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Katie Couric Effect in Broadcast News; Outrageous Gas Prices; Madonna Stirring Things Up Again; Do Polygamists Like Their Lifestyle?; Celebrating the Bikini

Aired May 23, 2006 - 23:00   ET


A.J. HAMMER, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: The real-life "Big Love". One husband, many wives. We will take you inside the homes of a real polygamist family. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.
SIBILA VARGAS, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: And a shocking decision that`ll change the face of network news. I`m Sibila Vargas, TV`s most provocative entertainment news show starts now.


ANNOUNCER: On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, Madonna`s cross controversy. The world`s most powerful religious leaders outraged over her latest stunt. Tonight, is Madonna playing with fire? And will the material girl get burned this time? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT confronts the power of Madonna.

Sexy, bellybutton baring bikinis. They`re not just for Bond girls anymore. Tonight 60 years of the suit that changed American culture, at the movies, on TV, and on the beach. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with a revealing look at the book on bikinis.


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

VARGAS: And I`m Sibila Vargas in Hollywood. An A.J., Madonna has done it again.

HAMMER: You`ve got that right. In fact, Madonna is being crucified tonight for a concert crucifixion that has outraged religious leaders around the world. The question, has Madonna crossed the line?


(voice-over): Madonna`s crossing the church again, literally. At 47 years old, Madonna is showing no signs of mellowing out. Here she is on Sunday on the first night of her new confessions tour, depicting her own crufixioen, handcuffed to the cross, complete with a crown of thorns. Her yoga-toned body hanging on a giant cross as she sang the balled "Live to Tell," and, as you can imagine, it`s got people all over the world heated.

KIERA MCCAFFERY, CATHOLIC LEAGUE: She`s a fraud as well as a bigot.

HAMMER: Just like in the years passed, out range is pouring in and SHOWBIZ TONIGHT went right to Catholic League to get some answers.

MCCAFFERY: This is really nothing new from Madonna. She has been, you know, mis-procreating (SIC) religious imagery to spice up her act for years.

HAMMER: In fact, this isn`t the first time we`ve seen Madonna use Christian imagery. Remember the burning crosses in the depiction of the black Jesus in the 1989 video of, "Like a Prayer?"

MCCAFFERY: Writhing around in a church, you know, with her breast hanging out, in sexual positions, the cross is burning, and all these erotic images of Jesus. I mean, this is, of course, you know, people use to get more upset than they do at this point it`s sort -- we should pity Madonna. It`s just getting boring at this point, Madonna.

HAMMER: The Church of England has seen it before, but that doesn`t make them less angry. In a statement about her concert crucifixion, a spokesperson says, quote, "Why would someone with so much talent seem to feel the need to promote herself by offending so many people?"

MCCAFFERY: I don`t think she has the guts to go after Muslims. I really don`t. She should, you know, she does it to Christians because she thinks we`re just going to lie down and be an easy audience. I mean, people are going to be pretty easy on her because, you know, it`s pitiful. It`s just pathetic.

NATHAN BRACKETT, "ROLLING STONE" MAGAZINE: People expect this from Madonna. In a way, Madonna is the only person who can kind of play with religious imagery like this and actually, kind of, make people a little nostalgic for her days when she was doing it for the first time.

HAMMER: But the crucifixion wasn`t the only thing to get under people`s skin the other night, wearing S&M-style equestrian gear, Madonna made a crude joke about President Bush and made images of him and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, interspersed with pictures of Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden.

Outspoken and sometimes offensive, there have also been other time she has pushed people`s buttons and gotten into hot water with the Catholic Church.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT takes you back to 1990 and her Blond Ambition tour. It led to the pope calling for a boycott because of her raunchy rendition of "Like a Virgin" in which she simulated a sex act. But all the same, we sort of expect this stuff from Madonna.

BRACKETT: I think being a pop star is almost like politics, they say, you win by surviving. And Madonna loves the challenge of being out there. She loves being famous. And I think she is committed to being out there as long as she can.


HAMMER: Well, we did hear from Madonna`s publicist who tells us, Madonna doesn`t think Jesus would mind that she put herself on the cross. She says she was just trying to deliver one of his most important messages, love thy neighbor. Madonna`s Confessions tour expected to bring in more than $200 million in ticket sales, which would make it the single highest grossing tour by a female artist.

VARGAS: The Dixie Chicks are certainly no strangers to controversy. Even after political firestorm over antiwar comments, the group says it`s not going to keep quiet. The Dixie Chicks new album is out today, and you`ve probably already heard their newest single, "I`m Not Ready to Make Nice." It`s from the Chicks first album since lead singer Natalie Maines sparked controversy over comments against President Bush and the war on Iraq. Three years later a lot has changed, the birth of seven babies and the new album and an upcoming tour. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s producer, Carrie Hill sat down with the Dixie Chicks to talk about the political backlash that brought them to tears.


