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Reality Show Stars Discuss Physical Altercations on Camera; Realty Show Contest Winners and Hosts Discuss Winning Strategies

Aired January 2, 2012 - 23:00:00   ET



A.J. HAMMER, HOST, "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT": Now on a special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, Showbiz Reality Secrets, reality fight club -- body slamming, in your face, all-out wars. When the reality cameras are on, the claws come out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to hit me? You want to hit me?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will snap your neck.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Nobody is touching anyone in this house.


HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT goes to the source to find out why seemingly normal adults resort to schoolyard fights on reality TV.

"Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" costar Kyle Richards shares the secrets of the Beverly hills smack-down. And Kandi Burruss of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" reveals how she stays so calm surrounded by explosive divas.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you dating her?


HAMMER: Plus, they fight on "Jersey Shore" because they love each other? SHOWBIZ TONIGHT goes behind the scenes and reveals the real reason those crazy kids from Jersey fight so darn much. A special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, "Showbiz Reality Secrets," starts right now.

Hello, I`m A.J. Hammer in New York, and this is a special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, "Showbiz Reality Secrets," reality fight club. Yes, tonight we are revealing the secrets behind all of those wild, over-the-top fights between reality stars that we see all the time. From the "Real Housewives," to "Jersey Shore," the cursing, the insults, the fistfights. So how much of it is real and how much of it is staged to make you think it`s all real? Well, wait until you see what we found out. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT investigates the reality fight club secrets.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to fight club.

HAMMER: In the movies, fight clubs come with rules.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first rule to fight club is, you do not talk about fight club.

HAMMER: But in the special fight club, known as reality shows --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m going to whoop that bitch`s ass, and I mean it.

HAMMER: There are no rules. For instance, in the movie "Fight Club" --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If someone else stop, the fight is over.

HAMMER: But in the reality fight club --


HAMMER: -- just means keep fighting. In the movie "Fight Club" --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Only two guys to fight.

HAMMER: But in the reality fight club, two women can go at it.

HAMMER: So now, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT breaks all the rules.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You do not talk about fight club.

HAMMER: And we do talk about the secrets behind the reality fight club.

"Jersey Shore" has featured more Jersey style whackings than the Sopranos.

J-Wow and Sammy had a fistfight in the kitchen. Snooki fought Angelina in the living room.

It`s kind of like a "Jersey Shore" episode of Clue. Who fought who in what room, what weapon was used, who the police are looking for.

HAMMER: "The Situation" even once fought a wall, and the wall won.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No one even has to be around in get in a fight at the "Jersey Shore." It`s is you versus an inanimate object, and that`s enough.

HAMMER: J-Wow tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT why the "Jersey Shore" gang is so slaphappy.

J-WOW, REALITY TV STAR: We have become a family. But just like brothers and sisters, we fight like a family.

HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can also reveal the fight club secrets line the "Real Housewives" franchise. No one is safe from "Real Housewives" cat fights, even the furniture.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The "Real Housewives," particularly in Jersey and Atlanta, just get down and dirty.

HAMMER: But the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" get down and dirty too. Brandy Glanville clashed with the Richard sisters.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m just me. And if I say it, I have to own it. And there`s no -- there`s no going back -- I mean, it is what it is.

HAMMER: And Brandy shares this secret with "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT," how they choose the housewives to make for a very volatile mix.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think they pick women that are all very strong personalities. And when you put really strong person amounts in a room together and you are different, people are going to clash.

HAMMER: No doubt reality show fights are entertaining, especially the one off then described as the best ever.


HAMMER: When the spit hit the fan on VH1`s "Flavor of Love."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You put your hands on me.

HAMMER: But as entertaining as the reality fight club can be, SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has got to ask, is it all for real? The guys on the Discovery Channel`s "Car Fellas" have been known to have fights that look like they are going to punch each other out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is not a problem.

HAMMER: "Car Fellas" reveal to me they don`t fake anything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is as real as you can get. And I mean that. You know, there is so much chemistry between him and Mario, and that`s us. We have been doing this for years.

HAMMER: That`s good to know, because in a reality show where love isn`t always real.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Until death do us part.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now you`re stuck with me forever.

HAMMER: -- at least we can count on reality show smack downs to keep it real.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you pull a lady`s wig off, it doesn`t seem like it came from a script.

HAMMER: Up like the movie "Fight Club," the reality fight club is something we can`t stop talking about.



