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SHOWBIZ TONIGHT

The Funniest Campaign Ever; Cheryl Burke on Her Weight; Casting Call for the Campaign`s Biggest Characters; Tina Fey Versus Elisabeth Hasselbeck

Aired October 24, 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, HOST: Now on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, hysterical new developments in the funniest campaign ever. "Saturday Night Live`s" brand-new, no-holds- barred deep dig at John McCain and Sarah Palin.
Plus, back to Mayberry for Barack. Ron Howard plays Opie again with Andy Griffith for Obama.

And Paris Hilton`s brand-new, ridiculous "Paris for President" video. Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s continuing coverage of the funniest campaign ever.

Tina Fey versus Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Tina`s new dead-on Sarah Palin impersonation as Elisabeth hits the campaign trails for Palin. Tonight, the heated debate, who`s having the biggest influence on the election, Tina or Elisabeth? And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT dares to ask, is Tina Fey`s Palin impersonation too mean?

Plus, the weighty issue on "Dancing With The Stars." Cheryl Burke speaks out about the speculation about her weight. But is she angry?

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 with more hard core, solid evidence of the funniest presidential campaign ever. "Saturday Night Live" has done it again with their special Thursday night edition. And what "SNL" has done this time cannot be making the McCain-Palin camp all that happy. Add to that, a brand-new "Paris Hilton for President" video and Andy Griffith and Opie going back to Mayberry for Barack Obama. And what you have is the funniest campaign ever making news right now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILL FERRELL, ACTOR (AS GEORGE W. BUSH): We come to you tonight in the midst a very important election between two very qualified candidates, the hot lady and the Tiger Woods guy.

HAMMER (voice over): George W. Bush returns to "Saturday Night Live." Paris Hilton returns to her presidential campaign.

Opie and Andy reunite to discuss politics.

RON HOWARD (AS OPIE): Pop, why are so people set on staying on the same road that`s been messing us up for so long?

ANDY GRIFFITH, ACTOR: Well, people are funny.

HAMMER: And Richie and Fonz reunite to do the same thing.

HENRY WINKLER, ACTOR (AS THE FONZ): After we vote, do you want a double date?

HAMMER: With less than two weeks to go before Election Day, the candidates may be getting serious. But a rash of new political videos and sketches are anything but.

FERRELL: Yes, I did have three Xanax and a silver bullet about a half hour ago. I`m out of here in a few months, so screw it.

HAMMER: Once again proving that, as SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has declared, campaign 2008 is the funniest campaign ever.

JO PIAZZA, "NEW YORK DAILY NEWS": All of these videos with celebrity endorsements and comedy sketches have become so viral, they`re all over the Internet. Everyone is looking for political humor right now.

FERRELL: Hello, my fellow Americans.

HAMMER: On the latest Thursday edition of "Saturday Night Live," "SNL" alum Will Farrell returned to do his classic impersonation of President Bush. Another "SNL" alum, Tina Fey returned once again to play Sarah Palin.

TINA FEY, ACTRESS (AS SARAH PALIN): Unfortunately, Sen. McCain, upon hearing you wanted to give him a super public endorsement, cannot be found.

PIAZZA: But it was a reunion of the best "SNL" political impersonators. I only wish that they had dragged in Dana Carvey to do George Bush, Sr.

HAMMER: But the skit`s peek was when John McCain, played by Darrell Hammond reluctantly showed up to get the last thing he wants, an endorsement from the president.

FERRELL: When you think of John McCain, think of me, George W. Bush. Think of this face.

HOWARD: I`ve chosen to vote for Barack Obama.

HAMMER: In a new video for FunnyOrDie.com, director Ron Howard goes the extra mile to show his support for Obama -

HOWARD: This is for you, America.

HAMMER: By returning to the TV role that first made him famous back in the 1960s, Opie from "The Andy Griffith Show."

HOWARD: Hey, pa.

GRIFFITH: Hey, Op.

HAMMER: Andy Griffith himself meets Howard by the old fishing hole.

HOWARD: When I`m a grown-up, I sure would like to vote for somebody as good as Mr. Obama.

GRIFFITH: If you stay healthy and strong, avoid any felonies, and stay away from the butterflies, I`ll bet you`ll get a chance.

HAMMER: Later in the video, Howard engages in another bit of pro-Obama TV nostalgia. He and Henry Winkler reprise their roles as Richie and the Fonz from "Happy Days." Even 30 years later, it seems Fonzie still can`t say the "W" word.

WINKLER: Eight years ago, I thought to myself, "OK, we got these presidents of the United States, Cheney, Bush, we should give them a shot. Boy was I - so I was -

HOWARD: You were wrong, Fonz?

WINKLER: OK, that`s the word.

HAMMER: In contrast, Paris Hilton has once again added to her string of videos for her fake campaign for president.

(VIDEO CLIP OF "PARIS FOR PRESIDENT" MUSIC VIDEO)

In a new "Paris for President" music video, Hilton`s policy proposals are a little skimpy.

PIAZZA: She really is going all out for her presidential campaign. I think she`s really in it to win it.

HAMMER: Stars going the extra mile to make their political points or to make a slap will continue to make this the funniest campaign ever.

