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Ashton Kutcher`s Penn State Twitter Controversy; Dr. Murray Speaks Out After His Conviction; Showbiz Reality Secrets: Play to Win

Aired November 11, 2011 - 23:00   ET


A.J. HAMMER, HOST: Big news breaking tonight on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT - Ashton`s explosive Penn State Twitter controversy. Outrage after the "Two and a Half Men" star tweets his support of the football coach under fire.


Tonight, Ashton`s dramatic 180. Will he quit Twitter? Should he?

Dr. Conrad Murray speaks out after being convicted of causing Michael Jackson`s death.


SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, NBC CORRESPONDENT: So you don`t regret leaving the room?



HAMMER: Tonight, the last man to see Jackson alive opens up in a brand-new documentary. The SHOWBIZ Flashpoint, is it OK for Dr. Murray to profit from M.J.`s death?

"SHOWBIZ Reality Secrets: Play to Win" - SHOWBIZ TONIGHT blows the lid off reality show contests with the biggest reality stars on TV.


NANCY GRACE, HOST, "NANCY GRACE": Take no prisoners. Guns a-blazing.


HAMMER: TV`s most provocative entertainment news show breaks news right now.


Hello. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York with big news breaking tonight - you nit "twit." That`s what a lot of people are saying tonight after Ashton Kutcher`s brand-new Twitter storm.

Tonight, Kutcher is doing a major Twitter turnaround after he tweeted out a message supporting embattled Penn State coach, Joe Paterno. Kutcher quickly got blasted over his words, only to say, "Wait a second. I didn`t realize Paterno got fired for allegedly covering up a child abuse scandal."

Oops. Kutcher stepped in easily the biggest, most devastating child abuse scandal making headlines tonight by tweeting his comments without knowing the whole story.

And now, Kutcher is taking dramatic new measures to prevent his thoughtless tweets from ever making it into the Twitterverse again. But should he quit while he`s behind?


(voice-over) The Penn State sex abuse scandal has so far claimed the career of a beloved coach, resulted in the arrests of three people, and tarnished a good name of a legendary football program.

But today, this devastating scandal has cleaned another big-time casualty - Ashton Kutcher`s uncensored Twitter feed.

CARLOS DIAZ, SPORTS ANCHOR, "MORNING EXPRESS WITH ROBIN MEADE": Ashton Kutcher is the Christopher Columbus of Twitter. Sad, sad day in the Twitter world.

HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you that Kutcher, the 10th most popular Twitter user with more than eight million followers, has ended his string of uncensored, unedited tweets, this after the star of "Two and a Half Men" caused a huge uproar when he prematurely tweeted support for fired Penn State head coach, Joe Paterno.

On Wednesday, Joe Paterno who has been with Penn State since 1950, was fired, gone, out of there, because he did not alert police when he was made aware of sexual abuse, allegations of sexual abuse, on campus.

HAMMER: When Ashton first found out about Paterno`s firing Wednesday, he let his eight million Twitter followers know it. He tweeted, quote, "How do you fire Jo Pa? #insult #noclass. As a Hawkeye fan, I find it in poor taste."

DIAZ: Ashton has eight million followers on Twitter. I believe 7,999,999 were ticked off at him after that tweet.

HAMMER: Tons of Ashton`s Twitter followers slammed Ashton for appearing to defend a coach accused of covering up alleged abuse of one of his assistants.

Ashton later removed the offending tweet and explained that he had no idea about the Penn State sex abuse scandal. He says he had assumed Paterno was canned for the same reason most coaches are fired - losing games.

DIAZ: Hey, Ashton. Guess what? The team`s undefeated in the Big 10. They`re playing great this year. Why would they fire the coach? Maybe before you tweet, you should do a little reading.

HAMMER: Ashton seems to have gotten the message. In a statement on his site, Ashton apologized for his ignorant Paterno tweet.

He wrote, quote, "As an advocate of the fight against child sexual exploitation, I could not be more deeply saddened by the events at Penn State." And with that Kutcher announced the days of his uncensored tweets are over.

DIAZ: Ashton Kutcher is going to let his management team read his tweets before they go out?

HAMMER: Carlos Diaz is the sports anchor for "MORNING EXPRESS WITH ROBIN MEADE" right here on HLN. He tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Ashton Kutcher was one of the first celebs to realize the power of Twitter.

DIAZ: Twitter is supposed to be the direct link between the people and the stars. In Ashton`s case - I actually think this might be a good idea, because, dude, sometimes what comes out of here and then comes out of here shouldn`t be coming out of here.

HAMMER: Ashton could not have picked a bigger mess to step in the middle of. From the campus riots sparked by Paterno`s firing to the disturbing sex abuse allegations against ex-assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, the Penn State abuse scandal shocked the nation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just didn`t know what to do. I just didn`t what to do. And you just can`t tell Jerry no.

