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SHOWBIZ TONIGHT

Showbiz Blame Game; Hollywood`s Reputation Rap

Aired June 28, 2012 - 23:00   ET

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


A.J. HAMMER, HLN HOST: Tonight, Ann Curry`s emotional goodbye after being fired from the "Today" show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANN CURRY, FORMER "Today" SHOW HOST: And for all of you who saw me as a groundbreaker, I`m sorry I couldn`t carry the ball over the finish line, but, man, I did try.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT dares to ask, did the "Today" show treat Ann unfairly?

Hello, I`m A.J. Hammer. And tonight, I have got to ask, what the heck were they thinking? So much stuff kept coming our way today that had the SHOWBIZ TONIGHT staff asking that very question over and over again.

Now get a load of this. Why in the world would a superstar singer get the word "suck it" tattooed on her inner lip? What was she thinking. Well, wait until you hear who and why they did it.

But, first, what the heck was NBC thinking? Yes, welcome to the showbiz blame game, over the firing of Ann Curry as the co-host of the "Today" show. Now Ann went on the air this morning with a really remarkable and quite tearful, emotional goodbye, confirming that she is getting the boot. But SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has to ask, is she really to blame for the "Today" show`s big dive?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CURRY: Today is going to be my last morning as a regular co-host of "Today."

HAMMER (voice-over) : For Ann Curry, a tearful good-bye.

CURRY: This is not as I expected to ever leave this couch after 15 years.

HAMMER: After weeks of chatter, an emotional Curry made it clear, yes, her time on the "Today" show is history, and no, it wasn`t her choice.

CURRY: And for all of you who saw me as a groundbreaker, I`m sorry I couldn`t carry the ball over the finish line, but, man, I did try.

HAMMER: Ann`s emotion was matched by her "Today" show colleagues.

MATT LAUER, HOST, "TODAY" SHOW: You have the biggest heart in the business.

HAMMER: As Ann Curry was saying goodbye, the "Today" show`s main rivals were in no mood to gloat.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC`S "GOOD MORNING AMERICA": We enjoyed competing against you.

HAMMER: At the end of their show this morning, "Good Morning America`s" hosts, including former "Weekend Today" anchor Amy Robak, literally applauded their departing competitor.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Good luck, Ann.

(APPLAUSE)

HAMMER: But through all the kind words from her competitors and colleagues, make no mistake, Ann`s bittersweet "Today" show good-bye appears more bitter than sweet.

PAT LALAMA, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: I think this is a very, very difficult time for her.

HAMMER: SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you, with the way NBC dumped the 15-year "Today" show vet, after just one year into her dream job in the big chair, plus the drip, drip, drip of negative headlines and leaks that proceed her departure, people were asking, is Ann Curry getting the shaft?

CURRY: I`m Ann Curry in for, I guess, nobody this morning.

HAMMER: After years of being the substitute, Ann Curry became "Today`s" permanent co-anchor last June after Meredith Vieira last. The honeymoon didn`t last long. Critics questioned her chemistry with Matt Lauer and her ability to handle the softer stories. The criticism reached a fever pitch in April.

ROBIN ROBERTS, ABC`S "GOOD MORNING AMERICA": We are so grateful to you for making us the number one morning show in the country last week.

HAMMER: That`s when "Good Morning America" beat the "Today" show in the weekly ratings for the first time in 16 years. "Today" is still officially the top morning news show, but with "Good Morning America" still gaining, a frightened NBC obviously felt Curry had to go.

LALAMA: I do sadly believe that in 2012, women in this business are still held to a different standard than men.

HAMMER: Investigative journalist Pat Lalama used to work with Curry in local news in Los Angeles. She tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, this is an example of how hard women can have it in TV.

LALAMA: We`re still sort of the bowling pins that get knocked around when some executive decides, oh, my gosh, we dropped a rating point, let`s make a choice, oh, my goodness.

HAMMER: But Ann`s not going quietly. In an interview with "USA Today" revealed just hours before her announcement this morning, she says, flat- out, quote, "I know I am not to blame for `Today`s` ratings worries." When asked if she felt she was given enough time to work out her first-year kinks, she says, "No, I do not." And about all those leaks about her fate, Curry says, "No question they`ve hurt deeply."

LALAMA: Unfortunately, that is an aspect of our business.

HAMMER: Unfortunately, this isn`t the "Today" show`s first badly handled transition.

BRYANT GUMBEL, FORMER "TODAY" SHOW ANCHOR: Yes, Jane Pauley is leaving the "Today" program.

HAMMER: When "Today" show co-anchor Jane Pauley left in 1989, many felt she was being pushed aside in favor of the younger Deborah Norville. Viewers took it out on Norville, who like Curry, lasted about a year.

CURRY: I have loved you and I have wanted to give you the world and I still do.

HAMMER: So is Ann Curry the latest in NBC`s history of clumsy goodbyes? Or are executives doing what they had to do?

