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SHOWBIZ TONIGHT

How Ellen DeGeneres Got the "Idol" Job; Simon Cowell Keeps Quiet on Ellen; Paula Speaks Out About Ellen as an "Idol" Judge; Tyra Banks Smackdown; Is Jon Gosselin Bringing Hailey Glassman Home?; Erin Andrews Speaks; La Toya Jackson on Prince Jackson`s Horrific Experience

Aired September 11, 2009 - 23:00:00   ET

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


A.J. HAMMER, HOST: Now, on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, Ellen`s "American Idol" gig. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT reveals for the very first time the remarkable, never- before-told story of how Ellen DeGeneres got the job. Plus, the mysterious silence of Simon. Why won`t Simon say anything about Ellen? Is there already a feud?

And Paula Abdul speaks out for the first time. But did Paula blow it and handle it all wrong?

Tonight, the Tyra Banks smackdown. The must see explosive interview and controversy over Tyra`s face off on a huge nationwide new show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LISA ISRAEL, PUBLICIST: She`s not going to go there.

CYNTHIA MCFADDEN, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: I think she just did. You said it.

TYRA BANKS, HOST, "THE TYRA BANKS SHOW": I didn`t say anything. You said, "Is that what you think?"

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: The bombshell questions Tyra refused to answer and why. Tonight, did Tyra go down in flames?

The breaking brand-new outrage today over Jon Gosselin. Is Jon really bringing his 22-year-old girlfriend home to meet his eight kids with Kate? And would that be just plain wrong?

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

(MUSIC PLAYING)

Hello. I`m A.J. Hammer, broadcasting tonight and every night from New York City.

And tonight, Ellen, beware. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT learned today the real story behind about how "American Idol" chose Ellen DeGeneres to replace Paula Abdul. But there were brand-new breaking developments that might want to make Ellen keep her guard up as she gets set to sit in the judge`s chair that Paula occupied for so long.

Simon Cowell today, again, refused to say anything about the decision to replace Paula with Ellen. But SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has got to ask, why the silence of the Simon? Idol judge Kara DioGuardi shared for the very first time today what she went through when she first joined the show and it is something that Ellen should pay attention to.

There were also brand-new questions today about how Paula has reacted to Ellen getting her old job. Did Paula handle this all wrong?

Well, the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT staff has been digging all day to make sure we bring you the big news breaking following the Ellen bombshell. And what we uncovered today - it is making big news right now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELLEN DEGENERES, HOST, "THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW": I am going to be the new judge on "American Idol."

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

HAMMER (voice-over): Like the audience on Ellen DeGeneres` talk show, a lot of people are cheering the shocking news that Ellen will be the new judge on "American Idol." And tonight, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is hearing for the first time exactly what made the producers of "American Idol" turn to the talk show host after Paula Abdul suddenly left over a reported salary dispute earlier this summer.

LINDSAY POWERS, "US WEEKLY": In a new interview, the "Idol" producers talked about how they collectively came to the decision to hire Ellen DeGeneres. They said they`d seen her on "So You Think You Can Dance." She`d hosted "Idol Gives Back." And they kind of said, "Aha! She`d be perfect to join the judge`s table."

HAMMER: And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you Ellen, a huge "American Idol," fan didn`t exactly play hard to get. Fox Reality chief Mike Darnell tells the "New York Post," quote, "We literally made the call and suggested it. And not only was she interested, she was incredibly enthusiastic. And that was a little over two weeks ago and we made the deal and she`s here. We got it done quicker than I thought."

(CHEERS)

But as the cheers from Ellen`s big announcement die down, she`s now getting a warning about the trouble she may encounter as the new face on "American Idol." And that warning is coming from someone who knows firsthand, "Idol" judge Kara DioGuardi.

POWERS: She empathizes with Ellen because she remembers what it`s like to be the new person on the table and to be taking on a lot of criticism.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How happy are you that you`re not the new kid anymore.

KARA DIOGUARDI, "AMERICAN IDOL": Oh, my god. Thank you. That was pretty hellish.

HAMMER: On Sirius XM`s "The Morning Jolt with Larry Flick," Kara, a successful songwriter, said "Idol" fans didn`t exactly welcome her with open arms when she joined "American Idol" earlier this year.

DIOGUARDI: I don`t know - just people were - you know, it was difficult for them to accept the change. It was difficult for them to understand why somebody who nobody had ever heard of could kind of come out of nowhere and, you know, sit next to these iconic figures.

You know, why was I there? What did I do to deserve to be there? And it`s very, very challenging to go from the back of the studio to the number one TV show. And that kind of visibility was very, very, very scary.

HAMMER: And DioGuardi says all the Kara-hating affected her.

DIOGUARDI: Of course. I mean, yes, there was a period of time where I couldn`t just go on the computer. You know, I don`t look anymore because it really hurts. You know, people would say things like, "She`s horrible."

HAMMER: Lindsay Powers of "Us Magazine" tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Ellen is already getting a taste of what Kara experienced. .

POWERS: There has been a very mixed response to the announcement that Ellen DeGeneres is replacing Paula Abdul on "American Idol." Some fans are thrilled, can`t wait for her to be on the show, for her to kind of represent that every man. But other fans are saying, "Really, what business does she have being there? She has no music experience."

