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Michael J. Fox Responds to Rush Limbaugh; Nicole Richie Seeks Medical Help for Thinness; Madonna`s Adoption Drama; Tara Reid Interview; Dixie Chicks Interview

Aired October 27, 2006 - 19:00:00   ET


A.J. HAMMER, CNN CO-HOST: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT goes to Malawi where the father of the child Madonna is adopting sets the record straight. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.
BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CO-HOST: And the Dixie Chicks open up about the death threats they received.

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

HAMMER: On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, Rush Limbaugh versus Michael J. Fox, the controversy explodes.

Tonight, Michael`s powerful response to Rush`s suggestion that he exaggerated symptoms of his Parkinson`s disease.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Either he didn`t take his medication or he is acting, one of the two.


HAMMER: Tonight, the story behind Fox`s dramatic interview with Katie Couric. And Katie`s startling revelation about her personal connection to Michael.

Tonight, the scary skinny Nicole Richie now admits she needs help and checks into a treatment facility. But wait a second. Why is she not saying she has an eating disorder? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT goes looking for answers in our continuing coverage of the "Showbiz Weight Watch."

Friday night is on. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

ANDERSON: Hi there, everybody. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. And there is really so much to tell you about tonight from super skinny Nicole Richie now admitting she needs professional help, to an extraordinary interview we have with the father of the baby that Madonna is adopting.

HAMMER: We`ll be getting to all of that in just a moment. But first tonight, Michael J. Fox strikes back at Rush Limbaugh.

In an extraordinary interview, Fox spoke out for the very first time about Limbaugh`s explosive criticism of Fox`s political ads for stem cell research. And if Rush really did think Michael was exaggerating the symptoms of his Parkinson`s disease, take a look at the astounding interview and judge for yourself.


MICHAEL J. FOX, ACTOR: And understand, nobody in this position wants pity. We don`t want pity.

HAMMER (voice-over): Shaking, trembling and visibly ill, this is Michael J. Fox now. The actor and activist sat down in a gripping and emotional interview with Katie Couric to tell the world he is not exaggerating the symptoms of his Parkinson`s disease as Rush Limbaugh accused him of doing for a political ad.

FOX: What you do in Missouri matters to millions of Americans, Americans like me.

HAMMER: In this spot for Missouri Democratic Senate Candidate Claire McCaskill, Fox urges voters to support embryonic stem cell research.

But Limbaugh accused him of playing up his Parkinson`s for dramatic affect.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn`t take his medication or he is acting, one of the two.

HAMMER: Michael J. Fox says his tremors are no act. In fact, he says the shaking was worse than usual because his medication wasn`t working quite right.

FOX: Sometimes it kicks in too hard and then you get what`s called dyskinesia, which is that rocking motion.


KATIE COURIC, "CBS NEWS" ANCHOR: And you go from side to side, and that`s actually caused by the medication?

FOX: It`s caused by the medication.

HAMMER: Fox told Couric that even though his symptoms are more visible than ever, he doesn`t want to be pitied, especially by Limbaugh.

FOX: I could give a damn about Rush Limbaugh`s pity or anyone else`s pity. I`m not a victim.

HAMMER: Limbaugh later apologized for saying Fox was overacting, but still claims Fox is allowing himself to be exploited for political gain.

But Fox says, he is not new to the stem cell issue.

FOX: I`m not a Johnny come lately. Nobody plucked me off the apple cart to come and do this. I mean, I believe in this cause. I put a lot of my life and energy into it.

HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s been all over this story, getting reaction from the stars.

Whoopi Goldberg was particularly peeved when I asked her what she made of all of this.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG, ACTRESS: It is offensive. And even for Rush, it is low.

HAMMER: But of course, with stem cell research, such a hot button partisan issue, Radio Talk Show Host Dom Giordano tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Fox should keep his politics to himself.

DOM GIORDANO, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Michael J. Fox is one of the best celebrities in America. I know nothing bad about him. I love the guy and what he does. But that doesn`t make Michael J. Fox right and I think he should be taken on in this. And just because he suffers from this, it doesn`t make what he wants to be done correct.

HAMMER: Michael J. Fox, now 45 years old, was diagnosed with Parkinson`s 15 years ago when he was just 30.

FOX: How are my teeth?

HAMMER: He had to quit full-time acting in 2000, when he was starring the hit show, "Spin City." The symptoms were preventing him from keeping up with the rigorous TV schedule.

He used his time to set up the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson`s research, which has raised millions of dollars.

And Katie Couric revealed to viewers after her interview with him that some of that money came from her, and that her own 86-year-old father is also suffering from the disease.

And if Rush Limbaugh did have any doubts about how severe Michael`s symptoms are, watch this extraordinary moment when Katie is interviewing him, his body shaking uncontrollably and Katie having to retrieve his microphone.

COURIC: How tough is this for you to sit here and talk to me like this?

FOX: Honestly, this is -- I mean I really feel this. That you get in your life very few chances to make a difference. And -- and I`m really feel privileged that I get a chance to do this so if this is --

COURIC: Here (indiscernible).

