Return to Transcripts main page


New Details on the Hoff`s Divorce; The Ballistic Wife on YouTube; Texas Polygamy Scandal; Michael Lohan`s Take on Lindsay; Larry Rudolph on Britney`s Comeback

Aired April 18, 2008 - 23:00:00   ET


A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: dramatic new details in the stunning David Hasselhoff divorce settlement. Hey, The Hoff gets to keep the French maid. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.
BROOKE ANDERSON, CO-HOST: And the wife who went ballistic on her husband on YouTube. If you thought that was wild, wait until you hear what she`s up to now. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood.

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

On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, what could be the most stunning reality show of all time. The real-life Texas polygamy scandal. More controversial than "Moment Of Truth." More shocking than "Fear Factor." Tonight, the jaw- dropping exclusive video.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The officers came through and raided our home.


HAMMER: More compelling than any reality show.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our children need their mothers.


HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with the polygamists` real world caught on tape.

The outrageous stories that have got us saying, "Are you kidding me?" Britney Spears, the most important cultural figure in America? Are you kidding me?

And what`s with Madonna releasing a tape of herself vacuuming?


MADONNA: A woman`s work is never done.

HAMMER: Are you kidding me?

Plus, the headline-making exclusive SHOWBIZ TONIGHT interview with Lindsay Lohan`s dad that everyone is talking about.


MICHAEL LOHAN, LINDSAY LOHAN`S DAD: I want that relationship with my children that they want.

HAMMER: Tonight, is Lindsay really now avoiding her dad because of what he told us?


HAMMER: Hello, I`m A.J. Hammer, broadcasting tonight and every night from New York City.

ANDERSON: Hi there, everyone. I`m Brooke Anderson coming to you from Hollywood with yet another SHOWBIZ TONIGHT exclusive. Britney Spears` manager sits down with me to reveal how he`s working with Britney to help get her life together and makes a remarkable prediction about Britney. My headline-making interview with Larry Rudolph is straight ahead.

HAMMER: But first, the most amazing can`t-turn away reality TV that`s playing out before our very eyes. The Texas polygamy scandal. Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can now reveal that the case of the polygamy sect has been become a real-life reality show-and-tell. And we have the exclusive video to prove it. It`s like "Fear Factor" meets "The Moment of Truth" and then some.


HAMMER: It`s more shocking, riveting and engrossing than the so-called reality shows on TV.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE NEWS ANCHOR: The first day of hearings to determine custody of the 416 children seized from a polygamist compound in Texas.

HAMMER: A polygamist community in Texas. Hundreds of children taken from the Yearning for Zion ranch amid reports that some of the children there have been forced to marry and have babies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE NEWS ANCHOR: The state alleges that some children gave birth when they were as young as 13, and some were subjected to sexual abuse.

HAMMER: A Texas court deciding one of the biggest child custody cases in history.

SUSAN HAYS, ATTORNEY: It`s difficult to get the facts of the case when I don`t have the typical documentation you`d have on a family.

HAMMER: And most bizarre of all, the soft-spoken women in 19th century pioneer dresses going before the TV cameras saying nothing wrong went on at that ranch and begging for their children back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am an active mother. We are active mothers, with our children. They are happy with us.

JULIA ALLISON, "STAR" MAGAZINE: It`s seriously disturbing. Like I was sitting there seriously disturbed.

HAMMER: Julia Allison of "Star" magazine tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, this is a story that has all of America riveted.

ALLISON: It reminded me - In a small sense, it reminded me of Tom Cruise`s Scientology ranch. At first you`re thinking, this has got to be a joke. This has to be some sort of "Saturday Night Live" parody.

HAMMER: But what`s going on at the Yearning for Zion ranch is not a joke. And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you the story is giving people a startling and frightening insight into a whole new world.

STEVE SANTAGATI, "ASKSTEVESANTAGATI.COM": It`s like Laura Ingalls meets "The Stepford Wives." You know, it`s a really crazy situation.

HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can show you these exclusive pictures from inside the Yearning for Zion ranch where mothers took CNN`s "LARRY KING LIVE" on an exclusive tour of their lives.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is no one here. No children. They`ve taken them. And they`ve taken them away from us. And they need us.

ALLISON: I kept thinking to myself, as I was watching these women, when are they going to take out their batteries? Because they looked like they were robots.

HAMMER: Almost every news show on the dial is bringing us every conceivable detail on this story, and the mysterious world of polygamist sects. "Good Morning America" talked to some of the lawyers representing the children. One did not want to give too many details.

HAYS: I`m not going to talk about my specific case because it`s a child and not fodder for media entertainment.

HAMMER: The "Today" show talked to teen boys ostracized from the polygamous sects in which they were raised.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My stepdad told me to get my stuff out for the house or be on the street.

HAMMER: And on the CBS "Early Show, a former polygamist sect member-turned author answered the burning questions - why do those women wear their hair like that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE FORMER POLYGAMIST SECT MEMBER: The concept is that you`re trying to entice a man and it`s sexual to leave your hair hanging.