HAMMER: This morning, "Good Morning America" aired an interview with the mother of one of the eight boys Sandusky is accused of abusing since the 1990s. "GMA" disguised the mother`s voice and face to protect her identity and that of her son`s.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want justice. I want him - I want him to be locked up. There`s no help for somebody that does this. There`s - you know, not like this. He needs to be put away. He needs to be put away for a long time.

HAMMER: As for Ashton Kutcher, today, his newly-censored Twitter feed included this - a photo of Ashton next to a sign reading, "I`m with stupid," along with this tweet, "I`m just trying to be a good person."

Ashton probably learned a big lesson - with great Twitter power comes great responsibility.

DIAZ: The advice that I would give to Ashton Kutcher and every other celebrity out there, keep playing make-believe. That`s what you`re good at. Leave the specifics and the news-making to the newsmakers.


HAMMER: Yes. Exactly, Carlos. Really, no surprise that so many of Ashton`s followers got really riled up over this. Ashton has eight million people who follow his every single tweet.

So I`m thinking at least he could try to be informed before he shoots off a message like that. But should Ashton really consider ending his time in the Twitterverse?

With me here in New York is TV and radio host, Michael Billy. In Hollywood tonight, west coast editor of AOL Television and Moviefone, Maggie Furlong.

So Ashton really stepped in a mess with this one. I want to read for you one more time that tweet that set everybody off.

He tweeted, "How do you fire Jo Pa? #insult #noclass As a Hawkeye fan, I find it in poor taste."

Ashton has since deleted the post. He apologized saying he tweeted on impulse without having all the facts. Clearly, Ashton regrets what he did and how he flew off the handle with that tweet.

But Michael, do you really think he needs to end his free-wheeling time in the Twitterverse?

MICHAEL BILLY, TV AND RADIO HOST: It`s the smartest thing for him to do. You know, I don`t blame Ashton per se actually. You know what I mean?

It`s a problem that a lot of people were facing with this case - a lot of misplaced aggression. OK? A lot of people are being very reactionary.

I think it`s a teaching moment for us with so many social tools to be able to tweet and Facebook all the time. It`s a teaching moment for us to take a step back, understand the totality of this situation, before we go and make a remark.

HAMMER: Well, he said that he thought that Joe got fired just for losing games. I mean, he didn`t even know anything about the story. I understand he`s shooting a sitcom. He`s in his trailer doing god-knows-what all day, I guess not following the news.

But the news was out there. That`s the thing I didn`t understand. But we`re going to give him a pass maybe because I don`t think he knew what he was talking about.

And there`s now a frenzy of posts flooding our SHOWBIZ TONIGHT Facebook page all about Ashton`s tweet. Here are a couple of them, and one who`s saying, you know, really, we should give him a break.

This is Katie, "People spew opinions without having all the facts all the time. Let`s not consider this to be a scandal. Let`s consider this a mistake and movie."

Marie saying, "He`s an idiot who should be censored. If you don`t know the facts, stop the tweeting."

Well, Ashton just announced, yes, his tweets will be going through this management team before they go public just to make sure this doesn`t happen again.

Maggie, I`ve got to say, I think that is a smart move. Are you on board with Ashton`s new Twitter-filtering strategy?

MAGGIE FURLONG, WEST COAST EDITOR, AOL TV AND MOVIEFONE: You know, the whole reason people follow celebrities like Ashton Kutcher is to get these uncensored, unfiltered moments and comments and feel like you know them.

But you also want to feel like maybe they do a little bit of research. Maybe they watch the news and maybe they know what they`re talking about. If it`s not a subject he`s comfortable with, he never should have been tweeting about it in the first place.

I actually think the better solution is just get off Twitter entirely. I know he`s the king of Twitter and he started it, blah, blah, blah. I don`t care. I don`t want to follow him anymore.


FURLONG: I think a lot of people don`t want to follow him anymore. I don`t want to read his manager`s tweets. And if he`s not tweeting, I think he should quit.

HAMMER: No, no, no. But here`s the thing. I think my understanding of it is that he is going to send the tweet, but instead of sending it directly on to his Twitter feed, he`s now going to send it perhaps by E-mail to somebody in his management who`s going to handle it and then say, "Yes, we can send this out. No, we shouldn`t send this out."

And as long as they`re not really filtering him too hard, as long as there`s more fact-checking here, I think that is a good move. But right now, I`ve got to move on, because we have more big news breaking tonight.

Michael Jackson`s doctor, speaking out for the very first time since his conviction for Michael`s death. Now, today Conrad Murray revealed what he says happened the day Michael died. You`ve got to watch this stunning admission on NBC`s "Today" show.


GUTHRIE: Do you feel guilty that he died?

MURRAY: I don`t feel guilty, because I did not do anything wrong. I am very, very sorry for the loss of Michael. Michael is a personal friend. It is heartfelt. It`s been painful.


