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Movie on Flight 93 Brings Tragedy to Life; Las Vegas Police Want to Ban Hip-Hop; Cruise Continues Attack on Psychiatry

Aired April 13, 2006 - 19:00:00   ET


A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: A proposal to ban rap music concerts. Are there racial undertones? I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.
BROOKE ANDERSON, CO-HOST: And the first reaction from a controversial movie about 9/11. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. TV`s only hour-long entertainment news show starts right now.


HAMMER (voice-over): On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, startling secrets. The intimate, real life diaries of four teen girls, from sex to drugs. Why they decided to write it all down after the terror attacks on September 11. Tonight, the notebook girls, in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

The King of Cars. In the kingdom of used car dealers, he reigns supreme.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m going to show you how we chop the prices.

HAMMER: And now he even has his own TV show. Tonight, lots of fun with the wacky King of Cars and the revealing secrets of the used car world. Keep it parked where you are. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT starts now.


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

ANDERSON: And I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood.

A.J., just the very thought of what happened on 9/11 is still so traumatic for many of us, and now we are reliving it, both in real life and in the movies.

HAMMER: It is quite difficult, Brooke. All over the news today, we`ve been hearing the sound, we`ve been seeing the transcripts of what really happened on United Flight 93 before it crashed in Pennsylvania.

And we`re hearing it just as controversy swirls around a new movie that`s about to be released which re-creates what happened on that fateful day. So here`s what we did today at SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. We went over the transcripts. We matched them up to the movies about United Flight 93, including the one that`s about to come out. Let me tell you, what we found was absolutely chilling.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Sibila Vargas is in Hollywood with more of what we found -- Sibila.

SIBILA VARGAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we all notice the tragically heroic story of United Flight 93. That plane crashed in Pennsylvania on September 11 after the 40 passengers and crew fought back against the terrorists who probably intended to crash the plane into the U.S. Capitol.

Both a TV movie and an upcoming theatrical movie recreate that event. This week, the actual Flight 93 cockpit voice recordings are being played for the first time in public at the trial of the suspected terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui, and those tapes are showing us just how accurately Hollywood is re-creating history.


MILES O`BRIEN, CO-HOST, "AMERICAN MORNING": Gripping cockpit tapes played for the jury.

VARGAS: TV audiences and jurors in the Zacarias Moussaoui trial are reliving the horror and heroism of Flight 93. Just days before Universal releases a theatrical film based on that tragic flight, called "United 93".

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody`s going to help us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to do something right now.

VARGAS: And just three months after A&E drew a record-breaking six million viewers to its TV movie about Flight 93.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our airplane has been hijacked. It`s United Flight 93, en route to San Francisco.

ABRAHAM SCOTT, WIDOWER OF FLIGHT 77 VICTIM: It was -- it was very emotional for me.

VARGAS: As the victims` relatives reel from hearing the real-life cockpit recordings, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is analyzing how those recordings are matching up with what Hollywood is telling us really happened on Flight 93.

JENNY D`ATTOMA, PRODUCER: Its think it`s as realistic as any of, you know, United 93 and what those people went through.

VARGAS: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT producer Jenny D`Attoma is one of the first people to see the new feature film, United 93. She says it`s chillingly accurate.

D`ATTOMA: When the terrorists take over the cockpit, it`s very dramatic, and I was shaking. I mean, there`s no escaping that feeling of panic.

VARGAS: In A&E`s TV movie, the terrifying moments when the terrorists first take over the plane are shown with only muted violence, but in the cockpit tapes we heard yesterday, there was nothing muted about the horror those passengers saw.

On the tapes we hear a stewardess pleading for her life as terrorists take over the plane. CNN`s Kelli Arena heard the recording and recreated the transcript of that disturbing moment.

KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: "Down, down," you could hear hijackers saying. "I don`t want to die," she cried.

VARGAS: If you heard the recordings, you heard the chilling voice of real-life hijacker Ziad Jarrah, who took over the controls of the plane and went on the plane`s radio to issue this chilling message.

ZIAD JARRAH, HIJACKER: This is the captain. Would like you all to remain seated. There is a bomb on board and are going back to the airport and to have our demands (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Please remain quiet.

VARGAS: That scene is re-created word for word in the A&E TV movie.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the captain, there is a bomb on board. We are going back to the airport. They have met our demands.

VARGAS: Both in the TV movie and the theatrical movie, we see the passengers use a drink cart to storm the cockpit in a heroic bid to take back the plane. In the TV movie, as in the transcripts, we see the terrorists franticly try to crash the plane.

The cockpit recorders never tell us whether passengers actually were able to enter the cockpit before the plane crash, but the recording confirms what we see in the movies and what America knows to be true. The passengers on Flight 93 surely saved another U.S. landmark from being destroyed.

HAMILTON PETERSON, RELATIVE OF TWO FLIGHT 93 VICTIMS: I think it captures the American spirit. In a matter of moments, these brave Americans overcame a horrific challenge.


