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Rosie O`Donnell Declares Love for Barbara Walters; Madonna and Michelle Williams` Private Pain; Paris on Her Failed Presidential Campaign; Kanye West`s Astounding Claim; Obama, the Celebrity-in-Chief

Aired November 24, 2008 - 23:00:00   ET


A.J. HAMMER, CO-HOST: Now, on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, Rosie O`Donnell`s startling message to Barbara Walters - I love you! Are you kidding me? Rosie`s brand-new interview with Meredith Vieira on the feud that just won`t end. Tonight, Is it time for Rosie to just give it a rest?
Tonight, the glitz, the glamour and Paris for president? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT at the American Music Awards with Paris` revelations about her unsuccessful presidential campaign.


PARIS HILTON, ACTRESS: You know, I raised a lot of awareness for young voters.


HAMMER: Plus, Kanye West`s incredible claim. Could he really become bigger than Elvis?

Tonight, brand-new Michael Jackson drama. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is in London to find out why Jackson never showed up for a showdown with a sheikh.

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


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 tonight with the amazing three words Rosie O`Donnell has for Barbara Walters.

HAMMER: Yes, Brooke. I need to point out, those three words are not "take a hike" or, "hey, want to fight." No, tonight, Rosie is telling Barbara, "I love you." Yes, "I love you." Just days after Rosie reignited their feud, Rosie today continued her great Rosie media tour to promote her upcoming variety show.

And what a variety she offered. To add to the spectacle, Rosie said the magic words in an interview with Meredith Vieira who Rosie replaced on "The View" when Meredith went on the "Today" show.

OK. You might want to get out your pie charts because SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is revealing what`s making news right now.


ROSIE O`DONNELL, FORMER CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": I have that little valve that doesn`t let me edit sometimes.

HAMMER (voice over): For once, a comment from Rosie O`Donnell that no one will find controversial. On the "Today" show, talking to Meredith Vieira who, like Rosie also used to work on "The View," Rosie tried to smooth over her recent public spat with "The View`s" grand dame, Barbara Walters.

O`DONNELL: The fact that I hurt her is what hurts me.

HAMMER: In fact, Rosie took pains to stress that she loves Barbara Walters.

O`DONNELL: I do care about Barbara Walters and I love her. I do love her.

COOPER LAWRENCE, RADIO HOST AND PSYCHOLOGY EXPERT: You know there`s an issue between them but Rosie does a good job pretending everything`s great and wonderful and rosy.

HAMMER: Rosie was atoning for a week when she seemed to be on a one-woman campaign to tick off her former colleagues at "The View." It all began with a conference call with reporters to promote her new NBC variety show.

JO PIAZZA, "NEW YORK DAILY NEWS": During the call, she said, "Surprise, surprise, the ladies of "The View" aren`t actually friends off-set." She says that it was so horrible that she, you know, sometimes wakes up and has these horrible flashbacks of how awful it was working with those women.

HAMMER: That led Walters to go after Rosie on "The View" the next day.

BARBARA WALTERS, CO-HOST AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "THE VIEW": Some people who have done this show and then for years feel they have to dump on it, maybe for their own publicity, and that not only hurts me, but I resent it.

HAMMER: And Rosie responded to the situation by mocking Walters online -

WALTERS: If the shoe fits, lady, get on - ladies, get on with your lives.

O`DONNELL: I do not know what Star Jones and Debbie Matenopoulos did, but, lady, she is pissed off.

HAMMER: And on "Late Night with Conan O`Brien".

O`DONNELL: I don`t want to dump on the show in order to benefit my own career, you know, to use it for publicity, because I didn`t have a career before that show. So I`m very thankful to "The View" for the help that it`s given me in my life. And -

HAMMER: But Monday, on the "Today" show, a more contrite Rosie said she didn`t intend to launch this feud. She downplayed her comment about "The View" hosts not being chums.

O`DONNELL: I said they don`t go to Chili`s after the show and have buffalo wings and beer. I`m not saying they hate each other.

HAMMER: And she said she even tried to smooth things over with Walters.

O`DONNELL: I wrote her an E-mail saying that, "I`m sorry it keeps coming up like this. I did the best I can. Have a great turkey. I love you. Rosie."

HAMMER: Oh, did she mention she loves Barbara Walters?

WALTERS: She is one of the women who paved the way for every other woman on television in broadcasting. And I love her regardless of the fact that to her, I`m the rowdy teenage daughter she can`t control.

HAMMER: "Rowdy" may be right. Rosie`s nine months on "The View" were marked by controversy and drama. And even after she`s been away from "The View," Rosie is still picking fights.

LAWRENCE: Rosie O`Donnell somebody who enjoys a fight. She likes the friction. It`s interesting to her.

HAMMER: At any rate, on "Today," Rosie promised her variety show will be free of public drama.

O`DONNELL: No controversy, no politics.

MEREDITH VIEIRA, HOST, "TODAY" SHOW: Come on, no controversy?

O`DONNELL: No. No arguing. We`re not fighting with anyone.

HAMMER: But if that`s true, then it really wouldn`t be -

CHORUS (sung): Rosie.