HAMMER: And Powers tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT maybe Ellen could learn from Kara`s experience.

POWERS: Ellen does have a lot to learn from Kara because now, she is the new kid on the block. And the fact that Kara had admitted it`s kind of scary and she is a little bit relived to not be the newest judge is - you know, it`s a good lesson.

HAMMER: Ellen`s "Idol" contract reportedly will keep her on the show for five years. So now, the big question is whether her time on "American Idol" will go as easily as her hiring did.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

So in all of this, Simon Cowell remains the only judge who has not spoken out about Ellen`s new gig. And with all these warning signs coming from fellow judge, Kara, should Ellen beware and be very, very afraid?

Joining me tonight from Hollywood is Tanika Ray who is an entertainment journalist. Also from Hollywood, it`s Kim Serafin who is a senior editor for "In Touch Weekly."

All right. So you just heard it - the brand-new interview today with Kara DioGuardi. Randy Jackson also spoke out about Ellen. But as of show time, not word one from Simon Cowell. And today, in fact, Simon`s people told us he won`t be commenting. Tanika, what`s up with all the Simon silence here, huh?

TANIKA RAY, ENTERTAINMENT JOURNALIST: Come on. Like I said, we`ve got four more months before the show airs. We`ve got four months for Simon to say what he`s got to say. This is the thing that`s so fun about Ellen being hired in this role, is that you know she`s going to take Simon toe- to-toe.

She`s going to take him and she`s going to win. And maybe Simon`s got to mentally prepare for that right now. She says that she doesn`t like to hit the fact that she`s so mean. She`s going to take the opposite opinion. And you know, if he`s too mean, she`s going to let him know about it. And I think he`s going to have four months to think about that.

HAMMER: Yes, yes. Well, Kim, what do you think about this? Do you think that`s it or Simon`s silence may be signaling some sort of feud? Or perhaps, I think, based on the idea that he may be feeling insecure because, truthfully, she is a much bigger star than he is.

RAY: Ooh -

KIM SERAFIN, SENIOR EDITOR, "IN TOUCH WEEKLY": I do not think Simon - I don`t think is feeling insecure. Simon does not speak on anyone else`s time table but his own. He will speak when he is good and ready.

RAY: Yes.

SERAFIN: Look, he understands publicity. If he thinks there is some value to creating a feud between him and Ellen, he will let this go. You might have heard of a little thing called Susan Boyle that he created.

HAMMER: Yes.

SERAFIN: So he certainly understands publicity. Plus, look, you know, he was very close with Paula. He did come out and say some very nice things about Paula, saying she was the heart of the show, that he really misses her. So I think part of it is also his loyalty to Paula.

RAY: That`s true.

SERAFIN: But he definitely understands publicity. He`ll let this simmer for a while for ratings.

HAMMER: Yes. Well, yes, mark my words, he is going to speak up when all of the attention will simply be on him and other people`s names won`t be getting tossed around.

RAY: Exactly. Yes.

HAMMER: Tanika, do you think at all that there is a possibility Simon, however, might be a little worried that Ellen could steal the spotlight from him? Realistically now.

RAY: Yes! Absolutely. You see Ellen - when she speaks and she`s making funny, everybody looks at her. And I think Simon`s got the tight t-shirt. He`s got that down. But what`s really great is that it used to be like this contrived banter between him and Ryan when they were fake-fighting.

Now, I think it`s going to be a little bit real. We`ll have to see how it plays out. But nothing`s going to be fake now. It`s going to be - Ellen`s going to take one stance and she`s going to be funny about it and win America`s heart. And Simon`s going to be the mean British guy that mean to the contestants.

HAMMER: Well, here`s something I thought was very interesting. In that brand-new interview that just aired this morning with Sirius XM`s Larry Flick, Kara DioGuardi opened up about her first year and her experience on "American Idol" being very difficult because the fans had a certain perception of her. Listen very carefully to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DIOGUARDI: People were - you know, it was very difficult for them to accept the change. It was difficult for them to understand why somebody who nobody had heard of could kind of come out of nowhere and, you know, sit next to these iconic figures, you know. Why was I there? And what did I do to deserve to be there? And you know, I could understand it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: So do you think that Kara is waving a big red flag to Ellen there saying, "Hey, look at what happened to me. Don`t let it happen to you." Or Tanika, let me ask you this, is it right to even compare their experiences given that Kara was really a complete unknown when she showed up at "American Idol."

RAY: Absolutely not right to compare. Kara is correct. It is probably hard to come into that fraternity-sorority. And she got hazed appropriately, unfortunately. But Ellen is a huge star. Everybody knows Ellen DeGeneres. She is just not going to go through the same thing that Kara did. And if she does, she`s got enough money and enough people that love her. She could care less.

HAMMER: And again, why I think it was such a brilliant move bringing in Ellen - you know, they brought in Kara. Yes, it shook up the show a little bit.

SERAFIN: Yes.

HAMMER: But it didn`t bring in viewers. Ellen will bring in viewers and bring back viewers. Kim, do you agree that, you know, it`s not really fair to compare the experience that Kara had in her first year to what Ellen is going to experience from fans?