LAUER: You`ve made us better, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

CURRY: Thank you so much. Thank you.

HAMMER: Even with today`s tearful goodbye, Curry will continue with NBC as a reporter and anchor at large. Reports suggest her likely replacement is "Today`s" chief legal analyst, Savannah Guthrie, but she`d do likely to heed something that Curry now knows all too well.

LALAMA: My favorite journalism professor said many, many years ago, if you want job security, work for the post office. One day you`re up, one day you`re down.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: Wow, such a rollercoaster of emotions for "Today" show co-host, or I should say, former "Today" show co-host, Ann Curry.

Here`s our "Showbiz Flashpoint," is Ann Curry really to blame for the "Today" show ratings dive?

With me in New York, Brian Stelter. He is a reporter with the "New York Times." He was the first to break this story that Curry was on her way out. Brian is currently working on a book all about the morning show wars. From Washington, D.C., Susan Page. Susan did the only interview with Curry, which was revealed only hours before Curry`s big announcement on the "Today" show this morning. Susan is the Washington bureau chief at "USA Today."

And let me start with you, Susan. Because in your interview with Ann, I`ve got to tell you, she didn`t seem happy at all with NBC`s decision to cut her loose from the co-host chair after barely a year. She said to you, "I just finished my freshman year as co-host. In every single co-host`s first year, there have been kinks to be worked out, and perhaps I deserve as much blame for that as anyone."

And she also told you that she would have liked more time to work out the kinks, which you certainly can understand. So again to our "Showbiz Flashpoint," do you think she is to blame for "Today`s" problems?

SUSAN PAGE, "USA TODAY" WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: You know, I don`t know if she is to blame for the ratings problem that "Today" has had. Brian would be somebody who would know more about that than I would. But I can tell you she doesn`t believe she`s to blame and she doesn`t believe she was given enough time to make it work on the set after all those years.

And while she`s very positive and enthusiastic about the new role she`s going to take at NBC, she didn`t try to sugarcoat it. She said she wanted to stay. She wished she could have stayed. That is not how it worked out.

HAMMER: No, unfortunately for her and for a lot of her fans, I am among them. Ann also revealed in the interview that she was hurt by the fact that there were all these internal leaks that sped up her departure.

And Brian, you were the first to report that news that she was on her way her. So to our "Showbiz Flashpoint," do you think she was to blame at all for "Today`s" ratings dive?

BRIAN STELTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: This reminds of that slogan, that saying that success has a thousand owners and failures have no owners. We`re somewhere in between here. There`s always a number of -- a number of factors that all add up to contribute to ratings increases or decreases, but Ann Curry was one of the factors that caused "Today" to lose some market share in the last year. Because after all she was the only big change that`s happened in the last year.

There were times where it seemed awkward on the set between Ann Curry and Matt Lauer, there were times where it seemed she was stumbling on the teleprompter.

HAMMER: Right.

STELTER: And, you know, I found online, on Twitter, on Facebook, people either love her or hate her.

HAMMER: Yes. And she did, she did have that polarizing aspect --

STELTER: Yes.

HAMMER: -- where somebody like Meredith Vieira were more sort of somewhere in the middle, I believe, from everything I always saw.

STELTER: Right. And of course Meredith is a bigger star to begin with. Meredith had more fans to begin with. So she came in with an advantage. Ann came in one year ago with a disadvantage.

HAMMER: Yes, it was a tough, tough gig to walk into.

STELTER: Yes.

HAMMER: This morning, through her tears, Ann apologized to the viewers for, as she put it, carrying the ball to the finish -- not carrying the ball to the finish line.

Susan, I`ve got to say, she did seem, I don`t know a better word for this, she seemed a little bitter if your interview. But I can understand her not playing it out that way on the air. NBC does still employ her. Is she bitter in your mind?

PAGE: A.J., that is not how she came across in the interview I did with her, which lasted about 40 minutes, a pretty extended period of time for an interview of this sort. She seemed sad and disappointed and hurt by some of the leaks. But, no, I would not say bitter.

HAMMER: OK.

PAGE: And you know, she spoke very positively of Steve Kappas, the NBC News president, for coming to her with this new package, this new unit that`s going to do reporting abroad and across the United States. So bitter -- I mean, clearly disappointed. She was cheerful in the interview I did, so I wasn`t surprised to see her also tear up on the air this morning. But not bitter.

HAMMER: That`s -- no, that`s good to hear from you, because I do think she is one classy person. And this morning, in another program, Sue Simmons, who was just let loose off the air after 32 years as the anchor, somebody I grew up with, on the NBC local station here in New York, she was a guest on "The Wendy Williams Show."

Sue had a different take on it. Watch what Sue said when Wendy asked her about Ann getting dumped by "Today."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUE SIMMONS: Well, I think she`s got to be humiliated. Because they gave her the promotion, she got the job, she hung in there, she was second banana for years.

