July 29th, 2009
08:51 PM ET

Joan Rivers brings the funny

Day two of the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour started with lots of laughter thanks to Joan Rivers! There aren't a lot of people in Hollywood who keep it real when talking about others, but Joan Rivers does.  She sat down, got miked up to promote her new show on TV Land called "How'd you get so Rich"  and started offering her opinions on topical news.

Joan Rivers

Upon hearing the news that President Barack Obama invited Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley to the White House for a beer to hash things out, she said, "Obama needs to stay out of local politics."

Rivers dropped the F-bomb this week while touting her new show on "Good Day Sacramento."  The host asked Rivers if she ever ran up to someone and said "Hey how did you get so rich?" and have the woman say "by riding on my mom's coattails." It was a dig at her and her daughter Melissa.  Joan reacted saying, "I don't think so. Don't get so (expletive) smart. I think we are going to end the interview right now."  Joan told me that host crossed the line and the comments were inappropriate. She added, the last time "Good Day Sacramento"  made news was when one of the Shriver clan got new teeth. Yep Joan is, if nothing else, always funny.

But Joan wasn't the only funny one at the TCAs today. Mr. Kevin Nealon who is the voice of the traveling dentist, Dr. Glenn Martin, on the new Nick @ Nite animated series "Glenn Martin, DDS" refused to let our interview end without cracking me up. He said he not only thinks it's a great idea for President Obama to invite the Sgt. Crowley and Harvard Professor Gates over for beer, but he should take it a step further and invite Joe Jackson over along with the doctor of the late Michael Jackson, Dr. Conrad Murray. He thinks they could perhaps talk things over.

I've covered the TCAs for years for CNN and I can count the times on one hand that a celebrity has surprised me by saying something I found intriguing. I'll add today to that list. I interviewed executive producers Matt Damon and Howard Zinn about their new series on the History Channel called "The People Speak" where celebrities read and perform stories about ordinary people who have changed history. Well after the interview about their project, I asked for Matt's reaction to President Obama inviting the police officer and professor over for a beer. He confided in me that his good buddy Ben Affleck actually knew Sgt. Crowley. He was Affleck's contact for a film he was shooting in Boston called "The Company Men." That was before Sgt. Crowley and Professor Gates made headlines.

Wow!! The things you learn at the TCAs.

July 29th, 2009
06:36 PM ET

Travolta still a Scientologist

Reports that John Travolta has distanced himself from the Church of Scientology are “totally false.”

A report in a British tabloid claimed that Travolta became disillusioned in the Church after the death of his son Jett in January.

Paul Bloch, Travolta’s rep, tells Showbiz Tonight:

“There’s no change in the relationship between the Church of Scientology and John. He is a member and it’s as it was, now and forever.”

Be sure to tune in to Showbiz Tonight -11pm ET/PT on HLN.

Filed under: Uncategorized
July 29th, 2009
12:08 PM ET

Walking the line

Lately, I’ve felt like starting my own column based on all the odd experiences I’ve encountered at movie premieres.  A week ago, the big “Orphan” secret was revealed at the premiere and my latest red carpet experience did not disappoint.

Monday night, I covered the “Ponyo” premiere - an animated Japanese film adapted by Disney. It's about the relationship between a five-year-old boy and a young goldfish named “Ponyo,” and her quest to become human. The little boy is voiced by the one and only Frankie Jonas also known as “Bonus Jonas” – he is the younger brother of Kevin, Joe and Nick Jonas. But wait there’s more, the voice behind “Ponyo” the goldfish, is Noah Cyrus, yep, she is Miley Cyrus’ little sister.

Despite the brief arrival of the Jonas Brothers, Monday night’s event wasn’t buzzing with big name stars, so I was more than happy to give my time to whomever the publicists brought my way. About an hour into the red carpet arrivals a persistent publicist stood in front of me holding the hand of a very young girl. She explained why I should talk to her client which went something like this, “Hi this is so and so and Noah Cyrus’ best friend, I think you should talk to her.”

