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SHOWBIZ TONIGHT

Tina Fey`s Devastating Impersonation of Sarah Palin; A Resounding Tribute to Paul Newman; Dennis Quaid Strikes Back at Meg Ryan; Heather Locklear Arrested; Heath Ledger`s Fortune Goes to His Daughter

Aired September 29, 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 "Saturday Night Live" Sarah Palin pounding. Tonight, Tina Fey`s brand-new dead-on and absolutely devastating impersonation of Sarah Palin that is rocking the presidential race.
Plus, Oprah Winfrey speaking out for the first time about Palin since the explosive controversy over not having Palin on her show. Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT dares to ask, could star attacks on Palin actually affect the election?

Tonight, the death of a great movie star and a great man. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT brings you the biggest stars in the world paying tribute to Paul Newman.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEONARDO DICAPRIO, ACTOR: Not only was he classy, phenomenally talented person, but he had a normal life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with the remarkable reaction from Hollywood to France, even Iran as we remember the actor, the family man, the philanthropist.

Plus Heather Locklear arrested.

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

(MUSIC)

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

BROOKE ANDERSON, CO-HOST: Hi, there, everyone. I`m Brooke Anderson, coming to you from Hollywood.

And tonight, there is brand-new and truly remarkable reaction and tribute from around the world to Paul Newman`s death, even in Iran. That`s coming up as we remember the life of Paul Newman.

HAMMER: But first tonight, Palin`s "SNL" pounding. Tina Fey`s brand-new and I`ve got to say, dead-on impersonation of Sarah Palin over the weekend on "Saturday Night Live" was not just funny, it was devastating. And you could almost see the shockwaves rippling through the presidential campaign today. Until the last minute, nobody was even sure that Tina Fey would come back to "SNL" to play Palin again, but she sure did. And tonight, there`s fallout making news right now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TINA FEY, ACTRESS: Live from New York, it`s "Saturday Night."

HAMMER (voice over): It`s Tina Fey`s up-do do-over. The star of "30 Rock" dons the famous Sarah Palin hairstyle one more time on "Saturday Night Live" to send up the vice presidential candidate`s interview with Katie Couric.

AMY POEHLER, ACTRESS: Not to belabor the point, one specific thing -

FEY: Katie, I`d like to use one of my lifelines.

HAMMER: And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you, this sketch like Tina Fey`s last Palin impression, has everyone talking about how much Fey nailed McCain`s running mate from Alaska. In fact, it`s getting hard for us to keep track. Here`s the real interview -

GOV. SARAH PALIN (R-AK), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia -

HAMMER: And this is the "SNL" spoof.

FEY: Alaska and Russia are only separated by a narrow maritime border. You`ve got Alaska is here and this right here is water and that up there`s Russia.

HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you there`s some buzz that the "SNL" interview may have hit too close to home for Palin supporters and her critics. It`s something that was noticed on "The View."

BARBARA WALTERS, CO-HOST AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "THE VIEW": This was almost word-for-word, but they did it on "Saturday Night Live" what Sarah Palin said to Katie Couric.

HAMMER: That fact was illustrated on the "Today" show which played a portion of the "Saturday Night Live" sketch side-by-side with the original CBS interview.

PALIN: Ultimately, what the bailout does is tell those that are concerned about the health care reform to help shore up our economy -it`s got to be all about job creation.

HAMMER: Of course, "Saturday Night Live" has a long tradition of making fun of politicians.

AMY ARGETSINGER, "WASHINGTON POST": "Saturday Night Live" does have the power to help mold people`s impressions of a politician. They have a knack for turning that politician into a cliche. And then the rest of us, when we`re watching the politicians, are looking for those little things.

WILL FERRELL, ACTOR: It`s a compassionate agenda. Compassionativity.

HAMMER: But SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is asking, could sketches like these harm Palin politically?

ARGETSINGER: You`ve started to hear some conservative commentators say, "She`s not ready. Let`s get her out of there."

HAMMER: Amy Argetsinger of the "Washington Post" tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT that Fey`s Palin impression might come back to bite the already vulnerable candidate.

ARGETSINGER: People who might not otherwise have tuned into the Katie Couric interview are amused by the "Saturday Night Live" sketch and are going back to the actual Katie Couric interview for comparison. It has the effect of magnifying, calling more attention to this interview which some people regard as fairly disastrous.

HAMMER: But then again, some say it might help.

JACK BURTON(ph), POLITICAL CONSULTANT: My view is just spell the name right.

HAMMER: Political consultant Jack Burton(ph) tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the "SNL" sketch also plays up what Palin supporters actually like about her.

POEHLER: It seems to me that when cornered, you become increasingly adorable. Is that fair to say?

FEY: I don`t know, is it?