HAMMER: "I didn`t do anything wrong"? Is he kidding? Michael, do you really think Murray thinks what he did was OK? Is the man delusional?

BILLY: Has to be delusional. I can`t believe that he doesn`t regret leaving the room.


You know, the guy appears to be an addict. It`s obvious for anybody who`s been rumored an addict. As a medical doctor, he should have known. There`s a lot of contradictions in this interview.

HAMMER: All right. Maggie Furlong, Michael Billy, thank you both.

So Dr. Murray says he doesn`t feel guilty because he still doesn`t think he did anything wrong. But what does he regret the most? I want you to stay right here because Michael and Maggie are back with this dramatic revelation in just a moment.

We move now to the Kardashian fame game. Tonight, startling claims by Kim Kardashian`s former publicist about Kim K`s fame-seeking ways. Did she really try to stage an engagement with her former NFL boyfriend, Reggie Bush? Huh?

And later on a special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT that you cannot miss at the bottom of the hour, "SHOWBIZ Reality Secrets." Stars reveal to me how they played to win the biggest reality shows on TV. CNN`s Piers Morgan, spilled the beans on how to "Celebrity Apprentice."


PIERS MORGAN, HOST, "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT": Come on, guys. Don`t get a free (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Get on the tally. Going on the show is incredibly hard work. You`ve got to have stamina. You`ve got to have guile. You`ve got to be cunning. You`ve got to be ruthless.


HAMMER: Tonight, the stars of TV`s biggest reality competitions reveal how to play to win. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN news and views.

Now, it`s time for the "SHOWBIZ News Ticker" - these are more stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news tonight.

TEXT: Billy Crystal to return as host for the 84th Academy Awards after Eddie Murphy quits. SHOWBIZ first look: Charlize Theron and Kristen Stewart in "Snow White and the Huntsman."


CHARLIZE THERON, ACTRESS: Who is fairest of them all?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: You are the fairest. But there is another destined to surpass you. Consume her heart.




MURRAY: I was not supposed to be monitoring him at that time because there was no need to monitor him.

GUTHRIE: So you don`t regret leaving the room?

MURRAY: I regret that Michael has passed.


HAMMER: That was Dr. Conrad Murray on NBC`s "Today" show this morning. Murray is speaking out for the very first time since his conviction for the death of Michael Jackson. Wait until you hear Murray`s reasons for not calling 911 right away.

Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. Murray speaks out.

Tonight, we`re hearing Dr. Conrad Murray`s side of the story. A controversial documentary just aired taking us behind the scenes during his trial in the death of Michael Jackson.

And this morning Dr. Murray revealed so many bombshells about the day Michael Jackson died in a brand-new interview on the "Today" show.

My head is literally spinning. It`s spinning so fast you can`t see it spin. So why didn`t Dr. Murray call 911 right away? And why did he leave the room while Michael was under the influence of a powerful anesthetic just to help him sleep?

With me now from Hollywood, Debra Opri who is a defense attorney.

Debra, we`ve got to play this. It`s Dr. Conrad Murray explaining why he didn`t call 911 right away when he saw that Michael Jackson wasn`t breathing. Roll that, please.


GUTHRIE: You called his bodyguard. Couldn`t you have said, "Call 911 and meet him at the gate?"

MURRAY: Call 911 would still require him to call me back. I don`t think he would do that. I was not about to leave a full explanation on the phone.

GUTHRIE: Why didn`t you tell the paramedics when they came that he had taken Propofol.

MURRAY: That`s a very sad reason, because it was inconsequential - 25 milligrams and if it`s gone, it means nothing.

GUTHRIE: Wait a minute. Why not let them be the judge of that? Why not supply the best information you have?

MURRAY: Paramedics depended on me.

GUTHRIE: Well, you told them about the other drugs, but you didn`t tell them about the Propofol.

MURRAY: Because it didn`t have an effect. It was not an issue.


HAMMER: He says he didn`t tell the paramedics about the Propofol because it wasn`t an issue? Debra, I`m no medical doctor. I don`t play one on TV, but this sounds crazy to me. Does it horrify you to hear him say that?

DEBRA OPRI, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes. You know, arrogance thy name is Dr. Murray. It`s absolutely astounding the arrogance this guy has.

And you know, this is pay-for-play journalism. This man has effectively provided testimony to the 13th juror, the media and us, without cross- examination.

And think about this. He had a trial. He was found guilty. And now, his testimony uncontroverted, unchallenged words and excuses and reasons as to why he put Propofol in a home, into Michael Jackson`s system and then says, "I can come in and out of the room, and it didn`t matter"?


OPRI: It didn`t matter that there were 25 milligrams? It is astounding to me. And the air time this interview is getting is equally astounding. I think everyone should ban it. That`s my opinion.

HAMMER: Well, I want to play a little more of it, because I think it proves a point at how egregious his judgment was, which was obviously proven in court when he was convicted.

