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SHOWBIZ TONIGHT

David Letterman Slams John McCain; Clay Aiken Comes Out on Camera; Leona Helmsley`s Money for Trouble; Paris` Uncomfortable Guesting at "The View"

Aired September 25, 2008 - 23:00:00   ET

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


A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: Now, on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the joke`s on McCain. Tonight, David Letterman`s unbelievable and extraordinary attack on John McCain and Sarah Palin. And this time it was personal. Very personal. Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with the remarkable inside story of Dave`s rage and rant.
Clay Aiken speaking out and coming out on camera. Tonight Clay Aiken`s very first TV interview since he revealed that he is gay. Clay`s very personal brand-new revelation.

Plus, your fired up calls to the "Showbiz On Call" phone lines about whether it was the right time for Clay to come out.

Plus the incredible story of why Leona Helmsley`s dogs could be worth $12 million.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She liked dogs better than people generally.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Hey, doggy, can you spare a dime? TV`s most provocative entertainment news show starts right now.

(MUSIC)

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.

And tonight, the craziest, wackiest presidential campaign ever as Paris Hilton is again dragged into it over her John McCain campaign response ad. It all happens with the ladies of "The View." That`s coming up.

HAMMER: But first, the remarkable McCain smackdown by David Letterman. And let me tell you that it was truly extraordinary. From New York to Washington to Hollywood, Letterman was the talk of the campaign today after a very personal and very funny attack on John McCain and Sarah Palin. The reason Dave did it and the incredible fallout all making big news right now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice over): Republican presidential candidate John McCain is dealing with a lot. Up and down poll numbers, an economic crisis that`s upending the presidential campaign.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We know this is a crisis with serious implications.

HAMMER: But now, McCain is dealing with another crisis. He got David Letterman mad.

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": You know, John McCain - he`s the running mate of Sarah Palin. You`re aware of that?

HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you all of America is talking about how Letterman spent almost his entire show going off on John McCain for suspending his campaign to deal with the economic crisis -

MCCAIN: I`ll suspend my campaign and return to Washington.

HAMMER: And bailing on a planned appearance on Letterman`s "Late Show."

LETTERMAN: We`re suspending the campaign?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

LETTERMAN: Are we suspending it because there`s an economic crisis or because the poll numbers are sliding?

JO PIAZZA, "NEW YORK DAILY NEWS": David Letterman really ripped John McCain a new one.

HAMMER: Proof positive that hell hath no fury like a talk show host scorned.

LETTERMAN: I`m more than a little bit disappointed by this behavior.

HAMMER: From the very beginning of Wednesday night`s show, it was clear Letterman was miffed at McCain for canceling on him hours earlier.

LETTERMAN: I was thinking about this. Well, maybe if he hadn`t taken two years off to run for president, he wouldn`t have to rush back to Washington now to deal with the crisis.

PIAZZA: In the beginning you`re like, "OK. He`s doing a monologue. They always do these political jokes." But then, you realize as he goes on and on and on, he`s not joking about being mad that John McCain didn`t show up. He`s actually really peeved.

HAMMER: Dave continued the rants at his desk.

LETTERMAN: Somebody is putting something in his Metamucil. Suspending his campaign. You don`t suspend your campaign. That makes me think, well, you know, maybe there will be other things down the road. If he`s in the White House, he might just suspend being president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Suspend.

HAMMER: Sarah Palin wasn`t spared either. Letterman sarcastically suggested that instead of suspending the campaign, McCain should have turned over campaigning duties to his running mate.

LETTERMAN: She ought to be ready because she`s handled crises like this in the past. Oh, wait a minute. She hasn`t really handled the crises like this.

PIAZZA: He went at McCain from every angle, you know, criticizing his age and lashing out at his poll numbers. He was really relentless.

HAMMER: Later, during an interview with MSNBC`s Keith Olbermann, Dave saw something that really set him off.

LETTERMAN: All people here were told he`s so serious he`s getting on a plane immediately and racing back to Washington.

HAMMER: Letterman cut to a live feed of McCain getting makeup done for an interview with Letterman CBS colleague, Katie Couric, just a few blocks way.

PIAZZA: In the talk show world, that`s the equivalent of touching your wife and doing it with your neighbor.

HAMMER: Dave was miffed.

LETTERMAN: Doesn`t seem to be racing to the airport, does he? Hey, John, I`ve got a question. You need a ride to the airport?

PIAZZA: He did seem jealous. He had this glint in his eye at Katie Couric like, "Oh no, girl. You stole my man."

HAMMER: Even when the show was almost over, Dave was still fuming.

LETTERMAN: We`re told now that the senator has concluded his interview with Katie Couric, and he`s now on "Rachel Ray Show" making dill peccata(ph).

HAMMER: The next morning, Letterman`s extended rant was national news.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE NEWS REPORTER: McCain riled the host.

LETTERMAN: Doesn`t seem to be racing to the airport, does he?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You leave Dave hanging and that`s what you get.