NATALIE MAINES, DIXIE CHICKS LEAD SINGER: It was heartbreaking to hear all this: She doesn`t support the troops, doesn`t support the troops, doesn`t support the troops, because I -- it was such the opposite. And I hated that people got to use my words against me when, I didn`t support the war, in my mind, because I do support the troops, because I support human life. And, if you`re going to put people at risk of ending their lives, you better be able to hand us proof.

CARRIE HILL, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT PRODUCER: And ironically, weren`t these comments made right after you had dedicated a song...

MAINES: Oh yeah, we went from being the most patriotic to Saddam`s angels.



VARGAS: The controversy hasn`t seemed to hurt the Dixie Chicks, though. To date they are the biggest selling female group in history. The new album, "Taking the Long Way," is in stores today.

HAMMER: The Dixie Chicks sticking to their guns and continuing to be very vocal about their antiwar stance on their new album. Madonna enraging Catholics around the world with her cross-baring stunts. What the heck is going on with music industry`s top selling female artists? Why all the controversy? Well, joining us to help us navigate through it, Joe Levy, executive editor from "Rolling Stone."

It`s good to see you, Joe.

JOE LEVY, "ROLLING STONE": Good to be here.

HAMMER: She has just kicked of her world tour, controversy already. Now, we`ve seen this from her before, but what is she trying to prove here?

LEVY: Well, I think the point is that we`ve seen this from her before. I`m not sure she`s trying to prove anything except she is still Madonna, still able to stir people up and about the same old issues -- religion, sex, freedom, power. Those are the Madonna watch words, those are the key things. She is out there pushing buttons and it`s what she has always done.

HAMMER: But is it controversy for the sake of controversy sake for her? Are people right to be saying, oh, my god, I can`t believe what she`s doing? It`s just her act. I mean this is just -- does she need to do this to sell tickets and albums?

LEVY: No, she doesn`t need to do this to sell tickets. The tickets are pretty much already sold. This is a hot ticket this summer, stands to be one of the big money-makers of the year, possibly the biggest money- maker of the year, as for the album sales? She`s not selling a lot of albums. She`s selling some albums, that`s the way it`s been for her for a while. And all of this is not going to sell albums for her. I think we`ve got to deal with the possibility that she means it. She really believes all of this. She believes that she should be able to do whatever she wants and she should be free to express her religious passion however she wants.

HAMMER: See, I think that, too, and some people think I`m na
LEVY: Well, doing it for the attention is also part of who she is and something she fiercely believes in. She wanted to be the most famous woman in the world, she said it at the start, she got it, and she did get it by being controversial. So, let`s not leave that out. But, that said, I think it`s part of her right now. She wove this into her DNA.

HAMMER: All right, let`s move on to the Dixie Chicks, "Not Ready to Make Nice." They are saying it plain and clear, right now. They are not backing down, they are unapologetic. Last time they did this, lots of backlash. Not so much happening this time. Are they vindicated from al of the backlash...

LEVY: Well, there`s not so much happening yet, but the "Time" magazine where Natalie Maines says said that President Bush was deserving of no respect and that she is sorry she apologized to him. Well, I think that just hit stands yesterday, so let`s give it a minute to catch fire.

HAMMER: Yes. It`s got to boil up.

LEVY: Look, are the vindicated? They`ll be vindicated if they sell a lot of records, and if they go on a concert tour and sell a lot of tickets. I think they are going to have a big album. I don`t think that they were beaten down last time and that`s exactly the point. I think, though, that they are going to be working with a smaller audience. This single, "Not Ready to Make Nice," is not big on the radio and is really not big on country radio. That`s been their core before and they`ve alienated it.

HAMMER: And when I spoke with the band, and Natalie Maines in particular, a couple of weeks ago, they seemed empowered, they seemed genuinely empowered by what`s going on this time around.

LEVY: Well, they have been through the worst. The worst was last time. Two, three years ago, they lash out against President Bush, it`s 2003. His approval ratings are at an all-time high. We`re fighting a war in Iraq, now we`re still fighting the war in Iraq. His approval ratings are at an all-time low and they`ve been through the worst. Their records have been destroyed, their CDs have been crushed, burned, they`ve been pulled off the radio, their lives have been threatened and they survived it.

HAMMER: And maybe now they`re on to something. We`ll continue to watch it unfold. Joe Levy from "Rolling Stone" magazine, thanks for joining us.

LEVY: Thank you.

VARGAS: Now we want to hear from you with our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Madonna on the cross: Are her stunts getting old? Go to and send an e-mail at

HAMMER: OK, I want you to prepare yourself now, because we`re going to be taking you inside the wacky and very funny mind of Mencia. Who is Mencia and why would you even want to go into his mind? You`ll find out next.

VARGAS: And the bikini is not just for Bond girls anymore. Coming up, we`ll take a revealing look at "The Bikini" the book. We`ll also have this:


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re sharing your husband, right?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that`s OK with you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, they`re my best friends.


It`s not just some Hollywood drama. Real families who are really living "Big Love". Coming up, we`re going to take you inside the homes of polygamist families. That`s just ahead on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

VARGAS: But first tonight`s "Entertainment Weekly Great American Pop Culture Quiz."

