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Elizabeth Edwards on the Defense; Mel Gibson`s Girlfriend Pregnant?; Controversy Over Oprah`s Weight; Trouble With the Gosselin Family

Aired May 19, 2009 - 23:00:00   ET


ROBIN MEADE, CNN HN HOST: What is the most provocative entertainment news on television? It is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It`s next, so stay tuned. And then tomorrow morning, be sure to watch MORNING EXPRESS with me, Robin Meade.

A.J. HAMMER, CNN HN HOST: Now on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, Elizabeth Edwards on the defensive. Tonight in her most raw interview yet, John Edwards` cancer- stricken wife grilled by "The View." Did Elizabeth really write her tell- all book for revenge? Why is she doing a media tour instead of spending time with her children?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Out of al of the interviews that Elizabeth Edwards has done, this is definitely the toughest.


HAMMER: But SHOWBIZ TONIGHT asks, is it unfair to criticize Elizabeth?

Who dares to tell Oprah Winfrey to lose weight? Tonight one of the biggest names in Hollywood tells Oprah to shed some pounds. Yeah, Oprah.

And get this, Oprah actually does it. Really? Tonight the shocking story of who got Oprah to go on a diet.

And Mel Gibson`s girlfriend reportedly pregnant. Tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT asks will Mel`s girlfriend reportedly having a baby hurt his image? Or is it no big deal? 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. Tonight, Elizabeth Edwards gets grilled. A brand new interview with John Edwards` wife, put her on the defensive big time. Today, it was the ladies of "The View" in one corner, and Elizabeth in the other in the most raw interview that I`ve seen with her yet. They really put the pressure on Elizabeth over her tell-all book about her husband`s affair and her battle with terminal cancer.

And I`ve got to tell you, Barbara Walters did not hold back asking tough, tough questions about everything, from John`s mistress` baby, to whether Elizabeth used the book to get revenge. And the whole thing made me squirm at times. Tonight "The View" taking on Elizabeth Edwards is making big news right now.


BARBARA WALTERS, "THE VIEW": How would you describe the state of your marriage?


HAMMER (voice-over): Elizabeth Edwards got "The View" treatment Tuesday morning taking tough questions about her fight against cancer and her husband, former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards` scandalous affair.

KIM SERAFIN, "IN TOUCH WEEKLY": Out of all of the interviews Elizabeth Edwards has done, this was definitely the toughest.

WALTERS: If you were not ill, would you have left John?

EDWARDS: I don`t think so.

HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you "The View" grilled Edwards about her husband`s affair with freelance videographer Rielle Hunter.

SERAFIN: This woman has a child, John Edwards says it`s not his child.

HAMMER: Edwards was asked about the child on "The View".

EDWARDS: Somebody`s the father of the child. The fact doesn`t change my relationship with my husband.

HAMMER: Edwards gave a similar answer in her earlier appearances on "Oprah".

EDWARDS: That doesn`t make any difference to me. This is not my life.

OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: Whether that child is or .


HAMMER: And Larry King.

EDWARDS: If it never came up, that would be fine with me.

WALTERS: I`m not sure I understand.

HAMMER: On "The View," Edwards had to deal with the next difficult question.

WALTERS: If it does turn out this is your husband`s child, would you leave him?

EDWARDS: No. My relationship with my husband is not changed by this. Whatever it turns out, he did what he did, and that`s the problem with our marriage.

SERAFIN: She doesn`t seem to really care if it`s John`s child.

HAMMER: Edwards has written about the affair and the fallout in her new book "Resilience". And "The View" pressed her about the effect writing that tell-all had on the couple`s three children.

WALTERS: Were you at al concerned, especially for your little children that writing so intimately about your intimate affairs with your husband might embarrass them, might make it more difficult at school?

EDWARDS: I wrote it from my perspective, the things I went through. I went through these things in my house, with my children. You try to shield them as much as possible, but if you`re screaming at your husband, they`re going to know it.

HAMMER: And on "The View", Edwards had to face up to one of the harshest questions thrown her way. Why did she campaign for her husband if she knew about his secret infidelity months before the public found out?

WHOOPI GOLDBERG, "THE VIEW": You stood by his side and were out there knowing if they won, if someone were to find this out, we`d be perhaps in four more or eight more years of hell with that. And that was OK with you?

EDWARDS: What I believed that happened was I was talking about one night. You know, and did I think that one night, one, you know, one moment of weakness was going to sink him?

WALTERS: If you had known then, would you still think this is a man who would be a great president? Would you still have campaigned?

EDWARDS: I still think it`s possible for people to have personal human failings and still have policies.

