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David Letterman Apologizes to Sarah Palin; The Al Roker-Speidi Smackdown; Brangelina-Jon and Kate Smackdown; Bill Maher Slams President Obama; Bruno versus Jennifer Aniston

Aired June 16, 2009 - 23:00:00   ET


A.J. HAMMER, HOST: Now, on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, Hollywood`s biggest brand-new spectacular smackdown. Tonight, David Letterman versus Sarah Palin. Dave apologizes to Sarah for his sexual joke about her teenage daughter.


KIM SERAFIN, SENIOR EDITOR, "IN TOUCH WEEKLY": He seemed very sincere in his apology.


HAMMER: Tonight, who won, Palin or Letterman?

The Al Roker-Speidi smackdown. Tonight, why is one of TV`s most beloved weathermen in a nasty war with two reality show stars who are famous for nothing - Heidi and Spencer? Why, Al, why?

Plus, the Brangelina-Jon and Kate smackdown. Who are you most interested in? The unbelievable divided response. E-mails, Facebook, buckle your seatbelt. It`s Hollywood`s biggest brand new spectacular smackdowns.

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.

And tonight, David Letterman`s apology to Sarah Palin - but did Sarah Palin really win? That has been the great debate today after Letterman did something truly extraordinary, apologizing on his show for making a sexual joke about Palin`s teenage daughter.

But wait, there`s more. Sarah Palin is now responding for the very first time to Letterman`s apology. And let`s just say her tone wasn`t exactly, "Hey, cool, babe. No worries, love you." Which is why the Letterman-Palin smackdown is still making big news right now.


1865, Appomattox Courthouse, the American Civil War comes to an end. 1945, the USS Missouri, World War II comes to an end. 2009, the Ed Sullivan theater, the Palin versus Letterman feud finally, finally comes to an end.

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "LATE SHOW": I`m sorry about it and I`ll try to do better in the future. Thank you very much.

HAMMER: Late show host David Letterman is waving the white flag, issuing a full and unconditional apology for that controversial joke about the Alaska governor`s daughter.

LETTERMAN: I would like to apologize, especially to the two daughters involved, Bristol and Willow, and also to the governor and her family, and everybody else who was outraged by the joke.

HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you by finally admitting what legions of people have claimed for days -

LETTERMAN: I told a bad joke -

HAMMER: Letterman is ending the bitter war with Palin that had all of America talking and taking sides for one long, brutal, and divisive week.

LETTERMAN: I understand, of course, why people were upset. I would be upset myself.

HAMMER: And now, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is asking, is this feud really over? And if it is, who won? It`s not exactly the stuff of history channel documentaries, but the Palin versus Letterman war had lots of epic skirmishes. There was the opening battle when Letterman first told the offensive joke.

LETTERMAN: During the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez.

HAMMER: Then came the retaliation when Palin accused Letterman of insulting her 14-year-old daughter Willow who was with Palin at the Yankee game Letterman mentioned.

Then the non-apology, when Letterman insisted he wasn`t joking about Willow, but 18-year-old Bristol.

LETTERMAN: I would never, never think that it was funny to use a 14-year- old girl as a joke like this, for God sakes.

HAMMER: The battle of the day saw Palin going on NBC`s "Today" show to slam Letterman.

GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), ALASKA: This so-called humor - I don`t find it humorous, and that does contribute to some acceptance of abuse of young women.

HAMMER: And now, there`s the surrender.

LETTERMAN: The joke really, in and of itself, can`t be defended.

HAMMER: Letterman says he had an epiphany.

LETTERMAN: It`s the perception rather than the intent. It doesn`t make any difference what my intent was, it`s the perception. And as they say about jokes, if you have to explain the joke, it`s not a very good joke. And I`m certainly - thank you.

HAMMER: Now, Palin is responding to Dave`s apology saying, quote, "Of course it`s accepted on behalf of young women like my daughters, who hope men who joke about public display of sexual exploitation of young girls will soon evolve. Letterman certainly has the right to joke about whatever he wants to. And thankfully, we have the right to express our reaction. And this is all thanks to our U.S. military women and men putting their lives on the line for us to secure America`s right to free speech. In this case, may that right be used to promote equality and respect."

SERAFIN: He seems very sincere in his apology, and I think that`s why you`re seeing that Sarah Palin has accepted his apology now.

HAMMER: But now that the dust-up is cleared, there`s a big question. Now that this controversy has provided valuable attention and some good comedy material -

LETTERMAN: I got a call from mom earlier today and she told me she was siding with the governor. I said, OK.

HAMMER: Could it be possible that this is one war where there are no losers?

SERAFIN: I think they both actually won. I think on one hand, David Letterman definitely helped his ratings and it also helped Sarah Palin. She had not been in the news for a long time. So I think this is something that put her back on the map.

HAMMER: But the important thing is, all is now right in America. Two beloved figures, each followed and adored by millions, have buried the hatchet and ended their divisive battle. Now, we`ll see if they can keep the peace.


