebrity builder Ty Pennington and a team that roams the country looking to build homes for families who have suffered tragedy. But now the show may be sending out a message: only certain tragedies need apply.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s a lot more than you realize. You click it.
HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can report this hit tear jerker is shopping around for a surprisingly specific lists of hard-luck stories to feature in future episodes, leaving something to wonder if "Extreme Makeover" is guilty of extreme exploitation.
The Smoking Gun web site has obtained a memo an ABC executive forwarded to network affiliates. It asks affiliates to look for certain families and -- get this -- the memo has a specific wish list of victims the show`s looking for: kids with muscular dystrophy or Down Syndrome; parents are Lou Gehrig`s Disease or skin cancer; families who were the victim of a hate crime or a home invasion.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just took out everything in its path.
HAMMER: Right now, "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" is featuring episodes featuring on communities devastated by Hurricane Katrina. A short time ago, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT spoke with "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" executive producer Tom Forman. He doesn`t know what all the fuss is about.
TOM FORMAN, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, ABC`s "EXTREME MAKEOVER: HOME EDITION": I think people understand that we are out in the community, looking for people who have problems and looking for people who may need a home renovation or a new home.
But that involves everything, from reading leading local newspapers, working the phones, sending e-mails and in this case, contacting local affiliates to ask if there were stories and families in their community that could use some help. If there are, if we can help them, I don`t exactly see how that`s a bad thing.
I think like every television show, like every talk show, like every news magazine and like CNN, we`re looking for new stories and new issues and new people that will be interesting to our viewers, but mostly I think we`re looking for people to help who need a new home. That`s what we do.
HAMMER: Well, as we said, that "Extreme Makeover" e-mail first appeared on the Smoking Gun web site, SmokingGun.com, which calls the memo a quote, "creepy wish list of woe." The Smoking Gun`s Andrew Goldberg joins me live here in New York.
Nice to see you, Andrew.
ANDREW GOLDBERG, THESMOKINGGUN.COM: Nice to see you, too.
HAMMER: I accept it is definitely a little uncomfortable reading this memo. I have it right here. And just seeing this list of woe, as you call it, that they`ve put down is a little, you know, discomforting. But of course, every television show needs guidance when it is trying to stay fresh. You`ve got to stay fresh to keep your viewers and to stay on the air. You guys just think it`s plain creepy, though, huh?
GOLDBERG: Well, I mean, like you said, you`re a little uncomfortable reading it, and what we`ve been doing is we`ve been doing for years, saying, hey, look at the memos, look at reality television, look at what it does, it seeks people out. It fills in categories, and it looks to exploit people in order to commercialize people`s woe in order to sell ads and make money. And you know, this show is no different.
Now, they can say look, we`re giving them a home and that`s the tradeoff. You know, some of the lesser shows not affiliated to big networks with a lot of money might give you $1,000, might give you a T- shirt depending if you`re doing a Girls Gone Wild video for somebody.
But you know, it is, it`s sort of creepy. You see exactly what they`re looking for because they know what`s going to sort of tug at people`s heart strings, and that`s exactly what they`re aiming for.
HAMMER: Well, that is the nature of the show, of course, but they are, as you said, they`re helping people. And as Tom Forman, the executive producer says, they are building these people`s homes and they`re bringing attention, as well, to issues. Some of the ones mentioned in this memo, some of the diseases that people may not be so familiar with, and also to, you know, certain issues like hate crimes, for instance.
GOLDBERG: Right. Well, I mean, well, they`re looking for somebody who`s suffered from a hate crime, and they`re going to go into their home, which is fine. It`s great. We`re not saying, you know, that this is the most outrageous thing. We`re saying, look, this is how reality television is made.
We offered up the memo and you know, look, our audience likes to read memos like these. They like to see what happens behind the scenes on reality television.
The truth of the matter is once it drops out of the top 20, once advertisers stop sort of flocking to it and people stop viewing it, they`re not going to be -- Ty isn`t going to be knocking on people`s doors saying, "Hey, can I rebuild your house?"
GOLDBERG: So this is really all about making money. And you know, the benefit for people who sign up for this and expose their lives to it is that they do get a makeover in their home. But ultimately, this is about, you know, a network making money and a show gaining viewers.
HAMMER: And to be fair, and it`s bold-faced right here on the memo that you guys put on the web site with a big arrow here, it says, "We are open to any and all story ideas, and are especially looking for the following." So very clearly, they`re not limiting it to these rare diseases and these particular hardship cases.
GOLDBERG: No, but they know that these are the ones that will be most provocative for their viewers. And you know, the ones that really, people say hey, "You got to see this one. This person might look like this, or this was one that I really cried about." You know, and it will sort of create buzz. And that`s really what this is all about.
