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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT

Charlie Sheen Fired; Piers Morgan Interviews the Ladies of "The Talk" about Their Show; Howie Mandel Discusses His Career and Various Phobias

Aired March 7, 2011 - 21:00   ET

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


PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight, Charlie Sheen's winning streak is over.

CHARLIE SHEEN, ACTOR: Winning. Winning. Winning.

MORGAN: The troubled staff fired from "Two and a Half Men" today. The tiger blood. Adonis DNA. Goddesses. None of it could save his $2 million episode job.

SHEEN: I'm a winner and their lives look like they're, you know, ruled by losers.

MORGAN: Now will Charlie Sheen ever work in this town again?

And there's nothing that the ladies of "The Talk" won't talk about. What will Sharon tell Sheen? How is Julie's network boss/husband ending the chaos?

Tonight Julie Chen, Sharon Osbourne, Sara Gilbert, Holly Robinson Peete, and Leah Remini all talking to me.

Also weighing in my fellow judge in "America's Got Talent." The always outspoken and always irritating Howie Mandel.

From Hollywood, this is "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT."

Well, Charlie Sheen has done it all again tonight, grabbing the headlines and joining me now to talk about Sheen and his meltdown is Howard Bragman, founder of Fifteen Minutes Public Relations, Janice Min, the talk director of the "Hollywood Reporter," Stephen Battaglio, the business editor of "TV Guide" magazine, and "The New York Times'" Bill Carter.

Bill, let me start with you. What do you make of what's happened today when I interviewed Harvey Weinstein the other night, he said to me don't underestimate the steely resolve of the networks here and it looks like that steely resolve has come crushing down on Charlie Sheen.

BILL CARTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, it has and I think it was kind of inevitable because there was no way he can get out of the confrontational words he was throwing at them, and I could tell when I talked to them over the past week or so that they were really running out of patience because even when he performed on your show and seemed relatively normal and came out -- came across as very charming, I thought, that it didn't crack the hostility that was coming from the other side.

So I feel like they felt like it was a last straw element to what he had done over the last, you know, 10 days or so.

MORGAN: In their statement, I'll read a line or two from this. It says, "Mr. Sheen's erratic behavior escalated while his condition deteriorated. His declining condition undermined the production in numerous and significant ways. Now the entire world knows Mr. Sheen's condition from his alarming outbursts over just the last few weeks."

Let me turn to you, Howard Bragman. From a PR perspective, I mean, here's my thing of Charlie Sheen. When he came in here, just as Bill Carter just said, he seemed relatively normal. He was funny. He was sparky. He was entertaining, he was defiant, confrontational.

In many ways it was like his character in the show. I mean where is the damage to the show here from Charlie's behavior off screen?

HOWARD BRAGMAN, "FIFTEEN MINUTES" PUBLIC RELATIONS: Well, the damage to the show is they can't produce a show. As -- if you look at the 10-page letter that -- or 11-page letter that Warner Brothers sent to Charlie's attorneys, you'll see that there's a lot of range of incidents, 2009 in Aspen, the Plaza Hotel, and it escalated and escalated, and then we started going after the producers. It's got so vicious. I think Warner was really left with no other possibilities, Piers.

MORGAN: Janice, from a trade magazine's point of view, like "Hollywood Reporter," obviously, you've covered many stories like this over the years.

JANICE MIN, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: Right.

MORGAN: Where does it rank, Charlie? Seems to me one of the all-time great kind of confrontations between a Hollywood star and a network.

MIN: You know there have been celebrity flame-outs, there are always celebrity flame-outs. Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan. But this is the first time you had someone in a top-rated sitcom on the top-rated network who is going out not just in flames but you know, he's burning down the whole city, as well.

And it's pretty spectacular. He's enabled by the Internet now in a way that previous stars have not been. And he's also -- he's completely stubborn in his certitude. He believes he's 100 percent right and is very willing to share that message.

This is -- you know, the financial implications of his actions here will reverberate. It changes CBS's schedule. You know this is the -- this is what they anchor their Monday nights on. It changes the revenues for Warner Brothers. The studio that produces this. They were counting on -- they have grown to count on the syndication money from selling "Two and a Half Men" time and again.

MORGAN: I don't think expect too many viewers to cry over CBS or indeed for Charlie Sheen. MIN: Absolutely not.

MORGAN: Both of them are extremely rich entities.

Steve Battaglio, let me ask you, though, the real victim, it seems here, the real loser for want of a better phrase, is the viewer who really enjoyed "Two and a Half Men." They've lost their favorite show because without Charlie Sheen, this show is no longer what it was.

STEPHEN BATTAGLIO, TV GUIDE MAGAZINE: It may not longer be what it was but there's always a possibility that they will go on with the show. CBS is committed to another season and I happen to think that they are going to try to find a new actor and keep the show going.

It gets more difficult every year to launch a new show. And "Two and a Half Men" is a show that people will recognize. All of this publicity will create great curiosity if they bring a new actor and believe me they will line up to take this role. It will be a great payday even though it won't be as much as Charlie Sheen makes. That is a better bet for CBS than trying to put a new show on at 9:00 on Monday.