Jeremy Piven has appeared in all but which one of these John Cusack films? Is it A, "Say Anything," B, "The Grifters," C. "Identity," D. "Grosse Point Blank?" All good movies, but do you know answer? We`ll be right back.


VARGAS: So, again, tonight`s "Entertainment Weekly Great American Pop Culture Quiz." And this is a good one, folks.

Jeremy Piven has appeared in all but which one of these John Cusack films? Is it A, "Say Anything," B, "The Grifters," C. "Identity," D. "Grosse Point Blank?"

Well, if you answered "C" you are absolutely correct. It is "Identity."

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, TV`s most provocative entertainment news show. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. I love doing this show, particularly because I get to do this story. It`s another story that made us say, "That`s Ridiculous." Just when you thought gas prices had reached their peak, look at these gas prices. A gas station owner in California replaced $3 plus signs with ones that showed the real cost of gas these days, as you saw, an arm, a leg, and your firstborn, that is, of course, depending on whether you get regular, plus, or premium gas, I suppose. The owner says he`s fed up with the high prices that he is forced to charge. Outrageous gas prices? Now "That`s Ridiculous." And Sibila, I have to say my hats of to that particular gas station owner.

VARGAS: Absolutely. He`s just saying what we all feel. And I`ll tell you, it`s gotten so bad for me, A.J., that I won`t get gas myself. It`s like, honey, you have to do that. That`s the dirty work, because I don`t even want to know how much it is. It`s crazy.

HAMMER: Yeah, pretty much you are going to have to start slicing off body parts to pay for it. Well, that gas station owner simply telling it like it is in that world of political correctness, and in that world, Carlos Mencia takes great pride in saying really what a lot of us are really thinking all the time. His Comedy Central show, "Mind of Mencia," is one of cable`s highest rated shows. Carlos joining us from Hollywood tonight.

Nice to see you.


HAMMER: There is so much out there that we got to talk about. So many things pushing lots of people`s buttons. We were just showing the high gas prices costing an arm, a leg and your firstborn. You live out there in Hollywood where gas is at an all-time high. What do you make of it?

MENCIA: It`s ridiculous. But I love that guy because I love that he`s being honest and saying, look, this is ridiculous, it`s crazy. I can`t believe we`re paying this much. And he puts it up there, and he says it. And I would actually drive farther just to go to that gas station because I feel like the guy`s being honest. At least he`s saying, look, even I`m crazy. You know that it`s bad when the guy who`s selling you the gas is going, this is ridiculous! I don`t know what to do!

HAMMER: Yeah, because it`s not his fault and he`s speaking our language, there, Carlos.

MENCIA: Yeah, exactly. He saying what we want to say and he makes it funny. And, you know what? Bottom line is, we all got to buy gas. But if you go to that gas station, at least you`re going to get a little laugh out of it. You`re going to get, you know, incense, but there is going to be something there for you.

HAMMER: Well, let`s talk about something else that is huge because it had an enormous opening worldwide, over the weekend, "The da Vinci Code." Now, as you probably noticed, it got a lot of flack because it put this idea out there that Jesus could have been married to Mary Magdalene, a lot of controversy surrounding the opening of this film. What`s your take on it?

MENCIA: First of all, it`s a movie! For all the people out there freaking out, it is just a movie. You know when you saw "Planet of the Aps?" Monkeys can`t talk. You know how we can tell? Yeah, it doesn`t really happen. It`s OK. I mean, I`m a Catholic, and part of this whole incensement on the Christian community, which I`m a part of, actually angers me because it`s like, do you really believe that I`m that weak of a follower, that I`m like that, like, goofy of a follower that I`m going to go see a movie and after the movie I`m going to be like, I`m not going to go to church anymore? I can`t believe that. It`s like everybody is doing it.

And, by the way, like, really, we believe that Jesus walked on water. We believe that Jesus, you know, fed everybody with one glass of wine. We believe that Jesus raised the dead. We believe that Jesus rose from the dead. We believe that Jesus is the son of God. But that he might have had a girlfriend? Oh, that`s way too far! That is the most unbelievable thing I`ve ever heard! Are you crazy? He might have had a girlfriend? No way! I`m like -- after all the guy`s been through? I mean, that`s the one thing we don`t want him to have is a girlfriend or whatever? Like, who cares?

You know what, I became more Christian after I saw the movie because, I, you know, as a Christian, I was like, you know, Jesus died for our sins he suffered. But now that I know that he`s married, I`m like, wow, did he really suffer. Poor guy.

HAMMER: So you had real sympathy.

MENCIA: Yeah. I am a real Christian now.

HAMMER: I guess that idea not as farfetched as some of the other things. But, moving on, still on a religious theme, right at the beginning of the program, you saw, we were showing Madonna stirring things up again because she`s on a cross. This is just what Madonna does. And everybody is saying, oh, well, she needs to poke fun at the Catholics because it`s an easy target.

MENCIA: But she -- you know what it is? She is a genius. She`s done this -- her whole career has been, where did Madonna go, she does something crazy, and then we all pay attention to her. I`m talking about it. You`re talking about it. People now know that she has an album coming out. Her tour is coming out. And she`s a genius.