PIAZZA: It isn`t often that a talk show host will let their guard down and attack a political candidate, that`s why this is such a big story.

NICOLE WALLACE, MCCAIN SPOKESWOMAN: We felt this wasn`t a night for comedy.

HAMMER: On the "Today" show, a McCain spokeswoman apologized to Dave. Sort of.

WALLACE: We deeply regret offending Mr. Letterman. But all candidates` priority is at this moment is to focus on this crisis.

HAMMER: And in a presidential race where celebrities have been endorsing candidates left and right, it appears McCain has now lost a potential famous fan.

LETTERMAN: This just doesn`t smell right. This is not the way a tested hero behaves.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: Now, that is what you call a smackdown, but was it justified?

Well, joining me in Washington, D.C. tonight is Amy Holmes. She is a CNN political analyst. And in Hollywood tonight, it`s Carlos Diaz. He`s a correspondent for "Extra."

And it`s clear, guys, David Letterman wasn`t just annoyed with John McCain, he was downright angry with him. Carlos, do you think it was justified? I thought he was spot on here. Or do you think it was a bit of overkill?

CARLOS DIAZ, CORRESPONDENT, "EXTRA": A.J., I`m a big fan of good TV, and this was good TV. You know, it was a bit of overkill. I watched the entire thing at first. And by the way, he built John McCain up talking about his record as a war veteran and this and that. The more he built him up, I`m like, "Oh, the more he`s going to tear him down." And he did.

The crowd was with him at the beginning. But as it kept going, the crowd began to get uncomfortable and you could literally see him shaking when he went to the Katie Couric footage. I mean, his hands were shaking. He was so mad.

HAMMER: Yes. He took this very personally. And I think it was clear also if you watched the whole thing, he was more upset about the fact that John McCain suspended his campaign than he was about the fact that he canceled on the "Late Show."

Amy, what do you think? Was Letterman in line here?

AMY HOLMES, POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, I think he crossed the line actually. It went on for nine whole minutes that he kept bashing John McCain. And you know what? A.J., I would be very surprised if John McCain is the first person that`s ever canceled on David Letterman. I mean, has he ever tried booking Amy Winehouse? Give me a break. Between rock stars and actors, I`m sure there were people who called up at the last minute to say they`re too hung over to go on the show.

(CROSS TALK)

HAMMER: Sure. Sure. But to my point earlier, I think it was a combination of that and the fact that he just disagrees with the suspension of the campaign.

HOLMES: Well, he didn`t have to keep repeating that, knocking him for suspending the campaign. But there are very good political reasons for John McCain why he did that, you know, what message he`s trying to advance with his own campaign. And A.J., it would have been really strange if earlier that day, he announced he`s suspending his campaign except for 11:30 o`clock at night when he`s campaigning on the "David Letterman Show."

HAMMER: Well, of course, then we see him on with Katie Couric.

And I want to come back to that point that we saw in our story. You know, when McCain called earlier in the day to cancel on David Letterman, he said, as Dave pointed out, that he was rushing to the airport to get back to Washington.

So you can only imagine how Dave felt when he sees John McCain in that chair in the live shot getting made up for an interview with Katie Couric at the very same time McCain was supposed to be there with Dave taping his show. Dave really blew his stack. Let`s watch that again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LETTERMAN: Let`s just punch up Katie Couric`s interview, and Keith, you can go back to wherever you came from. Let`s just see what he has to say here. This will be interesting. I wonder if he`ll mention me. Hey, John, I`ve got a question. You need a ride to the airport?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Yes. Carlos, like you said, great TV here. And let`s keep in mind, McCain doing that interview on a show that`s on the same network as Dave - CBS.

Carlos, do you think that was really perhaps stupid that the McCain camp thought Dave and his folks wouldn`t notice and see that going on?

DIAZ: There`s weird things called satellites, and there`s weirder things called TVs where you actually can see feeds coming down from everywhere. I can`t believe they didn`t think he would see that. But I love Letterman`s quote. He was like, "Keith, you can just get out of here because I don`t need you anymore. All I need is this right here." And he was focused, and he was very ticked off.

HAMMER: Yes, very ticked off. And besides being ticked off about the cancellation as I mentioned, it`s clear that Letterman thinks McCain has some other issues he`s dealing with right now besides the economy. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LETTERMAN: A hero, an honest-to-God hero. An American hero. Maybe the only actual hero I know. I`ve met the man. I know the guy, so I`m more than a little disappointed by this behavior. "We`re suspending the campaign." Why, are we suspending it because there`s an economic crisis, or because the poll numbers are sliding?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Yes. I think we feel a little political motivation there. Now, to be fair, the McCain camp did say - and Amy, you said this a moment ago, maybe not a night to go on a comedy show. But that said, let`s take that away. This did happen.

Amy, it can`t be good for John McCain that Letterman slammed him like this. I mean, today, this was all over every newspaper, on every television show, and all over the Internet. And this is not good.

