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SHOWBIZ TONIGHT

Debate Continues on Use of N-Word; Lindsay Lohan Goes to AA Meetings, But Still Drinks

Aired December 4, 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, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT ANCHOR: Why Jessica Simpson was in tears after performing in front of the president. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.
BROOKE ANDERSON, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT ANCHOR: And Nick verses Jessica, J- Lo and one of her guys, and Britney`s blink and you missed him husband, the down and dirty battle of the celebrity exes. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. TV`s most provocative entertainment news show starts right now.

HAMMER: On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, a Kramer racial rant shocker. Tonight why some in Hollywood actually want people to keep on saying the N-word. The stunning way they are encouraging others to continue using it. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has the fired-up reaction from the stars --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILL SMITH, ACTOR: We haven`t even made a decision in the black community completely about how we feel about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: -- on the N-word, to say or not to say. Boozing buddies, tonight, for the first time, George Clooney speaks out about what really happened the night he and Danny Devito went to drinking.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR: I was dumping those shots. I don`t think he got the memo.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: It`s revealing, sobering interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

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

ANDERSON: Hi there everyone, I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. In just a few minutes the big movie star who is going to alcoholics anonymous, but says she may still keep drinking.

HAMMER: But first tonight the comedy club that is actually encouraging comedians to use the N-word. You heard me right, because apparently not everybody is thrilled about the call to ban the N-word after Michael Richards` racial rant. Tonight SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is tracking down Hollywood`s biggest stars to get their take on the great debate and to ask the question, what in the world is going on here?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER (voice-over): In the days after Michael Richards racist tirade against patrons at an L.A. comedy club, it may have seemed like the N-word was an endangered species. Civil rights leaders called on everybody, black and white, to stop using it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To the N-word, we say, just say no.

HAMMER: But are you ready for this? You won`t believe what one comedy club is doing. It`s encouraging its mostly black slate of comedians to use the N-word and use it often.

ENSS MITCHELL, OWNER, THE COMEDY UNION: I wanted to be one of the people that stood up for freedom of speech.

HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT tracks this shocking twist in a very divisive racial debate and some of Hollywood`s A-list tell only SHOWBIZ TONIGHT what they think about this enduring controversy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are trying to get on TV right now.

SMITH: We haven`t even made a decision in the black community.

HAMMER: Here`s the latest, the Comedy Union in Los Angeles is staging its own backlash against the N-word backlash. For an upcoming show the club, a top draw for black comedians, is inviting comics to use the word at least once in their routines. The club`s owners tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT it`s a free speech issue.

MITCHELL: For us to not allow a comedian or any other entertainer to be creative in the field that they have chosen, it`s ridiculous.

HAMMER: The stars are speaking out too. I asked Jamie Fox what he thinks about the controversy.

JAMIE FOXX, ACTOR: All that ban, I`m going to be me, you know what I`m saying?

HAMMER (on camera): Exactly, because everybody is saying it`s a freedom of speech.

FOXX: I`m going to do me and I`m not going to let anybody --

HAMMER: There`s a comedy club who`s actually now encouraging people to go on stage and use it. That`s also not the right direction.

FOXX: Whatever, it`s just an incident that happened, let it go.

HAMMER (voice-over): Black comedians, from Richard Pryor to Chris Rock, have used the N-word freely in their routines with barely a peep of controversy. Comedy Union club owner Enss Mitchell tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT the word simply has a different meaning when African Americans use it.

MITCHELL: I use the word. I use it with my best friends. Between black people, it`s a community type thing.

HAMMER: Will smith tells me it`s easy to see how such a hateful word can be turned into something else.

SMITH: For me, being an actor, I know that I can take the words, I hate you, and I can act it in a way that you clearly know that I mean I love you. I said I hate you, but, I hate you, you know -- you are stupid, you know. So you can actually use a word and make it mean something different.

HAMMER: Still, as the Michael Richards incident shows, there are certain people who just can`t say it. As Steve Carell`s character in "The Office" found out the hard way when he tried to imitate a popular Chris Rock routine.

STEVE CARELL, ACTOR: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) always want credit for something they`re supposed to do.

Chris Rock can do a routine, and everybody finds it hilarious and ground breaking, and I go and do the exact same routine, same comedic timing, and people file a complaint to corporate. Is it because I`m white and Chris is black?

HAMMER: That kind of confusion, say opponents, is the reason why everyone needs to stop using the word, period. Comedians like Paul Mooney, who used it freely during a decades long comedy career, are swearing they will never use it again.

PAUL MOONEY, COMEDIAN: We`re going to crush it like we crushed Negro.

ROLAND MARTIN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: They should stop justifying it and explaining it away and saying, well, it`s OK among one another, but then if you say it, it`s not.

HAMMER: But some agree with actor Danny Glover, who tells me that if America is going to have a racial debate, it shouldn`t be about this.

DANNY GLOVER, ACTOR: Look at what happens in terms of racial profiling, in terms of people of Arab decent. Look what happens in terms of racial profiling in terms of people that are immigrants. And ask ourselves the right questions and have the right discourse, honest, level discourse about that, then we make the changes where you don`t have to deal with the issues around Michael Richards or deal with the other issues.