OK. So who really won here? Tonight, we are declaring the Dave versus Sarah celebrity grudge match part two.

With me now in New York is Midwin Charles. She`s an attorney and heads up the Midwin Charles and Associates firm. Also in New York tonight is Ben Widdicombe - he`s the celebrity editor for ""

Midwin, beginning with you, what do you think? Apology there good enough from Dave?

MIDWIN CHARLES, ATTORNEY, MIDWIN CHARLES AND ASSOCIATES: I think it`s excellent. And I think young girls and young women around the country are winning with his apology because I think what he said was ridiculous. I`m always one for a good joke. But any time you start sexualizing young girls, I have a problem with that.

HAMMER: I have to point out here this was not his first apology. It was Dave`s second apology. This time, for my part, I think he focused on what is at the center of all of this. Not what he said, but how it was perceived. Take a look at this.


LETTERMAN: It`s the perception rather than the intent. It doesn`t make any difference what my intent was, it`s the perception. And as they say about jokes, if you have to explain the joke, it`s not a very good joke.


HAMMER: Yes. See, no matter what you think, I think that kind of says it all. Ben, what about you? Was this the right apology for Dave to make?

BEN WIDDICOMBE, CELEBRITY EDITOR, "STYLELIST.COM": I think the apology is 99 percent there. I thought that bit about perception and reality was finessing a bit on his part. And if you listen to the whole clip, they turned on the applause sign on at that point so the audience was cued to give their approval.

You know, I think they`ve got it right, finally. As you said, what he said last week was not an apology. So I`m going to chalk this up as a win for Sarah Palin.

HAMMER: So Midwin, does the fact that Dave did apologize make Sarah Palin the big winner here, proving really she is a force to contend with and not just the butt of jokes anymore?

CHARLES: She`s not. I mean, one of the reasons why this was such a big hoopla is because so many women`s groups got on the bandwagon here. So it wasn`t necessarily just Sarah Palin. I can`t declare her the winner here.

I really do think that young girls, girls the age of 14 and 18, which are the two women who were at issue, are the ones who really won here.

HAMMER: OK. That`s fair enough. All of this playing out like a soap opera. And I`ve got to tell you, as much as I think Dave didn`t enjoy all of the attention, Dave`s got to love that. Since all of this got underway, he`s been beating the "Tonight Show with Conan O`Brien" in the ratings. And that`s a victory in and of itself. Does that, in a way, make Dave a winner for those reasons, Ben?

WIDDICOMBE: Well, I think it didn`t hurt him. You know, Dave has been (INAUDIBLE). He`s been on TV for 30 years. I think if a more inexperienced host had made that joke, like Jimmy Fallon, for example, it would have done him a lot more damage.

Everyone knows Dave. I think people mainly love him. And so it really hasn`t hurt him that badly. I think it was good for his show and he can move on to the next page.

HAMMER: Yes, because that`s the thing. I mean, I`ve been watching Dave for decades. And I`m still with the whole intent versus perception bit because when I saw him do that joke on his show a week ago, I wasn`t at all thinking it was directed towards any 14-year-old as some people have confused it.

But, you know, part of Sarah Palin`s acceptance of Dave`s apology was very interesting. She said, quote, "Letterman certainly has the right to joke about whatever he wants to and thankfully we have the right to express our reaction. And this is all thanks to our U.S. military putting their lives on the line for us."

And I`ve got to tell you, that last bit there about the military - it`s true, but it had a lot of people scratching their heads today, including the ladies of "The View." Watch their take on it.


WHOOPI GOLDBERG, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": I kind of feel like a simple, "I accept your apology" would have been great.

SHERRI SHEPHERD, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": But, you know, I liked it. I liked that she gives thanks to our people who serve. Because a lot of times, we just keep forgetting that they`re over there.

BARBARA WALTERS, CO-HOST AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "THE VIEW": Yes, that`s true. But what does it have to do with this?


JOY BEHAR, CO-HOST, "THE VIEW": She is seeing the 2012 election instead of Russia from her house now. Because that`s what this is about.


HAMMER: What do you think, Midwin? Did Joy Behar nail it there? This is partially, at least, about Sarah Palin keeping herself on the political stage and a little less about being a momma bear. I mean, it did come across as opportunistic.

MIDWIN: Of course. Her 15 seconds have got to extend all the way to 2012. She has to stay relevant, and she has to stay in the news. And this is one of the best ways to do it. Absolutely, Joy was correct in that one.

HAMMER: Before the apology, Dave did invite Palin to appear on her show. She said, no. But now, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is asking on-air and online in our question of the day - "David Letterman Apologizes: Should Sarah Palin go on his show?"

Ben, I think it would be a great idea. I don`t know if she would do it. What do you think?

