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SHOWBIZ TONIGHT

Death Threats for the Octuplet Mom; Chris Brown-Rihanna Family Feud; Michelle Obama En Vogue

Aired February 12, 2009 - 23:00:00   ET

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


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Now, on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT - does someone want to kill the octuplet mom? Brand-new, disturbing claims that the octu-mom is now getting death threats. Plus, the fired-up debate over her new Web site asking for your money.

Tonight, would you donate to the octu-mom? And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT dares to ask, is the octu-mom becoming one of the most hated women in America?

The Chris Brown-Rihanna family feud. Tonight, the startling new war of words in the superstar singer`s alleged attack on Rihanna and is the other big shoe about to drop in the investigation?

Plus, Michelle`s in "Vogue." Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with your first extensive look at the pictures of the First Lady in her incredible "Vogue" spread.

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

(MUSIC)

Hello, I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, coming to you tonight from New York City. A.J. Hammer and Brooke Anderson have the night off.

Tonight, there are unbelievable new developments in the fascinating drama of the so-called octu-mom. Late this afternoon the publicist for the woman who gave birth to eight babies claimed that she is getting death threats - yes, death threats.

This all unfolded on national television, of all places, specifically the "Dr. Phil Show." The publicist - and yes, the octu-mom has a publicist - dropped the death-threat bombshell. But is the mother, Nadya Suleman, really in danger?

And how is this for a reality check? There are reports tonight that we could be seeing the octu-mom in her very own reality show. That show would also include her six other kids. Can you imagine what they would call the show? Let`s see, "How About 14 is Enough." Oh, bad joke.

Joining me tonight in New York, Lisa Bloom who is an anchor for the Legal Network`s "In Session;" Cooper Lawrence, who is a syndicated radio host and author of "The Cult of Celebrity;" and also in New York Marvet Britto, who is a celebrity publicist.

Ladies, let`s begin with the dramatic new developments. On the "Dr. Phil Show, the spokesperson for Nadya Suleman dropped a bombshell. She claims that Nadya and the six kids she had before the octuplets have gotten death threats. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NADYA SULEMAN`S PUBLICIST: Because of the death threat to Nadya and her family as well as the death threats to me and my agency, we had to hire personal security and we are in a secure location last week until the death threat subsided.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Lisa Bloom, death threats? Are you shocked or should we expect this, given that she`s now being called one of the most hated women in all of America?

LISA BLOOM, ANCHOR, "IN SESSION": Jane, consider the source. This is coming from her publicist who is trying to drum up some sympathy for the woman who probably is the most vilified mother in America right now. So I wouldn`t just take that with a grain of salt. I take it with an entire box of Morton salt.

Everybody in the public eye, including me, and I`m sure including you, Jane, gets some hate mail, even death threats. It`s a terrible thing. And nobody should dare do that to this mother.

But on the other hand, there are serious concerns about her and her children that we`re all voicing. And I don`t think we shouldn`t lose sight of that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but we`re tough cookies. This is not a woman who`s used to perhaps getting these kinds of threats.

Marvet, is this just totally crossing the line?

MARVET BRITTO, CELEBRITY PUBLICIST: I think the red flag for all of us was when her own mother did an interview and didn`t endorse or support her own child`s behavior. For us, we thought, well, if her mother isn`t going to support her, it gave everyone else the license to really express how they felt about her ill-willed behavior.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But Cooper Lawrence, has this turned into a persecution? I mean, after all, a lot of people say this octu-mom has issues, if you know what I mean. Doesn`t she deserve some compassion if she`s troubled?

COOPER LAWRENCE, AUTHOR, "THE CULT OF CELEBRITY": Well, the problem is, we would love to give her compassion except she`s coming across like somebody who is using her children to get fame. And I think we underestimate the need for fame and celebrity in this society.

And she seems to think that having the reality show or being on Dr. Phil and all the things she`s doing is going to equate to money. But fame and money don`t always go together. I mean, look at Jennifer Willbanks, the runaway bride. It`s that same equivalent. And I think we`re so put- off by her is because she`s not talking about these children. It`s all about her.

BLOOM: And Jane, this isn`t just something that just happened to her. This is something that she chose over and over again to have IVF babies implanted in her over and over again.

So now that she has 14 children under the age of seven that she can`t care for, she brought it all on herself and she wants us all to pay for them. I think that`s the source of the outrage.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And she wanted them over the begging and pleading of her parents not to do this. During the taping of the "Dr. Phil Show," the octuplet mom`s publicist claims that as a result of these death threats, Suleman had to make a move. Watch what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NADYA SULEMAN`S PUBLICIST: There was an anonymous donor who provided for the rent for this house. But I will tell you that my client is back home today at her house with her children.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. When news of this story first broke, that a woman gave birth to octuplets, everybody was overjoyed - a miracle, it`s wonderful. Then as the details about Nadya Suleman began to trickle in, the tone changed dramatically.