SERAFIN: Oh, totally, totally different experiences. And yes, talk about cross-promotion. Ellen already promotes the show so much. She will do so even more now that she`s on the show.

But look, Ellen also has been a performer for a long time. She understands about negative comments coming in.

HAMMER: Yes.

SERAFIN: And Kara talked about looking on the Internet and she was afraid to kind of look and see what people were saying. Ellen has dealt with that. She understands that the naysayers are always louder than the people who are positive.

Even just look at the Republican congressman that criticized President Obama. You know what I mean? He gets more publicity than the hundreds of people that agree with President Obama.

HAMMER: Got to end it there -

SERAFIN: So it`s a totally similar situation.

HAMMER: You got it. Kim Serafin ...

RAY: Go, Ellen!

HAMMER: ... Tanika Ray, thanks, guys. Coming up on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, Paula and Ellen backlash. Paula Abdul finally speaking out about Ellen taking her spot on "Idol." But did she handle it well?

Plus, the backlash against Ellen. Why some think Ellen is not the right choice for "American Idol."

Tonight it`s a Tyra Banks smack down. I have seen some contentious interviews before. But when Tyra sat down with Cynthia McFadden - well, just watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ISRAEL: She`s not going to go there.

MCFADDEN: I think she just did.

BANKS: No, you said it. I didn`t say anything. You said, "Is that what you think?"

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: That is just some of the awkwardness. Wait until you see the rest.

Also, brand-new outrage over Jon Gosselin. Is he really going to take his 22-year-old girlfriend home to meet his eight kids and isn`t that just plain wrong?

And for the very first time, Erin Andrews speaks out to Oprah today about getting secretly videotaped in her hotel room naked. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

It is time now for the "SHOWBIZ News Ticker" - these are more stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom. And they`re making news right now.

TEXT: Record companies sue "Ellen" for allegedly using songs without permission. Michael Jackson tribute concert rescheduled for 2010 in London instead of Vienna.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

And tonight, I can tell you, it`s finally happened. Paris Hilton is at long last getting the same respect as Confucius. I`m not kidding about his.

Words of wisdom from Paris are actually included in the latest edition of the Oxford book of quotations. This is a 65-year-old dictionary that has immortalized the words everyone, from Oscar Wilde to Stephen Hawking.

Let us now check out Paris`s contribution, shall we? Here it is, "Dress cute wherever you go, life is too short to blend in." So true, so wise. Thank you, Paris.

Now, of course, Paris reacted to the news swiftly in the way that all great thinkers do. She posted something on Twitter. And here - that is, "So cool that I have a quote in the dictionary." She really is the Buddha of our times.

Well, now, it`s time for the SHOWBIZ Obama watch. The president`s address to Congress on Wednesday night was watched by nearly 32 million people. Now, think about it - that`s around the same amount of people that tune in each week to watch "American Idol."

And while Randy, Simon, Kara and Ellen obviously were not sitting in the first row, judging the president, another guy was. Tonight the words uttered by Rep. Joe Wilson are turning into a heck of a heckle. Here`s CNN`s Jeanne Moos for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You cannot tell a lie, but you sure can talk about one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You lie.

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": You lie.

MOOS: You lie! It`s "The Urban Dictionary`s" word of the day.

(on camera): Did you see the part where the guy said, "You lie?"

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I was like what?

MOOS (voice-over): A mere two words were all it took to get a reaction.

(on camera): You lie.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I thought that was dreadful.

BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: The reforms I`m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.

SEN. JOE WILSON (R-SC): You lie!

(BOOING)

MOOS (voice-over): It has Speaker Nancy Pelosi`s head spinning.

WILSON: You lie!

MOOS: Within hours, you could order a "You Lie!" tie or "You Lie!" cap. It turns that the South Carolina Republican congressman who yelled into a hero to some. "Joe Wilson for president." But among those we talked to -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I think it`s disgusting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really, it`s totally disgraceful. I came out of the gym and we were all talking about it in the locker room.

MOOS: But "you lie" is a love tap in countries where politicians play hardball.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The answer is yes.

(CHEERS)

MOOS: The opposition laughs out loud at the British prime minister.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we not only saved the world - saved banks (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

(LAUGHTER)

MOOS: Critics of Joe Wilson are laughing. They set up a Web site called "JoeWilsonIsYourPreexistingCondition.com," aimed solely at hurling imaginary insults to the congressman. We did find one Obama supporter who came to Wilson`s defense.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s about freedom of speech. I think that is - yes, we live in a country where you can say what you want to say. And -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Freedom of speech, yes. That doesn`t stop you from talking.

MOOS: They even argued over Wilson`s apology.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don`t think I should apologize, too, for interrupting you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because it`s rude. (EXPLETIVE DELETED)

MOOS: You lie strikes off as kid stuff as in "The Bridge to Tarabithia."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You lie!

MOOS (on camera): Do you think OK that they said that to the president?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE CHILD: You should expect him.

MOOS (voice-over): We expect he meant "respect."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE CHILD: It`s not very pretty any all.