WENDY WILLIAMS: With Matt Lauer.

SIMMONS: With Matt Lauer. She gets the job, and then less than a year or a year later, you know, they said maybe not so much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Brian, you`ve spent time with Ann. Do you think she was humiliated? At the end of the day, NBC did have to make a business decision.

STELTER: Well, I think what`s notable was how long it took between the time that NBC first approached her about this issue and the time today when she was announced she was leaving. I`m told that maybe this was offered to her in May. Definitely offered to her officially in June, and yet now it`s the end of the month. It took her a long time to come around and accept what NBC had decided.

HAMMER: Susan, do you think this now really opens up the door for "Good Morning America" to pull ahead on a more consistent basis, away from the "Today" show?

PAGE: I think there`s a lot of concern about that at NBC. One of the -- one of the things Steve Kappas said was, this is not the only move we`re going to make. We`re not complacent about what`s happening at "Today" show. You`re going to see other changes ahead, although unfortunately he wouldn`t tell me exactly what those are going to be. So I think -- I think NBC is concerned that this long franchise that has, of course, made them such huge sums of money --

STELTER: An amazing (INAUDIBLE).

PAGE: -- is at some risk.

HAMMER: Yes. Well, it`s obviously game on. Brian Stelter and Susan Page, I really appreciate your insights tonight. Thank you so much.

We move on now to brand-new Lady Gaga controversy over this disturbing new song.

So the lyrics are all about suicide and anorexia, and so far Gaga has only performed this song live, but what kind of a message is this sending to all Gaga`s little monsters?

Plus, the SHOWBIZ viral video from one of the world`s greatest living actors. And get this, it`s all about how much he hates it when superstar athletes try to act.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GARY OLDMAN, ACTOR: I, Gary Oldman, would very much appreciate it if professional basketball players would stay the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out -- out of movies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

HAMMER: This hilarious new fake PSA is from Gary Oldman. It is firing up the Internet and we`ve got it for you.

This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: And now battle of the producing greats. Is the legendary Quincy Jones taking on rap mogul P. Diddy? Well, here`s what`s going on. At a launch event for the online music platform Spotify this week, Quincy blasted Diddy hard-core, saying he has a doctorate in marketing and cares more about making money than he does about music.

But then Quincy backed off pretty quickly, posting on his Facebook page that he has great respect for Diddy man and Diddy didn`t seem to let the jab get him down at all. This is what he tweeted today. "Great day ahead, to the top people."

Well, coming up next, why acting great Gary Oldman hates jocks.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Tonight a SHOWBIZ viral video with acting great Gary Oldman. You know how athletes are always crossing over into acting? Well, Gary Oldman, he doesn`t like it. Yes, he actually thinks a star athlete should stop dabbling in his profession, so Gary went on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and he made a PSA telling basketball stars, stay off my turf.

You`ve got to watch Gary Oldman take a shot at acting athletes in this hilarious video.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OLDMAN: Hi, I`m Gary Oldman, actor. Some of you may know me from such films as "Dracula," "Air Force One," and "Kung Fu Panda 2." Now just as a professional basketball player spends hours on the court mastering every single aspect of his game, I, Gary Oldman, studied acting for many years to perfect my craft. And just as I, Gary Oldman, actor, would never try to join and an NBA team just because I`m famous, I, Gary Oldman, would very much appreciate it if professional basketball players would stay the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of movies.

Who the hell told you you could (EXPLETIVE DELETED) act? The director on your towel commercial? You`re not (EXPLETIVE DELETED) actors. Some of you can`t even speak (EXPLETIVE DELETED) English. You suck. Get it? You suck.

See, how I did that? That`s called acting. Do you feel the emotion? I can do that. You can`t. That`s what I mean.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Nice. Gary Oldman going all Christian Bale there. Gary`s spoof has already gotten nearly a million hits.

Well, someone who took a big hit today, sadly, Ann Curry. Her tearful exit from the "Today" show this morning is sure to go down in history as one of the most emotional moments ever on morning TV. So is America now on Ann`s side after her heartfelt goodbye?

Well, tonight SHOWBIZ TONIGHT has your exclusive look at Reputation.com`s weekly scorecard of who`s up and who`s down. It`s all determined by online and social media buzz.

The man with all the info in New York, Reputationrap.com`s -- vice chair, you`re the vice chair.

HOWARD BRAGMAN, VICE CHAIRMAN, REPUTATION.COM: I`m the vice chairman.

HAMMER: Howard Bragman is here.

So Howard, what an epic departure on the "Today" show this morning. Ann telling America through her tears that she was leaving the show. Is she up or is she down?

BRAGMAN: Surprisingly, she`s way up on social media. People are jumping on NBC, jumping on Matt Lauer, and all I can think of is the Jodie Mitchell song, "You don`t always seems to go, you don`t know what you`ve got until it`s gone."