FERRELL: A vote for John McCain is a vote for George W. Bush.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: All right. It`s all funny but could it be a bitter pill to swallow for John McCain and Sarah Palin? I mean, I can`t imagine that they think this is the funniest campaign ever if the joke`s on them.

Joining me tonight in New York is Janell Snowden who`s a host for "VH1 News." Also joining me in Hollywood tonight is Russell Wetanson who is a pop culture expert on "PopSquire.com."

So "Saturday Night Live" has been taking a lot of heat for doing a whole lot more McCain-Palin bashing than Obama-Biden bashing. But I don`t really get it. You know, it`s a comedy show. It`s not a news show, regardless of who you`re supporting or who you`re against.

Janell, do they have to be fair and balanced for any reason?

JANELL SNOWDEN, HOST, "VH1 NEWS": No, I completely agree with you, A.J. I mean, I think we can leave that to the news shows. They`re certainly doing enough with the balanced coverage. Some might argue otherwise. But it`s one of the most interesting election seasons ever. So I`m even noticing some of the more consummate journalists showing a slight bias.

I just don`t think you can escape it. But I don`t think that "Saturday Night Live" should escape it because this is what they do.

HAMMER: It`s funny because I am hearing a lot of complaining about it, I mean, more so from the McCain-Palin supporters, indeed. But if you`re looking for imbalance, I`ve got your imbalance right here. I want to play - take another look at this skit from "Saturday Night Live" on Thursday night. Will Ferrell reprising his role as George Bush - George W. Bush. He`s trying to give John McCain his endorsement. Doesn`t go so well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FERRELL: When you think of John McCain, think of me, George W. Bush. Think of this face. When you`re in the voting booth, before you vote, think of this face. Look at me.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE FROM THE AUDIENCE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: You think they`re trying to make a statement there? All right. So we may all be laughing at that. But given how much McCain has really tried to make it clear "I`m not President Bush, Russell, he can`t be laughing at that, can he?

RUSSELL WETANSON, POP CULTURE EXPERT, POPSQUIRE.COM: Something tells me "Saturday Night Live" doesn`t care if John McCain or George W. Bush are laughing at this. They care that viewers are laughing and tuning in and which they are in record numbers. But what`s interesting about that piece, actually, is it really highlights - in reality, if we take it seriously, it highlights what John McCain wants Americans to know, which is he is trying to get away from George W. Bush.

So on some level, "SNL" is doing him a little bit of a favor, no favor to George W. Bush here. He is the one looking the worst in that skit.

HAMMER: Yes. I think anybody has stopped trying to do favors for George W. Bush for sometime now on any level, comedic or otherwise. It truly is the funniest campaign ever, though, thanks to this lady that you see on the screen with me. Tina Fey, I mean, her devastating Sarah Palin impersonations have been relentless.

But, Janell, you know, there`s been some talk that perhaps at times, regardless of the fact that it`s supposed to be comedy, that Fey`s impressions are too mean. What do you think?

SNOWDEN: I think that if Sarah Palin`s camp thought they were too mean, she wouldn`t have agreed to go on the show. I mean, granted, she - some have said that she likes the milk the publicity at all costs, but I really don`t think that they would have taken so kindly to her going on if she had truly been offended. I think it`s all in good fun. I think that she likes to poke fun at herself. And I mean, it`s "Saturday Night Live." This is what they do. The day they go soft is the day I stop watching.

HAMMER: Yes, I hear you. But there are so many people who have said, you know, she really didn`t have a choice but to do "Saturday Night Live" and make it look like she could laugh at herself. I don`t know. What do you think, Russell? Have the impressions by Tina Fey of Palin been, at times, too mean?

WETANSON: Well, impersonation is often the highest form of flattery. But you know, I haven`t thought they were too mean, except I did think that the Amy Poehler rap song with the moose and the rifle and Todd Palin coming in - that was a moment when I thought, "Geez, this is a little bit uncomfortable for her."

But Tina Fey, her impersonations, not so much because, remember, she`s actually quoting Sarah Palin in a lot of these bits.

HAMMER: Well, aside from "SNL," we also have Paris Hilton, her Manolos firmly planted in this funniest campaign ever. We just showed you the new "Paris for President" video. But to me, I`ve got to play this. It is the classic. Her fake campaign chat with former fake president, "The West Wing`s" Martin Sheen. Let`s watch a bit of that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PARIS HILTON, ACTRESS: Nowadays, sound bites, not sound policies, determine our country`s course. I plan to bring fake balance approach to these very problems. For example, fopo.

MARTIN SHEEN, ACTOR: What is fopo?

HILTON: Foreign policy, silly.

SHEEN: Of course, I should have known that one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: All right. Ten seconds, Janell. When it comes down to, you know, Paris Hilton making comedy videos about one of the most important elections in our history, any argument this is the funniest campaign ever?

SNOWDEN: No argument here. I never thought I`d see the day. But you know, God bless Paris. At least, she`s making me laugh. I don`t know about you, guys.

HAMMER: Oh, yes.

WETANSON: Loves it. Loves it.

HAMMER: I finally have nice things to say about her. Janell Snowden, Russell Wetanson, I thank you both for laughing along with us.

So what do you think? Could Oprah Winfrey actually be headed for the White House? You know, there are reports that if Barack Obama wins, he just may have a post in mind for Oprah. But is it true? And what does Oprah have to say about it? We`re getting to that. You won`t want to miss it, next.