LAWRENCE: They want Rosie O`Donnell to turn into Marie Osmond, is what you`re saying? It`s not going to happen. She`s Rosie O`Donnell. We want the controversy. We want to hear her opinions. We want to hear her thoughts. That`s what we love about her.


ANDERSON: So I have to ask, with all this talk of love, does Rosie really regret her rant, or is it the same old Rosie O`Donnell show?

Joining me tonight in New York, Ben Widdicombe who is the editor-at- large for "Star" magazine. Also tonight in Hollywood, Laura Saltman who is a correspondent for ""

Ben, Laura, so Rosie went on the "Today" show, and while she said the three magic words, "I love Barbara," she did not say these two words, "I`m sorry." Ben, do you think Rosie is really feeling bad or is this in some way damage control?

BEN WIDDICOMBE, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, "STAR" MAGAZINE: Well, I`m greatly entertained by the feud and I don`t think Rosie is sorry at all. However, I think she is smart enough to acknowledge that Barbara Walters is an icon and a pioneer for women on television and that she has to pull back a little bit. Otherwise, people will get sick of her. And I think it`s smart of her to show Barbara some respect.

ANDERSON: However Rosie feels about Barbara these days, it was clear on the "Today" show this morning that she admires her. Watch this.


O`DONNELL: The fact that I hurt her is what hurts me. Because, you know, I was 14 years old. I watched this first woman ever at a presidential debate. She was the moderator between Carter and Ford. I remember it vividly. I was 15. She talked to Sadata and Begin. She is one of the women who paved the way for every other woman on television in broadcasting. And I love her regardless of the fact that to her, I`m the rowdy teenage daughter she can`t control.


ANDERSON: So Laura, what do you think? Do you think Rosie is sucking up to Barbara now? Do you think she`s worried that she has burned a very big Barbara bridge here?

LAURA SALTMAN, CORRESPONDENT, "ACCESSHOLLYWOOD.COM": Yes, I do get a sense that Rosie feels very bad that this relationship has been impaired here because I know that she really, really has a lot of admiration and love for this woman. She has said in the past that she feels like she`s kind of a mother figure to her because Rosie lost her mom when she was younger.

And the thing is though that Rosie, as you said, she`s always said that she admired her. She`s always said how much she has helped paved the way for women in this industry. So I don`t think she`s sucking up to her. I just think she`s feeling bad about it.

ANDERSON: Yes, she has made it clear she does respect her. But in the last few days on Conan O`Brien`s show, on her blog, Rosie has been making faces and making sarcastic remarks, even making faces on the "Today" show while they played the Barbara Walters clip. Ben, even if Rosie says she loves Barbara, she admires her, do you think Barbara will forgive her?

WIDDICOMBE: You know, Brooke, I would not cross Barbara Walters in a blue fit because something tells me that woman knows how to hold a grudge. But you know, she`s not only a smart girl, but she`s also a smart businesswoman. So I think if there were a ratings opportunity to have Rosie back on "The View" so they could hug it out, I think she would probably do that.


ANDERSON: Go ahead, Laura.

SALTMAN: If you watch that clip - all the clips of her where she`s making face and stuff, I don`t think she`s making fun of it. I think she`s sort of horrified that people replaying it and replaying it. And she`s seen it so many times that she`ll like talk along to it and make those faces.

WIDDICOMBE: I think she loves it.

SALTMAN: Yes, I mean I think - I don`t think she`s doing it because she`s so, you know, upset or she`s trying to make fun of it. I just think she`s seen it so many times so she just wants to (UNINTELLIGIBLE).


ANDERSON: Yes, and it is her personality.


ANDERSON: She is very expressive with her facial expressions. And you know, it was not all queen of nice this morning. When it came to that infamous split-screen showdown Rosie had on "The View" with Elisabeth Hasselbeck. You`ve got to watch what Rosie says about that.


O`DONNELL: The split screen day was tough for me because you know the director, Mark Genteel, takes a long time to just get a single of anything.

VIEIRA: Rosie, there you go again.

O`DONNELL: But my point is that, that was a - but do you think that was not planned? You were there. Do you think that was not planned at the spur of the moment?

VIEIRA: I wasn`t there then. I don`t know.

O`DONNELL: Have they ever used a split screen before?

VIEIRA: I don`t believe they ever have.

O`DONNELL: No, or since.


ANDERSON: Now, despite what she says, Laura, does it seem to you like that Rosie still has a big ax to grind with "The View?"

SALTMAN: I think she obviously is extremely hurt by everything. She has brought up the whole split screen thing over and over. She will not let that die about the darn split screen. It`s like, she just needs to move on.

But unfortunately, people do keep asking about her. And as we know, she has no sensitivity chip. So when somebody asks her a question, she answers it. So that`s one thing to get the steam rolling.

ANDERSON: Yes, it`s natural for people to have a tough time letting things go sometimes. But at the same time she does say she`s doing the best she can. But that people just keep asking her about "The View" and her experience there.

And all weekend long - I want to mention this. We`ve been asking our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT viewers to weigh in on our question of the day, "Rosie O`Donnell Slams `The View` Again: Is it time for her to let go?" And overwhelming 93 percent said yes, seven percent said no. Ben, 10 seconds, are you surprised by the results? Do you agree?