BURTON: She`s an attractive woman. I think anytime you`re putting that face in a very visible, very watched venue like "Saturday Night Live," you`re helping Palin and you`re helping the Republican ticket. I think the only way you hurt her is if you keep her off television.

HAMMER: So when it comes to the big question, whether Tina Fey`s Palin impression will have an effect on this wild presidential race, the answer is, we`ll probably have to wait until November or as this Palin might say -

FEY: I`m just going to have to get back to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: Well, there is no doubt that Fey seems to humiliate Palin. Will Palin ever be able to live it down?

Joining me tonight in New York, Ashleigh Banfield, who is the anchor of "In Session." And tonight in Hollywood, Ken Baker who is the executive news editor for "E!"

So, guys, just when you thought Tina Fey`s Palin impersonation couldn`t get any more devastating, Tina really, I think, outdid herself. I want to take a look now at Fey and Palin side-by-side because it`s pretty remarkable. I mean, Fey`s performance, pitch perfect and obviously right down to the color of her suit.

What do you think, Ken Baker? Will Sarah Palin ever be able to live this down?

KEN BAKER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, "E!": Probably not. But I think what she should do is - I know that last week McCain and Palin suspended their campaign to focus on the economy. Now, what I say is help the ratings of NBC and "Saturday Night Live" by going on this week, thus helping boost the ratings and helping the bottom line for NBC. I think that helps the economy.

I`m going to really have to advocate that. The best thing she could do though is really to make fun of it. Maybe come up with a line in the debate this week where she kind of makes fun of it. I think that`s the best way to do it. Everyone knows they just have fun with these things. And I don`t think it`s going to do any serious damage to her.

HAMMER: I don`t know. Maybe - yes, they should take it up on Capitol Hill, as you suggest there, Ken.

What do you think, Ashleigh? Is she ever going to be able to live this down? This was pretty tough stuff even though in the guise of comedy.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, ANCHOR, "IN SESSION": Well, first, since her own words were used in the comedy scripted on "SNL," you would think intuitively, no, she wouldn`t be able to live it down. And then I thought back to 2000 where the Bush-Gore joke was all about the dummy versus the wonk. And Bush was portrayed as the dummy and it was Gore who was portrayed as the wonk. We know who won that race. So obviously, Bush lived it down.

HAMMER: Well, I think the point that you make that, you know, really, the incredible part of this whole impersonation was that Fey repeated parts of Palin`s interview that was from CBS` Katie Couric interview verbatim. It`s really what made it so humiliating in my mind. I want to take a look once again at how NBC`s "Today" show made this point. They did a great job with this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PALIN: Ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the healthcare reform to help shore up our economy. To help - it`s got to be all about job creation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: I mean, come on now. Obviously, one thing to impersonate somebody`s mannerisms. But you have Tina Fey literally taking the words out of Palin`s mouth and turning them into comedy. In your mind, Ken, did this actually even border on disrespectful as some had suggested, or did Palin really have this coming to her?

BAKER: Well, it`s definitely the most scathing part of it, is that she really didn`t have to make up much. There was the "can I use my lifeline" joke. That was clearly made up. But the rest of it, pretty wasn`t and that`s what makes it so scathing.

But at the same time what people are losing touch of here is that the Katie Couric impersonation by Amy Poehler was just as good. I mean, it`s so good - it`s kind of earnest condescension, like kind of doubting every word that Sarah Palin was saying, that was just perfect. That was actually my favorite part.

HAMMER: Yes. Amy Poehler was dead-on with that. All right. Can we watch some more of this? I`m just enjoying this too much. I want to look at when Katie Couric asked to have Palin explain how living close to Russia gave her foreign policy experience. Now, first of all, we`re going to show you the real interview again, and then we`re going to show you Tina Fey`s take on it. Roll that Charles.

KATIE COURIC, ANCHOR, "CBS EVENING NEWS": What did you mean by that?

PALIN: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land boundary that we have with Canada.

POEHLER: What did you mean by that?

FEY: Well, Alaska and Russia are only separated by a narrow maritime border.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Yes, funny and sad at the same time. Ashleigh, Tina using Sarah Palin`s own words to make fun of her - is that really what makes it all the more humiliating in your mind?

BANFIELD: Yes, and the information is kind of devastating as well because I thought back to my childhood. Back in the `80s, my brother worked for the due line up in the Arctic, so I guess I have foreign policy experience, too.

HAMMER: Here`s what we`re setting up for though. Thursday, of course, we`re going to be watching Palin debate Joe Biden. Everybody`s looking forward to that. Now, I`m thinking, Ken, people perhaps - some people may see Palin up on that stage as a caricature of herself because we`re so used to seeing her in this context and maybe we`ll be envisioning Tina Fey up there and not so much Sarah Palin. I mean, should that be a real concern for the Palin camp?

