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SHOWBIZ TONIGHT

New Details in Yoko Ono Driver Scandal; Miss USA May Lose Crown

Aired December 15, 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: Is the guy that reportedly threatened to kill Yoko Ono also her lover? And Oprah is planning to give away lots of cash to people. But she`s not going to let them keep it. I`m A.J. Hammer New York. TV`s most provocative entertainment news show starts right now.
On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, a beauty pageant shocker. Tonight, will Donald Trump strip Miss USA of her crown. The startling things she`s allegedly doing, that some say make Paris Hilton look like a baby. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT investigates why life for Miss USA could be getting really ugly.

Hollywood`s RX for rehab. Tonight the revealing stories of stars battling emotional, painful addictions, from drugs to alcohol.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We left the candle on the arm of the chair -- of the couch. And we fell asleep and woke up and it was -- it was on fire.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Tonight, why some celebrities bounce back, while others are constantly flirting with disaster. It`s a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT special report, RX for rehab.

Friday night is finally here. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. We`ve got a Miss USA shocker. Tonight, the party could be over for Miss USA, Tara Conner, because she may have done way too much partying. Conner is reportedly getting the ax and will have to turn in her crown because she`s been pulling a Paris Hilton, partying the nights away, instead of living up to an image that`s supposed to be as wholesome as apple pie.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER (voice-over): Nights on the town, hitting the hottest clubs, headlines suggesting a party problem. If you`re Paris Hilton, Britney Spears or Lindsey Lohan, that all leads to a lot of buzz. But if you`re Miss USA, you could wind up being on the wrong end of Donald Trump`s famous catch phrase.

DONALD TRUMP, MILLIONAIRE: You`re fired.

HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you there`s buzz that Miss USA, 20- year-old Tara Conner, may soon be stripped of her crown, because of her reported hard partying in the New York club seen.

Harvey Levin, managing editor of the celebrity website TMZ.com, tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT her fate may already be sealed.

HARVEY LEVIN, TMZ.COM: TMZ has confirmed that a high-ranking pageant official contacted the first runner-up, Miss California, and told her she will be assuming the role of Miss USA when Donald Trump makes his announcement in the coming week.

HAMMER: And while beauty pageant contests cut loose in clubs can be a funny site, as it was in Sandra Bullock`s "Miss Congeniality" movies, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you that pageant officials and Trump, who colognes the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, are not laughing.

LEVIN: Earlier this week we found out there was a meeting between NBC executives and pageant executives. And they were basically saying, look, we all know she is out of control and we have to do something about it.

HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT sorts out rumor from fact in this stunning reported development. More than 20 years after the Vanessa Williams controversy, are we about to watch another beauty pageant queen go down in scandal?

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has been all over reports that Conner is about to be replaced with Miss USA first runner-up Miss California, Tamiko Nash. TMZ.com`s Levin tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT that pageant officials had been worried that Tara Conner may be a girl gone wild.

LEVIN: We are told that the pageant officials and NBC was concerned that she was running around bars, drinking too much, socializing too much and doing other things and also canceling appearances.

HAMMER: No one is specifying exactly what Conner has done to get the attention of pageant officials, but it`s clear there is a major problem. Donald Trump, just a day earlier, was denying reports that Conner is about to lose her crown. Trump`s office now tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, quote, Mr. Trump is seriously studying the situation. First and foremost, he is concerned about Tara and wants to do what is best for her. Then he will think about what is best for the very successful Miss USA pageant. But for now, Tara`s future is of primary importance to him.

And the Miss Universe organization tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT they and Trump will be evaluating Conner`s behavioral and personal issues.

LEVIN: Obviously this is all about image and it`s all about the contest, too. That ultimately this woman was canceling appearances, we`re told, and that really upset them, because they`re whole stock and trade is having a Miss USA who is front and center all the time. And that wasn`t happening. She was M.I.A. a lot.

HAMMER: All this talk of a beauty queen scandal brings back unpleasant memories of unpleasant period in pageant history.

VANESSA WILLIAMS, FORMER MISS USA: I must relinquish my title as Miss America.

HAMMER: Back in 1984 Vanessa Williams, the first black Miss America, became the first Miss America to resign after nude photos of her, taken before her reign, wound up in Penthouse Magazine. Of course, Vanessa Williams went on to become a music, stage and screen star and arguably the most famous former Miss America ever. But no one knows if Tara Conner`s story will have a similar happy ending.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: So exactly what kind of pressures do beauty pageant winners, like Tara Conner, face and what is it really like behind the scenes? Well, tonight SHOWBIZ TONIGHT brings you an insider`s look at the reality of the beauty business.