MOOS: There`s been so much criticism that Joe Wilson`s Web site has crashed. His phone is constantly busy. We`ve got a ring tone right up his alley.

(on camera): You lie.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: That was the always truthful CNN`s Jeanne Moos for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. And I`m certainly not sure if that`s a trend I want to see catch on. And I have to point out the "Showbiz on Call" phone lines have been ringing off the hook because so many people have been calling in about Ellen DeGeneres joining "American Idol."

In fact, the "Showbiz on Call" phone operators actually had to skip the "Idol" auditions because they are so busy fielding all the calls. And I`m so sorry about that, ladies.

We got a call into "Showbiz on Call" from Brenda in Alabama who can`t wait to see Ellen at that judge`s table.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

BRENDA, CALLER FROM ALABAMA: I think it`s great that Ellen is taking over. I think she`s a wonderful, wonderful person, so considerate and so warm. I`m excited to see if Simon and Ellen are going to butt heads. So you know, it`s going to be interesting and I think the ratings will be awesome. So Ellen, I`m with you, girl.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HAMMER: And I`m with you, Brenda. Thanks for your call. We also heard from Lisa calling in to "Showbiz on Call" from West Virginia who is also on team Ellen.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

LISA, CALLER FROM WEST VIRGINIA: I am so excited to see her on there. I have nothing against Paula, you know. It was her decision to leave. But I think they could have made no better decision than to take Ellen DeGeneres. I think she`s going to knock Simon Cowell on his butt a couple of times.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HAMMER: Well, thank you, Lisa. You can call us at "Showbiz on Call" and let us know what you think about this. Let us know what you think about anything. The "Showbiz on Call" phone lines are open al the time for that very purpose at 1-888-SBT-BUZZ; 1-888-728-2899.

So obviously, a lot of our callers are psyched. But I need to point out there`s also a big backlash over Ellen going to "Idol." Wait until you see what I felt was a very surprising result of our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT poll. So what`s behind the backlash? Plus, brand-new controversy over Paula`s reaction.

And brand-new Jon Gosselin outrage. Oh, yes - is he really bringing his 22-year-old girlfriend home to meet his kids? Is that just plain wrong?

Also, an amazing moment on "Oprah." The Black Eyed Peas perform and everybody breaks out in dance.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

This is definitely one of the coolest things out there. Oprah had no idea the entire crowd was going to dance like that, all choreographed and everything. I`m going to show you more of the amazing dance and I will tell you how it all came together. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

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

TEXT: Maura Tierney drops out of new TV show for treatment of breast cancer. Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman to reunite for "Hancock" sequel.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. Tonight, an absolutely amazing moment on "Oprah`s" 24th season kickoff. I have been waiting to show you this all day. The Black Eyed Peas performed in Chicago. No one was more surprised than Oprah herself when everyone in the crowd started dancing in sync. You`ve got to look at this.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

HAMMER: Wow. Now, the Black Eyed Peas knew what was up, but Oprah did not. But Oprah regular Ali Wentworth explained how it all went down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALI WENTWORTH, COMEDIENNE: We brought in creative masterminds, award- winning director Michael Gracey(ph) and top choreographer Ashley Wallen. Well, they whipped up a dance to "I Got a Feeling," we Twittered and Facebooked looking for viewers who love to dance. And sure enough, 800 of them showed up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Yes. There were only 20 professional dancers there who taught the other 800 the routine. So cool. I`m a huge fan of the flash mob.

Well, lots of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT`s Facebook friends are singing the praises of Ellen DeGeneres going on "American Idol." But some are saying it hits a sour note.

Dana G. writing, "Ellen is a talk show host. How does that qualify her to judge other`s singing abilities?

But Dean A. writes, "Ellen is the perfect candidate for "Idol" host. She can give a viewer perspective and she`s hysterical."

And I agree with you. Remember, I want to hear from you on Facebook. Also, follow us on Twitter. For breaking entertainment news alerts, you can sign to our Facebook and Twitter pages by going to CNN.com/ShowbizTonight.

Now, the SHOWBIZ lineup - this is what we have coming up at the bottom of the hour on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It is a Tyra Banks smackdown. Tyra faces off with a major reporter on national TV and it got awkward. Brand-new backlash over DeGeneres joining the judges` table on "American Idol."

Also, drama over Michael Jackson`s kids.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PARIS KATHERINE JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON`S DAUGHTER: Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine. I just wanted to say I love him so much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: That, of course, the unforgettable tribute from Paris Jackson to her father. And now, for the first time, I have the heartbreaking story of what her brother went through on the day their dad died. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

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

TEXT: "Vampire Diaries" was the most-watched premiere ever on the CW. CMAs accidentally omit nominations for Brad Paisley and Keith Urban.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Now, on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, the shocking Ellen backlash. Tonight, the growing battle over Ellen replacing Paula on "American Idol." Right now, the surprising results of our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT poll and the brand-new controversy over Paula`s reaction.

America`s next top TV battle. Tonight, Tyra Banks goes head-to-head with a big-time TV anchor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ISRAEL: She`s not going to go there.

MCFADDEN: I think she just did.

