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SHOWBIZ TONIGHT

Anna Nicole`s Heartbreak; Cruise Control; Interview With Jimmy Kimmel

Aired September 12, 2006 - 23:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: The man who takes newsmakers like John Mark Karr and makes them into movie stars.
I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

BROOKE ANDERSON, CO-HOST: And singer John Mayer on rumors about him and Jessica Simpson.

I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood.

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER (voice over): On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, Anna Nicole Smith`s almost unimaginable nightmare. Why did Anna Nicole Smith`s 20-year-old son die while visiting her in the hospital after she gave birth to a baby girl?

Tonight, the bizarre story and the mystery surrounding what really happened.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT investigates.

She was the sweet young girl who captured our hearts on TV`s "Full House," and then a gruesome battle with drugs, addicted to crystal meth. Tonight, how Jodie Sweetin went from a cute child star on a beloved family sitcom to a life of despair and then came back. Jodie Sweetin tells us her amazing story right here in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Hi there, everyone. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood.

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

And there are dramatic new developments tonight in the mysterious death of Anna Nicole Smith`s son.

ANDERSON: That`s right, A.J. And this story gets more bizarre by the minute.

Anna Nicole`s 20-year-old son reportedly dying virtually before her eyes as she lay in a hospital bed just days after giving birth to a baby girl. Today, new information about his death, and it only makes the story more mysterious.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON (voice over): Anna Nicole Smith`s life has often resembled an outlandish soap opera.

ANNA NICOLE SMITH, ACTRESS: What are you talking about?

ANDERSON: But now her soap opera life has turned into a heartbreaking tragedy. Just three days after giving birth to a baby girl, her only son, 20-year-old Daniel Wayne Smith, suddenly and mysteriously died, reportedly right before her very eyes. And now SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you a shocking new development in that mysterious death.

HARVEY LEVIN, TMZ.COM: It just seems odd he would die out of the blue this way.

ANDERSON: "People" magazine is now quoting sources who say Daniel`s death was not from natural causes. Still, the exact cause of death is a mystery, another cruel twist of fate in what was already a mother`s nightmare.

LEVIN: She is going to endure a whole lot of grief because of the current death.

ANDERSON: The mystery begins here, in the Bahamas capital of Nassau, a Caribbean paradise where Anna Nicole had traveled to give birth to her new baby away from the prying eyes of the paparazzi. Her son Daniel reportedly flew in to see his new baby sister and went straight to his mother`s room here at Nassau`s Doctors` Hospital. A local police official says it was there that tragedy struck.

The official tells The Associated Press, "It would appear from our report that the mother had gotten up, saw him in the chair, and he appeared to be sound asleep. She tried to wake him up. He was unresponsive and she sounded the alarm."

Medical personnel rushed in to try to save him but were unsuccessful.

A statement on Anna Nicole`s Web site says, "Anna Nicole is absolutely devastated by the loss of her son. He was her pride and joy and an amazing human being."

LEVIN: She really did live a reality show with and without cameras. And this -- this young man who died really was almost her caretaker in many ways.

ANDERSON: Anna Nicole had Daniel when she was just a teenager during her short-lived first marriage. On her reality series, "The Anna Nicole Show," the shy teenager with braces was often the target of ribbing from his playful mom.

SMITH: Guess what the loser has to do? I get to put makeup on your face.

DANIEL WAYNE SMITH, ANNA NICOLE`S SON: I don`t want any of that makeup stuff.

A. SMITH: Then you better win.

ANDERSON: But in reality, Daniel was always her biggest sporter, through his mom`s roller-coaster life.

LEVIN: Daniel really was the glue in her life that, you know, men came and went, and jobs came and went, but Daniel was a constant in her life, and a lot of people say Daniel was a stabilizing force.

ANDERSON: In 1995, a 9-year-old Daniel was by Anna Nicole`s side when she buried her 89-year-old husband, oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall. That death kicked off a long legal battle between Anna Nicole and her late husband`s family over his multimillion-dollar fortune.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, can you please be courteous?

ANDERSON: That battle got even murkier this summer with a U.S. Supreme Court decision that allowed Anna Nicole to continue her lawsuit And later, another strange twist, when her chief nemesis in the lawsuit, her late husband`s 67-year-old son, Pierce Marshall, died in June of an infection.

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": And how did Daniel handle all of this?

ANDERSON: On "LARRY KING LIVE" in 2002, Anna Nicole Smith talked about how her son handled his mother`s public fight.

A. SMITH: He dealt with it very well. He`s -- we`ve just always stuck together.

ANDERSON: And now Anna Nicole is preparing to raise her new baby daughter and continue her long court struggle without the love and support of the young man who has been her rock, her one constant, for all of her adult life.

LEVIN: This has got to be a tragedy beyond words. That it`s not just losing her son, but it`s losing her compass.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: There`s still not an official report on the cause of Daniel Smith`s death. The coroner in the Bahamas tells "People" magazine the autopsy and toxicology report will likely be released on Friday.

HAMMER: And just one second. What is that sound? Oh, could that possibly be the Tom Cruise spin machine grinding its wheels? Because just last night Tom and fiancee Katie Holmes took in the Redskins-Vikings game on the nationally televised "Monday Night Football."

They were guests of Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, who just invested in Cruise`s production company after Paramount Pictures gave Tom the boot. And it was truly a family night. Tom and Katie brought along Tom`s adopted children from his marriage to Nicole Kidman. There they are with the son, Connor.