SERAGIN: She keeps going back to that same idea. That she said, look, when I initially found out about this, I just thought it was one night. I didn`t realize this was a long-term bigger kind of relationship.

HAMMER: Edwards has stage IV breast cancer that`s now spread to other parts of her body. She says doctors don`t know how much or how little time she has left. But she told "The View", she and her husband are working on their marriage.

JOY BEHAR, "THE VIEW": Do you trust him now?

EDWARDS: Not entirely. I`ve been called naive and perhaps I am, but I`m not that naive. He has a lot of work to do to rebuild that trust.

HAMMER: And it`s clear Edwards is working hard to clear up burning questions people have about her very public and very sad story.

SERAGIN: I think she did want to kind of state these questions and answer a lot of the criticism that she was up against.


HAMMER (on camera): All right. So was all of that grilling really fair? Well, joining me tonight in New York Ashleigh Banfield who is anchor from the network "In Session." Also tonight in New York Midwin Charles, attorney for the law firm Midwin Charles and Associates.

So there is no doubt, Elizabeth Edwards has put herself out there and under intense fire for opening up so intimately about her life in this book and on television. And I`ve got to tell you, today`s "View" was really no exception. Barbara said they were just asking the questions that everybody in America`s wondering about right now. Ashleigh, off to you first. Is that fair? Or did they come down a little too harsh on Elizabeth Edwards?

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, "IN SESSION": First of all, "The View" has started to really come into its own in terms of being a journalistic force to be reckoned with. The truth of the matter is Barbara ain`t Oprah and ain`t Tyra and ain`t any of those other folks who don`t have several decades of network news journalist under their belt. I think Elizabeth Edwards is a smart, shrewd woman, she`s a lawyer, she knows exactly the group she was going into meet with and she had to know this was coming. I think it was entirely fair. The questions are fair. You put yourself out there, you`re going to have to face the music.

HAMMER: We do see it sometimes from "The View" when John McCain was on. The grilling was pretty tough. It happened again with Elizabeth Edwards. What do you think, Midwin, were they just doing their jobs and just getting the answers to the questions that everybody wants the answers to?

MIDWIN CHARLES, ATTORNEY: I think they were doing their job and I think it was appropriate. Everyone wants to know why is she doing this at a time when she is deathly ill, gravely ill. And whether or not she should be focusing on spending time with her children and her family. So I think the women of "The View" were doing their job, making it very difficult for her and asking those tough questions that everyone wants to know.

HAMMER: Well, you mentioned she is gravely ill. She, of course, to remind everybody is suffering from terminal cancer and the big grill on "The View" today so to speak when Barbara asked the pointed question about why she would spend all of this precious time out promoting her book when she could be spending time with her kids. Watch this.


WALTERS: Would you not be spending whatever days you have with the children rather than writing a book.

EDWARDS: I often said I wish I knew the answers. If I`m living one year, I`d live it much differently than if I`m living 10.

WALTERS: You don`t think you should spend these golden days, let`s say, with your children?

EDWARDS: I think that my children -- I want my children to know a lot of things about me after I`m gone. But one of them is that I cared about things outside of my own life and I tried to make a difference in those areas.


HAMMER: Elizabeth almost got a little uncomfortable there. A lot of people may be saying the same thing, wondering the same thing. What do you think, Ashleigh, did "The View" perhaps come of looking a little insensitive by asking something like that?

BANFIELD: Girl talk is not always a coffee klatch. So, no, I don`t think so. And here is what I also think. Elizabeth Edwards, God bless her, is writing her own story. I think she`s saying I don`t have a lot of time to set my legacy, and I ain`t going to let a bunch of people set it for me. That`s why I`m doing this. I know what I`m doing, come at me with what you have, and I`ll give you what I`ve got.

HAMMER: To your exact point, Ashleigh, Barbara asked another pointed question to Elizabeth Edwards about her precise motivations for writing the book, and this is how she put it.


WALTERS: Is part of it revenge?

EDWARDS: Part of the grieving process is not revenge. I think a lot of people feel the need for revenge. You see it when the cause of death, for example, is caused by somebody else. Almost as often as you see the need for revenge, you`ll see a parent who forgives the drunk driver.

WALTERS: Sometimes it`s writing a book.

EDWARDS: If I wanted revenge, if I wanted revenge in this book I would have paid more than 20 pages on this.


HAMMER: Midwin, Elizabeth right there making her case, I think doing a pretty good job at it. But then Barbara pressed the question even further. And this is a question we`ve all been looking for a solid answer to. Do you think Barbara pressed too hard? And did you see the look on Barbara`s face?