HOLMES: Oh, I`m sure it`s a huge headache for the McCain communications director that when they bumped David Letterman and went on Katie Couric, which let`s remember is a news show. This is a news program and John McCain was there to talk about serious issues. But I`m sure they did not expect that David Letterman would go on an extended rant about what he feels was a mistreatment by the communications staff, and John McCain in particular. So this cannot be a happy day for the McCain campaign.

HAMMER: And it would be really interesting to see if, number one, Letterman wants him back on, and number two, if McCain would come on if invited.

Amy Holmes, Carlos Diaz, I thank you for being here. We`ve got to run.

There are reports out there that I need to tell you about that Sarah Palin may actually be considering an appearance on "Saturday Night Live" just a few weeks after, of course, Tina Fey did what was a dead-on impersonation of her.

So we want to hear from you about this. It`s our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of day. As you see, "Sarah Palin: Should she do `Saturday Night Live?`" Let us know your thoughts. CNN.com/ShowbizTonight is where you vote. You can E-mail us at showbiztonight@cnn.com.

ANDERSON: A.J., could this presidential election get any more bizarre?

HAMMER: I don`t think so, Brooke. Even Paris Hilton, I`m ashamed to say, back in the picture here.

ANDERSON: Yes, you know, for the first time, Paris is talking about the strange war of words between her and John McCain and the campaign spoof ad that she did. The fireworks flew when Paris got into it today. That is coming up. We`ll also have this -

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not only did she love her dog more than her family, she liked dogs better than people generally.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: It`s the $12 million dog. Why Leona Helmsley`s dog could be worth millions. It`s the outrageous story behind really the weirdest will I`ve ever heard of, and that is still to come.

ANDERSON: And Clay Aiken speaks out about coming out. It is Clay`s first television interview since he confirmed that he`s gay. I`ll have his brand-new revelation straight ahead. You don`t want to miss that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. Tonight, the late Leona Helmsley`s $12-million dog. Yes. Shocking new revelations about the queen of mean and her love for her little dog, Trouble.

When Helmsley died, she was worth billions and we have now learned she put aside $12 million of that for her dog.

CNN legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, has a fascinating expose in this month`s "New Yorker" magazine. He told me just what an extremes Leona went to for her dog, Trouble.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(on camera): Jeffrey, I want to start at the beginning. Leona Helmsley died last year, but two years before her death she put $12 million in a trust fund for her dog, Trouble. That`s the biggest bequest in her will. And Jeffrey, as your article points out, that`s more than any of her relatives got. Did she really love her dog more than her family?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, not only did she love her dog more than her family, she liked dogs better than people generally. She really was a terrible person who hated everyone; most people hated her. So I think this will is indicative of someone who really wanted to express hostility to people as much as she wanted to express love for her dog.

ANDERSON: And listen to this. She dies, and as you wrote, she leaves the dog to her brother and her grandson, but neither man wanted Trouble, so to speak, especially since there were death threats against this pup. Jeffrey, death threats against a dog? Explain this to me.

TOOBIN: Well, once it came out in the New York tabloids that Trouble, the dog, was left so much money, so many were offended, there were apparently some death threats against the dog. So some - the two people who were designated for the dog said, "Look, no thanks," and they wound up giving the dog - custody of the dog to the manager of one of the Helmsley hotels in Florida. But he wanted to get paid for it, so he gets $60,000 a year to take care of Trouble.

Plus, there`s $100,000 a year in security for Trouble because of the death threats. So this dog has a 24-hour guard as well as a guardian.

ANDERSON: Yes. That guardian gets, as you say, $5,000 a month, security, you mentioned $100,000 a year, grooming $8,000 a year, food $1,200 a year, veterinary care, $18,000. This is an obscene amount of money. It`s unfathomable, really.

TOOBIN: Well, is it?

ANDERSON: Jeffrey, how do you spend that much money on a dog, really? I mean, because it seems Trouble lives a better life than most humans.

TOOBIN: Trouble certainly does. But the interesting thing that I learned in working on this story for the "New Yorker" was that more and more people are leaving money to dogs. In 38 states now, they make it easy to set up a trust fund for dogs.

So yes, Leona Helmsley was extreme in how much money she left. But the idea of leaving money to your dog and leaving instructions for your dog - that`s becoming more and more popular. And you see a lot of people saying, "The heck with my relatives. I`m leaving it to my dog."

ANDERSON: Oh, it`s really astounding. And if these amounts of money aren`t unbelievable enough, it is estimated that Helmsley left between $3 billion and $8 billion in a charitable trust specifically for, brace yourself, purposes related to the provision of care for dogs.

Jeffrey, does this mean that all that money is going to be spent on dogs and there`s no wiggle room at all?

TOOBIN: Well, there might be some wiggle room because there is a provision in the will that gives the trustee some leeway. But, this would be at $8 billion - billion with a b - dollars, about the 10th biggest foundation in the entire United States up there with the Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and it could be all for dogs.

And a lot of animal rights activists have their eye on that money and they`re talking about spaying and neutering programs. They`re talking about adoption vans nationwide. So it could really revolutionize how dogs are cared for in the United States.