HAMMER: All right, Andrew. Well, I appreciate you talking about it with us here. I still think "Extreme Makeover", regardless of their motives, they`re out there doing good work. That`s my thought. Appreciate you coming by from TheSmokingGun.com.
Well, tonight, David Letterman speaks out about a horrific Crash that killed a race car driver. On last night`s "Late Show," Letterman choked up about Sunday`s accident. Thirty-year-old Paul Dana, a rookie driver for a race team co-owned by Letterman, died after slamming into another car during a warm-up event in Florida.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, CBS`S "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": It`s not hard to imagine the despair and sorrow that Paul Dana`s wife, Tanya, and the rest of his family are feeling now. And I want them to know that they have the thoughts and the prayers of myself, the entire Rahal- Letterman team and the entire racing community and hopefully, that will give them the slightest amount of comfort during these horribly, horribly dark days ahead.
The other lesson that we learn here is that getting through one day does not guarantee the next. And that`s something you should never let go of. All I can say is God bless Paul Dana and his wife and his family and friends.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: Touching moment indeed. And as we saw in that unbelievable footage, Dana crashed into the other car at about 200 miles per hour. That driver has been released from the hospital. If you believe in miracles, it definitely falls under the miraculous category.
Well, coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, a brand-new way to meet your mate online. But could the web site be putting your kids at risk? We have a revealing look at MySpace. That`s coming up next.
Also tonight, the secret sex lives of presumably straight men. Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT investigates men with wives and girlfriends who have sex with other men. That`s still to come.
Plus, we`ve got this...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LUDACRIS, RAPPER/ACTOR: Once you look at yourself and you realize that you have these preconceived notions or these judgments about other people, it really just makes you want to become a better person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: A star of the Oscar-winning best film "Crash" speaks out. Does he think race relations really have changed? And what do Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have to do with it? Chris "Ludacris" Bridges` explosive comments, in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
First here comes tonight`s "`Entertainment Weekly` Great American Pop Culture Quiz." On "Beverly Hills 90210", and there`s that theme music right there, what fraternity does Steve join? Was it KEG, OMEGA, DELTA, or TAP? Hang out. We`re coming right back with the answer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Crash" star Chris "Ludacris" Bridges coming up. But first to A.J. Pre-set core (ph), go for it. Three, two, one, dissolve, go.
HAMMER: So again, tonight`s "`Entertainment Weekly` Great American Pop Culture Quiz." On "Beverly Hills 90210", what fraternity does Steve join? Was it KEG, OMEGA, DELTA, or TAP? Well, Steve, who was played by Ian Ziering, pledges California University`s Kappa Epsilon Gamma, KEG. 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, it is arguably the hottest thing to do on the Internet: surf social networking web sites, because on these web sites you are chatting up a storm. You`re listening to music. You`re meeting people, creating your very own web page. And very often, there is no price tag attached.
Even this week`s cover of "Newsweek" magazine explains how these sites such as MySpace.com are revolutionizing the World Wide Web. Joining me live in Atlanta tonight, CNN`s technology correspondent, Daniel Sieberg.
This thing has simply exploded, hasn`t it, Daniel?
DANIEL SIEBERG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It certainly has. If you haven`t heard of MySpace.com, chances are your kids have. They may even be on it right now. But it`s not just popular with children. Since it came online about two years ago, MySpace now gets more page views than Google, eBay and Amazon combined.
It`s also become one of the hottest spots for promoting celebrities, movies and music and for those looking to hook up.
SIEBERG (voice-over): MySpace.com has become a 21st century dating site, marketplace and music studio all rolled into one, not to mention a place to find more than 60 million profiles. The content can range from squeaky clean fare to mature cartoons to stuff that`s, well, even more mature.
MySpace, which is now owned by media giant News Corps, currently ranks second only to Yahoo! in page views. For many, it`s become a way of life. And for a few, it`s brought them together for life.
BRENDA ALLISON, MYSPACE USER: I was in a relationship when I got into MySpace, and I had just gone through a bad breakup and that`s why I was having a bad day. And he got on because his band and music.
HAWK PETTENGILL, MYSPACE USER: I was just tooling around. And next thing you know, two hours have gone by. You`ve probably looked at 400 profiles and you`re dizzy, so and it just kind of snowballs. I mean, but that`s kind of how I found her profile.
SIEBERG: After catching each other`s eye in the virtual world, Hawk and Bren, their MySpace names, made the move to RL, or real life. Initially, they discussed a group outing, which experts recommend for a first-time encounter, but Bren says she couldn`t resist.
ALLISON: When I saw Hawk get out of the car, I switched from, I went straight from group outing to date mode. And we went and played pool and have not been apart since.
SIEBERG: At the end of last year, in a restaurant in Tampa, they made it official.