CHARLES: I did see the look on her face. I think Barbara is doing what she does best, which is being a journalist at heart and looking for answers to those hard questions. But I do disagree with her on one point. Elizabeth Edwards is a capable woman, she is a professional woman, she`s entirely capable of writing a book, promoting a book, and spending time with her children. Women are multifaceted and they can do more than one thing at one time. So for Barbara to suggest that by her promoting this book she`s somehow taking time away from her children, I think it`s unfair.

HAMMER: And for anybody who is suggesting that she is getting too tough a grilling, the truth is, you know, Elizabeth Edwards wrote this book, was very candid in the book. So Ashleigh, she really does open herself up to all kinds of grilling about everything she writes about, doesn`t she?

BANFIELD: The grilling is fine, the questions are fine. It`s the opinion columns that have been pretty scathing. And I think pretty nasty. Let`s not forget she has terminal cancer, and she`s been a victim of not only losing a child, but also having this unfaithful person in her life. I think we all need to step back and give her a bit of a break, but at the same time, but responsible in our jobs and ask the right questions. It`s all in the tone. It`s all in the opinions.

HAMMER: I`m with you, Ashleigh. Thanks so much, Ashleigh Banfield, Midwin Charles, I appreciate it.

All right. Moving on. Mel Gibson`s girlfriend Oksana (ph) is reportedly pregnant. This obviously has everybody talking. Mel and his wife just announced they`re splitting up, then Mel trots out Oksana right after that, so tonight I`ve got to ask, is Mel`s girlfriend reportedly being pregnant going to hurt his image or really is this no big deal? That is coming up.

Let me tell you, this is a big deal. Who dares to tell Oprah Winfrey to lose weight? One of the biggest names in Hollywood, that`s who. And get this, Oprah listens.

Also this .


KATE GOSSELIN, REALITY SHOW: It`s a very, very full-time job. It comes with a lot of public, you know, scrutiny as is evidenced in the current media.


HAMMER: Tonight I`ve got the very first photos of Jon & Kate after their cheating scandal broke. Plus we are getting tons of your e-mails on whether or not they should pull the plug on their reality show. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

Now the showbiz news ticker. More stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news right now.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sorry I`m going to miss your race.

BILL COSBY, ACTOR: It`s all right.

No, to late, you`re wasting our money.


HAMMER: That is Bill Cosby, Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable, cracking up his on screen daughter Rudi on the set of "The Cosby Show". Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. Tonight, the Huxtables reunite. Can you believe it`s been 25 years since it first aired on NBC. Well, this morning on the "Today" show, the cast reunited and all reminisced about their iconic eight-year run. And you`ve got to hear about what Bill Cosby had to say about who was behind the show`s comedic genius. Take a look.


MATT LAUER, NBC NEWS: I like the fact while we were showing those clips you`re still laughing at them. Because we`ve had casts on in the past and they`re kind of over they don`t want to watch anymore. You still get a kick out of that, don`t you?

COSBY: Yes, because our stuff is funny. It`s funny and if there`s love there, it`s all genuine, it`s real, and we had a director by the name of Sandrich who led the way in editing. And he did different things from the usual. He would stay on someone knowing that that person had to react to a statement that one of the children made that would make no sense. So it was better to hear the line from the kid and just stay on her face .

LAUER: To get the reaction.

COSBY: She was the mother that I know and that I think regardless of race, color or creed people all around the world know the mother with the eyes.


HAMMER: I know director Jay Sandrich and just a brilliant, brilliant director. Malcolm-Jamal Warner played Theo on the show, and he told Matt Lauer`s the key to the success was Bill Cosby`s vision for a series that would be relevant in the future.


MALCOLM-JAMAL WARNER, ACTOR: One of the brilliant things about Mr. Cosby`s vision is back then he was very clear that he wanted the show to be timeless. There were times where I wanted to put some slang in Theo`s dialogue and he would say no, that would date the show. Because people use that word now. Let`s make up slang so in 20 years this show is still relevant. It`s amazing here we are 25 years later and the show is just as funny and just as meaningful and just as relevant as it was.


HAMMER: He definitely speaks the truth. Every now and then I`ll be surfing around, I`ll catch a "Cosby Show" on TV and you can`t turn it off. Still very, very relevant and always very funny.

Moving on now to Michelle`s museum moment. "Vogue`s" Anna Wintour (ph) was among the big-named celebrities who helped first lady Michelle Obama christen the newly renovated American art wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Wintour, designer Ralph Lauren and dozens of New York`s most chic attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The first lady stressed the importance of people at every economic level having access to art. She also recalled one of her trips to a Chicago art museum more than 20 years ago. It was a first date with the guy who would later become her husband. Michelle Obama tells "The Daily News", quote, "After 20 some odd years of knowing a guy, you forget that your first date was at a museum. But it was and it was obviously wonderful. It worked."

