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Lance Bass Bombshell; Actress Monique vs. United Airlines

Aired July 26, 2006 - 23:00:00   ET


A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: Actress-comedienne Monique is here to talk about why she is calling for a boycott of United Airlines.
I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

BROOKE ANDERSON, CO-HOST: And how you can see Brad Pitt and Angelina`s baby in person.

I`m Brooke Anderson. TV`s most provocative entertainment news show starts right now.


HAMMER (voice over): On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the startling confession of a major heartthrob. Lance Bass reveals he`s gay.

Tonight, the gripping story behind why the `N Sync star decide to do come out after all these years. And the revelation that his boyfriend is a major reality show star.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with the Bass bombshell.

She reads the news. Now she is the news. Tonight, a news anchor goes public with her long and painful struggle with an eating disorder.

HOLLY AMES, NEWS ANCHOR: And I battled bulimia for nearly a decade.

HAMMER: Tonight, an anchorwoman`s emotional story of how she got through her darkest days, how she chose to share her struggle with her viewers. And she will share it with us tonight, in the interview you will see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


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

ANDERSON: I`m Brooke Anderson.

And what happened today may be the biggest coming out in years. To say that Lance Bass dropped a bombshell today would be an understatement.

Lance Bass, adored by millions of girls, Lance Bass, one of the stars of one of the biggest boy bands in decades, yes, that Lance Bass has revealed to the world that he`s gay.


ANDERSON (voice over): A member of the explosively popular 1990s boy bands, `N Sync`s Lance Bass, is exploding with a bombshell of his own in an exclusive interview with "People" magazine.

JESS CAGLE, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: It is still very rare for someone in the public eye to come out the way Lance Bass did.

NEIL GIULIANO, GLAAD PRESIDENT: Certainly we welcome him in the lesbian and gay community around this country and around the world.

ANDERSON: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has the story of Lance`s secret, how he hid his homosexuality from the entire world and the painful rumors that made him decide to come out now.

With smash hits like "Bye Bye Bye," `N Sync dominated the late 1990s as one of the biggest boy bands around. They sold 25 million records in the U.S. alone. And they were adored by millions of screaming girls and their moms.

Through it all, Lance said he struggled to keep his secret. In his exclusive interview with "People," Lance says, "I knew that I was in this popular band and I had four other guys` careers in my hand. And I knew that if I ever acted on it or even said that I was gay, it would overpower everything."

CAGLE: He says it was not that hard to hide the fact that he was gay during the heyday of `N Sync because he always had an excuse. You know, the band is touring, I`m too busy to really have a girlfriend.

ANDERSON: "People" magazine`s Jess Cagle tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT that even though Lance didn`t tell anyone about his secret, he suspects his fellow band mates may have known.

CAGLE: He says that the band mates were like brothers, and he suspects that they probably suspected all along.

ANDERSON: Even as `N Sync`s heyday ended and its members moved on to other things, like Justin Tiimberlake`s solo music career, and Lance`s failed attempt to travel to space with Russia`s space program...

LANCE BASS, FMR. MEMBER, `N SYNC: It`s wonderful that I have a voice for the younger generation.

ANDERSON: ... Lance kept his secret. But now he says he`s coming out because of the endless Internet chatter about his sexuality.

He tells "People," "The main reason I wanted to speak my mind was that the rumors really were starting to affect my daily life. Now it feels like it`s on my terms."

CAGLE: There had been a lot of really kind of mean innuendo and kind of, you know, pounding on the closet door trying to get him to come out. He said that he finally decide to do come out because these rumors and everything were starting to get hurtful, and also they were starting to affect his daily life.

ANDERSON: Lance says the hardest part was telling his family that he`s gay.

CAGLE: Lance had a lot of anxiety about telling his family. You know, Lance is a Southern Baptist. His family lives in a small town in Mississippi.

So, it was pretty nerve-wracking for him. They took it hard. They had a hard time with it. But they were -- they were loving and supportive of him from the very beginning.

GIULIANO: Unfortunately, still today in the United States there are lots of situations and lots of times when people feel that they can`t be open.

ANDERSON: Neil Giuliano, president of the gay rights group GLAAD, says Lance`s experience is common among gays and lesbians. But he feels Lance`s announcement could do a lot of good.

GIULIANO: What we know from other celebrities and public figures who have come out is that universally they`re embraced by the public, embraced by the fans, and really it provides them an opportunity to encourage other people to be more open about themselves and feel good about themselves with regard to their sexual orientation. And I think Lance is going to find the exact same thing is the case for him.

ANDERSON: The news was big buzz from coast to coast, and SHOWBIZ TONIGHT hit the streets to see how people were reacting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If he wants to be gay, then he can be gay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s his business. As long as he doesn`t hit on me, we`re all right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it`s great. People should be proud of their sexuality. You shouldn`t have to hide it from anyone.

ANDERSON: Lance definitely feels like he`s accepted. He confirms the long-time rumors that he is dating model-actor Reichen Lehmkuhl, who you may remember as a former winner of the reality show "The Amazing Race."