Lisa Bloom, she has a publicist now. Do you think she`s trying to make herself a more sympathetic character to increase her value for a possible entertainment deal?

BLOOM: Well, absolutely. Look, she has no money. She`s on food stamps of about $500 a month. She gets disability. She hasn`t worked since 1999. I mean, this is a horrible situation. It`s not about her. It`s about those 14 kids, three of whom have serious disabilities. And it`s just absolutely impossible, I think, that she can care for them.

So look, I hope she gets the money from somewhere, and more than that, I hope she gets support. I hope somebody volunteers to help her because she can`t do it alone. Her mom is reluctant. And apparently, she doesn`t have anyone else and it is impossible for one person to raise 14 kids all under the age of seven alone. It`s just out of the question.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cooper Lawrence, by attacking her, don`t we victimize the kids by extension?

LAWRENCE: No, I don`t see that as being - the thing is, she is using those children as victims. That`s how it comes across. You have one child that`s autistic. And I don`t know if you know anybody that has autistic children. But that one child needs all your attention.

So how is she able to support all of those children, the first six she had? Then she intentionally has eight more. I mean, it`s something that she did selfishly without thinking of the kids. We`re the ones thinking about the kids. We are the ones commenting about our concern about their development.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But for better or worse, Nadya Suleman is now one of the biggest celebrities in the whole wide world. She has now set up her own Web site, believe it or not, to ask for donations.

Marvet Britto, is this just basically a case of high tech panhandling? I mean, shouldn`t she have thought about how she was going to pay for all these kids before she had all these babies?

BRITTO: She absolutely should have. She already had the Brady Bunch at home. So before she decided to bring 14 more - even one more child into the world, she should have thought about her plan. She talks about this settlement that she got for $167,000. But after taxes, that`s not a lot of money.

So you know, we`re living in the worst economic times our country has ever seen. Now she`s adding more children to America`s bottom line. And we`re not happy about it because I didn`t choose to have children. I didn`t make that decision. But now, we all have to participate in helping her raise her kids.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And let`s not even talk about the environmental consequences of all this. People are calling her a resource hog as well. The calls keep coming into the "Showbiz on Call" phone lines and I want you to listen to what Tony from Mississippi has to say about all of this.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

TONY, CALLER FROM MISSISSIPPI: I feel that she`s - the octuplet mom is saying she doesn`t want any help, she doesn`t want any government help. But (UNINTELLIGIBLE) she is going to start her - she started her own Web site and she is asking for donations. She knew what she was getting into when she did this. She already has six children living with her mom, no job. Come on, people, let`s get real. She is in it for the money.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So the guys are upset, too. Lisa Bloom, are we being too cynical to assume she did all of this just for the cold, hard cash?

BLOOM: Yes. I don`t think she did it just for the cash. I think she did it without thinking about the money. And now, she`s hoping she can find some either from the high tech panhandling, as you say, or from a reality show or somewhere. Most of us think about whether we can have children before we conceive them no matter how we conceive.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I forgot to have them.

BLOOM: You forgot to - look, I had two. I would have loved to have more children. I didn`t think I could afford more than two and I made the hard decision, frankly, to stop there. And many people make that decision. We wish we could have big families. She seems obsessed with the idea of having a big family.

And this octu-doctor who helped her - I mean, God bless him, because I think he`s in big trouble and should be in big trouble.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. He might be the ultimate bad guy. And of course, we don`t know. There`s an investigation. We have to see what the authorities say. But certainly, it couldn`t have been done without his help.

Cooper, wasn`t she kind of working out her personal issues? She kept talking about being an only child, not having siblings growing up. Isn`t that the kind of thing you go to a psychiatrist for, not to an embryologist?

LAWRENCE: Exactly. And I`m surprised the embryologist doesn`t have some sort of psychological assessment they do on somebody that comes in so young that already has six children. I`m really surprised that they don`t- that they don`t take the responsibility. So there is some ethical question here as well.

But you know, let`s not forget, Tony, our caller, had said something about no government money. "Us Weekly" is reporting that she is receiving $30,000 a year. So she`s lying to us. So what else is she lying about? It makes her a very suspicious character and it makes me worry for the safety and the development of those children moving forward.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. She`s getting food stamps. She`s getting disability payments for three of the kids she had previously because those three have disabilities. And there`s also the big hospital bill.

Carol from Texas called into "Showbiz on Call." Listen to what she has to say about helping out Nadya.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

CAROL, CALLER FROM TEXAS: It`s interesting that all the other families who have had multiple births have had houses built for them, have had help. And yet nobody seems to be stepping up for this lady. So America, where is your compassion with this lady?

(END AUDIO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I think that`s a valid question. Thanks for your call, by the way, Carol. We haven`t heard about any big companies, let say diaper makers for example, coming forward with help.

Marvet, is that because she`s become now so totally toxic, they`re afraid to have their brand even associated with her?