WIDDICOMBE: For Sarah Palin, no. I think that she needs to quit while she`s ahead right now. If she`s smart and she wants to keep public interest in her potential 2012 candidacy, I think she should wait six months and go on there just to keep on the headlines a little bit longer.

HAMMER: Based on that, she`ll be on in six months. Ben Widdicombe, Midwin Charles, I thank you both very much.

All right. We are just getting warmed up with these brand-new explosive Hollywood smackdowns.

I cannot believe the Al Roker-Speidi smackdown. In fact, I can`t even believe I`m saying it, and I`m not talking about "Spidey" like Spiderman. I`m talking about the two reality show stars, if I may use that word, Spencer Pratt, Heidi Montag, who are famous for nothing. So why is one of TV`s most beloved weatherman in a nasty war with these two? I will tell you, coming up.

And how about this smackdown? Bill Maher, one of President Obama`s biggest fans - he is now dissing Barack Obama, even comparing him to Lindsay Lohan?


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Maher said the president is on TV more than the ShamWow guy. Folks who normally rage at Maher couldn`t believe their ears.


HAMMER: I can`t believe my ears. Bill Maher ripping into the president for being too big of a star.

And the Brangelina-"Jon & Kate Plus 8" smackdown. So who are you most interested in? Well, we are getting your e-mails, we`re getting your calls into "Showbiz on Call." Plenty of Facebook comments, as well. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

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

(CAPTION READS: Susan Boyle returns to "Britain`s Got Talent" tour after "rest" day. Jessica Alba not facing charges after plastering posters over ads in Oklahoma City.)



HAMMER: Did you see this? Those kids can sing. And they could be this summer`s Susan Boyle. The Cole kids, Michael, Nadya, and Avery, are competing on "America`s Got Talent" - that`s the U.S. version of the show Boyle wowed everyone on. The Coles singing brought their mom, who was hit by a drunk driver, out of a coma. Really, an amazing story.

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer. And now, Melissa Etheridge`s brand-new battle to legalize marijuana. Melissa was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer almost five years ago. She underwent surgery and chemotherapy.

Now, she didn`t want to use prescription painkillers that come with debilitating side effects to fight the pain of the chemo. So instead, she used medicinal marijuana. The Grammy-winning rock star has been cancer- free since then and says that she couldn`t have gotten through it without the pot.

Well, now she`s leading the charge to get medicinal pot legalized. Here`s CNN`s Anderson Cooper for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT as part of "AC 360`s" special series, "America`s High: The Case For and Against Pot."


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "AC 360" (on camera): The first time you did it, it made a big difference?

MELISSA ETHERIDGE, SINGER: It instantly - instantly, within a minute, relieves the nausea, relieves the pain. And all of a sudden, I was normal. You don`t take medicinal marijuana to get high.

COOPER: So you weren`t -

ETHERIDGE: No, you don`t get a high. No, it`s not a high. It`s normal. And I could - all of a sudden, I could get out of bed. I could go see my kids. And it was amazing.

COOPER (voice-over): Often too sick from the chemotherapy to smoke, Etheridge`s wife, Tammy Lynn Michaels, would mix the marijuana into butter and spread it on Melissa`s food. Or she`d inhale it through a vaporizer. Medicinal marijuana works so well, Etheridge says she used it every four hours daily during chemotherapy.

(on camera): Did you ever worry about becoming addicted? They`re saying, "Look, this is a gateway drug."

ETHERIDGE: No, it`s not at all. If you ever were on that side of it, you would understand what I mean. It`s almost laughable to think that you could be addicted to this. It`s not at all.

COOPER: You mention you still have a prescription. Do you still use marijuana?

ETHERIDGE: Yes, I do. The effects of - on my gastrointestinal system leaves me with - I have a real low tolerance for acid of any kind, and so acid reflux is a constant problem.

And I don`t want to take the little pills that they give you that have all of the side effects to help with that. And I do use it on - one of the uses that would, like, in a stressful situation or maybe when I eat that cheese pizza with my kids, you know, that I`ll do that and it settles - it totally completely settles all that.

COOPER: So most people eat the cheese pizza after taking marijuana.

ETHERIDGE: That`s true.

COOPER: You got it backwards.

ETHERIDGE: No, it`s not like that.


HAMMER: Really, really interesting. I also want to tell you that just today, Etheridge joined the board of the Noreen Fraser Foundation for cancer research.

And all this week, you definitely do not want to miss Anderson Cooper`s special series, "America`s High: The Case For and Against Pot." Should the U.S. make marijuana legal? That`s all this week on CNN`s "AC 360."

Well, I can tell you that without a doubt, our "Showbiz on Call" operators - they are not smoking up. But the "Showbiz on Call" phone lines are lighting up because people are still fired up about this whole Sarah Palin-David Letterman controversy.

Letterman apologizing for a sexual joke about Palin`s teenage daughter. Well, we`ve got a call to "Showbiz on Call" from Judy in Kentucky. Judy says Palin should learn to take a joke.