All this comes a week after Tom and Katie finally released those pictures of their baby, Suri, in "Vanity Fair."

Joining us once again from Glendale, California, our good friend, Harvey Levin, the managing editor of the entertainment news site TMZ.com.

Hello, Harvey.

LEVIN: Hey, A.J.

HAMMER: All right. Let me run down the list of what I`ve got here so far.

We`ve got the "Monday Night Football," we`ve got the baby pictures, we got that apology to Brooke Shields for saying that she was wrong for taking those antidepressant drugs for postpartum depression that came a couple of weeks ago. Could all of this be mere coincidence, or is, perhaps, the spin control in full throttle now trying to fix Tom`s battered image?

LEVIN: Of course it`s coincidence, A.J.

HAMMER: I don`t believe you for a second.

LEVIN: I mean, ridiculous. I mean, this clearly is Tom Cruise`s attempt to gain favor again with the American public.

I mean, you know, there -- there`s no greater way of finding football than when the football team owner invests in you, and that seems to be what happened here. But this is just the latest in a series of moves for Tom Cruise to get out there, show people, hey, you know, I`m into football, I`m into babies, I`m into all of these things. I`m a good guy. Like me again.

HAMMER: Well, it`s interesting that you say he needs to gain favor, because, as we mentioned, you know, Paramount Pictures, in effect, fired him when they dropped his production company. "Mission Impossible III" didn`t do as well as expected. But do you really think the guy is worried?

LEVIN: Yes, I think he`s worried. I mean, look, Tom Cruise is one of the biggest stars ever. And he was a big star for a long time. And he got used to it.

So when somebody is adored like that, for that long, just imagine what it must be like within a very short period of time to fall out of favor with a lot of people. I mean, it`s got to hurt somebody`s ego. And to be in the position he`s in, he`s got to have a big ego. So you would think he wants to get it back.

HAMMER: So you`re talking about ego more than money there. And I suppose they are sort of interrelated, because if the public doesn`t like him, maybe they won`t go and see his movies. But a lot of people, when he went through that breakup with Paramount, said, you know what, Tom Cruise is one of the most bankable stars out there, which is why they were so surprised that Paramount dropped him to begin with despite whatever behavioral issues they may have had with him.

LEVIN: Well, look, he`s not going to walk around with a tin cup during Christmas, we know that. I mean, Tom Cruise will have enough money for the rest of his lives -- his life and the life of, you know, a million other people. So I don`t think it`s so much to get by. But he -- he`s got a status.

I mean, he`s got this cache that I think he wants that goes beyond, you know, how much money he can make for the next movie, A.J.

HAMMER: Well, Harvey, you running to the spin machine every day when dealing with celebrities, and when it comes to them we do here at SHOWBIZ TONIGHT as well. But if one of his P.R. people came up to you and said, "Harvey, all right, here`s you`re chance, please give us some advice, what do we do?" What would you tell them?

LEVIN: Pull a Hugh Grant. I mean, he did the most brilliant thing by going on the "Today" show, being completely public, earnest and humble, and he basically said, look, I screwed up. And there is nothing like it.

I mean, it`s one thing to go to Brooke Shields and say it, but it was very private. And then it`s Tom Cruise`s apology interpreted by Brooke. If he goes directly to the public, if he goes on a show like "The Tonight Show" and just says, "The sofa thing was really stupid. You know, I..."

HAMMER: Yes, but do you see it ever really happening?

LEVIN: No.

HAMMER: OK.

Harvey Levin, managing editor of the TMZ Web Site, TMZ.com, the entertainment Web site.

We appreciate you being with us, Harvey.

LEVIN: Bye, A.J.

ANDERSON: The countdown is on at the "Today" show. Tomorrow is Meredith Vieira`s first day as co-host with Matt Lauer. And this morning she got an early morning welcome from none other than Paris Hilton.

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PARIS HILTON, ACTRESS: Hey, Meredith, it`s Paris. I just want to say how proud I am of you and how much fun I used to have with you on "The View." And I`m excited the you`re on the "Today" show.

So good luck and have fun. And you`re gorgeous.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: And be sure to watch SHOWBIZ TONIGHT tomorrow. We will have all the news and reviews from behind the scenes at Meredith Vieira`s first day on the "Today" show.

And now we want to hear from you about it. It is our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day."

Meredith Vieira: Will she be a better "Today" host than Katie Couric?

Go to cnn.com/showbiztonight. Send us an e-mail to this address: showbiztonight@cnn.com.

All right. Barbara Walters says her dog can talk.

If you were a dog, what would you say to Barbara Walters? Mull that one over and we`ll be right back to tell you.

HAMMER: Plus, the controversial movie about an imaginary assassination of President Bush. And we`re going to have your very first look at it. It`s called "Death of a President," and that is coming up.

ANDERSON: And from beloved child star on "Full House" to an addiction to crystal meth, Jodie Sweetin is here to tell us how she made it through and is back on television.

That`s ahead, and it`s in the interview you will see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

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

It`s time now for a little story that made us say, "That`s ridiculous!"

Of course, it`s not unusual for people to talk to their dogs. I do it all the time. But, get this, Barbara Walters says hers talks back. That`s right.