Well our "Showbiz on Call" phone lines continue to ring with a lot of people calling in about Farrah Fawcett`s gripping cancer documentary. We got a call to "Showbiz on Call" from Nancy in Virginia.

Nancy says she can relate to what Farrah`s been going through.


CALLER: I think it`s great what Farrah did, and I lost my mother to lung cancer, and I know how painful it was to watch her go through what she went through. But for other people it would be helping them to encourage them to keep pressing on, to fight hard. And I think that`s a great thing that Farrah did. And I just applaud her for that.


HAMMER: We also heard from Regina calling into "Showbiz on Call" who is furious about the lawsuit filed against Ryan O`Neal over the film.


CALLER: I am so, so mad, I can`t hardly see straight about Farrah`s business associate suing her. Or actually suing her company or whatever. I just cannot believe that people are so incompassionate. This is just unbelievable to me. I am appalled.


HAMMER: Thanks a lot, Regina. Give us a holler at "Showbiz on Call" to let us know what you think about this or anything at all. The "Showbiz on Call" phone lines are open all the time for that very reason. And the number is 1-888-SBT-BUZZ. 1-888-728-2899.

All right, you have got to see this brand new picture I`ve got of Jon and Kate from "Jon & Kate Plus 8." This is the first photo of them after all the cheating scandal stuff broke. We are getting flooded with your e- mails. Our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT viewers fired up. Should they pull the plug on their show? That is coming up.

Also Mylie Cyrus furious about being called fat. That`s right, some people are calling the 16-year-old "Hannah Montana" star fat. She`s 16, come on.

And Oprah`s brand new weight battle. This is wild. One of Hollywood`s biggest names tells her, hey, you may want to lose a few pounds, Oprah. And Oprah actually listened. Yup.

This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN Now the "Showbiz News" ticker. More stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news right now.


HAMMER: Did you see this? It`s Cheesus. A Cheeto that a couple swears looks like Jesus. Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, I`m A.J. Hammer, with more stories that are making news right now. Look at this. Dan and Sarah Bell of Dallas, Texas, found a Jesus-shaped Cheeto. They bought a 99 cent bag at a gas station while they were on a road trip and they`ve nicknamed their Cheeto Cheesus. So the big question, what are they going to do with Cheesus now?


SARAH BELL, HAS JESUS SHAPED CHEETO: My first reaction was let`s put this on eBay. And we said, how much do you think we should ask for it?

DAN BELL, HAS JESUS SHAPED CHEETO: It could be 25 cents, it could be $25. If it`s only 25 cents, we`re probably just going to eat it.

HAMMER: I think they should put it on their dash board. Certainly one cheesy story. Here`s what I want to know about Cheetos, how do you get the orange powder off your hands? Anyone.

Tonight, Kanye West says heck no, I`m not guilty. Pleading not guilty to charges of battery, grand theft and vandalism. Accused of smashing a paparazzo`s camera last September. The guy was trying to take pictures of him getting on a plane. That camera, I should point out, no drug store disposable model. Oh no, this is a video camera supposedly worth $10,000. No comment from Kanye. His next scheduled court date, July 15.

And Donald Trump is furious he`s being called a millionaire. Yeah, the Donald is caught up in a nasty lawsuit. He`s actually going after an author of a book called "Trump Nation." Trump says the writer hurt his rep by saying Donald is not a billionaire. The author is pushing to dismiss the suit and stands by his sources who say Donald is only worth about $150 million to $250 million. While the Donald says that`s ridiculous and is seeking billions in damages. Expect a ruling on this in about two months. This thing could actually go to a jury trial.

Time now for the SHOWBIZ lineup. Here`s what`s coming up at the bottom of the hour on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Mel Gibson splits up with his wife, Mel Gibson trots out his new girlfriend. Mel Gibson`s new girlfriend is reportedly pregnant. Yeah. Will all of this hurt Mel`s image? Or is it no big deal?

Who dares to tell Oprah to lose weight? This is Oprah we`re talking about. But get this, Oprah actually listened.

And I`ve got your very first picture of Jon and Kate since their cheating scandal broke. You`ve got to see this.

Plus SHOWBIZ TONIGHT viewers are just fired up. Should they cancel their show? This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

Now to the "Showbiz News Ticker". More stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news right now.


HAMMER: Now on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, Mel Gibson`s girlfriend reportedly pregnant. Tonight, the ink isn`t even dry on Mel Gibson`s divorce, but he`s reportedly going to be a dad for the eighth time. Could Mel`s image take a huge hit? Or is it no big deal?

