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Paul McCartney & Heather Mills Split; `Da Vinci Code` Set to Open; Sneak Peak at ` World Trade Center`; `Will & Grace`; Comes to the End of the Road; BBC Interviews Wrong `Guy` on Air

Aired May 17, 2006 - 23:00:00   ET


A.J. HAMMER, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Your first look at Oliver Stone`s 9/11 movie. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.
SIBILA VARGAS, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: And how the show "Will & Grace" has changed the TV landscape for gay characters. I`m Sibila Vargas in Hollywood.

TV`s most provocative entertainment news show starts right now.


HAMMER (voice-over): On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the split heard `round the world. Former Beatle Paul McCartney and Heather Mills call it quits. Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT reveals why they say they`re separating and the shocked reaction from near and far.

The code is being cracked.

IAN MCKELLEN, ACTOR: Witness the biggest cover-up in human history.

HAMMER: The startling first reviews for "The Da Vinci Code" are in. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is at Cannes for the premiere, talking to the cast and getting the critical mass on one of the most anticipated movies in recent history.


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

VARGAS" And I`m Sibila Vargas in Hollywood. And, A.J., just when you thought you heard it all, comes this shocker.

HAMMER: That`s right, Sibila. The news came first thing this morning. People still shaking their heads in disbelief. Paul McCartney and Heather Mills say they`re splitting up after nearly four years of marriage. Is it news that spread around the world faster than you can say "let it be."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So Paul McCartney and Heather Mills McCartney have just announced their separation.

HAMMER (voice-over): News of Paul McCartney`s separation from Heather Mills hit like a bolt from the blue all over the world. But celebrity watchers tell SHOWBIZ TONIGHT that Paul and Heather`s split does not come as a surprise.

JULIE DAM, PEOPLE MAGAZINE: There were stories that they had been fighting a lot and in fact when he went off on a business trip he was actually seen in France looking very glum all by himself. So there were signs that there was trouble.

HAMMER: That kind of media speculation was the cause of death for this marriage, if you believe Paul and Heather. The couple announced their split with a statement saying, they, quote: "Have found it increasingly difficult to maintain a normal relationship with constant intrusion into our private lives."

Here they are just weeks ago on CNN`s "LARRY KING LIVE," fighting for animal rights. Relationship expert Ian Kerner (ph) is surprised that such a public couple is blaming their split on being a public couple.

IAN KERNEN, AUTHOR, RELATIONSHIP EXPERT: What is ironic about all of this is that Sir Paul McCartney is somebody who has been in the public spotlight almost since he was teenager. So, if anything, he should know how to really protect his relationship from the public.

HAMMER: The entire world followed the love story of the former Beatle and his new love, former model Heather Mills, ever since the two met in 1999, a year after Paul`s beloved wife of 30 years, Linda, died of cancer.

PAUL MCCARTNEY, MUSICIAN: You want to show them the ring, darling.

HAMMER: Paul and Heather married in 2002 and had a daughter, Beatrice Millie. Sir Paul actively joined Heather`s work for animal rights and against land mines.

MCCARTNEY: We want to basically start a campaign now, we`re going to try and clear the mines worldwide.

HAMMER: Heather told SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson how Paul helps her with her projects.

BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He is also very passionate. Do you two work together on these causes?

HEATHER MILLS MCCARTNEY, ACTIVIST: You know, we`re different. He enjoys his music and family means a lot to him, and he helps us out with his celebrity when he can.

HAMMER: But as we see now, the partnership wasn`t without its problems. The public never quite took to Heather the way it took to Paul`s first wife.

KERNER: In Heather Mills` defense, it`s kind of tough to compete with the image of Linda McCartney. I mean, she`s passed, she`s sort of saintly now, and yet Heather`s a real person.

DAM: They called her a gold-digger, they`ve said that she married him for his money. And there have been lots of rumors that his kids weren`t happy with the marriage either.

HAMMER: Still, even as they split, Sir Paul is jumping to Heather`s rescue. On his Web site he posted a statement reading, quote: "It`s been suggested that she married me for the money and there`s not an ounce of truth in this. She`s a very generous person who spends most of her time trying to help others in greater need than herself. I`m very sad to see that some insensitive people would choose a moment like this to spread these vicious rumors."

With Paul being one of richest entertainers in the world, this story does become about money. Heather has said that Paul wouldn`t hear of her signing a pre-nup. Now she could get more than $300 million of Paul`s estimated $1.5 billion fortune. All told, a sad public end to a marriage that may have been doomed by its very public nature.

KERNER: The way that they sort of stepped so intensely into the media spotlight as soon as they got together, I mean, my advice to them maybe at that time would have been to pull back a little bit from the media, go behind closed doors and really just try to focus on their relationship.

I think in their rush, in their enthusiasm, in their infatuation, they sort of took all of that enthusiasm out into the public and it was maybe too soon, both for them and for the public at large.