HAMMER: No detail is too small, and audiences are eating it up. Psychology expert Cooper Lawrence, author of "The Cult of Perfection," tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, it`s the women of the sect that have us so fascinated. COOPER LAWRENCE, PSYCHOLOGY EXPERT: We`re fascinated by these women in particular because it`s 2008. No one looks like that. No one dresses like that. And it just seems like they really are out of touch with how to protect their own children.

HAMMER: Whatever it is, one thing is certain about this sordid story. No matter how strange or bizarre it may get -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need our children to come home.

HAMMER: We will stay tuned to see how it ends.


Of course, it could take weeks for Texas to sort out the custody details of the more than 400 children that were taken from the polygamist sect. So, really, this story could be playing out on our televisions for a very long time.

ANDERSON: Yes, it could.

All right. Tonight, divorce court is open for business on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with two huge stories to tell you about. We`ve got the incredible details of David Hasselhoff`s divorce settlement with his ex, Pamela Bach. You will not believe what strange item he gets to keep in the split.

ANDERSON: Also, the YouTube divorce case. You think Heather Mills can`t keep her mouth shut? Get ready for the revenge of Trisha Walsh-Smith.

Joining me tonight in Hollywood is attorney Darren Kavinoky of the Kavinoky Law Firm. And CNN entertainment correspondent, Kareen Wynter.

Darren, Kareen, I want to begin with Hasselhoff. It is finally over. And you know what? I would tell you about the money part of this whole thing, but it`s boring. But get a load of this. As part of the settlement, Hasselhoff won ownership to the phrase, "Don`t hassle The Hoff" and his nickname, "The Hoff."

Darren, you`re an attorney. How much would you have loved to have been in that conference room as they squabbled over this?

ATTY. DARREN KAVINOKY, KAVINOKY LAW FIRM: Almost as much as I would have liked to have been there when they filmed that infamous hamburger-eating home movie. That was a party.

But, you know, people in divorce cases squabble over everything. And sometimes, it`s just - it`s not that they want the item so much themselves. They just don`t want the other person to have it. And I think this was her way of saying, "I hate you so much that I`d like to limit your access to certain words of the English language."

But thankfully The Hoff has won the rights to his name, and the catchphrase, "Don`t hassle The Hoff," so we can only look forward to a whole line of products that feature that tag line. And god knows what`s coming next. I`m on the edge of my seat.

ANDERSON: More marketing of his name in the future, I`m sure. And you know, most people going through a divorce have to divide up big-ticket items like cars, like houses. Now, Hasselhoff did have to do some of that.

But take a look at this. Among other things, he gets to keep an African pipe, an ivory tusk, an elephant foot and two elephant stools, the barber chair and something listed as the "French Maid." It`s not clear what that means, exactly.

Kareen, given how bitter, how ugly this divorce has been, this is hysterical. Kareen, you`ve been covering Hollywood for a while. Can you think of anything more bizarre than this?

KAREEN WYNTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Oh, Brooke, it`s truly too bizarre to put into words. And how much time do we have for this segment? A few minutes, right? Not enough time.

It`s crazy. But let`s fess up here, Brooke. This is why we cover celebrity. They`re interesting. Celebrities are fascinating. They value things the rest of us, the normal people, could care two cents about. "French Maid," can you break it down for me? What is that?

We probably don`t want to know, right? But the only thing I can think of that would come close to this, maybe the Jackson trial from three, four years ago. But again, you know, this is absolutely so bizarre, I don`t think anything would top this.

ANDERSON: Yes, pretty inexplicable at times, and with celebrities, you just never know what you`re going to get, I suppose.

And now, I do want to move on to our next divorce story, the YouTube divorce. We were all stunned this week when we saw Trisha Walsh-Smith, the wife of one of Broadway`s most powerful men, post a vicious video on YouTube airing all of their dirty laundry. Take a look.


TRISHA WALSH-SMITH, ANGRY WIFE: Apparently, there is some clause in this pre-nup that he`s got - it seems he can throw me out in 30 days. But he has to have grounds for divorce. So he has no grounds for divorce, but he`s still trying to throw me out of our apartment in 30 days for no reason. I don`t know why.


ANDERSON: OK. Now, Smith is now starting a round of media interviews. Darren, it kind of reminds me of what we said when Heather Mills starting doing her interviews. Hmm, maybe it would be a good idea to just shut up. What do you think?

KAVINOKY: Yes, I think keeping your mouth shut would be a good idea. And she has what those in the medical community refer to professionally as crazy eyes. So I don`t think she`s helping her cause here by continuing to go on any kind of a media tour.

It`s already cost her a high-profile, world-renowned defense attorney. And so, yes, I think it might be better just to quietly move on, although if there is method to her madness, it may be that she`ll trumpet this loudly and often enough that he`ll just pay her a big sum of money to shut up and go away.

ANDERSON: Maybe so. Well, we have to keep in mind this is just her side of the story. He has said, through his attorney, he will not respond to her in a public forum. We`ll leave it there for now. Kareen Wynter, Darren Kavinoky, thank you both.