HAMMER: But for now, it`s the N-word debate Michael Richards inadvertently started that is stirring this latest heated discussion on race in America.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: Obviously there are many sides to this N-word debate. Joining us here in New York tonight, Marc Lamont Hill, a professor at Temple University, and from Chicago, syndicated columnist and WVON radio talk show host Roland S. Martin. Gentlemen, good to see you both.

All right Roland, let`s start if off with you. We have the Comedy Union, as I just mentioned, hosting a show, actually encouraging comics to get up there on stage, throw it down, use the N-word. What do you think?

MARTIN: It`s not surprising. Comedians have always been counter culture, politically incorrect, choosing to say things that shock people. But it is a matter of the first amendment. They do have the freedom of speech to be able to say it, but it does raise the troubling issues because, again, people are saying it. You hear it in music, you hear it on stage, and so, as your package presented, if you`re white and you say something, folks get offended, but when African Americans say it, it`s OK. You know, we dealt with it on my radio show today and I said, I`m sorry, you remove it, you don`t have the debate, you don`t have the issue, you don`t have the drama.

HAMMER: It does seem a bit counterproductive also to this dialogue that has started with Michael Richards being the unlikely catalyst for it. Mark, what do you think about this idea that this comedy club wants people to start throwing the word around?

MARC LAMONT HILL, TEMPLE UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR: It`s a disgrace. I mean, it`s one thing to acknowledge one`s first amendment privileges. It is another thing to actually disrespect the work of many people who are out here fighting to get the N-word eliminated from our public conversations, in music, in film, et cetera. I mean these people aren`t saying that we allow the N-word. They are actually encourage its usage. For what purpose? I don`t see any good that would possibly serve.

HAMMER: Obviously the N-word is not the only word packed with hate. There are words Jews find offensive, Italians find offensive, gays find offensive. I could go on and on.

HILL: But there`s a difference.

HAMMER: There`s a difference. I mean, I`m one who would like to see people stop using any kind of hate all together. I`m a bit of an idealist. But if you ban the N-word, where do you draw the line? Roland?

MARTIN: Well, first of all, you`re not going to ban the N-word. What you`re simply trying to do is get people to stop using the N-word. But it is a problem, though, when you watch cable television and you will see them bleep out a variety of curse words, but allow the N-word to be used. And so people are not going to stop it. Look, I had African American callers say this morning, I`m not going to stop using the N-word. Where others say it, I`m going to do so. And so people will continue to do it, but what you have to do is deal with the issue of how volatile race is. And, look, you don`t hear the K-word being used freely on television in relation to Jews or in music. And so when African Americans say it is justified or it is a term of endearment, it provides an insult because it is a hateful word.

HAMMER: No, it`s true. You make a good point, because they do get thrown around in a very different context. I want to bring up something that Dick Gregory (ph), the legendary comedian, said. This is a guy who a lot of people credit with bringing racial issues into comedy, specifically the N-word right there in his act. He has a book out called "The N-Word." That`s its title. Something he said in the "New York Times," "calling it the N-word is an insult. It should be just as much insult to Jews if they started changing concentration camps to the C-word and Swastika to the S- word. You just destroyed history. Now Mark, I personally think the logic is a little flawed there. What do you think of that statement?

HILL: I would have to disagree with Dick Gregory in this instance. I think the reason that we say the N-word, partially at least, is to police the way in which outside groups use the word. I think there is some sense that African American people can at least use the word in public discourse, but by calling it the N-word, rather than saying the full name of it, because it is such a hateful word, because it`s always been hurled at black and brown bodies in such vicious ways and it has always been accompanied by real, concrete, material forms of abuse, it is really important that we protect that word. I don`t want to hear that word in public. And I think the reason that Jewish Americans and many gay Americans and many other groups don`t have those types of words hurled around them in public conversations is because they police their speech, and I think we should do the same.

HAMMER: Roland, just before I wrap it up I want to get your reaction.

MARTIN: Well, I`ve talked to Dick Gregory about this, and he is putting it in context. What he`s saying is, when you don`t -- when you call it the N-word, yes, what he`s trying to say is, is that you don`t want to be honest about the word itself. And so, therefore, it has to be placed in context. That`s really what Dick`s point is. But, also, all these comedians who say their lord, their mentor Richard Pryor, remember, he said he stopped using it after going to Africa. So if they want to emulate Richard Pryor in his comedy, emulate him and stop using the N-word.

HILL: Absolutely and it`s also important that we don`t allow this N- word controversy to distort and distract the real issues. It is not just about being called the N-word. It`s about being treated like one, in terms of not having access to health care, housing, education, and other things. It`s not just about the name. It`s about the whole structure of racism in American

(CROSSTALK)

HAMMER: I`ve got to wrap it up there, guys. I`m sorry, I`m out of time, but all points well made. Marc Lamont Hill, Temple University, syndicated columnist, radio talk show host Roland Martin, I thank you, as always.

HILL: Thank you.

MARTIN: Thanks a bunch.

ANDERSON: Time now for the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Truth Squad. This is where our team of crack entertainment journalists get to the bottom of Hollywood`s biggest mysteries. Tonight is Keith Urban out of rehab? There are reports floating around that the country star is out of the Betty Ford Clinic in California, where he was being treated for alcohol abuse. But SHOWBIZ TONIGHT got it straight from Urban`s publicist, he is not out of rehab and not back home in Nashville. Urban`s camp says, at this stage in his treatment, patients are occasionally allowed to leave for short periods of time, but he is still undergoing treatment. The report said Keith and wife Nicole Kidman were eating lunch together this weekend, but it looks like it was a temporary break from rehab. We do wish him well.