Also, Tina Fey versus Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Tina`s new Sarah Palin impersonation as Elisabeth is hitting the trail for Palin. But who`s having the biggest influence on the election? The heated debate is still to come right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

And yes, it was going to happen sooner or later. Weighty issues on "Dancing With The Stars." Cheryl Burke is speaking out about all the speculation about her weight. I just think this is ridiculous. She looks terrific. But is Cheryl really angry about all of this chatter? You won`t want to miss what she tells Ellen. That is coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OPRAH WINFREY, HOST, "THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW": I`m here to tell you, Iowa, he is the one. He is the one. Barack Obama.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: And of course, Oprah Winfrey endorsing Sen. Barack Obama at a campaign stop in Iowa back in December. But if Obama is the next president of the United States, will Oprah become the next ambassador to England?

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. Tonight, the idea that Oprah could become an ambassador is one of two stories making news right now.

Reports are swirling that Oprah could become part of the new administration if Obama wins the presidency. But would she do it and really, would it be a good idea?

Also new right now, "Dancing With The Stars`" Cheryl Burke sick and tired of hearing people talking about how she gained weight. Wait until you hear what she told Ellen DeGeneres.

Joining me in New York tonight is Ben Widdicombe who is an editor-at- large for "Star" magazine. Also in New York, April Woodard who is senior correspondent for "Inside Edition."

All right, Ben and April. I want to start off with Oprah Winfrey. As we`ve heard, there`s a lot of chatter that Oprah actually could become the next ambassador to Britain if Obama becomes our next president.

Now, I should point out, an Oprah spokesperson did tell SHOWBIZ TONIGHT that Oprah has not been approached. So all of it, you know, basically hypothetical right now. But, Ben, could you see Oprah being the ambassador to England?

BEN WIDDICOMBE, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, "STAR" MAGAZINE: A.J., this is just absurd. Clearly, Tyra Banks is far more qualified to be ambassador (UNINTELLIGIBLE) than Oprah Winfrey. Oprah should be education secretary where she can replace the national high school curriculum with a version of her book club. It just makes sense.

HAMMER: Just to be clear, Ben. Where are you from?

WIDDICOMBE: I`m from Australia.

HAMMER: OK. I just want to be clear because some of our audience may have confused your accent for being a British accent. I want to make sure you`re being impartial here.

Oprah, obviously, though, has done so much here in the U.S. and overseas. You know, you mentioned education, Ben. She did build that all- girls school in Africa. She`s obviously proven her ability to reach across economic and class and racial lines.

What do you think, April? Could you see Oprah, if not as the British ambassador, being some part of an Obama administration?

APRIL WOODARD, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": Absolutely. And you know, she`s got the skills to bring so many people from diverse backgrounds together. So many people trust. So definitely I could see her in some type of administrative role.

HAMMER: Yes. Ben, let`s talk about this in all seriousness now, because we can joke all we want about what job may or may not be right for her. Haha. But the idea of her actually doing it. Obviously, if she takes any kind of government job, you know, it`s going to be a pretty big pay cut.

So do you think Oprah would actually even consider it or she`d say, "You know what? Thanks, but no thanks. I`ll just continue to help the world in my own way, with my own money, in my own time."

WIDDICOMBE: I think any kind of government job would be a really great way for Oprah to disappear. Now, the job of ambassador to Great Britain is a prestigious job. It`s the top post in the American Foreign Service. But let`s face it, she is the most powerful woman on American television. She has far more influence where she is right now. I think she would just disappear onto the wallpaper if she went to work for Obama.

HAMMER: Yes. So only if she really wanted to disappear should she consider taking the job; it`s sounds like what you`re recommending there.

WIDDICOMBE: Absolutely.

HAMMER: All right. Let`s move on to this other story that`s new right now. "Dancing With The Stars" star Cheryl Burke talking to Ellen DeGeneres about bloggers who, you know, are sadly making this big deal out of the fact that she gained about five pounds. I said five pounds. Now, Ellen asked her if she felt any pressure to lose that weight. Watch what Cheryl said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELLEN DEGENERES, HOST, "THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW": Did it affect you in a way where you thought you need to diet? Like, did you actually think to yourself, "Maybe I should lose weight"?

CHERYL BURKE, "DANCING WITH THE STARS" STAR: I was like, "Maybe I should just starve myself for four weeks so people would shut up." But at the end of the day, I`m an athlete, I like to eat and I like to work out and I like to feel healthy.

DEGENERES: You are healthy. You look great. You are healthy and you look great.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Yes. I mean, are you kidding me? April, what do you think? I mean, this is just ridiculous, isn`t it, that Cheryl Burke even has to go on television and explain why she gained five pounds. Come on.

WOODARD: When I saw that, I was like, "What the heck is going on here?" Here`s this beautiful woman, wonderful body, great dancer. Lay off of her. I mean, five pounds - she has to explain that she wants to get something to eat. She`s hungry. Leave her alone.

HAMMER: Yes, and you what? She could kick all of our butts regardless.

WOODARD: Right.

HAMMER: I mean, look at - talk about a woman in tremendous shape. And I`d like to illustrate how ridiculous all this is. Do we have that still we could put up? Thank you, Charles.