Oprah Winfrey told o to lose weight by one of the most important women in Hollywood. And guess what. Oprah actually listens. Tonight it`s the Oprah weight in mandate.

Also this.


ELLEN DEGENERES, TALK SHOW HOST: I didn`t go to college here, and as I don`t know if the president knows, i didn`t go to college at all, any college. And I`m not saying you wasted your time or money, but look at me, I`m a huge celebrity.


HAMMER: Ellen Degeneres is a huge celebrity now, but tonight revealing the emotional story about how she ended up in Hollywood.

Plus more stories breaking from the showbiz news ticker. TV`s most provocative entertainment news show continues right now.

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It is 30 minutes past the hour, I`m A.J. Hammer broadcasting tonight and every night from New York City. Tonight, three big stories making big news right now. Is Mel Gibson really going to be a dad again? Since TMZ began reporting that Mel`s girlfriend Oksana is reportedly carrying his child, Gibson has become the talk of TV.


BEHAR: This is his eighth baby. He should have just married the octomom and gotten it over with.


HAMMER: Why is this such a big deal? Also new right now, the very first photos of Jon and Kate together after their cheating scandals. They say a picture`s worth a thousand words. And boy, oh, boy, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT just getting slammed with comments about the couple and whether or not they should pull the plug on their reality show.

And speaking of reality shows, guess who may be starring in one? The wife of disgraced ex governor Rod Blagojevich, Patty, is reportedly getting set to star in the show, "I`m a celebrity, get me out of here" instead of her husband.

Joining me tonight from Hollywood, Carlos Diaz who is a correspondent for Extra! In New York is Jane Velez-Mitchell, host of ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ- MITCHELL. Jane, I`m watching your program every night of the week, 7:00 p.m. Eastern here on HLN. And I want to begin with Mel Gibson, TMZ reporting Mel`s girlfriend is pregnant with their child. Now, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s reached out tonight to Gibson`s publicist, his whole team of people. They have no comment as of show time. For the record, Mel`s wife Robin filed for divorce back in April after they had been separated for three years. Nobody knew about that. And just last month, Mel walking the red carpet with Oksana. So Jane, is this a shocker because it kind of feels like it should be? Or is it kind of no big deal?

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HEADLINE NEWS HOST: Well, first of all, A.J., I think I`m going to call him Teflon Mel, he has endured many, many scandals and it has not affected his stardom. We know about the DUI, the anti-Semitic remarks scandal, and now the reported love child on the way. I think what confuses and perplexes people isn`t his behavior, it`s the contradiction between the behavior and the traditionalist beliefs. We know that he adheres to a very conservative form of Catholicism. He`d built this church in Malibu, he shot "Passion of the Christ." He`s been very vocal about his very, very traditionalist beliefs and this behavior doesn`t seem to gel with that. So people are wondering what`s up? Are you making rules that you can`t adhere to? Do you think the rules only apply to other people?

HAMMER: Yes, so it kind of sounds like, Jane, you don`t think this is going to hurt his image more than anything else has. What about you, Carlos? Is it all going to sort of rub off of him as if he is Teflon as Jane suggests?

CARLOS DIAZ, CORRESPONDENT, "EXTRA": Yeah, the guy, he`s gotten by with -- gotten away with so many things. The thing you have to realize, if you raise the question, well, it`s too soon for Mel to be moving on. But we don`t know, there are stories that he`s been separated from his wife for like three years before she actually filed for divorce. In fact, that`s what Oksana`s mom is saying. Oksana`s mom is saying don`t blame my daughter, she didn`t split up this marriage. So we don`t know what`s happened behind the scenes. So to say this is too soon, it might be too soon to say that.

HAMMER: What do you think about that, Jane? Because Mel did keep his separation from his wife of almost three decades secret for three years. Within weeks he`s out there walking the red carpet with his new girlfriend, Oksana, and now she`s supposedly pregnant. I don`t know, I`m kind of thinking Mel could`ve eased us into this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t ever want to judge somebody else`s behavior and say no, you shouldn`t go on the red carpet, you should hide your face. Who am I to say that? But I think that the public, his fans would love a clarification of his beliefs. He`s been very vocal about his beliefs in the past. Well, they don`t seem to jive with his current behavior. Let`s sit down and explain why the dichotomy. Why the contradiction there, and maybe we would all understand. I think right now we`re perplexed. We want to give people the benefit of the doubt. Be again, he`s been so vocal in the past about his very traditionalist views.