HAMMER: Well, Paul and Heather`s daughter is now 2 years old. Paul, of course, has three children and one stepdaughter from his marriage to Linda. And perhaps no one is better plugged into this shocking split than our friends at People magazine. Joining us tonight from Hollywood, People magazine`s Julie Jordan.

Nice to see you, Julie.


HAMMER: I just used the word shocked. I even heard Wolf Blitzer on CNN earlier today say he was shocked by this news. Everybody we have been talking to has been saying the exact same thing. So my question to you, Julie, should we be shocked?

JORDAN: You know, I think shocked is pretty accurate. No one really saw this coming. As much as there was you know maybe some trouble at beginning of the relationship, we wanted to believe they were in as much love as they presented to the public.

We know they`ve been out in the public a lot with their relationship from day one and we trusted them in that they were really the real couple that they presented to us.

HAMMER: And you use that word "presented." Everybody I know, everybody I`ve spoken with today who has ever met them before said they were always very lovey-dovey and it really did appear they had the real thing going on.

JORDAN: That`s the thing. I mean, by all accounts a united front, love, happiness. They weren`t on our radar of those that we were expecting to break up.

HAMMER: Well, it`s always interesting when couples split up and they`re in the public eye, they release statements. And what was really amazing about the statement that Paul and Heather released today is the level of detail they included.

You know, usually these statements come out and they`re pretty simple, they`re pretty straightforward. Well, Paul and Heather go into great detail about all these pressures that they faced. Paul even posted a message on his Web site because he was so upset with various people who have suggested that Heather was a gold-digger.

All of this is pretty remarkable, isn`t it?

JORDAN: Well, it`s not something we usually see in Hollywood, that`s for sure. But, again, from day one, they`ve been out there, they`ve kind of embraced the media and the public scrutiny that comes from being in the public eye. It`s hard because ultimately that took a toll on their relationship.

HAMMER: Well, certainly Paul lived in the public eye with his previous wife Linda.

JORDAN: Right.

HAMMER: And they talk about the pressures of being in public eye, as you mentioned, being at center of why they split. Obviously not the only married celebrity couple out there getting a lot of attention. So what`s your take on that aspect of the story that we`re hearing?

JORDAN: Well, I don`t think any of us can understand what those pressures feel like. And when you`re in a relationship, of course, it`s all about the two people. But those couples that can kind of navigate through the Hollywood machine are ones that have real strong relationships to begin with, kind of at the core. Maybe that`s the situation here.

It doesn`t sound like now that Paul and Heather had really the relationship that was going to last from the beginning, which again, we didn`t see coming because they were so, you know, forward with their love. We assumed everything was happy. But underneath, not so much.

HAMMER: And, of course, when you talk about people being in the public eye, it`s one thing to be a celebrity and perhaps have a celebrity wife or a celebrity partner. It`s another thing if you`re one of the most famous men in the world, which, of course, was the case here.

JORDAN: Of course.

HAMMER: Let`s talk about money now. The guy, one of the richest rock stars in the world, worth over a billion dollars, as I said, there`s word, and she said it herself, that there was no interest in a pre-nup from Paul. Do you buy that? Do you think that`s actually true?

JORDAN: Well, you know what I think, whether there is or not, here`s a man who, of course, we all -- he loves love. He was married to Linda, who he called the love of his life. To go into this marriage with Heather thinking it was forever or it`s going to be forever, you can`t fault him for that.

If there`s not a pre-nup, then unfortunately that means there`s going to be quite extensive division of assets. And they have a daughter. So you kind of hope that the transition or at least they can do it as smoothly as possible just for her sake.

HAMMER: And while it is certainly not the most important component of the puzzle, the sum that we are talking about, as I ,said around $300 million if they do it according to law.

JORDAN: Yes. Quite some change.

HAMMER: All right, Julie. Well, thanks for joining us from Hollywood tonight. Julie Jordan, from People magazine.

JORDAN: Thanks, A.J.

HAMMER: You can pick up the latest issue of People magazine on newsstands now.

VARGAS: Marie Osmond says Tom Cruise is clueless. We`ll tell you why she`s lashing out at Cruise, coming up.

We`ll also have this.


NICOLAS CAGE, ACTOR: We prepared for everything, but not this, not for something this size.


HAMMER: Nicolas Cage in a story of courage and survival. We will have your first look at Oliver Stone`s movie about 9/11, that`s coming up in the "SHOWBIZ Showcase."

VARGAS: And the stars of "The Da Vinci Code" talk to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT about their world premiere. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson is right there at the Cannes Film Festival, next.

But first, tonight`s Entertainment Weekly great American pop culture quiz: What famous director often operates as his own cinematographer under the pseudonym Peter Andrews? Is it Steven Spielberg, Stephen Sommers, Steven Soderbergh, or Martin Scorcese? This is not an easy one. We`ll be right back with the answer.


VARGAS: So again, tonight`s "Entertainment Weekly" great American pop culture quiz: What famous director often operates as his own cinematographer under the pseudonym Peter Andrews? Steven Spielberg, Stephen Sommers, Steven Soderbergh, or Martin Scorcese? The answer is C, Steven Soderbergh.