VARGAS: and an interesting thing about both Flight 93 movies is that even though the public didn`t really hear much of the Flight 93 voice recordings until this week, families of the victims were allowed to listen to them some time ago, and those provided valuable input to the makers of both movies.

And you know, Brooke, it could not have been an easy thing.

ANDERSON: It had to be very, very difficult for them. All right. Sibila Vargas, thank you so much.

HAMMER: Well, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT got a first look today at the movie about United Flight 93. Our producer, Jenny D`Attoma, who covered the 9/11 attacks back in 2001, went to see the film. She`s joining us here live tonight.

So Jenny, I`ve got to tell you. I had a hard time watching that story. I had a hard time watching the news today. I have to go see this movie on Monday. I have a lot of anxiety about it.

Can you calm any of my fears, or really, I`ve noticed you`ve been shaking since you got back hours ago.

D`ATTOMA: You know, I don`t know I can allay any of your fears about it, or your anxieties about it, because I just think it`s that kind of movie, that it`s not going to make you feel good at the end of it. And it`s just that -- you know, it`s a real -- it`s a real event that happened and affected so many people. And I don`t think that you`re going to go in there and feel any better about the event.

HAMMER: How are you feeling right now? You know, as I said, you were shaking a bit and I noticed you were having a hard time getting some of your work done today, even. It really did have a dramatic emotional impact, more so than just, you know, another movie you might go out and see, I imagine?

D`ATTOMA: You know, because it`s a personal feeling. And it brings you right back to that day, when you -- when you experienced it, when you were walking on the city streets. In my case, I was covering it, you know, throughout the weeks after, and you just can`t -- you just can`t escape from that feeling.

HAMMER: What was the tone in the movie theater? I know you were there at a private screening, but there were a few people there with you. Were there tears? Were people getting up or you know, shaken around?

D`ATTOMA: Yes. Nobody moved, you know, pretty much for the whole screening, but when -- when the terrorists take over the plane, you heard some sniffling. You heard some "Oh, my gosh." I did that, as well. You just can`t help it. I mean, it is a pretty riveting scene, and it really does open up all those feelings that you had that day and the days after.

HAMMER: You mentioned in the story we just ran briefly how realistic it all seemed. Of course, the film makers went through painstaking measures to make sure that the details were as absolutely accurate as possible. Did you really get a sense that you now really know what happened on Flight 93?

D`ATTOMA: I -- you know, I think I -- I think you do walk away with that feeling. And there was no over-dramatization of anything. There was no talk of, you know, any scenes where it was too much of one character in the movie. You know, it was really about what happened on Flight 93, and, you know, it makes you feel like these guys, they were heroes on that plane. And that`s what you walk away from.

HAMMER: Yes, I was going to say, when it`s all over, you actually walked out with a pretty good feeling about what the end result was, despite the tragedy of it?

D`ATTOMA: Definitely. Because you know, these people, when you get on a plane, I get on a plane, you don`t know the person next to you. And then, you know, an hour into this flight these people are joining forces, trying to overcome terrorists in a manner of minutes. And it just shows the American spirit.

And I think that`s what people will walk away from. I think that`s what the families of that -- of that flight will walk away with feeling like, "You know what? My family member, I lost them, but they did everything that they could possibly do." And I think that`s what the movie says.

HAMMER: You were there on an assignment. You had to stay through the whole film. If you had gone on your own, at any point, would you have felt like getting and walking out, because it was too much to handle?

D`ATTOMA: No, I -- because you want to see that end event. I don`t think I would have, no.

HAMMER: OK, Jenny. Well, thank you for sharing this with you. I, as I`ve mentioned, have to go see it on Monday. We`re going to be speaking with some of the film makers. Not looking forward to it.


HAMMER: As a New Yorker, as a sensitive person, I don`t know.

D`ATTOMA: I don`t think you can. Yes.

HAMMER: But we appreciate your thoughts. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT producer Jenny D`Attoma joining us tonight.

Well, 9/11 certainly affected everyone here in New York City, and sometimes in ways that you might not think of. For four girls who went to high school near the World Trade Center, it made them start writing down every detail of their lives, including some intimate details about their sex lives, their use of drugs, and so much more.

Well, now those private journals are in a very public new book. They`re called "The Notebook Girls." And they`ll be joining me at 32 past the hour here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

ANDERSON: A new online game is stirring up controversy during this Christian Holy Week for using crucifixions as punishment. The game is called "Roma Victor." It`s set in Roman occupied Britain circa 180 A.D.

Players lead virtual lives in ancient society. And when someone breaks the rules, they`re crucified, haunted by other players as they hang on the cross.

The game maker says he chose this method, because in most virtual worlds when a player is punished, the other players don`t see it.


KERRY FRASER-ROBINSON, ROMA VICTOR GAME CREATOR: With the crucifixion, everybody knows the name of the character that`s responsible, so to see that character physically frozen in the game. Obviously no harm comes to anybody, but to see the character physically frozen in the game lets you know that he can`t log in and cause any trouble. You know, that character has been dealt with.


ANDERSON: The game has been five years in the making, and it`s set to be officially launched in July.