BRITTO: Absolutely. Brands seek to leverage good will. And in this particular case, there isn`t any good will. You don`t even see or hear about her getting free products, which most corporations will easily send. So I`m suspecting the only endorsement or sponsorships that she could ever seek to get would be for birth control.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cooper, I don`t take it out on the kids - that was very funny, by the way. I think don`t take it out on the kids. Give them some diapers. These kids are not to blame.

BRITTO: But with the kids - she`s not speaking about the kids.

LAWRENCE: Well, that`s the problem. Every time somebody says, "Well, we used to have big families way back when." We don`t live in an agricultural society anymore. We don`t have families of people living in one house together - a mother, a father, aunts, uncles, cousins - everybody who can raise the children together.

This is a very different situation. It`s a very different time. And she knowingly had these children knowing that she was unable to care for them. So yes, I feel terrible for the children. But the fact that she was irresponsible in this is really what we`re talking about. We`re not condemning the children. We`re condemning her support choices.

BLOOM: And when we had kids the old fashioned way, the most you could have would be about one per year.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes.

BLOOM: So by the time you hit 14, you`ve got teenagers who can help with the little ones. And you have (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to observe them, not at a litter pace of about eight at a time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ladies, we could talk about this all night, and I`m sure that across America, people are. Lisa Bloom, Cooper Lawrence, Marvet Britto, thanks so much for joining us. Great insights.

And now, we want to hear from you. It is our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day - "Octuplet Mom Web Site: Would you donate money for her babies?" Vote at CNN.com/ShowbizTonight. E-mail us at showbiztonight@cnn.com.

The new developments in the Chris Brown-Rihanna alleged attack are coming fast and furious. Tonight, I can tell you there`s a family feud, a startling new war of words. And is there about to be a very big break in this investigation? Coming up.

Also this -

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s the new American First Lady on the cover of "Vogue." It`s big. This is big. This is history.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, yes. I think so too. The beautiful Michelle Obama on the cover of the fashion magazine. These pictures are really amazing and I`ve got your very first detailed look at them, coming up.

Miley Cyrus, by the way, being sued for $4 billion. That`s right, I said billion with a B. Why is somebody going after the "Hannah Montana" star for so much cash? This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

And now, the "SHOWBIZ News Ticker" - more stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news right this second.

(CAPTION READS: Nicollette Sheridan is leaving ABC`s "Desperate Housewives." "TV Week": ABC`s "The Bachelor" likely to be renewed for a 14th season.)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Check this out. It`s your first detailed look at the First Lady, Michelle Obama`s amazing spread in the March issue of "Vogue" magazine. These pictures are really, really, really gorgeous.

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell. Time now for the "SHOWBIZ Obama Watch." Tonight, your very first in-depth look at Michelle Obama`s stunning, and I mean stunning, "Vogue" magazine spread.

Legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz captures the First Lady`s down- to-earth sense of style in these amazing pictures with designer pieces from Jason Wu and J. Crew. Michelle Obama shows off her First Lady chic.

Here`s CNN`s Randi Kaye for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Michelle Obama is so en vogue she`s on the cover of "Vogue."

ANDRE LEON TALLEY, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, "VOGUE": This is big. This is history.

KAYE: "Vogue`s" Andre Leon Talley wrote the article. Famed photographer Annie Leibovitz took the pictures for the March issue.

On the cover, the First Lady in hot pink by designer Jason Wu. Inside, at the window, a sleek, black Narciso Rodriguez dress. On the couch, a J. Crew sweater set.

TALLEY: She`s constantly, I`m sure, taking notes, organizing things on legal pads for her family and for her life. So that`s a very natural picture.

KAYE: Mrs. Obama isn`t the first first lady to grace the cover of Vogue. Hillary Clinton did back in 1998. She appeared in two issues of "Vogue." So did Laura Bush.

The first first lady to be featured in a magazine was Lou Hoover, back in 1929. All but one, Bess Truman, have sat for a "Vogue" portrait since. Though Jackie Kennedy, in 1961, wasn`t photographed, she was sketched.

What makes Michelle Obama cover-worthy?

TALLEY: She represents power - it`s a power issue. She represents (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in our time and our culture. She became the first African-American First Lady of our nation.

KAYE: Like Jackie Kennedy`s trademark style, Mrs. Obama`s free spirit seems to have captured the nation, as Jay Leno quickly learned.

JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": Now, I want to ask you about your wardrobe. I`m guessing about $60,000? $60,000, $70,000 for that outfit?

MICHELLE OBAMA, UNITED STATES FIRST LADY: Actually, this is a J. Crew ensemble.

LENO: Really? Wow.

KAYE: Talley describes the First Lady`s look as quote, "totally American. The clothes do not wear her," he says, "She wears the clothes."