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, for a Wednesday night. We are TV`s most provocative entertainment news show. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. It`s time now for the story that today that made us say, "That`s Ridiculous."

Listen to this. A woman in Flint, Michigan, actually got her power shut off because she was a penny short on her $1,600 electric bill. That`s right, I said one cent, a penny. Consumers Energy said her power wouldn`t be turned back on until she paid the penny, which she did in person.

Ms. Jacqueline Williams (ph) of Flint, Michigan, you don`t have to pay a penny for our thoughts. We`ll tell you for free, here and now, here it is, "That`s Ridiculous." I don`t know how that is possible.

Apparently, Sibila, the company said they had no choice. They always have a choice, shame on them.

VARGAS: Absolutely. Shame on them. And to think this woman, $1,600 is not chump change. She probably worked really hard to get that money. And for them to do that, like you said, shame on you. That is ridiculous, a penny.

All right. Well, let`s move on to tonight`s "SHOWBIZ Showcase." "World Trade Center," Oliver Stone`s movie about two heroes of September 11th, Academy Award-winner Nicolas Cage stars in this one. It`s the true story of the last two Port Authority officers to be pulled from the Trade Center wreckage.

Here`s your first look at the trailer.


CAGE: Roll call warring Tuesday, September 11th. Color for the day is green. As always, protect yourselves, watch each other`s backs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have unconfirmed reports this morning that a plane has crashed into one of the towers at the World Trade Center.

CAGE: We prepared for everything but not this, not for something this size. There`s no plan.

OK, listen up. We`ve got to evacuate the tower. Who`s coming? Step forward.




CAGE: All right. Follow me. Stay together.

CAGE: Can you still see the light?



VARGAS: Wow. What can I say? I`m speechless. "World Trade Center" is in theaters August 9th.

HAMMER: Well, tonight the city of Cannes is going crazy for "Da Vinci." All week, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson has been covering the 59th Cannes Film Festival. Today the cast of the "The Da Vinci Code" met the press to talk about their highly anticipated film. Brooke Anderson was right there of course to hear what they had to say -- Brooke.

BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A.J., one of most controversial films in recent year, "The Da Vinci Code," of course, had its world premiere tonight here at Cannes Film Festival.

Now earlier today, the director and the stars of the film had a press conference. Ron Howard and Tom Hanks addressed the controversy that has been surrounding the movie. Howard even had a little bit of advice for those people who might be offended by the story.


RON HOWARD, DIRECTOR, "THE DA VINCI CODE": There`s no question that the film is likely to be upsetting to some people. My advice is, since virtually no one has really seen the movie yet, is to not go see the movie if you think you`re going to be upset. Wait, talk to somebody who has seen it, discuss it, and then arrive at an opinion about the movie itself. But, again, this is supposed to be entertainment. It`s not theology.

TOM HANKS, ACTOR: As a guy who likes to go to see movies, I like two things. I certainly like crackerjack entertainment, I like to be exposed to the same sort of film that a book is a page-turner. And I think Ron Howard is the guy that I will turn to as fan of movies again and again. And lucky to be one who has worked with him as many times as I have.

But at the same time I do want to be challenged somehow. I want to be -- I want to see movies that are provocative somehow, so I have great things to talk about and perhaps argue about after the movie is over with. And I thought without a doubt "Da Vinci Code" was going to be one of those things. But this is not a documentary. This is not something that is pulled up and said these are the facts and this is exactly what happened.


ANDERSON: Ron Howard also said that he expects the film to do well, if for no other reason then because the book has been so high profile.

A.J., "The Da Vinci Code" opens this Friday in the U.S. Back to you.

HAMMER: The sun is shining in France. Thank you very much, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson. She is going to be back with us a little later in the show to tell us why so many critics are panning "The Da Vinci Code" today. And we want to let you know that Brooke is going to be at Cannes all this week for complete coverage of the premiere of "The Da Vinci Code" and will join us every single night, right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT at 11:00 p.m. Eastern.

VARGAS: And now we want to hear from you. It`s our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Bad reviews for "The Da Vinci Code." Will you still go see the movie? Go to and send us e-mail at

HAMMER: Well, you have probably heard "Will & Grace" getting ready to make its graceful exit after eight years on the air. Coming up, we`re going to take a look at how the sitcom has become a part of television history.

VARGAS: Plus, Richard Simmons is here. His quest to end obesity in America continues. We`ll see what new tricks Richard has up his sleeve, not that he wears any sleeves. Well, coming up, the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


(INAUDIBLE) is the editor of the technology Web site News Wireless.

HAMMER: Look at the shocked look on that guy`s face. The BBC gets the wrong guy. We`re going to tell you how this guy tried to get a job interview at the news network and ended up interviewed on television and now being played all over the world instead, that`s coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

VARGAS: But first, a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT birthday shout-out, where we give fans a chance to wish their favorite stars a happy birthday. Well, tonight we`re sending one out to boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, who`s celebrating his 50th birthday today.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey Sugar Ray Leonard, I wish you a happy birthday and I wish you wouldn`t have never retired. And I wish you many, many more. Happy birthday.