Lance says, " I don`t think it`s wrong. I`m not devastated going through this. I`m more liberated and happy than I`ve been my whole life. I`m just happy."

CAGLE: Ultimately, he says he`s at peace now. He`s at peace with his family. He`s at peace with god. He`s at peace with himself.


ANDERSON: And Lance is getting support from his former band mates. `N Sync band member Joey Fatone tells "People" magazine, "I back him 100 percent."

HAMMER: Well, Lance Bass just one in a long line of people in the entertainment industry who`ve revealed that they are gay. But how difficult is it for a star when two worlds collide, the public persona and the private life?

Joining me from Hollywood, Paul, founder and CEO of Here! Network, America`s premium gay television network. And here in New York, John Polly, who`s a writer for Logo TV, which provides entertainment programming for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.

Gentlemen, thanks both for being with us.



HAMMER: So it certainly is an inspiring story. Nice to hear that Lance Bass is at peace with the move that he made to come out publicly.

He did struggle for years, however, before coming out. We heard his reasons why. He is certainly not alone.

So, my question for you, Paul, is why is it still so tough for people in the entertainment industry to come out?

COLICHMAN: I think a lot of that toughness is perception as opposed to reality. What a shame that he couldn`t have enjoyed his years at the top while being who he was, while being honest with himself and with everybody else.

People, if you`re going to be successful, you know, do it on your own terms. Enjoy it. Enjoy you`re success.

Hiding? That doesn`t make you happy. Being authentic, that makes you happy. Being authentic makes you sexy.

I think that it`s a shame that more people don`t. I applaud him for coming out today. And I hope that anybody in the public eye or in their private life feels comfortable and safe being who they are.

HAMMER: John, what about that? Do you think it is perception over reality as to why some stars are so reluctant to come out?

POLLY: I`m sure, because it`s an untested thing in many ways. There aren`t many major, major celebrities who come out at the top of their game. So it`s uncertain, and who knows what`s going to -- you know, how the public will react. But I think Lance is going to find acceptance, and I think that`s going to be the reality.

HAMMER: And you certainly can understand the reasoning behind his decision at the time. You know, Lance did say that he never wanted his personal life to overshadow the band. He felt that it definitely would have.

Now, here`s a question, Paul. If Lance were to have come out at that time, while `N Sync was at the height of their popularity, what do you think? Is there really any way that he or the group could have maintained the massive success that they had?

COLICHMAN: They might have maintained it even longer, as a matter of fact. You never know how these things play out. Especially young America.

Young America is really ready for this. They are no longer in the freak-out mode that a lot of their parents are. And that might have made the group even sexier and hotter, more authentic, more interesting.

One has no way of knowing. You can look at Ellen`s career. There was an immediate backlash, but she is bigger and brighter now than she ever was. So it certainly hasn`t hurt her career overall.

HAMMER: Yes, let`s talk about that. Because as you mentioned, when Ellen came out, in the short term, anyway, it basically killed that sitcom career. Times have changed, and thank goodness for that. Of course Ellen now one of the most popular talk show hosts going.

The same can be said of Rosie O`Donnell, of course. Rosie can do whatever the heck she wants, as far as she`s concerned, and she`s going to be on "The View" starting this fall.

So, John, what has changed?

POLLY: Well, I think people are more use to do seeing gay people on TV. They know more gay people in their real lives.

As more people come out, whether they`re celebrities or they`re your next-door neighbor, people just begin to know gay people and know that it`s not a strange thing. It`s just a fact of life. And there are productive gay people all over the place.

So I think that`s changed. And there has been more gay imagery on TV, and channels like Logo and Here! are part of that. And there is more gay imagery in movies.

So I think people are just seeing more of, you know, the real stories being told, and they are cool with that. And that`s great.

HAMMER: And Paul, I`m sure you couldn`t agree more than that.

COLICHMAN: Absolutely.

HAMMER: So what do you think the upshot of all this is for Lance Bass? Because he probably was reluctant, as he said, to come out for some time because he felt it was a risky decision. So what do you think the impact is going to be, Paul, on his coming out in terms of his career at this point?

Obviously, it`s purely hypothetical, but what do you think?

COLICHMAN: I think in terms of his life and his career, it will all begin now, and that the success he experienced previously as part of that group will now become a success in his life, whether he wants to continue in music, acting. He is going to be a leader, not only in the GLBT community, I think he will be a leader in the youth community as he moves forward.

I think there`s going to be nothing but good things for him. And, in fact, much -- many, many better things than had he not come out. I think it`s going to be enormously successful.

HAMMER: I think there are a lot of people wishing Lance Bass well today.

Paul Colichman of Here! Networks, John Polly from Logo Networks, appreciate you being with us here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

POLLY: Thank you.

COLICHMAN: Thank you.