HAMMER: Yes.

BRAGMAN: And I think it`s a little remorse right now.

HAMMER: Yes, I`m not surprised at all. I think Ann is very beloved and I think people really feel for her situation.

BRAGMAN: She handled it with great class and dignity and authenticity today. It was a beautiful departure.

HAMMER: I do get the impression that a lot of people are not feeling so badly for Chuck Norris. Let`s talk about him. Everybody else seems to write -- to be right now. He`s getting a lot of hear for this op-ed that he just wrote all about the Boy Scouts, considering changing its policies and letting gays join the Scouts. He slammed President Obama, claiming that the president is pressuring Scout leaders to make the change.

Is Chuck up or down on his Reputation Rap index?

BRAGMAN: Way down.

HAMMER: That`s (INAUDIBLE).

BRAGMAN: Social media skews young. Young people are really progressive on gay rights. Chuck Norris isn`t. They`re into his thing. And in fact, even Mitt Romney wants the Boy Scouts to change. So he`s really wrong from a political point of view.

HAMMER: Yes, I figured the social media is where Chuck is going to really have people letting him have it, for sure.

BRAGMAN: And they have been.

HAMMER: I want to know what`s going to happen with Kelly Osbourne`s reputation, and if that is in any way going to take a hit. This was really interesting to me. She just admitted that she got drunk on a plane. Now we know Kelly has been to rehab several times and she gave a brand-new interview that was just released today with Radaronline where she talked very candidly about what just happened. Let`s watch that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY OSBOURNE, TV PERSONALITY: I got drunk on the plane to Atlanta. It was on an empty stomach. And I -- before I got on the plane, a gentleman came up to me and asked me how my brother was doing and that he told me about his brother having MS and kind of directed me toward the Web site.

And on the plane, I started looking at the Web site when we were up in altitude and you could go on Wi-Fi, and it described how bad certain cases of ms really got and it made me lose it. Because I`ve sat there through my mom having cancer, my father almost dying in a bike accident, and now it`s my brother, who`s my best friend, and I lost it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Wow. And she went on to say that it`s no excuse, but she`s not going to lie about it, and I have to say I admire her honesty, but do you think it was good for her to open up so big?

BRAGMAN: I think it was smart. She`s -- there`s some up, there`s some down, but generally the people who like her, like the Osbourne family, are supporting her, and as a PR guy, get a head of the story, so she certainly did the right thing.

HAMMER: And coming from you I think that`s a really good vote of confidence for Kelly.

All right, Kelly, good on you then.

Howard Bragman, thank you, as always, sir.

We move on now to HLN`s very own Nancy Grace. Wait until you see this. Her incredible guest performance on one of the hottest shows around, "Drop Dead Diva."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NANCY GRACE, HLN HOST: I nearly joined yet but they keep telling me to be the crazy Nancy, and I don`t know what they mean by that.

Cut mike -- cut -- Liz.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: HLN`s own Nancy Grace take SHOWBIZ TONIGHT for an exclusive look behind the scenes of her "Diva" moment.

And "Drop Dead Diva`s" Brandy Norwood is right here tonight and she is spilling secrets to us about the show and she`s talking to us about her former friend, Whitney Houston, and how the family is doing.

Also, the superstar who just did this to her inner lip. Yes, the tattoo says "suck it." Who`s the celebrity that would do that? Why would anybody do that?

This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Did you see this? "Live with Kelly" guest host Michael Strahan taking it all off there on set. Yes, the former NFL star stripping down to his skinnies there. So why would he do something like that? Well, here`s the deal. "Magic Mike" is the new movie about male strippers. It is getting huge buzz right now. One of the film`s stars is Channing Tatum.

Channing went on to "Live with Kelly" this morning to tell everyone what it was like pretending to be in the wild world of stripping, and I guess Michael Strahan, he was a little jealous of all the attention that Channing was getting, so he decided to do a strip routine of his own. He ripped off his pants. He did quite (INAUDIBLE). Take a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL STRAHAN, FORMER NFL STAR: For me, personally, is that it brings back memories because, you know, they used to call me "Magic Mike" before sports. I can dance --

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

KELLY RIPPA, HOST: Yes. Yes. You`re welcome, America. You`re welcome.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Yes, I do like the dollar bills from the audience. Nice touch. I wonder if he kept them.

Moving on now to Alec`s Broadway drama. Alec Baldwin is back in the spotlight. This time, all the drama is on stage, thankfully. Plus, remembering a `60s heartthrob. A star of the classic sitcom "My Three Sons" passes away. And Alex Trebek speaks out after his health scare.

That tops the "Buzz" today.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: Answer, he left the hospital after having a heart attack. Question, who is Alex Trebek?

SHOWBIZ TONIGHT can tell you the "Jeopardy!" host has just been released from the hospital after suffering a mild heart attack this past weekend. A rep for Sony television tells us, "I am happy to report that Alex has been released from the hospital and is back at his home. On his behalf, thank you again for your good wishes."