But of course, the question is, is this the appropriate use of $8 billion? Couldn`t it be better used for medical research, for taking care of the needy. Leona wanted that money for dogs.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Fascinating article. And you can read the full article in this month`s "New Yorker" magazine.

HAMMER: I want some of that money for my dog.

All right. The "Showbiz On Call" phone lines have been ringing nonstop. We`ve been getting a lot of calls about Clay Aiken`s decision to finally come out and confirm that he`s gay.

We heard from Darla in Colorado. Now, Darla gave a buzz to "Showbiz On Call" and said it was the right move.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

DARLA, CALLER FROM COLORADO: I think it`s really a good thing that Clay Aiken came out the way that he did. I think it shows a lot of character, and we believe that the truth will set you free. And that`s just what exactly what`s just happened to Clay. And let me wish him nothing but the very, very best for him and his beautiful boy.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HAMMER: And we thank you for your call. Darla, remember the "Showbiz On Call" phone lines are open 24/7. So call us and let us know what`s on your mind. Our number is 1-888-SBT-BUZZ; 1-888-728-2899. Just leave us a voicemail. We will play some of your calls right here on this program. It is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Well, Brooke, I think it`s great that Clay Aiken has finally come out.

ANDERSON: Yes. And I think so many people feel the same way, A.J. But how does Clay feel now that it`s all said and done? For the first time since admitting that he`s gay, Clay has done an interview on camera. I`m going to have that, coming up.

HAMMER: Also, Paris talks politics. Uh-oh. Paris Hilton is talking about her wacky war of words with John McCain. You definitely do not want to miss this surreal bit of fun, still to come. Also this -

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m voting for Barack Obama. My name is John McCain, and I approved this message.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Just like them, there are some amazing stories of ordinary people who have an incredible connection to McCain, Obama and Palin. They look like them. They have the same names. You`ve just got to see this, coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

And be sure to check out the free, ever-changing SHOWBIZ TONIGHT podcast. You can find it at CNN.com/ShowbizTonight. Or simply download it on iTunes. Type SHOWBIZ TONIGHT in the search box. We`re coming back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer.

ANDERSON: And I`m Brooke Anderson with some more stories that are making news right now.

Johnny Depp is going to play Jack Sparrow again. Disney has announced that Depp will return for "Pirates of the Caribbean 4." The studio is keeping Depp busy. He will also play the Mad Hatter in Tim Burton`s "Alice in Wonderland," and Tonto in Jerry Bruckheimer`s "Lone Ranger."

Well, this sounds like a joke but it`s not. Ed McMahon is going to become a rapper. McMahon is set to star in two rap videos for "FreeCreditReport.com." The video shows McMahon wearing a track suit, being driven around in an Escalade golf cart and rapping about his financial troubles. If you remember, he was in danger of foreclosure after he fell behind in his mortgage payment. The videos will be online next month.

HAMMER: Well, we`ve got an update now on former "One Day at a Time" star Mackenzie Philips who is in rehab after being arrested for heroin and cocaine possession. Mackenzie`s sister says she`s in recovery now. She`s doing great and this is the best thing that could have happened.

She tells "People" magazine that the whole family is very proud of her. Mackenzie has been in rehab several times and has been very open about her long struggle with addiction.

All right. Brooke, moving on, I think it is terrific for Clay Aiken that he has finally come out.

ANDERSON: Many people feel exactly the same way, A.J. And here`s what we want to know - how does Clay feel now that it`s all said and done? For the first time since admitting he`s gay, Clay has done an interview on camera. I`ll have that, straight ahead.

HAMMER: I hope you`re ready for this. Paris talking politics. Paris Hilton talking about her wacky war of words with John McCain, something you don`t want to miss. That`s still to come.

ANDERSON: And Lynn Spears says it`s not fair. She complains about her daughter Jamie Lynn catching heat over her teen pregnancy while everyone is pretty much leaving Sarah Palin`s daughter alone. We`re getting tons of calls on the "Showbiz On Call" phone line. That`s ahead on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

But first, stay on top of the most provocative entertainment news with our daily SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsletter. Just head on over to CNN.com/ShowbizTonight. Click on the "sign up for newsletter" link at the bottom of the page. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is coming back right after this. Hang tight.

(NEWS BREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Now, on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, Clay speaks out. Tonight, for the very first time since his dramatic coming out, "American Idol" star Clay Aiken gives his first TV interview. Why did he say he`s gay now? How will this affect his career? It`s Clay`s very personal TV interview.

Paris Hilton versus John McCain. Tonight, Paris finally speaks out about that very funny ad she did in response to John McCain`s ad featuring her.

Plus, sparks fly as Paris gets pummeled by "The View" over her time in jail. TV`s most provocative entertainment news show continues right now.

(MUSIC)

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: I`m Brooke Anderson, coming to you tonight from Hollywood.

HAMMER: Well, tonight, making news right now, Clay Aiken tells all in his first TV interview since coming out. In a revealing interview with Diane Sawyer today on "Good Morning, America," Clay talks about why he decided to acknowledge that he`s gay and whether he thinks his die-hard fans are going to stick with him.