HAMMER: Well, let`s move on to other big family drama that`s playing out on television, the brand new pictures of Jon and Kate Gosselin together with their family are out. Now, these are the very first pictures we`re seeing since they were each accused of cheating. Of course, those claims which they both deny. Since then Kate has been talking openly about the major strain on her marriage, even questioning if this marriage is going to survive. But I`ve got to tell you, you take a look at these new publicity photos which are promoting their new season of their family reality show "Jon & Kate Plus 8," and Carlos they really do look like one big happy family, don`t they?

DIAZ: They do. And you kind of wonder what`s behind the scenes there. What really, you know, did they get them on a good day? Did they spend a few weeks apart from each other? And then they get them back together and at least they`re happy for that one moment. They take these pictures. I would have loved to have seen the publicity photos for a prize fight. They`re like this. I think that would get people to watch more as the new season comes up on us in a few days.

HAMMER: Let`s put that photo up again. Jane, let me ask you, what do you think`s going through their minds right now? You think she`s thinking, that SOB, I`m going to kick his butt.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it just shows you, A.J., looks aren`t everything. They look like this happy family, but boy the scandals swirling around them are enough to blow out the candles on that cake. Not just the allegations of infidelity on both sides that they both deny, but now Kate`s own brother coming out with a shocking claim and I have no independent confirmation whether it`s true or not. I have no idea. But the claim that he`s publicly making is there`s a secret contract that basically allows Jon to date other women as long as he shows up for filming. Now, I have no idea if that`s true. But if it is .

HAMMER: Unsubstantiated, unconfirmed. But you look in that picture, I think she`s actually stepping on his foot, I can`t confirm that either. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT viewers fired up over the Gosselins` decision to keep this show on the air for the new season. And for our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" question of the day, listen to what we`ve been asking on air and online, "Jon & Kate Plus 8" it is the reality show to blame for the problems? Sixty percent said yes, among so many people voting, 40 percent said no. What do you think, Carlos, do you agree with the majority here? The reality show is to blame for their marriage problems.

DIAZ: No, it`s not. No, no, no! It is not to blame. If the guy was going to cheat, he was going to cheat anyway. The only thing the reality show did was help him get caught. The reality show is not to blame. If you`re going to cheat on your wife, you`re going to cheat on your wife. The reality show is bringing in tons of money, OK, it is helping to raise these kids.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How can you have an intimate relationship with cameras 24- 7?

DIAZ: They`re only there for three hours a day, Jane. The cameras are only there three hours a day, Jane. Check your facts.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It impacts the relationship.

DIAZ: For three hours a day?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Metaphorically they`re there 24/7 because they`ve sold their marriage out as a commercial product. That`s why. It is correct to say that the cameras are there 24/7.

DIAZ: Like I said before, when the cameras are there, it`s like having company over. They`re not going to fight in front of kids or America. So the cameras might be keeping the family sane at this point.

HAMMER: I think we`ve got a reality show going right here. Maybe we`re going to have to sell this to TLC.

Let`s move on. Another story making big news. The wife of disgraced ex- Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich reportedly set to star in the reality show, "I`m a celebrity, get me out of here." You may recall that Rod himself was supposed to star in the show until the judge blocked him from traveling to Costa Rica where the shoot was going to take place. NBC tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT no comment.

No offense, Mrs. Blagojevich, but Jane, isn`t the name of the show "I`m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here"?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, maybe she technically became a celebrity when she was heard in the background of the phone calls that were taped cursing. And that is her claim to fame at this point. And for a show like this, that`s enough to be counted as a celebrity. We all talk about D celebrities, I think we need a new category, E and F celebrities.

HAMMER: I was thinking Z personally myself. Carlos, I`m sure you would agree. We`re going to end it there. Carlos Diaz, Jane Velez-Mitchell. Thanks and good night.

DIAZ: Thank you.

HAMMER: Now we want to hear from you. Our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day is this "Jon & Kate Plus 8," will you watch the new season despite the cheating controversy? Here`s where you go to vote,, you can also e-mail us at

Oprah is one of the biggest stars on the planet, but who is bossing her around about her weight? This is amazing. Tonight, you are going to find out who told Oprah Winfrey to lose weight and why she actually listened. It`s an amazing story and it is coming up.

Also Miley Cyrus lashing out over comments about her weight, Miley taking aim against the F-word. Don`t worry, it`s still a family show here.

We will also have this.


DEGENERES: I didn`t go to college here, and if don`t know if President Cowan knows, I didn`t go to college at all, any college. And I`m not saying you wasted your time or money, but look at me, I`m a huge celebrity.