Remembering Don. Don Grady, who`s best known as Big Brother Robby on the TV classic "My Three Sons," has reportedly died at the age of 68. Grady started as a Mouseketeer on the original "Mickey Mouse Club" and grew up playing Robby Douglas on the hit sitcom from 1960 to 1972. According to the "Hollywood Reporter," he died Wednesday in California after a battle with cancer.

Alec`s on stage drama. Alec Baldwin has just announced he`s headed back to Broadway. Baldwin will hit the stage in the spring of 2013 in the play "Orphans." It`s about two orphaned brothers who kidnapped a wealthy man. The "30 Rock" star tells SHOWBIZ TONIGHT in a statement, "I have dreamed for a long time of doing this play with this director. It`s an honor to work with Dan Sullivan in Lyle Kessler`s `Orphans.`"

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: We move on now to extreme star makeover. This superstar singer who got the words "suck it" tattooed inside her lip. Who did it? Why are stars going to such extremes?

Plus, is this the cutest viral video ever?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sit. Good job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: This is amazing. A baby and a dog, both playing "Simon Says" with daddy. We`re going to show you just how this adorable viral video plays out.

This is SHOWBIZ TONIGHT on HLN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Right now on SHOWBIZ TONIGHT, outrage over Lady Gaga`s controversial song about suicide and death.

Lady Gaga`s new single is called "Princess Die." That`s D-I-E. Sure it`s just a song but is she sending the wrong message to her little monsters.

And SHOWBIZ TONIGHT goes on location with HLN`s own Nancy Grace on the set of the hit show "Drop Dead Diva."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: I really enjoy it but they keep telling me to be the crazy Nancy, and I don`t know what they mean by that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Nancy Grace, the actress? We are on location and behind the scenes with HLN`s crazy Nancy.

ANNOUNCER: TV`s most provocative entertainment news show continues right now!

HAMMER: Welcome back to "Showbiz Tonight." And now Showbiz on location with HLN`s own Nancy Grace. Nancy returns to the set of Lifetime`s "Drop Dead Diva." She is playing the role of herself for Season six of the show. Now tonight, Nancy is taking us exclusively behind the scenes of the hit show, from rehearsing her lines to her on-set crush to how she really plays the crazy Nancy.

So watch now as Nancy Grace uncovers her diva secrets for "Showbiz Tonight."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Hi HLN TV. Thanks for joining on the set of "Drop Dead Diva."

Oh, my. This only set green room. Oops! I guess they forgot the star part.

To my right, the man who took on big tobacco.

These are not my shoes. I would never buy anything this expensive. Expensive.

I`m super excited about being on the set of "Drop Dead Diva," because I`m a big fan of the show and all the stars, and it doesn`t hurt that that "Nip Tuck" guy is kind of cute. I`m really enjoying it, but they keep telling me to be the Nancy, and I don`t know what they mean by that.

Angle. Liz, cut her mic!

Normally we are live every night on our show on HLN, so doing the same scene over and over and over, I was saying everybody`s lines in my head. I`m like, get it, people. It was actually a lot of fun. It`s a lot different working with a script as opposed to everything being off the cuff and spontaneous and ad libbed, like it is on our show.

BROOKE ELLIOTT, "JANE BINGUM," "DROP DEAD DIVA": Last time she was here, I didn`t get to meet her, but she was really, really fun and really good and she added some really funny lines, which was great.

it was really great having Nancy here. She was wonderful.

DYLAN WALSH, "LAWRENCE TOBIN," "DROP DEAD DIVA": Between each take, she says, "Do you want the nice Nancy or the crazy Nancy?" So we`ve gotten a little of both, which is funny.

GRACE: Who`s worse? Real defense attorneys or people playing defense attorneys? I would have to say real defense attorneys are definitely the worst. Worst.

ELLIOTT: She`s - she is who she is. And I think a feisty, strong woman is fun. So I love having her here.

GRACE: I got to incorporate my favorite line, such as, "unleash the lawyers," "Shut up!" "I`ll get you." Thank you for being with me backstage at "Drop Dead Diva."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nancy, you did so good.

GRACE: Are you the stunt double?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

GRACE: Get the hell out of my shot!

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAMMER: Nice right hook there. It kind of reminds me of the famous Susan Lucci slap but I digress.

Well Nancy isn`t the only Showbiz favorite we can`t wait to check out on "Drop dead diva." Tonight we`ve got Brandy`s diva moment. The music superstar, the actress, the producer, the model. I mean, what can`t this woman do? She`s making a big return to "Drop Dead Diva" in an all-new episode that`s going to air on July 8th on Lifetime. Here she is, Brandy Norwood, joining me from Hollywood tonight for the Showbiz newsmaker interview. Great to see you as always, Brandy.