Take a look. This is a picture of Cheryl Burke last year on the red carpet and this year. I`m sorry. I`m looking at this and trying to see the difference here. Maybe I need to update my prescription.

Ben, what do you think? Cheryl has every right to be just angry over the ridiculousness of this whole thing, doesn`t she?

WIDDICOMBE: Oh, she does. She should be absolutely furious. As she said herself, she is an athlete. It`s her job to burn the calories. It`s probably not healthy for her to have two percent (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in order to be really skinny. She`s entirely appropriate for her age and her size and I wish her the best.

HAMMER: Yes. I do, too. I think I speak for you as well, April. It just makes me mad when I see stuff like that. And you know, sometimes I want to say, what are those bloggers looking like ...

WOODARD: Exactly.

HAMMER: ... while sitting at their computers downing the Big Macs. All right. Ben Widdicombe, April Woodard, thank you so much for being here tonight.

Well, the "Showbiz On Call" phone lines just won`t stop ringing as you guys call in to let us know what you think about Sarah Palin and those reports that the Republican Party spent $150,000 on clothes, accessories and hairstyling for her.

Well, we`ve got a call from Carol in Washington. I`ve got play this for you. Carol says what`s the big deal?

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

CAROL, CALLER FROM WASHINGTON: I don`t know what the fuss is over the amount of money Sarah Palin has spent on clothing. It`s a special occasion for her. It`s just a little different from a bride on a wedding day.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HAMMER: That`s a little different from a bride on a wedding day. But I want to play another call we got from Evan in Indiana who also called in to "Showbiz On Call" in defense of Sarah Palin.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

EVAN, CALLER FROM INDIANA: Like you said, country first. She would not be spending all that money on one outfit. It doesn`t matter what she wears on TV. She will go on there and represent herself like she`s supposed to.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HAMMER: Let me put you on our show. Call us at "Showbiz On Call." You can let us know what you think about this or if there`s something else on your mind, we want to hear about that as well. And we keep the "Showbiz On Call" phone lines open all the time. So you know, if something strikes you at 4:00 in the morning, call us, 1-888-SBT-BUZZ; that is 1-888-728-2899. Leave us a voice mail so we could play your call right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

And your calls to "Showbiz On Call" also now online on our homepage, CNN.com/ShowbizTonight.

There`s one thing that I can clearly say about this presidential election. There is a cast of characters straight out of Hollywood in this thing, right? Coming up, we have some great ideas for what the campaign`s biggest characters can do after this election is over.

We`re thinking, you know, maybe a talk show for Sarah Palin? How about Joe the Plumber on a home improvement program? We`re casting the characters, coming up.

And also this -

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOE BIDEN (D-DE), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: John McClain - John McClain, excuse me. John McCain -

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: (sneezes) I`m sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bless you.

OBAMA: I was fighting that off for a while.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: It is not all serious business on the campaign trail, not by a long shot. Coming up, some hilarious and some unexpected moments in SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s continuing coverage of the funniest campaign ever.

And what about this? Is 15-year-old Miley Cyrus really dating a 20- year-old model? And what does her family have to say about all this? Well, Miley is speaking out and that is coming up next on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer with more stories that are making news right now.

Miley Cyrus says she and 20-year-old model Justin Gaston are great friends but her family would be fine if they were more than friends. Now, Miley is just 15 years old.

Well, Ryan Seacrest asked her on his radio show if they`re dating. Miley said, maybe, maybe not. But she said her family`s like, whatever happens, happens.

Anne Hathaway`s former boyfriend has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison on charges of wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy. Business Raffaello Follieri was arrested in June accused of lying to investors by claiming he was the CFO of the Vatican and using stolen money for a trip to the Dominican Republic with Hathaway and another couple. Hathaway and Follieri dated for four years and they broke up just before his arrest.

And this is very exciting. You can see a familiar face next week on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" HEADLINE NEWS` own Robin Meade from "MORNING EXPRESS" is going to be on the show. She`s going to be appearing as one of the new lifelines, "Ask the Expert." Robin will be on "Millionaire" Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Check your local listings. Give it up for Robin. That`s pretty cool.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Well, there is certainly one thing I can say about this presidential election. There is a cast of characters straight out of Hollywood.

Coming up, we have some ideas for what the campaign`s biggest characters can do after the election is over. How about a talk show for Sarah Palin? Joe the Plumber on a home improvement program. We`re casting the characters, coming up.

Also this -

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: John McClain - John McClain. Excuse me, John McCain.

OBAMA: (sneezes) I`m sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bless you.

OBAMA: I was fighting that off for a while.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: It isn`t all serious on the campaign trail. Not by a long shot. Coming up, some hilarious and unexpected moments in SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s continuing coverage of the funniest campaign ever.

And Tina Fey versus Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Tina`s new Sarah Palin impersonation as Elisabeth hits the campaign trail for Palin. But who`s having the biggest influence on the election? That heated debate is still to come.

You can always stay on top of the most provocative entertainment news by subscribing to the daily SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsletter. You can do that at CNN.com/ShowbizTonight. Click on the "sign up for newsletter" link. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is coming right back.