MORGAN: Bill Carter, I mean there's obviously been a history of incidents like this causing people to leave top shows. Does it normally work? To replace them with somebody else?

CARTER: Incredibly enough -- incredibly enough it does usually work. I mean if you look at the history of -- especially sitcoms, if you look at, you know, "M.A.S.H." or "Cheers" or "Three's Company" or you go back to "Bewitched" where they actually replaced the character with another actor, shows have continued. If a show is popular.

It may lose something but invariably they tend to succeed. There's one actual similar case where they actually fired a person. Valerie Harper was fired off of a show called "Valerie" and they renamed it the "Hogan Family" and ran three more years. So it does tend to work. At least satisfactorily.

I totally agree with Steve. I -- my sense is that CBS and Warner Brothers are gearing up and have already made plans to replace Charlie and continue the show.

MORGAN: Howard, let me ask you again from a PR perspective, I guess. Is Charlie Sheen employable anymore in television in America?

BRAGMAN: Well, I think he is. I know Mark Cuban has talked to him about coming to HDNet. But this is a guy who went from being the number one paid actor on network TV with 14 million viewers to doing basically "Wayne's World" on the Internet with 1 percent of those viewers.

So Mark Cuban is being very smart here, if he can get this actor who's damaged goods for a lesser price pennies on the dollar and put him on his relatively small network, it's certainly a win for him.

Yes, somebody is always going to scoop up the dregs in Hollywood. MORGAN: But go to you, Steve Battaglio, do you agree with that? Do you think that Charlie is still bankable?

BATTAGLIO: With all due respect to your wonderful career and reality television, Piers, that's really the only thing that's left for Charlie Sheen right now. To put him on a scripted show or a movie is going to be very difficult because who is going to insure him? He's not dependable.

And that was really the key to Charlie Sheen's surviving as long as he did on "Two and a Half Men." You know people have been asking for a while. Why does the network looking the other way? Why is the studio looking all the way while he had all these problems? Is because he was showing up every day and doing his job and create -- still bringing in viewers.

Clearly something happened in the last couple of months. His condition was deteriorating. His performance was deteriorating. He was creating a toxic environment on the set and that was endangering the show and once that happens that's a problem.

CARTER: I'm going to disagree with --

MORGAN: I mean, Bill Carter, let me read you another line.

CARTER: Can I -- I want to disagree with Steve.

(CROSSTALK)

CARTER: I want to disagree with Steve.

MORGAN: Yes.

CARTER: I think someone will hire him. I think what we saw in the last week was that every show he went on -- well, your ratings basically doubled. I mean everybody's ratings went up.

MORGAN: Yes.

CARTER: I think if you're NBC right now and you have no show that works, and -- or another -- especially a cable network, I think they'll try a shot at this guy. If they can get -- the insurance is a key factor. Maybe they won't get insurance.

But this is a guy who apparently has some appeal for an audience. I think they'll take a shot at him.

BATTAGLIO: But I think that's the tension that we saw -- that was playing out here. Who was -- who was really the key to the success of "Two and a Half Men"? Was it the creator Chuck Loury or was it the star Charlie Sheen?

I think they both had very different opinions on that, and I think that was part of the conflict here. CBS and Warner Brothers sided with Chuck Loury because he's the producer who will create -- who has a track record in creating hit shows and has the ability to create more hit shows. Charlie Sheen, who knows?

MORGAN: I mean, Janice -- let me bring in, let me bring in Janice here because when Charlie sat here with me a week ago, actually, in one of the breaks, I said you're on Twitter.

MIN: Right.

MORGAN: And he said, no, I said you should go on to it, you'd be really popular. Well, a week later, he past two million followers. Now anyone that can break the Guinness Book of World Records for Twitter followers.

MIN: Right.

MORGAN: Anyone who can do it at the ratings he did to my show that night, which exploded, and indeed with a lot of shows he did, this guy is still a hot property. Isn't he?

MIN: Well, listen, I also think he's become a little bit of a folk hero to some people, you know, whether we like it or not. You know everyone is going around quoting him. They think he's funny. A lot of guys, you know, he's -- they're living out some sort of fantasy through Charlie Sheen.

And, you know, even when we did -- at the "Hollywood Reporter" we did a poll on Charlie Sheen a few weeks back with (INAUDIBLE) Berlin, and viewers don't care. They don't care that Charlie Sheen has been arrested for attacking his wife and, you know, once shot Kelly Preston, and you know all this crazy behavior, that he's been in rehab twice or however many times. They don't care. They like the show.

MORGAN: But here's the thing. I suppose treating this from a business point of view and everything else. The final part of the statement is quite interesting.

"Mr. Sheen went from a factor to an individual whose self-destructive conduct resulted in the hospitalization, his inability to work at all for a period and the rapid erosion of the cooperative process necessary to produce the show."

In other words, his behavior became simply intolerable to the production of the any TV show.

MIN: Right. And I think, you know, it's interesting. We talked to Marty Singer right before I came on air here at the "Hollywood Reporter" and he was telling, you know, they're going to sue. They are going to fight this really hard because they feel that Warner Brothers has set a precedent before that Charlie Sheen has been -- he's been arrested, he pled guilty to a felony, and during that same time -- this was when he had attacked his wife in Aspen in 2009 -- that Warner Brothers continued the negotiation with him to continue the show.