PETTENGILL: She looked confused. It was like at that point, I lost my voice. My eyes started watering, had a grin like a Cheshire cat and turned her chair a little more and she was like, "What are you doing?"
And I`m like, "Asking you to marry me?"
SIEBERG: Not only did MySpace.com bring them together -- the wedding is in August, by the way -- it`s also bringing their skills to the public. For Bren, it`s selling her unique candle creations. She says she`s sold so many since going on MySpace she may soon be able to quit her day job.
(on camera) So these are people looking for orders?
ALLISON: Yes. This is a new order right here that I just opened.
SIEBERG: And Hawk uploads and promotes his cartoons based on his passion for paintball. With this growing and captive audience, an increasing number of MySpace users are tapping into the chance to promote themselves, especially musicians.
CARLY KANE, VOCALIST, HELIOS: I was like, OK, anybody know what it is? Let`s figure it out; let`s jump on.
SIEBERG: Helios, an Atlanta-based band looking for more exposure, was quick to get on board.
KANE: In the past couple weeks we`ve had two major management companies contact us. A producer for a television show on CBS, they contacted us, and just it makes it easier for them to find us and us to find them.
SIEBERG: Despite the number of people surfing this digital domain, veteran bands like Skid Row are skeptical of MySpace`s tangible benefit.
"SNAKE" SABO, GUITARIST, SKID ROW: Tell you right now I`ve never heard of a band getting signed, getting signed to a major label from MySpace. Or anything like that. I`ve never heard anybody get -- I mean, because at the end of the day, you have to see the band live.
SIEBERG: And you wondered what happened to Skid Row. All right.
All this stunning growth has also drawn some backlash, especially from those who worry that some children are revealing too much information about themselves in their online profiles. The concern is that it could make them attractive to sexual predators.
So coming up at 32 past the hour, I`ll take you inside a police sting operation as law enforcement officers try to nab some of these alleged Internet predators -- A.J.
HAMMER: Daniel, that is the story that every parent needs to stay and watch. I really appreciate your time. We will look forward to seeing you in a bit. Daniel Sieberg, the CNN technology correspondent, joining us live for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
Now we want to hear from you on this. Our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Tonight we are asking kids online: has the Internet become too dangerous? If you`d like to vote, go to CNN.com/ShowbizTonight or e-mail us at ShowbizTonight@CNN.com. We`ll get into some of those e-mails later in the show.
Well, tonight, in a "SHOWBIZ Sitdown", Chris Bridges. You may also know him as hip hop star Ludacris. He also has a role in "Law & Order: SVU". He and I chatted about that, and he also opened up to me about the social and racial implications of "Crash", if course, the Oscar winning movie he co-starred in.
Plus his very candid thoughts on where this country needs to head in terms of race relations. And how Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie fit into all of this.
HAMMER: The last time you and I came face to face was on the red carpet at the Academy Awards. It was a few weeks back now. It`s behind us. But when I saw you out there on the carpet it was before that best picture Oscar was given out to a movie you appeared in, "Crash."
HAMMER: Certainly, "Crash" was deserving of that award. There`s no question about it. It did surprise a lot of people, as you know.
LUDACRIS: It did.
HAMMER: "Brokeback Mountain" was a big front-runner. A lot of people thought that maybe because of the fact that "Crash" was raising race relations in such an effective way in a time when we really need it, that maybe that gave it the edge. Do you think there`s truth to it or is that just the fact that it was a great movie and deserved to win the Oscar?
LUDACRIS: I think it`s a little bit of both. It`s a great movie. It was a very thought-provoking movie. And you know, whenever you have something like that, movies that you leave, after you`ve watched it and it`s like you`re still thinking about it weeks after you`ve seen the movie, that those are the movies that have the most impact on us as individuals.
And it gets people to talking. It gets people to, you know, just this is the issue that we have, and not only America, just around the world. So once you get people to talking, it`s like trying to find a solution to the problem. And that`s extremely important.
HAMMER: Aside from things like "Crash", what else do we really need to be doing? Right now, to keep the idea that, you know, race relations in this country, as much as things have improved, since the time of Dr. Martin Luther King...
HAMMER: ... we have a long way to go.
LUDACRIS: It`s the number one thing that "Crash", like, should have done to anybody is make yourself look at yourself in a mirror, you know what I mean? Just really -- we all have these preconceived notions about other people, and once you look at yourself and you realize that you have these preconceived notions or these judgments about other people, it really just makes you want to become a better person, and not prejudge everybody.
So I think that`s what it is; it starts with each individual. You know what I mean? And that`s just becoming a better person, because in life, it`s all about, you know, self-motivation and just trying to become a better person altogether. So once each individual realizes that, I think that`s also a solution to the problem.