BANKS: No, you said it. I didn`t say anything. You said, "Is that what you think?"

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: What questions did Tyra refuse to answer and doesn`t this make Tyra look just plain bad?

And kids, meet my young girlfriend. Is the still-married Jon Gosselin really bringing his 22-year-old girlfriend home to meet his eight kids?

Plus, more stories breaking from the "SHOWBIZ News Ticker."

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

(MUSIC PLAYING)

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, the Paula-Ellen backlash. I`ve got to tell you, I can`t believe the backlash that surfaced today against Ellen just 24 hours since she announced that she`ll replace Paula on "American Idol."

Well, for the first time, Paula is speaking out about Ellen getting her own gig. But did Paula totally blow the way she handled Ellen`s big announcement? You`re not going to believe what she first said to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT when she found out that Ellen was taking her place on "Idol." Is Paula Abdul really happy for Ellen? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT is getting to the bottom of it right now.

Also tonight, the backlash against Ellen blowing up today. So what gives here? Why are so many people so against Ellen being on Idol? Wait until you hear the astounding results of the SHOWBIZ question of the day.

Joining me tonight in Hollywood, Tanika Ray who is an entertainment journalist. Also in Hollywood tonight, Kim Serafin who is a senior editor for "In Touch Weekly." .

So let`s begin tonight with Paula Abdul. Did she totally botch the way she responded to Ellen`s big announcement? Because when the news first broke, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT immediately reached out to Paula for a reaction, you know, looking for words of congratulations or anything at all.

Hours and hours later, we finally heard from her spokesperson who gave us what I thought was a pretty short and snappy response, "No statement from Paula. She has moved on."

But late last night, we received this overjoyed, gracious statement from Paula where she said, Ellen DeGeneres is wildly funny and talented in her own right. I wish her and the show only the best of luck."

Tanika, to you first. What do you think really happened here? Did somebody get a hold of Paula and said, "Paula, you`ve got to say something and say something really nice"?

RAY: Well, don`t forget that Paula is still campaigning for a new job. Yes, she got the VH1 "Divas," but she still wants to keep herself out there. It was her job. It`s almost like lending somebody money, but you can`t care if they pay you back.

She`s got to take the upper hand in this and just sort of take the high road and welcome Ellen in. I mean, she very willingly and voluntarily gave up her role in "American Idol."

Look, I understand going through change. I went through change. I just left the show "Extra" that I have been on for five years. And when you make a big change like that, you have been to be willing in every fiber of your being just to move on and not look back. And I think that`s what Paula is doing.

HAMMER: Well, there`s no doubt that everybody was wondering how Paula would react to the news. In fact, even Ellen was hoping that Paula would be totally OK with it. Listen who what Ellen told "Idol" host Ryan Seacrest on his radio show. Let`s roll that.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

DEGENERES: I hope Paula is OK with it. I feel - you know, I don`t anybody to think that I took Paula`s job away. I feel like, you know, she was gone and then everybody was looking for somebody else. And I stepped in and I certainly don`t want to be that person that is the evil - taking Paul`s job away.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HAMMER: Yes, and that is Ellen totally being Ellen right there. All right. Kim, give it to me straight. How do you really think Paula is feeling about Ellen taking over her role on "Idol?"

SERAFIN: She`s got to be upset. I mean, even though she would have felt disrespected had she stayed on the show and accepted a lower salary. I mean, that`s what she said this whole dispute was about. She`s got to be feeling a little sadness.

I mean, this was her show. She started it. It was her baby. And here, even though there has been a little bit of a backlash to Ellen, in general, people are excited to see Ellen. They want to see what she`ll bring to the show. She has been getting good reception.

People like Ellen. She is a huge star. I mean, you can`t find a bigger star to fill Paula`s place. She`s, I`m sure, upset. But she`s being very diplomatic about and I think that`s good.

RAY: Absolutely.

SERAFIN: Tanika`s right. She`s got to look for a new job, but she`s got to come across very professional and she is doing that.

HAMMER: You know what, Kim? We`re looking at different sources today because you are saying, yes, there a few people upset about it. I`ve got to tell you, there has been much more of a backlash than I could have possibly imagined.

So I want to move on right now to the Ellen backlash bonanza which really, in my mind, exploded today. Our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Facebook page jam- packed with brand-new outrage over Ellen`s new gig.

And I`ve got to tell you, the whole thing caught me off guard. So much criticism here. A lot of cynicism. And the biggest critique that I`m seeing over and over, that Ellen is not qualified for the job as a judge.

Let me read some of what we`re hearing. Bob S. writing on our wall, "Are you kidding me? What could possibly qualify her to be a judge on a show for singers? Next, they`ll replace Randy with Jay Leno. This show is quickly becoming more irrelevant every year."

Same on the "Showbiz on Call" phone lines. I want to play a call here from Evelyn in California. Evelyn called to tell SHOWBIZ TONIGHT that she is having none of this Ellen nonsense. None of it.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

EVELYN, CALLER FROM CALIFORNIA: I was quite shocked that Ellen would be on "Idol." I just don`t understand them having somebody with no musical background. Just because you are a comedian and you`re on a show doesn`t make you a judge for music. So I do not want Ellen on "American Idol."