WIDDICOMBE: I`m astounded that there`s so much hammering that these two women don`t get along. You know, Rosie is not petite and polite. She is a 300-pound bruiser with a voice someone burping through a trumpet. And we love her for it.

ANDERSON: Aww. That was mean. We do love her and hopefully one day we`ll see Rosie and Barbara sit down and let bygones be bygones.

Ben Widdicombe, Laura Saltman, we`ll leave it there. Thank you.

And now we want to hear from you. It`s our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day - "Rosie O`Donnell Slams `The View` Again: Is it time for her to let it go?" Vote E-mail us

Hey, A.J., another bizarre drama now from Michael Jackson.

HAMMER: Yes. It was quite a day for Michael, Brooke. He was all ready to head to London for a big showdown with the sheikh. But at the last minute, he didn`t go. Well, we`re going straight to London to get that story, next.

ANDERSON: Also two big stories to tell you about. Madonna speaking out about how she`s dealing with her divorce from Guy Ritchie. Meanwhile Michelle Williams talking about how she`s coping with the death of Heath Ledger.

Also, it`s Obama mania -


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are the media crossing the line from chronicling history to merchandising it?

HAMMER: Move over Brad and Angelina, Barack and Michelle Obama have arrived. Coming up, how the members of the new first family are becoming superstars.

ANDERSON: And now, the SHOWBIZ news ticker. More stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news right now

(CAPTION READS: Travis Barker sues, blaming pilots, equipment for plane crash. Boy George trial starts; accused of handcuffing a male escort.)



HAMMER: Yes, "Just beat it" is apparently what Michael with a sheikh.

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. It was the sheikh showdown everyone was waiting for. Michael Jackson was being sued by one of the richest, most powerful sheikhs in the world for $7 million.

Now, Jackson was supposed to head to London today to testify and he was about to get on a plane. But then, something dramatic happened. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is covering the late-breaking developments in London tonight with CNN international correspondent with Nic Robertson. Nic, thanks for being with us tonight.

I want to take this from the very beginning. After Michael Jackson was acquitted of those child molestation charges three years ago, the sheikh, who is the son of the king of Bahrain, let Michael and his kids stay with him inn Bahrain. So what exactly went wrong, Nic? What the lawsuit to begin with?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it looks like they have (UNINTELLIGIBLE) or perhaps he had a business proposition that he could work out with Michael Jackson, and then he paid the sheikh. He paid the $2.2 million the child molestation case cost Michael Jackson.

So perhaps he was sort of setting him up, playing him with money, making it look as if he wanted to be his friend but he had an ulterior motive of a business deal. And he says he signed this deal with Michael and that he paid Michael some other monies during that child molestation trial.

They seem to get on right in Bahrain for about a year. According to the sheikh, he even sent Michael Jackson to London for some therapy lessons, to get him more motivated, to get him more creative - well, these sorts of things.

So the relationship seemed to go well. But it seemed to break down at the point where the sheikh didn`t think he was getting what he wanted out of this deal or out of the bargain. And that`s where it seemed to fall apart after about a year.

HAMMER: Right. And specifically, the sheikh is claiming that Michael Jackson reneged on a deal to make a new album and write an autobiography and produce a stage play. And he also owed the sheikh $7 million. So on the other side, what are Jackson`s people claiming? Or what we they claiming?

ROBERTSON: Well, Jackson`s people are saying, look, the sheikh was incredibly generous. Michael Jackson`s personal assistant gave evidence in the court here in London last week and said the sheikh was generous. He behaved like a brother, called Michael Jackson his brother. And they`re basically saying this money - the money was a gift and there was no obligation. Of course, the sheikh`s people are saying, no, that there was a signed contract.

HAMMER: So fast forward to today, Michael Jackson is about to get on a plane to fly to London to address the charges and testify. And then all of a sudden, word comes out of a settlement. Michael never has to get on the plane. And both sides released a statement today saying, quote, "Sheik Abdulla(ph) and Michael Jackson are pleased to confirm that they have amicably settled their dispute which was in litigation before the High Court in London. They wish each other well in their own respective endeavors."

Nic, what do we know about this settlement?

ROBERTSON: You know, we know precious little. We don`t know how much of that $7 million that Michael Jackson has actually agreed to give the sheikh, if any. But I mean, look, it seems a little strange here. Last week, Michael was saying he was too sick to come to the court in London, that he`d appear by video link. The judge kind of implied that wasn`t going to work.

So over the weekend, Michael Jackson`s lawyers said, "Well, he`s better and he can come." So this whole issue of not getting on the plane, being told, "Don`t bother. Stand down." You know, in the face it, you might wonder, OK, did Michael Jackson really not want to come to London? Was he willing to just pay this guy off so he didn`t have to travel?

Or was he concerned that if he came to London, he`d lose the $7 million, plus, he`d end up having all of his own expenses. Plus, he could end up paying the legal fees for the sheikh as well. So there was a big potential financial loss.

It`s pretty clear at the moment Michael Jackson isn`t in as good a financial keeping as he would like to be. So we don`t know the details. But you have to look at it, you`ve got to look at and think the sheikh probably came out with a lot of what he was hoping to get out of this.