HAMMER: A gripping, almost heartbreaking glimpse into his reality. Something which most people will agree can hardly be an act.


HAMMER (on camera): Well, Fox also told Couric that he did the ads only to advance his cause and that he doesn`t really care about politics. Disease, he says -- and he said this very well -- is a nonpartisan problem that requires a bipartisan solution.

The question is, was Rush out of line? Well, we`re going to hear both sides of this heated debate. That`s coming up a bit later on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

But right now, we would like to hear from you for our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. And here`s what we are asking, Michael J. Fox: Is Rush Limbaugh wrong for criticizing him? Go online to let us know what you think at, or send us your thoughts by emailing us at

And don`t forget SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is the only entertainment news show that lets you express your opinion on video. Look into your video camera or your webcam and send us a piece of your mind on video e-mail. It`s simple. Go to the Web site, That`s where the details are. All you have to do is click, attach and send. And remember, just keep them short, under 30 seconds and watch your e-mails, your video e-mails, only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

ANDERSON: Now on to another startling story tonight. Nicole Richie getting help for being so skinny. As SHOWBIZ TONIGHT continues our coverage of Hollywood`s obsession with weight and body image.

Tonight, after months and months of pubic scrutiny, the stick thin Nicole Richie is saying she has a problem and is getting treatment for issues surrounding her weight.

Her publicist tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, quote, Nicole Richie has decided to undergo treatment to determine why she`s not putting on any weight. ...this is not a treatment for an eating disorder."

Joining me tonight here in Hollywood is Jessica Weiner, author of "Do I Look Fat in This?"

Hi Jessica, good to see you.

JESSICA WEINER, AUTHOR: Hi. Good to be here.

ANDERSON: So, the statement says that she`s seeking treatment for the inability to gain weight. Is something weird about that? Is there something else going on here?

WEINER: Well, there`s something really vague about that and the truth is we don`t really know what`s going on in her body and in her personal life. But we`ve all been watching as the media has been covering her shrinking frame.

And I think anybody who`s watched a loved one go through an eating disorder or disordered eating or body image issues can really resonate with what she is going through as something surrounding an eating disorder.

ANDERSON: Well, if she does have an eating disorder, why not just say so? It seems to me, and I don`t know much about this, but that it would be like a burden just lifted off of you.

Mary Kate Olson admitted it. Jamie Lynn Sigler admitted it publicly.

WEINER: Right.

ANDERSON: Why not just say, hey, I have an eating disorder, if that`s the case, and I`m getting treatment for it. I`m fixing myself.

WEINER: Well, we have to remember that this is a mental health issue. And there`s a lot of shame around this mental health issue. And there`s a lot of misinformation around it. You know, we still think that eating disorders are just about the food, the fat and the weight. And because we see it, this disease displayed on somebody`s body, we focus so much on their body. But somebody who`s going through something like an eating disorder is in pain. They`re ashamed. And especially if you`re a celebrity and in the public eye, you have got every eyeball on you watching every move.

Think about it. She`s 25 years old. And no matter what and where you are in the world, when you were 25, you couldn`t handle that kind of pressure. And so I think there`s a lot of shame and stigma around this issue. And so it`s harder sometimes for people to come forth. I think it`s brave that she`s going to seek treatment at all.

ANDERSON: It`s very courageous, finally, for her to be taking this step.

WEINER: Absolutely.

ANDERSON: And we commend her for that. And we actually spoke to her father -- SHOWBIZ TONIGHT did -- Lionel Richie. And we asked him if he and Nicole ever have conversations about her weight. Listen to what he had to say about that.


LIONEL RICHIE, NICOLE RICHIE`S FATHER: All the time. But the fact is, is that I think since we have been through the first half of her life with the drug thing, she`s definitely conscious of how to handle it. She is doing it. I mean, she really is doing the work.


ANDERSON: OK, her father thinks she is on the right path. Is he missing something? Because are parents in denial sometimes when kids are having problems with their bodies? With weight issues.

WEINER: I think it`s really normal for parents to be in denial. And also I think when you`re a parent or a family member watching somebody you love go through a hardship like an addiction, you`re in it, in there with them watching them struggle. And there are good days and there are bad days. So when he is speaking to you, or when a parent is looking at their child, they might think, wow, she is taking it under control or she`s going to get better, because there are ups and there are downs.

What we have to remember is that this is a mental health issue. It doesn`t have a due date for recovery. It is a lifelong process.

ANDERSON: You want to stay positive, too, I am sure, about the whole situation. And you mentioned this a couple of minutes ago about the pressure that she is under. We have seen images of her splashed across tabloids and in television, for months and months, her shrinking frame. Could that stress have contributed to a problem or exacerbated a problem that was already there?

WEINER: Absolutely. I mean, I`m 15 years myself on the other side of the same issue, and I can tell you that at 19, 20, 25, if I had cameras pointed at my direction every single day and I had the whole world talking about my health and my physical body, that pressure is so intense. And truthfully, we can`t ever really understand what that feels like to be there.