HAMMER: You know, Brooke, I`ve got to say, and I`m guessing you`ll agree with me, all of this crazy divorce dirty laundry, enough already of the stars putting it out there.

ANDERSON: Oh, you`ve got that right, A.J. I think it may be best for everybody to just keep it private, please.

HAMMER: You said it. Brooke, it`s totally got me saying, "Are You Kidding Me?" You know what else has me totally floored? Tonight, Britney Spears is being called - wait for it - the most important cultural figure in America. Let that sink in for a second. Are you kidding me? I just got to look into this, coming up.

It`s no joke, so what do you think? It`s our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day - "Britney Spears: Is she America`s most important cultural figure?" You can vote at and also e-mail us,

ANDERSON: A.J., I don`t know if all this is part of a bigger Britney plan here. Maybe it`s some grand comeback scheme. Well, tonight, I`m going one on one with the guy who definitely knows - Britney`s manager, Larry Rudolph. It`s the exclusive interview you will see only right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Also this -


LOHAN: when Lindsay had both her mother and father in her life, whether we were together or apart, did you see any of this nonsense going on that you see today?


HAMMER: Another SHOWBIZ TONIGHT exclusive, my revealing interview with Lindsay Lohan`s dad, Michael Lohan. You know, everybody`s talking about our explosive interview now. And people are even wondering, is Lindsay actually avoiding her dad now because of what he told us? That is on the way.

ANDERSON: Hey, remember, you can watch SHOWBIZ TONIGHT video any time. We are always posting new stuff for you to watch; that`s at our Web site,



LOHAN: When Lindsay had both her mother and father in her life, whether we were together or apart, did you see any of this nonsense going on that you see today?


HAMMER: Lindsay Lohan`s father opening up to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT in an exclusive interview that`s making headlines all over.

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, TV`s most provocative entertainment news show. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. And tonight, it`s my headline- making interview with Lindsay Lohan`s dad, Michael. It`s all over the place online. It`s on the blogs. And Lindsay says she`s not happy that he`s speaking out about their lives.

Well, Michael Lohan came to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT exclusively, and he told us why he thinks Lindsay is just setting herself up for yet another failure because of who she is still hanging out with. Also, he`s telling me why he`s going public with his private divorce fight with his ex-wife, Dina.

Joining me tonight from Miami, Howard Bragman, the founder of Fifteen Minutes Public Relations. Also in Hollywood tonight, Kim Serafin, the senior editor for "In Touch Weekly."

Kim, Howard, I`ve got to tell you. This whole interview is a big eye- opener for me and for a lot of people. Michael, among the other things that he has done in Lindsay`s recent past, was at the Cirque Rehab Center with her. But he tells me now he`s not at all happy that the same people who were with Lindsay before have now started coming back into her life. Watch this.


LOHAN: As soon as I was taken out of the equation and she didn`t have her dad there to try to help her and put my foot down in certain areas of her life where I think it needs to be done now, everything started to fall apart.

And then when I went back out to Cirque again and I met with Lindsay and we had things back on course again, then you saw the same people come back into her life. And it`s not where it should be.


HAMMER: Howard Bragman, let me start off with you. I think he`s making a pretty good point there.

HOWARD BRAGMAN, FOUNDER, FIFTEEN MINUTES PUBLIC RELATIONS: I think he`s making a good point, too. But the bigger issue is he didn`t call her daughter on the phone. He didn`t send her an E-mail. Nothing personal, A.J., but he talked to you, and I don`t think you talk to your child through the media even though it helps our ratings, and we do like that.

But I think there`s - you know, that`s really just a wrong way to communicate with your child. And anybody with any psychological training can tell you, communication should be one on one. It should not be shared with the world, A.J.

HAMMER: Yes. I definitely hear you there, Howard. He did also tell me that he has been in contact on a very regular basis with Lindsay and shares the same things that he was sharing with me in the case of, you know, who he doesn`t think she should be hanging out with. He has had that conversation with her. So I think he was just sort of making that point to us.

But more to your point, Lindsay has said that she`s not happy that he`s talking to the media to begin with. In fact, this is what she told Billy Bush on his radio show.

This is Lindsay, quote, "I just wish that he wouldn`t go and talk to the media. It`s not attractive to me. It really upsets me and I wish he would stop. I love my father; I just don`t know why he`s doing what he`s doing. It`s a weird situation. Very odd." Kim, do you find it odd?

KIM SERAFIN, SENIOR EDITOR, "IN TOUCH WEEKLY": Well, it is a little bit odd that he`s trying to do this through the media. I mean not odd, I guess, in Hollywood terms. Certainly, there`s been a history of stars who don`t get along with their family and their family talks to the media, whether it`s Angelina Jolie and her father or Jennifer Aniston and her mother or Tori Spelling and her mother.

I mean so it`s not odd in Hollywood terms but odd in the sense that she has said, "I love my dad, but I want him to stop," you know, as you just read that quote. "It`s not attractive to me. It upsets me." So I realize he`s trying to reach out and he wants to make amends and wants to be a part of her life anymore. But it`s obviously not working. In her eyes, this is not helping.