TALLEY: She`s not afraid of clothes. She`s not afraid of strong color. She`s not afraid of silhouettes. She knows who she is and she loves having fun with the clothes.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You can absolutely tell Michelle is having a blast with her wardrobe, whether it`s on the cover of "Vogue" or speaking at events. The First Lady is making an impact in fashion. That was CNN`s Randi Kaye for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

Now, the "Showbiz on Call" phone lines have been ringing nonstop. People are so fired-up, so passionate about the octuplet mom and her kids. Listen to this call into "Showbiz on Call" from Sue in Colorado.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SUE, CALLER FROM COLORADO: I feel that a lot of people should help her out. We`re bailing out the auto companies and banks. Why not pay for welfare for 14 children? It would be a lot better than some of those fat corporate CEOs.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you, Sue. We also heard from Lise calling in to "Showbiz on Call" from Arizona with this explosive idea.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

LISE, CALLER FROM ARIZONA: I know it may sound cruel and heartless and horrible, but I honestly believe the woman should now be sterilized. She should not be allowed to have any more children. She cannot afford them and neither can we. And I don`t think she should get a book and a movie deal. I don`t think it`s fair, not to the children.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

Thank you, Lise, for that. Check out this call into "Showbiz on Call" from Christine in Maryland.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

CHRISTINE, CALLER FROM MARYLAND: The lady that had all those babies - you kind of can compare her to Angelina Jolie, but the difference is Angelina can pay for her kids no matter where she gets them from.

Now, the woman - if you`ve got to get a reality show and go and beg for money from around the country on a Web site, she`s not using good sense.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you for that, Christine. Remember, you can call us at "Showbiz on Call" and let us know what you think about all of this or anything else - anything that`s on your mind.

The "Showbiz on Call" phone lines always open, people. Call us 1-888- SBT-BUZZ; that`s 1-888-728-2899. Leave us a voicemail and we will play some of your calls right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

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

Well, coming up, we`ve got so much more on octuplet mom, everybody just fascinated by this story. More of your "Showbiz on Call" calls, and we`re hearing that octu-lady may be getting a reality show. That`s got so many of you fired-up.

Plus, did she do, and she did this "Dateline" exclusive interview. We`re investigating this explosive question - did NBC actually pay her for that?

Also tonight, brand new Chris Brown-Rihanna developments. A family war of words. We have got to hear who is taking on who. And is there about to be a big break in the investigation?

Plus, another Michael Phelps pot-smoking scandal apology. He is saying sorry now to the Chinese. You`ve got to see this, caught on tape. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

Now the "SHOWBIZ News Ticker" - more stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news right now.

(CAPTION READS: "Entertainment Weekly": "Twilight`s director reveals why she didn`t want to direct. Catherine Hardwicke didn`t want to shoot film under budget/time constraints. Mandy Moore is engaged to rocker Ryan Adams.)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(CAPTION READS: Moviefones number one most romantic comedy of all time: "When Harry Met Sally.")

VELEZ-MITCHELL: More stories from the "SHOWBIZ News Ticker" coming up.

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell.

Tonight, Ellen is clearing the air about rumors there was a scary fire on her set. People were worried after reports came out that a whole lot of fire trucks were on the scene at the Warner Brothers` Burbank, California studio where Ellen DeGeneres shoots her talk show.

So Ellen held a press conference to explain. Take a listen to what happened when she got a frantic phone call from her wife, Portia De Rossi.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELLEN DEGENERES, HOST, "THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW": Thank you all for coming. I`m here to address the recent rumors, not those. It was reported that there was a fire in our studio and here is what happened. I was driving to work this morning and I received a call from Portia at approximately 10:00 a.m. asking me if everything was OK.

I told her I had lower back pain from working out. And she said, "No, that`s not what I`m talking about." And I said, "Did I leave my lunchbox on the counter?" And she said, "That`s not what I`m talking about either. Just please stop talking and I`ll tell you what I`m talking about." And then we fought for a minute.

And then she told me that a PA went up to her and she`s shooting a new show for ABC called "Better Off Ted" premiering Wednesday, March 18th at 8:30. Any way, so yes, you should watch it. It`s good - "Better Off Ted."

Anyway, so this PA came up to her and said, "It`s all over the Internet that Ellen`s studio is on fire. And of course, I believed her because everything on the Internet is true. And so this is what I was envisioning.

(VIDEO CLIP OF A BUILDING EXPLODING)

But that`s not what I saw when I got to work. What happened was, some fire trucks were surrounding the studio. A fire alarm was going off, water was gushing out all over the street. And suddenly, people just assumed there was a fire. And see, you know what happens when you assume, you make an ass out of you and me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She is so darn funny - love her. Well, what Ellen ended up revealing is that a sprinkler pipe burst and a small part of her studio flooded. So fortunately, no fire, people.

And now the SHOWBIZ lineup. Here`s what`s coming up at the bottom of the hour on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

New outrage over the octuplet mom possibly getting a reality show. Plus, did NBC pay her for her "Dateline" interview?

The Chris Brown-Rihanna family feud. Brand-new war of words on Brown`s alleged attack on his girlfriend.

