July 22nd, 2009
05:23 PM ET

Taco Bell's famous talking dog dies

Sad news this week in the world of talking animals... Peoplepets.com is reporting that Gidget, the cute, little chatty Chihuahua from the Taco Bell ads, died from a stroke Tuesday at the age of 15.

Gidget captivated millions in the late 1990s when she first uttered "Yo quiero Taco Bell" ("I want some Taco Bell") in the fast food chain's now famous ad campaign.  From there, she donned the cap of a Mexican revolutionary and exclaimed "Viva Gorditas" from a balcony in front of thousands.

However, Taco Bell commercials weren't the canine's only gig... according to Peoplepets.com, Gidget also did a commercial for Trivial Pursuit, and starred opposite Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon in "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde."  The Chihuahua also had her own line of dolls and toys.

But, like any celebrity, Gidget's career was not without a little controversy.  Hispanic watchdog groups (excuse the pun) accused Taco Bell of promoting stereotypes in the ads and asked that they be taken off the air.

Do you have a favorite Gidget commercial?  Where do you think she ranks within the legacy of famous dogs?

July 22nd, 2009
04:54 PM ET

Whitney’s Back!

A standing ovation brought Whitney Houston to tears last night in New York City. No, the songstress wasn’t taking the stage to sing, she was there to thank her fans, family members and celebrity friends who were invited to an intimate listening party for her new album, “I Look to You.”


Whitney Houston speaks at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards in February.

Houston’s mentor and long-time producer, Clive Davis, hosted the event, and introduced 9 tracks from the album before the diva jumped on stage.

ABC newswoman Diane Sawyer, who conducted the infamous “crack is whack” interview with Houston, sat front and center and was greeted with a big hug when spotted by the singing superstar. Martha Stewart, Vivica A. Fox and Alicia Keys, who wrote and produced one of the new tracks, were also on hand to lend their support.

But it was her family members Houston credited for inspiring her return to the studio. Mom, Cissy, cousin, Dionne Warwick and 16 year-old daughter, Bobbi Kristina, were also there to welcome Houston back to the spotlight.

“I Look to You,” Houston’s first new album in 7 years, is out September 1st.

July 22nd, 2009
03:14 PM ET

Orphan: A Wicked Twist

In general, people decide whether a movie is worth the ticket price by learning what they can through trailers and basic descriptions - thus, my dilemma.

Tuesday night, I covered the premiere of the horror film "Orphan," and while I do enjoy a good scare, this particular film wasn't really grabbing my attention.  However, while waiting for the celebrity arrivals to star, something sparked my interest - the movie poster had five short words: "Can you keep a secret?"  This got several of us on the red carpet wondering what the secret might be, until I was so intrigued, I considered catching the movie on opening night this Friday.

Soon, the arrivals started, and knowing how they might respond, I teasingly asked the cast and director if they could reveal the big secret of the movie - just to me.  Of course, their answers were a unanimous "No!"  That is, until one cast member surprised me: "I didn't know the secret was supposed to be kept a secret, because I just told a few networks something I wasn't supposed to, until someone kicked me in the shins and told me to stop!"  While this person didn't let me in on what the others had learned, my follow-up question yielded another slip-up, of which the actor seemed unaware.

In the end, word spread - this was a media event, after all - and I learned the secret.  Sadly, I think it's quite a good twist - good enough that I wished I didn't know what it was, so I could watch the movie and be surprised.  Now that I know, I'm not as interested.

What are your thoughts?  Does knowing "Orphan" has a secret make you want to see it more?  And can a movie twist be so good that it's worth watching even if you already know it?




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Filed under: movies
July 22nd, 2009
02:44 PM ET

Jackson's Doctor's Office Raided


The lawyer for Dr. Conrad Murray, the doctor who was with Michael Jackson when he died, just released this statement to Showbiz Tonight.

“We can confirm that a search warrant was executed today on Dr. Murray’s offices in Houston, Texas. We reviewed the warrant and remained on the premises while the search was being executed. The search was conducted by members of the DEA, two Robbery – Homicide detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department and Houston Police officers. The search warrant authorized law enforcement to search for and seize items, including documents, they believed constituted evidence of the offense of manslaughter. Law enforcement concluded their search around 12:30pm, and left with a forensic image of a business computer hard drive and 21 documents. None of the documents taken had previously been requested by law enforcement or the L.A. Coroner’s office.” -Ed Chernoff

Watch Showbiz Tonight at 11pm ET/PT for the latest on these fast breaking developments in the investigation into Michael Jackson's death!

July 22nd, 2009
11:15 AM ET

This little "Orphan" has a big secret

I'm not a horror film fan, especially ones with creepy kids... but I realize that in this business, one cannot escape the occasional thrasher.  So when my name was called upon to watch and do the cast interviews for "Orphan," I calmly accepted without protest.

In an effort not to irk the publicity department at Warner Bros. (the studio behind "Orphan," and CNN's sister company), I'll keep the plot summary short.  A troubled married couple (played by Peter Sarsgaard and Vera Farmiga) with two kids is traumatized when their third child is stillborn.  In order to ease their pain from the terrible experience, the pair adopts a nine-year-old girl named Esther.  The audience soon finds out that behind the cute pigtails and frilly dresses, Esther is a terror... and the horror ensues.  And one more thing: little Esther's got a big secret (but I obviously can't reveal that).

Last weekend, I got the chance to interview Isabelle Fuhrman, the nice young actress who portrays the horrible, violent Esther.  I found this a little unsettling, at first - unable to shake the image of a creepy, psychotic killer from my head.  But as soon as I sat down, Fuhrman opened right up, and no signs of Esther emerged, except when she paused a few times to give me Esther's blank, empty look (you may have seen it on "Orphan" movie posters).  Esther's creepiness quickly faded from my mind as the 12-year-old actress chatted away about her first movie experience, her co-stars, and her favorite scary movie - she says she usually doesn't watch them, but did see "The Good Son" (which, appropriately, also centers on a disturbed child, played by Macaulay Culkin). Fuhrman had this to say about her her deeply, deeply troubled character:

"She feels like she's a victim.  She doesn't feel like she's evil at all.  She feels like she's a victim in a world that just doesn't understand her and she really just wants to be understood, and if not, it doesn't end well."

Indeed.  Those who see the film when it opens this weekend can witness for themselves just how things end.  And Esther's big secret?  Fuhrman's not going to tell... at least not on tape.

July 22nd, 2009
08:38 AM ET

Heigl and Butler discuss 'The Ugly Truth'

Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler spoke with CNN about their new film, opening on Friday, July 24. Hear what they had to say about this R-rated romantic comedy in today's Movie Pass:

Filed under: movies
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