Dr. Murray didn`t flinch when NBC`s Savannah Guthrie asked him about stepping out of the room while Michael Jackson was under the influence of Propofol. Roll that.



GUTHRIE: How could you really be monitoring Michael Jackson at the same time you`re making calls, you`re texting, you`re E-mailing? Were you distracted?

MURRAY: No, I was not. When I looked at the man all night deprived of sleep - he was so desperate for sleep - and finally is getting some sleep, am I going to sit over him, sit around him, at his feet, do anything unusual to wake him up? No.

GUTHRIE: You walked out of the room to talk on the phone?

MURRAY: Absolutely. I wanted him to rest.

GUTHRIE: You were talking on the phone but you could see him?

MURRAY: I could not see him from where I was talking. But -

GUTHRIE: But you could hear him.

MURRAY: I would think if he got up and called for me, I would hear him.

GUTHRIE: If he stopped breathing, could you hear that?

MURRAY: No, I could not.


HAMMER: Debra, I`m dumbfounded. How could he say all that on national TV and expect to win an appeal?

OPRI: This man reeks of stupidity - stupidity. If I had Dr. Murray in a room, I would probably have to be held back from spitting at him. It is absolutely astoundingly in bad taste what he`s done.

And for people to say he wasn`t paid for this? The money got to where he needed it to go to. And I`m angered by it and on behalf of everybody out there, they should just not tune into this.

HAMMER: All right. Debra Opri, thank you so much.

OPRI: It`s sickening.

HAMMER: Got to turn now to Kelly Clarkson`s war with Adele. Kelly says she wants to punch Adele in the face. She really said that. But tonight, I`m going to tell what you she meant and if she really wanted a smackdown with the lovely Adele.

And later, on a special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT at the bottom of the hour, "SHOWBIZ Reality Secrets" - playing to win the biggest reality shows on TV.

Tonight, Nancy Grace reveals to me the secrets of how she stayed in the competition on "Dancing with the Stars" for so long.


GRACE: It was about doing the absolute very best that I can, giving it all that I can. Every single day, every single night, every single dance, every single step.


HAMMER: Tonight, the biggest reality stars tell us how to play to win TV`s biggest reality competitions. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN news and views.

And this is the "SHOWBIZ News Ticker" - more stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news tonight.

TEXT: "Twilight: Breaking Dawn" has already sold out more than 2,300 screenings in the U.S.


HAMMER: So what`s going on here. Does former "American Idol" sweetheart Kelly Clarkson really want to punch Adele in the face? Well, sort of kind of.

Kelly told U.K.`s "The Guardian" newspaper, "I want to punch Adele in the face. She is just too good." That`s what she said.

Kelly cleared the air with MTV saying that she uses the expression as a term of endearment and it was probably misinterpreted across the pond.

Kelly says Adele is so talented it`s upsetting and she`s currently stalking Adele to do a duet. That would be fantastic.

Tonight, let`s play the Kardashian fame game. Bombshell claims today from someone who claims to have worked with Kim Kardashian on some shameless schemes for publicity.

Jonathan Jaxson says he was Kim`s publicist back when she was dating NFL star Reggie Bush. And now, he is speaking out claiming Kim has a history of playing a sensational game of smoke and mirrors with her fans.

With me right now from Hollywood, it`s Maggie Furlong, the west coast editor AOL TV.

So Maggie, the backlash against Kim and her big divorce hasn`t slowed down a bit. You know that as well as I do. And now, you have a former publicist claiming that Kim has a history of staging things for publicity.

I want you to listen to what Jaxson told Z100`s fantastic Elvis Duran of "Elvis Duran and the Morning Show" all about Kim`s dramatic move for publicity while dating Reggie Bush. Roll that.


JONATHAN JAXSON: On December 26, 2005, I remember the day she was going to talk to her grandmother and her mom. And we said, "Hey, let`s do something about getting more press for you." And she said, "Perfect. Let me go to a ring store, and as I`m walking out, Reggie Bush is proposing to me." And I said, "It would be brilliant. Let`s do that."

HAMMER: Well, Jaxson claims that he and Kim just baited the tabloids for attention. And it apparently worked. We don`t know if any of this is true, Maggie. But if it was, would you be surprised?

FURLONG: No. Are you surprised? It`s like, yes, no. The wedding was fake. Everything has been fake. It`s kind of not a shock at this point.

The Kardashians have made they are name real out of being real on reality TV. But there`s only so much that can actually be real.

And there are just some times when you have to stop and think, "That`s got to be a little bit planned." Publicity stunts, liked ring with Reggie Bush. Really? Really, Kim? But I buy it.

HAMMER: Just another thing to add fuel to the fire. Maggie Furlong, thanks so much. Now, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT did reach out to Kim Kardashians reps. Haven`t heard back as of show time.

Time now for the SHOWBIZ lineup - here`s what`s coming up at the bottom of the hour on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. It`s a special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, "SHOWBIZ Reality Secrets: Play to Win."