HAMMER: Well, guess what? Tom Cruise at it again. Coming up, what he`s saying now about Scientology and psychology.

Also ahead...


ROSIE O`DONNELL, COMEDIAN: I think that the connection of the parent and child is bigger than any kind of internal bigotry that we might have as humans.


HAMMER: Rosie O`Donnell on parenting, homosexuality and the family vacation that changed everything for her. Rosie`s riveting interview with CNN`s Paula Zahn, still ahead.

HAMMER: Plus, who you knew a used car dealer could be so popular? The King of Cars is here with his secrets of his success. That`s coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

ANDERSON: But first tonight`s "`Entertainment Weekly` Great American Pop Culture Quiz." Who was not a guest during the 10 seasons of "Friends"? Brad Pitt, Susan Sarandon, Reese Witherspoon, or Burt Reynolds? Think about it. We`ll be right back with your answer.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fade music under. The latest on Tom Cruise speaking out about Scientology after we get the quiz answer from Los Angeles. Dissolve seven, go.

ANDERSON: So again, tonight`s "`Entertainment Weekly` Great American Pop Culture Quiz." Who was not a guest during the 10 episodes -- 10 seasons, excuse me, of "Friends"? Brad Pitt, Susan Sarandon, Reese Witherspoon, or Burt Reynolds? The answer is D, Burt Reynolds.

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. We are TV`s only hour-long entertainment news show. I`m A.J. Hammer.

So here`s the story today that made us say, "That`s ridiculous!" There`s a high school in Utah that spoke Jon Stewart to speak at its annual benefit dinner next week.

Now, Brooke, that sounds like a pretty good booking to me.

ANDERSON: Right, me too.

HAMMER: So tell us what happened with it.

ANDERSON: That`s right. It took them a few months for them to book Jon Stewart, and they sent out 500 invitations. The problem is last week they learned that they had booked the wrong Jon Stewart. Now, A.J., all along they had been talking to Jon A. Stewart, a former motivational speaker and part-time professional wrestler from Chicago. So very different guy here.

HAMMER: You know, I think Jon A. Stewart would have been a perfectly fine booking. You know, not the guy they were after.

ANDERSON: He`s very entertaining.

HAMMER: Well, the school is doing the right thing, I guess. They`re offering refunds to people who bought tickets expecting to see "The Daily Show" host. Actually, Jon A. Stewart`s appearance was canceled.

So you know, they -- I don`t know. You would think there would look into it a little more.

ANDERSON: You would think there would be some kind of indication, through all the discussions, that this wasn`t the Jon Stewart they were looking for.

HAMMER: And a pretty -- a pretty easy booking to make, and I think booking the Jon Stewart comedian that we all know from "The Daily Show" not so easy. But...

ANDERSON: Right. I`m sure a lot of people were very disappointed.

But moving now to something a little bit different. Tonight on "CSI", TV`s now top rated drama. The show is taking on hip-hop wars as the Las Vegas team investigates the murders of three teenagers involved in a rap music rivalry.

The show is using real life rappers in tonight`s show. It`s also featuring a song -- you`re seeing the exclusive music video now -- from Eminem protege Obie Trice.

HAMMER: Well, there happens to be an over the top and, mind you, a controversial proposal right now in the state of Nevada that has got hip- hop artists and fans up in arms.

An official at the Las Vegas Police Department is urging casinos not to book rap acts. He also wants to ban hip-hop artists from performing at state-run colleges and universities. He says this would cut down on violence in the area.

Two very controversial ideas. And two things that Dr. Benjamin Chavis is vehemently opposed to. He`s the president and CEO of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, the world`s largest coalition of hip-hop artists.

Ben, thank you for joining us on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

DR. BENJAMIN CHAVIS, PRESIDENT/CEO, HIP-HOP SUMMIT ACTION NETWORK: Thank you. It`s good to be here tonight with you.

HAMMER: A controversial proposal, it seems. What`s the problem with it?

CHAVIS: Well, the problem is that it denies our fundamental freedom of speech. It`s a violation of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

We believe the officials in Las Vegas, as well as every city, should welcome hip-hop music, hip-hop poetry, hip-hop culture. We need more public expression about the problems of our society. The last thing we need is to start banning people.

You know, if Shakespeare was here or Edgar Allen Poe, they wouldn`t be able to perform in Las Vegas if this rule were passed.

HAMMER: Now foremost, you say it is a First Amendment issue. And that is something that Stavros Anthony recognizes. He`s the gentleman from Las Vegas who`s proposing these bans. He gets that, and he`s now trying to ban, so he can get past that First Amendment issue, any act if they have any history of violence.

He says, and this was in a "Daily News" editorial today, `There are plenty of examples of gangster rap concerts that have included shootings where people have been seriously injured or killed."

Now, you can certainly at least understand why there might be concern. I would like to believe that if at country music concerts there were shootings...

CHAVIS: I mean, rock concerts. I mean, you know, you don`t ban the culture because somebody engages in something that is wrong. We have to deal with the root causes of the prevalence of violence and self- destruction in American culture, in American society, not the music.