So there have been lots of examples previously where they knew he had screwed up and they didn't care and they turned and looked the other way. So they're argument is, you know, that they're making an exception in this case and it's unfair.

MORGAN: Well, I spoke to Charlie earlier, briefly, on the phone and he was pretty phlegmatic actually about what had happened. And I said, how do you see things? He said, I'm winning. Duh?

So I guess, you know, for Charlie Sheen, maybe you don't lose here. He's got millions in the bank. He's got the goddesses at home. Everyone is talking about him. He's got millions of followers.

You know, I think the story is unfinished. My bet would be Charlie Sheen's back on a hit show before too long.

Wouldn't yours be, Howard?

BRAGMAN: I don't --

MORGAN: It's Hollywood, isn't it?

BRAGMAN: You know what? There can be time but some -- you don't stay that high without crashing. Something has got to give. This guy has been manic for a couple of weeks now at this point.

MORGAN: Let me ask you very quickly. Charlie Sheen back within six months on TV or not? Yes or no, Howard?

BRAGMAN: In some form, probably yes.

MIN: Back within a year. And I just say Robert Downey, Jr.

MORGAN: Bill Carter?

CARTER: Within a year, I'd say yes.

MORGAN: And Steve?

BATTAGLIO: Maybe on a reality show a year from now. That no one will watch.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Maybe "Celebrity Apprentice." I can give him a few tips on that one.

Well, thank you all very much for that. It's a fascinating story. Hollywood at its best and worst, I guess.

When we come back, I want to bring in a couple of -- a group of ladies who definitely have something to say about all of this. And that's the ladies of "The Talk."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sharon, what is he like? Because you've known him for years. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a little nervous. Is he nice?

SHARON OSBOURNE, CO-HOST, "THE TALK": He's very nice. And as soon as you throw him a compliment like he's debonair, very, you know, handsome --

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Then you got him.

OSBOURNE: You got him right there. Right there.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: That was a delightful moment from "The Talk" on CBS this morning. The ladies obviously obsessing about me all day. So --

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're so handsome.

MORGAN: Thank you. Let's have a --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Let's have a little bit of love. Come on.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: I like that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Debonair.

MORGAN: See, Sharon is showing respect.

OSBOURNE: See, that's good.

MORGAN: I was kind of respect that's lacking from your treatment of me "America's Got Talented."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How dare you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, that's because you were tweeting that -- her butt is big, she said.

MORGAN: She started that war.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Doesn't matter. Her friends are here now.

MORGAN: I love her big butt.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: But look -- I want to cut to the quick here because you're five feisty women. Mostly we've never had five before.

What do you make of Charlie Sheen? Let's just go around and have a little chat about Sheen.

Julie, what is it about him?

(CROSSTALK)

JULIE CHEN, "THE TALK": Let me just say this.

MORGAN: Let's just turn to you because your husband happens to run CBS. You happen to basically just fired him.

CHEN: Well, let me say this, backstage in your green room, Leah Remini asked me, would this a good time to ask Les to bring back "The King of Queens"?

(LAUGHTER)

CHEN: And I'm going to tell you the same thing I told her. I said, Leah, no comment.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: You don't get involved in this, obviously, on Les' point of view. But what's your personal view of Charlie?

CHEN: I have no comment on it.

MORGAN: No view of him?

CHEN: I do, but I have no comment on the show about it.

MORGAN: Aren't you allowed to talk about it? No?

LEAH REMINI, "THE TALK": Well, I just think it would be -- it wouldn't be right for any of us to comment about it. I just think it's --

MORGAN: Don't be ridiculous. Charlie invented --

REMINI: I'm not being ridiculous.

MORGAN: Of course you can. It's the biggest story in town.

REMINI: Well, not to us.

MORGAN: You're called the talk ladies, aren't you?

REMINI: Not to us.

MORGAN: Really?

REMINI: We haven't talked about it not once.

MORGAN: None of you talked about Charlie Sheen?

REMINI: No.

OSBOURNE: We have not spoken about him on the show not once.

MORGAN: This is because he's a CBS star.

REMINI: No, because it's just not --

OSBOURNE: Is he? Who?

(CROSSTALK)

CHEN: Sharon is famous for going who?

MORGAN: Well, I know you've talked about him. We've talked about him on "America's Got Talent" last week.

OSBOURNE: Yes. Yes.

MORGAN: So come on, you start.

OSBOURNE: I look at it from a mother. If that was my son --

MORGAN: Yes.

OSBOURNE: That was my husband. I know the damage that that behavior does to a family. So I'm sad for his family. Because I know the feeling that goes with that. I mean, listen. I wasn't around such extreme cases as that but I just look at it from a mother thinking, my god, that's my son or that's my --

MORGAN: And you've had -- your kids have been through some rough stuff.

OSBOURNE: Nothing like that.

MORGAN: No. No, no, no. But you -- you know, with Ozzy, you certainly went through pretty hair raising stuff.

OSBOURNE: Yes. And I know how it feels to love someone like that and the sadness and the damage that it does within a family, within the nucleus of the family. And nobody gets away free. Nobody gets away free. People get damaged. People get hurt. And I just look at it from that and my heart aches for his family.