(NEWS BREAK)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Now, on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, casting the election characters. Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is playing casting director for all of the stars in this presidential election. Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, even Joe the Plumber. What TV gigs could they get after this thing is over, if Barack Obama loses, if John McCain loses? Tonight, casting the election characters.

It`s Tina Fey versus Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Tonight, a brand-new Tina Fey Sarah Palin impersonation. Elisabeth Hasselbeck hitting the campaign trail for Palin. Who`s having a bigger effect on the election? Tina or Elisabeth? A fired-up debate.

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.

All right. I want you to imagine this, go into your mind right now and think about this - Sarah Palin, talk show host. Michelle Obama, the new Oprah. Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is daring to cast the characters from this presidential election and what they could wind up doing in show business when the whole thing is over.

There is a new report out today in the "Hollywood Reporter" magazine saying agents are scrambling to cast Sarah Palin in some kind of a TV job should she not become the next vice president of the United States.

And then you`ve got this guy, Joe the Plumber. When his 15 minutes of fame are over, we have got the perfect job for Joe on one of TV`s biggest hits. Let us begin casting right now on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Joining me tonight in New York, Janell Snowden, the "VH1 News" host. In Hollywood is Russell Wetanson of "PopSquire.com." And in Hollywood, Brett Ehrlich who is the host of "Current TV."

All right, gang. So the "Hollywood Reporter" piece today was fascinating although not entirely surprising knowing how Hollywood works, basically revealing that the Hollywood agents and the movie moguls are scrambling. They`re in a frenzy trying to get their hands on Sarah Palin if she doesn`t get elected and if, for some reason, she`s no longer Alaska`s governor. So we got to thinking, wouldn`t she be terrific as one of the co-hosts of "The View?" I mean, look at that. She fits perfectly over that panel. What do you think, Janell? Makes sense to you?

SNOWDEN: Not at all. Talk about walking into a hostile work environment. Joy would give her a fit. She would have nightmares every day about going into the office because I`m sure they would have a lot of things to say both in front of the camera and off.

So I say give her an hour on the Fox News channel. I think that would be more at home for her.

HAMMER: I don`t know - you know, their views may oppose each other but nobody`s accused her of not being an intelligent woman. Brett, what you think? Could Palin hold her own against Joy or perhaps Whoopi?

BRETT EHRLICH, HOST, "CURRENT TV": Well, personally, I don`t think they have the wardrobe budget for Sarah Palin. But I think they would tear her apart. That is - talk about a hostile work environment. I mean, they killed people on that show. And I remember watching TMZ and I saw a picture of Barbara Walters with blood on her mouth. You have to have emotion to last an hour there. If she has that, I think she`s a good fit, then.

HAMMER: Actual deaths at "The View" have not yet been confirmed. In the event "The View" doesn`t work with Sarah Palin, there is another idea that we were thinking about. Let me just run this by. Have an open mind here. We know "Saturday Night Live" has done extremely well with the ratings. They`ve been through the roof since Tina Fey came on playing Sarah Palin.

Russell, to you. How about Sarah Palin on "SNL" playing Sarah Palin, maybe not every week, but as a recurring character?

WETANSON: I think that`s great. But mainly I think it`s great because that`s a launching point for her product line. I think it`s going to be all about product endorsements for Sarah Palin. Think about an exercise video. It`s "Joe`s Six Pack of Abs" or she could do hockey sticks or hockey pucks. You know, I hear that perhaps Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue might want to strike a deal with her.

HAMMER: And obviously, lipstick and glasses - that`s a no-brainer. Let`s move on. You mentioned Joe Six Pack. Let`s talk about Joe the Plumber, the real guy, Joe Wurzelbacher. He became, of course, a household name after he questioned Barack Obama about his tax plan. It wound up on the debate. So SHOWBIZ TONIGHT wants to cast Joe the Plumber on the hit ABC show "Extreme Makeover Home Edition."

What do you think about that, Janell? Could you see that work? And I envision every week Joe the Plumber doing the plumbing for new homes across America.

SNOWDEN: I`ll even set it up for him. My sister is a producer on the show and I`ll just make one phone call and it could happen. And I`ll only take 10 percent.

HAMMER: Janell, you grab your phone. Brett, you weigh in.

EHRLICH: I think Joe the Plumber - after this is all over, I think it`s a perfect opportunity for him to go become an actual plumber. And if that fails, I think it`s finally time for him to pursue his dream of becoming Joe the Dancer.

HAMMER: You think that`s the dream? All right. So apparently Brett with some information that we are just now learning here at SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

EHRLICH: I`m in L.A., A.J. I`ve got it all.

HAMMER: That`s true. You`ve got your finger on the pulse there.

Next up on the casting call, we`ve got to talk about Michelle Obama. Now, there is some wild speculation floating around that Oprah could be named U.S. Ambassador to Britain if Barack Obama becomes president.

Now, for the record, Oprah`s people tell SHOWBIZ TONIGHT nobody has been in contact with them about this possibility. But given the love-fest between Oprah and the Obamas - Russell, what do you think? Could you see Michelle perhaps replacing Oprah and getting her own national TV show?

WETANSON: Michelle Obama would be amazing as Oprah or as the Oprah replacement. I mean, here we have someone who held her own on "The View." She can tackle any kind of topic. And you know, the best part about it is that she will also - going along with the product endorsement, she will launch a line of dresses. We know she loves those sleeveless dresses. So even if it`s not a show about hot topics or current events, it could definitely be a fashion show.