And get this, "Hannah Montana" star, Miley Cyrus sued for $4 billion. That`s right, $4 billion with a big old B.

Now, the "SHOWBIZ News Ticker" - more stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news right this second.

(CAPTION READS: ABC announces Season 8 "Dancing With The Stars" pairs: "DWTS" pair: Rapper Lil` Kim and Season 7 champ Derek Hough. "DWTS" pair: "Access Hollywood`s" Nancy O`Dell and Tony Dovolani.)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the shocking Chris Brown-Rihanna family feud. Tonight, the new war of words in the superstar singer`s his alleged attack on Rihanna. The fired-up reaction of what family members are saying. Plus, is there about to be a big break in the investigation?

The octu-mom reality check. Tonight, is the octuplet mom really getting a reality show? And did NBC actually pay her for her exclusive interview?

Plus, more stories breaking from the SHOWBIZ News Ticker.

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 Jane Velez-Mitchell, coming to you from New York tonight. A.J. Hammer and Brooke Anderson have the night off.

Tonight, the late-breaking developments in the Chris Brown-Rihanna drama. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can now reveal that the superstar young singer is waiting for the other legal shoe to drop in the investigation into his alleged attack on his superstar girlfriend.

And he`s reportedly waiting it out in a city far away from the scene of the alleged crime. And wait until you hear an explosive new interview with Chris Brown`s stepfather.

Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT with the brand new developments that are making big news right now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice over): Los Angeles police continue to investigate the reported physical altercation between singers Rihanna and Chris Brown. And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you, as this shocking and violent story plays out in public, both stars are spending a lot of time in private.

MARC MALKIN, "E! NEWS ONLINE": Chris Brown and Rihanna have definitely gone into hiding.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: "E-News Online`s" Marc Malkin tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Chris Brown, who was last seen in this Hollywood TV video soon after he was released on bail, is now holed up in, of all places, Las Vegas.

MALKIN: Chris is currently staying in a suite at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. He`s definitely hiding out. He`s not, you know, roaming around Las Vegas. This is someone who does not want to be seen.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: As for Rihanna, she`s also staying behind closed doors.

MALKIN: From what I`m told, Rihanna is still at her home in the Los Angeles area. She, too, is hiding out. She does not want to be seen. She`s not going to be making any public appearances.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Meanwhile, the cops continue to look into that incident on a Hollywood street the night before the Grammies. An incident that ended with Chris Brown booked for suspicion of making criminal threats and Rihanna suffering what`s described to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT as visible injuries.

MALKIN: Right now, the Los Angeles County DA has the case. They`ve asked police for more information, more evidence and then they will decide if they`re going to press charges.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, as prosecutors decide whether to charge Brown, the singer`s family`s life is coming under scrutiny, including his childhood experience with domestic abuse.

In a 2007 interview with "Giant" magazine, Brown claims that during his childhood, his former stepfather, quote, "used to hit my mom. He made me terrified all the time." For good measure, Brown added, "I hate him to this day."

Now for the first time, Brown`s ex-stepfather is speaking out.

DONNELLE HAWKINS, CHRIS BROWN`S FORMER STEPFATHER: There was no kind of domestic violence.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: In an interview with "Access Hollywood," the ex- stepfather, Donelle Hawkins, denied ever hitting Brown`s mother. And he had these words for his former stepson.

HAWKINS: Chris, I personally want to apologize for anything I may have said or done to offend you. I wish you much success in your career. But at the same time, you have to stop pointing the finger. You have to stop blaming me for your problems.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Meanwhile, a big celebrity is eating his statements of support for Chris Brown.

TERRENCE HOWARD, ACTOR: It`s just life, man. Chris is a great guy.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: In this "Hollywood TV" video, we see Terrence Howard praising Chris Brown and seeming to talk about Brown`s troubled relationship with Rihanna.

HOWARD: He`ll be all right. Rihanna knows he loves her. They`ll be all right. Everybody got to get out of their way.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But now, Howard is changing his tune. In a statement to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the actor says, quote, "When they asked me about Chris Brown the other day, I was in no way aware of what he had been accused of. Had I known, I would have never said something so insensitive."

MALKIN: This is something obviously everyone is taking quite seriously.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rihanna and Chris Brown remain apart and behind closed doors. And neither one is saying anything publicly. And it`s looking like the next words we`ll hear about this case will be from the authorities.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

With Chris Brown apparently in hiding and the police digging deeper into the investigation, should he be worried the other shoe is about to drop? And what are Hollywood stars saying about this whole mess?

Joining me tonight in Hollywood, Jerry Penacoli who is a correspondent with "Extra." Also joining me tonight, Ben Widdicombe, who is the celebrity editor for "StyleList.com." Great to see both of you, gents.

We`re going to start off with this investigation. We know the investigation is back in the hands of the LAPD, which begs the question, how much worse could this get for Chris Brown?

Jerry, should we expect some bombshell development here?