With us tonight from Hollywood, Former Miss USA contestant and Miss Oregon 2004 winner Jennifer Murphy. Thanks you so much for being with us, Jennifer.

JENNIFER MURPHY, FORMER MISS OREGON: Thanks for having me A.J.

HAMMER: So you did well for yourself in the Miss USA pageant. You made it to the top ten back in 2004. You wore that crown for Oregon, a very exciting time. I`m sure there`s a lot of, I don`t know, energy that needs to be blown off. Should we really be shocked that when the lights go down, the ladies go out?

MURPHY: Well, you know, A.J., we`re all humans, even beauty queen, title holders. And you do sign a contract, but you`re still human. And I realized when I got to Miss USA that some of the girls were wild. They were partiers. But they`re girls. Girls will be girls.

HAMMER: And when there`s partying going on, often that includes drinking, which is reportedly what Tara`s getting in trouble for here. What exactly are the rules of conduct, in terms of the Miss USA contest, you`re expected to follow when it comes to drinking.

MURPHY: Well there are a lot of specific rules on the contract. It`s been a little while since I signed that, a couple years now, so I can`t remember the very specifics. But, you know, you`re not supposed to be out drinking and partying in public. You`re supposed to be setting a positive role model for young girls. I think it`s more just what they want you to showcase, versus what they don`t want you to do. And they`re not wanting you to break the law. They`re not wanting you to go into bars underage. And I`ll never forget the time I was at a function and I`m in my cocktail dress -- and I was in my early 20s when I was Miss Oregon, but I was drinking out of a beer bottle and someone came up to me, Jennifer, give me that.

HAMMER: Jennifer, that`s very unbecoming of a Miss USA contestant.

MURPHY: Exactly. I`m Irish, I like to drink. You really have to think about the image that you are portraying when you are a title holder.

HAMMER: Yes, I know they do have a lot of guidelines. I guess they`re not hard and fast rules. I did get a hold of a couple of the guidelines. I`m going to road a few of them. For smoking, they say we prefer that she not smoke, but if she does, she may not smoke in public. In terms of nightclubs, there is no firm position on this, but certainly their conduct has to be in keeping with good morality and taste and the law.

So basically, and tell me if I`m wrong here, it seems that you can do this sort of stuff, just don`t get caught doing it.

MURPHY: Yes. I think there`s no black or white. It`s a gray thing. They don`t want you out there partying and being crazy and wild, but they know we`re human beings. I think you just need to remember that they`re young girls, especially looking up to you. There were a lot of young women that told me what an impact I had on them, and I`m really glad that I was a positive role model. Like I said, I like to drink sometimes, but you just really have to remember that when you`re out doing these things. I think the rules are there as a guideline. They realize that the title holders might slip up now and then. And I think they just want you to be extra aware of that in public.

HAMMER: And was this something that among contestants you guys would actually discuss, maybe you would talk about the fact that, oh, I do like knocking back a couple of beers, and I do like drinking it from the bottle, but you know what, we`re really in this thing that we signed up for and it is about setting a good example and it is about being a good role model. So maybe, you know, we should collaboratively not do this sort of stuff. Did you talk about that?

MURPHY: Yes. I think it was definitely something that just, as we talked and got to know each other, we realized that we all had the little things we liked to do to have fun. But we really talked about what we wanted to do to be the best title holder we could be. And most girls, when they run for a title, they really want to be that positive role model. So maybe you`re more fighting the demons inside yourself. You`re, you know, letting each other know, hey, I`m human, but let`s be together in this. Let`s go and do a great job and be there to support each other when we fall.

HAMMER: Jennifer Murphy, I appreciate you giving us the insider`s scoop on all of this.

MURPHY: Thanks for having me.

HAMMER: My pleasure. Now we want to hear from you for our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Let us know what you think, beauty pageant winners, are they good role models? You can vote online at CNN.com/SHOWBIZTONIGHT. The e-mail address is SHOWBIZTONIGHT@CNN.com. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is the only entertainment news show giving you the opportunity to express your opinion on video. Use your video camera and send us a piece of your mind through video e-mail. It`s really easy to do. We`ve got all the instructions on the website at CNN.com/SHOWBIZTONIGHT. That`s where we teach you how to do it. And then lookout, your video e- mails are coming to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Oprah Winfrey opening up her checkbook, but get this, she`s not going to let people keep the cash. We`re going the tell you why coming up next.