Rewind, did I miss the part where she tells me what her client is working on, if she even has a role in “Ponyo.” Nope, I heard correctly and none of that was included. Why does Noah Cyrus' best friend need a publicist?  While I felt horrible for the smiling young girl, I did not talk to her. Would you have talked to her?

Does being someone’s “best friend” give you a golden ticket?

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Filed under: Jonas Brothers • movies • Music
July 29th, 2009
10:00 AM ET

Whitney Houston moves up release

Whitney Houston's much-anticipated album has a new release date that's earlier than previously planned, while others stars like Mariah Carey and Lil Wayne are moving their album release dates back. Plus Ben Affleck will be doing double duty by directing and starring in the romantic thriller "The Town." CNN's Douglas Hyde has more on these tidbits in today's buzz:

Filed under: movies • Music
July 29th, 2009
01:38 AM ET

The place to be for cable TV junkies

If you’re a cable television junkie, then the Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa in Pasadena, California is the place to be this week!

Normally the lavish hotel, which is tucked away in a tony section of Pasadena, is a place where people come for pampering. But starting Tuesday, it’s the home of the Television Critics Association summer press tour (an event where cable and television networks showcase upcoming shows and the talent). So dozens and dozens of actors and producers talked to hundreds of journalists about their new reality shows, documentaries, and series. That’s it in a nutshell.

What makes the TCAs so great is you never know what you are going to get from the participants and how far off the beaten path they may go during the interviews. Take my interview with comedian George Lopez. He’s got a new late night talk show coming out on TBS in November, but what’s the first thing he talks about when he walked into the CNN suite at the hotel? He started in on CNN’s Lou Dobbs and Don Lemon. He quipped to me and my cameraman that his hip was injured and that he wanted CNN to know he was injured in our suite and that he believed Don Lemon was to blame. Then he jokingly asked if David was rolling on this. From there he talked about Lou Dobbs’ political views and reminded us that Lou is married to a Mexican-American woman.  Lopez then joked that if the economy doesn’t improve immigrants will leave this country.

We also ran into Darryl Bell, formerly of “A Different World” and now on the upcoming reality show “Househusbands." He pretended to be lost, walked into our CNN guest suite, asked for Don Lemon and then walked out… as if to say if Don wasn’t there then neither was he.

And then there’s actor Dylan McDermott, formerly of the hit ABC show “The Practice” and the son of activist and playwright Eve Ensler. He talked about his new Jerry Bruckheimer produced show on TNT called “Dark Blue”. I flat out asked him if this show could tell a story about cops that we haven’t seen before. He quickly agreed with me that the cop format is overdone, but said it will highlight a different slice of Los Angeles that few people ever see. He also talked about how refreshing it was to take on a darker role than he’s used to playing on the small screen.

Perhaps the most rewarding part of the day... my interviews with my own colleagues. From my interview with Christiane Amanpour, who touted her upcoming documentary called“Generation Muslim” and her upcoming CNN show on Sundays featuring live interviews with newsmakers and more investigative stories, to my short talk with Joy Behar. Her new show“The Joy Behar Show” premieres on HLN in the fall and finally my probing chat with Soledad O’Brien, who will introduce the documentary series “Latinos in America” in the fall.

Next up Day 2 at the TCAs… looking forward to my time with Joan Rivers.

July 29th, 2009
01:20 AM ET

A juicy tidbit for 'Twilight' fans

Bryce Dallas Howard will be joining the cast of “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” – the third installment of the “Twilight” movies.  The 28-year-old daughter of director Ron Howard is replacing actress Rachelle Lefevre, who co-stars in the first two films.


Summit Entertainment says Lefevre  has “scheduling conflicts with another commitment.”  Bryce recently played the female lead in “Terminator Salvation,” and before that, was the damsel in distress in “Spider-Man 3” opposite Tobey Maguire.

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