And you know, she`s been through a lot and she`s really trying to get her life back on track. And the stories about her in the media her have not been about partying lately. They`ve been about - you know, if they`ve been controversial, maybe about the photo shoot she did for "New York" magazine or roles she`s taking in Charles Manson films. But at least, it`s about the work again and not about her partying.

HAMMER: Well, there has been coverage of the fact that she has been seen out in the clubs. You know, nobody`s necessarily saying she`s been drinking. But Michael made it clear to me that he`s not at all happy that she`s also been seen out with some of the same people who were in Lindsay`s life before rehab, and now they back in her life. Watch this.


LOHAN: I don`t like some of the people in her life. I don`t like what they`re doing. If they really did care about Lindsay, would they bring her into an environment that they know was bad for her? Would they put her in a position where she was tested and tempted constantly? Of course not.


HAMMER: It`s worth noting Lindsay`s dad has been candid about the fact he`s a recovering alcoholic. Howard, he obviously is speaking from experience. But what do you think? Is Lindsay going to listen, or is she setting herself up for disaster by hanging out with these people again?

BRAGMAN: Well, I think - you know, I`ve put a lot of clients in rehab, A.J. And I can tell you one of the things they teach you in rehab is to break those patterns. Break the patterns of places you go. Break the patterns of people you go with.

And I understand his point there, and I certainly respect it. I think the message is correct. The method of delivering that message was what was wrong for her. And ironically, how did she respond? She went to the media. She didn`t call or E-mail her father and said, "You shouldn`t have done that in the press." She went to the press and did it. So it`s all a little convoluted at this point.

HAMMER: Yes. Howard, you make the point I was exactly going to make. I hope they`re having communication. If she doesn`t want him to be speaking out, I hope there`s a phone call involved and it`s not just her going on radio shows to talk about it. Howard Bragman, Kim Serafin, thanks both for joining us.

BRAGMAN: Thanks, A.J.

SERAFIN: Thanks.

ANDERSON: Hey, A.J., if I told you that somebody was calling Lindsay Lohan the most important cultural figure in America, what would you say?

HAMMER: That`s an easy one, Brooke. I`d have to say, "Are You Kidding Me?"

ANDERSON: Yes. Well, I am kidding about Lindsay, A.J. But tonight, Britney Spears is being called the most important cultural figure in America. And that`s not all. Listen to this. Madonna has just released a video of herself vacuuming. Huh?

HAMMER: "Huh" is right. Brooke, are you kidding me? I`ve got to check this out, coming up. I will.

Also this -


LARRY RUDOLPH, BRITNEY SPEARS` MANAGER: To go see a Britney Spears show with her, you know, back in her prime and doing what she does best, at this point, I can`t imagine a hotter ticket.


ANDERSON: My revealing blockbuster exclusive interview with Britney Spears` manager, Larry Rudolph. His stunning prediction about her. It`s the interview you will see only right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. You don`t want to miss it, coming up.

HAMMER: I think "Oprah`s Big Give," the reality show where people compete to give cash away, is a great idea. Nate Berkus hosts the show. He`s really got Oprah`s back. You`ve got to hear why he takes it so personally when people criticize her. That`s coming up.


ANDERSON: Hey, welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Brooke Anderson, and here are some more stories that are new right now.

I`m happy to say that Eddie Van Halen is back on stage and touring. Six weeks ago, Van Halen postponed tour dates because Eddie underwent medical tests. No word on what those tests were for. Eddie had battled tongue cancer a few years back and was in rehab last year. But his ex- wife, Valerie Bertinelli, said this setback had nothing to do with alcohol.

Scarlett Johansson says, "I`m no Paris or Lindsay." In a revealing interview in "Spin" magazine, Scarlett, who is about to release an album, says she lives a low-key lifestyle and really has nothing in common with young, out-of-control stars like Lindsay and Paris.

She says, quote, "I have no relationship with either of them, even as far as my lifestyle or the music I listen to. My album is more suited to my lifestyle. I live a very low-key life."

And happy birthday to Suri Cruise. The daughter of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise celebrates her second birthday on Friday, April 18th.

HAMMER: All right. So I don`t think Suri would be on this list, but if I were to ask you to name some of the most important cultural figures in America, throw some at me.

ANDERSON: Martin Luther King, Jr., Ronald Reagan, just to name a couple.

HAMMER: Britney Spears not on your list, Brooke?


HAMMER: Well, I`m not kidding about this. Tonight, she`s actually being called the most important cultural figure in America. Are you kidding me?


HAMMER: Yes. And we can`t forget the wacky video of Madonna vacuuming, released by Madonna herself. Are you kidding me? That`s coming up.

Also this -


RUDOLPH: I`m very, very happy with where she is now. I`ve had great conversations with her. She`s in a much different place than the last time I saw her.


ANDERSON: That`s Britney Spears` manager, Larry Rudolph. I sat down with him in a blockbuster exclusive interview. His startling prediction about Britney, coming up.