BAKER: Well, obviously, yes. Since, she has to really make sure she`s prepped and has some sense of the grasp of the issues here. But I just want to say - I mean, everyone wants to be down on her because she has run the state that`s on the border with Russia. Everyone wants to say she`s not qualified. But you know what? I took a car in to work today and I think that qualifies me to be secretary of transportation.

HAMMER: Consider yourself nominated for that position. Ken Baker, Ashleigh Banfield, I do thank you both for being here.

Now, we turn it over to you. It`s our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day - "Tina Fey`s Palin Impersonation: Will it affect the election?" Let us know at CNN.com/ShowbizTonight. Or E-mail us at showbiztonight@cnn.com.

ANDERSON: A.J., more big Sarah Palin news tonight.

HAMMER: That`s right, Brooke. Remember the big controversy when Oprah Winfrey said that she wouldn`t have Palin on her show during the election? Well, you know, that really got people talking. And now, Oprah is speaking out about Palin for the very first time since that controversy and that is coming up.

ANDERSON: Also, Heather Locklear`s shocking DUI arrest. I`ve got all the brand-new information. The startling details behind her arrest, straight ahead.

HAMMER: And the tributes are pouring in for Paul Newman who died on Friday. We`re going to hear how some of the biggest stars in the world are remembering a great actor and a truly great man. That is still to come on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DICAPRIO: He belongs to a great lineage and great generation of actors that really changed what acting is. For me, personally, I also just recognize him as somebody that - the kind of life I would like to lead in this industry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. And tonight, the latest mug shot to add to the SHOWBIZ gallery - Heather Locklear. Her arrest is just one of two shocking stories making news right now.

Heather Locklear was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence. She was busted just three months after checking herself into rehab for anxiety and depression. Heather`s arrest also comes just six months after her ex-husband, Richie Sambora, was picked up on the same charge.

Also new tonight, Dennis Quaid`s angry response to his ex-wife Meg Ryan`s claims that their marriage broke up because he was cheating on her. Dennis is teed off.

With me tonight in Chicago, Bill Zwecker. He is the entertainment reporter for "The Chicago Sun Times." And here with me in Hollywood, it`s Kim Serafin. She`s the senior editor for "In Touch Weekly."

Bill, Kim, I want to begin with Heather Locklear. Police say she was seen driving erratically, leaving a parking lot in Santa Barbara. They arrested her for possibly being under the influence of a controlled substance. Bill, this has really been a rough couple of years for Heather, hasn`t it?

BILL ZWECKER, REPORTER, "THE CHICAGO SUN TIMES": It sure has. I must say this has been, you know, kind of another example of the sort of downward spiral that she`s been on, both personally and it`s beginning to have a little impact on her professional career as well. Because as I understand it, a lot of those roles that she used to get are really drying up pretty quickly. But she`s certainly have been dealing with a lot of personal problems.

ANDERSON: She certainly is, And speaking of that downward spiral, there`s been so much drama in her life from divorcing Richie Sambora, Richie then dating her now ex-friend, Denise Richards. Richie going into rehab. Heather checking herself into rehab for anxiety and depression as I mentioned.

Kim, once upon a time, Heather was perceived as someone who had it all - a thriving career, a great family life. What happened? How did it all fall apart?

KIM SERAFIN, SENIOR EDITOR, "IN TOUCH WEEKLY": You know, it does appear that way, that it`s falling apart. But I always hate to do this to celebrities because we all go through phases in our lives and we all have problems but it gets so magnified when you`re in the public eye.

Now, of course, with this DUI arrest, they`re trying to hash out the details and was she arrested because the police saw her? No, apparently somebody else saw this happened. So who knows if these charges will really even stick?

And it did sound like when she emerged treatment, when she did go for rehab for depression, she did come back a little bit better. So I hope that a lot of this spiraling out of control that we`re hearing is just more of the media hype of it. I mean, obviously, she has been going through problems.

But she has also been dating Jack Wagner. So there are good things going on in her life.

ANDERSON: Yes.

SERAFIN: She and Richie Sambora still talk. They both care about their daughter a lot. She`s got a wonderful daughter she cares about. So I always try to emphasize the positive.

(CROSS TALK)

ANDERSON: Trying to co-parent. You`re right. Hopefully, the next story we do, she`ll have her life, her career back on track and maybe be up for an Oscar or something.

OK. Moving to our next story making news right now, Meg Ryan claims in a new interview in "In Style" magazine that her ex-husband Dennis Quaid cheated on her during their 10-year marriage.

Well, now, Dennis firing back, telling the "New York Daily News," quote, "I find it unbelievable that Meg continues to publicly rehash and rewrite the story of our relationship. I find it regrettable that our son, Jack, has to be reminded in a public way of the turmoil and pain that every child feels in a divorce."