MORGAN: You've all been on TV shows in different capacities. Does it really matter how somebody behaves in their private lives when it comes to the performance on a TV show?

REMINI: You want to take that or --

SARA GILBERT, "THE TALK": I don't think that it necessarily affects your acting. I mean, my personal opinion is that I can -- it's sometimes -- you see somebody's life in their acting because they become very famous.

MORGAN: And you went with Roseanne for years. She was hardly a shrinking violet. Or I shouldn't imagine.

GILBERT: Right.

MORGAN: I certainly mention every day wasn't a quiet tea party. So I mean there aren't people who are at the top of their game in entertainment, they tend to be a bit on the edge, don't they? Kind of a bit erratic.

REMINI: I don't know. I mean, look. We all come like you said from a background of shows and I just think we are so blessed to be able to do what we do and it's the best job in the world to be able to do what you love to do.

And so we really can't complain about our jobs. We can't complain about our job now. We're just really lucky to do what we love to do.

MORGAN: Julie, taking up on Sharon's point there. Forget that he's Charlie Sheen for a moment. Just on a human level, the guy I feel sorry for here, apart from everybody else, is probably Martin Sheen who we know is trying very hard to try and, you know, talk to his son and get some sense into him and stuff.

That's the hard bit, isn't it, for a parent when you have a child that's gone off the rails whatever age they are?

CHEN: Yes, I think, speaking as a parent, you only want the best for your child. You would -- most of us would be willing to take a bullet for our kid and to just trying to put myself in any parent's shoes who are facing problems like we're seeing with Charlie Sheen, it's heartbreaking. What can you do? You can't control another human being.

MORGAN: What did Charlie say here? Holly, remind you what he said. But I brought up the subject of his dad and he was very like, I'm 50 years old. I can do what I like. It's my life.

HOLLY ROBINSON PEETE, "THE TALK": Who said he was 50?

MORGAN: Is Charlie 50? He's not?

PEETE: No, he's about 44.

OSBOURNE: Yes, 44.

MORGAN: OK. He looked 50.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: He was certainly -- he thought he was of an where --

PEETE: Right.

MORGAN: You know he's -- OK. He's my age.

PEETE: He is. He's grown ass man.

MORGAN: Yes. PEETE: He can do what he wants. That's the tragedy that Julie was talking about. For me, it's about his kids. That what really worries me. He has, what, five kids?

MORGAN: Yes.

PEETE: Various ages, they're all growing up, this is all documented. That's the part that's disturbing for me.

MORGAN: But isn't it a difficult area if you get into moralizing about people's personal behavior? And no one's perfect (INAUDIBLE). And it seems to me this incredible scrutiny on his life, he was -- it was an interesting moment again when he sat here. We were watching a little bit of Anderson Cooper's show on Libya that was coming up afterwards.

And Charlie's in the break shaking his head going, what has happened to the world when I'm leading the news agenda for basically having a few parties? And Libya is being reduced in importance. And (INAUDIBLE). He was being sincere about that.

Now he's fueled all the attention obviously a little bit, but I got his point. I mean aren't our news values a bit warped?

OSBOURNE: You should answer that because you do breaking news, Piers.

MORGAN: Yes.

OSBOURNE: I mean, nobody says to you, OK, you got to go with Charlie. Forget Libya. You do it because that's what everyone is talking about.

(CROSSTALK)

REMINI: I think you got some pretty fabulous women sitting right here talking to you and what you want to talk about is Charlie.

PEETE: OK.

MORGAN: Well, you don't worry, though, because actually -- I tell you why. It's interesting.

OSBOURNE: Yes.

REMINI: Do tell.

MORGAN: I'll tell you why, apart from everything else, we know it's popular because it rates really highly when everyone is talking about Charlie.

REMINI: So it's about the ratings?

MORGAN: Well, no, actually. It's about the incredible number of issues, which has spun off this one story. It's about his treatment of women has become a big issue, for example. I mean what do you feel about that? You know, is it right to castigate Charlie Sheen now again for alleged misdemeanors against women, for example?

REMINI: Well, you know, it's like I said. I just feel like we keep trying to talk about like we're doing the Charlie Sheen hour and I don't -- I don't care enough to be talking about it. Like I really -- not to be disrespectful to you --

MORGAN: That's (INAUDIBLE).

REMINI: But I feel like we're making it more news, we're making it more -- and we're talking about a human being's life and it's just not -- I just don't think it's right to comment about somebody I don't know and I -- like they said --

MORGAN: Basically, look. Basically you've got a very popular show. Just being picked up again. It's been doing very, very well. Congratulations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

MORGAN: On it being brought back. And I thoroughly enjoy it. But what I want you -- I'm going to throw this back at you. I mean this is exactly the kind of meat and drink issue stuff you would talk about all the time. Because your viewers I can tell you absolutely engrossed in the Charlie Sheen story.

Whether you want to talk about it or not. Actually it's like me. It doesn't matter what I think. It's the fact that the American public now are reverberated.

(CROSSTALK)

CHEN: But that's not our brand. That's not our show brand. We don't -- go ahead, Sara.