BRANDY NORWOOD, ACTRESS: Hey, great to see you too.

HAMMER: So let`s get into this, because I`ve got to congratulate you first off on your hot new single, "Put it Down." Of course, it features Chris Brown.

NORWOOD: Thank you very much, absolutely. Absolutely.

HAMMER: Yes, We know that Chris is great in this with you. We of course know that he`s been dealing with some controversy recently, including this latest beef with Drake. Did you have any concerns at all about working with Chris because of his controversial past?

NORWOOD: You know, I just feel like everybody goes through things in their own life and it`s not my place to judge or anybody`s place to judge. I just know that Chris is a fantastic artist and he`s always been supportive of me as an artist, and I just wanted to work with him, because he`s great at what he does.

HAMMER: Yes, at the end of the day, it sounded like you just wanted to make music. And look, you`ve been expressing yourself through your music for so many years now.

NORWOOD: Absolutely.

HAMMER: And I have to tell you what Lady Gaga just expressed Brandy through her music. And she`s getting slammed for this. This. It`s a new song she just revealed at a concert in Australia, it`s called "Princess Die," that`s d-i-e. It`s not about Princess Diana, it`s a song about suicide.

Now, you know, Gaga`s got a lot of young fans, and some people are saying this song is in poor taste because of that. She just performed it at a concert in Australia. I want to watch some of that together with you.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

HAMMER: Wow, such a haunting song, to be sure. And look, I am the first to stand up as a huge Gaga fan and supporter. I do think she`s trying to connect with her fans with this song. Do you think she takes it a little too far, singing about such a sensitive subject when she has so many young fans?

NORWOOD: Well, music is about expression and it`s also about relating to everybody. I mean, there are so many people that are going through some of the things that she`s speaking about in this song, and, again, I`m not one to criticize. I just feel like music should be a freedom to express whatever is going on in the world. It`s just a lot of people are scared to do that, because we don`t want to offend anyone, or you don`t want to, you know, influence anyone in the wrong way, because automatically in this industry, you become a role model when you step on the scene. But there are people going through very, very tough things in life. So, that`s my take on it.

HAMMER: Yes, no, I appreciate that, and I give Gaga a lot of credit for just singing what she feels, and hopefully, really, the message is, "Hey, you know, you didn`t take the pills and leave a note, so here you are sitting and listening to my music and we can all celebrate together," you know?

NORWOOD: Absolutely.

HAMMER: Well, we all love Gaga for the diva that she is when she`s up on stage, commanding the stadiums that she plays.

NORWOOD: She`s awesome.

HAMMER: And now you are back. I`m so happy to see you guest starring again on the hit Lifetime show, "Drop Dead Diva."

NORWOOD: Thank you.

HAMMER: Would you like to watch a little of yourself in action? This is you and tennis great, Serena Williams. Roll it!

NORWOOD: Thank you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can`t believe you`re dragging me to court.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You didn`t leave me a choice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your choice was to not force paternity and sue my client.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your client?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, Kelly (ph) is my lawyer. Whatever money I save is now going to her. So thanks a lot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Sassy! I love it, Brandy. Great to see you acting again. And this is a recurring role at this moment, but the fans do seem to love you in this particular role. Would you be up for a more permanent spot on the show if they offered it up?

NORWOOD: Absolutely. I love the show. I love the cast, the set, the energy is amazing, and it`s a lot of great people that come in and out and I`m just happy that they gave me the opportunity to do that as well. So yes, I would love to come back.

HAMMER: And it was so cool in that scene seeing you with Serena. You know, two major stars that we really know primarily from other roles in life. Is it true that she landed her role on the show primarily because she tweeted you?

NORWOOD: No, that`s not true. I never heard that.

HAMMER: That`s what I got in my notes here.

NORWOOD: I didn`t even realize that she was, you know, going to play my lawyer until I saw it on Twitter. So, yes, that`s the story. That`s the true story. She`s great and she`s awesome. She can play that lawyer.

HAMMER: She can play tennis and she can be a good lawyer. That`s all good to know.

NORWOOD: She can act, yes.

HAMMER: All right. I want to move on to something that I know is a bit bittersweet, but I have to tell you, we are all very excited to reveal that Whitney Houston`s final music video has just been released, because it`s really terrific. And tonight "Showbiz Tonight" has your first look. This is the official video for a great new party tune. It`s called "Celebrate."

Now Whitney recorded the track with Jordin Sparks. She co-starred with her in the upcoming movie, "Sparkle." Brandy, I`m really eager to get your take on it but first, you know, you`re a music superstar, I`ve got to ask you about another music superstar tonight. Look at that. This outrageous tattoo on her inner lip. That is unbelievable to me. But who is it? Who would do that?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC PLAYING)

HAMMER: Doesn`t it sound great? It makes you want to get up and dance. Your very first look at the late great Whitney Houston`s last music video. It was recorded with Jordin Sparks for Whitney`s very last movie, "Sparkle" which is coming out in August. Really a great way, I think, to celebrate Whitney`s life and Whitney`s legacy will not only live on in some but through her daughter, Bobby Christina. Of course, Bobby Chris is starring with Whitney`s family in a new reality show which is going to debut later this year.