HAMMER: What else in the big picture of things? In the grand scale, can be done?
LUDACRIS: Right. You can give back. You can do things like -- I use Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt as a great example, you know what I mean, by them doing what they`re doing for so many different races and different cultures and, you know, how they continue to -- I mean, they`re having their own child but you know, like them adopting certain children. And they`re leading by example. People need to lead by example. That`s what I`m saying.
HAMMER: And that`s what you try to do.
LUDACRIS: That`s exactly what I`m doing on this couch right now.
HAMMER: Music has long been a part of your life. It`s long been a part of your career. Working with music, in the studios, acting now a considerable part of your career with the movies you`ve done...
HAMMER: ... between "Crash" and "Hustle and Flow" and "Fast and Furious". And now you`re getting on the small screen with "Law & Order: SVU". Is that the direction you`re heading? I mean, are you moving?
LUDACRIS: I mean, I`m just trying to be as versatile as I am with the acting career as you know, I do with the music. And it has been a great transition, only because you have to be comfortable in front of the camera. You know, doing so many videos and doing so many interviews, you get used to seeing the people in the background just staring at you. So you know, once you`re able to focus and really just, you know, get into what you`re doing, as far as the acting is concerned, that`s where -- it`s like half the battle.
HAMMER: "Law & Order: SVU", great project. Now you`re on the small screen with this. You`ve been a fan of that show, as I understand, for years.
LUDACRIS: I`ve been a fan for a long time, and it`s crazy because Ice-T, I`ve also been a fan of him, who did -- you know, he kind of paved the way for individuals like myself. So this man coming from the music world, yes, and the transition that he made.
And it`s just really cool, because I`m playing his nephew, you know, on the show. And you know how many twists and turns are in "Law & Order: SVU". It`s just you got to expect the unexpected. It was really fun doing it. Television moves a lot quicker, you know what I mean?
HAMMER: Yes. They don`t waste time.
LUDACRIS: They don`t waste any time. The budgets are there and they go. They go right away.
Did you go after this role or did they come after you? Did you decide you know, "I want to do something on TV and I love this show. Maybe I can get on `SVU`"?
LUDACRIS: I love the show. I went after them, man. If somebody doesn`t come after me with great projects, I go after them.
HAMMER: Moving forward, somebody comes to you, says, "Chris, you can do one or the other. You don`t have a choice but to make a choice." What`s the choice? Come on.
LUDACRIS: Seeing as though I`ve accomplished a lot in the music world and don`t get me wrong, I don`t, you know, I feel like I have a lot more in me and I`m just getting started. As I grow older, you know, I don`t want to be like 45 still rapping with a cane. So I would have to choose...
HAMMER: It`s been done.
LUDACRIS: ... acting.
HAMMER: A can at 45? I don`t know. You can catch Chris "Ludacris" Bridges on "Law & Order: SVU" tonight on NBC.
Well, it`s a little bit "Grease", a little bit "Fame", and it`s selling a whole lot of CDs. Coming up, the "High School Musical" that`s sweeping the nation.
Also, we told you how MySpace is one of the most popular web sites out there, but are these sites putting your kids at risk from sick, perverted child predators? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT investigates.
We`ve also got this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My kids were taken from me. I lost my home. I lost my car. Lost my dignity, embarrassed my parents, lost friends. People are talking about my family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: The shocking sex lives of men who are cheating on their wives and girlfriends with other men. Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT reveals the secret undercover world of what goes on "on the down low." That`s live. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HAMMER: Tomorrow, one of the stars of the WWE will be here live. We`re getting "Raw" with six-time wrestling champion Trish Stratus, tomorrow on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
Here at SHOWBIZ TONIGHT we like to bring you the latest news of the day. It`s something that we call "Hot Headlines." "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" brings you the not-so-hot headlines. Take a look, in tonight`s "Laughter Dark."
JAY LENO, HOST, NBC`S "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": This is what happens when you put -- you see, as a newspaper editor you want to do your layout properly so you don`t have an inappropriate ad with an inappropriate headline, like here`s an add for Forever Yours lingerie. You see the woman. And look at the story right next to it: "Local business declare war on jugs."
See, there you go. There`s a hell of a deal: "All you can eat -- crack."
Yes, I love stupid criminals. Here`s my favorite stupid criminal. OK. Gilroy, California. Man loitering outside the Dean Mart (ph) was pulled over, pulled out the dispatch`s most wanted section. The police asked him for identification. They said, "What`s your name?" The guy didn`t have an I.D. So he pulled out his picture and face on the most wanted list. He showed it. He says, "I`m Cesar Montoya (ph). See my mug shot? See, that`s me."
HAMMER: Even my stage manager knows you don`t do that.