HAMMER: CNN`s Nic Robertson, thank you so much for joining us from London tonight. I appreciate it.

All right. Brooke, the "Showbiz On Call" phone lines - they`re ringing nonstop, I mean off the hook. People just fired up about the feud that won`t die, the one between Rosie O`Donnell, of course, and Barbara Walters.

ANDERSON: They are fired up, A.J. We got a call from Wendy. She is definitely not a Rosie fan and she thinks Rosie should just cool it.


WENDY, CALLER: Rosie O`Donnell needs to grow up. I used to like her. She`s belligerent, obnoxious. She`s just using all these comments for her own gain in showbiz. So she just needs to let it go.


HAMMER: Well, we also heard from Julie in Texas. She`s on team Rosie. And Julie thinks it`s Barbara needs to give it a rest.


JULIE, CALLER FROM TEXAS: Go, Rosie, go. You know, I give her all props because she does stand up for herself. And she is a good person. Barbara Walters needs to get another life and just stop thinking she`s Ms. Diva Queen. Go, Rosie. I`m on your side.


HAMMER: Julie, we appreciate your call. And we want you to know that you, too, can call us at "Showbiz On Call" to let us know what you think about this or really anything that`s on your mind.

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

And listen to this - your calls to "Showbiz On Call" are also now online. That`s on our homepage,

A.J., two big stories tonight about how major stars are coping with heartache.

HAMMER: That`s right, Brooke. First up, we have Madonna who`s speaking out about what is helping her deal with the break-up of her marriage. Also Michelle Williams is speaking out about her heartbreaking loss - of course, the death of Heath Ledger. We`ve got that coming up.

We will also have this -


HILTON: It was such a huge campaign and history. To be involved in it, it was fun, and you know, I had fun with it.


ANDERSON: Paris Hilton speaks out to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT about her failed presidential campaign. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT was right there at the American Music Awards for all the glitz, the glamour, and Kanye West`s statement about being Elvis. Are you kidding? That is coming up.

HAMMER: All right. You thought your local bar was wild? Well, we`re going to take you to a tavern where monkeys serve the drinks. Banana daiquiri, anyone? That`s coming up. You don`t want to miss it.


ANDERSON: And welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. Tonight, CNN Heroes, an all-star tribute. I was at the star- studded event over the weekend as the stars came out to honor the top 10 CNN heroes of 2008. It was an incredible night at the Kodak Theater right here in Hollywood. Take a look.


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN HEROES: Good evening and welcome to our second annual tribute to CNN heroes.

ANDERSON (voice over): It`s an award show like no other.

TERRENCE HOWARD, CNN HEROES PRESENTER: I`m presenting an award to Liz McCartney, a woman who I think has the heart of a thousand angels.

RICKI LAKE, CNN HEROES ATTENDEE: I mean, it feels like the Academy Awards and I feel like she`s winning, you know, great honor. Go Marie. Go Marie.

ANDERSON: A night to honor 10 selfless individuals whose commitment and compassion for the less fortunate are making the world a better place.

COOPER: These are people who are not looking for fame.


ANDERSON: Carolyn LeCroy started a project to connect kids with their incarcerated parents. Marie Da Silva founded a school in Malawi for AIDS orphans. And Tad Agoglia created the first response team of America.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ladies and gentlemen, CNN hero, Viola Vaughn.

ANDERSON: Stars like Christina Aguilera turned the spotlight on these everyday people doing extraordinary things. An evening of emotion, meaning and hope.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is a day I will never forget.


ANDERSON: A.J., these people are incredibly devoted to the less fortunate and are making a lot of sacrifices to help them. It is so inspiring.

HAMMER: Yes. I remember watching the show and being there for it last year, Brooke. It was impossible to walk away from the night without feeling like you wanted to get involved and do something.

ANDERSON: Absolutely. We want all of you to watch Thanksgiving night. You won`t be disappointed. You can see who you voted as CNN`s Hero of the Year. You can learn the amazing stories and dare to be inspired by all 10 amazing heroes. Anderson Cooper hosts "CNN Heroes: An All Star Tribute," Thanksgiving night at 9:00 only on CNN.

A.J., it was also quite a night at the American Music Awards over the weekend.

HAMMER: And Brooke, of course SHOWBIZ TONIGHT was right there. Here`s what caught my eye in particular, Paris Hilton spoke out to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT about her failed presidential campaign.

And Kanye West`s statements about being Elvis - yes, that caught my eye, too. We have the wow factor from the AMAs on the way.

ANDERSON: Also, two big stories to tell you about. Madonna speaking out about how she`s dealing with her divorce from Guy Ritchie. Meanwhile, Michelle Williams is talking about how she`s coping with the death of Heath Ledger, her daughter`s father.

And also, it is Obama mania.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aren`t the media crossing the line from chronicling history to merchandising it?


HAMMER: Yes. You may want to move over, Brad and Angelina, because Barack and Michelle Obama have arrived. Coming up, we`re taking a look at the new celebrity-in-chief and why all the members of the new first family are fast becoming superstars.

We`ve got the most provocative news coming your way every day. It`s the daily SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsletter. You want this thing? And I know you do. Just head on over to, click on the "sign up for newsletter" at the bottom of the page. We`re coming right back.