The music is a reflection. The poetry is a reflection of the realities of society. Certainly, we need to do something to get violence out of our society and self-destruction, but the last thing we should be doing is trying to ban the poets and ban the musicians.

HAMMER: So it seems that what he`s saying is that at these rap concerts -- I don`t know if he`s saying more often than not, but there is this history of violence, and perhaps looking for a quick fox. You say that is not correct.

CHAVIS: I just want to correct. That`s wrong. The historical record, there are thousands of hip-hop concerts with no violence at all. There are thousands of hip-hop poetic -- poetry sessions with no violence at all. There may be one or two violent incidents.

And I would say, if someone would look at all the genres of music, hip-hop is no more violent than any other genre of music. What we need to focus on is the origination of the problem, and not a symptom. And I think officials in Las Vegas are going overboard. I know this man is trying to be a good policeman, but we need to go after the real criminals. And that`s not hip-hop artists.

HAMMER: Ben, I have about 30 seconds left. But I`m curious if your take on it is that there are some racial undertones here? Because for instance...

CHAVIS: It`s cultural profiling. Racial profiling has been found to be illegal. This is a form of cultural profiling, and I think cultural profiling should be made illegal just as much as racial profiling. Because disproportionately, a lot of the artists, hip-hop artists, are black and Latino or poor whites. You know, Eminem is an artist, but he gets also culture profiled because of the culture.

HAMMER: Well, good luck in keeping this dialogue alive and doing the right thing.

CHAVIS: God bless you and thank you.

HAMMER: Thank you, Dr. Benjamin Chavis, thank you for joining us on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

And now we`d like to hear from you on the topic for our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Rap music: does it glorify violence? You can vote at You can also e-mail us with your thoughts at

ANDERSON: Well, we all remember Tom Cruise`s very public attacks against the use of psychiatric drugs to treat depression last year. Well, not much has changed as he makes headlines once again, promoting methods of Scientology in his very open interview in "GQ" magazine.

CNN`s Chris Lawrence has the story for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Church of Scientology released this promotional video last year, to celebrate the opening of its Psychiatric Museum, a building dedicated to exposing what members call an industry of death.

In the latest issue of "GQ," Scientologist Tom Cruise supports natural treatments that include vitamins. He criticizes doctors who prescribe drugs to people with mental or emotional problems. Quote, "Certainly children should never, ever, ever be on these drugs, because they don`t want to be on them. They don`t have a choice."

Cruise says the Church of Scientology`s campaign has paid off. Quote, "It`s not just me. Look at the FDA, look at the black box warnings."

Some psychiatrists say efforts by the church and others helped convince federal officials to tag many medications.

DR. MARC GRAFF, PSYCHIATRIST: Warning labels have scared people off. There`s less prescriptions written for certain kinds of medications than there were just a year or two ago.

LAWRENCE: Doctor Marc Graff says the best example is antidepressants for teenagers.

GRAFF: If you have people frightened to even come into the office and get a comprehensive evaluation, you`ve done people a disservice. I think the FDA heavy-handed black box warnings is really not accomplishing much but frightening people.

LAWRENCE: Psychiatrists say all the criticism is demonizing drugs that help people.

GRAFF: I take medication for cardiac problems, and people don`t say, "Oh, my God, you`re on a medication for cardiac problems." And people say, "I`m glad you`re getting treatment." I think that should be the attitude towards psychiatric illness, too.


ANDERSON: Tom Cruise also said in that "GQ" interview that he believes you can get the same results without psychiatric drugs and that he has personally helped others get off those drugs using Scientology.

HAMMER: Coming up, the real-life diaries of four teenage girls. They decided to write down all of the intimate details of their lives after the September 11 attacks. "The Notebook Girls" are here. That`s on the way in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

ANDERSON: Plus he`s arguably the most popular used car dealer around. Now he has his own TV show. The King of Cars joins us on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, coming up.

HAMMER: Plus, did you see Colin Farrell`s movie "The New World"? How about this: did you smell it? Some people are going to get the chance. We`ll explain, coming up next.

ANDERSON: And now a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT birthday shoutout. This is where we give fans the chance to wish their favorite stars a happy birthday. Tonight, we`re sending one out to singer Al Green. He`s celebrating his 60th birthday today.


HAMMER: Coming up tomorrow, men at work. No, I`m not talking about the band. I`m talking about a book that`s getting a lot of buzz. What does a man`s job tell you about him? Does the job make the man or does the man make the job? We`ll deal with that tomorrow on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

ANDERSON: Well, A.J., we`ve all seen movies that stink, but a theater in Japan is taking that notion one step further.

HAMMER: Yes. That is right, we heard about this today. It`s a theater, actually, in Tokyo that`s going to be presenting Colin Farrell`s new movie "The New World" in smellovision.

ANDERSON: Smellovision, OK.


ANDERSON: So when a love scene is on screen, for instance, they`ll release a floral scent into the theater. Can you imagine "Dumb and Dumber" with something like this?

HAMMER: See, I don`t think this is necessarily a trend we want to see move forward.