HAMMER: Well, you know, there`s only one king here in these United States of America. And tomorrow the king is here to hold court at SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. CNN`s own Larry King has a brand new book out all about famous fathers. Larry is also going to tell us how he`s helping a young boy get desperately-needed heart surgery. Larry King, always doing some good, and he`ll be here tomorrow on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

VARGAS: As you`ve probably heard by now, Katie Couric is leaving "The Today Show" to anchor the "CBS Evening News" in a few months. Now "The Today Show" has been running Katie`s memorable moments from the past, and this morning, she joked about how CBS might react to one of them. Take a look at this.



Hi, everybody, I`m Spongebob Squarepants!

You`re fired!

How about a kiss, general?

BRYANT GUMBEL: I don`t think so.


COURIC: I was going to say, CBS just called and retracted their offer. Meanwhile -- oh, thanks so much.


VARGAS: Well, Katie, was kidding, of course, but CBS can`t help but notice one thing, it looks like Bob Schieffer is more than holding his own in the anchor chair. For the first time in almost five years, the "CBS Evening News" edged out ABC`s "World News Tonight" last week by about 80,000 viewers. Now NBC`s "Nightly News" cast continues to be the top- rated nightly news show. But CBS hasn`t been number two since August 2001. Katie Couric is set to start anchoring the "CBS Evening News" September 5th.

Very interesting, though, A.J. I mean, Bob Schieffer doing so well. The ratings going up. I wonder, does that make it -- put a little bit more pressure on Katie to do well?

HAMMER: I don`t necessarily think so. And they`re really trying to downplay this over at CBS, which is unusual for a network to ever downplay their good ratings. You know, when they get into the Katie Couric era, it really is going to be a whole new game.

VARGAS: You`re right. That`s true.

HAMMER: Well, let`s move on now to Marie Osmond who says Tom Cruise doesn`t have a clue. We`re going to tell you why she`s lashing out at Cruise, and that`s next.

VARGAS: Plus, strong words from George Lopez about the president. Also, what Lopez told SHOWBIZ TONIGHT about the Spanish version of the national anthem, that`s coming up.

HAMMER: Also, the first reviews are in for one of the most anticipated movies in recent history. The question being raised now, is there a crack in "The Da Vinci Code"? We`re going to find out when we go back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson. She is just hanging out at the Cannes Film Festival, and we will do that coming up next.

But first, tonight, the Red Hot Chili Peppers scorching up the Billboard charts, for the very first time ever in their career, the band has a number one album on the Billboard 200 with their brand new two-disc set. It`s called "Stadium Arcadium." Everybody I know loves it. The numbers out today show that the record sold 442,000 copies in its debut week on the chart.

Nick Lachey looking for a big score got it. His second solo album, "What`s Left of Me," debuts at number two. And that`s followed by the band Tool`s latest album, it`s called "10,000 Days," in at number three this week. The band Jagged Edge, in at number four with its self-titled album. And the Isley Brothers featuring Ronald Isley, they`re in at number five. They definitely score our favorite title of the week with "Baby Makin Music."

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT will be right back.

SOPHIA CHOI, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Hi, I`m Sophia Choi. And here is your HEADLINE Prime newsbreak.

Floodwaters are receding and people in parts of New England are starting to clean up now. The damage is estimated to be in the tens of millions in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts.

Well, calling it a good day for Americans, President Bush has signed a $70 billion tax cut extension bill. Critics say it benefits rich investors and adds to the deficit. The president says it helps create jobs.

Tonight in Washington, the president is attending a huge Republican National Committee gala. The 800-guest event is expected to raise $17 million, a record for non-presidential year.

The National Rifle Association is asking lawmakers to promise not to confiscate guns during times of crisis as they did in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

And amazing video right here of the U.S. Navy sinking a decommissioned aircraft carrier, the USS Oriskany off the Florida coast. Scores of Vietnam and Korean War vets watched the detonation from nearby charter ships.

That`s the news for now.


A.J. HAMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT for a Wednesday night, 30 minutes past the hour. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

SIBILA VARGAS, CNN ANCHOR: And I`m Sibila Vargas in Hollywood. This is TV`s most provocative entertainment news show. Tonight A.J. the end of an era "Will and Grace" going off the air after almost a decade of making us laugh. Do you ever watch the show?

HAMMER: I watch the show. I`ve been watching it since if first went on the air and it really has not only become one of the epic shows of our time but it`s truly made a difference in how gays are portrayed on television.

VARGAS: Absolutely. And we`re going to look at the legacy, that`s coming up.

HAMMER: All right. Also coming up, I`m sorry you`re not here for the party, one of our favorite guests, the crew very excited for Richard Simmons. They can barely control themselves. Here`s a man who has helped countless thousands of people change their lives. He truly is an inspiration to so many. And right now we`re in a time, as we have been for some time where there`s so much pressure to be thin. And so much of our country is overweight. We`ll get into all that with the great Richard Simmons coming up in just a few minutes.