Coming up, your own chance to own Ben Affleck`s motorcycle, or a piece of George Clooney`s magical Oscar-winning night. We`re going to tell you how next.
And, the secret sex lives of presumably straight men. Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT investigates men with wives and girlfriends who have sex with other men. That`s still to come, live.
Plus, it`s one of the most clicked on web sites out there, very popular with kids and teens. But is it also a breeding ground for perverted child predators? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT investigates MySpace. That is coming up next.
HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT for a Tuesday night. It is 31 minutes past the hour. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. And you are watching TV`s only live entertainment news show.
Still to come tonight, have you heard about "High School Musical"? I`m not talking about, you know, loading the family in the car and going down to the high school to see your kids performing. I`m talking about an album that is sweeping the nation. It is an absolute phenomenon. If you don`t know about it, you should. We`ll tell you about it, coming up in just a moment.
Also, there is a new documentary about men, married or with girlfriends, who are leading secret double lives, having intimate affairs with other men. It`s called living life on the "Down Low." We`ll get into that in just a couple of moments.
But first, do you know what your kids are doing online? These days, you know they`re doing a lot more than just surfing the web. So, really, the better question for parents may be, "Do you know who your child is meeting on the Internet?"
Joining me live from CNN Center in Atlanta, CNN technology correspondent Daniel Sieberg. Daniel, take it away. This is a really sensitive subject that a lot of parents absolutely need to know about.
DANIEL SIEBERG, CNN TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: Definitely. And that is probably the better question, A.J.: Who are these kids chatting with?
You know, social networking sites like MySpace, Yahoo, and Friendster, they`ve become increasingly popular for young kids to hang out, listen to music, and share ideas. Unfortunately, it`s also become a haven for sexual predators. We got an exclusive look at one take-down operation in California.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... so it is looking good.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I see it now. We`re getting a good look at him right now.
SIEBERG (voice-over): A police stakeout in Laguna Beach, California. Officers prepare to take down their suspect. They say 24-year-old Fernando Guerin, Jr., is attempting to lure a 13-year-old girl to this playground for sex.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he starts walking through the park or something, we`ll take him down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "I just want to kiss you right now and lick you, just nibble you up and down, from head to toe."
SIEBERG: Sergeant Darren Lenyi reads one example of the language allegedly used by his suspect on the messenger program Yahoo Chat. Much of it is too explicit for this program.
He shows us what`s believed to be Guerin`s page on the popular social networking site MySpace. And he shows us several naked photos he claims Guerin e-mailed to his chat buddy.
So how does Sergeant Lenyi know about all this? Well, it`s an Internet sting operation, and the Laguna Beach P.D. has planned a number of them in the past several months.
This surveillance video is from another operation that netted 13 arrests in one night. One suspect arrives with a single red rose for his underage date. Officers are waiting inside to arrest each one, a pharmaceutical technician, a Starbuck`s manager, an engineer, even a lieutenant with the California Highway Patrol. All are formally charged with attempt to child molest and are in the process of being arraigned.
The citizens group Perverted-Justice.com creates phony profiles of underage kids to see if anyone will take the bait, complete with cultural references and Internet lingo. Working with all levels of law enforcement, they claim to have busted several dozen pedophiles since 2004.
"FRAG," PERVERTED-JUSTICE.COM: We`ve caught doctors, lawyers, cops, firefighters, teachers, social workers, you know, really, all walks of life.
One of the predators actually had to find a babysitter for his 13- year-old daughter so he could come over and molest someone else`s 13-year- old daughter.
SIEBERG: To circumvent the arbitrary minimum 14-year age requirement on some sites, Perverted Justice volunteers simply make up another number. It`s something any child could do.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She puts 113, obviously not being 113, and down below clarifies for anybody who could have missed it that she`s not 113; she is 13.
SIEBERG: MySpace says that, while it can`t prevent all fraud, the company has deleted more than 200,000 underage profiles to date. And one warning on the safety tips page reads, "If you`re under 14, go away."
"Frag" and "Dell" -- not their real names, of course -- say they never initiate the conversations but rather wait to be contacted. Then they and their volunteers engage in chat sessions and, whenever it`s requested, allow the person to call them on the phone. Adult members of Perverted Justice who sound underage pick up the line. Here`s a sample conversation, and it`s disturbing.
INTERNET PREDATOR: How old are you?
INTERNET PREDATOR: You sound great.
"CHILD": Thank you.
INTERNET PREDATOR: So what are you up to?
"CHILD": Nothing, really, talking to you.
INTERNET PREDATOR: You`re, like, horny, aren`t you?
"CHILD": I don`t know.
INTERNET PREDATOR: OK. You`re so cute.
SIEBERG: And when these phone or cyber exchanges move into the real world, the authorities can act.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let us know where he`s going.