GILBERT: I don't think we really run the show like that. I think we sort of get-together in the morning and we talk about what's going on and whatever we spark to, we talk about. I don't think we purposely avoid anything, purposely talk about anything. It's a very organic process. What do we get the most out of and have the most fun of talking about.

OSBOURNE: We're not, really, Piers, what we do is not kind of the magazine TV show. We're not the Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen. We don't do it.

CHEN: We never discuss Lindsay Lohan.

OSBOURNE: Never. Never.

CHEN: Never.

MORGAN: Have you not?

OSBOURNE: Never. CHEN: No.

OSBOURNE: We just don't do it.

REMINI: Don't go there. We just --

OSBOURNE: No.

REMINI: There's thing that are in the news that we just as a group decide we just don't want to talk about. It's not the way we want to start people's day or their afternoon talking about things. There's enough --

PEETE: -- in Ohio that's in jail for trying to get a better school for her kid.

REMINI: And your --

PEETE: I mean, that's the kind of stuff we talk about.

REMINI: Yes. I mean you all are talking about it. You guys are talking about it a lot and so --

MORGAN: Here's the deal. We got a short break. When we come back, it's a Charlie Sheen-free zone.

OSBOURNE: Yes.

MORGAN: I have listened to the ladies of "The Talk" very loudly and clearly got the message.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, it's about time.

MORGAN: Charlie -- Charlie is banned from the next segment and we'll find out what you do want to talk about.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OSBOURNE: Why is it that in quite -- I think a high percentage of women when they get older that they [(EXPLETIVE DELETED)?

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Back now with the ladies of "The Talk." And I can tell you, ladies, that was no surprise to me what we just witnessed because having worked with Miss Osbourne, the tongue does tend to get a little carried away. But how many times do you have to bleep her in an average morning?

CHEN: I'd say average may be once every five to eight days? Right?

GILBERT: I think like two times a week at least. Yes.

REMINI: But I have to say that it's so exciting doing live television with somebody who can do that. Like, it's fun. I'm like, oh, what is Sharon going to do today?

MORGAN: It's unpredictable.

REMINI: Exciting. Yes, exciting.

GILBERT: Sharon will say anything.

REMINI: Yes, anything.

MORGAN: Don't worry. I know. I've worked with her.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Actually she's like one of those Pomeranian dogs of hers, small and dangerous.

PEETE: No, see, I --

MORGAN: And constantly yapping.

REMINI: We see -- I will punch you.

MORGAN: Oh no.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Listen, how do you think (INAUDIBLE)?

REMINI: OK? If you want --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: A real atmosphere.

REMINI: If you want Sharon on your show but you don't do it here with us. OK? Still think you're cute. Listen.

MORGAN: Thank you.

REMINI: You're welcome. But she's a lover. She's so -- I don't know. I was shocked that, you know, at how sweet and loving and caring she is. And it's just the opposite of what --

MORGAN: Well, she is a lioness. You know, she'll fight for her pride.

REMINI: And that's -- and that's--

MORGAN: But actually if you've become close to Sharon, one of the most generous, kind-hearted people you would ever know.

REMINI: Exactly right.

MORGAN: But if you cross her, my god, it's like wrath of Khan descends on you. Julie, what's the magic component of a successful show? When you've got five strong-minded women coming together. What -- I think what's been clever about your show, I think, is you haven't try to copy "The View" which is the obvious comparative show. You seem a very different kind of program. And the issues you cover are different. I think that's a smart move but how did you come to decide the way you were going to take it?

CHEN: Well, it was Sara's creation but I will say what I think makes our show work is that you have five very different women who are all smart and funny and honest and they're not afraid to speak the truth and speak their mind.

Sara can speak to what she originally wanted to create was basically an hour of television where a woman at home can feel like she's tuned in to being with her girlfriends for an hour. Talking about the female issues that we talk about. Everything from who did what on "American Idol" last night to, you know, dealing with a newborn at home.

So -- and it works. You know, all the personalities are so different. No one repeats the same note as the next woman.

MORGAN: Holly, what would you say is the number one issue for women in America right now? What's the one thing you think the viewers keep coming back to?

HOLLY: I would say the number one issue is probably marital problems, or just relationship problems. And -- but my friends are always asking me, can we please talk more about sex on the show? They're saying, please, can we have more sex conversation?

MORGAN: More lashings of sex?

HOLLY: Yes.

MORGAN: Because they're getting not enough of it?

HOLLY: Or too much. You know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What I like about the show, and I have never saw it as a show for women. Men say, you know, I watch the show.

MORGAN: I watch it like a guilty pleasure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly. But it is like when my husband walking by the kitchen and hears me talking, he want it is know what we're talking about and -- oh, so, that's you're so crazy and do that? I think it's like Julie said, it is like you're getting into a conversation that everybody's having. That, you know, it is just a conversation that we're having.

MORGAN: Sara, was that the concept you had originally?

SARA: Well, yes. I was in this mom group and sort of modeled it after that because it was kind of a support group for second-time moms and what happened was we started talking about issues with our kids and ended up talking about everything in the world.

MORGAN: Because that's what people do.

SARA: That's what people do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're moms and talk about our kids all the time.