The company has come up with some other scents, apparently, and matched them to emotions during the film. So if there`s joy in the plot line at the moment, it will smell like orange and grapefruit. If it`s anger, eucalyptus and tea tree.

Now, to me I like the smell of eucalyptus, so I don`t really see that as anger. But I`m sure there have been studies.

ANDERSON: But everyone`s sense of smell is a little bit different. I can just see people, imagine them sneezing uncontrollably. I hope the scents will be light in the theaters.

HAMMER: And you would also hope moving forward that this does not make its way into, say, farm animal-related films and the like.

ANDERSON; That`s right. That`s right. A little lavender, that`s what I would request.

HAMMER: And that would probably be for the bath scenes in certain movies, I imagine?


HAMMER: All right. Well, coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, for a Thursday night, the candid, sometimes very shocking diaries of four teenage girls. "The Notebook Girls" are going to join me to tell us why they started writing everything down. They`ll be joining us in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Also ahead...


O`DONNELL: I mean, even Dick Cheney, the most Republican Republican, and his very Republican wife, they made a gay child.


ANDERSON: Rosie O`Donnell on parenting, homosexuality and the family vacation that changed everything for her. Rosie`s riveting interview with CNN`s Paula Zahn, that`s still ahead.

HAMMER: Also tonight, the King of Cars is going to join us. We`re going to find out how this guy has used TV, costumes and his wacky personality to sell so many used cars and how he got his own TV show. That is coming up.

And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT will be right back.


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

ANDERSON: I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. And you are watching TV`s only hour-long entertainment news show.

A.J., tonight, we will meet a guy who says that he makes buying a car fun.

HAMMER: Not possible. Don`t believe it.

ANDERSON: He says it`s possible. His name is Chop, and he does wacky infomercials where his fellow salesmen dress up in crazy costumes. There`s a dancing genie, a guy named Chilly Willy, I believe. Anyway, they`ll do anything, and now they`re being featured on a new show on A&E called "King of Cars." And we will meet them.

HAMMER: Makes sense.

ANDERSON: Chop joins us live, coming up.


HAMMER: Who wouldn`t buy a car from a dancing genie?

Also, part two of our revealing interview with Rosie O`Donnell, who led a very public life for a long time. Now is basically a housewife and a stay-at-home mom, as she puts it.

ANDERSON: Mom, right.

HAMMER: She talks about being a gay parent and also about the gay cruise that she started and documented on HBO. It`s quite powerful, and we`re going to see part two in just a few minutes from right now.

But right now, we`re going to think back to high school. Did you really tell your parents everything you did? Probably not. You were probably not revealing everything about the people that you dated, if you were smoking in the bathroom, probably kept that to yourselves, same for drinking at parties.

Well, you`re about to meet four friends who kept track of their personal experiences, the most intimate details, their biggest high school secrets. And now they`re revealing what it`s really like to be a teenager.

They`ve published their diary that you`re seeing here. It`s a book that`s getting a lot of media buzz, called "The Notebook Girls." Joining me here in New York, it is Julia, Lindsey, Sophie and Courtney, "The Notebook Girls"...


HAMMER: ... a title you guys are going to carry around with you for the rest of your life.

Now, it was the events of September 11th and the fact that the Twin Towers right by where you guys went to high school that actually inspired you to start writing your most intimate thoughts and details about your life in this diary, so why is it that that day moved you to do that?

COURTNEY TOOMBS, CO-AUTHOR, "THE NOTEBOOK GIRLS": Well, I think for us -- I mean, freshman year was a difficult time for us. September 11th was the second or third -- I think it was the third day of high school for us, which was hard.

We had to move to a different school for a while. And getting adjusted to high school is difficult enough, but to have to just get out of school and go somewhere else, it was a difficult time for us. But it wasn`t until a little while later that we all became friends and we decided to start writing in the notebook to keep in touch.

And it just happened to be a place where we could talk about a lot of different issues that are really important to us, like religion and politics. And September 11th happened to be one of the things that we wanted to write about and express our feelings about in the notebook.

And, you know, for all of us, it`s been a really great place to kind of talk about the frustrations of the way, you know, the media targeted our school a lot, tried to get a lot of information about how we felt and how we were reacting to things, but it`s also been a place to kind of express our personal feelings about events.

HAMMER: So it was a real outlet for you. It was a chance for you to just pour out whatever was going through your mind and your soul on paper. And you poured out pretty much everything, ladies. I mean, let`s be frank here. You know, there`s a voyeuristic quality here that anybody who -- I mean, it`s basically like opening up anybody`s diary. And it`s a teenaged girl`s diary.

Now, Lindsey, you actually wrote about...


HAMMER: I`m sorry, Sophie, Sophie. I have my order screwed up.


HAMMER: But among the intimate details of your life revealed in the notebook, you write about the first time you have sex.


HAMMER: Why in the world -- I can understand to share it among your friends -- would you want to put it in a book that`s going to get out there for the world to see?

POLLITT-COHEN: Well, we wrote the book not intended it -- I mean, we wrote the diary not intending it to be a book.

HAMMER: Sure, it was just something you were doing among friends.