SIEBERG: The folks at Perverted Justice have worked for about a week with the Laguna Beach Police Department to set up this stakeout operation here at a park, where the 13-year-old girl says she`s going to show up after playing hooky from school today.
But rather than a teenage girl waiting on this playground...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turn around. Drop your beanie. You`re under arrest for attempted molestation of a minor.
SIEBERG: Police search Guerin`s car and find condoms and a digital camera, which, based on his alleged chat, Guerin was going to use to take dirty pictures. He`s since been charged with attempt to child molest and sending lewd pictures to a minor by the Orange County district attorney. He`s being held on $100,000 bail and faces up to four years in prison. The public defender`s office declined comment.
SGT. DARIN LENYI, LAGUNA BEACH POLICE DEPARTMENT: Obviously, if this was a real 13-year-old chatting with this individual, it`s robbing some innocence from that child, so it`s rewarding we made this happen and no harm did come to a 13-year-old little girl.
SIEBERG: A deterrent for anyone who attempts to contact a teenager online: That curious and chatty child may actually be wearing a badge.
SIEBERG: Catching criminals online remains a major challenge for law enforcement, so it`s left to parents to get involved, you out there.
Some quick tips: Ask to see your child`s online profile and ensure that they aren`t revealing personal details. That can include name, photos, school, e-mail address, that kind of thing.
And if you have to, search the Web for your child`s profile. You might even want to create your own on MySpace just to see what it`s all about.
For more tips, a good Web site to check out is WiredSafety.org. And there are a lot of sites out there to help parents. This is becoming a much bigger issue than I think a lot of parents anticipated, A.J.
HAMMER: And should be concerned about, Daniel. I know there`s also software out there so you can actually monitor what your kids are actually doing online. Is that a step that you would suggest to keep a leg up on this happening?
SIEBERG: Certainly. The experts say the first step is to try and talk to your children, and get them to open up about it, and explain why this could be a problem. But, yes, there are software programs that will allow to monitor what your kids are doing.
You can also go into your Web browser and see the Web sites that your kids have visited. I know it feels like you`re spying, but in some cases it could be a worthwhile step to prevent something awful.
HAMMER: Unless, of course, they hit that clear button on the history.
SIEBERG: Yes, they can be savvy, too.
HAMMER: All right, thanks so much, Daniel, important and good report. CNN technology correspondent Daniel Sieberg, live for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
And this leads us to our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." What do you think? Kids online: Has the Internet become too dangerous? You can vote at CNN.com/showbiztonight or write to us at showbiztonight@CNN.com. We`ll get into your e-mails coming up a bit later.
Well, it`s time now for your SHOWBIZ TONIGHT charity roundup. There are some huge stars that are helping out some great causes.
Tonight, first up, Brad Pitt, Ben Affleck, and Laurence Fishburne, they`ve all donated custom-made motorcycles to an online auction to benefit a planned Martin Luther King memorial in Washington. The bikes are up for bid on CharityFolks.com through Friday.
But, if motorcycles aren`t your speed, you can also own a piece of George Clooney`s Oscar night. This is pretty cool. Clooney is auctioning off the Oscar gift bag on UnitedWay.org, the one he got for being at the Academy Awards.
We looked at some of the stuff that`s in this thing: a four-day wellness retreat in Arizona, a video iPod, a BlackBerry, a camcorder, a six-night Hawaiian vacation, the list goes on and on. You know, when you don`t need the free stuff, you get the free stuff.
But he`s donating it. And there`s even a note in the bag from George thanking you. Last time we checked, bidding was up to $30,600 for this auction, which closes at 11:59 Eastern time tonight at UnitedWay.org. So hop to it, if you want to bid on it.
Well, a major movie star gets ready to take the stage on Broadway for the very first time ever. That`s coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
Plus, curtain calls for "High School Musical," the TV movie that has started a phenomenon. We`re looking at what`s behind the movie`s and the soundtrack`s success.
HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. We are TV`s only live entertainment news show. I`m A.J. Hammer.
Tonight, a shocking documentary is sure to get a lot of people talking. It exposes a secret life that many black men are living right now. They are having sex behind their wives` and girlfriends` backs, not with other women, but with other men.
It is the subject of a BET special called "The Down Low Exposed." Joining us live tonight from Los Angeles, executive producer Shirley Neal, and live from Atlanta, author J.L. King. J.L. wrote a tell-all book on the subject.
Thank you, both, for being with us here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
J.L. KING, AUTHOR AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: You`re welcome. Thank you.
SHIRLEY NEAL, BET PRODUCER: Thank you for having us.
HAMMER: Now, J.L., you didn`t just write this tell-all book; you wrote it from experience. You were married, correct?