Bill, you spoke to Dennis just days before Meg`s "In Style" interview came out.

ZWECKER: Right.

ANDERSON: Was it wrong for Meg to reveal this in the first place? And also, should Dennis have not responded?

ZWECKER: Well, it`s interesting because obviously Meg still has issues after all these years. Obviously, back then, Dennis was dealing with a lot of demons himself which I think he`s put behind him. And he`s straightened out his life. He`s obviously in a wonderful new marriage. Of course, he`s been through a lot with his twin daughters which we know about.

It`s interesting because when I talked to him, he did not want to talk at all about that chapter of his life. So it seems interesting that at this point after this has festered for a few days, the Meg Ryan things comes out. Obviously, he still has issues with her.

My opinion is I think he would have been better to just say, "Look, that was a bad period in my life. Unfortunately, our marriage didn`t work out. There were a lot of issues, but we`ve moved on." And I think that probably would have been a better way to go because this sort of just keeps fueling that fire.

ANDERSON: Yes. Hopefully everybody can move on. You feel for everybody involved, especially their son. We`ll leave it there for now. Bill Zwecker, Kim Serafin, good to see you. Thanks.

HAMMER: Well, the "Showbiz On Call" phone lines have been ringing nonstop as viewers are calling in to give us their memories of the legendary actor, Paul Newman, who, of course, died Friday.

ANDERSON: That`s right. It`s been really touching listening to your calls. And we got a message at "Showbiz On Call" from Jim in Massachusetts who says Paul was the last of the great actors.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

JIM, CALLER FROM MASSACHUSETTS: You will never, ever see a major Hollywood actor or actress with his caliber. He`s someone you could walk up to off the street and say hello to. This path should teach the younger ones, all those in the light, to learn from him. One of the Hollywood greats is gone and you can never replace that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Well said. Now, keep in mind, you can call us at "Showbiz On Call" and let us know your thoughts about Paul Newman or anything else that may be on your mind.

ANDERSON: That`s right. The "Showbiz On Call" phone lines are always open. Call us at 1-888-SBT-BUZZ; 1-888-728-2899. Leave a voicemail. We`ll play some of your calls right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

A.J., Paul Newman`s death is the talk of Hollywood. Such a tremendous loss.

HAMMER: Such a loss. He was such a class act. Everyone has wonderful things to say about him. And Whoopi Goldberg revealed a very dramatic and a very personal story on "The View" today about Paul Newman, which you have got to hear. That is coming up next.

ANDERSON: Also, Oprah Winfrey speaks out about Sarah Palin for the first time since the controversy when she said she wouldn`t have Palin on her show during the election. We`ve got that, still to come.

HAMMER: And we finally have news about what`s going to happen to Heath Ledger`s money. If you remember, he wrote his will before his daughter Matilda was born. I`ve got brand-new information about that, coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSSELL CROWE, ACTOR: He was an inspiration my whole life. And he always came up with something interesting and he gave some magnificent performances.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. Tonight, Whoopi Goldberg`s emotional connection to the late, great Paul Newman. Goldberg got all choked up on "The View" when she was telling the ladies about a time when 15 years ago, when she was so sick, she actually slipped into a coma. Well, it was then that Paul Newman surprised Goldberg.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WHOOPI GOLDBERG, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": When I came out of it, sitting on the window sill in my hospital room was Paul Newman. And I thought to myself, "Am I dead?" Why is Paul Newman in my room? When he first introduced the lemonade, the catch line was, "Newman`s own lemonade restores virginity." And we did a photo shoot of me at a pool of water like this with him holding the lemonade.

And we did the thing and I had dinner with him. And then I went home and then got very sick in the hotel. He took me to the hospital and he wouldn`t leave until he was sure I was OK. This is a great man.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Wow. What a touching story. And Brooke, obviously, Whoopi is not the only star who`s fondly remembering Paul Newman.

ANDERSON: That`s true, A.J. The biggest stars in Hollywood are speaking out about what a great actor and a great man Newman was.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DICAPRIO: He belonged to a great lineage and a great generation of actors that really changed what acting is. For me, personally, I also just recognize him as somebody that - the kind of life I would like to lead in this industry.

ANDERSON: Straight ahead, how everybody from Leonardo DiCaprio to Russell Crowe is paying tribute to Paul Newman, a true giant of the entertainment industry.

HAMMER: Also, Oprah Winfrey speaks out about Sarah Palin for the very first time since the controversy when she said she wouldn`t have Palin on her show during the election. Well, wait until you hear what Oprah is saying now. And that is still to come.