I want to bring music superstar and actress Brandy Norwood, who was Whitney`s close friend, and you had such a rich history with Whitney, Brandy, having started with her in "Cinderella," you were together in that movie. I see you`re very moved by this. I know it`s really, really bittersweet -

NORWOOD: Yes.

HAMMER: But I have to believe. I mean tell me what you`re feeling right now.

NORWOOD: Well, you know, just to hear her, you know, that`s my first time, you know, hearing a snippet of that - of the new song, and it`s tough. I mean, this woman has meant everything to me. And to know that she`s no longer with us in the physical is very tough. And it`s been tough for me and for me, you know, I`m pretty sure everyone who`s been touched by her music and who she was as a person. So, I`m sorry, I didn`t know that was going to happen.

HAMMER: No, that`s quite all right, and I`m sorry if we caught you off guard there. I mean, you obviously knew we were going to be talking about this, but I didn`t anticipate you`d have that reaction. I have to believe -

NORWOOD: Yes. It`s the song. I`m sorry.

HAMMER: No, and that`s cool. And look, we feel how we feel. I do have to believe, though, as I said, it really is bittersweet, because it`s her last music video, but it`s got to make you feel good, seeing her and hearing her magical voice.

NORWOOD: It does. It really does. I mean, her voice just, you know, it touches my soul. And I just - wow. I really apologize.

HAMMER: No, no. I appreciate the fact that you`re, you know, willing to share your emotion with us right here. You all right?

NORWOOD: Yes, I`m good.

HAMMER: OK.

NORWOOD: I`m good.

HAMMER: Well, let`s talk about a happy thing, Whitney`s daughter, Bobbi Chris, who`s going to carry on the legacy. She`s launching her own TV career. You`ve done it all yourself with the TV and the movies. Do you think that acting is the right career for Bobbi Chris. She seems to be on the right path, working with the great Tyler Perry right now, if you ask me.

NORWOOD: I mean I think that`s such a beautiful thing. I had no idea that acting was a passion for Bobbi Chris, but I think that whatever is making her happy and whatever voice that is that she`s following in her heart, I think she should continue. And I think it takes a brave young soul to go forward and carry out a legacy that`s so huge and that`s touched so many people. So I`m so proud of her and I`m so happy to hear this news.

HAMMER: And I know you`re connected with Tyler. You just created a project with him. Tell me about this role you did for "The Marriage Counselor."

NORWOOD: "The Marriage Counselor" is such a great movie and such a great topic, domestic violence, so many people are experiencing that, and I`m one of the characters in the movie, and my past is very, very - just crazy. And I`m running from that past. And without giving so much away, you see how I end up confronting the things - the struggle that I`ve been through in my past. And you know, I`m appreciative to Tyler for giving me such a great opportunity to not only work with him, but to be part of something that is going to be very special.

HAMMER: Well, great to have you on the big screen, the small screen, and always great to see you here on "Showbiz Tonight." You doing all right?

NORWOOD: Thank you. Yes, I`m good. I`m good, thank you.

HAMMER: All right. All smiles. Brandy Norwood, thank you so much.

A brand-new episode of "Drop Dead Diva" airs this Sunday at 9:00 p.m. on Lifetime, and be sure to catch Brandy on Sunday, July 8, for her return to "Drop Dead Diva."

Moving on now to your Showbiz`s first look at Tim Burton`s to stop motion film making. Wynona Ryder, (INAUDIBLE) O`Hara, and Martin Landeau lend their voices to Disney`s "Frankenweenie." It`s all about a young boy who wants to bring back his four-legged friend from the dead and he does. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was a great dog. A great friend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The best dog a kid could have.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you lose someone you love, they never really leave you. They just move into a special place in your heart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t want him in my heart. I want him here with me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know. If we could bring him back, we would.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m sorry, boy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sparky! I can`t believe it!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your dog is alive!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ahh!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sparky, easy, boy. I can fix that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Tim Burton`s a genius. "Frankenweenie" opens in theaters this October.

And opening right now, the mouth of a big star who just got a wild new tattoo. Look at that. That looks painful. Who do you think who would do? I can tell you she`s a woman, she`s a singer, and she has the guts to do this. I wouldn`t give her any lip if I were you. The big star reveal is coming up. This is "Showbiz tonight" on HLN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Tonight, what were they thinking? You know, we`re all used to celebrities pushing the envelope in their fashion and in their style. Many times, it works out. Other times, not so much. Leaving us all asking, what were they thinking? And let me just say, you may be wondering that when I show you what one star just had tattooed on her lip. Talk about an extreme makeover.