Also, is the guy that reportedly threatened to kill Yoko Ono also her lover? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT investigating this bizarre alleged plot. We`ve also got this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Millions of girls across this country, in the world, want to emulate Kate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Kate Moss, she supposedly did a bit of sniffing of cocaine but, oh, what a comeback Kate`s had. Tonight the revealing stories of stars battling addiction. It`s a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT special report.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, TV`s most provocative entertainment news show. I`m A.J. Hammer New York. It is time now for tonight`s SHOWBIZ Snapshot. The most buzzed about pictures that have everybody talking. I want you to take a look at Brandy, Chihuahua. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, she is the smallest pooch in the whole wide world. Brandy measures in at just six inches long, weighs less than two pounds. What a holiday party accessory she makes. Her owner, a Florida woman, carries Brandy around in a purse. By the way, that is Brandy posing under a life-sized statue of a greyhound. And that is tonight`s SHOWBIZ Snapshot.

So little Shiloh Jolie Pitt is absolutely adorable. When you look at her pictures, you can definitely see her gorgeous parents, daddy Brad and mommy Angelina. But just how cute is she? Well, we put Shiloh to the ultimate test, against something that makes everybody go aww. Here`s CNN`s Jeanne Moos going ga-ga for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sure hope Shiloh isn`t shy, because her face is plastered all over the place.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The look, the nose, the eyes, the everything.

MOOS: But all this rhapsodizing about the Brangelina baby got us wondering.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How can you define cute?

MOOS: It`s that thing that makes you go, aww. But there is a science to cute. And the poster child is the panda bear. For instance the cub at Washington`s national zoo. Which one is cuter to you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The baby panda.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The panda.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The baby.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh that panda is so cute.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s a cute baby and I love children, but I think this panda is just so cute. Look at those eyes.

MOOS: Researches say Humans react to forward facing eyes, set low on a big round face with prominent ears, floppy limbs and a waddling gait. No wonder folks seem attracted to penguins, both real and animated. They say cuteness stimulates the same pleasure centers in the brain that are aroused by sex, food and drugs. We say, ah over the pandas. Photographers even said aww, over a wax version of the Brangelina baby, produced at Madame Trusow`s (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That baby is very cute.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Probably the panda because this baby is going to turn into a disgusting teenager.

MOOS: Researchers say humans react to the vulnerability of the young.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he kind of shows a vulnerable side.

MOOS: Which is good for evolution, since it brings out protective instincts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hold it. Hold it.

MOOS: There are websites devoted to cute, like Cute Overload, which features nothing but cute pictures and videos that people submit. Sleepiness seems to add to the vulnerability we find so appealing. There`s even a section for cute products and who doesn`t see the round face factor in cute cars like the VW Bug and the Mini? The opposite of Cute Overload is Ugly Overload, featuring cow tongues and bats, not to mention alpacas.

But sometimes homeliness can be cute. One of the most popular stories I`ve ever done was on Sam, the three-time winner of the ugliest dog contest, now deceased. As for the smackdown between the panda and the Brangelina baby.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This bear is much cuter than that baby. I know that baby cries and that bear, well, he just looks too damn cute.

MOOS: The panda won, 16-12, a vote not worth losing sleep over.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: That is CNN`s Jeanne Moos, with a beary cute piece for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Well, I think it is fair to say that Oprah absolutely owns the daytime TV. And now she is looking to conquer primetime. "Variety Magazine" is reporting she will produce two series for ABC. One is called "Oprah Winfrey`s The Big Give." She will be handing out cash, and contestants have to use the money to help others. The winner gets his or her wildest wish granted. The other is "Your Money or Your Life." A team will move in and give a family a total money and life makeover, and unlike just about every other reality show on television, Oprah promises nothing humility here, like eating bugs, or arranged marriages.

Now on to the absolutely shocking story about John Lennon`s widow Yoko Ono. It allegedly involves blackmail, charges of sexual harassment, even death threats against Yoko and her son Shawn. Now there are published reports that Yoko`s chauffeur, Koral Karson, read Ono his demands on 26th anniversary of Lennon`s death, December 8th. If that`s true, it is just disgusting.

In the letter, he reportedly says, quote, I`ve been your confident, your body guard and your lover. Karson allegedly demanded Ono give him 2 million bucks or he would release embarrassing recordings and pictures of her. Prosecutors say Karson, quote, had people on stand by, ready to kill Yoko on his orders.

Joining me tonight in New York, Court TV news anchor Ashleigh Banfield. Hi, Ashleigh.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, COURT TV ANCHOR: Hi A.J.

HAMMER: This is a wild story. Ono`s driver reportedly cornered her in the kitchen, reading her his demands. But also claimed to be her lover?