ANDERSON: And we finally have news about what`s going to happen to Heath Ledger`s money. If you remember, he wrote his will before his daughter, Matilda, was born. I`ve got brand-new information about where that money is going, coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

(NEWS BREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Now, on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, Sarah Palin, the Oprah factor. Oprah Winfrey is speaking out for the first time about Palin since the explosive controversy after Oprah said she wouldn`t have her on the show during the election. Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has the brand-new Oprah-Palin controversy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL NEWMAN, ACTOR: I`ve been very lucky. And I try to acknowledge that by giving back something to those to whose luck has been brutal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: The death of a Hollywood legend, a great actor, a great philanthropist, a great man. Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with the touching tributes that are pouring in from Hollywood and all over the world remembering Paul Newman.

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

HAMMER: Well, tonight, there`s much ado about Sarah Palin. For the very first time, Oprah Winfrey is speaking out about her own Palin controversy. Oprah talked on her show about why she isn`t having Sarah on before the election. And Oprah did not mince her words when she set the record straight.

And using Sarah Palin`s own words, Tina Fey performs a brand-new, dead-on and absolutely devastating impersonation on "Saturday Night Live" that is rocking the race to the White House. And you have been rocking the "Showbiz On Call" phone lines about Sarah Palin. We`re going to be listening to what you have to say.

All fired up coast to coast and ready to tackle all this, in New York, Ashleigh Banfield who is an anchor for "In Session." And in Hollywood tonight, Ken Baker, who`s the executive news editor for "E!"

So Oprah Winfrey had a panel of contributors on her show on Friday to talk about the economy and some other hot topics that are involving us all. But when the talk turned to politics, for the very first time, she opened up on her show about why she`s not going to have Sarah Palin on. I want you to watch what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OPRAH WINFREY, HOST, "THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW": We will not be talking about the election because everybody already knows where I stand. And let me just say this - and I just want to go on record saying that I declared back in May of last year that I was not going to use my show as a platform because I chose as a private citizen, to speak out for the candidate of my choice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: All right, so much ado has been made about Oprah not having Sarah Palin on her show. There has been a boycott, a lot of people upset about this. Ashleigh, now that she`s spoken out again and this time on her own show, do you think the critics are finally just going to let this thing go?

BANFIELD: Well, they should because she made it very clear what everybody should have known before. She never intended to have any of the candidates. Just because Sarah Palin was a woman, it didn`t make it any different. So she just solidified that message out to all of her viewers who may have been misinformed as to why that woman wasn`t going to be on her program.

HAMMER: Ken Baker, I think she got her point across. And I`m hoping - you know, we`ve been waiting to hear from Oprah. We`ve heard from Oprah, maybe we can just move on from this.

BAKER: Yes. Well, but let`s not mistake this decision of hers not to politicize her show as something that was - some sort of moral decision. This is, in my opinion, really a business decision. And she didn`t become - Oprah, that is - didn`t become the richest woman in Hollywood by mistake and not having business acumen.

What do we know? We know that the last time that she came out and went on the stump for Obama, her ratings went down. Now, we can`t say they`re directly related, but we know her ratings did not go up, at least, because she went out on the stump for Obama.

Secondly, what we know is the fact that this is something she`s been for a long time wanting to back out of. She was at the Democratic National Convention and she was virtually invisible. She does not want any backlash.

And the third thing - you know what else we know from this? We know that a little bit - well, let`s say between 40 percent and 50 percent of the country supports McCain. Well, that`s probably 40 percent to 50 percent of her viewers and I think that she doesn`t want to alienate them. And for me, this is just a business decision. It makes perfect sense.

HAMMER: Yes. But what it also shows this whole thing has been kind of a no-win situation. A lot of people, as I said, are really upset and Oprah, obviously quite aware that the whole Sarah Palin controversy really did irk some of her fans.

So Oprah even actually addressed all of those who may have suggested that she snubbed Palin. Watch what Oprah had to say about this. It`s interesting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WINFREY: There was the story that I had snubbed Gov. Palin. I never snubbed Gov. Palin because there never was a discussion about Gov. Palin being on this show. There wasn`t a discussion. There was some report on the Internet that said it had happened. I said, that didn`t happen. And no, I will not be interviewing her on this show during the election because I`m not interviewing anybody during the election. The week before, I had been asked to do Michelle Obama on this show.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After her speech.

WINFREY: After her speech because everybody said, "What a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) speech. You should have her on." And I said "no" for the same reason that I`m not using this show as a platform for any of the candidates.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: OK. So this just confirms that Oprah knew exactly how big a deal this was to her fans. Ashleigh, I think she handled this perfectly. What about you?

BANFIELD: Yes, I agree and I think Ken`s absolutely right. For the business decision, she needed to actually get out there and answer this and not just let it swirl around in the Ethernet and the Internet.