With me from Hollywood tonight, someone who knows all about extreme makeovers, so pleased to welcome Michael Maloney, the designer of "Interiors and Glamour" on ABC`s "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." It is great to see you, Michael.

MICHAEL MALONEY, DESIGNER "INTERIORS AND GLAMOUR": How are you? Nice to see you.

HAMMER: It is great to be with you tonight, because I know you have worked in fashion, you are a design expert. I must get your take on what pop star Kesha just had tattooed. Yes, this is can Kesha, and that is her lip. She tweeted this photo, and you`re really seeing the words "Suck it!" tattooed on her inner lip.

Michael, I don`t see that as a look for you, but for Kesha, do you love it or hate it?

MALONEY: I`ve got one word - who? I mean, who cares? I hate it. I think it`s awful, it`s tacky, it`s pretty trashy. And I don`t care where she puts a tattoo or what it says, that right there is pretty low.

HAMMER: Sadly, I have to say, it probably fits in with what a lot of people think is her style. But I guess you can`t argue that tattoos are a form of creative expression, she was perhaps just expressing herself, but "suck it"?

MALONEY: Yes and from what I understand, it`s a message to her non-fans, which - I don`t get why one would do that. And I`m all for tattoos. I think they`re cool, I think they`re sexy, but really on the inside of her lip, with that? I can`t go with that.

HAMMER: Michael, I`m connecting the dots. You say it`s a message to her non-fans. So is actually - is Kesha sending a message to you? Is that what I`m getting here?

MALONEY: I think I just got a big (INAUDIBLE) from - exactly.

HAMMER: All right. Let`s talk about somebody else going through an extreme makeover these days. Lindsay Lohan. She is playing Liz Taylor in the upcoming Lifetime movie, "Liz and Dick." I want to show you some pics of Lindsay made up as Liz. She is shooting the movie right now. Look at her. I think she looks pretty good. Do you think that she made a good transformation to Liz Taylor?

MALONEY: Are you kidding? I think she looks absolutely beautiful. I think that there always references made that there was a resemblance, from way back. And I get what the producers are doing here. You know, I really, truly think that in her day, Liz was, you know, a bit controversial and Lindsay is very controversial. And we`re all talking about it. She looks absolutely beautiful. And now the proof is in the pudding. We need to watch this movie and look and see if she`s really got the chops to pull this off, because these are big shoes to fill.

HAMMER: And no lip tattoo. That gets a thumbs up from me. Here`s another transformation I wanted to show you tonight. We remember the Spice Girls, of course, Sporty Posh, Scary Ginger and Baby. I particularly like Sporty, they`re back together and just the other day they announced a new stage musical based on their careers. So let me show you the ladies from the other day sporting a very adult, sophisticated look. Very different from their trademark look of the `90s.

So Michael, what do you think? Which look suits them better? What should they do? Stick with what made them famous or the new look?

MALONEY: I think they should go with what`s going on right now, today. They look great. I think it`s a great message for women, too. You know, 40`s the new 30. They`re looking great, and the show is going to be produced by the people who did "Mama Mia!" I mean a huge international success. I wish them the best. I think they all look hot. They kept it together. They`re obviously very fit. They`re looking good and more power to them.

HAMMER: Great having your insight. Michael Maloney, thank you so much.

MALONEY: Nice to see you.

HAMMER: Great seeing you.

Tonight we move on to Simon says, the showdown of the century. A dad pitting his little girl against the family dog.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) sit! Good job!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: Who won this Simon says throw down? I will show you the adorable must-see viral video, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAMMER: Tonight, Simon says, watch this. It is the Showbiz viral video that will surely make you say, "ahh." A dad pits his family dog against his cute little daughter in a game of Simon says, but the big question is, who will win this heated match.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Callie, Bisbee, sit down. Good job. Callie, Bisbee, roll left. Callie. Good job! Callie, Bisbee, roll right. Bisbee, roll - Callie.

Come on, bisbee!

All right! Good job, Callie. Good job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAMMER: I love it! I`m sorry, I think Bisbee won the challenge. How cute is that? And the cuteness does not stop there. Oh, no, in another cute video gone viral, it`s a dog who literally calms down a very unhappy baby by singing. Why don`t we call this a howl-a-by. We`ve all seen this happen, a cranky baby wants to sleep, but instead throws a fit. Well, in this video, wolf dog, as he`s called, saves the video with his own unique lullaby.

Wow. I`m thinking the baby probably heard how upset the dog was and decided, well, maybe things aren`t so bad after all.

Well tonight, an inside look at a real-life stripper, Dr. Drew uncovers the private world of live adult entertainment and why mean love it. Women seem to fear it starting right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here we go. Everyone is talking about the movie "Magic Mike" so we are going to go inside the lives of real male strippers. We got a Chippendale here to tell us what it`s really like -

END