BANFIELD: Yes, it`s a little creepy. One report has her getting so angry, she actually wrestled a file away from him just before he fled out of the apartment, and at least was able to get one page of that demand letter, apparently it was two pages, and apparently police have the second page now, as well as an audio tape, and a revealing photograph that was surreptitiously taken of her in a nighty gown.

HAMMER: You mention the auto yap. This is a guy who was intimately involved in Yoko`s life. Part of the reports are that Karson actually rigged the cars that Ono traveled in, and that he drove her in with secret recording equipment. Is that right?

BANFIELD: At least one car, and we`re not sure if it was the Bentley or any of the other cars that she had. But police searched the cars, A.J., and didn`t find any recording equipment. So far there`s no report in any of the affidavits that there are tapes. There`s just a newspaper report that Yoko actually had in her possession, according to police source, one of the audiotapes. That audio tape had apparently Koral Karson leading her with questions about the plot of "Brokeback Mountain" and how that might pertain to her son Shawn`s sexuality.

The other allegations that he made was that he had taped her on her telephone, while she was riding in the car, making all sorts of comments, not only about her son and the things her son said about his late father John, but also what Yoko Ono`s personal political views were, of the American government and British government. These are his allegations, though.

HAMMER: Wild, wild allegations indeed. And what about the notion that on one of these tapes are threats that Karson would be killing Yoko, Shawn and himself?

BANFIELD: Well that`s where this whole Grand Larsony thing gets really ugly. And apparently the police had set up a sting to catch him, but didn`t have to go through with it, because of these death threats. And this is where it`s really strange. Apparently Mr. Karson actually visited Yoko Ono`s attorney and made that threat to the attorney, allegedly. And that`s why the arrest was made, because that`s a death threat and that`s very dangerous. But the threat was that there were people standing by, ready to take out Yoko and her son. So, if these allegations are true, this is extraordinarily serious.

HAMMER: This is extraordinarily serious and extraordinary stuff that we will continue to follow and watch it unfold. Court TV`s Ashleigh Banfield, thanks so much for joining us with the details.

BANFIELD: Always a pleasure.

HAMMER: Well Kate Moss, she supposedly did some sniffing of cocaine, but what a comeback Kate has had.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s hard to change. It`s a long walk up a steep mountain once you`ve fallen as low as she has.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: And Whitney Houston`s struggle to regain her career and her life after battling drugs.

Also, former Full House star`s Jodie Sweeton`s (ph) painful battle with Crystal Meth. Tonight`s Hollywood`s prescription for rehab, the revealing stories of celebrities battling addictions. Why some bounce back and others are constantly flirting with disaster. It is a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT special report.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Heading into the weekend, time now to bring you this week`s SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Staff Picks. These are the five things were are absolutely loving, and we think some of them would make great holiday gifts. John Legend`s new album, "Once Again," is terrific. Coming off his multi-Grammy winning album, "Get Lifted," Legend`s voice kind of sounds like a good shoulder massage.

Well, we are also loving Mary J. Blige`s "The Breakthrough." It just led her to eight Grammy nominations. It is an open, honest comeback from her drug problems. With Rocky Balboa about to hit theaters, the original "Rocky" on DVD. We feel very nostalgic these days for the Oscar winner. Also on DVD, "The Devil Wears Prada." This Golden Globe nominee is a great lesson for any young girl just starting out.

You should also head to the book store for "Baby Proof," by Emily Giffin (ph). It raises the difficult question of whether someone should have a baby that they really don`t want, just so they don`t lose the love of their life.

And holiday parties, our senior writer Rob Wackadoo Melstein (ph) says they are a great way to let loose, kiss up to the boss and chat about celebrities, which is just what Rob was doing last night at our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT holiday party. Check out the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Staff Picks at the website, CNN.COM/SHOWBIZTONIGHT.

Coming up, a Hollywood star`s battle with drugs and alcohol that nearly killed him. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson with his emotional story.

And we just never understood why Whitney Houston would throw away her career with her drug use. But now she is taking big steps towards making a comeback. And speaking of comebacks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Millions of girls across this country, in the world, want to emulate Kate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: That is Kate Moss we`re talking about. Her amazing comeback from her drug scandal. Tonight, we have the revealing stories of celebrities battling addictions. Prescription for rehab, it is a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT special report. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT for Friday night, coming right back.

(NEWS BREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Welcome back to this special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, "Prescription for Rehab." I`m A.J. Hammer in New York, and this is TV`s most provocative entertainment news show.

Tonight, we are all over Hollywood and beyond, investigating stars who are trying to fight back from public scandal.