And on the other hand, why wasn`t anybody - and I`ve said this over and over, why wasn`t anybody complaining that Nancy Pelosi hasn`t been invited on that program? If it`s all about a woman who`s a maverick and making inroads into high politics, then Nancy Pelosi, who`s the third most important person in government, should have been on long ago.

HAMMER: Yes. Double standard?

BANFIELD: Yes.

HAMMER: Maybe. All right. Let`s move on now to Tina Fey`s brand-new impersonation of Sarah Palin. Over the weekend, on "Saturday Night Live," Fey impersonated Palin during her interview with Katie Couric. And the "Today" show did something that I thought was both fascinating and quite telling, a side-by-side comparison of the real Sarah Palin and Tina Fey on "SNL." Watch this.

PALIN: Ultimately, what the bailout does is help those that are concerned about the healthcare reform that is needed to help shore up our economy, helping - it`s got to be al object job creations.

HAMMER: OK. I`m Sarah Palin. I`m watching this at home and I`m thinking, "Oh, that`s not good." Ken Baker, how devastating was this for Sarah Palin?

BAKER: Well, obviously it`s comedy, OK? So - and it`s satire. But, yes, the hurtful part to her image, at least, is that this was actually the exact words pretty much, verbatim. It`s a comedian`s gold mine - this whole Sarah Palin thing because I`ve always said that Sarah Palin - there`s just something about her that`s just funny. So you almost don`t have to parody it. And if you look at the best "SNL" skits throughout time, whether it`s Gerald Ford with Chevy Chase or if you look at Darrell Hammond`s Bill Clinton, they really had to go the extra mile to make them funny. But the great thing about Sarah Palin is, you just got to say what she`s saying and it just somehow comes out as funny.

HAMMER: Yes, and that`s not necessarily good for Sarah Palin. Really didn`t make her look good at all. I want you to watch another part of Fey`s impersonation of Palin in her interview with Katie. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FEY: Also to shoring up our economy and putting Fannie and Freddie back on the right track and so healthcare reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending because Barack Obama, you know -

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Yes. And that`s how she did it in the Katie Couric interview. Not looking so good there. A lot of people were watching, too, I should point out. Nielsen ratings just released today reveal "Saturday Night Live," the number one show on broadcast television Saturday. Ashleigh, do you think Palin maybe should go on the show and show that she can take a joke?

BANFIELD: Two answers to that. If people didn`t see it on "SNL," they saw it on all the morning shows. Well, Flitzer (ph) did it, all the comparisons. So it is out there all over the place, and she has been made a mockery of. And at this point, A.J., I`ve got to say, last week I said, "Yes, maybe she should go on the show. Everybody watches it." But this week, we`re in an economic crisis. We`re in economic dire times. It would not be a good time ...

HAMMER: Yes.

BANFIELD: ... to go on "SNL" and be cute.

HAMMER: Well, our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT viewers still so passionate about Palin and the whole celebrity factor. The results of our question of the day from Friday are pretty astounding. The question, "McCain and Palin: Are celebrities unfairly targeting them?"

A whopping 62 percent of you said no; 38 percent of you said yes. And we`re getting some fired-up phone calls to our "Showbiz On Call" phone lines about stars speaking out against Sarah Palin.

We heard from Nina in Mississippi who thinks stars need to stay out of this. I want you to listen to this.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

NINA, CALLER FROM MISSISSIPPI: I think that stars need to stay out of this campaign - all the actors and actresses - because they don`t really live in the real world. So therefore, they should butt out.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HAMMER: Ken, real quickly, is that a fair thing to say? I mean, stars pay taxes, live by the same rules as we do for the most part, and their voices should be heard.

BAKER: Well, I mean, everyone has the right to say what they want to say and have an opinion in this country. It`s part of the constitution, after all. And stars do have a platform that the rest of us don`t have. A lot of people feel resentment for that. But I think that it sparks debate. If it sparks debate and discussion, it`s a good thing.

HAMMER: Got to end it there. Ken Baker, Ashleigh Banfield, I thank you both.

BANFIELD: Thanks, A.J.

HAMMER: And now, over to you for our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. Tonight - "Tina Fey`s Palin Impersonation: Will it affect the election?" CNN.com/ShowbizTonight is where you vote. Or e-mail showbiztonight@cnn.com.

And we want to hear about what you think about Oprah`s Palin comment, anything else that might be on your mind.

ANDERSON: For a chance to be our show, just give us a ring at "Showbiz On Call." The number - 1-888-SBT-BUZZ; that`s 1-888-728-2899. Leave a voicemail and we will play some of your calls right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

A.J., we`ve been getting a lot of calls all day into the "Showbiz On Call" phone lines from people pouring their hearts out in tribute to Paul Newman.