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT blowing the lid off the secrets to winning the biggest reality competition shows on TV. We`ve got that right here.

And I`m one-on-one with HLN`s Nancy Grace. She reveals to me what it took for her to stick around on "Dancing with the Stars" for so long.

And "America`s Got Talent" winner, Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr., right here telling us how he played to win one of the biggest reality shows on TV. This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN news and views.

Now, it`s the "SHOWBIZ News Ticker" - more stories from the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT newsroom making news tonight.

TEXT: "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3" breaks record selling 6.5 million copies in 24 hours. Faith Hill tells "People" magazine she`s working on her first new album in six years.


HAMMER: Now, on a special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, "SHOWBIZ Reality Secrets: Play to Win."

One on one with CNN`s Piers Morgan. Piers reveals to me what it took for him to win the very first season of "Celebrity Apprentice."


MORGAN: Come on. Don`t (UNINTELLIGIBLE). You`ve got to get one for charity.

(UNINTELLIGIBLE) incredibly hard work. You`ve got to have stamina. You`ve got to have guile. You`ve got to be cunning. You`ve got to be ruthless.


HAMMER: Piers step-by-step plan for winning big on reality TV`s hottest shows. HLN`s very own dancing queen. Nancy Grace is revealing to me how she nearly made it all the way to the semi-finals on "Dancing with the Stars," and she`s not holding anything back.

Plus, Nick Lachey gives the inside scoop how to win big time competitions like "Sing Off."

A special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, "SHOWBIZ Reality Secrets" starts right now.


Hello, I`m A.J. Hammer in New York. This is a special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, "SHOWBIZ Reality Secrets: Play to Win."

Yes, we are revealing the secrets from inside the reality TV winners` circle. Tonight, Piers Morgan tells all about the tricks to winning big.

And if anyone knows what it takes, it`s Piers. He`s a former judge on "America`s Got Talent." And of course, he won it all in the first season of "Celebrity Apprentice."

So if you`re ready to sing, dance or race around the world for a shot at the big time, you`ll want to listen up. Tonight, Piers is revealing everything that he knows.



JENNIFER LOPEZ, SINGER: You are so sweet. So cute!

TEXT: Play to Win: Charm the judges!

MORGAN: If you`re a contestant on any show, whether it`s "Celebrity Apprentice," it`s "America`s Got Talent," "American Idol," there`s never any harm in having a connection to a judge and pulling them in.

DONALD TRUMP, HOST, "CELEBRITY APPRENTICE": You`re tough, you`re smart, you`re probably brilliant.

MORGAN: What I did, I read Donald Trump books. In particular, think big, kick ass. And by the time I finished that book, I have had more Trumpisms up my sleeve (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the show that he probably came out with himself.

MORGAN: As you know, Mr. Trump, business in the end comes down to the bottom line.

As you can see, I came out with these great statements about thinking big and kicking ass to top.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was he interesting?

MORGAN: Yes, I liked this guy. It`s not surprising. I was quoting back at him his own life.

TEXT: Play to Win: Kick `em when they are down!

MORGAN: I was in "The Apprentice" with some of the biggest egos that America`s ever seen. You know, talking about Gene Simmons, you know.

GENE SIMMONS, SINGER: We can never be killed and we`re immortal.

MORGAN: All right. My strategy was, these guys are used to having entourages - big entourages - (UNINTELLIGIBLE) from them, creaming them - makeup girls, lawyers, managers, accountants. On their own, mano a mano, or mano to womano, they were going to struggle. That was my strategy. When they`re struggling, kick them when they`re down.

SIMMONS: I believe we succeeded but the client didn`t recognize it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, but you`ll never credit for that. Not here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re out of this one, big boy.

MORGAN: There`s a very fine line on these shows with contestants between arrogance and confidence. And if you cross it too often, the public will hate you. The public in America wants to like you.


Evan Skinner a great example. Not the best singer in the world but he won "America`s Got Talent" because America fell in love with him.

TEXT: Play to win: Go big or go home!

MORGAN: I`ve heard contestants who never get to do their big stuff. They got kicked out before they could unload their big bomb. Critical, strategic error.


That was a million dollar performance tonight.

Above all, you`ve just got to treat every aspect of this competition step by step and have a game plan. Whether you`re a contestant on "America`s Got Talent," or you have maybe five or six performances you`ve got to think, "When do I unload my big gun? When do I bring out the big one?"


TEXT: Play to Win: Bust your butt!

MORGAN: There`s 100 of them. I knew we`d get $100 off the people in New York. Come on, guys. Don`t give a free (UNINTELLIGIBLE). You`ve got to give one for charity.

Going into it is going to be incredibly hard work. You`ve got to have stamina. You`ve got to have guile. You`ve got to be cunning. You`ve got to be ruthless. You`ve got to be competitive.