MENCIA: She knows -- she knows how to make people like you and I how to talk about her. That`s what her business is all about. It has nothing to do with anything else. So, she went on a cross? Who really cares?

HAMMER: Kind of what happened with "The da Vinci Code" and all the publicity it got because of the controversy.

Your show on Comedy Central, one of the highest rated cable programs out there. You have new episodes on the air. You`re into your new season. Are you pushing the envelope even further this time around? Is it harder to do that these days?

MENCIA: You know what? I try not to on purpose. See, I grew up in the g ghetto. And, It`s different for me because what I find abrasive is not what everybody else finds abrasive. It`s one of those things where it`s like -- when I was a kid, everything was honesty, and I just try to be honest. Like, for example, my mom was supposed to buy me something, you know, nice for Christmas, but she bought me socks that she was supposed to get me at the beginning of the school year. So then, I was like, I can`t believe you guys got me socks. And my mom said, Oh, it wasn`t mine. That was Santa Claus. And then my father was like, there`s no such thing as Santa Claus, that was your mom who bought them and if anybody comes in our house in the middle of the midnight, stab `em. That`s not Santa Clause, it`s somebody trying to steal something from our house. So, those are the kind of things that I had -- that I had when I was a kid.

HAMMER: So you call it like you see it. I do want to ask you, your take on the controversy swirling around the issue of immigration in our country. It`s gotten a little bit of attention. And now National Guard troops are apparently going to watching our border. Now, do you think that`s a good idea, Carlos?

MENCIA: Well, they`re watching our border. They don`t have guns and they don`t have power. So, basically, we put greeters at the border. Maybe what we should do is give them a clipboard and a little tag that says, like, "Hi, my name is Bob," and then the illegals could walk up to them and go, Hernandez, party of 853.

HAMMER: I think that you`re on to something, there. Maybe they could have, you know, little plates of food and offer everybody a little snack. What is...

MENCIA: Yeah, and they can say, "Hi, welcome to our country. The Home Depot`s that way." I mean, come on.

HAMMER: Yeah, the immigration welcome wagon, something sort of like that. So, what do you think is going on in the world here with all of this political correctness? Have we just lost our sense of humor?

MENCIA: Yeah -- no, honestly, I really do. And you know what? The success of my show and shows like mine, and the success of people like Chris Rock, and Dave Chappelle show that America likes, you know, being talked to, and America likes being talked to in an honest manner. But, the problem is is that we don`t laugh at, you know, things like we used to. People laugh at my show at home, but, if we were to talk like this at a workplace, people would be like, oh, you can`t say that. Oh, you can`t say the joke about the African-American because they are right there and then the Asians right there. And it`s one of those things where America is asking us to do two things at the same time that don`t match.

HAMMER: Right.

MENCIA: Know everything about everybody else`s ethnic background, but pretend that you don`t know at the same time. So don`t treat a Muslim like a Muslim because they`re just regular people, but you better know not to give them pork, because they don`t -- and, it`s like, well, I don`t know that. I mean, if you want me to know about their culture, then that`s cool. But if you`re like, hey, some guy`s coming over, well, come on, let`s have some baloney sandwiches. You know I don`t know which one it is, man.

HAMMER: Well, Carlos, we appreciate your insight and we really are happy to have you here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

MENCIA: Oh, thanks, man. I appreciate it.

HAMMER: I want to let everybody know that season one "Mind of Mencia" is now available on DVD. You can catch season two of his show, on Wednesday, on Comedy Central and brand new episodes of "Mind of Mencia" are going to get underway on July 9.

VARGAS: Well, coming up, is Angelina Jolie ready to give birth? There`s word from daddy-to-be, Brad Pitt, how just how soon baby Bradgelina may be arriving. We`ll also have this:


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love my husband dearly, but the other ladies in the house probably have a closer -- I might have a closer relationship with them.


VARGAS: It`s not HBO, but their story is pretty close. Meet the real-life, "Big Love." One husband, many wives. Tonight the inside look at this unconventional way of life.

HAMMER: Also, no need to teach this dog new tricks. Find out why this canine is fetching a lot more than national attention. The details just ahead on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


VARGAS: Is baby Bradgelina almost here? Well, a rep from the Cannes Film Festival said the message from daddy-to-be Brad Pitt, seems to say yes. Apparently Pitt says that e-mails of organizers of the Cannes saying he was unable to attend the festivities because of the, quote, "Imminent arrival of the newest addition to our family." Pitt is in Namibia with his pregnant girlfriend Angelina Jolie. Pitt was schedule to promote his new film, "Babel," co-starring Cate Blanchett.

HAMMER: Well, coming up, a shocking decision that is going to change the face of network news forever. We`ll also have this:


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re sharing your husband, right?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that`s OK with you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, they are my best friend.


VARGAS: It`s not just some Hollywood drama, real life families really living "Big Love." Coming up, we`ll take you inside homes of polygamist families. That`s a head on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

HAMMER: And the bikini, not just for Bond girls anymore. We`ll take a revealing look at the bikini and a book about it. The sexy story, that`s just ahead on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, which will be right back.