HAMMER: Lindsay Lohan supposedly getting help with her drinking problem, but why is she saying she is still going to drink and party? I`m a little confused myself. By the way, she is under 21, so why are bars serving her in the first place? That`s coming next at 15 past the hour.

ANDERSON: Oh, and A.J., Lindsay new party buddy, Britney Spears, looks like she had a booty full time this weekend, showing off her assets for her birthday. Make it stop, please, gosh. Plus, we`ve also got this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLOONEY: I was dumping those shots. I don`t think he got the memo. I was like no --

HAMMER: Putting them in the plants?

CLOONEY: Yes. I probably should have told him I was doing that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Boozing buddies, tonight for the very first time George Clooney tells me what really happened the night that he and this guy, Danny Devito, went drinking. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, TV`s most provocative entertainment news show. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. It is time now for a story that made us say, that`s ridiculous. We`ve seen Christmas trees decorated with all kinds of stuff over the years, of course the lights, the popcorn and the candy cane. But a snowman and a snow woman doing it? Yes, you`re not seeing things wrong here. Take a look at these pornaments from Spencer Gifts, X-rated gingerbread men, Mr. and Mrs. North Pole wearing nothing. Boy, they must be cold. We`re all for holiday cheer this time of year, but we`re not cheering for these gag gifts. That`s why we say pornaments, although I love the name, that`s ridiculous.

ANDERSON: Tonight a big confession from party girl and sometimes movie star Lindsay Lohan. The 20-year-old Lohan is now admitting she has been attending Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Before you go, good for her, there are some who are wondering, who are questioning whether this will really stop her from partying and what seems to be her out of control lifestyle.

With us tonight from Glendale our good friend Harvey Levin, managing editor of TMZ.com. Hey Harvey.

HARVEY LEVIN, TMZ.COM: Hi Brooke.

ANDERSON: OK, here`s what I don`t get about this Harvey. She admits she is going to AA meetings, yet Lindsay Lohan`s spokeswoman sent out a statement to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT and in it, she says, quote, "she is not saying she will stop drinking tomorrow." Harvey, is she kidding? I mean, it sounds like she is leaving the door open to continue her partying ways.

LEVIN: You know, look, it`s unclear to me, and, you know, we`ve caught Lindsay Lohan doing lots of things since TMZ turned the lights on. But on this one, I`m cutting her a break, Brooke. I mean it`s -- you know, she has had a real rough time. She has had a childhood that`s been in utter turmoil, with her parents completely at war, all sorts of problems at home. She was on her own too early. She was too big too early. So I think she is really struggling. And I think everybody around her has known she has been struggling for a long time. She is doing the best she can. I don`t know what`s going on inside her life.

ANDERSON: Well, granted she has had a rough time, rough go of it, but Harvey she is just 20-years-old. She is not 21. Night after night we do see her at the clubs partying. And, you know, last I checked, you got to be 21 to be served alcohol, even admitted into these clubs. How is she and the other stars and the clubs getting away with this?

LEVIN: Well, a lot of these clubs, Brooke, serve food, and there is a special class of license you get when that happens, so that you can admit somebody under 21 years of age. You`re not allowed to serve them alcohol. Has Lindsay Lohan had drinks at clubs? You bet. I mean, this is a story that we`ve been kind of looking at for a long time. There is no doubt in my mind that it goes on. We`ve caught a couple of stars right in the act. And it`s really the club even more than the star, because the stars are kids.

ANDERSON: Yes, it sounds like there needs to be a crackdown, because we see them in pictures with drinks in hand.

LEVIN: They do -- there absolutely needs to be a crackdown. What`s going on in Hollywood, Brooke, is that a lot of these young stars, they have a cache to them, because they can bring in other young people. So I think that there are some clubs that have just said, hey, great, bring it on. Bring them in here. We`ll do whatever we need to do. And it`s got to stop.

ANDERSON: Letting things slide. One more thing that I don`t get is her mom, Dena Lohan. Now, she did go on the radio here in L.A. She admitted Lindsay had a problem, but, you know, where has she been? Is there no parental guidance?

LEVIN: Well, you know, her mom`s been partying at times along with Lindsay. So you got to remember, her mom, A, has been partying with her, B, was at war for a long time with Lindsay`s father. So her family life has been a mess. It has been utter turmoil. And I don`t think she has really had that kind of compass in her life, you no, for years and years and years and it has taken its toll.

ANDERSON: Yes, hopefully Lindsay will get her life and her problems straightened out. Harvey, speaking of parties and clubs, I want move on to Britney Spears Quickly. She celebrated her 25th birthday over the weekend. She is actually over 21. But that capped off a week of what seemed like out of control partying behavior. What are you hearing? Did she celebrate with friends? It was her big birthday. Was it crazier than ever? And I hope that she wore underwear this time. You know, she has got a tendency not to these days.

LEVIN: Well, it`s true and we do -- the lead to the story, Brooke, is that we`ve got a picture of her with underwear on.