Never lose track of why you`re there. You`re there to win. And if you don`t really, with every core of your being, want to win, then don`t enter.

TRUMP: Piers, you`re the Celebrity Apprentice. Congratulations.


HAMMER: I think that Piers is going to do all right. Now, we go from a former judge of "America`s Got Talent" to the host of the show. He`s got a very different take.

It`s a blockbuster SHOWBIZ reality secrets newsmaker with Nick Cannon - Nick`s own shocking, behind-the-scenes secrets about playing to win on reality TV.

And Nick`s even confessing to me about what scares him about being the host of the show. Tonight, Nick Cannon`s new reality revelations.


HAMMER: You`ve been getting rave reviews as the host of "America`s Got Talent," and I know that is one tough job. You do make it look so easy. What is the secret to doing that for you?

NICK CANNON, HOST, "AMERICA`S GOT TALENT": IT`S all about having a good time for me. That show is a very family-friendly show, so we don`t have to deal with a lot of the drama.

And even though there`s $1 million at stake, it`s not portrayed in a way where it`s ever a very serious competition. So I get a chance to just be myself and I say everything that I would say if I was sitting at home watching the show. And I think people can kind of relate to the realism that I bring to it.

HAMMER: Yes. It definitely does look like you`re having a good time. All right. I want you to share with me and the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT audience one secret about hosting the show that you just think would blow people`s minds if only they knew what happened at that show?

CANNON: Ah. I would have to say the real relationships between myself and all the judges. I think Sharon Osbourne is just off the chain. That`s how I explain her.

The type - everyone thinks like, Howie is the one that`s always pulling the pranks and everything. Sharon is the one that - she says whatever comes to her mind.

She`s the one pulling the gag, making fun of Piers, everything. So I`d have to say that the relationship - we could have our own reality show -


CANNON: After the show and before the show, because it`s just crazy.

HAMMER: Yes. You should get that into development right now. Hey, look, you look so comfortable up there. I know you`ve been performing and on various stages throughout your life.

But hosting this kind of TV show is an entirely different kind of gig than anything you`ve really done before. Did you always feel so comfortable? Or were you a little nervous when you were first starting out?

CANNON: Ah, the first season I was definitely nervous. I had never done live television before. I mean, having an earpiece in my ear and people screaming, three or four voices at once and having to control the show and having to keep the judges in line and remember the time and the prompter.

All of that stuff was definitely overwhelming, but after a while, it becomes second nature. And now, it`s just like there`s nothing you can really throw at me that I won`t be able to handle on live television. So it`s been a great training ground for me.

HAMMER: So what can your reveal to us about how you prepare for the show? Do you actually get into a preparation mode or do you just kind of fly by the seat of your pants?

CANNON: Lots of prayer before the show starts. Just give it all to God, and whatever happens - I think that`s the beauty of the show, though. You never know what`s going to happen, and you have to play it out like how it will really play out.

And I think even my background in stand-up and performing live lends to that, because no matter if a light goes out or a contestant faints or something goes wrong, I always know how to handle it and use my improv skills to the best of my abilities.

HAMMER: Yes, and you do it very well. And look, I know you say that you would say the same thing on the show if you were sitting at home on your couch, it`s the same stuff.

But let`s be honest now, Nick. We see a lot of really good talented people getting kicked off "America`s Got Talent." So please, reveal to me and everybody what goes through your head sometimes?

Do you ever want to yell at viewers who vote off these excellent, most talented people and tell them, you know, "What the heck were you thinking?"

CANNON: You know what I learned? America doesn`t like mediocrity. They either like things that are really, really bad or really, really good. If you`re just in the middle - and there`s so many really talented people and their stories might not be as remarkable.

Or you know, they still need a little bit more development. America never really gives those people a chance.


HAMMER: Our thanks again to "America`s Got Talent" host, Nick Cannon. We have more SHOWBIZ Reality Secrets: Play to Win." HLN`s very own dancing queen, Nancy Grace spilling the secrets tonight, winning the battle for the "Dancing with the Stars" coveted mirror ball trophy.

Plus, the secrets to winning the show like "America`s Got Talent," a sea of talented people and an unforgiving audience.


Just how do you rise to the top like season six winner, Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr.? He`s right here with the secret formula for victory.

This is a special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, "SHOWBIZ Reality Secrets: Play to Win." And right now, Padma Lakshmi, the host of the smash hit, "Top Chef," sharing the secrets behind winning the "Top Chef" title.


PADMA LAKSHMI, HOST, "TOP CHEF": Well, in our show, it`s doing the best that day in relation to what everyone else is doing. You know, the best team in Major League baseball doesn`t necessarily win the World Series. It`s how you play or perform that day.



HAMMER: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York and you`re watching a special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, "SHOWBIZ Reality Secrets: Play to Win."