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

VARGAS: And I`m Sibila Vargas in Hollywood. This is TV`s most provocative entertainment news shows. A.J, it is one of the most anticipated books of the year. Not talking about "The da Vinci Code" follow up, but "The Bikini Book." At least, that`s the way it`s been with SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s crew.

HAMMER: Yeah, the crew is still excited about "The Bikini Book," around here.


HAMMER: We`re going to be talking to the author of that book in just a few moments and looking at some pretty pictures. Also tonight, a big announcement made over at ABC News, earlier today. They`ve unenvied a permanent replacement for the person who will be taking over in that anchor chair on the evening newscast. The entire landscape of so many television programs altered because of one woman -- Katie Couric, something we`re calling the Katie Couric effect. We`ll be looking into that in just a few minutes.

VARGAS: But, first, the HBO show, "Big Love," has drawn new attention to something that`s still around, but not often talked about -- polygamy. Well, tonight a rare look inside the lives of real polygamists and answers to some of the questions that are on everyone`s mind, but -- when it comes to this subject. Here`s CNN Daryn Tuchman for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A daughter and a mother.

KRISTEEN, DAUGHTER, POLYGAMIST: I`ve never had people make fun of me, but I don`t think they know.

TUCHMAN: What they don`t know is that Daughter Kristeen lives in 32- bedroom house with many siblings and many mothers. For security reasons, Mother Linda doesn`t want to give exact numbers.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Do you know how many wives there are?


TUCHMAN: It is between 10 and 15?

LINDA: Yeah. That`d be safe to say.

TUCHMAN: And the kids, a range, how many kids?

LINDA: More than 30. All my kids are still here.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Most polygamists` homes are not this big, but size is a nice luxury to have in these kinds of families.

(on camera): Looks like Versailles.

(voice-over): The children are all fathered by one man -- one husband, who, because polygamy is against the law, doesn`t feel safe appearing on camera.. Neither do the rest of his wives, who, in most cases, have paying jobs. They won`t tell us what their husband does to pay for such a big house. Here, in the neighboring communities of Colorado City, in Centennial Park, AZ, most homes are polygamists. People don`t want their last names used because they`re afraid. But Mark doesn`t mind talking. He`s only married to one woman, but that`s just temporary.

(on camera): Would you like to have 10 or more wives like your father did?

MARK, POLYGAMIST: Sure. Why not? The more the merrier.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): It`s not only men who talk like that here. We gathered a group of polygamists from different families who say as fundamentalist Mormons, God has obligated them to live in pluralistic marriages.

JOYCE, POLYGAMIST: We do believe that he has commanded it.

TUCHMAN: Joyce doesn`t want to divulge how many wives she shares her husband with and how many children they have. But she says she`s very happy.

(on camera): Aren`t there time where you say, I just wish he was with me and had me alone?

JOYCE: No. Honestly not.


TUCHMAN: You`re sharing your husband, right?

JOYCE: Yes. Yes.

TUCHMAN: And that`s OK with you?

JOYCE: You know, they are my best friend.

TUCHMAN: Your -- the other wives.

JOYCE: Absolutely. They really are. In fact, I love my husband dearly, but the other ladies in the house probably have a closer -- I might have a closer relationship with them.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): In an effort to avoid trouble, most of the polygamist families in this community get an official marriage certificate only for the first marriage in the household. Pricilla lives with several sister wives as they`re called and many children.

(on camera): When you see women out there who say, you guys are just being taken advantage of, you know, by men who want to be with lots of women...

PRISCILLA, POLYGAMIST: We say you`re being taken advantage of. That`s what we would say to them.


PRISCILLA: Because so many of them don`t have a committed relationship.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): They know their childhoods and their families sound very unusual to most people.

PRISCILLA: We have more than four mothers.

TUCHMAN (on camera): And how many brothers and sisters?

PRISCILLA: Total, at the end of the family, we have more than -- more than 30.

JOYCE: I have three and we have more than 20 children in our family.

TUCHMAN: How many of you have had relatives who have gone to jail for polygamy? So, six of you. Grand parents? Parents?


TUCHMAN: In jail for polygamy. And how did that affect your family?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was devastating.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): The people in our group say they are not followers of polygamy leader Warren Jeffs who is wanted by the FBI, but they are not ready to vilify him.

LINDA: We have no idea. We don`t know what he`s done.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Would of you let your 14 or 15-year-old daughters get married?


TUCHMAN: Sixteen or 17?


TUCHMAN: Not until they are 18.



TUCHMAN (voice-over): They say they have all watched the new HBO show about polygamy, called, "Big Love."

(on camera): Do you like it?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s entertaining.


TUCHMAN: Is it realistic.


TUCHMAN: A lot of sex in that show, isn`t there?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah, too much. Which is why a lot of our people stop watching after the first couple episodes times.

TUCHMAN: So that`s unrealistic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Well -- I don`t know.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Which brings up this question. How is it decided which wife the husband sleeps with on a given night?