JERRY PENACOLI, CORRESPONDENT, "EXTRA": Jane, there`s probably two scenarios that could happen here for the DA`s Office to kick this back to police means one of two things - either Chris Brown is going to get lucky and he`ll be dealing with lesser charges because there`s not enough evidence. Or there`s going to be the huge bombshell, it`s going to be a huge, huge domestic violence case built against Chris Brown.

And we know that Rihanna is, in fact, cooperating with the authorities as we speak. She`s in hiding, of course, as has been laid out in your piece there. But she`s definitely communicating with police at this time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is getting so messy. Chris Brown`s relatives have been speaking out. We know Chris` sister has been defending him, telling "Extra" he`s never, never been a violent guy.

But as we just heard, Chris` former stepfather, Donnelle Hawkins, had another story to tell. Hawkins denied Chris` claims that Hawkins had abused Chris` moms.

Now, Ben, this war of words - this doesn`t help Chris in the court of public opinion, does it?

BEN WIDDICOMBE, CELEBRITY EDITOR, "STYLELIST.COM": Well, it certainly doesn`t help Chris if anyone is out there questioning his credibility, although he obviously has bigger problems right now the story he once told about his stepfather.

Interestingly, it was reported this week by one of the magazines that Donnelle Hawkins actually blinded himself with a gun he was holding in his own hand during an argument with his former wife. And if that`s true, it clearly indicates that he`s not a nice guy. So maybe his credibility is in question.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Can you say "anger management?" Chris Brown is not getting a whole lot of sympathy out there. But Rihanna is getting an outpouring of support from all of Hollywood. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT caught up with Beyonce`s sister, Solange Knowles, who had a message for Rihanna. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SOLANGE KNOWLES, SINGER: I definitely send my encouragement to Rihanna and keeping her in prayers. It`s really a hard situation to live your life in front of the world, especially as a young girl.

And, you know, I, if anyone, can testify to that. I think before she makes a statement that it`s important for everyone out there to sort of respect the privacy of both parties.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, Solange said it so well. And other Hollywood stars have also been rallying around her. Jerry, what do you think Rihanna needs right now, privacy more than ever?

PENACOLI: Oh, absolutely. I mean, if the young woman is beaten and battered, then obviously, she`s going to stay behind closed doors until she heals. But more than that, besides the physical bruises, there`s a lot of emotional scarring.

So the girl needs as much privacy as she can get right now. And that`s crucial to her healing at this point, of course.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rihanna is also getting a whole lot of support from fans on her MySpace page. Listen to what one Rihanna fan, Regina, wrote. I love this letter: "I am praying for you, hun. I know what it`s like. Just be strong and pray for him, too, because he grew up around it. But give yourself time to heal. And maybe in the future, you can use this experience to help other young ladies understand that it can happen to any one of us."

We need to say, Chris Brown is innocent until proven guilty. We have to say that over and over. But Ben, what does it say this is striking such a chord with so many young people?

WIDDICOMBE: Well, I think it says two things. One, it speaks to the incredible affection that Rihanna`s fans have for her. I`ve interviewed Rihanna and I`ve spent time with her. And she struck me as every bit as lovely in person as her image would suggest she is.

But the other thing also is that a lot of people unfortunately have personal experience with abusive relationships, either with themselves or in their families. So I think it`s really bringing home to a lot of people that they recognize this happening in their own lives. And they have a lot of sympathy for her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Jerry, do you think anybody out there is sympathizing with Chris Brown?

PENACOLI: Of course. You know, he deserves his due process like any other person undergoing something like this. But I`ll tell you, right now, I mean, radio stations are pulling his songs. Advertisers are pulling their promo campaigns with him.

So I mean, the guy is in a little bit of trouble. I would not want to be his publicist right now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, Ben, a quick prediction - is Brown`s career done, no matter what the outcome or not?

WIDDICOMBE: Well, you know, even though I think hitting a woman is about as bad as it gets, I think his youth is on his side. If he`s guilty of this, I think it is possible he could come back in the fullness of time because he is still only 19.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: He is. And I`ll say it again, anger management lessons. Jerry Penacoli, Ben Widdicombe, thanks so much.

Here is a wild question for you. Is the octuplet mom about to get her own reality show? The jobless single mother of 14 reportedly shopping for a TV gig. Will it be must-see TV or just an onscreen train wreck?

Miley Cyrus sued for an absolutely outrageous $4 billion - yes, $4 billion. Who in the world is doing this? Are you kidding me? Apparently not.

And Michael Phelps is apologizing again about his pot photo scandal. Just wait until you see a brand-new apology video he made for all his fans in China. But we`ve got our hands on it right here. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

And now, the "SHOWBIZ News Ticker" - more stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news right at this very minute.

(CAPTION READS: "Dark Knight" sequel at least a year away. "Batman" sequel to shoot this summer and releases summer 2010. Prince Harry to go to sensitivity training after making racial slurs.)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell. A.J. Hammer and Brooke Anderson are off tonight. The octu-mom reality check. Is the woman who just gave birth to octuplets about to get her own reality show?