I think what she may or may not be going through right now is something that millions of women experience in this country. The fact that she`s going to go there, figure out for herself what is going on for her body and mental health, I look forward to seeing where she is on the other end of this. I think that there`s still a lot of good to happen in her life.

ANDERSON: And hopefully this will encourage others who are struggling with the same thing, to get help.

WEINER: Absolutely.

ANDERSON: As we mentioned, she`s 25 years old. This will be her second stint in rehab. The first was for a heroin addiction, which as we know right now she is clean. She`s kicked the habit. But will having had that experience help her with this rehabilitation?

WEINER: Well surely we have seen her tenacity. Because she has recovered from a very serious drug addiction. And I think that`s a powerful message for her and for the people who are watching right now, that these issues are -- you are able to recover from them. And I think when you`re looking at facing recovery from an eating disorder, you need food to live. You don`t need alcohol or heroin or cocaine to live.


WEINER: And so she`s going to have to develop a whole new relationship with her body, with her nourishment, and look at food as just that and not nothing else. And that is a big struggle in this country as we are seeing. I mean, we are really conflicted about our bodies. We are really conflicted about this issue.

ANDERSON: Well, we wish her well no matter how it`s defined or not defined. We hope the treatment is successful.

Jessica Weiner, thank you so much.

WEINER: Thank you.

ANDERSON: And you can find her book, "Do I Look Fat in This?" in stores everywhere.

And coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, another Hollywood star`s confession about body image. Tara Reid`s dramatic story of how her breast surgery went terribly wrong. That`s coming up at 37 past the hour, in the interview you`ll see only right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

HAMMER: The Dixie Chicks open up about the death threats they received after Singer Natalie Maines blasted the president on stage. That`s coming up.

We`ll also have this.


YOHANE BANDA, DAVID`S FATHER (through translator): Please be strong and don`t give up the fight. My David will be a good son to you.


ANDERSON: The father of the child Madonna is adopting clears the air on how he feels about the adoption. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT goes all the way to Malawi to set the record straight, coming up.

HAMMER: And we may never know why the chicken crossed the road, but we do know why this politician dressed up like a chicken. We`re going to fill you in next.


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

Now here`s one way to ruffle feathers at a city council meeting. A city councilman in Bloomington, Indiana, actually came to the meeting dressed like a chicken. That`s right. Councilman Steve Bolan (ph) showed up in the unusual attire as the council discussed an ordinance that would actually allow residents to keep chickens within city limits.

But without balking or squawking, Bolan voted with the majority -- all right, that`s enough, guys. He recommended that the ordinance for final approval will take place next week, hopefully.

A city councilman in chicken costumes, that`s ridiculous.

ANDERSON: The father of the child Madonna is adopting is setting the record straight. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is the only entertainment news show in Malawi where the father says a lot of what he has been saying lately has been misunderstood.

Here`s CNN`s Jeff Koinange, for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


JEFF KOINANGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a tiny village tucked into a tiny corner of Malawi, lives the father at the center of the storm over Madonna`s adoption.

First, he said Madonna could adopt his son, then confusion, and now, well -- we went to find Yohane Banda to see precisely how he got so mixed up with one of the world`s most popular celebrities.

Hello? Hello. How are you?

We were told he had moved out of his house after being hounded by the world`s press.

(on camera): Looking for Yohane Banda.

(voice-over): And that we might find him in another village, staying with his sister.

It was 10 miles away. We found him sitting outside, sipping tea with her.

(on camera): How are you? Yohane? Good to see you. He was surprised to see us, but did want to clear up the confusion.

YOHANE BANDA, DAVID`S FATHER (through translator): I give my son, David, to Madonna with all my heart. And what is happening does not reflect the truth of the matter. I gave David away and he now belongs to Madonna.

KOINANGE (voice-over): This is a complete about face to what he`d said just days earlier when he insisted he didn`t realize by signing the adoption papers, he was giving his 13-month-old away forever.

BANDA (through translator): I was forced to say things I didn`t mean. That agreement with Madonna in court was correct, but after the agreement, some people from NGOs and societal (ph) organizations came to me, asking me questions and forcing me to answer contrary to what I had agreed with Madonna.

KOINANGE: He says he felt pressurized from the NGOs, the nongovernmental organizations. And other groups told him it was a huge missed opportunity, that he should profit from the $3 million Madonna`s alleged to have contributed to orphanages in Malawi.

But Banda says it was never about money and insists he made no money from the adoption. He simply wants what`s best for his son.

But when asked if the Malawi government forced him to change his story, Banda becomes defensive.

BANDA (through translator): No one in the government has forced me to say anything. This is my doing.

KOINANGE (on camera): Any regrets?

BANDA (through translator): There are no regrets because what we wanted is that the child should be taken care of and should grow up to be a healthy and happy person.

His siblings died, and the fact that he is alive and will remain alive there, will make us happy. If he stays alive long enough and comes back to visit us, that will be well and good. But my aim was not to benefit from anything. It was for the child`s benefit.