HAMMER: Yes, Brooke. His death has really touched a chord around the world and you`ll be hearing the passionate and emotional tributes from our viewers calling in to the "Showbiz On Call" phone lines. I`ve got that coming up in a few minutes as well as Hollywood`s biggest stars on Newman`s legacy.

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DICAPRIO: He belongs to a great lineage and a great generation of actors that really changed what acting is.

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HAMMER: Leo DiCaprio is just one of the stars who really opened up to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT about how Paul Newman`s life and death affected them. And I was amazed to see that even in Iran, they`re paying tribute to Paul Newman. Paul Newman`s legacy, coming up next.

ANDERSON: Also big news tonight related to the death of another big Hollywood star - Heath Ledger. Will his baby daughter inherit his millions? The big battle may be settled. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is coming right back.

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWMAN: All of a sudden, you appear in a scene, I`m jumping again. You remind me that money won is twice as sweet as money earned.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Paul Newman in his Oscar-winning performance in "The Color of Money," just one of dozens of performances that will make us miss him even more.

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood.

Tonight, the world is celebrating the life of a true Hollywood hero. Paul Newman was 83 years old when he died at his Connecticut home on Friday of cancer. Newman was an acting legend. But he was also known as a devoted father, husband and philanthropist. And tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is remembering his life and bringing you the astounding reaction to his death.

With me in New York tonight, Leah Rozen. She`s a film critic for "People" magazine. Also in New York, Tom O`Neal, a columnist for "Envelope.com." And in Hollywood tonight, Christy Lemire, who is a film critic with the Associated Press.

Gang, Paul Newman, of course, was a great man in many, many ways. But Leah, he was also really one of the last great actors of his generation, wasn`t he?

LEAH ROZEN, FILM CRITIC, "PEOPLE MAGAZINE": Absolutely. I mean., he was in - he fought in World War II. He was in the Army. But he`s the last of the guys to come up in the `50s. I mean, you really just don`t have any of those guys around and acting anymore. The career spans six decades on film. That`s quite a legacy.

ANDERSON: Yes, they don`t make them like him anymore, unfortunately. And Paul Newman won an Oscar co-starring with Tom Cruise in "The Color of Money," as I mentioned, playing the same character he did in the classic film "The Hustler." On "LARRY KING LIVE," listen to what Paul said about being honored like that later in life.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWMAN: Listen, I also burned my tuxedo when I was 70 and that`s -

HEATHER MILLS, GUEST HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Why did you do that?

NEWMAN: Well, because I think I had worn my tuxedo enough for all ordinary purposes. I don`t collect honors out of arrogance anymore, but simply because I`ve been honored enough for all ordinary purposes.

ANDERSON: Christy, he was sort of the quintessential anti-Hollywood star, wasn`t he?

CHRISTY LEMIRE, FILM CRITIC, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: Well, he was the larger-than-life Hollywood star. But yes, he lived in a farmhouse in Connecticut with his wife of 50 years, Joanne Woodward. So everything he did sort of went against the grain. He shunned the spotlight despite the good looks, despite the magnetic presence. He didn`t want to be a part of it. And that sort of helped maintained and enhanced his mystique, I think.

ANDERSON: I think so as well. And as we mentioned, there`s been an astounding reaction to his death. And this weekend, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT was speaking with Hollywood`s biggest stars about his legacy including Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio who are co-starring in the upcoming film, "Body of Lies." Listen to what they said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DICAPRIO: Not only was he classy, a phenomenally talented person, but he had a normal life. And he also was philanthropic and gave back such a tremendous amount. And that`s the kind of - I mean, he`s like the ultimate role model in that regard.

CROWE: He`s one of those guys who was an inspiration my whole life. And he always came up with something interesting and he gave some magnificent performances.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Yes. He certainly did give a lot of magnificent performances, was nominated for an Oscar ten times. Tom, is there a particular film that stands out to you?

TOM O`NEAL, COLUMNIST, "ENVELOPE.COM": Well, to Paul, when that question was put to him, he would answer that his favorite performance was "The Hustler." And I think most film critics would agree with that. But in terms of average film fans like me, the answer is "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" which is not only a great movie and a great entertainment. It was nominated for best picture at the Oscars. It`s probably the greatest buddy picture of all time.

Up there, you see real chemistry when you have him and Robert Redford having such a good time, that when they jump off that cliff, I want to go with him.

ANDERSON: Right. And you know, that`s one that people certainly will not forget. And I can`t begin to tell you how many stars have released powerful statements about Newman since his death. It`s not just DiCaprio and Crowe talking about him.

Elizabeth Taylor who co-starred with him in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," said, "He was goodness and kindness and pure integrity. He was purity of heart. Working with him was such a joy."

And also, Robert Redford, who we mentioned, said, "There is a point where feelings go beyond words. I have lost a real friend. My life - and this country - is better for being in it."