DEGENERES: Yeah, the very funny Ellen Degeneres getting serious with college grads. She reveals how tragedy led to her first big break in Hollywood. It`s an amazing story. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

And now the Showbiz news ticker. More stories in the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news right now.



WINFREY: All this year, I`ve been hiding my body because I didn`t want you to see it. Here I am one of the most visible people in the world. Trying not to be seen. On the cover of my own magazine.


HAMMER: Oprah hides her body from her own magazine cover. But did "Vogue" really ask Oprah to drop a few pounds? Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

Tonight, who dares tell Oprah that she needs to lose some weight? This is one of two stories new right now. Oprah Winfrey may be the queen of daytime, but did the queen of fashion really tell her to drop some weight to be on the cover of "Vogue" magazine?

And Miley Cyrus is slamming cyber critics for calling her fat. Miley is fighting mad and you won`t believe what she`s saying. Joining me tonight in Hollywood, Rachel Dallas is a contributing editor for "Life and Style Weekly." Joining me in New York, Midwin Charles is an attorney from Midwin Charles and Associates in New York.

So, in a "60 Minutes" interview outtake that was just posted on legendary Vogue editor Anna Wintour revealed that she once told Oprah Winfrey to lose weight, this is for a 1998 cover or vogue. Take a look at this.


ANNA WINTOUR, "VOGUE": I went to Chicago to visit Oprah, and I suggested that it might be an idea that she lose a little bit of weight before she appears in the magazine. I said, simply that you might feel more comfortable. So she was a trooper. She totally welcomed the idea, and she went on a very stringent diet. It was one of our most successful covers ever.


HAMMER: Oprah looked absolutely terrific on it. Now Wintour called this a gentle suggestion. If you know anything about Anna Wintour, she`s been called Darth Vader in a frock among other things. Not known for having a warm and fuzzy personality. Midwin, let me start with you, is it more surprising to you that Anna Wintour told Oprah to lose weight or that Oprah actually did it?

CHARLES: Neither. Anna winter is legendary, the queen of fashion. When she speaks, the entire fashion world takes heed. And Oprah for a long time had said she wanted to be on the cover of vogue. What woman wouldn`t want that? And so it doesn`t surprise me at all that Anna would ask and that Oprah would take heed. And she looked amazing on that cover.

HAMMER: We all know that Oprah has struggled for a long time with her weight. And had to do it in the public eye. She`s been very candid about it. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT researchers were working hard today. They did a little digging and pulled out a 1999 interview with Oprah and the BBC radio where she was asked why she lost the weight for "Vogue". Perfect. Listen to this.


WINFREY: Because you feel better. And you look better.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You didn`t sell out?

WINFREY: And you fit the clothes.

No, I didn`t sell out. I didn`t sell out. If you want to be on the cover of "Vogue", this is they way you have to look. You have to wear a certain outfit and this is how you have to look. If you want to be on the cover of "Vogue". Otherwise, don`t. It didn`t define my life.


HAMMER: Let`s keep in mind, that was Oprah Winfrey over 10 years ago at this point. What do you think, Rachel, would Oprah today do the same thing just to be on the cover of "Vogue"? I would imagine that she says take me as I am or don`t take me at all here in 2009.

RACHEL ZALIS, "LIFE AND STYLE WEEKLY": Well, you know, Oprah is no pushover. She is a very powerful woman who is very opinionated. And she does everything for a reason. And, you know, I think 10 years ago it was very taboo in "Vogue" to have a fuller figured woman on the cover in the pages. And I think that was a very powerful statement she made back then. She also had additional reasons, she`d gained 20 pounds due to a trial, she wanted to lose weight and put that message out there that I can be a "Vogue" cover girl. And I think one of the reasons she started her own magazine today is to really show you can embrace all sizes, all types, and be a cover girl no matter who you are.

And I think if that opportunity presented itself to her again today she would weigh the decision and do the thing that was right for her and right for her as a representative of American women all around the country.

HAMMER: And I personally think it wouldn`t be necessarily giving into what somebody else thinks she needs to do to look a certain way. That`s just me. Let`s move on to another story.

New right now Miley Cyrus slamming critics for calling her fat. Photos of Miley in a bikini hit the web. And Miley posted a joke on Twitter about having jiggly thighs. Well, that led to some cyber bullies calling her fat. After a few mean posts from those cyber bullies, I want you to listen to what Miley posted on She said, "Talk all you want, I have my flaws, I`m a normal girl. There`s things about my body I would change, but stop with calling me fat in posts. I don`t even like the word. Those remarks that you hateful people use are fighting words. The ones that scar people and cause them to do damage to themselves or others. P.S., if your thighs don`t jiggle, go see a doctor. Thanks."