HAMMER: You mentioned ...

SNOWDEN: I have to chime in. I`m a die-hard Oprah supporter -

HAMMER: Yes.

SNOWDEN: And there is no replacing Oprah. I`m sorry. I love Michelle. I think she`s a wonderful woman. I think she`s fantastically smart. And I think she could do a great job hosting her own talk show, but not Oprah`s.

(CROSS TALK)

HAMMER: All right. Do we know, Janell - but I do need to point out, you know, Michelle Obama didn`t just hold her own on "The View." She`s terrific in front of a crowd. She can work a studio audience. Can we roll a clip of Michelle in action, please.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, WIFE SEN. BARACK OBAMA: If we can continue to work together as we have over this last year and a half, not only will we elect Barack Obama president of the United States, but we could change this nation and maybe even the world. Thank you so much.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Yes. All right. Brett, go ahead. What do you think? I mean, there`s no question she knows how to deal with that audience and fire them up.

EHRLICH: I mean, first of all, about the Oprah thing, I mean, if she`s leaving daytime TV, I think that means the world`s going to end. So I have to leave and go loot now. I think Michelle Obama - she would do perfectly well. I personally, - afterwards, I think she should go on wife swap. But the problem is that the family that got her wouldn`t want to give her away. She makes all the kids feel so good about themselves.

HAMMER: All right. We`ll give you a heads-up if you need to begin your looting, Brett. I appreciate you being here tonight. Brett Ehrlich, Russell Wetanson, Janell Snowden, I thank all of you.

Well, how would you cast all these characters from the presidential election once this whole thing is over? Call us at "Showbiz On Call" and let us know what you think about this or anything else that`s on your mind. Here is the number to call and the number`s always open, 1-888-SBT-BUZZ - that`s 1-888-728-2899. Call the number, leave a voicemail. We`ll be so happy to play your calls right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

And your calls to "Showbiz On Call" are also now online on our homepage. The homepage is CNN.com/ShowbizTonight.

Well, now, more of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s continuing coverage of the funniest campaign ever. I`ve been waiting to play this all night. You know, we`ve been talking a lot about Hollywood and how it`s been making this presidential election so hysterical with Tina Fey playing Sarah Palin, of course. Paris Hilton doing her fake president ads.

But the candidates themselves, they`re doing a pretty darn good job of creating plenty of brand-new laughs for the rest of us. From mispronouncing names to even sneezing on a reporter. Here`s CNN`s Jeanne Moos for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Candidates say the darnedest things. Take Sarah Palin speaking after country star Gretchen Wilson serenaded the crowd about what kind of woman she is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRETCHEN WILSON, COUNTRY STAR (singing): I`m a redneck woman

GOV. SARAH PALIN (R-AK): Someone called me a redneck woman once and I said back, I said, "Why, thank you."

MOOS: Gov. Palin is probably fed up with the press. At least, she hasn`t sneezed on us.

OBAMA: It should be the best taken ...(sneezes) - I`m sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bless you.

OBAMA: I was fighting that off for a while.

MOOS: Not only did Sen. Obama sneeze, he then reached out and touched the poor reporter. The video is spreading faster than germs on the Web as did this photo of the senator with holes in his soles.

MOOS: Obama`s VP soul mate had some trouble with their opponent`s name.

BIDEN: John McClain - John McClain. Excuse me - John McCain.

MOOS: We know that John McClain, Senator from "Die Hard." And McCain, you`re no McClain. From "Die Hard" to 007, "Parade" magazine asked Daniel Craig which candidate would be the better boss? Craig said Obama; McCain would be a better "M" -

JUDI DENCH (AS "M"): Utter one more syllable and I`ll have you killed.

MOOS: Craig said that McCain has a kind of Judi Dench quality. Meanwhile, Sarah Palin told "People" magazine that if she had to have another child joining the ranks Trig and Piper and Track, she would have named him Zamboni(ph). What? Not Joe the Plumber?

JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Joe, over here. Joe, thank you. There`s Joe.

OBAMA: He`s fighting for Joe, the hedge fund manager - Joe the CEO.

MOOS: The Joe the Plumber costume is big on Ricky`s Halloween Web site though it doesn`t amount to much more than a bald cap, a plunger and a name tag.

(on camera): We thought you might like to take a look at our favorite campaign souvenirs. For instance, the Obama and McCain gargoyles. These are the designer Obama underwear. Cap`n McCain and Obama O cereal. Custom cereals, $39 a box. Speaking of boxes - Barack in the box.

(voice over): Reminds us of that 13-foot puppet an iReporter sent in intended to encourage early voting in Cleveland, Ohio. Looks like he`s had his Wheaties or maybe his Obama O`s, hope in every bowl versus a maverick in every bite.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: I can`t believe she missed Sarah Palin calling Joe Biden Joe O`Biden at the debate. That was CNN`s Jeanne Moos for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Tina Fey obviously has been giving us plenty to laugh about with her truly funny Sarah Palin impersonations. Tonight, it`s Tina versus Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Tina`s brand-new Fey skit. She`s going after John McCain, even President Bush. But "The View`s" Elisabeth Hasselbeck has got Palin`s back. She`s even hitting the campaign trail with her. So who`s going to have more of an impact on the election, Tina or Elisabeth? That`s next.