HAMMER: Now, on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, stars going public with their private pain. For the first time since her split, Madonna reveals what she`s going through. And Michelle Williams` emotional words about how she`s having trouble coping with Heath Ledger`s death.


HILTON: It was such a huge campaign and history, and to be involved in it was fun. And you know, I had fun with it.


HAMMER: Are you kidding me? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is right there at the American Music Awards. Paris Hilton opening us to about her failed run for the White House.

And Kanye West says he wants to be bigger than Elvis. Thank you very much. But tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s got to say, are you kidding me?

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


Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It`s 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, Kanye West, the next Elvis? Paris Hilton, presidential prognosticator? Yes, these are just two of the outrage moments from last night in Hollywood as SHOWBIZ TONIGHT was right there for the American Music Awards.

Chris Brown and Rihanna were big winners as was the ever-humble Kanye West who compared himself to Elvis. Really, Kanye, Elvis? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT had the AMAs covered from the red carpet to backstage. We were running into everyone from Miley Cyrus to the Jonas Brothers to Taylor Swift. And yes, even Paris Hilton who revealed to us how she feels her fake run for the White House affected the real election. And she has some serious thoughts.

With me tonight in New York, Ben Widdicombe who`s the editor-at-large of "Star" magazine. And in Hollywood tonight is Laura Saltman. She`s a correspondent for ""

All right. We`ve got to start off with Kanye West. Now, Kanye always has a lot to say when he loses awards. And now, he`s running off at the mouth after winning an AMA he won for favorite rap or hip hop album. Watch Kanye.


KANYE WEST, RAP ARTIST: I`m going to push this music to the point where it was like in the `60s, in the `70s where you talk about Led Zeppelin and Hendrix and the Beatles. We will be the new Beatles, the new Hendrix. They say in any other industry, you know, you`re supposed to do better than the past, you know, like computers should get smaller and faster.

But whenever you say, "I want to be Elvis," they say, "What`s wrong with you?" But I want to be Elvis.


HAMMER: Ben, I don`t know - are you like me? Do you think the sure fire way to turn people off and not become as big as Elvis is to say you want to be Elvis?

WIDDICOMBE: Well, personally, I don`t see what is so wrong with aspiring to be as great as Elvis. But he really did seem to violate some unwritten rule of American hubris by saying that because he`s got such criticism. The blogs have gone off. Everyone is hating on him for saying it.

Kanye is one of the most talented musicians of his generation. If anyone can pull it off, he can. But I think maybe for the sake of his fan base, he might want to cool it a bit.

HAMMER: Yes. I mean, sometimes, simple thank you is nice. But I think for Kanye West, it`s out of the question. Laura, I mean, really, when you look at Kanye and his history here, it`s almost become part of his shtick to say something off the wall whenever there`s an open mike around, and particularly in the award shows, right?

SALTMAN: I don`t think it`s his shtick, though. I actually think it`s who Kanye West is. He says what`s on his mind. I fell like ever since that car accident he had in 2002, he`s always just been a little bit off, like there`s something a little wrong with him and he`ll just put it out there, things that you and I would never say, he has no problem saying.

HAMMER: All right. I`m not even going to go there. I`m just going to move on. We have to talk about our favorite singer, socialite, and most recently, presidential candidate - Paris Hilton. Yes, she was right there at the American Music Awards. I`m not sure why still.

But we remember that Paris was, of course, dragged into the presidential race when John McCain compared her to Barack Obama. That, of course, sparked Paris` fake but very active campaign for president. Last night, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT had to ask Paris what she thought her impact was on the historic real campaign. Watch Paris.


HILTON: It was such a huge campaign and the history. And to be involved with it was fun. And you know, I had fun with it and did some funny spoof videos and I think raised a lot of awareness for young voters. And I had a lot of - you know, I just had fun with that. That`s what life`s about.


HAMMER: Did you happen to notice that Paris never said it inspired her to vote or that she learned from her experience? Ben, it was really one big performance for Paris Hilton, wasn`t it?

WIDDICOMBE: A.J., I have long ago surrendered to the idea that it is Paris Hilton`s world and the rest of us are just as fleas on her Chihuahua. But you know, she does have a point there. The election was fun. So I think Michelle and Barack should just have her around for sleepovers so she can make one of her videos in the Lincoln bedroom and everyone will be happy.

HAMMER: Well, you know, she certainly has stuff to say about the Obamas. And particularly, as someone who knows a thing or two about style, it was very interesting to hear her give the real winners of the presidential race, the Obamas, kudos for their style. Watch what she told SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


HILTON: I think they`re both definitely style icons. They know what they`re doing. Very charismatic. They`re a beautiful couple, a beautiful family and it`s nice to have that in the White House.


HAMMER: She actually can be eloquent when she speaks of what she knows. Laura, the Obamas have Paris` official style stamp of approval. Can they rest easy now?

SALTMAN: Oh, wow. They just should be so happy that Paris Hilton likes what they wear because she just always has to most fabulous outfits on. She never has any fashion "noes" herself ever. I mean, come on.