KING: Yes, I was. I told my story.
HAMMER: And while you were married, you were intimate with other men?
KING: Yes, I was. I was in a double life leading -- and, really, I was bisexual in denial.
HAMMER: Give me an extreme example of the lengths that you might have gone to, to keep your secret, while you were living this life?
KING: You know, when you`re living a double life, you become this really good liar, because you know how to cover up your tracks; you know how to make sure that your mate is not aware of your cheating. And it really kind of back-fires on you in the long run.
And our message tonight with the special, as well as my message from my book, is that it is best to be honest and allow women to have a choice and not try to play God and control other people`s lives.
HAMMER: And we have heard about this before. Some people may be familiar with one of the best-known examples of "Life on the Down Low." It came from Terry McMillan. She`s the author of "How Stella Got Her Groove Back."
She revealed that her husband was leading this kind of a secret life, and she appears in this BET special. The producers told her that her ex- husband still loves her, and I want to show what you her response was. Take a look at this.
OK, apparently we`re having some trouble with that particular piece of tape. But, Shirley, you know, that was an extreme example of somebody in the public eye who was exposed to this sort of a life. How prevalent is this way of life in the black community?
NEAL: It`s very prevalent. And it`s actually the reason why I wanted to tackle this subject. And what`s been interesting is, since I`ve been making appearances promoting this show, I have met so many women who are out there, who are saying, "You know, that happened to me. And in retrospect, I see the signs, and I`m glad you`re doing this show." And it`s amazing how many women this has impacted.
HAMMER: And the women, obviously, are outraged from having been put through this?
HAMMER: J.L., how long did you live your life this way?
KING: Oh, many years, probably most of my adult life. But, you know, one thing that I wanted to be really clear about is that this is just not an issue that impacts the African-American community, that all groups, all nationalities, all ethnic groups, still with this behavior.
Right now, there`s a lot of emphasis and a lot of attention being put on the African-American community, but also I want it to be really clear, and as I say, it`s not just black men. There are white men, Latinos, there`s Asians, and Africans who are also are dealing with -- struggling with their identity and their sexual orientation.
HAMMER: Obviously, this does go on in all walks of life. But as you mentioned, it is the black community that seems to be getting the attention and, from what I understand, it is the community that the term "Down Low" has been applied to.
So, Shirley, maybe you can explain why that is. Is there a greater taboo somehow in the black community making it more difficult for black men to come out?
NEAL: I think there is. And I think one of the things that we talk about in this show, and which I hope will actually get discussions going once they see the show and its water-cooler talk, is the media has actually hyped the topic since J.L. exposed it.
And it`s in the music business. We find it in television. And I think there is part of the male culture in the black community, which is why we also talk about sexuality in the black community, as well as just this "Down Low" culture.
And we talk about the subculture of the prisons, what`s going on with sex in prison. And because there`s a disproportionate number of black men that are in prisons, I think a lot of that has to do with connecting it to the black race.
HAMMER: J.L., tell me, was there an actual incident that occurred that pushed you to the edge, where you said, "I have to come clean with this," and why did you decide to finally come out with this?
KING: Well, I didn`t volunteer. I kind of got caught, you know? I was married to a beautiful lady who loved me, who was the mother of my children, and my high school sweetheart, who has known me since, you know, I was a kid.
And because of me being sloppy, because of me taking her love for granted, with me kind of letting my guards down, you know, I got caught. And that was the best thing that ever happened to me, because I was able to move on, and learn how to love myself and to accept who I am.
And in turn, my ex-wife and I have become good friends. We talk every day. And we use our lives as examples for other couples to see how they can move past it and still find honest love.
HAMMER: And how did you actually meet these men that you became involved with before you got caught? Is there some kind of a secret network?
KING: No, you know, between the Internet or just being able to connect, it`s easy if you have the same desire to meet other men, and from all walks of life, going everywhere, you know? There`s nowhere you can go where you cannot make that connection.
But, you know, the message of the special tonight that we hope that everybody leaves with is the importance of getting tested, of knowing your HIV status, and to hopefully have open, honest dialogue with those who you are intimate with so that they can have a choice or if they want to share their lives with you.
HAMMER: Right. And, J.L., as I mentioned a moment ago, the situation with Terry McMillan didn`t turn out so well. You have a positive outcome to yours, and I appreciate you sharing your story with us on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
KING: Thank you very much, A.J.
HAMMER: And, Shirley Neal, thank you for joining us, as well.
NEAL: Thank you for having us.
HAMMER: "The Down Low Exposed" airs tonight on BET.
Well, right now, it`s time to check out tonight`s "Hot Headlines" here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Our own Sibila Vargas joins us live in Hollywood.
SIBILA VARGAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, A.J.