ANDERSON: We want to hear what you think about it. It is our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." Gay in Hollywood: Does your opinion of stars change when they come out? Go to Send us an e- mail,

HAMMER: As you`re planning your calendar, please know this: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can now be seen seven nights a week. We are bringing TV`s most provocative entertainment news show to your weekends. So make sure you tune in, Monday through Friday, as well as Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 p.m. Eastern, 8:00 Pacific.

ANDERSON: Baby Shiloh Jolie-Pitt is only eight weeks old, but she already has an honor that most people go their entire lives without getting. We`re going to tell you what it is coming up.

HAMMER: Plus, actress-comedienne Monique calling for a boycott of a major airline after what she called a humiliating and racially motivated incident. She is here to tell us what happened coming up as well.

We`ll also have this...


AMES: Mom had suggested a couple of times over the past few years that I share this story with you, but, until recently, I just wasn`t ready.


ANDERSON: She reads the news. Now she is the news. A news anchor opens up to viewers about her long struggle with an eating disorder. Holly Ames is here to tell us why she chose to make her personal ordeal public coming up.


HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT for Wednesday night. We are TV`s most provocative entertainment news show.

I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

Time now for a story that made us say, "That`s ridiculous!"

A nice, hot, steamy summer night wherever you are? Well, here`s a question for you. How does a nice frosty mug of beef-flavored beer sound?

Well, you may not relish the idea, but, as in this photo, your dog might. That`s right, it is a beef-flavored brew. It is called Slobber Lager, and looking at these pictures, it looks like it`s a hit.

There was this taste test in New York. Apparently the dogs were just lapping it up bowl after bowl of beefy beer. Don`t worry. The beer is not going to land any of these mutts in the doghouse. We are happy to report that the Slobber Lager is nonalcoholic.

And Brooke, I say that`s a good thing, because nothing worse than a puppy on a binger.

ANDERSON: I know. And, you know, it`s less carbonated.

HAMMER: Would you like a taste test?

ANDERSON: I think that`s just for publicity purposes, right? Just iced tea. I don`t think I`m going to bother.

HAMMER: All right. Try it, then.

ANDERSON: Does your dog partake when you crack open a beer?

HAMMER: I don`t drink beer.

ANDERSON: Not at all, no.

A Slobber Lager, now "That`s ridiculous!"

Now, let`s get to the startling charges against United Airlines from sitcom and movie star Monique. She says she was the victim of racism when she was unexpectedly booted from a United Airlines flight on Sunday.

Joining me now for a SHOWBIZ newsmaker interview is Monique herself. She joins me from Baltimore.

Hi, Monique. Thanks for being here.

MONIQUE, ACTRESS-COMEDIENNE: How are you doing? Thanks for having me.

ANDERSON: I`m doing all right. Thank you.

All right. Now, take us back. You were in Chicago at O`Hare Airport, on your way to host "The View" in New York the next morning.

You were in first class, Monique. You`re getting settled in. Your hairstylist behind you in coach.

All of a sudden, you`re in a fight over a hairdryer? What in the heck happened?

MONIQUE: Actually, the fight wasn`t over the hairdryer.


MONIQUE: It became a power move. A gentleman came up to me and said, "Listen, you need to let your people know, if they don`t change their attitude, I`ll have them thrown off of this flight."

ANDERSON: What attitude was he referring to? Where did that come from?

MONIQUE: I don`t know, because I said, "Excuse me?" He said, "Like I said, you need to tell your people..." -- and I said, "Wait a minute. First of all, you`re not going to speak to me like that. And secondly, I don`t have a clue to what you`re talking about."

He said, "Well, I`ll have you thrown off, too." And he slapped his finger and walked away.

ANDERSON: Thrown off, too. Was your colleague thrown off prior to this?


ANDERSON: OK. What about the reports that a hairdryer was placed in a first class bin by your hairstylist and that`s where it all began?

MONIQUE: It`s my hairdryer.


MONIQUE: I`m a first class passenger. I never carry...

ANDERSON: Was the flight attendant upset about that, though? Is that what started the whole thing?

MONIQUE: That`s supposedly what started the whole thing...


MONIQUE: ... was that the hairdryer was placed in the first class bin. When it all came out and it was explained, Rita said, "I explained to the guy, it belongs to Monique. It`s monique`s hairdryer."

I never heard a confrontation behind me, and I`m in seat 2B. So I don`t know what`s going on.

Once the gentleman approaches me, very nasty, very rude, snaps his finger, walks away, I then called one of my team members, Rhonda Bell (ph). I said, "Rhonda (ph), what happened when you all got on the plane?" She said, "Monique, we`re not on the plane."

I said, "You all haven`t gotten on the plane yet?" She said, "No."

So when I got up, I walked back to him and I said, "Excuse me, sir, but what people are you referring to?" So, he said -- he opens up the first class bin. And he says, "Does this belong to you?" I said, "Oh, yes, that`s Rita`s hairdryer. It`s used for my hair."

So he says, "Well, you need to let her know that she`s rude." I said, "Again, you`re not going to speak to me like that." "We`re going to have you thrown off."