KOINANGE: Banda, who says his two other sons died of malaria before they reached their second birthdays, says his only living son is now better off than he would have ever been in the orphanage. In fact, he used our camera to speak directly to Madonna.

BANDA (through translator): Madonna, whatever is happening, maybe it`s because you are famous. That`s why all these things are happening. Please, be strong and don`t give up the fight. My David will be a good son to you.

KOINANGE (voice-over): As for the pending court case scheduled for Friday by a group of human rights groups arguing that Malawi`s adoption laws should be enforced for all without exception, that would have required Madonna to live in the country for at least 18 months. Banda says...

BANDA: I`m going to assure the court that what we agreed with Madonna stands and whatever controversy surrounds the aftermath, it was nothing related to the agreement with Madonna.

KOINANGE: The controversy over Madonna`s African adoption isn`t likely to end any time soon. And neither is a father`s love for his only surviving son, now someone else`s child.


ANDERSON: That was CNN`s Jeff Koinage for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

HAMMER: All right. Time now for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s newest feature. This week`s "Showbiz Staff Picks." These are the things that we are just loving right now. And you should have seen the bagels and the smears (ph) flying around at our morning meeting as we debated exactly what was going to wind up on this list. Here we go.

Jack Nicholson, Mat Damon, Leo DiCaprio in "The Departed." We are telling you, Director Marty Scorsese, he just might finally get his long overdue Oscar for this film.

"Sting`s" new album is on our list, "Songs from the Labyrinth." He is kicking it old school, Shakespeare style, playing the Newt.

And also you should pick up a copy of the book, "Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women." A lot of Showbiz staffers have read it and loved it because the author totally shatters the myth that successful ladies are less likely to tie the knot. That`s ridiculous.

"Grey`s Anatomy." Our DVR is absolutely humming. Of course, it`s TV`s number one show. But the question is, will Meredith and McDreamy ever sort out their issues?

And U2`s Bono teams up with the Gap for the really hot red campaign. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT says, pick up a shirt or two and help stamp out AIDS in Africa.

Those are this week`s Showbiz staff picks.

ANDERSON: It`s a TV show that has fans giddy with anticipation. We have your first look at the new season of "24," coming up in this Showbiz showcase.

HAMMER: Plus, my chat with Tara Reid. She talks about the pressure to look a certain way in Hollywood, and how that led to a surgical nightmare for her.

Plus, why she doesn`t hang around with Paris and Nicole anymore.

We`ll also have this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We would walk into a room or a restaurant or a party or my kids` school, and wonder who hates me.


ANDERSON: From dirty looks to death threats, the Dixie Chicks open up about what it was like after Singer Natalie Maines blasted President Bush. That`s coming up.


HAMMER: On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT this weekend, a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT exclusive. I go one on one with Allison Clinton. She`s the nanny who Country Star Sara Evans says had an affair with her husband. Clinton has a very personal message for Sara. You`ll find that Saturday and Sunday on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT this weekend.

ANDERSON: Country music stars are rallying around Evans as she goes through this bitter divorce. But Evans isn`t the only country music star who has grabbed headlines for something other than music lately.

As SHOWBIZ TONIGHT reported, Keith Urban has checked into rehab. Last night at country music television`s tribute to Reba McIntyre, in Los Angeles, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT got reaction from the stars on both of those scandals. Take a look.


FAITH HILL, COUNTRY MUSIC STAR: They are both well liked in our industry and our community and they know that they have our support.

SHELBY LYNNE, COUNTRY MUSIC STAR: They`re awesome people, and so my thoughts and prayers are with them.

MARTINA MCBRIDE, COUNTRY MUSIC STAR: We`re just all pulling for them. I mean, it`s obviously two very personal issues and things that they`re going through. And country music is one big family. And you know, we`re just hoping that everything turns out all right for both of them.

WYNONNA JUDD, COUNTRY MUSIC STAR: Success is not everything. And I`m sorry, but it`s real easy to look at everybody else and go, uh-oh, Sara Evans, you know, we`re all going through it.


ANDERSON: We also talked to Trisha Yearwood, and she joked that she was just glad the scandals weren`t about her today.

HAMMER: Rush Limbaugh versus Michael J. Fox. The controversy is boiling over. We are going to hear both sides of this heated debate coming up.

We`ll also have this...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... would walk into a room or a restaurant or a party or my kids` school, and wonder who hates me.


ANDERSON: From dirty looks to death threats, the Dixie Chicks open up about what it was like after Singer Natalie Maines blasted President Bush. That`s coming up.

HAMMER: Also, tonight, my chat with Tara Reid. She opens up about the pressure to look a certain way in Hollywood, and exactly how that pressure led to a surgical nightmare for her.

Plus, she is going to tell us exactly why she is not hanging around with Paris and Nicole these days.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT will be right back.



HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT for Friday night. It is 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: Still to come tonight, Brooke, we have my exclusive sit-down with Tara Reid. Tara knows all about the pressure to stay -- looking a certain way in Hollywood. It was that pressure that led her to have plastic surgery that didn`t go so well. She`s had to deal with that, have a recovery surgery afterwards. We`ll talk to her exactly what she went through. We`ll speak about that in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, in just a few minutes.

ANDERSON: That`s right.

On a lighter note, A.J., the wait is almost for the highly anticipated sixth season of the show "24," one of the most popular shows on television. And coming up, we`re going to have your first look, a sneak peek at the new season. And it is intense. You don`t want to miss this.

HAMMER: One of my favorite shows on TV, Brooke.

But now let`s get back to the explosive war of words between Michael J. Fox and Rush Limbaugh that has everybody talking. Fox shot back at Limbaugh in an interview with CBS News anchor Katie Couric after Limbaugh accused Fox of exaggerating his Parkinson`s disease in a political ad backing a Senate candidate who supports embryonic stem-cell research.

Now while Limbaugh has apologized for claiming Fox was putting on an act, he is still insisting Fox is letting himself be used and manipulated.

Joining us tonight from Philadelphia, WPHT-AM talk radio host Dom Giordano.

And in New York, Jay Thomas, hosting "The Jay Thomas Show" on Sirius Satellite Radio.

Gentlemen, I welcome you both back to the program. I appreciate you being here.



HAMMER: All right.

So Jay here we have certainly a guy who is considered one of the most beloved actors in the country taking on one of the most influential radio hosts in the country. There`s no question that people listen to what Rush has to say.

But is there any way here Jay that what Rush said is at all defensible?

THOMAS: Well, you know, I spoke to a conservative philosopher, Rodney Lee Conover, today in Chicago, Illinois, because I said, Look, I`m certainly coming from the other side. He said, First of all, Rush probably made it better for the people that are for stem cell, and I think the numbers already went up. He said it was like making fun of Tiny Tim in "A Christmas Carol."

You know, my mother said to me when I first started doing comedy, she goes, Oh my God, if you make fun of the afflicted, you will burn in hell. And I`m telling you now, that`s really what`s happened to Rush. He`s going to burn in hell, and he shouldn`t have said something about somebody who is going to die from this disease, and is doing everything he canto stop.

It would be like someone making fun of a friend of yours who exaggerated their pain and -- or made fun of their pain because they went from doctor to doctor to get more pain medicine.


THOMAS: I mean, it would be like saying, Gee, you shouldn`t exaggerate facts and start a war and get people killed and maimed. So.

HAMMER: Something like that. really is the pot calling the kettle black.

HAMMER: No, I couldn`t agree with you more on that, Jay.

And I think, Dom, we can certainly all agree on that. Even Rush has apologized at this point.

But Rush still does suggest, as I mentioned, that Fox is being exploited for political gain. Do you think he has any kind of a point here?

GIORDANO: Well, no, I don`t know that he`s being exploited -- I would put it that way -- for political gain, as much as, A, Michael J. Fox, as much as he I love him, too, and that interview was sad, has to be challenged. His facts are wrong. He`s not on the point. I`m not sure why he`s buying into this hype around embryonic stem-cell research is going to cure him tomorrow, except the Democratic Party is exploiting it. I don`t think he`s being duped; I think he honestly believes this.

HAMMER: I mean to clear, I`m being straight about the facts, Dom. I don`t think Michael J. Fox is thinking this is going to cure him tomorrow. He doesn`t see this as an immediate fix. But he`s trying to open up the door to the research, and help that along, and as I said, not make it a political issue, because disease should not be a political issue.

GIORDANO: Well, he is making it a political issue. He`s attacking people that are mainly Republicans on this.

You have a guy, A.J., in Maryland, whose sister now is cutting a counter ad. She has MS and she`s a pediatrician. We`re going to see this dueling around disease.

Michael J. Fox, like it or not, did make it political. He slammed this guy in Missouri. He said he wants to criminalize things. That`s political.

HAMMER: Jay, is that how you see it?

THOMAS: Well, I don`t think they`re fighting for stem cell. I think we don`t even know what the issue is. Isn`t it about funding? Isn`t it about federal funding?

GIORDANO: It`s about cloning.

THOMAS: Yes, well, billion of dollars are being spent by private pharmaceuticals. I don`t think it`s about cloning. We`re not talking about.

GIORDANO: Well, it is. It is about cloning. I read it.

THOMAS: It`s about the federal government funding stem-cell research.

HAMMER: All right. Let me reel it back in here for a second, guys.

Dom, you suggested to us -- and let me make sure I have this right -- that you think it`s unfair for Fox to be brought into the race this late to fight this fight. Obviously, as we know, this is a guy fighting for his life and fighting for research.

What`s unfair about that?

GIORDANO: Well, what`s unfair, A.J. -- let`s say you were running for office, or my colleague here was running, or I -- at the 11th hour, to have a guy this beloved, who I love and dearly like, look this bad on TV, make this emotional sort of thing over stem cells and say, You`re a bad guy, you`re against it. If we get this guy out of here, we`ll move forward on something that might cure me.