Well, tonight, "Supersize Me" director Morgan Spurlock is eating his words. During a speech at a suburban Philadelphia high school, Spurlock used profanity and joked about teachers smoking pot. On his blog tonight, he says he could have chosen his words better and that he`s sorry if he offended anyone.
Well, John O`Hurley is coming back to TV. O`Hurley, of "Dancing with the Stars" fame, who taught me a thing or two about two-stepping, is signed on to take over as host of "Family Feud" in the fall. The show will also get an updated look and set for its 30th anniversary.
Well, the first audiences are seeing the Broadway debut of Julia Roberts tonight. Previews begin tonight for "Three Days of Rain," starring Roberts and Paul Rudd. Now, it`s her first time on a Broadway stage. The official opening is on April 19th, and the show closes on June 18th.
And as they say in show business, break a leg, Julia. Those are tonight`s "Hot Headlines." A.J., back to you.
HAMMER: Could be another award potentially in Julia Roberts` future, maybe a Tony, this time around.
VARGAS: Could be. She`s got that charm.
HAMMER: Thanks, Sibila. Sibila Vargas in Hollywood, and the smile.
Well, it is one of the most popular movies and albums in the country, but you probably never even heard of it, unless you are under the age of 14 or are our executive producer, Dave Levine, who can`t stop playing it in his office.
What started out as a little made-for-TV movie is setting some big- time records. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson has more on this phenomenon that is prompting millions of kids all over this country to simply burst into song.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was awesome.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s pretty upbeat.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All my little sisters got up and we were dancing around.
BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR (voice-over): The object of these kids` affection is the Disney Channel film that`s sweeping the nation: "High School Musical." It`s being called a modern-day "Grease," a combination of song and dance, teen drama and puppy love, complete with cell phones.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ll call you tomorrow.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
ANDERSON: But the film and its soundtrack are having unprecedented success. The movie`s January debut earned the Disney Channel its highest ratings ever with more than seven million viewers. The accompanying disc has sold nearly half a million copies and is currently number-one on the Billboard Top 200 chart for the second time, an astounding feat.
LUIS GABREEL, "HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL": I`m sure everyone that`s been listening to it is, like, looking at on the charts, "High School Musical," what is this? Who are these kids?
ANDERSON: This is the first one that I believe has been a cultural phenomenon. It`s being played at bar mitzvahs, and sweet sixteens, in gyms across the country.
ANDERSON: Rich Ross, president of the Disney Channel, says this film, which was made on a modest budget of $5 million, has grown exponentially through the help of savvy marketing.
RICH ROSS, PRESIDENT, DISNEY CHANNEL: It`s all about sequencing, allowing our consumers, kids and families, to get it when they want it, how they want it, whether they want it on their video iPod, or they want on their computer screen, whether they want it on their TV, whether they want it in their car, whether they want it in their backpack.
ANDERSON: Disney dollars and marketing aside, there`s more to boast than just the bottom line.
ROSS: It`s a really smart story, a really talented cast, and really very Disney. And I think that`s something we`re very proud of.
GABREEL: If I can do something -- or if we can do something that inspires kids to do what they really want to do, then, you know, what else can you ask for?
HAMMER: That was SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson reporting. The film is on repeat on Disney. It has already played 10 times and counting. The DVD is coming out in May. There`s a sequel to "High School Musical" already in the works. And keep an eye on this particular cast, because you may remember some names who also came from starting out in Disney, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake among them.
Well, throughout our show tonight, we`ve been asking you to vote online on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." Kids online: Has the Internet become too dangerous?
Here`s how the vote has been going so far tonight: 77 percent of you say, yes, this is a big problem; 23 percent of you say no.
We`ve received a lot of e-mails on the subject, as well. We heard from Joy in Georgia. Joy writes, "Anytime someone has the ability to prey on your child while you`re actually in the same room, it is simply too dangerous."
We also heard from Travis in Ohio. Travis writes, "It is the parents` place to monitor their child, not the rest of the world`s."
We also got an e-mail from Rob in Texas. Rob writes, "Bad people and bad things will always be there. It is up to parents to educate themselves and their children."
Keep writing and keep voting. The web address is CNN.com/showbiztonight.
And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is coming right back.
HAMMER: It`s time to see what`s coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Here`s your "Showbiz Marquee."
Tomorrow, one of the stars of the WWE joins us live. We are getting "Raw" with six-time wrestling champion Trish Stratus. He`ll be here tomorrow on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.
Also tomorrow, the steamy scenes that were cut from a new teen drama before it even hit the airwaves. We`re looking into it, how the WB got too hot for TV, and why it decided to censor itself, that`s tomorrow.
And that`s it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Thank you so much for watching. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. Stay tuned for the latest from CNN Headline News.