SARA: Right. And our friendships developed and I think what's so awesome about this show and what I'm excited about is all of our friendships are developing and I think that's what's making the show special is that we're feeling so connected to each other and bringing hopefully something real.

MORGAN: What do you all think of "The View"?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We think it's great. The show has been --

MORGAN: Do you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was on bed rest 13 years ago when "The View" started. I watched every day. I think it's a great show. I love the format. I think it's great.

MORGAN: Sharon, you must pluck feathers when you --

SHARON: I love it.

MORGAN: Rivals?

SHARON: I love it. They're not rivals.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What? Listen. Piers, what are you saving the hard-hitting questions for us? You should be asking somebody else the hard-hitting questions instead of giving them compliments.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: I'm trying to get you to blow. I wound you up. The Brooklyn punch over the table. I have my TV moment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to know how he feels about Anderson Cooper.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on.

MORGAN: I love Anderson Cooper.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on, Piers.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Wolf, he's a dark horse, seriously.

(LAUGHTER)

I had a drinking session with Wolf the other night. He's a dark horse.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We should be so lucky to be on as long as "The View" has been on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They paved the way for a show like ours.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Many incarnations of this show attempted and we're the first one to have actually --

MORGAN: Let's talk about re-launching "Newsweek" where she had 150 of the most --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who is that?

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: She focused on women and how many successful women there are around the world. Do you feel that women have come a long way or a long way to go? What do you think?

LEAH: I think we have come a long way. A ways to go and we can't complain. We're all doing what we love to do.

HOLMES: Talking?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. We are in the entertainment business.

SHARON: Women naturally love to talk.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We hope to inspire, in what we do. You know, maybe give someone inspiration or hope, an outlet.

SHARON: People are not alone. Their problems, we've been through the problems, too, and, you know, we came through it. We're all doing OK.

MORGAN: Listen. I think it's a great show. I think talking is great. People don't talk enough. And I think the show's a great success. Congratulations on it being picked up. Sharon, you will stay with me because we have Howie Mandell in the building.

SHARON: Not him.

MORGAN: Yes. The rest of you, thank you so much.

LEAH: You're so lovely.

MORGAN: you didn't hit me once. I got away with it.

(LAUGHTER)

We'll be right back with Howie.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOWIE MANDEL, JUDGE, "AMERICA'S GOT TALENT": I'm telling you, you've got something there. Before I was a judge I used to sit on the couch and I would scream shut up, it's good.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: That was a clip of NBC's "America's Got Talent." Of course, I'm a judge on that as is Sharon Osbourne. We'll be joined by the third amigo Howie Mandel, how is America's, one of the best-loved stand-up comedians. I know you as the most annoying man I've ever met in my life.

MANDEL: I think that's how you billed me at the beginning of the show.

MORGAN: Yes.

MANDEL: First of all, I just want to say it's an honor to be on a show that I've been banned from.

(LAUGHTER)

What does banning from in Britain?

MORGAN: You're not allowed on the show. I was told your career needed a boost and I thought I would bring you on my show. And I thought I could control you because even if the two days that we have been filming auditions in Seattle you have been a complete nightmare.

MANDEL: Me? Me?

MORGAN: Yes. You drove a large pink truck to pick me up to embarrass me. You put a Pepsi dispensing machine in to my dressing room. You sprayed gas into my dressing room. You are a living nightmare.

(LAUGHTER)

MANDEL: You are not a nightmare? Did he not -- you took us to lunch. Do you think that was a prize?

SHARON: The best, the best. It was the best lunch ever.

MANDEL: He says the best lunch.

MORGAN: I said the best Russian hot dog place in Seattle.

MANDEL: Russians aren't known for their hot dogs and this woman, I'm not going to -- we won't -- a woman there who didn't wear gloves and took cash and then held the -- she held the hot dogs. She held the hot dogs, served them with the hands, two hot dogs and a mint. And then somebody else, assistant got two hot dogs and an emergency.

MORGAN: We're going to come to the weird phobias later on. MANDEL: That's not a phobia.

MORGAN: I wanted to Sharon on for this because it's only fair, Howie, given you're a judge on "America's Got Talented," we were weak in that area. But thank god you arrived. You were disparaging about our judging skills. We have your greatest talent. This is from 1981, HBO's sixth annual young comedian show starring a young Howie Mandel. Enjoy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From Toronto, Canada, an off the wall comedian, Howie Mandel. Let's hear it.

MANDEL: What? what? What? What? OK, OK. I got the handbag. This is my handbag. What? What?

(LAUGHTER)

I'm like no other comedians on the show. I'm not a stand-up.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MANDEL: It looks -- performing from Sheen's corner.

MORGAN: Even then you were annoying.

MANDEL: Yes. What? But that was me. You know who was on the show? It was me, Jerry Seinfeld, Richard Lewis, Harry Anderson, and it was hosted by the Smother Brothers. And here I am on a banned show.

SHARON: Where is the handbag?

MANDEL: I keep it in my -- I have it in my -- where I keep my things.

MORGAN: What is your secret talent, Sharon? I'm curious to what gives you the right to judge talent, as well.

SHARON: I started off as a failed child prodigy.

(LAUGHTER)

MANDEL: At what?