ANDERSON: Thankfully.

LEVIN: So, she took Rosie O`Donnell`s advice finally. L.A. is still recovering from Britney`s partying this weekend. She was everywhere. She was inside Mr. Chao`s (ph) with her buddies. And she was mugging to the cameras. She was showing her rear end to the cameramen. So this was not like an accident. I mean go on TMZ.com and take a look at this video. It`s hilarious.

ANDERSON: I have and it`s outrageous. It`s hilarious, but also very shocking at the same time. We`re going to have to end it there, Harvey.

LEVIN: But you should be ashamed of yourself for looking at that, Brooke.

ANDERSON: Likewise. Harvey Levin, managing editor of TMZ.com, thanks.

LEVIN: Bye.

HAMMER: Well, now we would like to hear from you on this our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Here`s what we`re asking, underage stars drinking, is it time for cops to crack down? Let us know what you think by voting at CNN.com/SHOWBIZTONIGHT. The e-mail address, SHOWBIZTONIGHT@CNN.com. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, of course, the only entertainment news show allowing you to express your opinion on video. Use your video camera or your web cam. Give us a piece of your mind through video e-mail. It`s so simple to do. Go to our website, CNN.com/SHOWBIZTONIGHT. We`ll teach you how to do it. And then look for your video e-mails only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

ANDERSON: So get this, a big superstar says she actually feels bad for the paparazzi. Yes, we sat down with Hilary Swank, who is out and about promoting her new movie "Freedom Riders." Now Hillary is one of these stars that`s kind of low-key. She takes public transportation. She shops herself. She still lives her life as a regular person, the best she can anyway. And it looks like Hillary takes it personally when the paparazzi get upset with her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILARY SWANK, ACTRESS: I had someone really mad at me because they didn`t get the shot they wanted. And it hurts your feelings because you don`t know what you`re supposed to do. You`re just trying to have your life and, you know, come and talk about your movie that you love being a part of, that inspired you. And, you know, it`s -- that becomes a little challenging, you know, because someone gets angry at you. They don`t get the perfect shot that they wanted.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Tomorrow we`re going to have more of our revealing interview with Hilary Swank. She has got a lot more to say about how the paparazzi get all up in her business. That`s tomorrow only here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

HAMMER: A horrific deadly accident involving a big TV star. Was he driving drunk? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT investigates, coming up next.

ANDERSON: Also, why did Jessica Simpson break down in tears after performing in front of a star-studied crowd, including President Bush? And Nick versus Jessica, J-Lo and one of her guys, and Britney`s blink and you missed him husband. Who has come out top in the down and dirty battle of the celebrity exes? And who has got some deep dark secrets they definitely don`t want coming out? This is real juicy stuff and it is coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Tomorrow Splitsville 2006. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT looking at the biggest celebrity breakups of the year, from Reese and Ryan, to Kate and Chris, the star splits that have shocked us, tomorrow.

ANDERSON: A terrifying deadly car crash involving a "Prison Break" star, who grew up with Jessica Simpson. Now the big question tonight, was he driving drunk? TMZ.com is reporting that Lane Garrison, who played Tweener (ph) on the Fox show, displayed, quote, the symptoms of alcohol intoxication when he crashed his SUV in California on Saturday. A 17-year- old boy died. Two 15-year-old girls, who were also in the car, were injured. By the way, Garrison grew up in the same town as Jessica Simpson and her family in Texas.

HAMMER: Oh, boy. Does Gwyneth Paltrow possible think Americans are more stupid than British people? We hope her British husband, the lead singer of Coldplay, isn`t giving her any ideas. The SHOWBIZ Truth Squad on the case. We`ll figure it all out next.

ANDERSON: And why Beyonce was happy to actually gain weight. Yes, she was. Can you believe it? We`re going to tell you all about it as part of the SHOWBIZ Weight Watch. It`s SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s ongoing look at Hollywood`s obsession with body image. Plus we`ve got this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLOONEY: I was dumping those shots. I don`t think he got that memo. I was like no, don`t --

HAMMER: Putting them in the plants?

CLOONEY: Yes, I probably should have told him I was doing that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Boozing buddies. I spent a little time with George Clooney and tonight, for the first time, George tells me what really happened the night that he and that guy, Danny Devito, went drinking last week. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT for Monday night, coming right back.

(NEWS BREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

ANDERSON: And I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. You are watching TV`s most provocative entertainment news show.

HAMMER: Last night, big-deal event going down in Washington, D.C., Brooke. It was the Kennedy Center Honors. It`s always a huge event with lots of big stars. And, of course, the president and the first lady. So I imagine no matter what you think of the president, there`s a lot of pressure performing on that particular stage.

ANDERSON: Right.

HAMMER: A bit of an uncomfortable moment for Jessica Simpson. Maybe a few tears were shed. What happened? We`re going to show you, and explain why it happened, coming up in just a few minutes.

ANDERSON: Yes, Jessica lost her composure, A.J.

Also, we`ve got "Battle of the celebrity Exes." Speaking of Jessica Simpson, we`ve got Nick versus Jessica. Also, Jennifer Lopez versus one of those guys she used to be married to, and Britney Spears versus the guy she was married to for a whopping 55 hours. Gloves are going to come off, straight ahead.