POLLITT-COHEN: Yes. And once we decided to make it a real book, I mean, you can`t take the juicy stuff out that`s -- and you can`t take out the things that might embarrass you or else the notebook loses its whole value or the whole reason that people might be attracted to it.

The whole reason people like it and that we hope it affects people is that it`s real and it`s honest. And if you take out the things that embarrass you, then there`s no point.

HAMMER: And that`s why there`s a lot of sex talk and how you felt about certain guys.


HAMMER: I understand names have been changed. But, Julia, you actually talk about the fact that you all -- or I don`t know if it was each of you that experimented with drugs, but there was, you know, some pot smoking going on and different things. Tell me about the experiences you had with experimenting with drugs that you wrote about in the book.

JULIA BASKIN, CO-AUTHOR, "THE NOTEBOOK GIRLS": Well, I don`t think that we really did anything that was crazy or out of the normal. You know, in high school experimenting with pot is pretty much what a lot of people do.

I think what`s important, though, is that you see there are priorities in the book and that we don`t get out of control and that, you know, we know -- Courtney knew, when she had a disturbing experience with it, that it was time to stop. And she knew that, as friends, we would support her and that it was much more important that we had healthy relationships and healthy lives than that we would throw away our judgment.

HAMMER: And, Lindsey, is that part of the point? Because you`re showing parents, "Hey, you know what? This is the stuff that goes on, but, hey, we`re also capable of dealing with this."

LINDSEY NEWMAN, CO-AUTHOR, "THE NOTEBOOK GIRLS": Yes, definitely. I mean, a lot of the book is us making life choices, and maybe sometimes we`re not so proud of all of them, but that`s also part of growing up. Like, you`re not going to really, you know, think that all of your choices in life are always going to be good ones, but we could write about that, and I think that was important.

HAMMER: But there are some parents -- it`s interesting, because this is a book really for people of all ages. Kids are going to want to read this. Parents are going to want to read this. There are some things that parents may see in here that they say, "Oh, my god, this really does go on." You`re really showing that this is the real truth.

Anything you would have kept out if you had the chance to edit it again?



POLLITT-COHEN: There might be a few crushes that I would want to take out.

HAMMER: But again, the names have been changed. The innocent are protected. Well, Courtney, Sophie, Julia, Lindsey, I appreciate you all sharing your very intimate thoughts, not just with me, but with the world, in this incredible book, "The Notebook Girls." And you can pick up your very own copy of it in bookstores today.

ANDERSON: And it`s time now to get tonight`s "Hot Headlines." For that, we go to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Sibila Vargas. She is in the Hollywood newsroom -- Sibila?


Well, protests over "Playboy," this video into SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Islamic militants protested out front of the offices of "Playboy" in Jakarta. Yesterday`s protests turned violent. "Playboy" just published the first local issue in the largest Muslim nation in the world. And now the police chief there is asking "Playboy" to hold off on publishing their next issue.

Well, fans of the Fab Four rejoice. It looks like finally you`ll be able to download Beatles music online. For years, Apple Records have refused to take part in the online music boom. That`s because they had been in a nasty fight with Apple, the computer company, over the name Apple. Now the head of the Apple Records says that they`re digitally remastering the entire Beatles catalog. No word yet, though, on when they`ll be made available.

Well, Michael Jackson is set to be ready to sell the publishing rights of the Beatles songs he owns. The King of Pop bought the music 21 years ago. The "New York Times" reports Jackson is looking to refinance his debt by selling his stake in the Beatles music. Now, get this: The music is now worth $1 billion.

And those are tonight`s "Hot Headlines." One billion dollars.

ANDERSON: Very valuable.

VARGAS: I think that can make a little dent in that debt.

ANDERSON: Maybe so. And the catalog also includes songs from Dylan, Destiny`s Child, Neil Diamond, so quite a prized possession. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Sibila Vargas in the Hollywood newsroom, thanks so much.

OK, earlier we reported shootings involving rappers has prompted a push in Nevada to ban gangsta rap acts from all college campuses and discourage casinos from booking those acts, so now we want to hear from you. It is our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." Rap music: Does it glorify violence?

Keep voting, Write us

HAMMER: Boy, have I got a deal for you. Don`t touch that dial; just come on by SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, and we`re going to tell you about a show that sells cars faster than anything you`ve ever seen. When? Not four minutes away. I`ll chop it in half.

Plus, we also have this...


ROSIE O`DONNELL, FORMER TALK SHOW HOST: I don`t think you can impose sexuality, because, you know, if you could, there would be no gay people, because it takes two straight people to make a gay person.


ANDERSON: Rosie O`Donnell, always outspoken, and you won`t believe the shocking comments she had to say about Vice President Dick Cheney. That`s ahead on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, TV`s only hour-long entertainment news show. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood.

OK. Many of us think that buying a car is as much fun as, I don`t know, getting a cavity filled, maybe? You think you`re going to get ripped off or that the next guy will get a better deal. We`ve all thought it, right?

Well, one car dealer thinks he`s found the formula to making car buying -- get this -- fun, with wacky infomercials and crazy-costumed characters and a whole bunch of other out-there kind of stuff. A&E has a new series out about him called "King of Cars."