CALLER: I am sick and tired of Sarah Palin. David Letterman is a comedian. He should not be fired. I`m just tired of it. She needs to go away. We were for her, wanted her to win when the presidency was going on. But now, we`re just tired of it. He`s a comedian. He did not say a thing about statutory rape.


HAMMER: All right, Judy. Thanks so much for your call. We also heard from Rose calling in from Oregon in to "Showbiz on Call." And Rose says if she were Palin, things would not be, well, rosy.


CALLER: I`m 1,001 miles in Palin`s corner. I think Letterman is gross, crude, and out of line, totally. And his apology would not be accepted if I were in her place.


HAMMER: We appreciate your call, Rose. And we would like you to call us at "Showbiz on Call." Let us know what you think about this. Let us know what you think about anything. The "Showbiz on Call" phone lines are open all the time at 1-888-SBT-BUZZ; 1-888-728-2899. Leave us a voicemail and we`ll play some of your calls here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. And we`ll post them, too, on our homepage,

Well, tonight, one of Hollywood`s biggest President Obama supporters is now slamming him. You have got to check this out. "Real Time" host Bill Maher is bashing Barack. Listen to this.


BILL MAHER, HOST, "REAL TIME": You don`t have to be on television every minute of every day. You`re the president, not a rerun of "Law and Order."


HAMMER: Why the big change, Bill? Why are you comparing the president to Lindsay Lohan, of all people? Well, it is the explosive Bill Maher-Barack Obama smackdown, coming up here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

In fact, it`s a whole night of huge new smackdowns on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, like this over-the-top, take-no-prisoners Al Roker-Speidi smackdown. You know, Speidi, famous-for-nothing Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag from "The Hills?" Why is one of the most beloved weatherman taking these two on? Why, Al? Why?

I`ve also got the Bruno-Jennifer Aniston smackdown. Sacha Baron Cohen`s flamboyant alter-ego versus the fabulous "Friends" star. So who`s hotter? And dare I say who looks better nude? This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

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

TEXT: David and Victoria Beckham receive apology from former nanny for spilling secrets to tabloids. Beyonce and Jay-Z both set to perform at the BET Awards on June 28th.



ANGELINA JOLIE, ACTRESS: Please don`t turn away. Refugees are the most vulnerable people on earth. Every day, they are fighting to survive. They deserve our respect. Please do not forget them. Remember them on this day, World Refugee Day.


HAMMER: Angelina Jolie`s brand-new public service announcement for World Refugee Day. She and Brad Pitt certainly do a lot of charity work. But coming up, who are you more interested in - Jon and Kate Gosselin or Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie? It is the Brangelina versus and Jon-and-Kate smackdown.

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer. And right now, SHOWBIZ on Facebook. There is a raging debate on our Facebook page all about Jennifer Aniston. Is she really unlucky in love? You know, about the Brad Pitt divorce, Vince Vaughn, John Mayer. Jen is even joking about her love life. Watch this.


JENNIFER ANISTON, ACTRESS: There seems to be this strange parallel between the movies I was doing and kind of my life off screen. I started with well, you know, "The Good Girl." And then, you know, that evolved into "Rumor Has It." Then that was followed by "Derailed." You know, then there was "The Breakup." Do any of you have a project titled "Everlasting Love with an Adult Stable Male"? Just go to my table.


HAMMER: Yes. I think it`s great that she`s laughing about it. But what do our Facebook fans think? Is Jen really unlucky in love?

Well, here`s what Lily R. posts on our Facebook page, "I think it`s because Jennifer believes in true love. Unfortunately, men view commitment differently. Women feel with their hearts. Men only view things physically."

All right. But Kevin K. says, "I think Jennifer must be annoying and smothering. Come on, she`s hot and she can`t get a guy? There is a reason."

I want to hear from you on Facebook. I`m posting stuff there all day long. And if you haven`t signed up to be a SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Facebook fan, well, why the heck not? Just head on over to and click on the Facebook logo.

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

Brand-new Hollywood smackdowns to talk about. Al Roker versus Speidi. Yes, why is one of TV`s most beloved weathermen taking on famous-for- nothing Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt?

Also Brangelina versus Jon and Kate. Your fired up E-mails, your Facebook comments - who are you more interested in?

And yikes! Sacha Baron Cohen`s flamboyant alter-ego, Bruno taking on Jennifer Aniston in a battle of nude covers. Who`s hotter? Brand-new Hollywood smackdowns. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

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

TEXT: Leonardo DiCaprio set to star in new film about online casinos. Katie Holmes may appear on 100th episode of Fox`s "So You Think You Can Dance."


Now, on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, it is a night of Hollywood showdowns, slams, and full-on battles. Al Roker versus Speidi. Why the fame-hungry couple Spencer and Heidi Pratt are still taking jabs at Al Roker. Give it up already, guys.