Another young lady comes up to me, another flight attendant, and she says, "You know what it looks like happened? Your friend tried to abuse your friendship." And I said, "Please don`t patronize me. Don`t do that. That hairdryer belongs to me."

And before I could say I`m an entertainer, she says, "I don`t believe you. So either go sit down or get off of the plane."

ANDERSON: You said, Monique, "I`ve never been so humiliated, embarrassed and treated like a common animal in my life by the employees of United Airlines." And you also said that, "This is something that happens to black people all the time. They don`t have a voice. I have a voice."

Monique, these are some pretty harsh words. What made you say that? Do you think this was an issue of skin color?

MONIQUE: Well, let me be clear about what I said.


MONIQUE: I said, "It happens to people all of the time who don`t have the platform to say, `You can`t do this.`"

Now, does it happen to black people? Of course. I`m a black person. And as I explained to the flight attendant in the midst of her being so cruel, I said, "You don`t have a clue who you`re talking to right now." And I did not mean that as, oh, I`m this high celebrity. No. I`m simply a person with a voice.

ANDERSON: And you say this happens all the time. What exactly happens?

MONIQUE: Well, all of the outpour -- all of the outpour of support, people have been saying, "Wow, I`ve been treated like that, too. I`ve been mistreated, too."

Have I ever been mistreated on an airline before? Yes. But it didn`t escalate to this.

ANDERSON: So you`re not just saying it`s a black issue anymore?

MONIQUE: No, it`s a -- it`s a human being issue.


MONIQUE: Yes. That`s why I said, as a human race we need to boycott United because I`m sure people are just mistreated all the time and nothing is done about it.

ANDERSON: Well, also, you said, Monique, that the flight attendant told you that, "Tell your people that the next time they have an attitude they are being thrown off. Since 9/11, we don`t play around."

I`ve got to tell you, Monique, since 9/11, people aren`t messing around. When there is a commotion, there is an argument on an airplane, people get antsy, they get nervous.

Can you see that?

MONIQUE: I totally understand that.


MONIQUE: But my question was, and it still is today, if I was so disruptive -- because the words they used was I was "belligerent."

ANDERSON: Belligerent, yes.

MONIQUE: I was belligerent. If I was so belligerent, why would you send a pregnant employee...

ANDERSON: Unfortunately, we have lost our satellite signal to Monique right now. We do apologize about that.

But I do want to read the statement from United Airlines. A spokesperson from United issued this to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT and it reads, "The safety of all of our passengers and our crew is our top priority, and that we regret that Ms. Imes" -- that`s Monique`s real last name -- "Ms. Imes felt in any way that she was not treated with courtesy and respect. When a situation occurs on a flight that causes a delay or a disruption, we must act in the best interest of all of our customers. It was determined that the best course of action was to accommodate Ms. Imes on a later flight."

And we do thank Monique for joining us tonight.

HAMMER: It`s good to hear her side of it.

Well, can you believe it`s been 30 years since "Charlie`s Angels" went on the air? Yes. You remember all that high hair? Well, coming up, we`re going to take a look at some of the things you haven`t heard about the angels.

Stick around for that.

ANDERSON: She reports the news. Now she is the news. A news anchor opens up to viewers about her long struggle with an eating disorder. Holly Ames is here to tell us why she chose to make her personal ordeal public.

That`s coming up.

We`ll also have this...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Those pouty lips, the best part, isn`t it? Angelina passes on beautifully so.


HAMMER: Baby Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, only eight weeks old, but she already has an honor that most people go through their entire lives without ever getting. That`s coming up in a story that will make you say, "That`s ridiculous!"

ANDERSON: "That`s ridiculous!"


HAMMER: Tomorrow, you`ve heard the story about 12-year-old Dakota Fanning appearing in a graphic rape scene in an upcoming movie. Well, we`re going to meet a woman whose mission it is to protect child actors on the set. We`ll get into that tomorrow on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

ANDERSON: It`s one of the most iconic dresses in all of Hollywood history, and it could be yours. The little black dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in the film "Breakfast at Tiffany`s" will go on sale later this year. Hepburn wore the dress in the opening scene of the classic romantic comedy.

The dress is being auctioned on behalf of the City of Joy AIDS charity which helps underprivileged children in India. Christie`s says the dress is worth as much as $70,000. It hits the auction block on December 5th.

HAMMER: Manly cars. Manly beer. What`s up with all the manly man stuff in TV advertising right now? Well, coming up, we`re going to take a fun look at why so many commercials these days are all about the men.

ANDERSON: Plus, now everyone can see Brad and Angelina`s baby in person. Well, sort of. We`re going to explain next.

We`ll also have this...


AMES: You`re a person that other people see every day, and you might make a difference in some child`s life and in some parent`s lives.


HAMMER: A news anchor and her family open up to viewers about her long struggle with an eating disorder. Holly Ames is here to tell us why she chose to make her personal ordeal quite public.

That`s coming up. And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT for Wednesday night is coming right back


HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT for a Friday night. This is TV`s most provocative entertainment news show.