And joining us from -- where else? -- Las Vegas, is Chop.

Hi, Chop.


ANDERSON: Doing well, thanks. And it looks like you are doing really well. I want to know: How did you get started selling cars and how did you get the nickname "Chop"? I know it`s not your real name. Are you just chopping down those prices?

CHOP: You know, what`s funny is that I started buying and selling little mopeds and scooters when I was 14 years old. I had an ad in the paper here in Las Vegas and I said, "Cash paid for scooters." And if somebody was asking $400, I`d offer them $200. And in the car business, that`s called chopping.

ANDERSON: Well, it all started with you doing these infomercials in Vegas. Talk to us about these crazy characters that you have. Do people really buy cars from a dancing blue genie or someone named Chilly Willy?

CHOP: You know what`s funny, is we have this infomercial called "The Chopper Show" that I`ve been doing for almost 10 years. And people love it. You know, we actually have fans and, you know, people tune in just for entertainment.

And so when they think about buying a car, they actually come out and, you know, and they come and see us. When you actually come to the dealership, we`re not wearing the costumes when you`re buying. But the TV show that we do, we`re getting crazy, wearing costumes, having a lot of fun.

ANDERSON: So everybody`s in their suit and tie for the actual buying and selling process?

CHOP: Exactly.

ANDERSON: OK, what...

CHOP: Some people don`t understand; they get surprised, because they say, "Oh, you guys are actually professional," because on TV we`re wacky.

ANDERSON: You may be attracting people to the dealership with all this wackiness and they may be disappointed when they don`t see it, right?

CHOP: Yes, but we still have a lot of fun. We have cheering. Every time we sell a car, we hit the gong, and we cheer, and we have this big jumping thing in the showroom for the kids, and we`ve got a clown going on, and we do a barbecue. We got the music up loud, so it`s a party atmosphere. It`s a lot of fun.

ANDERSON: So you do a lot of unconventional things. Well, I have to be honest here: Car salesmen ranks down there with politicians, in terms of being trusted. Is what you`re doing, do you think this can change that?

CHOP: You know, to me, I`m not really in the business of changing, you know, the whole reputation of car salesmen. I just know that, you know, that we have a lot of fun and that our customers are great and they come back for repeat business.

And, you know, if people see that, you know, we`re true and honest to our customers, that`s great. And we`ve had a great response from the show. The show`s ratings are strong, and the response has been huge with e-mails. We get hundreds and hundreds of e-mails of people from the car business saying, "Thank you very much for portraying a great image."

And, you know, we`re just being ourselves, and we`re just having fun. And if it comes out to where people, you know, rank car salespeople a little higher, then, hey, I`ll take it, you know? And the thing is, it`s easier to sell a car when people think that, because we just go out, and are real, and nice, and courteous, and then all of a sudden it`s very simple to sell a car, because people do have that wall, you know, thinking that, you know, car salespeople are going to, you know, get them or something.


CHOP: And it makes it really simple for us.

ANDERSON: Well, you say you`ve heard from other car salesmen across the country; have you inspired any of them to do similar things? Do you think it could work elsewhere, or is it just a Vegas thing?

CHOP: You would think it`s just Vegas thing, because it`s flashy, it`s crazy. But there`s actually dealerships that have emulated us before the big show on A&E, all across the country. You have green genies, and blue little people, and you`ve got copies of "The Copper Show" all across the country.

And, you know, hey, you know what? It`s OK. It`s flattering to be, you know, to be emulated.

ANDERSON: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And you`ve got other stuff going on besides cars. A rap album, Chop. Do have the whole rap crew out there? Are they dressed as genies?

CHOP: You know, what`s funny is I`ll have the rappers on the show, and we`ll rap about selling cars. We make it fun.

Like the opener for the A&E show is a rap video, and we rap about selling cars, and having cars, and driving hot cars. And, you know, it`s something I love. I love cars, and I love music, so, you know, we combined the two things in the show.

You get to see me working on my new album. I have a rap crew called True Cents. And, you know, it`s me, another rapper, and a singer. We don`t sound, look, act like anybody else. And it`s a good time, you know?

ANDERSON: You definitely grab attention with your strategy. Thank you so much for joining us, Chop.

CHOP: Thanks, Brooke.

ANDERSON: You can catch "King of Cars." It airs Tuesday nights on A&E.

HAMMER: Well, let`s shift gears here from the "King of Cars" to the Queen of Nice. Of course, I`m speaking of Rosie O`Donnell. You all know that she`s had a very successful talk show, a stand-up career, a movie career, and has also been very active in fighting for the rights of gay couples who want to adopt children.

It is that cause, along with her partner, Kelli Carpenter, that drove O`Donnell to make the documentary, "All Aboard: Rosie`s Family Cruise." Here`s CNN`s Paula Zahn for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT in a special "Sitdown" interview with Rosie O`Donnell.


PAULA ZAHN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It`s vacation O`Donnell style.