JOYCE: We draw strauz. The one with the short straw has to.


JOYCE: No offense to the men.


JOYCE: We love our husband very much. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) communicate.

TUCHMAN: These women say their husbands do have significant stamina.

(on camera): What an ego boost for the men to be loved by so many women.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What an he go boost for the women to be loved by such a good man.

JOYCE: It`s a win-win proposition.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): These people enjoy joke around but they get very serious when they declare the mainstream Mormon Church made a mistake when polygamy was banned more than a century ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We stand and support of the principal of polygamist marriage as a sacred tenet.

TUCHMAN: Polygamy will not be disappearing time soon from this nook in Arizona.

(on camera): Are any of you ladies at the point where you would not want your husband to take another wife?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The more the better.


VARGAS: Fascinating stuff. That was CNN`s Gary Tuchman for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

HAMMER: All right, some big news today in the world of TV news. "Good Morning America`s" Charlie Gibson, officially moving to the night shift. He is going to be the solo anchor of ABC`s "World News Tonight." All of this musical anchor chair stuff can basically be traced back to one person -- Katie Couric. So, let`s sort it all out right, something we`re calling it the Katie Couric Effect.

Joining us tonight, Howard Kurtz, media writer for the "Washington Post" he`s down in D.C. And Melissa Grego, managing editor for "TV Week" joins us from Hollywood. Nice to see you.


HAMMER: All right. Howard, here we go. Let`s not waste any time, get right to the predictions for the evening news smackdown, we`re talking about Katie Couric versus Brian William verses Charlie Gibson. Who`s going to win?

HOWARD KURTZ, "WASHINGTON POST": Who`s going to win? You want me to go out and stick my neck out and make a foolish prediction...

HAMMER: Right now. I`ll hold you to it.

KURTZ: All right. Well, Brian Williams, I believe, will be on top for a while for the simple fact he`s No. 1. He`s got a million viewer lead. Katie Couric is going to take an enormous amount of publicity when she goes over to CBS. And ABC was falling behind in the game, so they went to the bench and brought in their most versatile and experienced bench player, Charlie Gibson, giving him up in the morning in the hopes of being more competitive in the evening.

HAMMER: All right, Howard`s calling it for Brian Williams. Melissa, what`s your take?

GREGO: I think Howard`s right, in part. I think that Katie will bring a tremendous amount of publicity to CBS. But I think we`re going to actually see more of a horse race in the news race, network news race, sort of akin to what we`re saying in primetime than what we`ve seen in a long time. I definitely think, you know, you`ve got -- you`ve got three heavy hitters now, but I don`t think it`s enough to really change the game dramatically. I think you`ll have the same number of people watching network news. They might just sort of realign with their favorites.

HAMMER: Yeah, I think we`ll see attention shifting as publicity starts to ramp up with all of the new programs coming on.

All right, I want to run though this -- I`d like you to stay with me for this and perhaps follow along with the lovely graphic we have provided on the Katie Couric connection, here. It`s the Katie Couric Effect, which really caused a seismic shift on TV. And it basically all started with Katie Couric saying she`s leaving the "Today Show" for the "CBS Evening News." And then that brought Meredith Viera over to the "Today Show" from "The View," leaving a seat there for Rosie O`Donnell, she`s now over at "The View."

And Charlie Gibson, of course, because ABC is not really getting attention for their nightly newscast, now he`s been announced as anchoring the "World News Tonight" program. So, Howard, it`s really unprecedented, here, and kind of wild that so much of the landscape of television now being altered because of one woman.

KURTZ: It`s amazing. It goes beyond that, because for two decades we basically had Tom, Dan and Peter. And of course, Peter Jennings` death is what set off this round of musical anchor chairs at ABC. And Katie Couric has got everybody scrambling because she`s probably the most famous person of everybody you just mentioned, also getting the biggest salary, I might add. And so she is the one on the magazine covers and she`s the one who`s going to have the most scrutiny. The danger for her when she takes the Bob Schieffer`s job at CBS is expectations have gotten so high that if after two weeks, she hasn`t moved the needle, people will say, what was that all about?

HAMMER: And of course the one name that didn`t come up, the one picture that didn`t show up in our fancy little graphic is that of Diane Sawyer, Katie`s current competitor. So, Melissa, has Diane been dissed in all this? Because a lot of people where saying that Diane was hoping to take on Katie at night, because she didn`t get to finish out the morning duo.

GREGO: Well, that`s an interesting question, I mean, I don`t think that you can be in the news business for as long as Diane Sawyer has been in the news business and not see the evening anchor chair as something to aspire to. I don`t care who you are, if you`re on that level, and that profile. It`s something that anybody would like to at least have the offer to do.

But, you know, you bring up Diane and Katie and going head to head an I think actually, when it comes to the Couric Effect, if you wan to call it that, the most interesting thing to me about Katie going to the evening news, is really its effect on the morning, her not being at "Today" is more -- is going to have a larger impact, I think, in the grand schemes of things than her being in the evening news. Those mornings shows where the network`s news divisions make their most money, and the Leslie Moonves, who runs the CBS Corporation, last week in new York at a press breakfast mentioned -- he acknowledged to the reporters that, you know, he knows the power of bringing her over to CBS. It has a lot to do with hurting the completion.