This morning on "The View," Walters seemed a little embarrassed to tell the story of her dog Cha-Cha`s amazing new trick. Take a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARBARA WALTERS, "THE VIEW": "I love you, Cha-Cha. I love you, Cha- Cha." And Cha-Cha said to me, "I love you."

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Well, the other ladies were a little skeptical, Brooke. Walters says she is going to bring the woman who was with her -- there was a witness to when Cha-Cha spoke.

ANDERSON: A witness.

HAMMER: So she will have somebody to corroborate her story. You know, Barbara Walters always being the consummate journalist.

ANDERSON: Oh, yes. Absolutely.

I loved Rosie`s face. Talk about skeptical there.

And, you know, pet owners have a vid imagination when it comes to their pets. There`s a strong bond going on there.

HAMMER: Yes.

ANDERSON: So what`s the harm?

HAMMER: Well, I`ll tell you, Cha-Cha talking to Barbara, "That`s ridiculous!"

Moving on now, a controversial movie that shows an imaginary assassination of President Bush is expected to be coming soon to U.S. theaters. The film is called "Death of a President."

It certainly was by far the most controversial film at the Toronto International Film Festival. That`s because it has a very realistic depiction of the aftermath of an assassination of Bush in October, 2007, and what impact that assassination has on civil liberties.

Here`s a look at a scene from the film.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "DEATH OF A PRESIDENT")

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When that motorcade stopped, that was an emergency situation. In fact, I had my agents in the backup car make their weapons ready.

(END VIDEO CLIP, "DEATH OF A PRESIDENT")

HAMMER: That was your first look. It`s really stirring things up and will continue to do so. "The Hollywood Reporter" says New Market Films paid a million bucks for the U.S. rights to the movie and is expected to release it within the next few months. We checked with New Market; they`re not confirming the price or the release date.

ANDERSON: Jane Fonda is weighing in on her co-star Lindsay Lohan`s behavior on the set of the upcoming movie "Georgia Rule." You may remember that the studio executives sent Lohan a letter scolding her for showing up late to the set and partying too much.

This morning on the "Today" show, Matt Lauer asked Fonda what she made of that letter. Take a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JANE FONDA, ACTRESS: Well, I this it was cool that he wrote the letter. I mean, it`s good -- you know, it`s good -- she`s a young person. She turned 20 during the movie. And so, you know, it wasn`t bad for someone to say, hey, you know, tone it down.

But I`ll tell you something, when she was on the set, she showed up, she was good, she was talented, she`s smart. I liked her. I not only like her, but I love her. I love her.

She`s wonderful. And it`s a really good movie. Got to get her on our radio show.

MATT LAUER, HOST, "TODAY": Let me say that I also thought it was really cool that he wrote that letter, because for so many years people have coddled these young stars and said anything goes. And for someone to say, wait a second, I`m drawing a line here, this is a business...

FONDA: Yes. Yes. Yes.

LAUER: ... and you aren`t a star if you don`t do well in the business side of this.

FONDA: No, it`s -- I thought it was fine. I admired him for doing it. And I think she heard it. And I think it made a difference.

LAUER: Learned a lesson?

FONDA: Yes. She`s smart.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Actor William H. Macy, who has a seen with Lohan in the upcoming film "Bobby," also recently criticized Lohan showing up late to the set but added that she is a huge talent.

HAMMER: Well, ABC just announced that it`s bringing back "Jimmy Kimmel" live for its fifth season. The late-night talk show has been renewed through 2008. That`s good news for the host and comedian whose name has been batted around quite a bit as a possible replacement for Conan O`Brien, who leaves to fill Jay Leno`s shoes, coincidentally enough, in 2009.

I spoke with Kimmel and I got his take on that and a couple of other celebrities that are making headlines.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: I love watching your show not only because you often feature clips of my show on your show, which is always a little surreal...

JIMMY KIMMEL, LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW HOST: That`s right.

HAMMER: But you do offer your unique perspective on today`s celebrities. And I was wondering if there is a way you could help me out with a couple of people I`m having a hard time with.

KIMMEL: I`ll try. Sure -- yes.

HAMMER: I`ve got to ask you about Paris Hilton and what you make of her just because I don`t really understand what she does.

KIMMEL: Well, you know, it`s funny, because she -- at the beginning I didn`t understand what she did either, but now I understand perfectly what she does. She goes to parties for a living.

HAMMER: OK.

KIMMEL: People think that, like, the other night, when she got arrested for drunk driving and then the next night was out at a nightclub right away, people are like, "Oh, what is she doing? She is partying so soon." No, she is working.

HAMMER: Exactly! See. There you go. I appreciate that.

KIMMEL: She`s a workaholic.

HAMMER: And by that standard, I guess she would be.

And what about Lindsay Lohan? Because she just did this movie with Jane Fonda. Jane Fonda was just talking about how Lindsay`s work ethic may not have been what it should be, and the studio heads at this movie were all upset about, you know, how she was showing up at work late or not showing up at all. Does young Hollywood basically need to be slapped around a little bit?

KIMMEL: I don`t know, because, honestly, who wants to hear about a star who shows up to work on time? Who cares about that? I think it`s a lot more fun to have your -- your stars that miss entire days of work because they are out at a nightclub all night hanging around with Wilmer Valderrama, or whoever.

To me, that`s a lot more entertaining. And they are in the entertainment business, aren`t they?

HAMMER: Again, you bring the good perspective that I was looking for.