VARGAS: I can`t wait to see that A.J. Because I remember the last one, that you were there -- it was pretty funny. It was really a good interview.

HAMMER: And wait till you see what he`s wearing.

But first tonight Sibila, we`ve got the first reviews of "The Da Vinci Code." They`ve been pouring in from all over the place since the film was screened at the Cannes Film Festival last night. And, as much as we like Tom Hanks and Ron Howard, this is almost tough for me to say -- the reviews -- not so good across the board. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson joins us once again. She`s been at the Cannes Film Festival all week long and she had the chance to chat up some of the critics. Brooke?

BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A.J. many of us here got an early look at "The Da Vinci Code" last night in the very first screening for critics and I`ve got to tell you, the reviews so far have been pretty darn cold. In fact a lot of people during the screening were surprised by the fact that they weren`t enjoying the movie. Many people were excited to see it and had very high hopes. This is a film from Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Tom Hanks. But there was no applause when the movie ended and applause at this festival is pretty typical when the credits roll. But instead there were hisses, there were a few whistles. I caught up with some folks after the screening to get their opinions on the film.


STEPHEN SCHAEFER, BOSTON HERALD: I thought the movie was a big dud. Eagerly anticipated, highly controversial you`d never know it from watching this movie. Nothing works really. It`s not suspenseful. It`s not romantic. It`s certainly not fun. It seems like you`re in there forever.

LORETTA STERN, JOURNALIST: I would love to answer but honestly I`m still thinking. I don`t really know. I would -- I would have loved to like it more I guess.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m really disappointed. I don`t know it`s because I have read the book before seeing the movie. So for me there are a lot of holes in the story, some stuff that aren`t explained in the movie that I really miss in it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Basically it`s a complete crap which had a few good unintentional laughs.


ANDERSON: Now, interestingly this film did not have the standard screenings for test audiences which are a great opportunity for the director, for the filmmakers to go back, gauge reaction, and then make changes, if necessary. Ron Howard did say today that they had a few small screenings under the radar but that they were under a lot of time constraints in post-production. Now "The Da Vinci Code" is one of more than 60 films which will be presented here at the Cannes Film Festival. A.J. back to you.

HAMMER: And Brooke what will be interesting to see is how people who have not read the book feel about the film versus the people who have seen the movie and read the book and that will all unfold as the movie is released.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson joining us from the Cannes Film Festival in France. And Brooke hanging out at Cannes for the rest of the week. She`s going to keep us posted on all the latest "Da Vinci Code" news and the other big movies that are opening, like "Over the Hedge" and the highly anticipated "X-Men 3." So join us every night, right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, 11:00 p.m. eastern.

VARGAS: Well tonight, sitcom star George Lopez has some pretty strong words for the president and some surprising stuff to say about the Spanish version of the national anthem. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT caught up with him at ABC`s unveiling of its fall schedule in New York. As far as "Nuestro Himno", the Spanish version of "The Star Spangled Banner," well, you won`t find that on his iPod. And Lopez thinks the immigration issue really shouldn`t be an issue.


GEORGE LOPEZ, SITCOM STAR: I think we`re at war, you know, and gas is almost $4 a gallon and, you know, we have 50,000 guys who are cruising kids on the Internet and we`re going after people who are coming across trying to better their lives. I think the target is a little off. The administration`s in trouble you go after the Latinos because to them it`s kind of the weakest link you know? But we`re very strong. I wasn`t a fan of it. I don`t think it`s fair to touch the national anthem or change the words or record it in Spanish. Not happening. I won`t be bumping that in my Escalade.


VARGAS: Oh, by the way, "The George Lopez Show" was picked up for another season. Well moving on after 179 episodes over 8 years on the air, the cast of "Will and Grace" says its final goodbyes tomorrow. The show won millions of fans and a cabinet full of awards, and with gay characters that paved the way for other shows, its series finale marks the end of a little bit of television history.


A compliment is you`re sexy, you turn me on. Not one look at you proves I`m a queer.

VARGAS: Clever writing and lovable characters made "Will and Grace "a hit with millions.

You are rocking my clock Mary!

VARGAS: But for many, "Will and Grace`s" greatest achievement wasn`t its comic timing but it`s message.

I`m gay.

NEIL GIULIANO, PRESIDENT, GLAAD: We know that television has a tremendous impact and influence on people`s beliefs and people`s opinions of other people. So in that sense, "Will and Grace" has done a tremendous service for the gay and lesbian community of America.

VARGAS: "Queer as Folk" the L word "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" and "Boy Meets Boy" are just a few of the shows developed in the wake of "Will and Grace`s" success. But many of them are now off the air.

GIULIANO : Two percent of the main characters on American television right now are lesbian or gay characters. That has to improve. And we would really hope that the networks will see that from the success of "Will and Grace" they can take that step.

ERIC MCCORMACK, PLAYS WILL TRUMAN ON "WILL & GRACE": Just as blacks and Latinos have fought to have equal representation on television, I mean so does the gay community need gay characters.