Political comic Bill Maher slams President Obama.


MOOS (voice-over): Maher said the president is on TV more than the ShamWow guy. Folks who normally rage at Maher couldn`t believe their ears.


HAMMER: Why one of Obama`s biggest fans is comparing the president to Lindsay Lohan.

And it`s the ultimate smackdown - Brangelina versus Jon and Kate. Who are you more interested in? You will not believe our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT poll results.

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`s 30 minutes past the hour. I`m A.J. Hammer, broadcasting tonight and every night from New York City.

And tonight, it is a smackdown reality check. It is the battle of the biggest smackdowns. Al Roker versus Speidi? Brangelina versus Jon and Kate?

First up, how in the world did TV`s most beloved weatherman, Al Roker, get into a nasty war of words with reality show stars Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt? Well, it all began on the "Today" show.


AL ROKER, CO-HOST, THE "TODAY" SHOW: Heidi, are you proud of all of this?

HEIDI MONTAG, REALITY SHOW STAR, "THE HILLS": It was a very hard situation. I think when you go to the jungle.

ROKER: No, the answer - are you proud of this?


HAMMER: Plus, the Brangelina and Jon and Kate smackdown. Who is the bigger celebrity couple? Is it Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, or Jon and Kate Gosselin? Who are you more interested in?

Well, we are hearing you loud and clear on Facebook and e-mails and we are going to reveal the results of our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day asking who`s bigger. The answer will shock you.

Joining me tonight from New York is Midwin Charles, who is an attorney with the law firm Midwin Charles and Associates. And from Hollywood, it`s Carlos Diaz, who is a correspondent for "Extra."

And I would like to begin with our first smackdown reality check, Speidi versus Al Roker. Now, all of this started on Monday morning when Al Roker sat down with famous-for-nothing reality show couple, Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, a.k.a. Speidi, and he wanted to ask them about their appearance on the reality show, "I`m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here."

Well, the couple had dropped out of the show. They left the Costa Rican island after Heidi had complained of stomach pains. So Al asked Heidi if she was proud of what was really bratty behavior and how she handled the whole thing. Take a look at this.


ROKER: Heidi, are you proud of all of this?

MONTAG: It was a very hard situation. I think when you go to the jungle.

ROKER: The answer - were you proud of this?

MONTAG: Am I proud of what?

ROKER: Of the way you guys behaved in this program.

MONTAG: I mean, I`m not ashamed. I don`t think anything was wrong.

ROKER: Are you proud of it?



HAMMER: All right. Carlos Diaz, my friend, I`m going to begin with you. What do you think? Are you with me in saying, "Bravo, Al, for calling these guys out?"

CARLOS DIAZ, CORRESPONDENT, "EXTRA": Yes, I am. I mean, listen, let me get this straight to you real quick. I`ve actually hung out with Heidi and Spencer before. They`re decent people, but they`re acting really, really bratty right now with the whole "I`m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here" thing.

Al Roker, I love you. You did a great job with these two. You didn`t let them off the hook. You kept asking, you know, "No, no, answer this question. Don`t go of your normal little tangent, answer this question."


DIAZ: Kudos to Al Roker.

HAMMER: Yes. A little round of applause for Al Roker. That`s what I would like to spread, a little love for Al. Later in the day, Speidi appeared on CNN`s "LARRY KING LIVE" and they were talking smack about good old Al. Watch this.


MONTAG: It wasn`t the question that was bad. You know, I answered it, I tried to answer it, but I guess I didn`t answer it how he wanted me to. And he got very aggressive and said, "You know, that`s not what I was asking you," and started coming at me more and more aggressively. And I didn`t appreciate his tone.


HAMMER: Heidi, clearly upset about Al`s tone. But I`ve got to show you this. Can we play this video when Speidi went on "The View" on Monday morning? Watch Whoopi Goldberg how she was reacting. These two guys, again, famous for nothing.

I think Whoopi`s look there says it all. Hard to imagine being able to keep a straight face sitting down with these two. Midwin, can you blame Al Roker at all?

MIDWIN: You know what? E.A. - enough already with these F-list stars. I`m so tired of them. Of course, Al Roker did the right thing. It`s his job to interview, and it`s his job to get to the bottom of the issue at hand. The fact that they tried to deflect the issue shows that what they did on that show was ridiculous.

HAMMER: Yes. And to make matters worse and add insult to injury, I was offended by this because the famous-for-nothing Spencer referred to the legendary Al Roker as an elderly man. By the way, he`s 54. Watch what happened on "LARRY KING LIVE."


SPENCER PRATT, REALITY TV STAR, "THE HILLS": You know, freaking out right away and, you know, having a crazy temper. So my heart was pounding. And obviously any male, especially, you know, an elderly man that thinks he can berate my 22-year-old wife on television, it was a very difficult situation.

But, you know, we`re keeping it moving. We forgive him. And you know, it was early in the morning. Maybe he was upset that, you know, he had to report some bad weather coming up later this week.