KIMMEL: Plus, her dad is in jail. I mean, do you know anyone whose parents are in jail? She did pretty well, I think, for someone whose father is in prison.

HAMMER: Yes. I`ve got to say, I don`t know. So you really have provided me with that insight that I...

KIMMEL: It`s my pleasure.

HAMMER: ... that I was looking for.

Also, can you set the record straight for what`s going to happen ultimately with you and ABC? Because, of course, everybody wants to know if you`re going to be jumping ship when Conan O`Brien leaves to take over for Jay Leno.

It`s all a little convoluted, but it seems like it would be the perfect thing for you to do and go over to the NBC and take over for Conan.

KIMMEL: I don`t know. To me, it seems fine to stay at ABC, but you never know how these things go.

I don`t -- I mean, first of all, I like living in L.A. My family is in L.A. And I really -- that`s not -- I don`t know why I would want to be on a half-hour later.

HAMMER: And they do take good care of you over at the ABC, don`t they?

KIMMEL: Yes, they`re fine. Yes.

HAMMER: I mean, they have given you this primetime special, and I want to...

KIMMEL: That`s right.

HAMMER: ... I`m going to read the name of it because I want to make sure I get this correct for tomorrow night. "Jimmy Kimmel`s Live" -- I`m sorry, "Jimmy Kimmel Live`s All-Star Salute to Jimmy Kimmel Live."

I got that.

KIMMEL: That`s right.

HAMMER: OK.

KIMMEL: It`s -- yes, it`s high time that someone saluted us, and it seemed appropriate that it be me.

HAMMER: Well, I think that is exactly right. And, of course, you have a game show that`s going to be starting up sometime next year. And as you`ve seen in the press, perhaps, it`s hard not to compare you to Regis Philbin. Is there somebody you would rather be compared with?

KIMMEL: No. I mean, I think I compare unfavorably to Regis because Regis is -- the man really is a dynamo. But, I mean, I think physically I`m more comparable to Horatio Sands.

Regis earned my eternal respect because he chewed gum out of my mouth. He took gum out of my mouth and put it in his mouth and chewed it.

HAMMER: Why in the world would he have done that?

KIMMEL: He didn`t have to do it, but he did it. You know why? Because he`s a showman, that`s why.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: Ah, yes, Regis, truly the consummate entertainer.

You can catch "Jimmy Kimmel Live`s All-Star Tribute to Jimmy Kimmel Live" tomorrow night on ABC.

Well, the man who takes newsmakers and turns them into stars is coming up. We`re going to speak with the man who was working on a possible deal involving the JonBenet Ramsey case. That`s on the way.

ANDERSON: Plus, from beloved child star on "Full House" to an addiction to crystal meth, Jody Sweetin is here to tell us how she made it through and is back on television.

That`s ahead in the interview you will only see on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

We`ll also have this...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN MAYER, SINGER: It`s not like watching your private life come out because it`s not even my private life. You know, it`s like, my private life is exactly that -- nobody knows my private life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Singer John Mayer on that pesky little rumor about he and Jessica Simpson. What he told me about how he deals with the spotlight, that`s on the way.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Tomorrow, Meredith Vieira takes over for Katie Couric in the morning. Will viewers like her? Will "Today" stay on top?

You know, Meredith has got some pretty funky shoes to fill. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT reviews this former "View" star`s first day on "Today." That`s tomorrow.

ANDERSON: From movies on iTunes to television on the Internet, big news tonight as showbiz goes online. iTunes has gotten into the movie business.

Today, Apple launched its online movie service, selling releases from Walt Disney Studios. New films are priced between about $13 and $15. Older releases are $9.99.

Right now, about 75 films are online. It takes about 30 minutes to download a movie with a high-speed Internet connection.

And you can watch one of the most buzzed about new TV series online a week before it makes its television debut. AOL is showing a stripped-down version of the first episode of NBC`s "Studio 60: On the Sunset Strip." It stars Matthew Perry and Amanda Peet, whose clip on AOL is owned by Time Warner, which is the parent company at CNN Headline News.

HAMMER: Singer John Mayer opens up about life in the spotlight, getting political in music and, oh, yes, that little Jessica Simpson story that just won`t seem to go away.

What he told me is coming up.

ANDERSON: Plus, from beloved child star on "Full House" to an addiction to crystal meth, Jodie Sweetin is here to tell us how she made it through and is back on television.

HAMMER: Plus, the man who takes newsmakers and turns them into stars. We`re going to talk to the man who was working on a possible deal involving the self-confessed suspect in the JonBenet Ramsey case.

That`s on the way.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It`s 30 minutes past the hour. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

ANDERSON: And I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. This is TV`s most provocative entertainment news show.

HAMMER: Brooke, everybody loves John Mayer. He`s got a brand new album out in stores today; it`s called "Continuum." We`ve been waiting for it for a couple of years ago, since he won his Grammy for that song "Daughters." What all everybody seems to be talking about when it comes to John is, Is he or is he not dating Jessica Simpson?

(CROSSTALK)

HAMMER: That has to be terrible when you`re living with that. And I`ve known for John for awhile; he`s a pretty private guy. How is he dealing with all of that attention for that kind of stuff? We`re going to speak with John and get his response to that in just a few moments, and see if we find out, I guess (INAUDIBLE).