HAMMER: Now, we all know Oprah takes a critical beating sometimes. Well, tonight one of her best friends, Nate Berkus - he`s the guy from her "Big Give" show. He reveals to me why he takes it so personally when Oprah gets criticized. That is on the way.

HAMMER: But first, you can always stay on top of the most provocative entertainment news with our daily SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsletter. Go to so we can send it to you every day.



HAMMER: On SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, "Are you kidding me?" Madonna posts a video on YouTube of her vacuuming. Holy Hoover, Batman.

Plus, Britney Spears named the most important cultural figure in the country? What? Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with the wacky stories that made us say, "Are you kidding me?"

Also, Britney`s manager speaks.


RUDOLPH: I`m very, very happy with where she is now. I`ve had great conversations with her. She`s in a much different place than the last time I saw her.


HAMMER: Britney`s manager, Larry Rudolph, opens us to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT about how Britney is really doing and whether she`s poised for one of the biggest comebacks in entertainment history. Tonight, it`s the exclusive interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It is 30 minutes past the hour. I`m A.J. Hammer, broadcasting tonight and every night from New York City.

ANDERSON: And I`m Brooke Anderson, coming to you tonight from Hollywood. This is TV`s most provocative entertainment news show.

HAMMER: Stand back, everyone. Tonight, I have two outrageous stories that are making us say, "Are you kidding me?"

First up, Madonna caught in the act on YouTube vacuuming. Yes, I said vacuuming. Why in the world is she making homemade YouTube videos like some 15-year-old girl?

And Madonna`s heir apparent, Britney Spears, now being called the most important cultural figure in America. Do I really need to say anything more than that? Are you kidding me?

Joining me tonight from Hollywood, host of "Yo on E!" on XM and Sirius Satellite Radio, Michael Yo. With me in New York, entertainment columnist for "The Village Voice," Michael Musto. Also here in New York tonight, red carpet correspondent for "VH1 News," Janelle Snowden. Two Michaels and a Janelle, let`s get going.

Madonna has made, not just one, but two YouTube videos. And I want to kick this off tonight with the one where she`s talking to her fans while she vacuums. What the - just watch this.


MADONNA, ACTRESS/POP STAR: Right. I`m on the set of my new video. As you can see, everyone`s (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off and I`ve got to do all the cleaning for myself. What else is new? A woman`s work is never done.

So all you people out there who are making videos to my single, "Four Minutes," keep up the good work. Nice job. Nice one, OK? But you`ve got to clean up after yourself, all right? Because cleanliness is next to godliness. Now, get out of here. Got work to do.


HAMMER: Yes, she sure does have some work to do there. Michael Musto, I`d like to begin with you because you`ve known Madonna for a long time. Tell me something. Is this Madonna`s alter ego, you know, the one with the British accent who`s desperate for attention? Is this a clear cry for help, Michael Musto?

MICHAEL MUSTO, ENTERTAINMENT COLUMNIST, "VILLAGE VOICE": It`s a cry for help with record sales, "Please, people, buy my record." Look, I think this is perfectly natural no matter what part she`s playing here. Vacuuming in a designer outfit with full accessories - does that make sense to you?

A.J., not one second of this video made any sense to me. It`s completely inconsequential and out of left field. And yet, I watched it 80 times and then vacuumed my apartment afterwards. So something about it has some potencies.

HAMMER: Yes. See, that is just the point with Madonna. I think you just nailed it on the head. You know, for 25 years now, amazing - it`s been a while, but Madonna`s been around making music for that long and always really been relevant without really having to try.

But Janelle, there are some people who might suggest - I`m just saying - it`s a little sad, you know, a 50-year-old woman trying so hard to stay cool with that, you know, Worldwide Web, the www everybody`s talking about.

JANELLE SNOWDEN, RED CARPET CORRESPONDENT, "VH1 NEWS": OK. First of all, there`s nothing about Madonna that could ever be considered sad. Secondly, she looks better at 50 than most people look at 15. And there are just some people that will forever be cool.

I put her in the category of, like, Blondie. You know, yes, she`s outrageous. She`s wearing those killer boots. She`s wearing that chain. Not only is it a ploy to sell records but also to promote her video. And I think it`s genius. It`s like Madonna`s saying, "You know what? I know you think I`m older now, but look at me. I`m still rocking. And I can do the same videos that you guys do, but I can do them way better and way flier like, eat my dust." Basically. Literally eat my dust.

HAMMER: And it`s also fair to point out, if you`re looking closely, it`s a pretty high-end vacuum she`s working with there. But as if that was not enough, I want to you now to listen to her message to her BFF who is now apparently celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, asking Perez to choose between her or Perez` dog, Teddy.


MADONNA: Perez, I just want to ask you one thing. Who do you love more, me or Teddy? Because I can get down on all fours. I chase balls. And I love a biscuit. Make your decision. Quickly.


HAMMER: I`m not going to repeat that myself. Michael Yo, I know you spoke with Madonna recently. Is this all part of her master plan to remind us all that, you know, she`s more than some crazy lady who adopted an African baby?