Also our "Showbiz On Call" phone lines have been jamming up with your passionate phone calls. Should Palin go on "The View"? We`ll get to those calls, coming up next.

I`ve go to tell you. I am so thrilled for my old friend Mariah Carey. Looks like she`s really happy with her husband, Nick Cannon. But what about their age difference? She`s a bit older. How do they make that work in Hollywood? Mariah Carey is speaking out and getting really personal. That is coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FEY: You know, John McCain and I have been so busy traveling around this great country of ours, talking about change and energy independence and William Ayers and doing a little shopping.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Tina Fey doing it again, imitating Sarah Palin. And "The View" co-host, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, is hitting the road to campaign for Sarah Palin. Tonight, it`s Tina versus Elisabeth. Who is more influential this election season? It`s a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT smackdown.

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. Tina Fey does her part with her ditzy impersonations, "you betcha" impersonations of Sarah Palin. And Elisabeth Hasselbeck dukes it out every day with the ladies of "The View" in her passionate defense of Palin and the Republican Party.

Well, tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT demands to know, who is influencing this campaign more?

Joining me in New York tonight to figure it out, Ben Widdicombe who is the editor-at-large for "Star" magazine. And in Hollywood is Kim Serafin, senior editor for "In Touch Weekly."

All right. Ben, Kim, let`s start off with Tina Fey. We know how this went. It wasn`t too long after America was first introduced to Sarah Palin. We were introduced to Tina Fey imitating Sarah Palin. And for my money, there will be forever links. Ben Widdicombe, off to you first. Is there any doubt Tina Fey has influenced the way Americans see the McCain- Palin ticket?

WIDDICOMBE: Oh, I think she`s shaped public perception hugely. And the reason for that is she`s been deft and very subtle about it. You can get away with things if you`re using humor that you really can`t if you`re stumping for a particular candidate.

And she`s really has nailed that Palin imitation. And I think it`s so good that some people out there are probably wondering - lines like, "I can see Russia from my house," it kind of blows in your mind. Well, did Palin say that, or was that only Tina Fey mocking Palin? So I think she`s been enormously influential.

HAMMER: Yes. I think there definitely has been a confusion factor. And as we`ve seen with Tina Fey, a lot of the jokes have been using Palin`s own language.

Let`s move to the other side of the aisle because you have Elisabeth Hasselbeck and you watch "The View." It seems like every day, she`s passionately defending McCain and Palin to her co-hosts on "The View" and really to all of America. Let`s take a look at one particular heated moment from this week between Hasselbeck and Joe Behar.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOY BEHAR, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": David Brooks who has been really behind the Republican Party in the "New York Times" for many, many moons now, has called Sarah Palin a cancer on the Republican Party.

ELISABETH HASSELBECK, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": That`s one opinion. One opinion. You`ve never liked his opinion before.

(CROSS TALK)

BEHAR: You used to love Bush. Now, do you love him still?

HASSELBECK: Look - no, this isn`t about loving Bush.

(CROSS TALK)

I think that our country has been safe for the past seven years. Indeed it has.

(CROSS TALK)

BEHAR: We`re not sure why.

HASSELBECK: OK. You tell me why then.

BEHAR: I don`t know any more than you do.

HASSELBECK: It`s not because of anything Barack Obama has done or will do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: It`s been like this every day. As we know, Hasselbeck is now hitting the road to campaign for Sarah Palin. Kim, I want to get your take on this. How much of an influence do you think Elisabeth Hasselbeck has had in swaying Americans to vote for McCain-Palin?

KIM SERAFIN, SENIOR EDITOR, "IN TOUCH WEEKLY": I think she`s had an influence in just the fact that without her on that show, it would be called "The View That Liberal Women Have." I mean, without her on that show, would McCain have gone on the show as a guest? Without her on the show, would there be viral clips floating around the Internet? Would they get as many mentions in the "New York Times" as they have? Probably not, because it would just sort of be a more one-sided conversation.

So I think by having her on that show, by her talking about her point of view, by bringing the Republican point of view into that mix, it`s definitely gotten a heck of a lot more attention than it ever had, and really, without her, would ever get.

So I think there`s a lot of people that are being exposed to that point of view that normally wouldn`t have. And possibly, also, you know, she encourages a lot of women to speak out their views even when they fell like they`re in the minority.

HAMMER: Yes.

SERAFIN: So I think in that sense, she certainly had an impact.

HAMMER: Yes. Some have said maybe she hasn`t done it articulately over time. But obviously, she is getting the point out. And we know Tina Fey does not hold back in what is really a pitch-perfect impersonation of Palin.

In fact, just last night, she did it again. They did one of their special Thursday night editions of "Saturday Night Live." And she was there along with the surprise return of Will Farrell. This was terrific - Ferrell, of course, is George W. Let`s roll that, Charles.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FEY: We`re going to get her done.

FERRELL: My god, you`re folksy.

FEY: Thank you, Mr. President. I like to think I`m part practiced folksy, one part sassy, a little dash of high school (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

FERRELL: So while I was trying to be folksy, but after a bit, it just came off douchey.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: All right. Bottom line it for me, Ben. Who`s had a bigger impact on this election, Tina Fey or Elisabeth Hasselbeck?