It is 30 minutes past the hour. I am A.J. Hammer in New York, albeit on a different set than you might be used to seeing. Our other one is getting a little nip here, a little tuck there. A bit of a makeover is under way.

And coming up tonight, who does Regis Philbin think would be an excellent choice to replace Star Jones Reynolds on "The View"? Obviously, Regis has experience in the area. He`s got his ideas, and if you actually think about it, you might be able to figure out. We`ll tell you who he`s thinking about coming up in just a bit.

Also, Robert Downey Jr. arriving on the big screen today in "A Scanner Darkly." He`s also just signed a deal to write his memoirs. The question everybody around here is wondering, Exactly how candid will he be about all the highs, which have been very high, and about all the lows, which have been very lows of his career. We`re going to ask him coming up in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

But first tonight, you`re about to meet a guy who insists religion is and should be a laughing matter. He has turned a personal tragedy into a huge funny business. But do these holy ha-has help?

Here`s CNN`s Tom Forman for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On a warm night in Tampa, young people are out looking for laughs. But hundreds are bypassing comedy clubs to get their chuckles at church.


FOREMAN: And guffaws...


FOREMAN: ...roars...


FOREMAN: ...screams...


FOREMAN: ...all standard fare at The Laughing Church.


FOREMAN: For Dr. Rodney Howard-Browne says the Holy Spirit is making folks (INAUDIBLE).

PASTOR RODNEY HOWARD-BROWNE, REVIVAL MINISTRIES: They`re laughing. They`re crying. They`re shaking. They`re (INAUDIBLE).

I knew it had nothing to do with me, because you cannot take a crowd and make them do that.

FOREMAN (on camera): You don`t buy the fact that you`re a funny guy?

HOWARD-BROWNE: Well, I use a lot of humor because - because I do use humor. But that`s just the way I am.

Because I`ve got news for you: he awoke. He ascended on high.

FOREMAN (voice-over): This is worship for Reverend Howard-Browne and his thousands of followers.

HOWARD-BROWNE: Hold me back! He is coming back! King of kings and lord of lords!

FOREMAN: Unlike other Pentecostal Christians who speak in tongues, these people say the joy of salvation makes them laugh uncontrollably.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s the most amazing experience. I can`t explain it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Flying high. Flying high.

FOREMAN: What is it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s the Holy Spirit.

FOREMAN (on camera): Oh, look at this. Oh my.

HOWARD-BROWNE: This is my little piece of Africa.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Howard-Browne was once a little-known South African preacher and part-time big game hunter. But he and his wife, Adonnica (ph), have fostered a global outreach program based in America and staffed by 70 people, all enthralled with holy laughter.

The preacher says believers overcome with laughter have been recorded since ancient times in Biblical passages about unrestrained joy. Yet it remains controversial, almost unknown in most other churches.

HOWARD-BROWNE: Because religion always wants to beat you down and make you dependent on it. It`s like a drug. If I can make you feel guilty, then you`ll come back next week. And I`ll keep you in that place of guilt.

FOREMAN (on camera): That`s a very cynical view of religion.

HOWARD-BROWNE: Well, maybe I have a hard time with religion because I see what it`s doing around the world.

Religion feels its job is to condemn. Jesus didn`t come to condemn.


FOREMAN (voice-over): Howard-Browne himself has suffered great sorrow. On Christmas morning 2002, his 18-year-old daughter, Kelly (ph), died in his arms of cystic fibrosis. A loss he lays at the devil`s doorstep.

(on camera): Is this about revenge?

HOWARD-BROWNE: For me, it probably is. The only way I can hurt him is by seeing people touched and set free.

Live! Live! Live!

FOREMAN (voice-over): Many people say they are touched. Some laugh for minutes, some for hours. Howard-Browne blesses them all, the saved and the skeptics alike.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought, God, you`ve got to be kidding me if you want me to go to this church.

HOWARD-BROWNE: Church should be the happiest place on the earth. People - people that love Jesus should be happy.

FOREMAN: And they certainly seem to be, here where Rodney Howard- Browne sends the devil on the run. And God always gets the last laugh.



HAMMER: To that I say, ha-hallelujah. That was CNN`s Tom Foreman for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Well, Robert Downey Jr. certainly no stranger to scandal, with widely publicized drug and alcohol problems. But how much will he reveal about it? The Oscar-nominated actor has just signed on a deal with Harper Collins to write his memoirs.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT producer Jenny Ditoma (ph) got the chance to speak with him about his new movie, "A Scanner Darkly," and just what deep, dark secrets we can expect to find in his book.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First off, congratulations on your new movie. And now I`m hearing something about a memoir. You`re writing your memoirs.

ROBERT DOWNEY JR., ACTOR: I definitely a lot of life experiences and I`ve worked with some great people. And, you know, there`s some obvious stuff I may touch on a bit.

But I had an opportunity to kind of see what it`s like. I`m - I`m going to write it myself and I`m really looking for to it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow. So why do it now? What made you decide that you wanted to do it now?