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HAMMER: All right. Tanika, do you get the criticism? Because I don`t. I think the fact that she doesn`t have a music background doesn`t matter. She`s a performer. She`s a human who is a big fan of music. Don`t you think she deserves a break here?

RAY: I do, but I am on the fence. You know, I saw Ellen when she sat on the judge`s chair for "So You Think You Can Dance," one of my favorite shows of all time. And I`ve got to tell you, when you`re a comedian, the thing that comes first, the first priority is to make the funny.

And she did make the funny over and over. It was a little distracting to the concept of the show. And I think that`s going to come into play on "American Idol." She`s always going to want to make the joke. That`s in her nature. So I think that could be a little distracting. We`ll have to see.

I understand the backlash, but I also understand that she comes with a big audience. The woman is an Emmy winner. People love her. So she`s going to bring people in. It`s all about ratings. So I think that`s what "American Idol" is looking for.

HAMMER: All right. Tanika, you bring it up Ellen`s guesting on "So You Think You Can Dance."

RAY: Yes.

HAMMER: Charles, can we turn it around that quickly. OK. All right. I`m going to play it for you so we can see because a lot of people were pointing fingers right at this saying, "You know what? Maybe she was a little too hokey, not enough criticism."

RAY: Yes!

HAMMER: Let`s take a look and judge Ellen together. Roll that.

DEGENERES: I mean, there is dancing and then there is da-ancing and d-aa- aancing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There just didn`t appear to be anything passionate in your face.

DEGENERES: I love your face, Evan. You have just an essence about you that you know that`s Evan. You`re not just like another dancer. You are a special, special guy.

Are you two carpenters? Because you nailed it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: All right. Now, Kim, I want to go back to you. I know you are big - behind Ellen here on all of this. You just watched that. Should we be maybe a little worried about Ellen`s judging skills based on that?

SERAFIN: Yes. You know, after three people saying that was really pitchy, I would be happy to hear Ellen say, "You guys are carpenters and you nailed it," give the Kris Allens of the world and the Adam Lamberts of the world a little more of a chance to sing.

And we know that Ellen said that she even actually liked the three- judge format prior to the four judges being there. Because the contestants got a bigger chance to sing.

And so I think she will recognize when she is talking too much. Sometimes Paula, even though she was endearing, would go on about the light that lights up the world and the corn that`s on the cob and party in the soul.

HAMMER: You`ve got a point.

SERAFIN: That was a Tivo moment. So Ellen can keep it short and sweet, to the point and let the contestants sing.

HAMMER: Listen, let me get this to hard proof because I know you need hard proof over how divided people are over this. Today, results came from our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day.

We asked online and on air, "`American Idol`: Ellen DeGeneres replaces Paula Abdul - was she the right choice?" And look at this - split right down the middle. Fifty-one percent yes; 49 percent no. Almost, they tied. Tanika, a huge response. Are you at all surprised at how close that was?

RAY: No. I think that "American Idol" is loving this, first of all. Because they have four months before the show actually comes on air and we actually see the audition rounds in January.

So they`ve got all this publicity. People are going to be talking about it forever. It is - that`s not going to twist - the most shocking choice ever. But I do think that they want to shake it up a little. So people are going to be on the fence until they see that show. It`s going to wait and see.

HAMMER: And the most shocking choice ever would have been Kate Gosselin. That`s what I think.

RAY: Please, no!

HAMMER: Tanika Ray, Kim Serafin, thank you, guys. I appreciate it. Well, why don`t you sound off on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day? What do you think? "Ellen Versus Simon: Are you expecting a big-time rivalry on `American Idol`?" Vote at CNN.com/ShowbizTonight. E-mail us more of your thoughts, please, showbiztonight@cnn.com is our E-mail address.

Well, we don`t if there`s going to be any kind of an Ellen-Simon smackdown. I kind of doubt it. But I want you to you take a look at this Tyra Banks-Cynthia McFadden slugfest.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ISRAEL: She`s not going to go there.

MCFADDEN: I think she just did.

BANKS: No, you said it. I didn`t say anything. You said, "Is that what you think?"

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Wow! What the heck happened there? Why didn`t Tyra want to answer this big-time ABC anchor`s questions? And does this make Tyra look like a big old crybaby?

Also, "Hey, kids. Come on over here and meet my girlfriend." That`s what Jon Gosselin may be saying. Is he bringing his 22-year-old girlfriend over to his house to meet his eight kids? Dude, probably not a good idea.

And just today, ESPN reporter Erin Andrews opened up to Oprah about that naked peephole video that someone took of her. You do not want to miss what she says. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

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

TEXT: Two LAPD officers put on leave as part of probe into who leaked photo of Rihanna beaten. Judge dismisses suit over whether Jerry Seinfeld`s wife plagiarized a cookbook.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.

Tonight, Tyra`s smackdown. Tyra Banks, who proudly and loudly tells her critics to kiss her fat butt is now, all of a sudden, very, very camera-shy. Tonight, you`ve got to see how Tyra gets totally rattled in a brand-new TV interview when she`s asked about giving the boot to judges on "America`s Next Top Model."