HAMMER: And you know it`s true. We can`t stop talking about these fights, because frankly, they are entertaining. So what is the secret to holding your own in the reality fight club situations? I sat down with Kyle Richards who famously fought with her own sister and co-star on the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," and I asked her if there was ever any concern about hoping up to family about everything that reality show cameras capture, including all the scrutiny and conflict. Watch what she told me.


KYLE RICHARDS, CO-STAR, "REAL HOUSEWIVES OF BEVERLY HILL": It was family decision. I sat down with my family and my kids. We decided together. We thought, this would be a fun experience. I was a little naive, I have to say. I didn`t realize the amount of conflict and drama. But, you know, this is what happened when you put six, you know, strong and sometimes more women together in a room, and they are obviously very opinionated women. But I did not expect it to be this difficult.

HAMMER: And that would include sisters because wow, you and your sister, Kim, have had your share of ups and downs. Obviously that happens in every family, sisters, brothers and whatever. But yours was caught on TV for everybody to see. So I have to ask you, if can you go back now, knowing what you now know, would you make the same decision to appear on the show?

RICHARDS: I don`t know if I would do that. I mean, there`s so many negative things that do come with being on a reality show. But there are a lot of positive things too. You know, you have the opportunity to bring aware to your charities. I`ve lost a lot of families to cancer. So I try to make sure that I bring attention to my charities in each of the episodes, or each of the seasons, I should say. One of the charities ways involved with, the Lollipop Theater Network, after being in my episode, their donations went up 200 percent. It can have an upside, but there are a lot of drawbacks as well.

HAMMER: And this is what I`ve heard from many of your costars. We`ve had them right here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT talking about the fact that, yes, it`s great exposing my charities and getting much-needed funds to these excellent causes. But the other things I hear from your costars, is I watch the show back and that not exactly how it went down. That`s not what really happened. Do you ever feel like you are a victim of the creative editing that is often done to present the greatest drama and conflict?

RICHARDS: I can tell new season one, in the finale, the fight with my sister, as difficult as that was, because so many people were angry about our fight, it was with you what I was feeling. It was a lot of emotions built up over the years. So as much I took heat for that, I have to own it because that is how I felt. I couldn`t explain the back story to everybody watching.

But the fight on game night with Brandy, I do look at that and think that is not me. I look like a mean person, and my sister does. We`re not mean people. We are nice people. I think it a combination of being caught up in the moment.

And there is tongue in cheek. I did offer to help Brandy down the stairs with her crutches but that part wasn`t shown. I don`t know if it is because they can`t fit everything in in an hour. But you have to take it with a grain of salt.

HAMMER: So is the potential upside the opportunity to get a I don`t know, therapy you couldn`t get, where you can take a look at yourself and say, hey, you know, I`m seeing a behavior that I need to work on here.

RICHARDS: Yes, absolutely. I did think that you can learn about yourself. I really thought that going into this -- I knew going into this that it would be difficult working with my sister at times. But I think that in spite of our big blow up at the end of season one, that it actually ended up helping our relationship in a lot of ways, because we both had so much we held in for so long it just kind of came it a head that night. I don`t think we would have ever gotten it out otherwise.

HAMMER: There you go.

Something I`ve heard often from people, particularly about the "Real Housewives" shows, you look at the various franchises, and quite frankly, it often looks like a glorified version of high stool, mean girls and all. They are all there.

Do you regularly watch the show and cringe at your own behavior, or by and large are you pretty pleased with the way you are portrayed?

RICHARDS: I think for the most part it is fair. And there are a lot of times I watch when I see myself with my husband and my kids doing my bike ride in Napa to raise money for cancer with my husband, I do enjoy watching those episodes.

I look at that and think, that is not me. I don`t know how it got to that point. I`m very disappointed when I see that. I feel sad. I actually cried a lot about watching that episode, just being ds pointed in myself and the whole night and disappointing anyone, feeling like I let people down.

HAMMER: So for as much drama for what we see on the show, there is a whole lot of drama going on behind the scenes. You are well aware of it. The New York franchise of "Real Housewives" is a major turmoil. Kelly, Ben, Simone all fired from the show. There are some questions raised about the New Jersey show imploding. "Real Housewives of D.C." didn`t come back after one season. Do you think the franchise is winding down or do you think it has more time than it would appear to at this time?

RICHARDS: I think that the ratings are still very strong, so that`s pretty indicative of people being interested and watching the show. I think everyone likes to be a fly on a wall. And I think people want to look back and see that, you know, OK, I have a lot of problems in my life or whatever it is that they want to see what is going on in other people`s lives. So I think that people are still watching. The numbers prove it.