DOWNEY: Well, you know, I`d always thought - you know, nobody really has anything to say about their life per se until they`re 50. But I`ve crammed a lot of years in, and I am starting to write on a - on a bunch of other projects and ideas. And - and it just seemed like a - a fitting way to get my chops up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you be as candid as we`re hearing about your life experiences?

DOWNEY: Right now it kind of remains to be seen. I`m not interested in tell-all books where people, for the sake of trying to do something commercial, you know, load their - their stories with sordid details. And basically, you could just, you know, watch newsreels from 10 years ago and you`d get a - more than a fair share.

So I know that I`m - I`m interested in being a writer. And that`s kind of all I know right now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have an interesting story to tell. I mean, your peers as well as your fans, have such respect for you.

What has been your secret to your success along the way? Who do you credit it to?

DOWNEY: I don`t credit it to anyone or anything. I just know that life is - is messy and it`s magical and we all get to be individuals. And, you know, there - there`s a lot of support and a lot of wisdom out there. You just have to oftentimes look outside yourself or inside yourself and you`ll figure it out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m curious: do people come to you for advice?

DOWNEY: Well, I have become Papa Bear a little bit in the passing years. And it`s - it`s funny; you know, maybe it`s a role I`ve - I`ve earned from having, you know, been through the ringer a little bit. But everyone leans on everyone. That`s the great thing about having a community of friends and family.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`ve been a busy boy this year. Seven films coming out?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And this one is a new look for you. I mean, what did you think when you first saw your - your animated version of yourself, when you first saw it on the screen?

DOWNEY: Susan, also known as Mrs. Downey, said it`s so weird because you`re so animated, and, you know, she gets to see me, like, doing bits in the kitchen just for my own personal pleasure or to try to crack her up if she`s having a tough day or if she`s having a great day. And - and she says that me animated is a lot more like me than she would have thought.


Now you`re - you`re coming up on your year anniversary. We`re right here, right? We`re right about the year?

DOWNEY: August 27, dear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Alrighty. So - well, it`s around the corner. So you`re still a newlywed.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you able to walk down the street without getting harassed by paparazzi? Do you live a fairly normal life as a celebrity?

DOWNEY: To me, life is normal if you choose to make it so. And if you want to stir up drama and - and blame outside influences for why you`re uncomfortable, one thing. You just have to have boundaries, you know? Some paparazzi aren`t really creepy at all. That being said, you know, as long as no one really gets up in my face or in my space, there`s not going to be a problem.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you feel like this is the best time of your life right now? Would you say that?

DOWNEY: I`ve had a lot of great times in my life, and sometimes the great times were when I was struggling the most, you know? Life is great. Life is not tidy. But, you know, it`s - it`s living worth living, even in the toughest times.


HAMMER: We`ll get some of those down-and-dirty details in that memoir.

Robert Downey Jr. also said that after wrapping up his shoot in Toronto, he`s going to be taking a break. His son Indio is starting middle school and he`s looking forward to being his - quote - "point man."

Well, we`ve been asking you to vote online on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day," which certainly can apply to Robert Downey Jr.: "Stars overcome scandals: Are we too forgiving?"

Keep voting at You can also write to us at We`ll get into some of your e-mails on Monday.

And we want to remind you that SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is now on seven nights a week. That`s right, we are bringing TV`s most provocative entertainment news show to your weekends as well. Spend some time with us. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is right here on Saturday and Sunday at 11 p.m. Eastern, 8 Pacific.

Well coming up, Regis Philbin says he knows of a great replacement for Star Jones on "The View." We will have his shocking final answer coming up next.

We`ll also have this:


KARTIKA GUNAWAN, PLAYBOY MODEL (through translator): I didn`t anticipate the case would reach this level. When the police told me I was a suspect, I was so shocked.


HAMMER: The outrage over "Playboy." Coming up, how a controversy may not only hurt one model`s career - it could land her behind bars.

Also, Keanu Reeves chases down a notorious drug dealer in the future. And Johnny Depp sails into theaters with "The Pirates of the Caribbean" sequel. Reviews of both coming up in the SHOWBIZ guide to new movies.

Right now, time for a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Birthday Shoutout." This is where we give the fans a chance to wish their favorite stars a happy birthday. And tonight, we`re shipping one out to former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr. He`s celebrating his 66th birthday today.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How`s it going? My name is Tom Moore (ph) from Baltimore, Maryland. Ringo Starr, we love you. You`re my favorite Beatle. Happy birthday.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Friday night and SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is coming right back with a lot more.

Master, roll your break. Effect black.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go Camera 3, fade up. Stand by, A.J. Pre-set 4. Go, 4. Open his mic, dissolve, go.

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT for a Friday night as we get into the weekend on TV`s most provocative entertainment news show. I am A.J. Hammer in New York.

We are looking a little bit different, you may have noticed. The set that you`re used to seeing is getting a bit of a makeover. But we`re settling in here. We`re starting to feel comfortable.