ANDERSON: It`s got to be very frustrating for him. Can`t wait to see what he says, A.J.

Also, we`re going to talk to the man who takes newsmakers and makes them into television or movie stars. He was working on a deal with John Mark Karr. We`re going to get the latest on that. Plus he will share some secrets from other highly publicized news stories.

HAMMER: Fascinating.

ANDERSON: That is coming up.

But first, A.J., tonight a huge star is speaking out about her battle with crystal meth. Stacey Ferguson, the female singer of the Black Eyed Peas tells "Time" magazine, "It was the hardest boyfriend I ever had to break up with. I dug deep as to why I got there. It`s the drug that`s addicting. But it`s why you start doing it in the first place that`s interesting. A lot of it was being a child actor. I learned to suppress feelings."

Fortunately, she is clean now. You can read more of "Time"`s interview with Fergie on newsstands.

HAMMER: Well, there`s another child star who has been speaking out about her struggle with the cocaine-like substance crystal meth. And we were all shocked when we heard that Jodie Sweetin, from the 90s sitcom "Full House" was once addicted to drugs - that particular drug.

She played the middle daughter, of course, Stephanie Tanner - we all remember her from that show on ABC. And it was after her eight-year run of playing the wholesome girl next door when her real life began to unravel.

She`s now been clean for over a year, and hosts a cool new show on Fuse TV called "Pants-Off Dance-Off."

JODIE SWEETIN, ACTRESS: Yes.

HAMMER: Joining me in New York, Jodie Sweetin.

It`s a pleasure to have you here.

SWEETIN: Hey, it`s great to be here. It`s nice to be here.

HAMMER: So we were just showing how Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas.

SWEETIN: Yes.

HAMMER: .had - has - has come out about he dealings with crystal meth. That is something that you did a bit earlier.

SWEETIN: Yes.

HAMMER: Now she did say that it was being a child star that contributed to her addiction.

I remember when you came out about your addiction.

SWEETIN: Mm-hmm.

HAMMER: .you said you weren`t quite sure what it was, or if - if being a child star directly contributed to it.

Now that you`ve had a little more space and time, do you have perspective to say this was a factor?

SWEETIN: You know, I - I - I don`t - I don`t know - I - I still am not sure if - if it was, you know, completely due to the fact that I was a child star. I don`t know if this would have happened regardless.

But there are a lot of pressures and a lot of different things that sort of come with being a child star and growing up in this business, that, you know, normal kids don`t have to deal with. And - and it does create, you know, certain issues and - and things like that. But, you know, I feel really fortunate that I`ve been able to come through to the other side and really sort of, you know, learn how to deal with those things and - and, you know, fortunately get another career started at - you know, at 24 again. I`m really lucky.

HAMMER: It is so is - always so terrific when you hear that people are able to come to terms with an addiction, because it can go both ways.

SWEETIN: Yes.

HAMMER: .as we know. And you were really dealing with the very typical scenarios of - of hiding your family.

SWEETIN: Right.

HAMMER: You were hiding from your - your husband, who was - was an L.A. - this was your husband at the time, who was an L.A. cop?

SWEETIN: Yes.

HAMMER: That has to have been, like, leading a double life, right?

SWEETIN: Yes, it was. I mean, it was - it was - you know, it was - it was hard. It was hard. But it`s - you know what? It`s a way for me now - I feel really fortunate that I get to speak about it. I`m actually doing a college tour and going around to different universities all over the country and - and speaking to - to college students about my, you know, dealings with the drug and - and how to come through on to the other side.

And I`m using it as something that, you know, I can help others with now.

HAMMER: It`s a great platform.

SWEETIN: Yes.

HAMMER: Especially because people know you, they grew up with you.

SWEETIN: Yes.

HAMMER: .and - and they - they`ve seen you on television.

Of course, you`re not the only child star - and I don`t know if you even hate that term. People - some people do. But you - you`re not the only one to have come out of that show - of course, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Mary-Kate certainly has had a very public struggles that - that we have seen.

Do you think that there is more of a downside to being famous when you`re that young, than an upside?

SWEETIN: You know, I - I don`t know if there`s more of a downside. I mean, I - there were so many wonderful things that I got to do, and - and I wouldn`t have traded in the way I grew up for anything. I mean, I`ve - I had a wonderful childhood.

And.

HAMMER: Best part about it?

SWEETIN: The best part about it? You know, I would have to say that - that I have made some of the most amazing friends. And - and - and "Full House" was like a family. I mean, the crew, the cast, everyone. And that is one of the real blessing that - that I feel I came away with.

HAMMER: And you`ve always said - I - I`ve read in other places where you`ve remained friends with these people..

(CROSSTALK)

HAMMER: Where - where often it is not the case.

SWEETIN: Yes, definitely. I mean, we - we still talk all the time and get together for dinner. And it`s really a nice, supportive family-like thing that we have, you know? Which you don`t have on - on a lot of sets.

HAMMER: But it`s not really a normal childhood.

(CROSSTALK)

HAMMER: And when I say normal, of course.

SWEETIN: Exactly.

HAMMER: .you know, you were dealing with things at a much earlier age.

SWEETIN: Exactly.

HAMMER: ..than most people do.

SWEETIN: Exactly. No, it`s - it`s definitely your - a normal childhood. But, you know, I - I feel really lucky to have grown up the way I did.

HAMMER: And here you are, and you`re clean and sober now over a year.