HAMMER: Yeah, it does.

GREGO: The fact that NBC won`t have her.

HAMMER: And the interesting point that you raise, they make all the money in the morning, not so much at night. And I`d love to get into that, but I`m afraid we`re out of time, so thanks for being with us tonight.

Howard Kurtz from the "Washington Post" in Washington. Melissa Grego from "TV Week" in Hollywood. We appreciate it.

GREGO: Thank you.

VARGAS: Well, coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, celebrating 60 years of skimpy swimsuits. There`s a new book out about the history of the bikini and the women who made them famous. Yes, there`s lots of pictures in the book. We`ll take a peek, coming up.

HAMMER: Plus, if he wasn`t man`s best friend already, this (UNINTELLIGIBLE) seals the deal. Forget the newspaper and slippers. We`ll meet a dog who will bring you a beer, and that`s my kind of dog. And that`s 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 another story that made us say "That`s Ridiculous." And this is a special dogs only edition of "That`s Ridiculous." And we`re going to Arizona tonight. Wait until you see this dog. Look at that pooch. Definitely the fattest dog we`ve ever seen. Now, her name is Sessa (ph), she ways about 70 pounds. That`s not a lot of weight, but that`s nearly three times what she should weigh. She is so fat, apparently, she can`t even walk on her own. The sad part is, she got that way because her owner fed her donuts and beer. Giving a dog such bad nutrition, amazingly, not illegal, and to us, that`s ridiculous. The Humane Society stepped in and fortunately now, Sessa (ph) is on a diet, does these water workouts that you`re seeing, and doing much better. I`m very happy for Sessa (ph).

Let`s go down to Alabama now. This dog is named Homeless. Now, Homeless` owner, Joe, says Homeless loves to run errands, fetching the worm bucket when it`s time to go fitching -- fetching -- fishing, fetching wood for the grill, and, the best part, Homeless will even fetch Dr. Pepper, water and beer for Joe and can actually tell the difference between them. We got to say, "That`s Ridiculous," or, more importantly, perhaps I should say, Sibila, that`s pretty cool.

VARGAS: And doggone cute. I got to say, deeply (UNINTELLIGIBLE) doggone cute. I`ll tell you, my dog, though, is not that ambitious, though, but for an eight pound dog, she makes a pretty darned good guard dog.

HAMMER: She can fetch you a marble or something like that.

Let`s move on now, because it`s time for us to say, happy birthday bikini!


Yes, believe it or not, the bikini turning 60. Don`t worry, gentlemen, she has no thoughts of retirement. The bikini looking better than ever, even has it`s own new back, called, "The Bikini Book," featuring big screen bikini women, who better to bring them to you than SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bond, James bond.

HAMMER (voice-over): We all know the bellybutton baring bikini goes best with bond. In 1962`s "Dr. No," people count help but say yes to the bikini clad Ursula Andress.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you doing here? Looking for shells?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I`m just looking.

HAMMER: That ionic Bond girl bikini scene was reinvented 40 years later by the stunning Halle Berry in "Die Another Day."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Magnificent view.


HAMMER: The bikini book is now helping to celebrate these bikini moments with 400 pages of its itsy bitsy teeny weenie fun. While the bikini was invented in 1946, it would be another 15 years before we would see a bikini in a Hollywood movie. But there is no shortage of them today.

Jessica Bael in "Summer Catch" is high on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT list of favorite bikini show stoppers. Also up there is the bodacious Phoebe Cates in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s no high school boy.

HAMMER: In "Charlie`s Angels," the bikini shot is worth a thousand words. "Varsity Blues" take on the bikini is always a tasty treat. But, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT votes the "Dukes of Hazard`s" Jessica Simpson as our favorite bikini babe. We`ll let the video speak for itself.


HAMMER: How did that ever win? So many memorable bikini moments, but you know, the teeny weenie bikini it is more than just a few inches of fabric for the stars to flaunt. That little swimsuit has made some pretty big strides over the years. All covered in this book, "The Bikini Book," compiled and written by Kelly Killoren Bensimon who joins us here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

A pleasure to have you.


HAMMER: I got to ask you. We take the bikini for granted now, but weren`t people just up in arms back in the, what was it, the 1950s when the bike become was first introduced?

BENSIMON: The bikini was first introduced in 1946, so two years after World War II, so it was a bit of a scandal. You know, here we are on the beaches, everyone`s playing, and exposing their skin to the sun after the war and, you know, it was scandalous because, you know, in America, we`re were really modest and Betty Crocker was making bread. And, in France they were showing their skin.

HAMMER: And even "Vogue," the biggest of the fashion magazines at the time was not a big fan of the bikini.

BENSIMON: No, not at all. In fact the bikini wasn`t really popular until, like, the late 60s when, you know, actresses started wearing it.