Think about trying to deal with that after a heated Senate campaign, when your life is on the line. You have to go after somebody like this.

HAMMER: Jay -- I mean, has politics ever been fair? I mean, won`t you do -- you know, if you`re politician, or if you`re -- you believe in a cause, whatever it takes to help your cause?

THOMAS: Listen, I spoke out against the war, and I was called not a patriot. So, yes -- what`s happening now is -- and I`ve said this before - - a lot of stuff`s been said by conservatives that they were -- they`re going to pay for. And they have set up a -- forget conservatives, I just want to say, this group of Republicans -- I don`t want to insult conservatives. Because they -- they`ve turned against Rush Limbaugh.

Look, I said it last night: Rush does this stuff to get noticed, to make money. We`re all in radio and television. And his numbers probably went up. And maybe he`ll sell another book. And that`s the saddest thing: he`s making a buck off of a disease, off of making fun of somebody who has a terrible disease. And I don`t like the guy.


GIORDANO: Well, that`s obvious that you don`t like him.

I don`t think he`s making fun. I don`t know if you listened to the show. I`m not agreeing with him, A.J., what Rush did initially, of saying he acted or whatever. You got to be very sensitive and careful when doing these things.

But he`s gone on to explain very clearly what the problem is, and it`s this: Democrats use victim after victim, and they expect that they`re bulletproof, that we`re not going to challenge this. We`re just mean conservatives who don`t know any better.


THOMAS: Well, you`re not mean conservatives. Listen, I said this -- it`s Rush Limbaugh. He said, "Fakin the shakin," Dom. I mean, you listen to his show, too, and so do I.

GIORDANO: Yes. Right.

THOMAS: It`s -- he used all the inflection that we know Rush Limbaugh uses.


HAMMER: I got to wrap up there, guys, because I`m out of time.

THOMAS: He made fun.

HAMMER: And to be clear -- and to be clear, Michael J. Fox made it very clear with Katie Couric on CBS last night, he does not want to be considered a victim. I don`t think anybody with a disease wants to be considered a victim. And he particularly doesn`t care what Rush Limbaugh thinks, I think is what we all got from that.

Dom and Jay, I really appreciate you being with us.


GIORDANO: Thank you.

HAMMER: Earlier, we told you about Nicole Richie`s battle with her weight, and the steps that she`s taking to find out exactly why she`s so skinny.

Well, actress Tara Reid also has bodied with battled with body image in Hollywood before. And she`s now speaking out about some plastic surgery that she had that caused a nightmare for her, and the painful surgeries she had to have in order to correct it.

Well, I had the chance to sit down with Reid, who is starring in the new direct-to-download horror film "Incubus," which is now available on AOL, and I asked her if Hollywood pressure pushed her to get breast implants and liposuction, and exactly how the issues of body image are magnified when you are in the spotlight.


TARA REID, ACTRESS: It`s a huge pressure in Hollywood and how to look. I mean, you look at the girls that, you know, that -- do really well, and most of them are very thin. And the ones that are too thin, they even make them more successful in certain ways. They get the campaigns, they get this, they get -- you know what I mean? Unfortunately, that`s kind of the way Hollywood is, is, you know, thin.

And you have to be that. I mean, that`s just the way it is. It`s the job or the -- you have to look a certain way. And also, you know, I -- God, it wasn`t like I as 20 years old. I`m -- you know, I was 28 when I got it. So I was, like, you know -- it`s not, like, you know, I`m almost 30, so -- you know, now I`m going to be 31. But at the time, it`s not like, she was 18 years old, and got this.

HAMMER: Right.

REID: It was something that, you know, I was thinking about for awhile, you know? And it was the time to do it -- the time to do it, 30, you know? Then do it when you`re 20 or 40.

HAMMER: But it had a lot do with the atmosphere around you.

REID: Absolutely.

HAMMER: .and look, I want to continue to work.


REID: I need to get my body into top shape, and I need to -- this is what I need to do. And unfortunately, I mean, I thought what I needed to do, the surgery came out terrible.

HAMMER: Do you feel like that pressure is out of control? Because obviously, if you didn`t.

REID: It`s definitely out of control.

HAMMER: If you don`t want to do the surgery, you shouldn`t feel forced to do the surgery.

REID: I mean, you just look at -- like, all the famous people right now, and just how many of them are so skinny with major eating disorders. It`s just like -- I mean, when it comes out everyday. I mean, there`s, like -- it`s hard, you know? And it`s -- unfortunately, like, the skinnier girl, like, wins.

HAMMER: Talking about your plastic surgery, you were quoted as saying that you were ridiculed for the surgery, which I -- which I find incorrigible, that anybody would ridicule somebody for something that happened to them in -- in terms of their healthy.

REID: If it was bad, yes.

HAMMER: What you said was -- quote -- "People got to start to learning to be nicer. You win a lot more in life to be nicer than mean. I just think that everyone needs to start being nicer to people, and it would be a better world."