HAMMER: All right. Let`s just move right along to another story, big, new right now. Rosie O`Donnell feuding again with Barbara Walters. Now, Rosie was on the "Today" show this morning. She was trying to make nice after she attacked Barbara and "The View" last week.

It all started, of course, when Rosie said she felt like she had posttraumatic stress disorder from her experience working on "The View."

Well, I`ve got to tell you the "Showbiz On Call" phone lines - they went nuclear, I tell you. You`ve got to hear this one conspiracy theory from one of our viewers. Listen to this -


ANONYMOUS CALLER: This deal between Barbara Walters and Rosie O`Donnell, you all are getting played. I mean, the election is over with. Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Joy Behar have nothing else to fight about.

Now, Rosie`s got the show coming up, so why not publicize each show? You`ve got to realize Barbara Walters is very smart and Rosie O`Donnell is incredibly smart. And there`s nothing better for ratings than controversy.


HAMMER: All right. Well, Rosie has claimed this has nothing to do with publicity for her new variety show. Laura, are you with the caller here? Are we getting played or is it all about making noise for Rosie all the time?

SALTMAN: Rosie and Kanye should do a show together because the two of them, they just can`t keep their mouths shut. They have to say what they feel. I really don`t think it has anything to do with publicity for the show. I just think that somebody asked her a question and she says exactly what she feels. And I don`t think there`s anything wrong with that. I think more people should be honest in this business.

HAMMER: A lot of people are being honest with their feelings as they call on "Showbiz On Call." I`m not kidding when I tell you we`ve got a ton of phone calls.

We heard from Jackie in Michigan. Now, Jackie got on the phone, took the time out to call on "Showbiz On Call" and she thinks that although Rosie is professing her love for Barbara Walters - now, she actually said "I love you, Barbara" on national television - she feels it`s going to be long before all that love go sour once again. Listen -


JACKIE, CALLER FROM MICHIGAN: I think that Rosie is always going to have a hatchet. It`s her mouth and it`s going to keep right on, cutting away at everybody - everybody, whoever she feels that she needs to cut up. She`s a wild hatchet lady and she just isn`t going to get rid of it.


HAMMER: Yes. Wild hatchet lady. All right. Ben Widdicombe, over to you. What do you think? Is our caller, Jackie from Michigan right? Rosie is just a loose cannon. She`s going to fire away once again at Barbara or whoever it is that happens to get in her way on any particular day?

WIDDICOMBE: It sounds like Jackie has her number. Maybe Rosie next feud should be with her. Listen, Rosie is fabulous. We love her. But she is just this big steamroller with a hair and makeup budget and she will roll over anyone who gets in her way. And we wouldn`t have it any other way.

HAMMER: Now, what do you think of Laura`s idea that she had for this variety show? You know, Kanye West perhaps co-hosting with Rosie O`Donnell? I`m thinking Kanye - no, I`m thinking Rosie dressed as Elvis - maybe both of them, and they can just go nuts on people for the entire hour. Ben, I think -

SALTMAN: The ratings would be huge.

WIDDICOMBE: I think there would be blood on the studio walls if you put those two together.

HAMMER: And Laura, you`d be along with that?

SALTMAN: I think the ratings would be huge. Put those two together and let them say whatever they want. People would tune in for that.

HAMMER: Seriously, Ben, though. Do you think once the smoke clears, we`re going to see how this variety show that Rosie is doing on Thursday does? Do you think it`s going to be a quiet time again for Rosie O`Donnell or is the momentum continuing to build and she does it on her blog almost every day now?

WIDDICOMBE: I think there will be great things from Rosie on the variety special. You know, she says in a depressed economy, people want that kind of variety. The success of shows like "Dancing With The Stars" and "American Idol" show that people want that kind of soft variety entertainment. So I hope it`s a big success and she gets to see it that way.

HAMMER: It will be interesting to see if you have to have controversy to the ratings one of these days. Ben Widdicombe, Laura Saltman, thanks for being here.

All right. Brooke, you know, I bet our viewers have plenty to say about Paris and Kanye and we know they`re talking about Rosie.

ANDERSON: Yes. We would love to hear more from them, A.J. Call us at "Showbiz On Call" and let us know what you think about this or anything else that is on your mind. The "Showbiz On Call" phone lines are always open, always - 1-888-SBT-BUZZ; 1-888-728-2899. Leave a voicemail. We will play some of your calls right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

And your calls to "Showbiz On Call" are also now online on Check it out.

Hey, A.J., I had really hoped that Madonna and Guy Ritchie could make their marriage work.

HAMMER: Never like to see a marriage go down the tubes. So I`m sad it didn`t work out.

ANDERSON: Yes. Me, too. Tonight, for the first time, Madonna is speaking out just what is she going through just days after her split. How was she coping.

Also brand new, emotional words from Michelle Williams. She`s going public with her private pain about losing Heath Ledger. That`s coming up.

And also this -


HAMMER (on camera): Headlines were screaming Nicole Kidman is leaving acting. She`s quitting the business. You have to set the record straight.


OK. Is she or isn`t she? Is Nicole Kidman really leaving the biz? Is she quitting acting? I put that question directly to her when I go one- on-one with her. You`ll find out what she said, coming up.