HAMMER: And it really was Hollywood that put the bikini on the map, made it socially acceptable all across the globe. Who was the first Hollywood actress that really put the bikini on the map?

BENSIMON: I`d have to say that the first actress that really made it mainstream was Annette Funicello in "Beach Party." Because, you know, she was young, the bikini was a right of passage, she was cute and fun, she was having a great time and they were exploring, you know, California, and you know, she was really, really the first woman that really made the bikini acceptable. Then there are other, you know, iconic women that, you know, like Brigitte Bardot had also warn the bikini, but it was really Annette Funicello.

HAMMER: Brigitte Bardot, now, do we have the picture. There she is right there. I mean, look at that. How could anybody stay away from the bikini or pictures of ladies in the bikini after an image like that? And then you move through the years and, of course, all of the Bond girls in the bikinis. Who would you say is the most famous bikini wearer? I mean, certainly that Brigitte Bardot picture has to rank right up there.

BENSIMON: I mean, there`s a lot, there`s Ursula Andress, obviously, Brigitte Bardot, you know, Raquel Welch, Halle Barry, Demi Moore, there`s tons of women from all these different generations who have warn the bikini. The bikini is here to stay.

HAMMER: Who do you think looks best in the bikini of all these ladies that you`re mentioning here?

I`d hate for you to have to, you know, come out and editorialize about it, but...

BENSIMON: You know, in, today, 40 is the new 20 and so to me I would like to see, you know, 16-year-old girls, 18-year-old girls, 40-year-old women, 50-year-old women, as long as you have confidence and you feel good about yourself, then the bikini is right for you. If you don`t have confidence, then it`s not right for you. The bikini is about a lifestyle, so if you like to windsurf, and you like to water-ski, and you like to hang out on the beach and you like to look great and you have a little roll like Marilyn Monroe, it`s OK.

HAMMER: I have actually heard, not to get personal, but I`ve actually heard that you will put on several different bikinis in the course of a day. You`ll start out with one, for perhaps your windsurfing, and then move on to the sunbathing bikini. Am I right?

BENSIMON: You are right. I like bikinis. I`ve been wearing them since I was three. And I actually for a fur bikini to a book party in the fall.

HAMMER: Fur bikini. A real fur bikini?

BENSIMON: It was actually made -- my housekeeper helped me make it and it was this fake fur and attached it to a bikini, and I wore it to a party and it caused a lot of scandal.

HAMMER: I was going to say, you can get in trouble for that. You mentioned the most important thing about wearing the bikini, and I don`t speak from personal experience, but it`s the confidence. Because, there are certainly a lot of women out there who say it`s not for me. I can`t do it. So what do you say to those women who say, oh, you know, I`m just too big, or not the right size?

BENSIMON: But t\That`s the beauty about this book is that we`ve explored all the different body shapes, like Esther William and Marilyn Monroe, and Raquel Welch, and, you know, Demi Moore, and Lauren Hutton, I mean, there` all different kind of women, there`s children, you know, there`s men, there`s athletes. You know, it`s not just the supermodel that`s wearing the bikini.

HAMMER: So it is for everyone.

BENSIMON: It is. It celebrates the woman and the man.

HAMMER: Kelly, thanks you for celebrating the bikini with us here at SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

BENSIMON: Thank you A.J.

HAMMER: Certainly was a lot fun. And the guys seem to like the pictures around there. "The Bikini Book" in stores now. A portion of the proceeds going to benefit the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

VARGAS: I`m just so glad, A.J. that you`re not wearing a bikini -- or that you don`t wear any.

Well, last night we asked you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. "The da Vinci Code" No. 1: Do you pay attention to the movie critics? Well, 14 percent of you said yes. An overwhelming amount of you said no, 86 percent of you. Now here are some of the e-mails we got.

Becky from Washington writes: "I thought Tom Hanks was outstanding in the movie. Can`t wait to see it again."

And Ron from Texas writes, "`The da Vinci Code` was average. I found the book a bit better." That`s always the case.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT will be right back.


VARGAS: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Now, as reported earlier, Madonna has outraged church officials by hanging on a giant cross as she sang the ballad "Live to Tell" during a concert tour she just started. And we`ve been asking you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." Madonna on the Cross: Are her stunts getting old? Keep voting at and write us at We`ll read some of your e-mails tomorrow.

HAMMER: And tomorrow is Wednesday. It`s time to find out what`s coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT for Wednesday. And for that, we roll out the "Showbiz Marquee."

Well, tomorrow we`ve got the ladies` guide to being a boss without being that other "B" word. We`re going to meet the woman who wrote a book filled with lessons and true stories from "Women in Charge." That`s tomorrow. Also for tomorrow, myths about marriage: How what you`re feeling when you walk down the aisle can come back to haunt you. You`ve seen her on Oprah, and now Dr. Robin Smith is going to be right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT to tell us about lies at the alter, the truth about great marriages. And that is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, thank you so much for watching, I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

VARGAS: And I`m Sibila Vargas in Hollywood. Goodnight everyone. Goodnight A.J. and stay tuned for the latest on CNN Headline News.


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