All right. But first tonight, George Clooney setting the record straight about a few things, including that well-publicized night out with actor Danny DeVito. Now, of course, DeVito made headlines last week after appearing on ABC`s chat fest "The View" drunk.

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANNY DEVITO, ACTOR: You know, the guy who went (INAUDIBLE)

(LAUGHTER)

DEVITO: (INAUDIBLE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Ah, I could watch that over and over.

When I sat down with Clooney for his new movie, "The Good German," he told me why all those lemoncellos went right to Danny DeVito`s head and not his.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: Quick funny story.

GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR: Mm-hmm.

HAMMER: A couple of hours before this now-famed night out on the town with Danny DeVito.

CLOONEY: Yes.

HAMMER: .Danny was on my program.

CLOONEY: Really?

HAMMER: And he actually - we were talking about the fact that he has managed to, thanks to his publicist, stay out of.

CLOONEY: Scandal.

HAMMER: Stay out of scandal`s way. Stay off the headlines. Next day, he`s right there on the front page.

My - my theory, you watch the show that night - well, we can`t have this. (ph)

CLOONEY: Right. Exactly.

You know what? I realized that somehow I had (INAUDIBLE), and I gave him a little Ruby in his drink.

HAMMER: And that was it?

CLOONEY: And (INAUDIBLE) - that`s what`s happening.

You know, Danny and I went to dinner that night. (INAUDIBLE) - I was laughing about it, because I hadn`t seen it. I didn`t even know it was - was working. You know, he just drunk it and it was - I saw it on CNN later. Then he (INAUDIBLE), it was, like, Anderson Cooper or one of those. It was, like, literally on the news. And I hadn`t seen it - I saw this doing this "Three Stooges" thing and I was howling. It was just fun.

But I - you know, I was dumping those shots. I - I don`t think he got that memo. I was, like, no, don`t.

HAMMER: Putting them in the plants?

CLOONEY: Yes.

HAMMER: Nice.

CLOONEY: Yes, I was - I probably should have told him (INAUDIBLE)

HAMMER: How are you feeling, by the way? Because there was some rumors floating around that maybe - you know, we had talked about the injury you had suffered when you were doing "Syriana," that you weren`t feeling so good these days.

Can you set the record straight (INAUDIBLE)?

(CROSSTALK)

CLOONEY: I`m feeling pretty good. I still have - you know, I still have issues every once in awhile. But I`m here on - I play basketball three times a week. So I`m feeling better. It`s all - it`s a slower process than I thought it would be. But it`s OK. I`m pretty good.

HAMMER: Because we got to keep the Sexiest Man Alive healthy, George.

CLOONEY: I agree man, you know?

HAMMER: Come on.

CLOONEY: Although, Damon`s an up-and-comer.

HAMMER: You think?

CLOONEY: Everybody`s been talking about that (ph).

HAMMER: I mean, what else do you have to aspire to in life when you get that title twice?

CLOONEY: Well, once you`ve that twice.

HAMMER: Where do you go?

CLOONEY: Really, there is - well, there`s the Not Sexiest Man Alive. And then there`s the, you know, AARP kind of voting. And there`s - there`s other votes out there.

HAMMER: So you`ll be out campaigning for those.

CLOONEY: Yes, exactly.

HAMMER: So much to this movie. You got the way it`s shot. It is an unbelievably intense story. You have the lovely Cate Blanchett.

I`m - I`m curious what the draw was for you.

(CROSSTALK)

CLOONEY: There was nothing - there was nothing good about it.

HAMMER: Nothing really, man.

CLOONEY: Lousy script, lousy director, no good actors.

I just - you know, we bought the book in 2001, and then Stephen worked with Paul Anasio (ph), the screenwriter, to come up with this just beautiful sort of angle on telling this story, which was from three different points of view. And - and so by the time - you know, when it was time to start shooting it, we had that great conversation at Warner Bros. where you say, And, by the way, we - we - we think it should be shot in black and white.

HAMMER: Yes.

CLOONEY: That was a good lunch.

HAMMER: How`d that go over?

CLOONEY: It went over well.

But they`ve been really great and really supportive about the film, and it seems when you see it, that was the only way to do it.

HAMMER: You have the reputation, and deservedly so, of being one of the nicest guys in show business.

CLOONEY: Right.

HAMMER: It`s true.

CLOONEY: Danny thinks that now (ph).

HAMMER: I don`t know if Danny is saying that these days. Matt Damon probably will.

CLOONEY: Yes. True.

HAMMER: I have a feeling.

What - what is it though? With - with all you`ve been through with as long as you`ve been at it, that is the same old thing that really has enabled you to stay grounded, and - and to stay true to yourself?

CLOONEY: Oh, you know, I didn`t get famous until I was 33 years old. I had been around the block a few times, you know? And usually if you hadn`t sort of succeeded in some way before then, you were - probably aren`t going to. So I - I got lucky, you know? "ER" gets picked up and it`s a Thursday night time slot, and my career changed.

So I think I had a better - I - I would imagine if I was 20 years old, I would have been, you know, shooting crack into my forehead and - you know, I - I - I wouldn`t have been too good at this. And I - I don`t know how people handle it when they`re really young, that kind of thing.

So I was in a better place to do it, I think.

HAMMER: Shooting crack into your forehead.