ANDERSON: And did you see this? I bet you haven`t. Monkeys as waiters. No, they`re not going bananas. This is real. And you`ve got to see them in action. We`ve got it next.

HAMMER: And now, the SHOWBIZ news ticker, more stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news right now.

(CAPTION READS: Screen Actors Guild says it will ask members to authorize a strike. Chinese media slams Guns `N Roses "Chinese Democracy" album.)


ANDERSON: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. Tonight, big stars coping with their very private pain. Two stories new right now.

Brand new tonight, Madonna speaking out for the very first time about how she`s dealing with her divorce from director Guy Ritchie. The two were granted a preliminary divorce on Friday in London.

And Michelle Williams` emotional words in a brand-new interview about how she`s having trouble coping with Heath Ledger`s death and instead of it getting easier, it`s actually getting worse, she says.

Joining me tonight from Hollywood, Dr. Lillian Glass who`s a psychologist. Also in Hollywood, Marc Malkin, who`s an online columnist for "E!" Marc, Dr. Glass, great to see you both.

I want to begin with Madonna. On Friday, a London court granted Madonna and Guy Ritchie a preliminary divorce.

And now in a brand-new interview with the "Associated Press," Madonna says she`s thankful for her current workload saying, quote, "It provides a distraction that keeps me going. I`m sad about my personal life, but I feel very blessed and very lucky that I have the opportunity to do what I do in my professional life. It would be horrible if I was just thinking about getting a divorce and had nothing to do."

Marc Malkin, are you surprised that Madonna is being so open, so honest about this, instead of just putting on a brave, happy face?

MARC MALKIN, COLUMNIST, "E!": You know what? I`m not that surprised, because if you really look at that statement, she`s getting it both ways. She`s saying she`s really happy in her work job but she`s, you know, kind of sad because of her divorce. So she`s sort of saying, "I`m just everything. I`m sad, I`m happy," but she doesn`t really say anything. You know what I mean?


MALKIN: She doesn`t really explain it. She just says, yes -

ANDERSON: Good point.

MALKIN: Divorce is bad and my work is going really well.

ANDERSON: Yes, divorce is hard. And she`s saying that she`s thankful for the work that she does do. And we were really surprised when we learned from the court documents in their divorce that Madonna and Guy Ritchie had not been living together for some six months.

Dr. Glass, do you think that Madonna maybe is more comfortable talking about their split now because she has been coping with it privately for much longer than anybody knew?

DR. LILLIAN GLASS, PSYCHOLOGIST: Yes. I think the fact that she`s had six months to digest everything allows her to speak publicly and to deal with her feelings and the issues that are coming up.

ANDERSON: Yes. It does seem much healthier, Dr. Glass, right, than having to immediately face the public with something so painful?

GLASS: Absolutely. And I think now that she has the work to distract her, it`s a good thing. But heaven forbid that the work stops or gets a little lighter. She may have to deal with resurfaced feelings.

ANDERSON: I don`t think that`s going to happen with Madonna.

GLASS: I don`t either.

ANDERSON: She is a workhorse.

GLASS: I don`t either, but she may slow down.

ANDERSON: Yes, possibly. I want to move to Michelle Williams and her admission that she`s not coping well with Heath Ledger`s tragic death, understandably. You know, they were a couple. They had a child together. And now in a brand-new "Newsweek" interview, Michelle says that now, even 10 months later, quote, "It`s a strange thing to say, because I`m at heart an optimistic person, but I would say in some ways it just gets worse. It`s just that the more time that passes, the more you miss someone. In some ways, it`s gets worse."

Dr. Glass, quickly, as sad as this sounds, is it part of the healing process?

GLASS: This is part of the healing process and everybody grieves differently. And she also has the reminder of Heath every time she looks at her little daughter. And as the daughter gets older and asks questions, she`s going to have to deal with that as well. So there`s a lot of emotion involved. So it does go up and down, and everybody grieves differently.

ANDERSON: A lot of anguish. Marc, 10 seconds, why do you think she`s opening up now, telling the world now how she`s doing, how she`s trying to cope?

MALKIN: Because it is a question that`s going to come up over and over again. I think she sort of just, you know, put it out there, "I`m a human being. I`m going through the grieving process just like everyone else. And also, leave me alone, I have this daughter I want to take care of."

ANDERSON: Yes. She`s very brave to talk about something so raw, so private. Dr. Lillian Glass, Marc Malkin, thank you both.

HAMMER: Now the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Obama watch. Tonight, Obama mania from TV sets to magazine covers, from New York to Hollywood and everywhere in between. Let me tell you, Barack Obama was definitely on the minds of the stars at the American Music Awards on Sunday night.


ALICIA KEYS, MUSICIAN: I feel like there`s nothing we can`t do. We have a brand-new president. There`s new changes in the world. There`s nothing we can`t do. So God bless you. Thank you so much.


HAMMER: Alicia Keys just one of the many A-listers talking about Barack Obama at the AMAs. The Obamas are everywhere. They are on TV. They`re in the celebrity magazines. They are the hottest stars out there right now.

Here`s Howard Kurtz, host of CNN`s "RELIABLE SOURCES" for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT -


HOWARD KURTZ, HOST, "RELIABLE SOURCES" (voice-over): The only real controversy - which presidential giant does he most resemble? "Time" cast Obama as FDR, while "Newsweek" likened him to Lincoln.