Leah, Paul Newman really did make a difference in this world way beyond just acting, didn`t he?

ROZEN: Absolutely. Especially with the charity, with his Newman`s Own. Who would have thought salad dressing and spaghetti sauce would, you know, contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to charity. He also was a political activist before a lot of stars were, stood by his convictions, was out there campaigning. He made a difference.

ANDERSON: He certainly did and a lot of the younger generations may know him from those Newman`s Own products, his face in grocery stores everywhere. And it really is remarkable how well-known he has been across the world.

After his death, there were tributes on the front pages in Britain, in Germany. Even the president of France issued a statement called Newman a legend. And get this, even two newspapers in Iran published tributes to Newman. One read, "Fading away the last classic star." Another, "End of the blue-eyed boy."

Christy, Newman really transcended everything, from language barriers to politics, didn`t he?

LEMIRE: Sure. He was larger than life. But I have to agree with Leah that in the work he did philanthropically, not just with the Newman`s Own, but also with the "Hole in the Wall" gang camps he had for kids who had (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and diseases, that`s really the very important, very tangible legacy that he leaves, I think.

ANDERSON: Yes. Certainly, he was a legend and icon. He will truly be missed. Leah Rozen, Tom O`Neal, Christy Lemire, thank you all for your insight.

HAMMER: Well, the news of Newman`s passing really did strike a chord with people everywhere. Our "Showbiz On Call" phone lines have been buzzing with people really wanting to pay tribute to Paul Newman.

We heard from Leonn in Florida who had this to say.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

LEONN, CALLER FROM FLORIDA: I`m 75 and I`ve seen just about all the Paul Newman movies. My favorite is "Cool Hand Luke." I thought he was a great actor and a great man.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HAMMER: Well, Leonn wasn`t alone. Stephanie from Utah said Paul Newman`s passing was very personal to her. Listen to what she said.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

STEPHANIE, CALLER FROM UTAH: I grew up with my mom being in love with Paul Newman. She passed away from cancer on August 25th. When I heard about Mr. Newman`s passing, I can`t help think that she`s happy up there having a dance with her favorite actor and the crush she had all her life.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HAMMER: That`s so many people. Thank you so much to Leonn and Stephanie. And you too, can share your Paul Newman tributes. "Showbiz On Call" phone lines are always open and here`s the number - 1-888-SBT-BUZZ. That`s 1- 888-728-2899. Leave us a voicemail right there so we can play some of your calls right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

ANDERSON: You know, I remember the shock early this year when we learned about the death of another big Hollywood star, the young Heath Ledger. And now, there`s big news about who will inherit his millions of dollars. There`s been a big battle over this with his two-year-old daughter caught in the middle. But it looks like it`s finally settled. I`m going to tell you what happened when SHOWBIZ TONIGHT comes right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer. And here are some more stories that are new right now.

Heath Ledger`s daughter will get all the money from his estate. Now, two years before, Heath and Michelle Williams had their daughter, Matilda. Ledger signed a will leaving his fortune to his parents and sisters.

But now, the family has decided two-year-old Matilda should get the money. Ledger`s father Tim says the moment he passed away, the family all agreed that his estate should go to Matilda. He says there was never a question about it. And the family is very close to Michelle and Matilda. Ledger died from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs back in January.

ANDERSON: Some celebrity wedding news now. Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds got married over the weekend in Canada. "People" magazine reports only a handful of close friends and family attended the wedding. It was at a wilderness retreat outside Vancouver, British Columbia. This is the first marriage for both Scarlett and Ryan. They announced their engagement back in May.

HAMMER: And The Boss is playing the Super Bowl. Bruce Springsteen and the East Street Band will perform at this year`s Super Bowl halftime show in Tampa, Florida. That happens on February 1st.

ANDERSON: And good news for Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker. He`s been released from the hospital nine days after the plane crash that left him in critical condition. A spokesperson for the Burn Center of the hospital in Augusta, Georgia says Travis is in good condition and was discharged Monday morning. That`s nine days after he was admitted in critical condition after a Learjet carrying him and five other people after take off. That from an airport in South Carolina.

The pilot, co-pilot and two passengers died. Barker and DJ A.M. survived the crash.

HAMMER: Well, on Friday, we asked you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day which was this - "McCain and Palin: Are celebrities unfairly targeting them?" And here`s how it went - 38 percent of you say yes; 62 percent of you say no.

And here`s some of the E-mails that we got. One from Donna in British Columbia who writes, "It`s distasteful to see so many stars rant and rave about an American hero and his innocent running mate. I am disgusted by it."

We also heard from Claressa from New Jersey who writes very plainly, "McCain and Palin are public figures and as such will be targets. All is fair in love and politics."

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. Don`t forget you can always catch us 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.

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