I couldn`t agree with you more. Why do you think people write mean things about you?

REID: You know, unfortunately, I think when -- it`s sad, but it`s not just me. I think it`s with anyone with life. When people are doing good, people want to knock them down. You know, like, no one wants to hear how, like, the canoe made it down the river; they want to hear how the canoe tipped over.

And it`s sad. Like, it`s like when you see someone fall, and everyone`s laughing at them. You know, you`re like, They fell. Like, you shouldn`t -- instead, you give them the hand and help them up. But unfortunately, that`s not what we live in anymore. And I think, if everyone just tried to be a little nicer to everyone everyday, I think we`d have a lot happier world, and people would feel better about themselves.

Like, people don`t really -- like, one dig you could give someone, or say one mean thing, how it could really get inside them and it could really hurt them.

HAMMER: I know you used to hang out with Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton quite a bit, and always be out in the clubs with them.

And I`m curious because they got an awful lot of attention recently because they had this very public feud. And then suddenly it was patched up right at the time that they were releasing their.

REID: Of course.

HAMMER: . they were releasing their reality show, or getting set to put it on again.

Do you have any sense of what that was all about?

REID: Well, I mean, I don`t really, like, hang out with that crowd so much anymore. I mean, I`ve grown up a lot. And I have to tell you, there`s a lot of negativity, you know, around that crowd. Everyone`s fighting with each other, and ruin each other`s lives and careers, and then they make up, and then they`re together. Like, I`m too old for that drama. I don`t want it. And ever since I`ve, like, changed my life, you know, in more of a positive way, like I feel like, I fixed myself, you know?

Like, for two years I was struggling with the bad plastic surgery. And, you know, it`s part of the reason why I stopped working so much, because I couldn`t. I pinched my stomach and .

HAMMER: No, and what that has to have done to your psychological.

REID: Yes. And mentally, like, I knew that everyone -- my dress fall down, everyone knew, like, that what they looked like. I mean, it was just terrible to live with.

So then I kind of just -- my life -- got myself and I got my body fixed. Got my mind mentally fixed. And I really try to stay around, like, just positive people now. And I don`t really talk -- I have nothing to do with those girls anymore. Because it didn`t really bring me happiness. And it didn`t -- you know, in life, if there` someone around you that you just don`t feel happy about, you just -- you have to cut them out and makes you feel good.


HAMMER: Tara`s latest flick, the horror film "Incubus," now available for download at Halloween -- this Halloween at

ANDERSON: Now, we usually think "South Park" is pretty funny. But going after Steve Irwin so soon after his death -- sorry, but that`s in bad taste, and "That`s Ridiculous!" Next.

HAMMER: We`re very excited about this one: coming up, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with your very first look at the new season of "24." Fans, stand by. That`s coming up in tonight`s "SHOWBIZ Showcase."

We`ve also got this:


NATALIE MAINES, DIXIE CHICKS: I definitely would walk into a room or a restaurant or a party or my kid`s school, and wonder, Who hates me?


ANDERSON: The Dixie Chicks` President Bush-bashing controversy -- the Chicks` revealing story of how they got shocking death threats but still kept performing. A.J. goes one-on-one with the ladies in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ .


HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, TV`s most provocative entertainment news show.

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

I`m a big fan of the show "South Park." Certainly a great show on television, on Comedy Central. But I do think the show went a little too far this week.

I want you to take a look at this on YouTube. It shows Satan hosting a Halloween party with dead celebrity guests like Princess Diana, Hitler and rapper Notorious B.I.G. Well, one of the guests is Steve Irwin in a blood-stained shirt, with a stingray hanging out of his chest. Irwin, of course, was killed last month while shooting a documentary off the coast of Australia.

Well, we called Comedy Central. They say they always do provocative stuff, and they`ve received very few complaints about this show.

But we say, showing Steve Irwin dead like this, just a bit too soon. And "That`s Ridiculous!"

Well, it`s been three years now since one of country music`s biggest acts, the Dixie Chicks, specifically lead singer Natalie Maines, spoke out against the Iraq war, causing a firestorm of controversy. Maines words unleashed a ton of fury.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Behind the growing build-up war to war, there`s also a growing anti-war movement.

MAINES: We`re ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas.


HAMMER: The Dixie Chicks hope to set the record straight in their new documentary, "Shut Up and Sing."

And when I sat down with the Dixie Chicks, we talked about their decision to continue going on stage despite getting death threats a couple years back, and exactly how they feel about those outrage-causing words three years later.


HAMMER: I`ve heard people ask you, "Do you feel vindicated?," and that seems strange to me, because I kind of doubt vindication is the right word to use.

But is there sort of that sense of, I told you so.

MAINES: Yes. I mean, I do feel -- I think usually I am shy to accept a compliment about singing or music, get a little embarrassed. And I have to say that I am very proud when I watch the film and know that I knew it was OK to use my free speech, and that I am a good person. And I didn`t do anything wrong. And I would be so disappointed myself if I hadn`t of stood up for that. Because, you know, what would I have told my kids and how would I have lived with myself if I had caved or lied for financial gain?