Midwin are you with me and cheering Miley Cyrus right about now for taking a big stand on this?

CHARLES: Absolutely. This hearkens back to when Jennifer Love Hewitt went through the same thing and photographed in a bikini and went on her Web site and made some comments, as well. Mylie makes a good point here. There are so many women in this country and some men who damage themselves because of self-image. Anorexia, bulimia, and what have you. And so it is very dangerous for us to go down this road and start criticizing people simply because of the way they look. There`s so much pressure on celebrities to look perfect every single time. It`s really sad.

HAMMER: Rachel, let me ask you very quickly. Miley, of course, only 16, but by posting a joke on the worldwide Web, did she open herself up to be a target?

ZALIS: Listen, obviously celebrities that blog, Twitter, open themselves up to this kind of scrutiny. But at the same time she`s a 16-year-old girl. Her friends say this week that she`s your typical teen, boy crazy, she`s not obsessed with weight and diet. And I think as paparazzi and press we really need to be more sensitive.

HAMMER: Rachel Zalis, Midwin Charles. Thank you, both.

ZALIS: Thank you.

HAMMER: And tonight for the first time a behind the scenes look at Michael Jackson`s This is It concert. Michael setting up shop in London starting this July for 50 shows. Well, he held dance team tryouts in L.A. It was getting grueling and competitive. I want you to listen to how big this is for some people. How Michael`s choreographers are looking for the best of the best.

And wait until you see what happens when Michael himself stops by.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is a legend for all of us. Especially the younger generation, getting an opportunity to audition for his last show.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m here for the biggest audition of my entire life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The dancers in a Michael Jackson show are an extension of Michael Jackson. They are not ensemble, they are an extension of the man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are here because you are supposed to be here, you`re the best in the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, guys, I have someone here that would like to finally meet you.



HAMMER: More than 700 dancers auditioned for the shows and only 12 made it. Well, Ellen Degeneres uses her star power to go back to her hometown and go back to school.


DEGENERES: I didn`t go to college here. I don`t know if President Cowan didn`t go to college at all. I`m not saying you wasted your time or money but look at me I`m a huge celebrity.


HAMMER: A huge celebrity now but Ellen shares a very touching and emotional story about how she made it in Hollywood. Her inspirational story is next. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN. Now the showbiz news ticker. More stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news right now.



DEGENERES: Thank you to all the graduating class of 2009. I realize most of you are hung over and have splitting headaches and haven`t slept since Fat Tuesday but you can`t graduate until I finish so listen up.


HAMMER: Funny because it`s probably true. That was the ever-encouraging and always funny Ellen Degeneres giving the commencement address at Tulane University in her hometown of New Orleans. But Ellen did get surprisingly serious and really personal in her message to the class of 2009.

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. Ellen`s message to the graduating class was less than 10 minutes long but it was powerful and packed with emotion. Ellen confessed that her first success came after extreme tragedy. Her girlfriend was killed in an accident when Ellen was just 19 years old. Ellen then went on her own sort of spiritual journey that ended with her first big shot at stardom.


DEGENERES: I was living in a basement apartment. I had no money. I had no heat. I had no air. I had a mattress on the floor and the apartment was infested with fleas. I was soul searching. Why is she suddenly gone and there are fleas are here. I don`t understand, there must be a purpose and wouldn`t it be so convenient if we could just pick up the phone and call God and ask these questions. I started writing. What poured out was an imaginary conversation with God which was one sided and I finished writing it and I looked at it and I said to myself, and I hadn`t been doing stand up ever. There was no club in town. I said I`m going to do this on "The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson." At them time he was the king. I`m going to be the first woman to be called over to sit down. And several years later I was the first woman in the history of the show and only woman in the history of the show to sit down because of that phone conversation with God that I wrote.


HAMMER: Unbelievable. Ellen also reveals that coming out of the closet was the best and worst things she has ever done. She says it taught her to be true to herself and follow her passions. On Monday we asked you to vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. This was it. "Jon & Kate Plus 8", is their reality show to blame for their problems? Sixty percent of you said yes, 40 percent no.

Among the e-mails, one from Sherry in Tennessee who writes, "I really don`t think Jon and Kate`s reality show has anything to do with their problems. I think it was more of Kate`s lack of respect for Jon and treating him more like a ninth child and not a husband."

And Jeanette from Alabama write "Jon and Kate is adorable and very uplifting. What is going on is strictly their business."

Well, thank you very much for watching. That is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. You can always catch SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on the 11s. 11:00 p.m. Eastern, 11:00 p.m. Pacific and also on in the morning, please don`t forget about that, 11:00 a.m. Eastern on HLN.