You`ve got big celebrities and virtual unknowns going on camera every week to compete for big money and often big fame. They`re dancing. They`re singing. They`re surviving. They`re winning.

Name the challenge and reality TV contestants are pushing their skills to the very limits. But exactly how do they play to win?

Well, HLN`s own Nancy Grace played hard competing on "Dancing with the Stars." And she filled me in on some of her secrets for staying in the game.


HAMMER: Everybody obviously has a different strategy for playing to win. For you, what was the most important thing to try to make it to the end, or at least as far as you could take this thing?

GRACE: It wasn`t about winning. I know that`s hard for a lot of people to believe. It was about doing the absolute very best that I can.

Giving it all that I can every single day, every single night, every single dance, every single step to show my twins that if you believe hard enough and you work hard enough, that dream can come true, and to remember, when the chips are down, you keep your chin up.

HAMMER: When you`re looking back at this thing, whenever it is, a couple years from now, or 20 years from now, what`s the singular memory that you`ll always take with you, the one thing you`ll always remember from the experience?

GRACE: I will remember the joy, just the pure joy of dancing. You know, ever since my fiance was murdered, I`ve been all about getting into law school, getting through law school, being a prosecutor, putting the bad guys away, representing victims.

This was truly joyful for me - for me, for Nancy to do. And CNN and HLN and you were behind me.

HAMMER: Was everybody watching, Nancy? I`ve said it to you privately, but truly, I am so proud of what you accomplished and what you allowed yourself to experience and put yourself through in this whole thing.

You and I - as we`ve said, we`ve known each other for a long time. I`m so pleased with how much closer this brought just the two of us. I say that purely from a selfish personal perspective.

GRACE: Me, too.

HAMMER: But it`s been a great ride for me as well sitting here on the sidelines.

GRACE: Me, too, and I love you so much and I`m so grateful for everything that you`ve done for me. Thank you.

HAMMER: See you in New York, Nance.


HAMMER: Did I make Nancy Grace cry? I think I may have. Well, Nancy`s dancing strategy certainly took her very far in her competition.

But now, I`ve got a guy who played to win and did, taking it all the way to the winner`s circle. So what`s the secret to winning a hit show like "America`s Got Talent"?

So many talented of people, a fierce audience, and they will boo you at a moment`s notice. So much pressure. Who better to give us the inside scoop than Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr., the season six winner of "America`s Got Talent"?

It is a pleasure and honor to meet you and have you here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


HAMMER: And I`m happy to hear you watch the program. I thank you very much for that.

MURPHY: Yes, I watch the program a lot.

HAMMER: So you swept America off its feet with your amazing swoon-y Sinatra -esque style. I think we`ve got to revisit a little bit of you in action right now. Charles, could you roll out some Landau?


HAMMER: All right. So Landau, what was your play to win strategy so you could win in such a high-stress, competitive environment where you were literally on America`s stage? You got millions of people watching you.

MURPHY: I was - I just had to realize that it was a reality show and just go out there and be myself, just have fun entertaining America. That`s what it was all about.

HAMMER: So in the back of your head, you just kind of kept in mind, "Ah, it`s a TV show. I`ll have a little fun."


HAMMER: Maybe we`ll take it - so you really didn`t go in saying, "I`m going to necessarily win this thing, but let`s see what we can do?"

MURPHY: Right. I mean, my basic strategy was just to get on television, sing in New York, which is the gateway to America.


MURPHY: You know? And if I could do it there without getting booed, I figured I had a good chance.

HAMMER: Yes. And look, we cannot deny you have an incredible story. I mean, you were homeless at 19.


HAMMER: When you first appeared on "America`s Got Talent," you were just 37 years old. You were washing cars in order to support your family.

Now, you`ve got $1 million as a result of winning the show. You`ve got a contract in Vegas and you`re really turning this into some major success.

What is your secret now to playing to win even more success with what you accomplished on "America`s Got Talent"?

MURPHY: Basically just staying humble, you know, keeping my feet on the ground, keeping God first, walking by faith, not by sight. You know, all the flashy things can distract you and throw you on the wrong path.

My wife has been a great support, my family and friends. A lot of the fans have really, like, open arms to me. So I just want to continue to give back as much as I possibly can get.

HAMMER: I`m so happy to hear you saying that, because it also really comes down to the people around you who might be encouraging you to try a different lifestyle, buy those flashy things.

We often see people who get fame and money so fast and furious. Quite frankly, I`ve seen it a lot. It really screws them up. You`ve seen it, too.


HAMMER: It seems that hasn`t affected you. So what is your strategy to maintaining that now that you`ve played to win and won? How are you going to keep your feet on the ground? Because you see the pressure, don`t you?

MURPHY: Yes, sir. I see it every day, but you`ve got to just remember where you came from. You know, I was homeless.

I learned to appreciate things that I get now, you know, and not just take every day for granted, because just because you have it, you can go out there and throw it away. No, I`m not going to do that.