MICHAEL YO, HOST, "YO ON E!": First of all, I`m trying to look for a woman like that, that she described in the video. No, Madonna said that this album - basically she wants to bring it back to the American front.

Before, she had European producers that produced albums. This one, it`s all American. That`s why you have Justin Timberlake. That`s why you have Timberland producing the album. She wants to be big in America this time around. The last two albums, she wasn`t. She failed in America but did great overseas.

HAMMER: Yes. Well, you know something? We`re giving Madonna a hard of a time but it`s all in good fun because she`s one of a kind. And the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT matchmakers are getting - working on the woman you want to meet, Michael Yo.

YO: I appreciate it.

HAMMER: OK. Time now to move on to the next story that has us tonight saying, "Are you kidding me?" Speaking of crazy, "Vanity Fair`s" daily online site has posted this compelling essay. And it dares to ask this question, "Is Britney Spears the most important cultural figure in America?"

I know that sounds a little odd. Here`s the thing about it, it`s serious. This is based on the never-ending interest in and obsession with Madonna. Michael Musto, I hear all of that, but the most important cultural figure in America?

MUSTO: I don`t know. It`s weird that our number one cultural figure has no culture. She`s never read a book except for "Cosmopolitan." It takes her 90 minutes to watch "60 Minutes." She`s bigger than the war in Iraq and she`s never heard of it. But I`ll go with it because she`s my bread and butter. I love my Britney. Yes. It`s just - I don`t know. I think they`re forgetting the really important people like Ryan Seacrest and the cast of "The Hills."

HAMMER: Ah, you know, we should write a letter to "Vanity Fair" online right away. Let me throw the argument that they`re making here though, to sort of justify this statement, proposition - whatever you want to call it. Britney`s actions actually influence - you have the economy, jobs, fashion, music, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Janelle, there`s the case. Are you convinced that Britney Spears could quite possibly be the most important cultural figure in America?

SNOWDEN: I have to echo you, are you kidding me? I mean, OK, maybe she`s influenced the economy in a certain sector in entertainment. But what about the people that are actually, like, doing real and substantial work to improve the world and not just reporting on who`s wearing what? Who`s sleeping with whom and god knows what else?

I mean what about, like, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, the people that are like, creating jobs out the Wazoo, but will never get reported on because they`re not like you know getting out of cars going commando or as we now say, going Britney.

HAMMER: You reach so high, Janelle. You reach so high. But you make a very good point how Britney has also influenced our vocabulary. Yes, going commando now means going Britney in the minds of so many, a whole generation. She took over "The Best Meltdown Ever" title from Mariah Carey. So Michael Yo, are you convinced that she is, perhaps, as influential as they say she is?

YO: Absolutely. For the last year and a half, you can`t go 15 minutes in a conversation without talking about Britney Spears. She is the most influential person out there. It doesn`t mean it`s good. And here`s the thing. She gets the sympathy vote. Now, everybody wants her to make this big comeback. You cannot go in a conversation without talking about Britney. That`s how relevant she is to today`s pop culture society.

HAMMER: Well, I`m going to break this down now. And maybe we`ll gaze into our collective crystal ball for just a moment because we`ve talked about Britney. We`ve talked about her one-time mentor, Madonna. So let`s put this to a vote - 30 years from now, what do you guys think? Will we see Britney Spears vacuuming on whatever, the YouTube of the moment is, but not looking anywhere as hot as Madonna, perhaps? Michael Musto, take it away.

MUSTO: Well, Madonna is Britney 30 years later. So we can see that she`s still relevant. She`s still exciting. I think Madonna is the original. She`s somebody who knows how to constantly reinvent herself. I think even when she`s wearing adult diapers, she`s going to be exciting and vacuuming in the way that we`re going to watch.

Britney, I think, not so much. I think she`s going to be a guest star on "So You Want to Be an Ax Murderer" or something.

HAMMER: I never thought about that. Madonna can make adult diapers exciting. Janelle Snowden, your prediction?

SNOWDEN: Oh my goodness. I think we`re giving Britney too much credit. Is she really the next Madonna? Madonna has had, like, you know, meltdowns in the sense that she`s maybe been like overtly or way over-the-top sexual. But Britney - I don`t see it. I`m sorry. I love both of them for what they`ve given us. But come on.

HAMMER: That`s why we say, "Are you kidding me?" Michael Yo, Michael Musto, Janelle Snowden, I thank you all.

And we`ve been asking you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day - "Britney Spears: Is she America`s most important cultural figure?" Let us know what you think at The E-mail address if you`ve got more to say,

All right. Brooke, whether Britney is the most important cultural figure or not, certainly, she gets attention for everything she does. But there`s one thing I`ve noticed, well, for a long time lately. It doesn`t include music, right?

ANDERSON: No, it doesn`t. You`re right about that. But A.J., that could be changing. I spoke with Britney`s manager, and he told me there are big things in store.


RUDOLPH: To go see a Britney Spears show with her, you know, back in her prime and doing what she does best - at this point, I can`t imagine a hotter ticket.