With me tonight in Miami, Judge David Young. He is the star of the syndicated court show called "Judge David Young." Here in New York is Janelle Snowden. She is the host of "VH1 News." In Hollywood tonight - there he is - Howard Bragman, who is the founder of Fifteen Minutes Public Relations.

Gang, I appreciate every one of you being here tonight. Now, just one day after Clay came out in this the brand-new issue of "People" magazine, he`s revealing brand-new intimate details about his life. Clay told Diane Sawyer on "Good Morning, America" that he came out because he didn`t want to hide anything from his newborn son. And Clay also says that he hopes all those rumors about him will finally stop. Listen to what he had.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLAY AIKEN, FORMER "AMERICAN IDOL" CONTESTANT: I can`t raise a kid and teach him to keep secrets. And at the same time, I also don`t ever want to raise him in an environment where it`s not OK for him to be exactly who he is, no matter what.

DIANE SAWYER, HOST, "GOOD MORNING, AMERICA": So you don`t seem to be treating it as a declaration. It`s just a -

AIKEN: No, it`s not, because I`m not making an announcement of any kind. I`m not telling anybody anything. Speaking about it so people will stop asking questions about it so they`ll never ask. You know, you`ve got your answers. You know what`s going on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: All right. So Judge David Young, he`s hoping this will help people move on with their lives and stop talking about it. Do you think mission accomplished here for Clay Aiken?

JUDGE DAVID YOUNG, HOST, "JUDGE DAVID YOUNG SHOW": I think that the "People" magazine did that job. I think Diane Sawyer was kind of like whipped cream on top of the cup cake. You know, we`ve all known Clay Aiken was gay. He finally came out and admitted it, which was a good thing.

And you know, I admire him. But for the timing he did it - he has a newborn baby. You know, parents who are hypocrites, kids pick up on that. And I really admire the fact that he did it now. And I think it will be healthy for him and I think it will be healthy for the baby as well.

HAMMER: Yes. I think that was a real big point for him, as to why he did it now. But he said, and in fact right there to Diane Sawyer, you know, this is not a big announcement.

Janelle, let me go to you. Given, you know, how long Clay really did work to keep this private, which was certainly his right. But do you buy that he thinks this is no big deal, no big revelation?

JANELLE, HOST, "VH1 NEWS": Well, I mean, he`s on the cover of "People "with the letters in bold saying, "I`m gay." I guess maybe he figures they should have added, "duh" underneath. I mean, the only way that he could say it`s not revelation is because he assumed that everyone already knew it.

But - I mean, as far as whether or not this will affect his career and whether or not people will stop asking questions, that remains to be seen. But if there are any of his female fans that didn`t already know this, they just must have been blinded by their love for him. Because it`s not like Clay ever pretended to be a macho guy.

HAMMER: Well, let`s talk about that a little bit. Because that was addressed in the "People" magazine interview to an extent but more with Diane Sawyer. You know, we know, Clay shot to fame as the runner-up on "American Idol" back in 2003. And we also know that some of his biggest fans, as you point out, Janelle, were older women. Some of them, of course, calling themselves Clay-mates. So, in this first TV interview with Diane Sawyer, Diane asked what we all wanted to know. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAWYER: Worried about your fans?

AIKEN: I don`t have any designs on the fact that people will - that every single person is going to be perfectly OK with it. I`m sure that there are people who will grapple with it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Yes. So I`d have to think some of the people who might likely grapple with it could be members of his large base of conservative fans, mostly the women, who professed this love for him. Howard Bragman, is Clay Aiken, do you think, underestimating how these fans might react?

HOWARD BRAGMAN, FOUNDER, FIFTEEN MINUTES PUBLIC RELATIONS: You know what? With all due respect to his fans, this is a decision that has nothing to do with his fans. It`s intensely personal. It`s about the way he wants to live his life.

And as I`ve talked about before, I think he`s going to get a bigger fan base because of it. I think people are going to love his authenticity. I don`t think there`s going to be any ebb in his popularity. And I think he`s going to get a lot more attention because of it. So a personal decision is going to turn out to be a really good business decision for him, too.

HAMMER: So he should be rest assured that he has really got nothing to worry about as far as his career and just moving forward, Howard?

BRAGMAN: I`m sure he feels great this week, A.J. I`m sure this relief has been lifted off his shoulders and he`s in a place he`s never been and has got to be feeling good about things right now.

HAMMER: Well, when he made this big revelation - I`m sorry, is that you -

YOUNG: A.J., the whole question is about integrity, and that`s going to translate into greater respect for Clay Aiken. Listen, I`m openly gay. It has not affected my fan base. Remember, we don`t sleep with our fans. Our fans don`t care what we do in our private lives unless, you know, it`s something outrageous. They just want us to give them a good product. They want to see Clay Aiken shine in "Spamalot." "You ain`t dead yet," as a song goes there. You know, he`s going to have a good life.