HAMMER: Blah, blah, blah. OK, first of all, he didn`t berate her. Second of all, Carlos, I mean, what a cheap shot. Shouldn`t these two - and I realize you`ve spent time with them. But shouldn`t they be thankful anybody is putting them on national TV?


DIAZ: Shouldn`t they get, by the way, that they probably went to Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira and said, "We`re going to give you Heidi and Spencer." They were both like, "Give it to Al. We don`t want to do it, man."

HAMMER: I think that`s why they were offended, quite honestly.

DIAZ: Yes, exactly. But let me just clarify one thing. I`ve looked into Al Roker`s eyes. There`s an animal in there, all right? You don`t want to mess with Al Roker, seriously.

HAMMER: No, you don`t.

DIAZ: He can take you down, Spencer, in a second.

HAMMER: Well, he even said so this morning on the "Today" show, Al delivered his final Speidi smackdown. Let`s roll that out.


MEREDITH VIEIRA, CO-HOST, THE "TODAY" SHOW: Spencer said, "He`s lucky I was saved by Jesus because a couple of weeks ago, I probably would`ve ripped his head off for talking to my wife like that." Are you proud? Are you proud?

ROKER: Yes, I am. I am. I believe I asked what a lot of people wanted to know. And if he had tried to come across, I would have dumped him like a bag of dirt.


HAMMER: There you have it. Like a bag of dirt. Midwin, the smackdown of the century here - Al Roker versus Speidi. Who wins it in your vote?

CHARLES: Al Roker, hands down.

HAMMER: Yes. No question about it. By the way, on the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Facebook page, our fans have been really fired up over the whole Speidi versus Al Roker smackdown.

Let me read what Kelsey B. writes. "After I saw Heidi with her brush and hair spray or whatever it was on `I`m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here,` I realized Heidi is as dumb as a box of rocks and I bet the producers of the show made that show just for them. Ha ha, joke`s on them."

Let`s move on. There was another big celebrity smackdown tonight - comedian Bill Maher versus President Obama. Bill slamming him for being on TV too much and being too big of a celebrity.

But first, I want to move on to Brangelina versus Jon and Kate. Now, both of them on every celebrity magazine, every tabloid cover this week. So in our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day, here`s what we asked on-air and online - "Battle of the Stars: Who are you most interested in?" I was surprised by this. It`s kind of even here with 42 percent saying Jon and Kate, 58 percent saying Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Certainly closer than I would have expected. Carlos, are you with me and a little shocked that it`s that narrow a gap?

DIAZ: I`m very shocked. Let`s ask that question a year from now and see if we get the same result. But as you can tell, though, the ratings for Jon and Kate are dipping. And I think the reason is, is because we - you know, we know there`s marital strife there. We know there are problems, but they`re not addressing it on the show.

And I think if you want to even boost the numbers higher, we need to start addressing these marital problems on their show every week.

They need to get that together. That has been made clear. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT fans are also fired up on Facebook over the whole Brangelina versus Jon and Kate smackdown. Let me read what Laura S. is writing on our wall. "I am so tired of `Jon & Kate Plus 8.` Who cares? They are nobody. They think they`re somebody. What happened to real celebrities? Help us all."

Laura, we thank you. Now Jon and Kate have been hounded by paparazzi really more than Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie lately. So Midwin, obviously, there are still plenty of people who do care.

CHARLES: There are. I mean, I think one of the allure with Jon and Kate is that they`re average people with marital problems that a lot of people suffer. And I think what your guest said earlier is correct.

But people want to see them deal through this. This is what every day life is like. They`re already dealing with having eight children, which is very difficult in and of itself. And I`m sure many of us have seen Kate berate Jon day in and day out.


CHARLES: So people want to see what it`s like, you know, for them deal with this issue. And they`re not dealing with it. It`s ridiculous they`re sweeping it under the rug.

HAMMER: And lots of people are talking about it. A lot of E-mails are coming in. This is Rogenia writing in from Texas saying, quote, "Angelina and Brad win hands down. I have already tired of Jon and Kate."

I`ve got to tell you, there`s a lot of that sentiment out there. So Carlos, wrap it up for us here. Do Brangelina win this major smackdown over "Jon & Kate Plus 8"?

DIAZ: I`ve seen Brad in "Fight Club" and Angelina in "Wanted." I can easily say that they would win any smackdown, especially now that Jon has been berated so much by Kate. He`s just tired.

HAMMER: I was afraid you were going to say I`ve looked into Jon Gosselin`s eyes and there`s an animal in there. No, that`s Al Roker. Midwin Charles, Carlos Diaz, thanks, guys.

Tonight, Bill Maher versus Barack Obama. Yes, Maher`s fans are reeling after he launched an all-out slam fest against President Barack Obama. He said the president needs to move away from the limelight and stop acting all Hollywood.