And it`s time now for another story that just made us say "That`s Ridiculous!" Now here is how to not commit a robbery. Pay close attention. So a guy walks into a fast food restaurant in California, as you`re seeing, wearing sunglasses and a ski mask. But he starts to do the alleged crime, off comes the disguise, of course giving security cameras a good solid look at him. And then before he runs away, he leaves the knife he`s using. Well, this one`s basically a lay up for cops. They pick him a short time later. Stupid stick-up? "That`s Ridiculous!"

Now on to a model who might be robbed of a career. There`s actually outrage over "Playboy"`s very first Indonesian issue. And that could land her and others behind bars.

Here`s CNN`s Angelie Rowe for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with the controversy.


ANGELIE ROWE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Until a few weeks ago, Kartika Gunawan was a relatively unknown model trying to get back in an often ruthless industry.

Then finally, her big break, as the underwear-clad centerfold in the debut issue of "Playboy" magazine`s Indonesia version.

GUNAWAN (through translator): When I first appeared in front of the camera I was speechless. I was incredibly excited because I was the first person to be photographed by "Playboy" magazine.

ROWE: But Kartika`s delight quickly vanished after the magazine appeared on newsstands. It was a hit with many, but not with the (INAUDIBLE). They told Kartika and Indonesian "Playboy"`s editor in chief they were suspected of violating anti-indecency laws.

GUNAWAN (through translator): I didn`t anticipate the case would reach this level. When the police told me I was a suspect, I was so shocked.

ROWE: Readers of such magazines can`t understand what all the fuss is about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They all look the same. They discuss men`s perfume and stereos and (INAUDIBLE) and pretty girls (INAUDIBLE). Some people don`t like "Playboy" in Indonesia.

They are very annoying. Very annoying. And it sounds like they`re - they`re winning (ph).

ROWE: Indonesia is home to the world`s largest Muslim population. The country has long prided itself on retaining conservative Islamic mores, and traditionalists just doesn`t fit with those values.

ASAD YUSUF, INDONESIAN ISLAMIC DEFENDER`S FRONT: (INAUDIBLE) for the whole world. People knows about the "Playboy" magazine. In Indonesia, the - say, 80 percent of the population is Muslim. You cannot accept that. And I think most of the Muslims cannot accept something that is different from the (INAUDIBLE) is the law of the (INAUDIBLE).

ROWE: The topic of pornography in Indonesia is a hot one, sparking riots between hard-line Islamists and more liberal elements.

Magazines and DVDs showing images that could be classed as obscene are readily here. But some are sick of it.

Parliament is considering a bill banning pornographic images. Even traditional Indonesian art could find itself on the wrong side of the law.

Critics of such views say other local editions of Western publications feature more revealing content than "Playboy" with impunity. Kartika though she has no regrets.

GUNAWAN (through translator): During the photo session, I enjoyed it and I felt proud. Why? Because "Playboy" is an international magazine. It came to Indonesia and chose me as their Playmate. That means huge personal pride for me and my family.

ROWE: Still, in a country which can impose jail terms for flashing the flesh, Kartika may not be the last model whose career path falls foul of the moralists.


HAMMER: That was CNN`s Angelie Rowe for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

All right. There`s been an awful lot of chatter about whose going to replace Star Jones Reynolds on "The View." Since her controversial departure last week, the show has turned to some guest hosts. R&B star Brandy has already filled in. Next week, "General Hospital" star Kelly Monaco is going to hop into the chair. Even some reports of Susan Lucci and "American Idol" runner-up Katharine McPhee giving it a go.

But Regis Philbin thinks he has the final answer.


KATHIE LEE GIFFORD, TV HOST: Courage, because you know they only shoot it equal (ph), right? If you lay it down, nobody - you`re not a target.


GIFFORD: Well, I think...

REGIS PHILBIN, TV HOST: I`ve got an idea for "The View." To - to make it perfect symmetry and harmony among "The View," I think - and I`m not kidding about this, I think it`s a good idea. How about Kathie Lee?

KELLY RIPA, TV HOST: Oh, that`s a great...

PHILBIN: What do you think?

RIPA: Yes, that`s a good idea.

PHILBIN: Kathie Lee right in the mix there, just to stir things up a little bit.

RIPA: That`s a good idea.

PHILBIN: Oh - you heard the applause.


HAMMER: It happened this morning on "Live With Regis & Kelly."

Yes, there was a little bit of awkwardness, the silence after he made his announcement of who he thinks would be the right person. From the audience of course, they didn`t know if old Reege was being serious. Probably because Kathie Lee Gifford, of course, used to be Regis` co-host on "Live." And there were always these rumors floating around that they used to have, shall we say, a strained relationship.

It`s time for now for the SHOWBIZ Guide. Tonight in "People"`s "Picks & Pans," new movies "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man`s Chest" starring Johnny Depp is finally in theaters. Then, an all-star cast in a movie unlike any you`ve seen before in "A Scanner Darkly." Also a new comedy starring Amy Sedaris and Stephen Colbert, "Strangers With Candy."