(CROSSTALK)

CLOONEY: That`s right kids. Try that at home.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: Well, some sad news to report tonight. George Clooney suffered a very personal loss earlier today. His pot-bellied pig, Max, died. Max had lived with Clooney for 18 years in his Hollywood Hills home. Our condolences to you, George.

You can catch George in "The Good German." It opens in theaters on December 15.

ANDERSON: Jessica Simpson asks for a do-over after she sang Dolly Parton`s hit "9 to 5" at the Kennedy Center Honors. Parton was one of five stars honored at the ceremony. Um, it seemed like Jessica was a little bit nervous, maybe had some trouble with the lyrics. Granted, the audience did include President Bush, first lady Laura Bush and Parton herself.

Take a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(SINGING)

JESSICA SIMPSON, SINGER: Dolly, that made me so nervous. (INAUDIBLE)

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: There are reports that after the performance, Simpson even shed a few tears backstage.

Simpson`s publicist told SHOWBIZ TONIGHT - quote - "The reality is, she was overcome with emotion while performing this song. She wanted it to be perfect. She has always idolized Dolly. She re-did the song and asked for it to be re-cut for air.

Jessica and Dolly hugged and took pictures afterwards.

The Kennedy Center Honors air December 26 on CBS.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: Coming up, it`s "The Battle of the Celebrity Exes." Let the games begin! We`re talking about Nick versus Jessica, JLo versus that one guy she used to be married to. The gloves are coming off at 41 past the hour.

We`ll also have this:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEYONCE, ENTERTAINER: You have to accept that some people are naturally thin, some people are naturally curvy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: We`ve got Beyonce on body image. Why Beyonce lost 20 pounds and didn`t like what she saw in the mirror. Uh-huh. That`s ahead, in the "SHOWBIZ Weight Watch."

HAMMER: And one of the hottest models on the scene - we`re going to get her take on the super-skinny model debate that`s going on. Victoria`s Secret model Alessandra Ambrosio. She is here, and she is coming up in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: X-town (ph). Ready X-town with the promo. Roll X, and dissolve sound.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Tired of celebs stealing the spotlight? Well, we want to hear from you. So send your opinions on video to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Go to cnn.com/showbiztonight for details, and watch, when you could see your video e-mail on the most provocative entertainment news show on television. It`s SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, every night at 11 p.m. Eastern, right here, Headline.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. This is TV`s most provocative entertainment news show. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

And it is time now to call in the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Truth Squad. This is where our crack team of celebrity investigators sets the record straight on the biggest stories going on in Hollywood.

And tonight we`re opening up the case file on Gwyneth Paltrow. Because there are all these reports that are flying around that Paltrow is dissing the United States. What`s going on there?

You know, she does live part-time in England with her husband, Coldplay singer Chris Martin. And the reports are quoting her as saying that the British are much more intelligent and civilized than Americans.

So did Gwyneth Paltrow, in fact, say the British are more intelligent? Well, Paltrow`s rep tell the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Truth Squad, no way. He says the reports are completely fabricated.

In fact, Paltrow herself tells people.com that she is deeply upset by the story. She feels lucky to be American, and would never, ever say anything against her native country.

ANDERSON: Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT presents "The Battle of the Celebrity Exes." From Jessica Simpson`s ex-husband Nick Lachey to one of JLo`s to one of Britney`s, when a marriage is over in Hollywood, there are still plenty of stories to tell.

With us tonight in New York is Carolina Bermudez from New York`s Z100 "Elvis Duran and the Z-Morning Zoo."

Welcome back, Carolina.

CAROLINA BERMUDEZ, WHTZ FM, NEW YORK: Oh, thanks, Brooke.

ANDERSON: All right. Good to have you.

And, you know, as we saw earlier, Jessica has not been having a great time, Carolina. We saw what happened at the Kennedy Center Honors. On top of that, her album hasn`t been doing well. Nor has her latest movie.

But there you have Nick Lachey, who`s having a ball. He just bought a minor league baseball team, successfully, happily dating somebody. Seems to be doing much better.

How has he done it?

BERMUDEZ: Well, you know, in any relationship, nobody comes out unscathed when they break up. But Nick is flying high. That - after seeing that performance that Jessica did - I would expect that at a high school talent show.

Meanwhile, Nick`s album is going gold. He is - has just bought, as you said, a minor league baseball team. He also is a part owner of the ABA team the Hollywood Fame. He managed to land himself a scorching-hot girlfriend.

So things are looking pretty good for Nick Lachey.

ANDERSON: Absolutely. He seems to have bounced back really quickly from their split.

Now, Carolina, I want to talk about Britney Spears and the guy she was married to for a grand total of 55 hours.

BERMUDEZ: Oh, yes.

ANDERSON: Jason Alexander. Jason just went on "The Dr. Keith Ablow Show," and Jason claimed that Britney contacted him recently with a not-so- veiled-warning.

Take a look at what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JASON ALEXANDER, WAS MARRIED TO BRITNEY SPEARS FOR 55 HOURS: She`s called me.

DR. KEITH ABLOW, TALK SHOW HOST: She has? When?

ALEXANDER: But we haven`t really had a conversation. I`m - I`m - I`m not a conversation with her until she sits in front of me and.

ABLOW: When`s the last time she called?