MAHER: You don`t have to be on television every minute of every day. You`re the president, not a rerun of "Law and Order."


HAMMER: So is Bill Maher right? Is Barack Obama too much of a superstar? And are Maher`s claims at all true that President Obama is acting like, and I can`t believe I`m about to say this, Lindsay Lohan? That story is coming up.

But first, who would`ve thought there`d been an actual smackdown between Bruno and Jennifer Aniston? Well, take a look at this. It`s dueling "GQ" covers. And wow, check out those legs. Sacha Baron Cohen flamboyant alter-ego imitates Jennifer Aniston`s new "GQ" photo. So we`ve got to know - we want to know, who`s hotter? The Bruno versus Aniston smackdown.

It`s the Jonas Brothers en Paris. And we have got unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at the Jonas Brothers in the most romantic city in the world. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

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

TEXT: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie competing for the same award at Teen Choice Awards. London police investigating a claim Lindsay Lohan stole a $400,000 necklace.


HAMMER: Watch out, Jennifer Aniston. You have got some big-time competition with "Bruno" star, Sacha Baron Cohen. He`s trying to one-up Aniston`s sexy nude pose on the cover of "GQ" magazine. I`ve got to say, he`s really giving her a run for her money. Oh, the shaggy hair, that sun- kissed glow. So who is hotter? It`s the great "GQ" debate.

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer. And we will get to the Aniston smackdown in just a moment.

But first, another big smackdown - Bill versus Barack. Tonight, the great debate over comedian Bill Maher`s rant against President Obama for being on television so much. You have got to hear Bill Maher slamming the president, claiming he`s become too big of a celebrity.

Here`s CNN`s Jeanne Moos for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

MOOS (voice-over): Burgers at Ray`s Hill Burger -

BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: Your basic cheddar cheeseburger -

MOOS: Burgers at Five Guys.

B. OBAMA: Cheeseburger -

MOOS: Date night Washington, date night New York, day and night with Brian Williams, Conan, Leno. But guess who wasn`t cheering -

MAHER: You don`t have to be on television every minute of every day. You`re the president, not a rerun of "Law and Order."

MOOS: Left-wing comedian Bill Maher landed one left hook after another.

MAHER: I get it, you love being on TV. I love my bong, but I take it out of my mouth once in a while.

MOOS: Posted an Obama defender, "He needs to put down the bong." But Bill Maher just toked on another joke.

MAHER: We like you. We really like you. You`re skinny and in a hurry and in love with a nice lady. But so is Lindsay Lohan.

MOOS: Maher even said this McCain campaign commercial turned out to be right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s the biggest celebrity in the world.

MAHER: And just like Lindsay, we see your name in the paper a lot. But we`re kind of wondering when you`re actually going to do something.

MOOS: Liberals winced, but some on the right were doing what one called the happy dance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is huge to me, coming from Bill Maher.

MOOS: Folks who normally rage at Maher couldn`t believe their ears. "I must be in the twilight zone, I actually agree with this so and so."

MAHER: And this is not what I voted for.

MOOS: But you can`t accuse the president of being overexposed on the Bill Maher story. The White House says it doesn`t comment on this type of thing.

MAHER: What he needs in his personality is a little George Bush. He needs to stop worrying about being loved and bring out the smug, insufferable swagger that says, "Suck on it, America."

MOOS: In a corresponding op-ed piece in the "L.A. Times," Maher said the president is on TV more than the ShamWow guy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, it`s Spence with ShamWow. You`ll be saying wow every time you use this towel.

MOOS: Some were saying wow every time Maher opened his mouth.

MAHER: I`m glad Obama is president. But "The Audacity of Hope" part is over. Right now, I`m hoping for a little more audacity.



HAMMER: Wow. That was CNN`s Jeanne Moos for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. So was Bill Maher out of line or has President Obama become too big of a celebrity and needs to stay away from the TV cameras for a while?

Well, joining me tonight in Hollywood is June Sarpong, founder of "" In New York tonight is Ben Widdicombe a celebrity editor for ""

So we just heard Bill Maher say that Barack Obama is more worried about being a pop culture icon than being president. I, for one, think that`s overstating it a bit. June, off to you first. What do you think?

JUNE SARPONG, "POLITICSINTHECITY.COM": I completely disagree with Bill. And I think, actually, it`s not a bad thing if we have a president that`s in a press a lot. At the end of the day, it gets people talking about politics. It gets people talking about issues that matter.

You know, so often, we`re talking about what someone`s wearing, or who they`re dating or whatever else. I mean, at least if we`ve got the president in the papers, we`re talking about the stimulus package. We`re talking about the economy. We`re talking about stuff that actually affects our lives.


SARPONG: Good on you, Obama. I want to see you in the papers all the time. And he`s hot, too, so I don`t mind.

HAMMER: There`s also that. Now, if you only were paying a little bit of attention, you might lose sight of the fact that Bill Maher is actually an Obama supporter. Still, he did not hold back at all. Let`s take another look at this.


