Headline News’ ‘Showbiz Tonight’ had Star magazine’s Jill Dobson and
Howard Bragman, the founder of 15 Minutes Public Relations, on to discuss
Britney Spears latest visit to rehab and the fallout of her behavior in
the past week. Check out a transcript to the segment, aired Friday (February
23), below the fold.
ANDERSON: Welcome back to SHOWBIZ TONIGHT. I’m Brooke Anderson in Hollywood.
And you are watching TV’s most provocative entertainment news show.
OK, are you keeping score? Britney Spears is reportedly back in rehab tonight, again, for the third time in a week. In, then out, last week.
In, then out, the other day. And now this.
With me tonight in Hollywood, a guy who knows a thing or two about handling a celebrity crisis, Howard Bragman, the founder of 15 Minutes Public Relations. And in New York, Jill Dobson, the news and style editor at large for “Star Magazine.” Jill, Howard, welcome to you both.
JILL DOBSON, “STAR MAGAZINE”: Thank you.
HOWARD DOBSON, 15 MINUTES PUBLIC RELATIONS: Thanks Brooke.
ANDERSON: All right, Jill, has it gotten to the point with Britney that we just can’t take her seriously anymore? That she’s a joke? What do you think?
DOBSON: That’s exactly what happened. When she filed for divorce on November 7th, everybody thought, finally, this beautiful girl is getting away from K-Fed, who has been dragging her down. But no, she’s the one who just keeps sinking to lower and lower depths ever since then. And K-Fed is doing great, and really a lot of people are concerned about her and
really worried about her.
ANDERSON: Yes, whoever thought that K-Fed would be coming out of this thing smelling like a rose. And Howard, you are the PR expert. And I hate to be cynical about this, but I know I’m not the first person to raise
this possibility. I really do. But is it possible, even though it could back fire, that maybe all of this is a publicity stunt, that Britney is so starved for attention, craving the spotlight, that it’s for publicity? Is that possible?
BRAGMAN: I think publicity stunt means something that is really orchestrated. I don’t think this is in any way orchestrated. But I think the term starved for attention is accurate. I think Britney is addicted to publicity the way some people are addicted to drugs, and she doesn’t know what to do
unless she’s living her life in front of the cameras. And I think it’s a sickness.
ANDERSON: Well, she is in front of the cameras every single day, every single hour at times, it seems. Now, Jill, there were reports that Kevin
Federline had requested an emergency hearing today, concerned about the
welfare of their two children, Shawn Preston and Jaden. Britney was seen
running to her lawyer’s office yesterday. Everything she has done so far has really back fired. Do you think maybe it’s finally dawned on her that she could lose the kids?
DOBSON: I sure hope so. I interviewed an expert the first time she went in and out of rehab, who said by checking into rehab she indicated that she needed help. By not staying there, she indicated that she didn’t get
the help she needed. So that was a big strike against her in the custody battle. If the judge looks at that, and now, you know, two more rehab entrances, and hopefully she will stay in a little longer, get the treatment she needs, and hopefully she will realize that there is a custody battle going on.
There are two young children here and she needs to take care of them and
to take care of herself.
ANDERSON: Yes, get help for herself, not only herself, but for those two young children as well. Look, Howard, Britney, not the first big star
to basically appear to hit rock bottom, and there are some lessons to be learned from this. You know, I want to take a look at Mariah Carey. She had a very public meltdown on live TV, on MTV’s TRL. Now, years later, she’s back on top of the game. What can Britney learn from what Mariah
went through and overcame?
BRAGMAN: I think Britney first has to understand that she has hit rock bottom. I don’t think it’s clear to her. And I think this thing is spiraling.
I look at Anna Nicole and a part of me inside says, Britney’s going to end up there. It’s really sad. We have a wonderful capability in this country to let people come back after they have acknowledged they have made mistakes,
but she hasn’t acknowledged it, and she doesn’t understand that she’s a
real disaster right now. And the worst has not happened yet.
ANDERSON: Another example, Jill, Robert Downey Jr. You know, he’s been in and out of rehab and jail numerous times. Now he’s married and he’s told me that he’s settled down. You know, this guy is still acting. He
didn’t lose his career. Do you think he could, in a way, give Britney hope, if she accepts what’s really happening with her, that maybe she too could
DOBSON: Certainly, I think there are some lessons to be learned by the way he handled it. One of the things he did was he went on Saturday Night Live and he showed pictures from his Summer vacation, and they were photos of him in prison, you know, and him with a big guy named Bubba, but they’re thumbs up and just having fun. So he kind of made fun of himself and he also started to walk the straight and narrow path.
I interviewed him a few months ago. He seemed totally normal and fine. And he’s doing good work, putting out good movies. That’s the key, is to put out a good product. For him good movies, for Britney, a really solid
ANDERSON: Hopefully she will do something to bring her career back. Jill Dobson, Howard Bragman, thank you both for your insight. Hopefully
Britney is getting good advice and following it now.
HAMMER: Well, the ladies of “The View” had a lot to say about Britney today. Rosie is sticking by Brit. And Joy wonders if K-Fed’s fortunes have actually changed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOY BEHAR, “THE VIEW”: Wouldn’t it be funny if Federline turns out to be the father of the year? After all that, wouldn’t it be interesting to
see that he stepped up to the plate, this kid?
ROSIE O’DONNELL, “THE VIEW”: I don’t know. You know, the thing is she had a baby five months ago. This could all be related to post partem psychosis, post partem depression. There’s a lot of things involved in it. I have such heartache.
I love that kid. I got to tell you. I’ve loved her since she was a little kid and I love her today and I pray every day that she gets well, because
that’s a serious issue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAMMER: They also had a rather interesting idea to avoid the nonstop paparazzi pressure. They say that Brit should just leave the country to clean up. Ladies, remember, she did try out rehab in Antigua last week
and checked out 24 hours later? So, maybe not such a great idea, I don’t
Brooke, also on “The View” today, Barbara Walters said that she spoke with Larry Rudolph, who is Britney’s manager, about her kids. Coming up
at 44 past the hour, I go one on one with Barbara Walters. And I ask her
point blank what she was told. Are Britney’s kids safe? Are they in good hands?
ANDERSON: A.J., you know, a lot of people are really concerned about Britney Spears and about her kids.
HAMMER: Understandably, because it has to have been very tough to be present at all with what she’s been going through.
ANDERSON: Exactly, you hope they are being properly cared for. Well, even Kelly Ripa wants to get involved and help Britney out. That’s next.
HAMMER: And, you know, if Britney is in rehab for the third time in
a week, Brooke, is it really going to stick this time? Can she hang in there for it? Can rehab really work for Brit?