ALEXANDER: About a week ago, probably.

ABLOW: What did she have to say?

ALEXANDER: Actually, it was really short. But she said - how did she put it - don`t say anything that you would regret. And that was about all she said.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Don`t say anything that you would regret.

Hmm. Carolina, what kind of things do you think Britney would not want Jason talking about? I mean, come on. They were only married for 55 hours. What could he say that would be that damaging?

BERMUDEZ: Exactly.

You know, the beer goggles must have been pretty foggy that night in Las Vegas when she married this guy. He`s really grasping at straws here. He`s dating Kevin Federline`s ex, Shar Jackson, for - to extend his 15 minutes of fame. And really, what is there about Britney that we don`t know already, Jason? There`s not much that you can tell in a tell-all book when only knew her for - were with her for 55 hours.

ANDERSON: Right, and she`s flaunting everything she`s got right now.

And Carolina, if Britney is worried about what Jason might say, what do you think she`s thinking about what Kevin Federline, her soon-to-be-ex - Kevin Federline, what do you think she`s thinking about what he might reveal?

BERMUDEZ: I think she`s shaking in her boots. Kevin Federline has the golden ticket right now. There is reports that he is in talks to do his own reality show. And this is what everybody wants to hear: what really goes down in Britney and K-Fed`s bedroom?

So if he`s smart, he`s going to stay quiet. And we`ll all have to watch the reality show to get the answers.

ANDERSON: See what happens with that one.

OK, Jason Alexander has said he`s going to write a book. And Jennifer Lopez`s first husband, Ojani Noa, is trying to do the same thing. Now, Ojani Noa was in court saying he`s going to fight JLo`s efforts to basically stop his tell-all memoir.

What`s the deal? What`s going on here?

BERMUDEZ: Well, Ojani Noa missed the memo. You never mess with a diva. You know, she`s got a restraining order against him; she doesn`t want him to open his mouth. She`s fighting tooth and nail for him not to write this book.

Now meanwhile, Ojani says, Look, I`ve got a lot of stuff to tell, and I`m going to take it to the press. So he`s going to fight her in court. I believe they`re going to be back in court on January 17. So we`re going to have and see what he says about that.

ANDERSON: Mmm. It could get ugly.

OK, Carolina Bermudez from Z100`s "Elvis Duran and the Z-Morning Zoo," thanks so much.

BERMUDEZ: Thank you.

OK, moving now to another breakup and battle, Paul McCartney says he has spent some time on the psychiatrist`s couch to deal with his breakup from Heather Mills. In an interview with Britain`s "Radio Times" magazine, McCartney says most often he turns to music to help him through tough times. He said writing music is a good way to work through emotions, but on occasions, he turned to professional help.

McCartney said it`s not a bad idea to have somebody to talk to.

HAMMER: Tonight in the "SHOWBIZ Weight Watch," where we cover body image in Hollywood like nobody else, Beyonce is speaking out about losing weight for "Dreamgirls," and happily putting it back on.

In addition to her talent, Beyonce`s always been known for her curves. And she says that she missed them when she had to lose 20 pounds for her role in the film. She says she lost the weight to become the character, to not look like herself. But that worked for the role, and then she was happy to put the weight back on.

In an interview with "Seventeen" magazine, listen to what she said: Quote - "I just didn`t feel sexy, and I`m a black woman. And, you know, in our society, hips and thighs - that`s what`s considered beautiful. I`d go to radio stations, and all the guys were like, `What`s wrong with you? Where`s Beyonce?` Even I would look in the mirror, and I didn`t feel like a woman."

Well, when I caught up with Beyonce, she told me that when it comes right down to it, it`s all about self-esteem, having friends who love you and loving yourself. And she said that at the end of the day, it`s the differences that make people beautiful.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEYONCE: You know, everyone has their own personal body weight that - that is their natural body weight, and that looks good on them. And you have to except that. Some people are naturally thin; some people are naturally - naturally curvy. And it`s fine to - that we`re all different.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Well said, Beyonce.

"Dreamgirls" will arrives in theaters nationwide on December 25.

Now from one naturally stunning beauty to another - you might know Alessandra Ambrosio as one of the heavenly Victoria`s Secret angels, and as one of the top faces in the modeling world. The Brazilian stunner is about to take the catwalk in the 2006 Victoria`s Secret fashion show. You can see that tomorrow night.

Alessandra Ambrosio joining me in New York.

It`s a pleasure to meet you.

ALESSANDRA AMBROSIO, MODEL: Nice to meet you, too, A.J.

HAMMER: Now - now - now I realize modeling is what you do for a living.

AMBROSIO: Yes.

HAMMER: But do you - do you at all get a little self-conscious, perhaps, when you`re walking the runway, and you`re being televised for something that is going to be seen by millions and millions of people, and you`re wearing that barely there underwear.

AMBROSIO: Yes. I`m a Brazilian girl, so as a Brazilian, we`re comfortable, like, being walking on the beach with small bikinis. So that makes it - that helps a lot on the runway with lingerie, you know? We feel - we like to show our bodies. We - you know, it`s, like, nice for us to have, like - showing a little bit of curves and all that.

HAMMER: So - so.

AMBROSIO: So, like, being sensual.