ANDERSON: That would be a hot ticket, but will Britney really be able to make a comeback? I went straight had to her manager to get the real story. That`s next in the exclusive interview you`ll see only right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

HAMMER: Also, Drew Lachey. I`ve got to tell you, he has always been one of the nicest guys in the biz. I think I met him - oh, gosh, I don`t know - like a dozen years ago from 98 Degrees to "Dancing With The Stars." And get this, Drew has now been married for eight years, which, as we all know, that`s an eternity in Hollywood. So how does he and his wife deal with all those tabloid rumors? He told SHOWBIZ TONIGHT the secret to their success, and that is coming up.

HAMMER: Also, you definitely won`t want to miss this - my one-on-one with Nate Berkus. You see him there? You know the guy. And you love him from "The Oprah Winfrey Show." And of course, he`s the host of "Oprah`s Big Give."

And now, he`s opening up to me about why he takes it so personally when people attack Oprah Winfrey. You`ve got to stick around to hear this, still to come on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

ANDERSON: Remember, you can watch SHOWBIZ TONIGHT video anytime. We`re always posting new video for you to watch at our Web site,



RUDOLPH: To go see a Britney Spears show with her, you know, back in her prime and doing what she does best, at this point, I can`t imagine a hotter ticket.


ANDERSON: That`s Britney Spears` former manager, Larry Rudolph, telling SHOWBIZ TONIGHT that Britney Spears is in position for the biggest comeback in history.

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, TV`s most provocative entertainment news show. I`m Brooke Anderson. Tonight, a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT exclusive interview with Britney Spears` former manager, Larry Rudolph. Now, Larry was right by Britney`s side throughout her massive worldwide success. But the two suddenly parted ways over a year ago just as Britney`s troubles were just getting started.

Now Larry, who is currently a judge on the hit MTV show "Rock the Cradle," is back in her life and says that she`s doing better than ever.

I sat down with Larry, and we talked about what it was like for him to watch Britney fall and why he thinks she could come back bigger than ever.


ANDERSON (on camera): You really are known to have been the backbone of her career. And then you parted ways. It was said that you wanted to get her help. You wanted to get her into rehab. But then you parted ways. The downfall began, the head shaving, the VMA performance, the psych ward. Were you shaking your head in disbelief? Because you`ve been there; you`ve helped her all through the years.

RUDOLPH: Yes. You know, it was a difficult time, there`s no doubt about it. It was difficult for me to watch. I think it was difficult for everybody to watch who knew her. But she`s really strong, and she`s smart, and she`s pulling it together now in a great way. And I`m really happy to see it.

I mean - You know, look. Everybody goes through their rough times. And she went through a very rough time, and hopefully the roughest time she`ll ever have. I really see - I`ve been spending a little bit of time with her nonprofessionally.

I`ve just been spending some time with her over the past few weeks. And she`s been doing great like she`s in a much, much different place. And I think that`s all passed, and that`s all behind her.

ANDERSON: You know, on your MySpace page, it`s flooded with postings from people saying, "Larry, please help Britney. We need the old Britney back. Is she all right?" And you`re saying she is. And she`s going to come back stronger than ever.

RUDOLPH: Yes, I do believe that. I mean, look, the jury`s - the jury`s still out - I mean, it`s not there yet. I mean, be clear. You know, she`s well on her way. I mean, like, you know, I`m very, very happy with where she is now. I`ve had great conversations with her. She`s in a much different place than the last time I saw her.

You know, I hadn`t seen her in a year. And I had been watching what everybody else had been watching. And it was rough. And now it`s a lot better. A lot better.

ANDERSON: You said she could make the biggest comeback in history.


ANDERSON: How big do you think? And you have a lot of faith in her, don`t you?

RUDOLPH: Well, think about it. I mean, ultimately, if she - if it`s what she wants, and if she decides that she wants to get back into the recording studio, get back on a stage and put that all on again. If that`s the life that she wants and she gets back on a stage, for instance, think about what that would be.

To go see a Britney Spears show with her, you know, back in her prime and doing what she does best, at this point, I can`t imagine a hotter ticket in terms of a touring ticket. I mean, there`s no show that I`d rather see. You know, I think a lot of fans agree with that.

ANDERSON: A lot of fans would pay to see that, I`m sure. But what`s your strategy? Do you have a three-point plan to help her get back to where she can be?

RUDOLPH: There`s no strategy right now. There`s no business being discussed, and that`s the best way for now. It`s not about that right now. It`s not about business. It`s not about whether she makes another album, whether she goes on tour. Anything, I`m just talking, you know, what if.

Right now, it`s just about her sort of, you know, getting it back together, getting back to where she needs to be in her life, not her career.


ANDERSON: Sounds like Larry`s got a healthy plan in mind for Britney. And he also talked to me about his hit reality show, "Rock the Cradle." Now, this is the show where the kids of famous stars like Bobby Brown, Joe Walsh from the eagles and Olivia Newton-John compete to become the next big rock star.

I asked Larry if this show gives rock star parents who may have been on the road a little too much a chance to reconnect with their kids.