Octuplet mom Nadya Suleman now has 14 children, and no job. Is she going to pay the bills by starring in her own reality show? And is that wrong?

Joining me tonight in New York, Lisa Bloom, who is an anchor for the Legal Network`s "In Session." Also tonight in New York, Cooper Lawrence, who is a psychology expert and syndicated radio show host.

So much to talk about. Let`s start with these reports that the octu- mom has been approached to have her own reality TV show. So let me set up what - let see - the premise might be.

A single mom with 14 kids, eight of them newborns. Lives in a three bedroom home and tends to her family while getting her college degree on the side. Lisa, is this the makings of a perfect reality show or a horror show?

BLOOM: OK, look, let me explain how reality shows get sold, OK? A lot of people, I`m sure, contacted her saying, "Hey, we think you should do a reality show." But a production company has to buy it and then it gets sold to either a cable or a network station.

I predict that is never going to happen. I talked to some people in reality TV today and they all said forget it. This is toxic. Nobody wants to get near it.

Advertisers do not want to get near it. And so while some people might want to attach themselves to her and try sell a show, it is just not going to sell. Not in this climate. I say no.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I disapprove but I would still watch the way you watch a car wreck. I mean, this gives a new twist to the phrase "must-watch TV," Cooper.

LAWRENCE: Well, you know, I work on a reality show on VH1, and will tell you, Lisa is 100 percent right. Getting a show sold is nearly impossible. And I have to tell you, you do not become a millionaire working in reality television.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You don`t?

LAWRENCE: No, no. That`s the whole idea of reality television. It`s really cheap to make. That`s why they love reality television. It doesn`t cost a lot.

BLOOM: Yes, and you`ve got to compete with all the shows like "American Idol" and that hole-in-the-wall show. I mean, forget it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And your show, Lisa.

BLOOM: And my show - yes, with the ultimate reality show on Court TV, "Tru TV." Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. We asked about all of this at our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day, both on air and online. We asked, "Octuplet Mom: Should she get her own reality show?" Now, you won`t believe the results. Four - only four percent said yes; 96 percent of you say no. You voted people.

LAWRENCE: Now, we know how well her ratings are going to go. So there you go.

(CROSS TALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: They could love to hate her, though. They could love to hate her.

BLOOM: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s hear from that four percent that say she should have a reality show. They`ve been calling to our "Showbiz on Call" phone lines like you will not believe. Listen to Nichelle from Connecticut.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

NICHELLE, CALLER FROM CONNECTICUT: Let her make as much money as she wants for her kids and just go on any reality TV show that she wants. Or just let her do what the heck she wants and make as much money as she needs for her children.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thanks, Nichelle. Now, they certainly could not shoot a reality show in the tiny three-bedroom home she now lives in that`s already overcrowded and messy.

Lisa, they couldn`t even get the cameras in, much less the photographers and the directors and the producers. So of course, they would have to move her to a Malibu beach house, right?

BLOOM: Well, I think there are other large homes outside of Malibu. I`m not sure. I`ll have to check on that. Look, I`m with the four percent because these babies are here and we have to be concerned about them. They have to have a good life.

And frankly, they`re the responsibility of all of us. And so if somebody donates a house, if somebody donates diapers and food and personal help to this family, God bless them because they need it.

I mean, I think we should be concerned about the future, stopping other people from doing this, getting into this situation. But since those kids are here, I mean, they`ve got to have a way to thrive and survive.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think people are afraid because if they help her, they think it`s encouraging others to try to cash in as well.

Now, this woman obviously needs money and there has been wide speculation that NBC paid the octuplet mom for their smash hit interview. This is an interview that out-rated the "60 Minutes" interview with that hero pilot "Sulley" Sullenberger.

Well, NBC says, no way. And in a very stern statement, they told SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, quote, "NBC News does not pay for interviews. We did not pay Nadya Suleman or anyone who represents her for our interview. We didn`t license a single photo or video from her or anyone who represents her. Any reports or so-called sources that suggest otherwise are totally wrong."

Well, if NBC didn`t pay for the interview, then Lisa, why did she do it for free? She`s desperate for money at this point.

BLOOM: Yes. I`ll tell you why and I believe NBC, because I worked for the CBS "Early Show" and I know how tough the bookings are. We don`t pay for interviews either. And then morning shows all say they don`t.

Many times they`ll pay for transportation, hotel, meals, if somebody flies in and they will pay to license photos or videos. But they say in that statement, they did not even do that.

But when you get a booking, you tell somebody it`s in their interest to come on. She probably was hoping that she would get a reality show by publicizing her story, getting on the number one morning show, having all those millions of viewers seeing it.