HAMMER: Champagne and smack down, yes, it`s all in a day`s work for the "Real Housewives of Atlanta."

They fight because they love each other? The cast of "Jersey Shore" tells us the real bizarre reason why they are always tearing it up on their show. They`re going to share the secrets behind their on camera blowouts.

This is a special edition of "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" "Showbiz Reality Secrets," reality fight club. Right now, "Real Housewives of New Jersey" costar Teresa Giudice turns a nice Italian family dinner into a table throwing free-for-all.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s just not name change and arrested. There has to be something else -- stripping, prostitution. Whore. You --


HAMMER: Teresa acted like a frigging caged animal at the zoo. Tables need to be thrown at me because I had a book written about me.



HAMMER: Welcome back to "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT." I`m A.J. Hammer in New York, and you are watching a special "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT," showbiz reality secrets, reality fight club. It`s a cocktail that makes for the best kind of reality TV. Add reality house wives and drinks, then throw in a dash of couture, and voila, let the cat fights begin. One show takes the cake when it comes to smack downs is the "Real Housewives of Atlanta." The lovely and talented Kandi Burruss filled me in on some of the secrets behind the drama. And I just had to ask her, what is up with all the fighting?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dress for me and my family.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bitch, control your husband.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you don`t know if the --

HAMMER: We see these conflicts all the time, uncanny. Does it surprise you when they erupt?

KANDI BURRUSS, CO-STAR "REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA": No, not at all, because the thing about it is, with our show, they have all these women with big personalities. When have you a lot of strong personalities and you make them be around each other a lot, things are bound to happen, especially when everybody is having beefs here and there.

Certain times, people have issues before even the start of taping. Like last season, I think they didn`t have many issues, but off season they had something happen. I don`t know what happened but by the time we came back for taping this year, they weren`t really talking.

HAMMER: So it has been feeding and bubbling up. Snap the cameras on and put them in the situation and let them go.

BURRUSS: Yes, exactly.

HAMMER: What is your secret to a cool head through it all? Is that how you have been throughout life? Because for some reason you seem to keep it real cool. Everyone is at war with one another.

BURRUSS: Normally I`m pretty laid back, so nothing that anyone has it say will phase me most of the time. But, I won`t lie, I have moments especially during the season where people get under my skin a little bit. But I try not to go too crazy.

HAMMER: Do you ever feel compelled because you know the drama is what sells on reality shows to step it up a little bit?

BURRUSS: No. I just always -- I say to myself when I even joined the cast that I was just going to be true to myself. I will do me and hopefully everybody likes it. If not, oh, well.

HAMMER: It is working out well so far.

BURRUSS: Thank you.

HAMMER: Thank you, candy.

BURRUSS: Thank you.


HAMMER: I love that candy keeps a level head by keeping things in stride.

Now, up in Jersey, not so much. It seems like Tracy DiMarco and Olivia Blois Sharpe use their styling scissors to stab each other in the backs more than hair on their hit show "Jerseylicious". So I had to ask, is there something in the air in New Jersey that feeds into the fighting frenzy?


HAMMER: Obviously it`s a formula that seems to be working. There is of course your terrific show, "Jerseylicious," the "Jersey Shore" and the "Real Housewives of New Jersey." And it always seems like the women are getting into the massive fights on these shows. Your show is no exception.

I want to roll this in the background, if we could. You two go at it, from what I understand, you`re going that the again this season. You sit here Tracy and Olivia, and everything seems to be peachy, fine, OK between the two of you. How are you able to move past all of that?


HAMMER: Or the moment you walk out of the studio you turn away from each other and don`t speak?

DIMARCO: No, we haven`t moved past it. We just know how to come -- we just met you. If he had known you for a couple months maybe you would see a different side of us, I don`t know. But we have to come in and act professional. We are with each other every single day.

HAMMER: It`s not as peaceful as it appears?


OLIVIA BLOIS SHARPE, CO-STAR, "JERSEYLICIOUS": We know when to be mature and when to be business oriented.



HAMMER: J-Wow versus Sammy, "The Situation" versus Ronnie. You know, the fights on "Jersey Shore," they have truly become legendary. But do they really fight before because they love each other? The cast of "Jersey Shore" tells us the bizarre reason why they are always at war on their show.

This is a special edition of "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT," showbiz reality secrets, reality fight club.

Right now, who can forget "The Situation" facing off with a wall?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t get how your relationship


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m sick of it.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. You want to hit me? You want to hit me? You want to hit me tough guy you want to do it?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of here.






UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This this is my friend sunshine. Are you friends with her?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m going to leave.


HAMMER: Hitting, screaming, name calling, hair-pulling -- good times. The cast members of "Jersey Shore" are charters members of the showbiz reality fight club. Barely a week goes by without someone taking someone else down. But you have to hear why they fight. They do it because they care? Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know, just because I guess the environment that we`re in, we are kind of cut out from the world. All we have is each other and we have to deal with each other 24 hours a day and heads clash sometimes. And just when you think that every conflict that could possibly happen has happened already, like two people will form another conflict. It just happens.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I love it. I think I can watch it. I bring popcorn and watch the whole thing, him and I. I stay away from the drama, you know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We try not to be in the fight but watch the fights.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At the end of the day, I love them. At the end of the day, it`s fun. I miss it when I go home. Like truthfully, I love doing this. They are all wonderful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s weird for us to be we hate each other doing it and sick of seeing each other but the day we get home, we`re like, where are you. It`s like a family. You get sick of your family members and you`re like, I can`t deal with you today. Just walk away from me.


HAMMER: But then there are types when the crazy kids don`t want to walk away from each other. That`s when the "Shore" stars go from fighters to lovers. Who doesn`t love a good make-up hookup? And even though what happened in the share house doesn`t exactly stay in the share house, the ever eloquent Dina and "The Situation" say sex is bound to happen. And they have nothing to be ashamed of.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No regrets at all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the "Jersey Shore" house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the end of the day, people have either done it or, you know, are going to do it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you`re in your 20s or you`re dating, not dating, you`re about to date, you know, you know, you`re in a relationship. You`re having some sort of relationships or something, you`re doing something. You know what I`m saying? It just so happens that there is hidden cameras in the house.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You do sex all the time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I did it a lot because I have a boyfriend. He was always here. But the cameras, we`re so used to it, we just hide under covers. Sometimes a boob slips out.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. But they can`t show that because this isn`t like porno.



HAMMER: Can you imagine Snooki uncensored? I don`t even think HBO can handle that.

Well, that is it for this special edition "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT," showbiz reality secrets. I`m A.J. Hammer.


HAMMER: And now the SHOWBIZ lineup. Here`s what is coming up at the bottom of the hour on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, Showbiz Reality Secrets, play it to win. SHOWBIZ TONIGHT blowing the lid off of the secrets to winning the biggest reality competition shows on TV. One-on-one with NLN`s Nancy Grace. Nancy reveals to me what it took for her to stick around so long on "Dancing with the Stars." Plus "America`s Got Talent" winner Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. tells us how he played it to win one of the biggest reality shows on TV. This is the special "SHOWBIZ TONIGHT" tonight, Showbiz Reality Secrets.


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: Go into it knowing it`s 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.


HAMMER: Piers step-by-step plan for winning big on reality TV`s hottest shows.

HLN`s very own dancing queen. Nancy Grace revealing to me how she nearly made it all the way to the accept times 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`s SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, showbiz reality secrets, play to win. We`re revealing secrets from inside the reality TV winners` circle. Tonight Piers Morgan tells us tricks about winning big, and if anyone know what`s 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 big time you`ll want to listen up. Tonight Piers is revealing everything that he knows.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are so sweet. So cute!

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, REALITY TV STAR: 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." By the time I finished that book I had my Trumpisms up my sleeve to add serendipity to the show.

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

I came out with these great statements about thinking big. He was thinking "I liked this guy." Not surprising. I was hoisting back at him his own life.

I was in "The Apprentice" with some of the biggest egos America`s ever seen. We`re talking about Gene Simmons.

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

MORGAN: These guys are used to having entourages, big entourages, preening them, makeup girls, lawyers, managers, accountants. On their own, mano to mano or mano to womano, that was their struggle. When they were struggling, kick them when they`re down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe we succeed but the client didn`t recognize it.

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

MORGAN: Talk you way out of this one, big boy.

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.


MORGAN: Kevin Skinner is a great example. Not the best singer in the world but he won America because America fell in love with him.

I`ve heard contestants who never get to do their big stuff. They got kicked out before they could unload their big bomb, a 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 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?


MORGAN: I knew we`d get $100 in New York.

Don`t give a free picture. Go and get one for charity.

MORGAN: Going into it, know it`s incredibly hard work. You`ve got to have stamina, guile. You`ve got to be cunning. You 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 every core of your being want to win, then don`t enter.