MAHER: Hey, you got us already. We like you. We really like you. You`re skinny and in a hurry and in love with a nice lady. But so is Lindsay Lohan.


HAMMER: OK. Well, Bill Maher`s bashing President Obama for being seen on TV, you know, doing the un-presidential-like things like taking his wife to a Broadway play and playing with the family`s dog, Bo. But Ben, people really do want to see this stuff, and that`s why it`s on TV all the time.

WIDDICOMBE: Oh, absolutely. I mean, Obama is the most popular president in recent memory. And something tells me, by the way, that Mr. Maher`s show may have invited the president on and he said no to them, which is what prompted this rant, I suspect.

But you know, I understand what he`s saying. Obama has to act presidential. I do get a bit concerned when I see Desiree Rogers, the White House social secretary, you know, in "The Washington Star" magazines. I kind of think that maybe they need to be a bit dignified and pull that back a bit.

But still, Bill is criticizing his media presence. And as a media person himself, he should understand there`s a difference between the media construct that is the Obama presidency and the man himself and what he`s doing for the country.

HAMMER: Well said. Let`s move on - also new right now in hour in our continuing coverage of big smackdowns tonight. Get a load of this - Sacha Baron Cohen naked on the cover of the brand-new "GQ" magazine. He`s promoting his movie that features his alter-ego, Bruno. Take a look at him posing as Bruno. This is on the July "GQ" cover.

Does it look familiar? That`s because this - Sacha striking the very same pose as Jen Aniston on her nude "GQ" cover., taking a poll today, and they want to know who is hotter, Bruno or Aniston? June, off to you first. Who do you think?

SARPONG: All I know is I am jealous of Bruno. He hasn`t got an ounce of cellulite. What`s going on? I want to know what he`s been doing.

HAMMER: All right. Fair enough. I`ve got 10 seconds for you. Let`s hear it, Ben Widdicombe. Who is hotter?

WIDDICOMBE: You know what? I`m astounded that "GQ" went for that cover. I think that`s more of a "Details" cover, if you know what I mean. And I think that`s going to be radioactive for the radio show. I don`t think anyone`s going to pick up that issue. So Jen all the way.

HAMMER: I didn`t hear your vote - oh, Jen all the way. OK. June Sarpong, Ben Widdicombe, thanks, guys. I appreciate it.

All right. What do you get when you put the Jonas Brothers in the most romantic city in the world? Well, you`ll get a lot of screaming teenage girls. That`s what.


Tonight, we`ve got Larry King`s brand new exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the Jonas Brothers en Paris. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

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

TEXT: Home-schooled 16-year-old Nick Jonas graduates from high school. A&E cancels Patrick Swayze drama, "The Beast," because of low ratings.


HAMMER: Hey, did you see this? Check out this little raccoon family. They`re being coaxed out of their home in a Pepsi vending machine in Tulsa. Ned "The Skunk Whisperer" Bruha was called in to use his charms to woo the little masked critters.

And now, they are safely relocated to a wildlife rehab center. In fact, their only complaint - they sure could use a sparkling beverage right about now.

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer. And tonight, it`s the Jonas brothers in Paris. CNN "LARRY KING LIVE" right there in France with an incredible behind-the-scenes look at one of the hottest music sensations to hit Europe in a long time.

And as it turns out, there are screaming teen girls in France, too. So hold on to your beret, because Larry King is taking you on this exclusive look.


LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Bonjour. Today, we`re sweeping you off to Paris with the Jonas Brothers. This is part of their whirlwind tour through Europe this week. And our crew is getting unprecedented access along the way. Check it out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to Paris.

JOE JONAS, THE JONAS BROTHERS: It is about 5:45. And it`s time we go get some more sleep.


NICK JONAS, THE JONAS BROTHERS: Feel better. Don`t pass out again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, two, three!


KING: To see the rest our exclusive, behind-the-scenes footage, go to And don`t forget our interview with the Jonas Brothers we`ll have this Thursday night, 9:00 p.m. Eastern, 6:00 p.m. Pacific.


HAMMER: A tout a l`heure, Larry. Well, Monday we asked to you vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day. It was this - "Battle of the Stars: Who are you most interested in?" 42 percent of you said Jon and Kate Gosselin; 58 percent said Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. A closer call than I would have thought.

Here`s some of the e-mails we got. We heard from Rogenia in Texas who writes, "Angelina and Brad win hands down. I have already tired of Jon and Kate."

Pam from Nevada writes, "Angelina and Brad do good things with their celebrity and money. There`s no comparison between these two couples. Poor Jon seems to just want a normal life and enjoy his children. Kate should take lessons from Angie."

Well, that is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Thanks for watching. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. You can always catch SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on the 11:00s - 11:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific and in the morning at 11:00 a.m. Eastern here on HLN.