HAMMER: Judge David Young, let`s hope people are worthy of the credit you give them.

I want to move on to the issue of timing. We did ask in our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of day, online and on air, "Clay Aiken Reveals He`s Gay: Is the timing right?" And look at the response. I`m actually a little surprised it wasn`t heavier on those of you that said yes. Seventy-0ne percent said yes; 29 percent said no.

I want to stay with you, Judge David Young, for a moment here. I`m having a hard time even understanding why some people would think the timing wasn`t right. Any insight there?

YOUNG: Yes. Who knows why some people figure that way. You know, you can`t read the public like that, what`s right and what`s wrong. It`s an individual choice. And, you know, when is a good time to come out? The best time to come out is when you feel secure and you`re being - and you do it. That`s when the best time - this was the best time for Clay Aiken, and I support him on it. And I congratulate him on it.

HAMMER: Janelle Snowden, why do you think anyone would think, "Hey, you know what? Maybe it wasn`t such good timing?"

SNOWDEN: I`m with the judge. I have no idea. The timing is when you`re ready. Absolutely. Like Howard said, this is such a personal decision. And I think that Clay is just going to feel an overwhelming sense of relief. There has got to be so much stress that one has to endure when you`re hiding what you deem a secret.

So now, he can walk hand-in-hand freely with whomever he chooses and not worry about people outing him. At least this way, he has control over how the information has gotten leaked.

HAMMER: Well, Clay is getting tons of support from all over Hollywood, some nice words from `N Syncer (ph) Lance Bass who`s openly gay. Rosie O`Donnell professed her love for Clay on her blog. And just last night, in Hollywood, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s own Brooke Anderson caught up with "Heroes" star Kristen Bell. I love what Kristen told us. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KRISTEN BELL, ACTRESS: What surprises me and saddens me is that it still is big news. Because, you know, there are certain steps you have to take to break through boundaries. And you know, he shouldn`t really have to acknowledge it. It should just be OK that he is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: I`m going to go to you, Howard Bragman. I`d have to think you`d agree with that.

BRAGMAN: Well, I wish he didn`t have to acknowledge it. I wish it wasn`t a big deal. But as long as there`s people who try to make my marriage invalid, stop people from adopting babies, stop gays and lesbians from having our basic civil rights, then it is a big deal.

And the most important thing any gay or lesbian can do is come out of the closet and live an open and honest life. And that`s what`s going to change people`s minds. So good idea, Clay Aiken.

YOUNG: Howard, I totally agree. We have to lead by example. And if we can get another young child in North Carolina or somewhere that`s not a big metropolitan city and see Clay Aiken as a role model, all the power to them because that`s what we need to do. We need to be positive role models.

HAMMER: Let`s end it on that positive note. Judge David Young, Janelle Snowden, Howard Bragman, I thank you all.

ANDERSON: Hey, A.J., things got heated on "The View" today. Paris Hilton was a guest co-host.

HAMMER: Yes. I`ve got to say, it was pretty awkward at one point, Brooke.

ANDERSON: Yes. Joy pummels Paris about her jail time. Oh, did Paris squirm. Boy, and Paris also spoke out for the very first time about her funny spoof of that John McCain ad which featured her. Paris dragged back into the presidential race, next.

Also new right now, your overwhelming response to what Britney Spears` mother Lynne said about Sarah Palin`s pregnant teenage daughter. Our "Showbiz On Call" voicemail box has been flooded. Your calls, next. And also this -

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m voting for Barack Obama. My name is John McCain and approve this message.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Hold on, just one second. Stop the presses, that guy isn`t John McCain. He doesn`t look like John McCain. Tonight, ordinary people who are getting a lot of attention because they have an incredible connection to John McCain, Barack Obama and Sarah Palin. And that is coming up, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PARIS HILTON, ACTRESS: Then that wrinkly, white-haired guy used me in his campaign ad which I guess means. I`m running for president. So thanks for the endorsement, white-haired dude. And I want America to know that I`m like, totally ready to lead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Paris Hilton`s now infamous response to John McCain for using her in his own infamous campaign ad. And just when you thought Paris was out, she gets pulled back in.

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. Paris` political power is one of two brand-new stories making news right now. Paris Hilton was on "The View" today to plug her new reality show when co-host Joy Behar brought up a real sore spot - Paris` jail stint and how it could affect her vote.

Also new tonight, your reaction to Britney Spears` mother complaining about how her pregnant daughter was treated compared to Sarah Palin`s pregnant teen daughter. Our "Showbiz On Call" phone lines are burning up over this. And we`ve got your calls tonight.

With me tonight from Hollywood, Carlos Diaz, who is a correspondent for "Extra." And in New York, Marvet Britto, who`s a celebrity publicist.

Carlos, Marvet, I have to say, Paris looked like a deer in the headlights when she was on "The View" today. She was there to plug her new reality show, "My New BFF." She got about a whole minute to do that.

Then the hot topic talk turns into a political discussion. And Joy Behar brings up Paris` stint in jail and whether she will be able to vote. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOY BEHAR, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": You aren`t going to be able to vote, are you? My friend who was in the slammer, he can`t vote. Weren`t you in jail?