RUDOLPH: I`ve seen that with Bobby and Landon Brown. They`ve really bonded a lot on the set. And there`s been some really - there`s been some really great moments during rehearsals and things that I`ve seen from them and some footage I`ve seen that our video crews have captured of them. So they`re really good example of that.

And you know, last week, Joe Walsh showed up to see his daughter, Lucy, and it was a surprise to everybody. So that was really nice. You know, he was on tour. He came off tour to come see her, you know. A lot of - there`s actually a lot of really nice moments.


ANDERSON: There certainly are. "Rock the Cradle" airs Thursday nights on MTV.

HAMMER: Time now for "Making It Work." This is where we take a look at couples who manage to build strong relationships under that white-hot glare of the spotlight.

Tonight, it`s former member of 98 Degrees and former "Dancing With The Stars" winner Drew Lachey. Now, Drew and his wife, Leah, have been married for eight years. They have a two-year-old daughter together.

And we asked Drew how he manages to have such a stable family life. You know, the tabloids are constantly looking to stir up trouble. Here`s what he told SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


DREW LACHEY, FORMER 98 DEGREES MEMBER: You`ve just got to - you have to live your life. And, you know, as long as the people that are close to you know the truth and know what`s happening, and that`s all that matters. The rest is nonsense.

And you know, somebody told me that today`s news is tomorrow`s fish wrapping paper. So you know, that`s kind of the model I try to live my life by. I don`t do anything that I see inappropriate in my life. And so as long as my wife and I are fine and my family`s fine, whatever happens, happens.

HAMMER: I want you to know that Drew has teamed up with Purina for a project that lets you upload pictures of your dog to be posted in Times Square here in New York City. That would be pretty cool. If you want more information about that, just go to ""

All right, Brooke Anderson, I know you have seen and love that show "Oprah`s Big Give."

ANDERSON: It`s great. It`s very heartwarming, A.J., very unselfish. It`s terrific.

HAMMER: Big fan myself. And I sat down with the show`s host, Nate Berkus. And now, we all know Nate obviously got a lot done for his career by Oprah Winfrey. But I was surprised just how personally he takes it when people talk trash about Oprah. And he really opened up to me about it. That is coming up next in the interview you`ll see only on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

You know, you can watch SHOWBIZ TONIGHT any time you`d like. All you have to do is download our podcast. The podcast is totally free. And you will find our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT podcast on our website. Just point your Web browsing device to You can also download it on iTunes by typing "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" into the search box. We are coming straight back.


HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. Tonight, the host of "Oprah`s Big Give" is speaking out to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT about why he takes it so personally when people attack his mentor, Oprah Winfrey. Star interior designer Nate Berkus hosts the Oprah-produced reality show where people compete to transform the lives of strangers.

So with Oprah out there promoting so much goodness and generosity, I had to ask Nate if he`s bothered when people are critical of her.


HAMMER (on camera): I`m curious, as somebody who`s involved with so much good that she does, does it bother you when you see people speaking out in a critical way like that about her?

NATE BERKUS, HOST, "OPRAH`S BIG GIVE": Yes, it really does. It really does. And you know, the truth is, is that I think with - People are particularly interested in what Oprah does, and they feel, obviously, that they can judge her and her actions and her decisions and all of that.

But it does bother me. It bothers me because, you know, I witness the motivation, and I know how true and truly altruistic a lot of these decisions are. It was in Africa, you know, with Oprah for the opening of her Leadership Academy. I saw the expression on the faces of the kids and of their parents who, you know, were starting in the school, which is so incredible.

So to have somebody sitting at a desk somewhere, you know, thinking, wow, this would be a good story that will sell a lot of whatever, it`s disappointing.

HAMMER: All right. So tell me this - with the success of "Oprah`s Big Give," is it too much to hope that there`s going to maybe be a little less - I don`t know, "Flava Flav" on TV and a little more people doing good and altruism and all of those good things?

BERKUS: Well, you know, listen. There`s a place for everything, truthfully. I mean, you know, everybody`s watching what they want to watch on TV. It`s like one of the beautiful things about our country. Read what you want to read. Watch what you want to watch.

I`m really proud to be associated with a show that, I think, not only is like a great lesson for people, but it really gives something back, even to the people who are watching. I don`t know. You know, I don`t know.

HAMMER: Let`s hope.

BERKUS: The programming is programming that, you know, everybody puts on what they want to put on. I`m just so happy that our show has, like, reached so many people, and they think to themselves, you know, "Wow, let`s get off the sofa Sunday night when we`re done watching this and talk to our kids and figure out what we can do." That`s, you know - it`s a beautiful thing.


HAMMER: You can catch Nate Berkus on "Oprah`s Big Give." Such a great show.


HAMMER: Sunday Nights on ABC. And that is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Thank you for watching. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

ANDERSON: And I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. Remember, you can always catch SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on the 11:00s - 11:00 p.m. Eastern, 11:00 p.m. Pacific and in the morning at 11:00 a.m. Eastern. The latest from "CNN HEADLINE NEWS" is next.