In fact, this is so intense her handlers actually tried to jump in. Wait until you see what happens next.

Also making big news tonight, Jon Gosselin brings his 22-year-old girlfriend back home for the first time. Would it be just plain wrong to introduce her to his eight kids with Kate?

With me tonight in New York is Ben Widdicombe. He is the celebrity editor for "StyleList.com." In Hollywood tonight is Rachel Zalis. She`s a contributing editor for "Life and Style Weekly."

And let`s begin with the Tyra`s smackdown, Tyra`s interview on ABC`s "Nightline." Two popular judges on "America`s Next Top Model" have been bad-mouthing Tyra ever since she fired them. Well, you`ve got to watch what happens when ABC News correspondent Cynthia McFadden asks Tyra about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCFADDEN: Paulina Porizkova said that you lack respect for co-judges. Janice Dickinson said that you were righteous. Why do you think both of them had such negative things to say about you?

BANKS: I`ve never had anything. Wasn`t there.

ISRAEL: She doesn`t want to go there.

BANKS: Why do you think? I don`t know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: A little later on, she just froze up. Now, I`ve got to tell you, I have sat across from Tyra Banks in a very similar situation, having her publicists shut me down just like that. But after asking a very non-edgy question - Ben, off to you first. Are you with me that what happened there does not make Tyra look good?

BEN WIDDICOMBE, CELEBRITY EDITOR, "STYLELIST.COM": Well, it doesn`t. And I think the problem that Tyra faces is that her image is that she`s this no-nonsense, fearless straight-shooter that will give you the absolute honesty at all times on her show.

And she asks these questions and demands that of her guests. And this shows her - maybe she is not prepared to be honest all the time. And there are some questions she is scared of. So I think that it makes you look a little hypocritical as a talk show host that she won`t answer these questions.

HAMMER: Well, and to that end, just this week, we saw a much-different Tyra on her own show when she took off her weave and she showed off her real hair. Let`s look at that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BANKS: I wanted to show the real me. I wanted to show the raw me. And I just got out of the shower - and meet the face first, of course, you all. And then came out of here on this stage. And this is in me, you all. This is me.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: OK. Compare that to "Nightline" when Tyra is asked to get real about all of those "America`s Next Top Model" rumors. Let`s roll that one, Charles.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCFADDEN: Both Paulina Porizkova and Janice Dickinson, when they left the show, were not very nice about you.

ISRAEL: Let`s not go there.

MCFADDEN: Well, I am going there. I am going to ask that question.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: I`ve got to tell you, I think Tyra, sitting there, shutting down while Cynthia pressed her really says a great deal about the real Tyra. She was not able to fend for herself at all. Rachel, what do you think? I mean, there graceful ways to not answer a question if you don`t want to.

RACHEL ZALIS, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, "LIFE AND STYLE WEEKLY": I totally disagree with you, guys. I am so team Tyra. I think Cynthia McFadden was thinking she was interviewing Bernie Madoff. It was such a negative line of questioning. And I think Tyra just sat there and kind of stared her down and said, "You know the answer to that as well as I do," just in one nod of the head and a little smile.

HAMMER: Yes. But Rachel, to the point, I mean, Tyra is a professional. She interviews people all the time, probably people that don`t always want to answer her questions.

And she just - literally, she looked like a deer in the headlights there and had to wait for her publicist to jump in instead of taking charge like you would expect her to do and say, "You know what, Cynthia? Thank you for asking that. We are not going to talk about that right now." Say it or something - literally, she shut down.

ZALIS: I don`t think so. I think Tyra did not want to dignify the question. She`s trying to take the show about a catwalk and they get a catfight. And I think Tyra was just in there going, "No, don`t go there." And her publicist is saying, "No, don`t go there." And I respect Tyra for that.

HAMMER: Well, we did reach out to Tyra for a comment, did not hear back as of show time.

But let`s move on because also making news right now, Jon Gosselin takes his 22-year-old girlfriend, Hailey Glassman, home to Pennsylvania. Now, this trip comes just as Jon shoots down rumors that he and Hailey split. Listen to what Jon told "E!"

He is saying, "We are together and happy as ever. In fact, she is with me in Pennsylvania for the first time." And though these reports floating around that this first trip also includes a plan for Hailey to meet Jon`s eight kids. Ben, back to you. It seems to me this would not be a great move. What do you think about it?

WIDDICOMBE: Well, I think it wasn`t necessarily a great move when you hook up with this 22-year-old woman. However, given that he has, I think that she might as well meet the kids because she should know what she is getting into.

These two are behaving like a couple of gum-chewing teenagers who hooked up in bar. But the reality is that Jon is an adult with eight children. And Hailey has to know that if she is going to be in his life, she can`t pretend the eight kids don`t exist. So I think given that she`s there, have her meet the kids. It might open her eyes a little to the situation.

HAMMER: What`s your take, Rachel? Because if Jon and Hailey really are in love, doesn`t he have a right to introduce her to the kids?

ZALIS: Yes. I mean, who is more experienced than Hailey with children? She has been dating the biggest baby of all. His name is Jon Gosselin.

HAMMER: Yes.