I`m going to focus on my health. You know, focus on my kids` education.

HAMMER: Does it scare you sometimes when you see the temptation that comes your way?

MURPHY: Yes. It makes your heart flutter a lot, because you really want that new Bentley or, you know -

HAMMER: What have you done though? Have you indulged?

MURPHY: No. All I bought was - I bought a pair of Jordans.

HAMMER: Got a pair of Jordans all right.

MURPHY: I got a pair of Jordans. Yes. The other day, I went in the mall and bought the Jordan sweatsuit, but I haven`t done anything. I`ve just been investing my money in the right way so I can have a long-term stand in this thing.

HAMMER: What a great example. So great to meet you and what a great story.

MURPHY: All right. Thanks for having me.

HAMMER: Best of luck to you.

MURPHY: Thank you, sir.

HAMMER: Landau Eugene Murphy, appreciate you being here. Be sure to pick up a copy of Landau`s album, "That`s Life."

From the play-to-win secrets of "America`s Got Talent" to the inside scoop on winning big time on shows like "The Sing Off."

Tonight, we`re revealing all the stunning secrets behind winning TV`s hottest reality TV competitions. How do you ace the audition? What are the judges really looking for?


NICK LACHEY, HOST, "SING OFF": Come out blazing. You know, trust yourself. Trust your sound. Trust your instincts on this, because that`s what got you to this point.


HAMMER: I go one-on-one with "The Sing Off`s" Nick Lachey for all the secrets. This is a special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, "SHOWBIZ Reality Secrets: Play to Win."

And right now, "Dancing with the Stars" Cheryl Burke reveals the secret behind winning that coveted mirror ball trophy.


CHERYL BURKE, "DANCING WITH THE STARS" PRO: If you make it to the finals, it`s all about your freestyle dance. The freestyle always wins. You can forget about the last nine weeks and the 35 dances you`ve done. You come out with the best freestyle and you normally win the competition.



HAMMER: Tonight, winning big on reality singing competitions. You know, thousands of people try to make the cut, get their shot at fame. Most never even make it past the first audition.

So what do the judges really want? Well, I spoke with Nick Lachey, who is the host of NBC`s "Sing Off," one of TV`s hottest singing competitions. You`ve got to watch what he revealed about playing to win on his show.


LACHEY: I think it`s blend. You know, a cappella music - there`s so many terms especially the judges throw out there. You know, blend and intonation.

But as a group, you have to - when you sing like - probably, you have to almost like one voice. And it all comes down to blend and how well you blend together. So blend is crucial on "The Sing Off."

HAMMER (on camera): Have you ever seen an act that really seemed to be doing everything right. The group is up there singing their hearts out. They`re hitting every mark, blending perfectly doing everything they need to do to play to win, but they got booted off anyway?

LACHEY: Yes. I mean, it comes down to I think - especially when you`re dealing with a recording contract and how do we take this group and bring them into the music world and into the music business, you know.

Can we see them selling records? You know, are they marketable? Are they commercial? So there`s a lot of factors that go into the decisions that the judges are making each and every week.

HAMMER: Yes. So when you don`t agree, I want to know what happens after the show. I mean, do you pull Ben Folds aside and say, "Hey, man. What the heck were you thinking?"

LACHEY: No. You know what? Those guys - they do their job and I fully support what they do. In fact, I`m not even privy to that decision-making process. You know, I kind of steer clear of that.

My role in this is to host the show, to try and support all the groups, you know, evenly and equally and encourage them.

And no matter who gets kicked off or kept on, I try to be a friend to all of those groups, you know, the same. But I respect what they do, you know.

They have their reasons for making the decisions they make and I have to just kind of let that go. But in many ways, I`m like spectators at home and viewers at home who are watching it. I don`t necessarily always understand it or agree with it but, you know, that`s the way this thing works.

HAMMER: And obviously, before you can play to win, you first have to get to play. And of course, we know whenever there is auditions for any talent-based shows whether it`s yours, "The Sing Off," whether it`s "America`s Got Talent," "American Idol," any of them, you have thousands of people lining up just hoping to get past that first round.

What, in your mind, is the secret to playing to win in that first round besides, of course, having the talent that is requisite?

LACHEY: Well, I think you`ve got to go - you know, you`ve got to go with what got you there and that`s what I always try to tell the groups.

You know, come out blazing. You know, trust yourself. Trust your sound. Trust instincts on this because that`s what got you to this point.

And if you can walk away with the competition, no matter what it is you`re doing, if you can walk away from the competition knowing you gave everything you had, and you left it out on the stage and you were true to yourself, I think can you walk away with your head held high. And that`s what I try to tell these groups to do through this whole process.


HAMMER: All very good advice from Nick Lachey. So if you`re planning to audition for one of those shows, take his advice. You`ll do fine.

And that is it for this special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, "SHOWBIZ Reality Secrets." Thank you for watching. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.