HILTON: I`m allowed to vote.

BEHAR: I thought you couldn`t vote.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": She can vote. It`s only a felony.

(CROSS TALK)

BEHAR: What was your thing? Yours was a misdemeanor or something?

HILTON: No, it was driving with a suspended license.

(CROSS TALK)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Awkward. Carlos, she looked a little bit like she was blindsided. How do you think she handled it?

DIAZ: Well, I predicted at one point that the world might stop caring about Paris Hilton, but I didn`t predict this. Because not only - it`s kind of like people are wanting to be vindictive. They`re like - they want to have her on their show.

Dave Letterman had Paris on his show and then kind of like - And then "The View" the same thing. I mean, you know that Joy had a little bit of this going on when she mentioned, you know, Paris being in jail. So it`s not only not letting Paris fade away, it`s like, "Let`s keep her around and kind of give her a few left-hooks kind of a thing."

ANDERSON: Well, you have to watch what happened when they started talking about John McCain suspending his campaign. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEHAR: The whole idea you can suspend your campaign is ridiculous to me. If you`re the president, you`re going to have five things to deal with at once, so do the debate and go to the Senate.

(CROSS TALK)

GOLDBERG: Paris Hilton`s "My New BFF" premieres September 30th. Now, check your local listings. Paris, thank you for coming and hanging out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: And Paris was just kind of sitting there silently during that discussion. Marvet, do you think Paris was thinking, "Get me out of here"? Or, hey, she knows the game and how it`s played and was just like, "OK, just plug my show, smile, and I`m done?"

MARVET BRITTO, CELEBRITY PUBLICIST: Let`s hope her PR team prepped her for the fact that when she was released from jail, she was able to control the outlets from which she went and was interviewed. And she was able to know the questions prior to.

Now, she thinks she`s promoting her show on MTV, but in actuality, people still want to take jabs at Paris for everything she did. So she should have been prepped for anything. It`s "The View," and "The View" - you know, it`s five women there, voicing their opinions. It`s a political show, or it`s turned into one. And they really wanted to know how Paris felt. She should have been prepped for that just in case.

ANDERSON: Yes, she should have expected that, because the show is so politically focused right now. She just didn`t seem comfortable talking about it, which is fine, too, I guess. Not everybody is.

But I do want to move right now to Britney Spears` mother Lynne and her comments that Sarah Palin`s teen daughter got treated with kidgloves for her pregnancy but Jamie Lynn was raked over the coals.

Rachel from Tennessee called in to "Showbiz On Call" and listen to what she had to say.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

RACHEL, CALLER FROM TENNESSEE: Lynn Spears has a point in some effect, but there`s another point. Jamie Lynn was, as you state, as was stated on the show, a role model for all types of girls, all ages. And when she did this, she did in the spotlight. Sarah Palin`s daughter did not choose the spotlight; her mother did.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Carlos, Rachel makes a pretty good point, doesn`t she?

DIAZ: Exactly. I mean, it`s a very, very good point. Sarah Palin`s daughter is not the celebrity here. Sarah Palin is the celebrity.

And I love the fact that Lynne Spears came out and said, "Oh, it`s a double standard because, you know, you look at Sarah Palin and she`s a hero. And they`re raking Jamie Lynn over the coals." No, they`re not. They rake you over the coals, Lynne. And now, you`re trying to divert the attention to Jamie Lynn.

So it`s kind of apples to oranges because the celebrity is Sarah Palin and the celebrity is Jamie Lynn Spears. And it`s different in each occasion.

ANDERSON: Yes. It is kind of a strange comparison. You`re right. We will leave it there for now. Carlos Diaz, Marvet Britto, thank you both for your insights.

And remember, you too, can give us a call about Paris, Lynne Spears or whatever else is on your mind. It is "Showbiz On Call." Dial 1-888-SBT- BUZZ; 1-888-728-2899 We will play some of your calls right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

HAMMER: Well, now, an incredible look at the everyday people who are just like them, them being the people who are running for the White House. I`m talking about the ordinary folks who are getting a lot of attention these days because they look like or maybe even have the same name as Barack Obama, John McCain and Sarah Palin. Here`s CNN`s Jeanne Moos for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Meet John McCain. No, not that one.

(on camera): Jeanne Moos.

JOHNATHAN B. MCCAIN, VOTING FOR BARACK OBAMA: Johnathan McCain. How are you?

MOOS: What did you say your name is?

JOHNATHAN B. MCCAIN: My name is John McCain.

MOOS: You`re John McCain?

JOHNATHAN B. MCCAIN: Yes.

MOOS: And who are you voting for?

JOHNATHAN B. MCCAIN: Barack Obama.

MOOS (voice over): John McCain even looks a teeny bit like Barack Obama. McCain is a New York City musician best known for having been the drummer in a band called "The Toasters."

MOOS: Now what`s being drummed into our heads is the name McCain.