Coming up, megastars rising up from rock bottom: supermodel Kate Moss and singing diva Whitney Houston went from surreal success to shocking drug scandals. Now SHOWBIZ TONIGHT investigates exactly how these stars are surprisingly turning things around.

Also tonight, young stars battling and beating addiction. Child star Jodie Sweetin tells us how she went from the family sitcom "Full House" to becoming a meth addict.

We`re also going to talk to actor Jason Mewes about how fame in his 20s led to a life-threatening drug addiction. It is a frightening story. And that is coming up.

But we begin with Kate Moss. The supermodel brings the phrase "comeback kid" to a whole new level. A year after being involved in a drug scandal, she is all over the place again.

And now she`s going to be a designer as well. British fashion chain Topshop says Moss will design a collection for them. And it seems to be the icing on the comeback cake for Moss.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson just had to take a look to see exactly what a difference a year makes.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Kate Moss is perhaps among the most photographed women in the world. Known for her personal style, her waifish physique and for popularizing a look that was once known as "heroin chic."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think she`s absolutely gorgeous.

MARY ALICE STEPHENSON, FASHION EDITOR, "BAZAAR": Millions of girls across this country -- in the world want to emulate Kate.

ANDERSON: On the street, in fashion spreads, magazine covers, and in ads everywhere this fall, Kate Moss has launched a Hollywood-sized comeback.

This is the same model who just last fall found herself in one ugly real-life snapshot.

Last September, this picture of Moss allegedly snorting a white powder was splashed on the front page of Britain`s "Daily Mirror." It spread like wildfire across Web sites like gawker.com, and tabloids soon crowned her "Cocaine Kate."

Within days, a parade of companies dropped her from their ads. Retailer H&M called a campaign with the model - quote - "inconsistent with H&M`s clear dissociation of drugs."

Others, like Chanel and cosmetics brand Rimmel, said they were "reviewing her contract," and Burberry deemed it "inappropriate to go ahead" with a planned campaign.

Without going into details, Moss issued a statement, apologizing to everyone she had "let down" with her behavior. Then she reportedly checked into rehab.

Many predicted the scandal would end Moss`s nearly 20-year long modeling career. But just one year later, Burberry and Rimmel are back. And they`re joined by 12 other companies wanting Moss to pitch their products.

Virgin Mobile is just one of Moss` 14 advertising deals this season -- the most she`s ever had at one time, according to her spokesman, who declined to comment further.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone in America loves a great makeover.

ANDERSON: Indeed. In the year before the picture surfaced, Moss made an estimated $5 million dollars. Her estimated income this year: approximately $17 to $20 million, more than three times her pre-scandal pay.

DR. JANICE CRAUSE, CONCERNED WOMEN FOR AMERICA: It`s an unfortunate message that`s sent to young people. And I think it`s very unfortunate that her career did take off instead of going into a nosedive after this episode.

ANDERSON: But fashion and advertising execs don`t seem to have a problem with Moss` troubled past.

STEPHENSON: Kate since the very beginning of her career has been the bad girl. So when it happened, was I surprised? No.

ANDERSON: Neither was Olivier Cassegrain, of French luxury brand Longchamp.

OLIVIER CASSEGRAIN, MANAGING DIRECTOR, LONGCHAMP: It was a rumor for many years, and the picture of her was basically not that much important. And we decided that it`s none of our business.

ANDERSON: Longchamp signed Moss shortly after she returned from rehab.

In her newest campaign, Moss appears in a five-minute Internet ad for Agent Provocateur lingerie.

SERENA REES, OWNER, AGENT PROVOCATEUR: And her professional life and her personal life are completely separate things. She`s amazing at her job. And she looks amazing in underwear.

ANDERSON: A sentiment apparently shared by many. The company`s Web site crashed from record hits the day after Moss made her racy debut.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: What a comeback.

The line of clothing that Kate is designing for Topshop will launch in the spring/summer season of next year.

And, of course, Kate certainly not the only celebrity who`s dealt with a drug scandal. For actor Jason Mewes, his was an addiction that didn`t just set his career back - it also nearly cost him his life.

Of course, we know Jason from the "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" movies. But what many people didn`t know is that he struggled with drugs and alcohol for almost a decade before finally breaking free.

Here`s SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Brooke Anderson.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MEWES: Sometimes I`d try to hide it from certain people. But, yes, you know? But now it`s just coming out more. And now that I`m sober, I can really talk about it.