So they probably persuaded her, "Look, we`re going to give you a soft interview. We`re going to let you tell your side. The world wants to know. Come on the `Today` show. Everybody will see you, and maybe book and movie deals will follow." That`s probably how they sold it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And maybe she`s hoping, "Hey, they have some cable network that`s going to give me a show down the road." Now, you can`t deny the truly odd twist in terms of this story.

Take this, shocking pictures of the octuplet mom`s home. It`s messy, overstuffed - three-bedroom apartment, already maxed out with her six kids who currently live there.

Cooper, if Child Services takes a good hard look at these photos, do you think there`s a chance - and I`m almost afraid to ask - that they will refuse to allow those eight babies to go home?

LAWRENCE: There`s a very good chance. And more than that, my main concern is the fact that now, the six children are going to be in charge of raising the eight children. And it doesn`t give a child a chance to be a child and to grow and develop.

And the oldest child is seven, right? So I think if Child Services walks in and sees that a 7-year-old is in charge of diapering and feeding - and then, let`s not forget, for people that have children, they know this well. Children don`t sleep through the night for a very long time.

(CROSS TALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is so important. Let`s take a look at part of the interview with the octuplet mom. She told NBC`s Ann Curry that if Child Protective Services wants to investigate her, bring it on. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NADYA SULEMAN, OCTUPLET MOM: They can if they want and they can come and visit. Any kind of Child Protective Service could come and visit any time they want. When they see the interaction I have with my children and the love that`s there. Because no - I`m definitely - I am having help. I`m receiving help already.

So, yes, this takes - what is it? It takes a village to raise a child. Well, this will take a lot of villages.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lisa, we`ll have a couple seconds. What is she talking about, a lot of villages?

BLOOM: She`s created a village in one fell swoop. I think child protective services should come in. There is imminent of child neglect. Families with low incomes are more likely to have neglect in the home. Families with four or more children, twice as likely to have neglect in the home. So these children are at serious risk and CPS should go in and investigate.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got to go. Lisa Bloom, Cooper Lawrence, thank you so much.

BLOOM: Thank you.

LAWRENCE: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Just incredible. We`ve been asking you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day - "Octuplet Mom Web Site: Would you donate money for her babies?" Keep voting at CNN.com/ShowbizTonight. Or E-mail us at showbiztonight@cnn.com.

Miley Cyrus in hot water again. This time, she might have to pay up big time. The shocking story of how the pop sensation is being sued for an astonishing $4 billion bucks. The incredible story you don`t want to miss. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

Now, the "SHOWBIZ News Ticker" - more stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news right now.

(CAPTION READS: Britain`s Royal Opera plans show about Anna Nicole Smith. "Idol" contestant Joanna Pacitti disqualified; Fox gives no official reason.)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell with some more stories that are making news right now.

Michael Phelps makes a brand-new video apologizing to his Chinese fans for his marijuana photo scandal just days before pictures of Phelps smoking pot at a college party surfaced.

The swimming phenomenon inked a multimillion dollar deal to represent Mazda in China. And, get this, Mazda`s deal with Phelps is the largest for any western celebrity in China.

Now, the record-breaking Olympic swimmer is saying he is sorry to his millions of Chinese friends as a way to make sure he hangs onto that big money endorsement deal. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL PHELPS, OLYMPIC SWIMMING CHAMPION: To my Chinese friends, as many of you know, I recently engaged in a behavior that was regrettable and not what people have come to expect from me. The past few days have been tough for me.

But I`ve received support and encouragement online from so many Chinese friends. I will learn from these mistakes, train hard, and make you proud again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mazda joins a long list of sponsors who are sticking by Phelps after his pot photo scandal. So far, only Kellogg`s has said it would not renew Phelps` endorsement deal because of his, quote, "recent behavior."

And speaking of photo scandals, there`s new fallout over a recent photo of Miley Cyrus posing with friends and slanting her eyes. Some had called the pose racially insensitive towards Asians.

Now, a California woman is suing Cyrus for allegedly mocking Asians. The woman wants $4 billion. Yes, $4 billion.

Why $4 billion? The woman claims to represent more than a million Asian Pacific islanders in Los Angeles and is demanding Cyrus pay each and every one of them $4,000 in damages for violating their civil rights.

Cyrus has apologized and says her pose was not meant to be hurtful.

Wednesday - we asked you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day - "Octuplet Mom: Should she get her own reality show?" Four percent of you said yes; 96 percent of you said no. That is wild.

Here are some of the E-mails we got. Linda from North Carolina writes, "Let the mom with the octuplets have a reality show. Then she can afford to feed and clothe her kids."

Michelle from Michigan writes, "I would like to see her get help for the children but not a reality show at their expense."

And Jessie from Florida writes, "That octuplet mom can and must have a reality show but the money should go to the hospital to pay for the services."

That is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I am Jane Velez-Mitchell in New York. Remember, you can catch SHOWBIZ TONIGHT in the 11:00s - 11:00 p.m. Eastern, 11:00 p.m. Pacific, and in the morning at 11:00 a.m. Eastern on HLN.

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