SWEETIN: Yes.

HAMMER: And - and the show on Fuse TV is called "Pants-Off Dance- Off."

SWEETIN: "Pants-Off Dance-Off."

HAMMER: It - it`s like "Snakes on a Plane." It - it`s pretty much all we need to say, isn`t it?

SWEETIN: Exactly.

HAMMER: All right. Interview`s over. No, I`m kidding.

(LAUGHTER)

HAMMER: But did - did - now does Bob Saget know about this?

SWEETIN: Yes.

HAMMER: I mean, are people - are people really dancing around naked?

SWEETIN: You know - well, you know what? It is a - it`s - it`s a dance competition, and people come in, they get to pick their favorite music videos. And they come in and - and dance their pants off. And - and they have a great time.

HAMMER: What do you mean they dance their pants off?

SWEETIN: They dance their pants off. It - like you said, it`s self explanatory.

HAMMER: So it`s the expression.

SWEETIN: It`s self explanatory. No - no - no more needs to be said, "Pants-Off, Dance-Off."

HAMMER: But no, you got to clear it up for me though, Jodie.

(CROSSTALK)

HAMMER: .getting naked on the show?

SWEETIN: No. You know what? People come in and they -- they compete. And - and their audience gets to pick who their favorite pantser, as we like to call them.

HAMMER: Oh, OK.

SWEETIN: .who their favorite pantser is. The second season airs September 26, Tuesday, at 10 p.m. It stars the second season of - of "Pants-Off, Dance-Off." So it`s going to be a lot of fun this season.

HAMMER: Well congratulations to you on that show.

SWEETIN: Thank you so much.

HAMMER: .and for getting through what you`ve gone through.

SWEETIN: Thank you so much.

HAMMER: ..and having the courage to come out and talk about it.

SWEETIN: Thank you.

HAMMER: I appreciate it.

Jodie Sweetin, of course. And you can catch, as she said, season two of "Dance-Off, Pants-Off," beginning September 26 on Fuse TV.

ANDERSON: As we just marked the five-year anniversary of one of the most awful days in history, 9/11, and as the war on terror continues, there`s a new movie from Clint Eastwood about World War II, and one of the most memorable photographs ever: the U.S. - the U.S. flag being raised over Iwo Jima.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has your first look at "Flags of Our Fathers."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wish I could have seen their faces.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The right pictures can win or lose a war.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re going to want to see this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now this picture, people went crazy over. People were tired of war. One photo almost all on its own turned that around.

(SCREAMING)

(EXPLOSIONS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) shoot them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe they`re all dead. (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A kind of severance (ph) (INAUDIBLE) to who else is in that picture.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then pick someone dead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don`t want somebody dead. They want to ship is back to the states.

(MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here are the heroes of Iwo Jima!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody wants to meet you guys. (INAUDIBLE) simple things he wants you to say. Mostly, Buy bonds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I think this whole damn thing is a farce.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we don`t raise $14 billion, this war`s over by the end of the month.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As far as us being the heroes of Iwo Jima, that`s just not pace (ph). The real heroes are dead on that island.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) and seeing him in that photograph, I don`t know why it makes me feel better. But it does. It (INAUDIBLE) so silly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, it`s not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can`t take them calling me a hero. (INAUDIBLE). Everyone thinks we (INAUDIBLE).

(MUSIC)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: "Flags of Our Fathers" stars Ryan Philippe and hits theaters October 20.

HAMMER: All right. So what do you think could be the most ridiculous award to give a kid for finishing his or her homework? How about drugs? "That`s Ridiculous!" to the nth-degree, and that`s next.

ANDERSON: And new details about the JonBenet Ramsey case from an insider. He`s also got the secrets behind other huge stories played out on TV, like the Michael Jackson child-molestation trial.

Plus we`ve got this:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN MAYER, SINGER: I mean, it`s not like watching your private life come out, because it`s not even my private - you know, it`s like, my private life is exactly that. Nobody knows my private life.

HAMMER: Right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Singer John Mayer with a new album out today speaks out about seeing his name splashed all over celebrity magazines saying he was dating Jessica Simpson. It`s the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, TV`s most provocative entertainment news show. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood.

Well, it`s time now for another story that made us say, "That`s Ridiculous!"

OK, so remember if you finished your homework, maybe mom or dad let you go play outside, or you were allowed to play video games, right? Something like that? Well, a mom in Pennsylvania has admitted to giving her 13-year-old son marijuana as a reward for him doing his homework. She pleaded guilty to a bunch of charges. No word yet on her sentence.

But couldn`t she just have baked him some brownies instead? Not those kind of brownies. But, A.J., when we think about - when we worry and say, you know, What`s happened to kids these days, many times parents like that./

HAMMER: Yes. Wow. I don`t really know what else to say.

ANDERSON: It`s unbelievable. I know.

HAMMER: So I guess we`ll have to say, a mom who rewards her kid for pot for finishing their homework? Not only stone-cold stupid, but "That`s Ridiculous!"

Moving on now, a couple of weeks have passed since John Mark Karr, the self-confessed suspect in the JonBenet Ramsey killing turned out to be a phony. Larry Garrison was the guy who talked with Karr`s family about selling the rights to his story.

From that case to the Michael Jackson child-molestation trial, Garrison has really seen and reported on it all and scooped the news media at times. His new break - new book is called "The Newsbreaker," in stores today.