ANDERSON (voice-over): For Jason Mewes, who launched his career in the 1994 independent film "Clerks," it has been a long trip back from the depths of despair and drug addiction. His character Jay, the fast-talking, pot-smoking, foul-mouthed sidekick to Kevin Smith`s Silent Bob has become a cult-like figure.

MEWES: Now I feel good today, Silent Bob. We`re going to make some money. And you know what we`re going to do? We`re going to go out and party.

ANDERSON: Jay, who had recurring roles in almost all of Smith`s films, was often seen dealing drugs if he wasn`t smoking them.

But sadly, Jason Mewes was turning into a carbon copy of his on- screen character, Jay.

Jason told me about his nightmarish wake-up call after nearly 10 years of his life ruled by drugs and alcohol.

MEWES: I guess it was towards the end. But yes, I woke up -- we lost -- this girl I was dating, we were living in Huntington Beach. We didn`t pay the rent; we didn`t pay the electric. We used to light candles to see at night. And we left a candle on the arm of the chair -- the couch.

And we fell asleep, and woke up and it was in flames -- you know, it was on fire. And the girl I was dating went and got a bucket of water and, like, threw -- but I -- and I didn`t even -- you know what? I didn`t even - - the funny part is, I really didn`t even wake up from it because I was so hot.

ANDERSON: Let`s take you back to the beginning, right after the release of "Clerks."

MEWES: I was 21. I remember it was my 21st birthday the first time I did dope. But I was hanging out with this dude, and he started dating this girl. And she had a best friend. And, you know, they were -- we were always, all four of us were always together. And her and -- me and the other girl started dating. So all four of us were hanging out all the time. And they were doing dope.

ANDERSON: Until then, Mewes hated the thought of trying drugs because his mother, who died of AIDS, got it from sharing needles. But once Jason started, he couldn`t stop.

(on camera): You were hooked pretty quickly.

MEWES: Yes. Yes. I mean, I was doing it weekends and stuff. But it didn`t until, like, everyday I was sick and stuff.

ANDERSON (voice-over): And incredibly, Jason`s mother, hooked on drugs herself, would leave bottles of the highly addictive painkiller Oxycontin lying around.

(on camera): So you had access.

MEWES: I had access to them, yes.

ANDERSON: ...through her.

MEWES: And every once in awhile, like, she wouldn`t - I`d sit there, and you`d get pretty -- you get physical -- physically sick pretty bad. And, you know, she`d go one day, like, No, no, no, I want you to stop and - - and deal with it and stuff.

But, yes, like, after, like, two days, I`d be, you know, sitting there and shivering and throwing up. And, you know, you`re just a mess. She`d feel bad and she`d be like, well, here, I`ll give you a little bit so you`re not that bad to try to get you feeling a little better. But you need to stop and stuff.

ANDERSON (voice-over): But Jason did not stop, and it got worse. In fact, during the height of Jason`s career, as he was making movies like "Dogma," "Mallrats," and "Chasing Amy," he was privately battling his drug demons.

(on camera): You said you had drugs brought to you, or -- or how -- how did you get them when you were in situations where you thought you needed them, and you were on a movie set or you were working in -- in some way, shape or form?

MEWES: Well, really it was only "Dogma" that -- that I did it on the set. Like, "Mallrats" I didn`t. "Amy" was only one day I sort of went there high. And it was, like, one night and it lasted all night.

So -- but "Dogma" was the only one that I was doing it throughout pretty much. But, I mean, usually I`d get up the night before and bring it with me. And I mean, there was just -- it was probably only a couple of times that, you know, during lunch or whatever, I`d, you know, run to the corner to the store or something and I`d have someone meet me there.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Fast forward to 2004, and Kevin Smith`s film "Jersey Girl," starring Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. Jason wanted a part in the film, but was a wanted man in New Jersey for violating probation on a heroin-possession charge dating back to 2000.

MEWES: He had told me before that -- that he wrote the one character for me. And I was like, you know, if I get sober, you know, can I do it? And he was like, You know what? They`re not going to let you do it, even if you got sober, because you have the warrant.

Kevin`s family wasn`t talking to me. A lot of my friends were -- stopped answering my calls and all that. It was a -- sort of an eye-opener, that I was like, All right, I`m not going to be able to work. I have no friends, pretty much. I`m in a house with no heat and electric.

ANDERSON: But it was Kevin Smith who would shuttle Jason in and out of rehab. The last time was more than three years ago, and Jason has been sober and drug free ever since.

Kevin told me he feels like a father to Jason. A very proud father.