HAMMER: It`s kind of cultural; you were sort of conditioned. Because I imagine at - at a pretty young age you were wearing the.

AMBROSIO: Yes, and (INAUDIBLE). Yes. Since we were, like, 5 years old, we were - we were on the beach, you know, just running around with small bikinis, and.

HAMMER: Now when you`re getting ready for a show like this, that - that we`re watching right here, that everybody adores and lots of people tune in for, do you - do you go on a special regimen or a diet or extra working out, specifically for a show like this?

AMBROSIO: Yes. You know, I try - I love chocolate. I love sweets. So I try to cut down on the sweets a little bit, like one week before the show. And I have my Brazilian personal trainer, which he is like working out my butt, because that`s the part that, you know, Brazilians really cares about.

So, you know, I try to do some workout, like, seven to 10 days before the show.

HAMMER: (INAUDIBLE)

AMBROSIO: You know, I used to - like, to fake that I, you know, feel good.

HAMMER: And, you know, the Brazilian butt lift a very popular procedure now here in America. So I guess - I guess they were on to something.

Obviously, staying in shape is a big part of - of what - of what you do. Do you feel a lot of pressure because of that, to - to look a certain way?

AMBROSIO: No, we just have to look -- like Victoria`s Secret loves, like, beautiful, healthy women. And that`s how we have to look like in front of the camera and on the show.

So, you know, like - one would say, like, Victoria`s Secret`s the most - they celebrate women`s curves. So that would be, like, you know, that`s how we have. Every Angel has curves, so.

HAMMER: That`s one of the things that I`ve always actually admired about Victoria`s Secret. And I - and I believe this has been true throughout the years - you know, particularly in a time when there are so many super-skinny models, the Victoria`s Secret models always.

AMBROSIO: Thank you.

HAMMER: You - you look healthy.

AMBROSIO: Yes.

HAMMER: You - you do.

(CROSSTALK)

HAMMER: I don`t look at - I don`t look at you or your colleagues, Oh, that just doesn`t look.

AMBROSIO: I know. (INAUDIBLE)

HAMMER: No, you look like real people, and I think it sends a positive image.

Do you - do you think that is an image that the industry should be look to right now?

AMBROSIO: Yes, I think so. Victoria`s Secret always loved, like, women`s curves. And you know, it doesn`t matter the size. Like - you have, like, skinny girls, but they still have curves and they still look healthy. And you have, like, a bigger size - you know, it`s just like - once I saw Tyra saying on the show - you know, Victoria`s Secret never asked me to lose any weight. Now even if she`s, like, one size, two size bigger than you, she still, like, wears Victoria`s Secret clothes.

HAMMER: And, of course, you`re talking Tyra Banks.

And one thing you never see with the Victoria`s Secret models are the - the models who look like, Hey, you know, somebody needs to give me a sandwich. I - I mean, seriously - you know, there`s this one model who we have a photograph, from a show in France.

I - I have not - I have yet to understand what is sexy about that, what is - what is appealing.

Can you give me a - any clue into that, or is that just the - the wrong image that should be out there altogether?

AMBROSIO: I feel like - I just think Victoria`s Secret - you know, I work for Victoria`s Secret. I don`t do fashion shows. I used to do it, and even when I used to do it, I was like the same size. So, you know, as long as you look healthy and beautiful, that`s what models want to show to people?

You know, like they - like they`re selling the image of being beautiful and sexy.

HAMMER: Well, thank you for putting the good images out there, Alessandra.

It`s a pleasure to meet you. Thanks for being here.

AMBROSIO: Nice to meet you, too.

HAMMER: And you can catch Alessandra in the 2006 Victoria`s Secret Fashion Show, featuring a performance by Justin Timberlake. It`ll be on CBS tomorrow night.

ANDERSON: On Friday, we asked you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." And it was this: "Britney Spears: Can she make a comeback?" Forty-five percent of you say yes she can; 55 percent of you say no she can`t.

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

Kyle from Michigan says, "We are all fascinated with her. Mark my words: her next album will debut at No. 1."

Susan from Maine writes, "I don`t see her comeback being really huge. She will till be lip-synching, and her fan base is getting older."

Hang tight. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is coming right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: We`ve been asking you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." It`s this: "Underage Stars Drinking: Is it times for the cops to crack down?"

Keep voting at cnn.com/showbiztonight. Write to us: showbiztonight@cnn.com. And we`re going to read some of your e-mails tomorrow.

And don`t forget, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is the only entertainment news show that lets you express your opinion on video. So just take a look into your video camera or your webcam a piece of your mind via video e-mail. It`s really easy; head to our Web site, cnn.com/showbiztonight and you can learn how to do it. Then check out your video e-mails, right here, only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

HAMMER: And here now is what is coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Tomorrow, we are learning a thing or two from the very classy Hilary Swank. She`s starring as a teacher in a new movie based on an inspiring true story. But here`s a true story that surprised us: why does she think that somebody`s actually going to come and take her Oscar away? Hilary Swank will tell us tomorrow in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Also tomorrow, Splitsville `06. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT taking a look at the biggest celebrity breakups of the year, from Reese and Ryan to Kate and Chris -- the star splits that shocked us all. That is tomorrow.

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

ANDERSON: Have a great night, everyone. I am Brooke Anderson in Hollywood.

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

END

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