Larry Garrison joining us now to talk about the fascinating and compelling behind-the-scenes stories that we never hear about.

I appreciate you being here, Larry.

LARRY GARRISON, AUTHOR, "THE NEWSBREAKER": Thank you.

HAMMER: So on the John - John Mark Karr story, you really were in the thick of it when this whole thing began to unfold. You were working as the spokesperson for - for the family.

But I have to ask you, when you first encountered the story, did you sort of smell a rat or - or - or did you at any point really think, You know what? This may be the guy.

GARRISON: Well, as I mentioned in my book, "The Newsbreaker," I handled the Ramsey story. So when this came about, and I saw the news spinning - the fact that the brother and - the two brothers and the father might have known the Ramseys, I knew that I had to step in and help them out.

There was really never any thought of a movie or a book, though I am an executive producer in film and TV, and I have my own company.

HAMMER: Which is, I think why a lot of people.

GARRISON: Yes.

HAMMER: .thought that maybe you would be doing a movie. But - but you`re saying that that`s not going to happen.

GARRISON: Most definitely not.

I - you know, if he was guilty, and if there was something that had come out, I might have considered it.

HAMMER: But - but again, did you think that this could have been the guy? Or.

GARRISON: No.

HAMMER: You didn`t?

GARRISON: Not from the get go. I knew from the family that they were sincere.

HAMMER: Right.

GARRISON: There were offered major monies from tabloids and turned it down.

HAMMER: Are you still in touch with them?

GARRISON: Yes, I am.

HAMMER: The Karr family?

GARRISON: Yes, I am.

HAMMER: Anything new to report?

GARRISON: Nothing new. We`re awaiting the extradition and - and an interview with John.

HAMMER: OK. Fascinating stories in "The Newsbreaker," in - in your new book.

With - the things we haven`t before about cases that really captured and captivated America`s attention for long periods of time. Of course, the Michael Jackson child-molestation case among them.

You actually have a couple of fascinating revelations from two of the jurors from that particular case that we haven`t heard before.

GARRISON: Well, Ellie Cook (ph) is the most unique. She`s 80 years old. She had lost a best friend. She had passed away during the trial, her base friend. And Ellie felt pressured to change her vote. She felt that he was guilty.

There was another juror also who felt the same way. And.

HAMMER: How did you learn this?

GARRISON: From them, directly. I procured the rights; I wanted to do a book with Ellie, and we`re in the process of now of finishing up her proposal. And the information she`s given me is incredible. And I - it`s in "The Newsbreaker."

HAMMER: OK. One more incredible nugget from that.

GARRISON: Sure.

HAMMER: ..you can - you can - well, actually, let me ask you quickly then, less than 30 seconds - but the Mary Kay Letourneau story, which was the teacher who married the child, and - and they`re together now, happily supposedly.

Real quickly, what - what`s something that we didn`t know about that, that you reveal?

GARRISON: That her husband, Steven, was very loving. Great guy. I dealt with him, what the kids had to go through.

And - and let`s face it, the news - it`s all about ratings; it`s about spin; it`s all sensationalism.

HAMMER: And you cut to the chase.

GARRISON: I like to.

HAMMER: Larry Garrison, I appreciate you stopping by and sharing some of those stories with us.

This is the book. It`s called "The Newsbreaker." And it`s in stores now.

ANDERSON: OK. Now let`s take a look at our "Hot Headlines."

The show will go on a cross for Madonna. She`s not listening to a plea from the Russian Orthodox Church to drop the mock - mock crucifixion, part of her concert in Moscow. Some religious groups have been upset with her show. Madonna`s publicist tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT this is all media hype, and that the crucifixion is actually Madonna`s plea to help orphan children in Africa.

Eva Longoria isn`t desperate to do any more TV. The "Desperate Housewives" star tells the Associated Press that she`s done with TV series after the ABC show ends. Longoria says she`s not planning to leave Wisteria Lane, though.

And Jessica Simpson`s new album is called "A Public Affair." The problem is, the public doesn`t seem to be showing up. Billboard says her fifth album is doing much worse than her other ones, and getting its butt kicked by her ex-husband`s, Nick Lachey`s, recent release. Tough time for Jessica; she lost her voice just as "Affair" came out. Then there were the stories of her dating or not dating singer John Mayer. And then there`s the did-she-or-did-she-not fire-her-publicist scandal.

It just goes on and on, A.J.

HAMMER: It sure does.

Well, a short time ago I got the chance to speak with John Mayer to set the record straight about his alleged relationship with Jessica Simpson.

And today`s a big day for John. This is his brand new CD, "Continuum." It is now in stores, including the single, "Waiting on the World To Change," his first politically charged song.

When John and I spoke, we got to talking politics, and I asked him where he agreed with the war in Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MAYER: Pro or anti, it`s very easy, you know? And it`s - it`s lazy - are you pro or anti? When someone asks me, am I pro or anti, I always hear that as a way, like, Should I continue to talk to you or not?

HAMMER: Yes.

MAYER: And that doesn`t make any sense to me, you know? I mean, I have dinner with people who have - who get their printed letter from George Bush. And I - I have dinner with people who - who, you know - who would march on - on Union Square any - any minute of the day. And I`m fascinated by both of them. But I think there`s a way to keep a discourse and a conversation.