KEVIN SMITH, DIRECTOR: He`s like my first kid, to be honest with you. I mean, we have a very tight relationship, friendship. But at the same time, like, it`s - it`s a paternal relationship, to some degree. It was just like, raising Jason was like raising a son. You know, so much so that when I had my own kid, I was, like, this is cakewalk.

ANDERSON: Yes.

SMITH: You know, this guy, he gave me a run for my money.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: Well, it seems like Hollywood is more than ready to welcome Jason back. He has as many as five projects in production this year alone. Jason also has a couple more films slated over the next couple of years. Now that`s a "Prescription for Rehab."

Well, look out, music fans: Whitney Houston seems to be heading toward a comeback. Coming up on this special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, "Prescription for Rehab," her golden voice once shined as brightly as her good-girl image. And then came scandal after scandal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL LEVINE, LEVINE COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE: You`ve got to get out and declare that I have had a problem, I am doing everything to possible to -- to restore my life and my career.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: What will it take for Whitney to clean up her image and to win back her fans? Can she top the charts ever again? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT goes right to the celebrity image-builders for the answers.

Also ahead, she went from fresh-faced Stephanie Tanner on "Full House" to becoming crystal meth addict. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT talks directly to Jodie Sweetin. Hear her shocking story when we come back.

First, here`s tonight`s "`Entertainment Weekly` Great American Pop Culture Quiz": "Gene Hackman played a hard-nosed detective on the trail of heroin smugglers in which movie?" Was it "Panic in Needle Park"; "Serpico"; "The French Connection"; or "Chinatown"?

We`re coming right back with the answer.

UNDIENTIFIED MALE: And ready X-sound (ph) for the promo. Roll X now, George (ph), and dissolve sound.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: .under. Go Camera 3. Pre-set 1. Open A.J.`s mike. And dissolve 1. Go.

HAMMER: Once again, tonight`s "`Entertainment Weekly` Great American Pop Culture Quiz": "Gene Hackman played a hard-nosed detective on the trail of heroin smugglers in which movie?" "Panic in Needle Park," "Serpico," "The French Connection" or "Chinatown"?

Who could forget that Popeye Doyle`s chase under the elevated subway? The answer is C, "The French Connection."

Welcome back to this very special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT: "Prescription for Rehab," where we follow stars fighting back from scandal.

Tonight, Whitney Houston. After 14 years of one of the most-talked- about rocky rollercoaster marriages, she is finally divorcing Bobby Brown. And that is just the first step this former superstar to reclaim her career and bounce back from drug abuse.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER (voice-over): With her divorce to Bobby Brown in the works, it looks like Whitney Houston is finally trying to get ahead with her life and put the past behind her.

MARVET BRITTO, THE BRITTO AGENCY: I think right now Whitney`s main focus should be Whitney. Whitney being healthy, Whitney being focused on Whitney`s, you know, triumphant return.

HAMMER: But SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you, after years of rumored drug and alcohol abuse, getting Whitney back on track could be difficult.

LEVINE: And it`s hard to change. It`s a long walk up a steep mountain once you`ve fallen as low as she has.

HAMMER: In the 1980s and early 90s, Whitney Houston was on top of the world. With blinding beauty and millions of album sales, she was America`s sweetheart.

But her good-girl image took a hit after her marriage to bad boy Bobby Brown in 1992. Her behavior, once so polished and perfect, became erratic. It seemed to everyone like Whitney was sliding into dependency.

In January of 2000, a pot bust in Hawaii. In March, Whitney misses her cues and gets booted from performing at the Oscars. Then, one year later, Whitney, looking positively skeletal at a tribute concert for Michael Jackson.

"People" magazine`s Peter Castro says, that was the turning point.

PETER CASTRO, MANAGING EDITOR, "PEOPLE" EN ESPANOL: It was like, if there was any doubt before that Whitney Houston was having problems with substances, look no further. This is the ultimate proof.

HAMMER: Whitney even admitted to using drugs in the now infamous interview with Diane Sawyer. She stopped short when it came to crack.

WHITNEY HOUSTON, SINGER: First of all, let`s get one thing straight. Crack is cheap. I make too much money to ever smoke crack. Let`s get that straight. OK? I don`t do crack. I don`t do that. Crack is whack.

HAMMER: And while that interview may have raised eyebrows, image experts say after several public slipups, a few stints in rehab and years away from the spotlight, Whitney has no other choice but to get back out there and come clean.

BRITTO: An addiction is a difficult thing to address.

HAMMER: Mariah Carey hired Marvet Britto to repair her image after a very public breakdown.

Marvet tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Whitney needs to do interviews again and face her fans.

BRITTO: She`s been gone for a long time and a lot of this has really, you know, affected her standing, if you will. Whenever she made public appearances, and things went a little less, I think she does owe the public an explanation.