Are you ready for this Mr. Right? Well Mr. Right now anyway. But good night folks I`m here all week. Jack 2000.

VARGAS: (INAUDIBLE) the end of "Will and Grace" is part of an inevitable cycle that all TV shows, even ones with strong cultural messages, eventually run their course.

CHRIS LISOTTA, TVWEEK MAGAZINE: If you think of all the great shows in television from "Mary Tyler Moore" to "Mash", "The Cosby Show," nothing, quote, unquote, replaced them.

DEBRA MESSING, PLAYS GRACE ADLER ON "WILL & GRACE": I think that we`re blessed because we`re doing exactly what we`d always hoped which would be to go out with people still enjoying us.

VARGAS: Well many will lament the loss of this historic sitcom --

I don`t think I can go on.

VARGAS: "Will and Grace`s" quest for laughter was a mission accomplished.

There we go nice and cold.


VARGAS: It certainly was a mission accomplished. I will definitely miss that show. The series finale of "Will and Grace" airs tomorrow night on NBC.

HAMMER: Coming up -- Donny and Marie Osmond take on Tom Cruise. Now those two are known for being pretty nice, but watch out, Tom, because they`re coming after you. We`ve got that next.

VARGAS: Well, Richard Simmons is a pretty nice guy. But does he think Hollywood is to blame for the battle with the bulge? It`s the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Plus, we`ve also got this --


GUY GOMA: They start brushing my face. I say, what`s going on here?


HAMMER: Coming up, a really funny monumental mix-up. A guy named Guy gets mistaken for another guy named Guy. Follow that? We`ll sort it all out for you, coming up next.


HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, TV`s most provocative entertainment news show. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. Time now for a story today that just made us say, "that`s ridiculous." We`re calling this one "the British broadcasting bungle." The prim and proper news channel, the BBC, made a bloody big boo-boo, and it was broadcast for the entire world to see. Here`s CNN`s Jeanne Moos for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the story of two guys named Guy and how the BBC got the wrong guy, not Guy Kewney, but Guy Goma.

GUY GOMA, WRONG GUY: I was so shocked.

MOOS: You`d be shocked, too, if you came to the BBC applying for a job in the I.T. department and then ended up live on TV being mistakenly introduced as an expert on a complex court case involving Apple.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So what does this all mean for the industry and the growth of music online. Well, Guy Kewney is the editor of the technology website "News Wireless." Hello, good morning to you.

MOOS: As the BBC`s competition put it --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There had been a monumental mixup.

MOOS: The British papers are having a field day. The real expert and the job seeker were waiting in separate reception rooms when a producer went to the wrong room and brought out the wrong guy. That look of shock is worth a second look.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well Guy Kewney is the editor of the technology website "News Wireless." Hello good morning to you.

GOMA: Good morning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were you surprised by this verdict today?

GOMA: I`m very surprised to see this verdict to come on me because I was not expecting that.

MOOS: Meanwhile, the reel expert Guy Kewney was still in reception watching himself being introduced on TV.

VOICE OF GUY KEWNEY, RIGHT GUY: It was one of those moments that you think, good God, what`s going on? There can`t be another (INAUDIBLE) called Guy Kewney.

MOOS: The wrong Guy tried valiantly to answer questions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think now more people will be downloading online?

GOMA: Actually, if you look anyway you`re going to see a lot of people downloading.

MOOS: Later he described the experience like this.

GOMA: I was like scared, I said whoa.

MOOS: But he didn`t say whoa. He kept going. Maybe he should have gotten a hint this wasn`t the usual job interview earlier. So after they pick up the wrong guy at reception, they bring him up to a room where they do what they do to all TV guests, put on makeup.

GOMA: They start brushing my face. I say, "What`s going on here?"

MOOS: Now what`s going on is that the tabloids are fighting over the wrong Guy. BBC apologized and interviewed both Guys. Since Guy Goma was so good at being an expert.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: While we`ve got you who here, E.U. membership for Bulgaria and Romania, do you think that`s a good thing?

GOMA: Not really.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think interest rates are going to go up or down in the next four weeks?

GOMA: Ah --

MOOS: Ah`s not for experts. And neither is this face.


HAMMER: That was CNN`s Jeanne Moos for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Jeanne also tells us that the wrong guy eventually did get a job interview and is just waiting to hear whether or not he got the job. Sibila it is actually nice to see the folks at the BBC -- I called them prim and proper before but they do have a sense of humor.

VARGAS: They do. But I mean this guy was up for the job? Well he should get that job. Because he scored the biggest interview in my book. The guy -- you know just for that alone he should get the job.

HAMMER: And now being seen all over the world, it`s pretty amazing.

VARGAS: Exactly. He`s so cute though. Just the way he -- he just kept on going with the interview as if it was really meant for him. His little face was like -- but then he just kept on going. It takes a lot of guts to do that I guess.

HAMMER: Yes it does.