It`s not just the news magazines like "Time," which is owned by CNN`s parent company. It`s the feature magazines, such as Time Warner`s "People," "Us Weekly," "Rolling Stone" and others that are treating him as celebrity-in-chief. And the sometimes gushing coverage extends to Michelle, Sasha and Malia.

HAMMER (voice over): This first family bumps fists, sports Blackberries, graces the cover of fashion magazines and even listens to hip-hop.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Imagine you`re Michelle Obama about to decorate the White House -your personal style, one for the history books.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is most often compared to a first lady best known for couture.

KENT JONES, POP CULTURIST: Sasha and Malia Obama visited the White House to check out their new digs.

LOLA OGUNNAIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They have managed to sort of engulf pop culture at large. And people aren`t even thinking about Brad and Angelina anymore. It`s all about Barack and Michelle.

KURTZ: Some pundits say the Obama clan, like Bill Cosby`s old TV family, the Huxtables, could change the way African-Americans are viewed. But are the media crossing the line from chronicling history to merchandising it?

Major newspapers are selling hundreds of thousands of special editions about Obama`s victory. "Newsweek" and "Time" are hawking commemorative editions. NBC is coming out with a DVD called "Yes, We Can: The Barack Obama Story." An HBO documentary is in the work, as are a slew of Obama books. And the tone -check out these headlines -- "Generation O," "Obama- ism. It`s a kind of religion." "Bamelot" - that, of course, a play on Jack Kennedy`s Camelot.

Some critics on the right say the celebratory mood has gone too far.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST, "HANNITY & COLMES": It`s almost like the messiah descending from the heavens.

KURTZ: But the president-elect also produces heavenly ratings. Sunday`s "60 Minutes" sit-down with the new first couple drew 25 million viewers - the program`s biggest audience in a decade. All this after a campaign in which studies showed Obama drew far more favorable coverage than John McCain.


HAMMER: That was CNN`s "Reliable Sources" host Howard Kurtz for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

All right. So is she or isn`t she? Is Nicole Kidman quitting acting?


(on camera): Headlines were screaming, "Nicole Kidman is leaving acting. She`s quitting the business." You have to set the record straight.


I`m going one on one with Nicole and asking her point blank. You know, there have been a lot of reports flying around that Nicole is quitting acting. Well, tonight I`m getting answers right from Nicole, next.


ANDERSON: Hey, did you see this? We are heading to Japan where there`s some real monkey business going on. A tavern north of Tokyo is using a pair of monkeys as waiters. One of them even serves drinks, too. And yes, this is totally kosher. The local authorities have approved it. And you know what`s the best part about that is? You can tip in bananas.

And did you see this, too? This is 15-year-old Nebraska high school freshman Lucas Cruickshank, a.k.a. Fred Figglehorn. And Lucas just earned the honor as YouTube`s most subscribed channel of all time for his Web- based comedy series. Lucas tells "People" magazine that he created Figglehorn, an angry, seedy-voiced 6-year-old to take fun of video bloggers. Take a listen to Fred Figglehorn.

LUCAS CRUICKSHANK, "FRED FIGGLEHORN": I`m going to go crazy. I`m going to go insane if I don`t get my meds. I need my medication. If I don`t take my meds soon, someone`s going to put me in a straitjacket. My mom said she got tied to a straitjacket once. She was tied to a bed in a straitjacket. She told me it wasn`t a good experience. Oh, my god. I`d better find my meds. I don`t want to be in a straitjacket.

Holy crap, look at that cloud right there. I think it`s starting to spin. A twister is going to come out. I`m going to go inside.


ANDERSON: And he speeds up his voice in edit. Lucas has even turned Fred into a business. He`s actually lined up sponsors.

HAMMER: I like Fred, but I want my monkey waiter.

All right. Moving on, tonight, Nicole Kidman setting the record straight about whether or not she`s really going to quit acting. Just a few days ago, Kidman shocked everyone when she said there were many things she wanted to do besides act.

So when I went one on one with her for her new movie, "Australia" which opens up on Wednesday, I had to find out, is she quitting the business?


(on camera): So here you are in this epic film with Oscar buzz. And I have to tell you, I could not help but see the irony recently when the headlines were screaming, "Nicole Kidman is leaving acting. She`s quitting the business." Can you do me a favor and set -


HAMMER: I don`t know, but you have to set the record straight for me. What is that talk about? Is there any truth to it? Are you actually thinking about it?

KIDMAN: I said in a press conference that I`m at a place in my life where I`m very at peace with where I am. And if I wasn`t to make another film, I wouldn`t be devastated.

HAMMER: So not so much a conscious thing like you`re leaving the business.

KIDMAN: No. I`m never someone to make broad statements anyway. I sort of just do my thing quietly, come and go quietly, live in Tennessee quietly. I`m trying to just, you know, operate under the radar.


HAMMER: Well, Nicole is not leaving the business. So there you go.

That`s it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

ANDERSON: And I`m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood. Remember, you can always catch SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on the 11:00s - 11:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, and in the morning, 11 a.m. Eastern.