HAMMER: And securing your future. And to that point -- you know, it`s nice to hear that you feel good about that. But it`s quite clear in the film that you harbored a lot of guilt over what you were putting other people through, and how you thought perhaps you were jeopardizing your futures and affecting their lives and their family.

Have you managed to let that go?


HAMMER: Still going to sit with you?

EMILY ROBISON, DIXIE CHICKS: People are going to ask us if we fought about. Why weren`t you mad at Natalie? And it`s just, like, when you could see her beating herself up.

HAMMER: Right. What you could possibly say?

MAINES: You know, that was not.

ROBISON: Get out of there! (ph)



HAMMER: One of the things that`s really interesting to see play out in the film is the death threat against you. And so you read the letter, and security being beefed up, and then you going out on stage that night -- were you fearing for your life out on stage that night?

MAINES: Oh, when I was on stage, though it`s like, yes, maybe there`s no one to fear before the actual moment, but I just remember when the stage was rising on "Goodbye Earl," I just -- it took me a second to calm down. I wasn`t singing in tune because I was just so angry was like, Which one is it? Who is it?


MAINES: But, you know, with -- and I do remember, as every song would pass, I`d go, Another one is -- I was ready for the night to be over. But I didn`t necessarily really believe -- I don`t think we would have put -- well, I know we wouldn`t have put our fans in a situation like that if we really thought something was going to happen.

We did -- even though they couldn`t tell us for sure that they knew who it was, we did feel like they were watching the right guy, and that there was -- you know, we took all of the right precautions.

HAMMER: You guys ever thought about going to entertain the troops?

MARTIE MAGUIRE, DIXIE CHICKS: We were actually invited before the incident, and then we were kind of uninvited.

We would love to. I mean, we would accept an invitation for sure. We got lots of letters, families of soldiers and from soldiers themselves, just saying, We`re over here fighting for you to say that, and thank you for questioning.

HAMMER: Exactly right.

MAGUIRE: My life is worth a lot, and my comrades` lives are -- lives are worth a lot. Thank you.

HAMMER: So based on that, you feel you`d be pretty well-received over there? You feel comfortable going and.


MAINES: Maybe not after the film.

When I lived in Texas right after, I definitely would walk into a room or a restaurant or a party of my kid`s school, and wonder, Who hates me? So I would be worried that they would think that I didn`t -- that they would have heard that I didn`t like them or didn`t support them. And I would be, you know, nervous about that.


MAINES: You know, I feel like the film answers a lot of unanswered questions, or will make people -- if people don`t like us see it, make them see the -- well, or just show them the truth. I think that they weren`t told the truth. And so if they`re not going to like us, they can at least not like us for the right reasons.


HAMMER: I strongly recommend the new Dixie Chicks film, "Shut Up and Sing," no matter your politics. It`s in New York and L.A. this weekend. It goes nationwide on November 10.

ANDERSON: In tonight`s "SHOWBIZ Showcase," the upcoming season of one of the hottest primetime shows has created so much buzz, that even our cynical SHOWBIZ TONIGHT staff is screaming for more. We`re talking about "24."

By the way, if you don`t watch it, you should check it out. Each episode is one hour in a day, as Kiefer Sutherland tries to keep the U.S. safe and sound.

Here`s your first look at this big season.



KIEFER SUTHERLAND, ACTOR: Hi, I`m Kiefer Sutherland. And I`m proud to introduce the special preview of the new season of "24."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Bauer is no longer China`s enemy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those cities have been targeted by a series of terror attacks.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are talking about .


SUTHERLAND: Do you understand the difference between dying for something and dying for nothing? If it was me, I could die for something.


ANNOUNCER: "24." A new day begins this January on Fox.


ANDERSON: Look for season six of "24" in January.

HAMMER: Last night, we asked you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day," Naomi Campbell arrested again in London for supposedly assaulting someone.

So the question was, "Naomi Campbell Arrested again: Should she be banned from working in the United States?" Pretty one-sided: 70 percent of you said yes; 30 percent of you said no.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT coming right back.


ANDERSON: We`ve been asking you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day," Rush Limbaugh`s shocking allegation that Michael J. Fox was faking his symptoms of Parkinson`s disease in a political ad for a Missouri Senate candidate who supports stem-cell research.

So, "Michael J. Fox: Is Rush Limbaugh wrong for criticizing him?"

Keep voting at And write to us at We will read some of your e-mails on Monday.

And don`t forget SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is the only entertainment news show that lets you express your opinion on video. So just look into your video camera or your webcam, send us a piece of your mind via video e-mail. It`s really easy; head to our Web site,, and you can learn how to do it. Your videos have to be 30 seconds or less. And then just watch for your video e-mails only right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

HAMMER: And that is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Have an excellent weekend. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

ANDERSON: You do the same, A.J. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood.

Glenn Beck is coming up next, right after the latest headlines from CNN Headline News. Keep it right here.


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