VARGAS: Well moving on again. Shifting gears here. One`s a little bit country. One`s a little bit rock `n` roll. But tonight, both Donny and Marie Osmond are lashing out at Tom Cruise. The brother and sister singing duo dissed the "Mission Impossible" star on "LARRY KING LIVE." They really didn`t like him going off on Brooke Shields and her battle with postpartum depression. Here`s what they had to say.


MARIE OSMOND: I know that Tom Cruise does his own stunt work and things like that. If he had postpartum believe me he would call in a body double because it is intense. And I think -- I think I have made the comment before that unless you`ve been through something like that, you can`t even go there.

DONNY OSMOND: You can`t judge anybody.

MARIE OSMOND: I mean he has no clue. When he becomes a female and has a child and postpartum, then I`ll listen to his comment.


VARGAS: Marie was one of the first celebrities to speak out publicly about her struggles with postpartum depression. A.J.?

HAMMER: This guy needs no introduction. He just loves coming by. We love having him here. Welcome to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Richard Simmons.

RICHARD SIMMONS: Hi, A.J. how are you? Nice to see you.

HAMMER: Welcome back.

SIMMONS: Wow, I`m back.

HAMMER: It`s big fun to have you here on the show.

SIMMONS: Thank you so much.

HAMMER: You`re continuing your crusade, Richard. You`re doing such good work constantly. I love seeing you out there, I love hearing your radio show, really changing people`s lives and you`ve done this for thousands upon thousands of people.

SIMMONS: Well so many people out there are so desperate A.J. They`re going for the surgeries, they`re going for all these procedures, they`re looking at the celebrities who have personal trainers, who have cooks, who have advisers on nutrition. And you know we can`t -- the day that you compare yourself to someone is the day you`re putting yourself down.

We all know now in 2006 and I`ve known it for 36 years while doing this, you`ve got to do the exercise. You can`t pay someone to do it. You can`t do it once in a while. Every day that you eat you have to exercise. And then you`ve got to watch the portions of food. And but most importantly, people have lost their self worth. They`ve stopped believing in themselves. And that`s why I do my Sirius satellite radio show on Sundays and I talk to people for three hours and I have a live audience and try to inspire them, give them some hope, give them a rope to hold on to. You know and I have the, my website where I get 10,000 e-mails a month and just try to get back to everyone and say, you can do this, it is not impossible. On the "Today Show" I had a lady this morning that was -- when I met her she was 335 pounds and she`s down to 130.

HAMMER: That`s amazing.

SIMMONS: Is that a great story?

HAMMER: That`s amazing. The thing that keeps coming back one of the recurring themes in everything you always say, is there is no magic formula. We`re constantly being bombarded with ideas of weight loss and lose weight. Can we throw up the still of "People" magazine. This is a brand new issue of "People" magazine and this is the cover. It`s everywhere. We`re always seeing weight loss covers. And this issue -- their cover story is half their size no tricks, no surgery. So there really is no magic.

SIMMONS: Well those women should be applauded. Everyone in "People" magazine should be applauded because they worked at it. This is hard work. It is hard work every day to make the right choices. It`s hard work to get up 20 minutes early and do your aerobic video, it`s hard work to say no to all of the temptations. But it`s worth it. You`re going to live longer. When you think that last year 350,000 Americans died of obesity-related diseases.

HAMMER: That`s unbelievable.

SIMMONS: And here in our school system, there`s no P.E., I`m going to talk to the new press secretary Mr. Snow to see if we can get -- we need to get P.E. back in the schools or our children will be more overweight than ever. They`ve taken recess away, they`ve taken all of these other classes away.

HAMMER: And you`re talking about physical education, P.E.?

SIMMONS: But not sports, A.J.

HAMMER: But just the idea of taking care of yourself and having good physical activity.

SIMMONS: When kids are raised they`re raised with music. The kids want music, they want fun, they want to sweat.

HAMMER: One of the things you touched upon you said the images that are coming out of Hollywood and they are constant and they are these unobtainable images. One of the things that happens as a result of those images is people feel badly because they see the pictures on the magazines, so they say, I will never look that way. What do you say to somebody so they don`t feel badly when they see pictures of the impossibly thin?

SIMMONS: Comparison leads to depression. Once you start comparing yourself to other people, that`s the day that you lose your own identity. God made you and you can do whatever those stars do, some of these celebrities work out three and four hours a day. They eat very small portions. And they get, you know ready for a role. But as you can see a lot of celebrities have put on weight. A lot of celebrities, you know, are just not taking good care of themselves. They`re getting a little older. I mean I`ll be 58 this year. They`re getting a little older and they`re slacking off on taking care of themselves and it shows.

HAMMER: And we talk a lot about celebrities who come forward with various eating disorders that they had faced and a lot of them in recent times have come out to say, hey, yeah, I had a problem with this whether it was Carney Wilson talking about her surgery that she had to lose weight or Naomi Judd talking about her weight fluctuations. Or on the other side of it, Nicole Richie recently coming out and saying, you know what, I think I look too thin. When you see the stars coming out. You know we know obviously you have a method. You have ways of showing people what to do. We know you inspire people. But when you see these stars coming out, do you feel that that really can help people change their lives?