JOHNATHAN B. MCCAIN: That John McCain.

MOOS: Hey, could be worse.

CINDY MICHAELS, WVII ANCHOR: I`m not Sarah Palin. They know I`m not Sarah Palin.

MOOS: But that doesn`t stop a few viewers from leaving mean voicemails from anchorwoman Cindy Michaels at the Fox station in Bangor, Maine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We hope you don`t keep that hairdo. You don`t want to be tarred with that same brush.

MOOS: Yes, well, the news anchor was brushing her hair in an updo long before Sarah Palin got picked. And when Michaels didn`t wear her glasses on air...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is this Kmart version of Sarah Palin? What did you do, lose your little cheapo glasses?

MOOS: Michaels, by the way, considers it a compliment that folks think she looks pretty like Palin. But for Palin`s most famous impersonator, Tina Fey -

TINA FEY, COMEDIAN/ACTRESS: ... that anyone can be president. Anyone.

MOOS: The comparisons are wearing thin.

FEY: I want to be done playing this lady November 5th. So if anyone can help me be done playing this lady November 5th, that would be good for me.

MOOS: We thought this would be good for the guy named John McCain.

(on camera): I brought something for you.

JOHNATHAN B. MCCAIN: All right. I`m not putting that on.

MOOS: Yes you are.

JOHNATHAN B. MCCAIN: No, I`m not putting this on.

MOOS: Yes, you are.

JOHNATHAN B. MCCAIN: I`m not putting this on.

MOOS: Come on.

(voice over): OK. I will.

JOHNATHAN B. MCCAIN: That doesn`t do anything for you.

MOOS: Which brings us to the Halloween presidential index, dreamed up by Spirit, maker of these masks.

(on camera): Every year, they do a "who is selling more masks" contest and the winner always wins the election.

(voice over): Obama masks lead by more than two to one - a bad sign for that McCain. But not this one.

JOHNATHAN B. MCCAIN: I`m voting for Barack Obama. My name is John McCain and I approve this message.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: And that was CNN`s Jeanne Moos for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

ANDERSON: Well, I know people have dressed up as Kid Rock and Pam Anderson for Halloween as a couple. And you may want to think twice though if you`re planning to do it this year. Tonight, Kid Rock is opening up about his ex. Do they have a shot of ever getting back together for a third time? Next.

HAMMER: But first, take a look at what is new at the movies, brought to you by Multigrain Cheerios. Multigrain Cheerios Cereal, because it tastes good.

Diane Lane and Richard Gere get all romantic at an inn on the outer banks of North Carolina, "Nights in Rodanthe." Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan are two strangers who are connected by a mysterious woman they have never met that seems to know their every step. That is "Evil Eye." And Spike Lee`s "Miracle at St. Anna." This is a drama about four black American soldiers trapped behind enemy lines during World War II. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is coming right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Thank you, Charles. Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Brooke Anderson. Well, if you were hoping that Pam Anderson and Kid Rock would get back together, well, keep hoping. Because it looks like it isn`t happening.

Here is a recap. Kid and Pam were engaged. They broke it off. But then, they got back together and married in 2006, only to split four months later. And since then, it seems things between Kid and Pam - well, I bet they`re not on each other`s Christmas card list. Listen to what Kid tells Ellen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELLEN DEGENERES, HOST, "THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW": I`m going to show you something. And this is your ex - your ex. I want to show you something. And then -

KID ROCK, MUSICIAN: Mother-in-law?

DEGENERES: You`ll see. And then, I want you to - just take a look.

PAM ANDERSON, ACTRESS: Are you ready? I am ready now. I can`t help myself.

DEGENERES: We`ll be right back after this. All right.

ROCK: I`ve already seen it.

DEGENERES: I know that. Just - can you explain her to me? I love her. No, I love her. Are you still? You love her too. You`re friends still, right?

ROCK: Not really.

DEGENERES: Really?

ROCK: If I saw her somewhere, I`d say hi. But I`d try not to go in the same circles.

DEGENERES: Oh, really?

ROCK: I`d try to avoid that whole -

DEGENERES: Oh, I`m sorry.

ROCK: I touched stove. Stove was hot. I think I will not touch stove anymore.

DEGENERES: OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Hey, it`s Hollywood, so you`ll never know.

HAMMER: That`s an important lesson he points out there.

Well, on Wednesday, we asked you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day - "Clay Aiken Reveals He`s Gay: Is the timing right?"

Here`s how the voting went - 71 percent of you said yes; 29 percent of you said no.

Here are the E-mails we got. We heard from Pamela in Indiana who is fully supportive, "This is the most loving, freeing, beautiful thing Clay can do for his adorable baby. The timing is perfection."

We also got an E-mail from Joni in California who thinks that Clay should have come out a long time ago, saying, quote, "Everyone knew he was gay from when he was on `American Idol,` and he kept avoiding answering questions. Why now, all of a sudden, is he deciding to be honest about his sexual preference? Give me a break."

We always appreciate all of your E-mails and we appreciate your watching. That is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

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

END