SHARON: At dancing, singing. That's how I started out. TV commercials.

MORGAN: You are a --

SHARON: Yes. But I was failed. I was crap.

MANDEL: Do you have a piece of tape on that?

MORGAN: I wish we had. I'll find it. SHARON: It will be without sound. That's my thing. I was failed. I came from a showbiz family. Both my mom, my dad and like fourth generation. He was a singer before that. My mother was a dancer.

MANDEL: You have a right to be.

MORGAN: I was only kidding. The great thing is your ability to run huge bands you have done in a more ruthless manner than many men does.

MANDEL: Does, does, right now. Ozzfest, you're the producer of that.

SHARON: You know what it is? It is something for me. I have done it my entire life. And I was a failed child prodigy.

MANDEL: How can you say "failed" and "prodigy"?

SHARON: That's what I was meant to be, failed.

MANDEL: Prodigy means it's --

SHARON: Failed.

MANDEL: But you are not a prodigy. You were a failed child actor dancer, singer. Prodigy alludes to real talent there.

SHARON: Well, I thought.

MORGAN: Can you two continue this?

MANDEL: We should mention because our boss is here from -- there's ten days left and people want to be judged by us.

MORGAN: Still enter "America's Got Talent." You got the website of NBC. Get on and --

MANDEL: OR AgtAuditions.com.

MORGAN: Got it.

SHARON: In the entire world, in the world. Get out of here.

MORGAN: I'm going to get rid of you.

MANDEL: You are apparently staying.

SHARON: I'm banned. I'm on a good list, me and madonna.

MANDEL: I used to be on the list.

MORGAN: We'll be back from this chaos with Howie Mandel. This fills me with dread, live TV.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: I'm back with Howie Mandel.

MANDEL: Enough about Libya and Gadhafi. You got Howie Mandell.

MORGAN: The big news.

MANDEL: Yes. There you go.

MORGAN: We were talking about the slightly warped news values like Charlie Sheen and the showbiz shows and so on. Is it warped? What life's like these days?

MANDEL: It's a sad statement on humanity and we all love a train wreck, you know, and that's basically what it is. It is sad. I heard lea mention before. I'm a parent and I look at him and think this must be torturous for his family and family and the people that love him. And this is horrible for the children. But the fact that we and I -- you're in television and the business. We have to show talk about it, show clips and mesmerized by it.

HOLMES: You have a dark sense of humor which I love and see it a lot on the show.

MANDEL: Yes.

MORGAN: Do you find any of what Charlie's doing funny in a dark way?

MANDEL: In the beginning I thought funny, some of the statements, "Winner, duh," and all that. But now it seems to be getting a little more tragic because I didn't know the extent 0 of what his issues were and the problem was and I thought that ultimately the two sides would come together. Be back on the show and now, you know, it is just falling apart and watching somebody that could possibly die. You know? That's a horror show and that's not something I want to be a party to and, you know, here I am sitting and talking about it, but that's because you asked.

MORGAN: Of course, of course.

MANDEL: But the thing is, it's actually horrible. But by the same token driving home on the freeway and we see an accident on the other side, it causes a traffic jam going the other way because everybody slows down but god forbid seeing the blood and guts and horror.

MORGAN: You have been in the business 30 years now?

MANDEL: More than 30 years.

MORGAN: And you've been one of America's most successful comedians.

MANDEL: I'm loved by millions. You will see. You will see.

MORGAN: I'm waiting to see them.

MANDEL: Yes.

MORGAN: But how have you avoided this? You're very happily married, have been a long time. You have delightful children. You're remarkably grounded for a celebrity. I've discovered that through knowing you away from the fun and games of what we do. What is the secret? How do you do it?

MANDEL: The secret?

MORGAN: How do you avoid going off the rails.

MANDEL: Money and fame is never an issue because I found money and fame late in life. It wasn't something I aspired to. I was in business and I was in retail and I fell into this.

This all seems kind of silly in a people would put importance on the fact that you pretend, you know for a living. I'm fascinated by even the nights at the Academy Awards, the biggest night in television, there are things in some decorum that one should use in front of people who pretend for a living. It's not that I don't respect their work, but we're in a wacky business.

So understanding that, you know, my daughter's a teacher. She teaches in the inner city. Nobody stops her on the street and tells her they love her work, and -- that's really important.

MORGAN: You go to extraordinary lengths. How many shows do you do a year?

MANDEL: I still do 200 live shows a year.

MORGAN: All around America?

MANDEL: America, Britain, Canada.

MORGAN: You have a jet so you're there and back usually the same day.

MANDEL: Yes, I don't have a jet, but I lease something, yes.

MORGAN: You have this great friend, Rich, who's your manager.

MANDEL: Yes.

MORGAN: For 18 years.

MANDEL: My manager, actually, I've known for over 40 years.

MORGAN: Rich is your road manager. You fly all around America?

MANDEL: Right.

MORGAN: But you like to come back, don't you?

MANDEL: I need to be home. I need to get my medication. That's what keeps me sane.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Is it also because --

MANDEL: You know, I have OCD, I'm a little nutty.

MORGAN: We're going to come to that. It's also because you want to get back to your wife and family.