TRUMP: Piers, your the celebrity apprentice. Congratulations.



HAMMER: I think piers is going to do all right.

We go now from a former judge of "America`s Got Talent" to the host of the show way 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. 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 a million dollars 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: 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 Osborne is just off the chain. That`s how I explain her.


CANNON: 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 gags, making fun of Piers, everything. So I`d have to say that the relationship -- we could have our own reality show after the show, 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.

HAMMER: So how do you prepare for the show? Do you actually get into a preparation mode or just 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 play out. I think 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 imp prove skills to the best of my abilities.

HAMMER: And you do it very well. 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 immediate OK mediocrity. They either like things that are really, really bad or really, really good. If you just in the middle -- and there`s so many really talented people and their stories might not be as remarkable, or 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 "Dancing with the Stars" coveted mirror ball trophy.

Plus, the secret to winning a show like "America`s got talent," a sea of talented people and an unforgiving audience.




HAMMER: 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.

Right now, Padma Lakshmi, the host of the smash hit "Top Chef" shares 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, singing, 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? HLN`s 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, and 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 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 fiancee 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 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, 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 had her competition. 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" with so many talented people, a fierce audience that will boo you in a moment`s notice? So much pressure. Who better to give us the scoop than Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., the season six winner of "America`s Got Talent." It is a pleasure and an honor to meet you and have you here on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT.


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

MURPHY: Yes, I watch the program a lot.

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




HAMMER: All right, so 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?

MURPHY: It 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: In the back of your head you kept in mind, ah, it`s a TV show. We`ll have a little fun.


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

MURPHY: 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 being booed I figured I had a good chance.

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


HAMMER: When you first appeared on "America`s Got Talent" just 37 years old, washing cars in order to support your family. Now you got $1 million as a result of winning the show, 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: I`m basically staying humble, 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. It also 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. 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? You see the pressure, don`t you?

MURPHY: Yes, sir. I see it every day. But you`ve got to just remember where you come from. I was homeless. I learned to appreciate things that I get now, and not just take every day for granted, because just because you have it, go out there and throw it away. 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? You have indulged?

MURPHY: No. All I bought, I bought a pair of Jordans.

HAMMER: Got a pair of Jordans all right.

MURPHY: Yes. I went and bought the Jordan sweat suit. 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. Best of luck to you.


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 stunning secrets behind winning TV`s hottest TV competition. How do you ace the audition? What are the judges really looking for?


NICK LACHEY, HOST, "THE SING OFF": Come out blazing. 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 with all the secrets.

This is a special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT showbiz reality secrets, play to win. Right now "Dancing with the Stars" Cheryl Burke reveals the secret behind winning that coveted mirror ball trophy.


BURKE: If you make it to the finals it`s all about your freestyle dance. The freestyle always wins. Forget about the last nine weeks and positive 30,000 dances you`ve done. You come out with the best freestyle 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. What are the jumps really want? I spoke with Nick Lachey, 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. Acapella music, there`s so many terms the judges throw out there, blend and intonation. It comes down to blend and how well you blend together. So blend is crucial on "The Sing Off."

HAMMER: Have you ever seen an act they seem to be doing everything right, the group is up there singing their hearts out, hitting every mark, blending perfectly, doing everything you need to do to win but got booted off anyway?

LACHEY: Yes. It comes down to, especially 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? Are they marketable? There`s a lot of factors that go into the decisions the judges are making each and every week.

HAMMER: When you don`t agree, what happens after the show? Do you pull Ben Folds aside and say, hey man, what the heck were you thinking?

LACHEY: No. Those guys do their job. I fully support what they do. I`m not even privy to that decision-making process. I steer clear of that. My role in this is to host the show, to try and support all the groups 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. They have their reasons for making the decisions they make and I have to kind of let that go. In many ways I`m like spectators at home and viewers at home watching it. I don`t necessarily always understand it or agree with it, but that`s the way this thing works.

HAMMER: 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," "America`s Got Talent," "American Idol," any of them, you have thousands of people lining up hoping to get past that first round. What in your mind is the secret to playing in that first round besides having the talent that is requisite?

LACHEY: I think you`ve got to go with what got you there. That`s what I always tell the groups. Come out blazing. Trust yourself, trust your sound, trust your instincts on this, because that`s what got you to this point. And if you can walk away with the competition, no matter what you`re going, if you can walk away knowing you gave everything, you left it all 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`s it for this special edition of SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, "Showbiz Reality Secrets." Thank you for watching. I`m A.J. Hammer in New York.