ZAHN: But this family vacation created by Rosie and Kelly O`Donnell is anything but typical.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We refer to ourselves as a bunch of misfits, you know.

ZAHN: A safe haven for gay families and those who love them. A week captured by HBO for a documentary, "All Aboard: Rosie`s Family Cruise."

(on camera): How do you think straight viewers will react to what unfolds on the screen?

O`DONNELL: I hope it will educate them. I hope it will replace fear, ignorance with information. People are afraid of what they don`t understand. The normalcy of the day, I think, is what shocks people most.

ZAHN: One of the more amazing things about this documentary is the rawness of emotions that you capture. There is a scene where there is a straight mother of an adult gay daughter who, while expresses love for her daughter, makes it very clear she does not support her lifestyle.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When my daughter became lesbian, I was assuming something. We were not happy. My husband is still very hurt. But what more can I do? She is still my daughter. We love her.

O`DONNELL: Yet she was on the cruise. So I think that the connection of a parent and child is bigger than any kind of internal bigotry that we might have as humans. You know, the love and the bond between a parent and child is almost indestructible.

ZAHN (voice-over): That indestructible bond is obvious in Rosie`s own family. And we get a rare glimpse into her life in the film.

O`DONNELL: Kelli, you all right with her with this much lipstick on? Chelsea, can we blot the lipstick a little bit? Yes. Your shoes are on. You have to keep them on because we`re going outside. Yes. Want me to fix them? Yes.

ZAHN (on camera): What do you think are some of the misconceptions straight people have about the values you`re trying to impart to your children and whether that involves imposing your sexuality?

O`DONNELL: Well, I don`t think you can impose sexuality. Because, you know, if you could there would be no gay people, because it takes two straight people to make a gay person. You know, I mean, even Dick Cheney, the most Republican Republican and his very Republican wife, they made a gay child. You know, one out of every 10 people is gay.

ZAHN (voice-over): While most of the cruise was downright fun, there was some very unexpected conflict. When the boat docked in Nassau, families were met by a large angry group of protesters.

(on camera): You didn`t really see the protest unfold until you watched the documentary for the first time because you didn`t get off the boat.


ZAHN: What was your reaction?

O`DONNELL: I felt a visceral response in my body. There was one man in particular, and he had very sad eyes, big sad eyes. And he`s holding a Bible and he turns right into the camera and he screams, "No."


O`DONNELL: And the rage in this man and the hatred in his heart, I felt it physically. It was frightening to think that, you know -- Parker said to me, "What are they protesting?" And I was like, "Well, they`re protesting that we are."

They don`t want us to exist. Well, I think it is crazy. That`s like World War II.

ZAHN (voice-over): And while the protest was painful, it was a reminder of what gay families face every day. It was Kelli who advised Rosie to stay on the boat that day because they both knew that Rosie would sound off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So tell Rosie O`Donnell take her filth elsewhere.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, I just think it is good Rosie didn`t get off.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She would be up there fighting for the microphone.

ZAHN: Rosie told me, if it weren`t for Kelli, her life would be total chaos. We caught up with Kelli, who barely gives interviews, at the premiere of the documentary.

(on-camera): Do you expect to make some people angry with this documentary?

KELLI CARPENTER, WIFE OF ROSIE O`DONNELL: I think you can`t do anything where it involves gay people or gay families where you are not going to make some people angry, but I also think that it is a different way to look at us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s new. I never needed to put him stretched out. It is amazing. Just keep up with it.

CARPENTER: In the movie, you just look at all these families just as families. And I think that`s the most touching thing about it. That all of a sudden, you know, whether it is two men or two women or, you know, a single parent or whatever it is that is raising the child, all of a sudden it doesn`t matter. You see a connection that happened on. You see how beautiful these families are.

ZAHN (voice over): "All Aboard" was a labor of love for the O`Donnells. But for Rosie, it was more. For Rosie, it was life-changing.

O`DONNELL: I was asked at one of the press screenings, are you going to raise your children to be gay? And I thought no more than I could raise them to be tall. You can`t raise someone to be gay. You know, you can`t raise someone to have blue eyes.

Now, you can wear contacts your whole life if you have brown eyes, if you desire for blue eyes is that big. But at some point you are going to have to take them out and let your eyes rest and be who you are. And the fact that you have brown eyes has to one day be all right. And it became all right for me through this cruise in a way that I hadn`t anticipated.


HAMMER: That was CNN`s Paula Zahn for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. You can see "All Aboard: Rosie`s Family Cruise" this month on HBO. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT will be right back.


HAMMER: Let`s see what`s coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Here`s your "Showbiz Marquee."

Tomorrow, "Men at Work." No, not the band. It`s a book that`s getting a lot of buzz. What does a man`s job tell you about him? Does the job make the man or does the man make the job? Well, you could always ask these guys, because also tomorrow it`s not business as usual as four men try out for new jobs as men of the cloth. But, of course, there are temptations. Will it be God or the girl? Find out when we ask the stars of a new reality show, and that`s coming up tomorrow.

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

ANDERSON: I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. Have a great night, everyone. And stay tuned for more from CNN Headline News.


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