WIDDICOMBE: Oh, definitely Tina Fey. It would be almost worth having the McCain-Palin win so we could have four more years of that wonderful impersonation.

HAMMER: Kim? What do you think? More influence from Tina Fey or from Elisabeth here?

SERAFIN: Yes, I love Elisabeth. She`s got one of the hardest jobs on TV. But Tina Fey for sure. She will go down in history. I mean, 56 million viral video clips around the Internet of Tina Fey doing Sarah Palin. You can`t tell where one ends and one begins. Definitely Tina Fey.

HAMMER: It will always be a chapter when the book is written about this particular election. Ben Widdicombe, Kim Serafin, I thank you both.

We have been asking you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. "Tina Fey: Is her Sarah Palin impersonation too mean?" Let us know what you think at CNN.com/ShowbizTonight. You can always E-mail us, too at showbiztonight@cnn.com.

And our "Showbiz On Call" phone lines have been completely flooded. We have been making our interns work around the clock to sift through these calls. So many of you just fired up about whether Sarah Palin should go on "The View."

We`ve got one particular call I want to play for you from Ralph in Texas who wants to see her on the show.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

RALPH, CALLER FROM TEXAS: I think that Sarah Palin should go on "The View" because she`s got all those women there that will ask her the questions that men are unable to ask. And then, we will see the real Sarah Palin.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HAMMER: All right. We also heard from Sylvia who says Sarah should not go on "The View" because of Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Watch this.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SYLVIA, CALLER: I don`t think they should bring Sarah Palin on to "The View" because Elisabeth Hasselbeck would not give her a chance to speak. She always interrupts everybody. And maybe it should be your next question, whether Elisabeth should stay on "The View" or not.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HAMMER: All right. Well, we appreciate all of your calls. And you can "Showbiz On Call" any time at all. Phone lines are always open so you can tell us what you think about Sarah Palin, if she should go on "The View" or anything else that`s going on on your mind. You can call 1-888-SBT-BUZZ; 1-888-728-2899. Just leave us a voicemail and we`ll play your calls right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

And your calls to "Showbiz On Call" can also be heard online right there on our homepage. Point your Web browser to CNN.com/ShowbizTonight.

Well, it looks like Mariah Carey has found herself a really great guy, actor Nick Cannon. As you know, they have a pretty big age difference. So how do they make their marriage work with so many years apart especially with all the pressures of Hollywood? Mariah Carey really opening up, coming up next.

Now keep in mind you can watch SHOWBIZ TONIGHT video any time. New stuff is being posted all the time at CNN.com/ShowbizTonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. It is time now for "Making It Work." This is where we get the secrets of how stars make their relationships work which, as we know, not such an easy thing to do.

Tonight, Mariah Carey is speaking out about making her marriage to Nick Cannon work even though she is an older woman. Now, they surprised everybody and got married this past May.

And Mariah opened up to "Good Morning America`s" Diane Sawyer. You also have to see this place holder, engagement ring she is wearing. The other one is in the shop at the time. I`m talking about some ridiculous bling here.

But Mimi also got pretty personal about the double digit age difference between her and Nick. She is pushing 40. Nick is about 12 years younger. So did she ever have second thoughts about marrying a younger guy?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARIAH CAREY, SINGER: You know what? I did, but he doesn`t act like it. He`s really very intelligent. He`s very business-minded person, but he`s also - like I said, he`s a lot of fun. So you don`t think about those things, and you know, it is what it is.

I`ve he been with - you could be with someone older, and that could be a disaster or maybe you have to throw that side of it away and don`t think about it. Think about who`s right for you.

DIANE SAWYER, HOST, "GOOD MORNING, AMERICA": Sometimes you just know.

All right. The tackiest possible thing - I have to look at this ring.

CAREY: This is my - this isn`t my actual ring. This is my place holder to get my other one back.

SAWYER: This is your place holder?

CAREY: This is my wedding band.

SAWYER: That is beautiful, too. You have to get the other one back? What happened to it?

CAREY: Just some tweaks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Oh, yes. Can you imagine what that`s like? I don`t think "tweaks" is a word you use when talking rocks like that. It looks like Mariah and Nick are having no problems making it work. Age really just a number for them.

Well, Thursday we asked you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day - "Sarah Palin`s Media Tour: Should she go on `The View.`" Look at this. I don`t remember the last time I saw an exact, even split, with half of you saying yes, half of you saying no.

Here are some of the E-mails we got. We heard from Leelah in Nevada who thinks, "Yes. Most definitely. I`ve actually been waiting for this. I would love to hear her views on `The View.`"

Now, we also got an E-mail from Natalie. She watches our show in Saskatchewan, Canada, which by the way it is closer to Alaska than we are. She says, "The last thing Palin should do is give them the gift of boosted ratings. `The View` is trash TV."

Well, we appreciate your E-mails. Thank you for sounding off.

And above all, thank you for watching. That is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

Remember, you can always catch SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on the 11:00s, one at 11:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific. And we`re also on in the morning at 11:00 a.m. Eastern. The latest from "CNN HEADLINE NEWS" is coming up next.

END