ZALIS: I mean, this guy is whining and complaining and going on TV, trash talking his ex-wife. I mean, it`s perfect.

HAMMER: Well put -

ZALIS: Honestly, I think, for the kids, it`s not great. They`re in the public eye and it has been a very difficult year for them. And I don`t think it`s the best time to bring in a new woman.

HAMMER: Well said. Rachel Zalis, Ben Widdicombe, thanks, guys. I appreciate it.

All right. Moving on tonight, a nightmare - that is what ESPN reporter Erin Andrews says about the secretly-taped naked Internet video of her. Erin thought her career was over when the video was put online.

Apparently, somebody made a hole in a hotel room where she was staying and shot her nude. Well, just this afternoon in her first interview since the scandal broke, Erin got really emotional when she revealed what happened when she first heard about the video. Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OPRAH WINFREY, HOST, "THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW": So who did you call first?

ERIN ANDREWS, ESPN REPORTER: My mom and dad.

WINFREY: How`s your mom and dad? And what did you say when she called you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, she was melting down and I tried to calm her down. And I was dying inside and - just trying to get the facts - who, what, where, when, how, why and get her focused.

WINFREY: So you were saying earlier that - you were just saying to me that - your eyes are watering.

ANDREWS: It`s my dad.

WINFREY: It`s your dad?

ANDREWS: And it was such a painful phone call. I mean, having to call my parents - and they thought I was physically injured - how bad I was screaming. I kept screaming, "I`m done. My career is over. I`m done. Get it off. Get it off the Internet. Get it off."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Well, Erin says that getting back to work this fall is going to help her heal her wounds. Police haven`t yet found the peeping tom.

Well, just tonight, La Toya Jackson gave her first major TV interview since the death of her brother, Michael. And she revealed some explosive stuff like the incredible things that Michael`s son, Prince, went through as his dad lay dying. Also, does La Toya really think Michael was murdered?

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

TEXT: REM`s Michael Stipe is developing a movie based on Barry Manilow`s music. Lauren Bacall to receive honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement.

HAMMER: And now, "Making It Work," the secrets about how stars make their relationships work in Hollywood and beyond.

Tonight, Kate Beckinsale. Now, we caught up with Kate who is married and has a daughter from a previous relationship while she was plugging her new movie, "Whiteout." And she told us she keeps a good relationship with her 10-year-old daughter Lily by keeping her close by.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATE BECKINSALE, ACTRESS: I spent an awful lot of time with my daughter and she comes with me when I go and work. And that is difficult. It`s difficult it find, you know, the part of your brain that`s just completely yours for working. But we`ve got such a great relationship. We have a really happy family. I`m really glad I have done that. And I`ll sleep when I`m older.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Be sure to catch Kate in her brand-new movie "Whiteout," out today. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

P. JACKSON: Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine. I wanted to say I love him so much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Michael Jackson`s daughter, Paris, speaking at her father`s memorial. And now, we`re learning the dramatic details of what Paris` brother went through on the day their father died.

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Tonight, for the first time, the unbelievable story of how Michael`s oldest son, Prince, desperately tried to help revive his dad.

Just tonight, on ABC`s "20/20," Barbara Walters interviewed Michael`s sister, La Toya. And she confirmed reports that Prince was called to resuscitate Michael on the day he died. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARBARA WALTERS, ANCHOR, "20/20": It has been reported that Michael`s elder son, Prince, was summoned by Dr. Murray to help resuscitate Michael, Prince`s own father. That must have been a terrible experience for him. Is it true?

LA TOYA JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON`S SISTER: Yes, he did call Prince. He watched him do this, Barbara. And you don`t do that to a child. You don`t do that to a child especially when you knew, prior to asking that child to come up, that Michael was no longer alive.

WALTERS: Did you feel Michael was dead long before he went to the hospital?

L. JACKSON: Oh, yes. Oh, yes.

WALTERS: Why was he doing this to this little boy?

L. JACKSON: I think to show, "I had nothing to do with this."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Wow. Well, La Toya has also said that she believes Michael was murdered and she did not back down from that one bit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

L. JACKSON: I knew something terrible would happen at the end, not to mention the fact Michael constantly told me, "La Toya, if I die - they are going to murder me. They are going to kill me." He would tell me that, Barbara. And that`s when Michael passed. When I found out he had actually passed, I said, "No, it wasn`t an accident. He was murdered."

WALTERS: Your brother was murdered?

L. JACKSON: I always believed that from day one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Wow. Such strong words. Well, moving on, on Thursday, we asked to you vote on our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT question of the day - "`American Idol`: Ellen DeGeneres replaces Paula Abdul - is she is right choice?" Even split here - 51 percent said yes; 49 percent said no.

Among the E-mails, we heard from Kyme in Alabama who writes, "I think replacing Paula with Ellen was brilliant. I will not miss an episode because of Ellen."

We also heard from Mimi in South Carolina who does not agree, "Ellen is very successful as a talk show host and I think she`s great at that, but come on. I feel that she will make a mockery of what these young people are trying to achieve."

Well, that is it for SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. Thank you 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 weekday mornings at 11:00 a.m. Eastern here on HLN.

END