SIMMONS: Yeah I think it can. But still in the mind of everyone is they want to be so beautiful. You know, I had a lot of eating disorders, 30 laxatives a day, throwing up five times a day, starving and getting down to 119 pounds.

HAMMER: You`ve been through it.

SIMMONS: And I`ve been through it. So I know what it`s like and you don`t know what it`s like to just get up in the morning and want to be thin, going to bed at night and praying to be thin, but yet the thoughts don`t do it, the hard work does.

HAMMER: Richard I`m sorry to make you emotional on the set. I thought we were going to be able to avoid that. But I know when you thought about --

SIMMONS: You know what, you don`t know how many e-mails I get from men and women who have eating disorders and don`t get any help. You`ve got to find help. You have to talk to your family, your friends, you have to go to the doctor, you have to see what he has to say, and you have to soak up the information to be better.

HAMMER: Always good to see you Richard Simmons.

SIMMONS: Thank you so much.

HAMMER: Thank you for continued good work helping people around the world. Richard`s latest super sweating and super toning DVDs can be found in stores now.

VARGAS: Well time now for tonight`s hot headlines. The shocking celebrity split. Paul McCartney and his second wife Heather Mills have called it quits. In a statement SHOWBIZ TONIGHT got today, the couple married four years ago blamed the media saying the constant poking into their private life took its toll. They do say though the parting is amicable. On his website McCartney adds that there`s no truth to the rumor that Mills married him for his money. But because they apparently do not have a pre-nup, she could get a whole lot of cash.

Well Sheryl Crow is back on stage. The 44-year-old singer gave her first public performance last night in New York since having breast cancer surgery in February. She played three songs at a sales presentation to advertisers, that`s called an up front of the new channel "My Network TV." After messing up the words to one of her songs Sheryl joked, the radiation went to her brain.

And some sad Howdy Doody news. Lou Anderson who played the last Clarabell the Clown on the popular 50`s kid show, has died. Clarabell was Howdy Doodey`s sidekick who never spoke but honked a horn in place of talking. Anderson died from complications of prostate cancer. He was 84. And those are tonight`s hot headlines.

HAMMER: All right. I want to take a look at that picture one more time. Can we put this up here? The picture that everybody`s been talking about. Britney Spears driving along with her 8-month-old son, Sean Preston, sitting in a car seat facing forward. Child safety experts think that her baby should have been facing backwards. Now some are questioning Britney`s parenting skills.

So last night, we had to get in your head and ask you to vote online in our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day -- Britney Spears as a mom, is she being judged unfairly? Here`s how the voting went. 41 percent of you said she is. So 59 percent of you say, no, she is not being judged unfairly. Among the e-mails we heard from Angela -- in Britney`s home state of Louisiana who writes, "The media needs to leave Britney alone. There are lots of moms out there, including myself who have made mistakes."

We also heard from Bonnie in Indiana who had a different take on it. "Britney needs some motherly advice. Where is her mother? The whole thing saddens me. Britney was not ready to be a mom." Stick around, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is coming right back.


VARGAS: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Now we`ve been asking you to vote on tonight`s SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Bad reviews for "The Da Vinci Code." Will you still go see the movie? Keep voting at and write us at We`ll read some of your e-mails tomorrow.

HAMMER: And it is time now to find out what is coming up tomorrow here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. For that, we fire up our SHOWBIZ marquee. And joining us tomorrow, as we get into a Thursday night, this man right here, one of our own, Larry King. He`s got a brand new book out, it`s all about famous fathers. He`s also going to share a life and death story with us tomorrow night. It`s a race against time -- how he`s helping a young boy get desperately-needed heart surgery. Larry King, right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT tomorrow.

Also tomorrow, the world premiere of "The Da Vinci Code." It is of course the most talked about movie of the year. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson continues her week-long coverage from the Cannes Film Festival.

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

VARGAS: And I`m Sibila Vargas in Hollywood. Have a great night and stay tuned for the latest from "CNN Headline News." Goodbye.

SOPHIA CHOI, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, I`m Sophia Choi and here`s your Headline Prime Newsbreak. The Army Corps of Engineers now admits levees around New Orleans won`t withstand another major storm. Some areas could see up to six feet of water if a hurricane similar to Katrina hits.

The judge hearing the case against President Bush`s secret wiretapping program says the privacy watchdog group which filed the suit can keep the phone records it has obtained. The group claims AT&T illegally allowed the NSA access to phone and email records without warrants.

Texas` attorney general is suing a company that claims its gas pill can boost mileage 25 percent or more. He says the pill made with the chemicals in mothballs and toilet bowl deodorant bars is a scam.

After four years of marriage Paul McCartney and Heather Mills McCartney are separating. They have a 2 year old daughter. And it`s not all bad news for celebrity couples. Oscar winning actress Nicole Kidman and country music star Keith Urban are engaged. And that`s a look at the news for now. I`m Sophia Choi.


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