And the moment it goes into pro or anti for me, I feel like people switch off, you know?

HAMMER: So you don`t necessarily see yourself as becoming a political artist per se? Because we know that when there`s strife in the world.

MAYER: Yes.

HAMMER: We - we have a certain degree of it right now, we see people like the Dixie Chicks or.

MAYER: Yes.

HAMMER: .or even Neil Young, with "impeach the president," putting it out there so boldly.

(CROSSTALK)

MAYER: Well, Neil Young has a right to write that. I don`t. Neil Young has tenure, and I don`t. Neil Young is - is a legend, and I feel like, where there comes a certain right, to become a legend.

Maybe on my third record, it`s relative to "let`s impeach the president." And it`s not even something that I personally would want to write into a song. I would like to imagine that if the Dixie Chicks wrote what they said on stage in London in a song, fewer people would have ever taken notice of it, because there`s something about the power of song that allows you to take in a different idea. And it`s kind of a back - back entrance into your mind through music, you know?

And so, that`s where I will continue to make statements. And I - I won`t really ever make them anywhere else.

HAMMER: Being a star, for better or for worse.

MAYER: Right.

HAMMER: .your face gets splashed over the tabloids. You`re - you`re talked about online, and - and all of that.

MAYER: Yes.

HAMMER: Did it get to the point somewhere along the way where you said, That stuff is not what I signed up for, or do you accept that it just comes with the territory?

MAYER: No. I - I - (INAUDIBLE) - it`s a tricky question, man. It`s like, How honest do I want to be about it?

The honest truth is that, I am pretty private, you know? And I - I - I have asked, basically through the decisions I make in my life for that kind of private life, you know?

And where it doesn`t become private, you know, that - that is what becomes part of it.

But, you - I - it`s - it wasn`t born into my career, you know? I`m not that much of a celebrity. I can`t sell a cream or, you know, a paste or something like that.

HAMMER: You can sell some pastes, maybe.

MAYER: I can maybe - maybe a salve or a balm.

HAMMER: A balm would be.

MAYER: You know? But - but, you know, I`m here to play to music. And I think that I`ve gotten a really fair shake. If that`s my worst problem, and someone else`s worst problem is how they`re going to fit that second job in, God - God bless them more than me, man. Because I`m - I`m doing all right.

HAMMER: Did it get more difficult when, suddenly, as you know, a couple of weeks ago, it was splashed everywhere, your relationship with Jessica Simpson.

MAYER: Yes, I mean.

HAMMER: .was on the cover of a couple of a magazines.

MAYER: I mean, it`s not even.

HAMMER: (INAUDIBLE) - it`s - whether or not it`s happening.

(CROSSTALK)

MAYER: But it`s not even like watching - but it`s not like watching your private life come out, because it`s not even my private life - you know, it`s like my private life is exactly that. Nobody knows my private life.

HAMMER: Right.

MAYER: There`s going to come a day when I`ll be standing next to a woman on a red carpet, and I`ll say this is - this is my girlfriend; this is my wife. She teaches school kids, or, I don`t know, she`s a graphic designer or something. And.

(CROSSTALK)

HAMMER: .on your terms.

MAYER: Here`s my lady, check her out.

HAMMER: When you put it on your own terms, that`s when it will be.

MAYER: I`d like to consider my fans my family. And I will meet - I will introduce my lady to the family when that time is appropriate.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: Well said. There you go. Let the guy have his privacy.

If you`re a fan of "CSI," well check this out: we`ve got your first look at John Mayer on the show, in it doing two cameo performances. It`s on "CSI"`s season premier on September 21.

ANDERSON: Last night, we asked you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day" -- former President Clinton angry over ABC`s mini series "The Path to 9/11, saying it made up - made up some stuff about his battle to get Osama bin Laden. "9/11 Movies: Do they have an obligation to get the facts right?" Still very one-sided; very strong responses: 93 percent of you say "yes"; 7 percent of you say "no."

Here`s some of the e-mails we got:

Eileen from Missouri writes, "For most people, this movie would be the closest they will get to reading the 9/11 report. And when it is billed as being based on the report, it should get the facts correct."

And Lisa from Alabama agrees: "I think it is doing a disservice to the younger generations who will learn about the events of that day through the media."

All right. Keep it right here. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: We`ve been asking you to vote on tonight`s SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." Meredith Vieira stars on the "Today" show tomorrow. So we want to know, "Meredith Vieira: Will she be a better `Today` host than Katie Couric?" Let us know what you think by voting at cnn.com/showbiztonight. Or send us an e-mail at showbiztonight@cnn.com. We`ll read some of your e-mails tomorrow.

ANDERSON: It`s time to see what`s coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. For that, let`s go to the "SHOWBIZ Marquee."

Tomorrow, Meredith Vieira does take over for Katie Couric in the mornings. Will viewers like her? Will "Today" stay on top? Meredith`s got some pretty cookie (ph) shoes to fill. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT reviews this former "View" star`s first day on "Today" tomorrow.

Also, segregated "Survivor." Tomorrow, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT goes one on one with the host of the CBS reality show, Jeff Probst. We`re going to grill him about survival - "Survivor"`s controversial decision to split teams by race. It`s creating a lot of buzz and anger. Jeff Probst, tomorrow.

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

ANDERSON: I am Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. Glenn Beck is coming up next, right after the latest headlines from CNN Headline News. Keep it right here.

END

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