MANDEL: That's all it's about. I do very well as a standup, but when you pay me a check, you're not paying me to do my show. You're paying me to leave my house, get on an airplane, maybe stay in a hotel and come back. The moment that somebody says ladies and gentleman, Howie Mandel, that's free. I can't believe you're paying me for something I've gotten in trouble for my whole life. I can't believe I'm getting paid to work with you.

MORGAN: It's a privilege.

MANDEL: I know, it's -- I thank my lucky stars every day, the fact that I get to irritate you. You know that my real drive this year is to drive you over the edge? I love to irritate --

MORGAN: I went on Twitter, and there was a question, how do you torture Piers.

MANDEL: Who got you on twitter?

MORGAN: You did.

MANDEL: I did. And how many -- You have many more, because you have a show, and right now I can see it says @piersmorgan.

(LAUGHTER)

What @howieandmandel. I see your Blackberry, it's by your foot. Mine's in another room.

MORGAN: We have a short break, when we come back --

MANDEL: Because you have to tweet something. There's not even a sponsor for this show.

MORGAN: I may be weird with my addiction to twitter, you're just weird in general. When we come back after the break, we'll discuss your weirdness.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Back now with my special guest Howie Mandel. Howie, you are special to me.

(LAUGHTER)

MANDEL: There you go.

MORGAN: When I heard about your germ phobia, I thought it was a joke.

MANDEL: Right.

MORGAN: We met for a dinner. I went to shake your hand and you wouldn't. I realized this wasn't a joke. It was a serious thing.

MANDEL: Very serious. This is something I've been afflicted with all my life. That's just one small piece of it I talk about it all the time. I have OCD, so, you know, that's just one issue, one little issue. I have many more issues.

So that's why I kind of -- not to bring it back to Charlie sheen, but I empathize with someone like Charlie, because addiction is a mental health issue. And I'm such a proponent of getting help and having people around you to deal with it. I have a great team.

MORGAN: How do you have to lead your life, given the condition that you have?

MANDEL: First and foremost, I have a loving family, my wife is a saint. We've been together for over 30 years, 35 years, and I have a great therapist and psychiatrist and medication.

MORGAN: And it really is. It's a fulltime thing for you?

MANDEL: It's who I am. I wish it wasn't, but it's who I am. And I'm thrilled is that I have coping skills and I'm out. You know, the fact that I'm here talking to you, and I know that you're not well --

MORGAN: I have a cold.

MANDEL: Yes, I know.

MORGAN: I was going to try to sneeze on you.

MANDEL: I know people make jokes about that. And I read your tweets yesterday that you were going to touch me, kiss me, and --

MORGAN: Lick the back of your neck.

MANDEL: I know people make jokes about it, but you have no idea that it's really torture to people.

MORGAN: I do, because I've seen on you on "America's Got Talent." You walk out in these big crowds of 3,000, 4,000 people. For you, it's like hell on earth. I saw someone try to grab your head the other day.

MANDEL: They mauled me.

MORGAN: It's not a joke.

MANDEL: It is, because the dichotomy is I'm a comedian, or -- you know, some people think I'm a comedian, and because I use humor, and I talk about this in the context of humor, people think like you did, like even to tweet about it, but somebody said that they were addicted, they wouldn't say when he gets here I'm going to serve him drinks. They wouldn't say -- if they were a schizophrenic, they wouldn't play with those issues. The fact that I'm a comedian and I have germ issues, everyone wants to make that part of their fun.

But I get it. I'm out, I deal with it. Don't feel bad for me. I'm doing great.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: You have a special coming up on FOX, which I know is going to be fascinating.

MANDEL: Yes, it's a big thing. Fox was nice enough, on March 31st, right after "Idol," I'm doing this show called "Mobbed," we do giant flash mobs, thousands of people, but for a purpose. If you have a secret, you want to tell somebody, you want to tell your family you're coming out of the closet, and you're gay, you want to fire somebody, marry somebody, we bring them to a public place and design this huge musical that relays this message.

So you never know how the people are going to react. It's really exciting besides seeing the musical, but it can fall apart.

MORGAN: When does it air?

MANDEL: Right after "American Idol," Thursday, March 31st, on FOX.

MORGAN: You being annoying to people?

MANDEL: Not me. I produced it, but it's thousands of people singing and dancing. It's not really a Howie Mandel special, per say, I hosted it, because I'm explaining to people what's happening. You watch us build it, you watch us fly in the people and watch this message delivered. It's so scary, so much fun, and so great.

MORGAN: It sounds fun, and I will be back doing auditions with you on "America's Got Talent in the next few weeks. I wish I could say I was looking forward to it, Howie, but I'm dreading it like a large hammer being drilled into my forehead.

MANDELL: And I'm -- no, no --

MORGAN: Do a quick bit.

MANDELL: I'll do it -- do you have a quarter (ph)? I'm not going to do that. I think you're sick -- I'm not touching your water. And you know what? I know you're still on the air --

MORGAN: Howie, you can leave.

MANDELL: I'd like to be banned, now.

MORGAN: You're banned -- you're not coming back.

MANDELL: Okay, thanks.

MORGAN: That's all for us tonight, and the end of Howie Mandell's career.

Here's my colleague, Anderson Copper with AC360.