HAMMER: Celebrity Publicist Michael Levine agrees. He tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, before Whitney can make a comeback, she needs to take personal responsibility for her actions.

LEVINE: You`ve got to get out and declare that I have had a problem, I am doing everything possible to - to restore my life and my career.

HAMMER: That`s the way redemption goes in show business. Just look at Robin Williams and Robert Downey, Jr. Both actors struggled with substance abuse.

ROBIN WILLIAMS, ACTOR: You fall down, you get back up again and get back in the race.

HAMMER: Both men openly and successfully got their addictions under control in rehab and are now working successfully in Hollywood.

BRITTO: Well, America is very forgiving because, you know, at some point each of us has a family member that`s struggling with some sort of addiction.

HAMMER: Kate Moss is one of the most photographed women in the world. But her career could have come to a screeching halt when this picture was splashed across the front page of Britain`s "Daily Mirror." It allegedly shows the supermodel snorting a white powder. It cost Kate her endorsements and forced a public apology and a reported stint in rehab.

One year later though, Kate`s earning an estimated $17 million. That`s three time what she was making before the scandal.

LEVINE: You have to act quickly. Now in the case of Whitney Houston, she didn`t act quickly. She was very slow to come to any kind of contrition, humility, a personal responsibility. So that`s going to play against her.

HAMMER: It may play against her, but it certainly won`t break her.

Whitney`s got a long road ahead of her. But those in the know tell SHOWBIZ TONIGHT she`s on the way, with her positive outlook and reconnecting with the right people, including her mentor, the legendary record producer Clive Davis.

BRITTO: We don`t want her to be, you know, another tragedy. But when we saw her emerge with Clive, we felt really, really happy about the fact that she was making and taking steps in the right direction.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: And Clive Davis himself tells us that he and Whitney are hard at work on a comeback album. He says that they`ve started to pick out songs. No word yet on exactly when it might be released.

Well, former child star Jodie Sweetin also got her life back after fighting a drug addiction. Sweetin starred as Stephanie Tanner on the show "Full House." Nobody could have predicted back then that years later she would battle an addiction to crystal meth.

She stopped by SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, and we talked about whether or not being a child star actually led her to drug abuse. And she also told us how she`s using her story to help others.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

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

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

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

SWEETIN: Yes.

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

SWEETIN: Right.

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

SWEETIN: Yes.

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

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

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

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: Very clear that Jodie is doing well these days.

Jodie also told me that her "Full House" co-stars were all very supportive of her, and that they all do still keep in touch.

Well, last night, we asked you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day." And here`s what we were wondering: "Nicole Richie`s DUI Arrest: If convicted, should she go to jail?"

Looks like a lot of you want her in the slammer: 81 percent of you say yes; 19 percent of you say no.

Let`s check out some of the e-mails that have been coming in.

We heard from Concietta in Pennsylvania. Concietta writes, "Of course. Will it happen? Absolutely not. She will buy her way out of it like every other star does."

We also heard from Ryan in North Carolina. Ryan writes, "I feel that this is a serious situation that deserves a punishment. But not jail."

Thank you so much for your e-mails and for voting.

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT for Friday night coming right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go Camera 3. Music under. Stand by A.J. Pre-set Camera 2. Open his mike. Dissolve. Hit it.

HAMMER: Thank you so much, Gnarls (ph).

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

We`ve been asking you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT "Question of the Day," asking, "Beauty Pageant Winners: Are they good role models?"

Keep voting at cnn.com/showbiztonight. Write to us at showbiztonight@cnn.com. We`ll be reading some of your e-mails on Monday.

Now remember, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is the only entertainment news show letting you express your opinion on video. Use your video camera, a webcam. Just send us a piece of your mind through video e-mail.

Simple to do. Get all the instructions on our Web site, cnn.com/showbiztonight. We will teach you how to do it right there. Then check out your video e-mails, only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Let us now find out what`s coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT this weekend.

Tomorrow, the absolutely awful things celebrity parents have done this year. From the Donald dissing diaper duty, to Britney and bad - Brad bad with safety, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT bringing you the award no star wants to win: the Stinky Diaper Awards.

And on Monday, I go one-one-one with none other than Angelina Jolie. She and Brad Pitt constantly hounded by the paparazzi. Wait till you hear what Angelina told me when I asked her about the extreme media focus on her kids. My revealing interview with Angelina Jolie Monday on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

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

"GLENN BECK" coming up next, right after the very latest from CNN Headline News. Have a great weekend.

END

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