Joining me in New York, "People" magazine film critic Leah Rozen.

Leah, three years have passed now since the original "Pirates of the Caribbean." Certainly one of the most highly anticipated movies, as we say, of the summertime.

Is it worth our while?

LEAH ROZEN, "PEOPLE" MAGZINE: Kind of a disappointment, A.J. And two and a half hours long. So this is what we call a fanny tester.

The movie is just - it`s sort of more of the same. This is the middle one. They`ve already shot the one; it`s coming out next year. So they`re kind of treading water and it`s sort of familiar. A whole lot is going on in this movie, but none of it matters.


ROZEN: You kind of have that sense of, Huh? What`s this plot? I know the 10-year-old boy next to me could tell me, but I don`t care enough.

Johnny Deep, again, is the most fun. But we`ve seen this act before. So I have to say, a little disappointing and if it were - if it were, I`d be much more generous.

HAMMER: Well, that`s too bad. I think that`s going to be disappointing, as you say to a lot of people.

All right. "A Scanner Darkly." Now I got to run down this cast: Robert Downey Jr., Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Woody Harrelson; George Clooney and Stephen Soderbergh produced it. And it is a bizarre but cool film treatment.

Is it a cool film?

ROZEN: Well, it`s all these articles but it`s the cartoon version of the film. They all - they shot it, and then they sort of drew over them in this form of animation.

HAMMER: Frame by frame, from what I understand.

ROZEN: It`s essentially a futuristic thing. (INAUDIBLE) Keanu Reeves plays an undercover cop who gets involved as sort of a drug dealer, and the drugs start to take over.

You know, it`s one of those movies I - I don`t know how I say this nicely. But you sort of go, Would being stoned help? Would it make more sense, or would it just be so much more complicated?

HAMMER: All right.

ROZEN: So I`m kind of mixed on it. I was fascinated by it, but at the same time I - I did look at my watch several times.

HAMMER: Never heard - never heard you review a movie quite like that.

All right. Finally, "Strangers With Candy," Stephen Colbert and Amy Sedaris.

ROZEN: Amy Sedaris - this is the prequel to her Comedy Central series that was on awhile ago, a sitcom, very funny, very odd.

She`s - you know, Amy Sedaris is sort of an acquired taste. But if you have it, she`s funny. It`s a very much like "Napoleon Dynamite." Those who were on the vibe will like it; those who don`t won`t get it.

HAMMER: A quirky film then.

ROZEN: You got it.

HAMMER: Thank you as always, Leah. We appreciate it.

And as always, for your copy of "People" magazine, go to your favorite newsstand now for more "Picks & Pans."

Well, last night we asked you to vote online on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day," asking, "Primetime Emmy nominations: Was your favorite show snubbed?" Sixty-three percent of you say yes; 37 percent of you say no.

Some of the e-mails we got included one from Sydney in California who says, "I am so glad `Grey`s Anatomy` got its due along with Chandra Wilson and Sandra Oh."

But Claire from Missouri thinks they got it all wrong: "Do I need to lend my `Deadwood` DVDs to the Emmy committee? Not even a not for Ian McShane? Shame on them!"

Barb from Arkansas thinks, "Leaving `Lost` out of the nominations is like the Grammys giving Jethro Tull the heavy metal award over Metallica."

I wouldn`t have thought of that myself. Nice going, Barb.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s coming right back.



Time now for the "Entertainment Weekly `Must` List," five things "EW" says you got to check out this week.

First, they want you to see Meryl Steep in "The Devil Wears Prada." She plays a high-powered, take-no-prisoners fashion editor.

Next, pop in Chuck Berry`s four-disc DVD "Hail, Hail Rock `n` Roll." This "Jonny B. Goode" singer`s 1987 rockumentary is very good, according to "EW."

And then pick up a copy of the book, "They`ll Never Put That on the Air." It`s a really cool inside look at the history of taboo-breaking sitcoms.

"EW" also says to watch Gerald McRainey in HBO`s highly praised Western series "Deadwood."

And finally, they would like you to take a listen to Christina Aguilera`s new single called "Ain`t No Other Man." The super-catchy tune might get you singing in the shower.

For more on the "Must" list, pick up your copy of "Entertainment Weekly," on newsstands now.

It is time now to see what`s coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Here is your "SHOWBIZ Marquee."

On Monday, comedian Jeff Ross travels to Iraq to entertain the troops. How making soldiers laugh in a dangerous place turned into a life-changing experience. Jeff Ross` patriot act Monday on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Also on Monday, Michael Bolton. He`s got a new album and he`s singing Sinatra songs. We`ll also talk about his engagement to "Desperate Housewives" star Nicolette Sheridan. She even does a duet with him. Michael Bolton: how are we supposed to live without him? Monday on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

That is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I am A.J. Hammer in New York. We`ll see you back here all weekend long. Stay tuned for the latest from CNN Headline News.


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