CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

CONNECT THE WORLD

Rupert Murdoch's Media Empire Under Fire; US Slashes Military Aid to Pakistan; Tiger's "Big Announcement" Not So Big; Golf's British Open; Ryu So Yeon Claims Women's Golf US Open Title. The Klitschko Brothers in London; Connector of the Day Jeffrey Wright; William And Catherine Wow North America; Parting Shots of a Slippery Challenge

Aired July 11, 2011 - 16:00:00   ET

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


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: From controversy to full blown catastrophe, British lawmakers slam News Corp in the House of Commons. Tonight, how Rupert Murdoch's media empire is staring into the abyss.

New day, new scandalous revelations amongst the latest alleged victim, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Also this hour, deepening rift -- Pakistan shrugs off a massive withdrawal of military aid money from the United States and vows to fight on.

And repeat performance -- big pressure on a young star playing on home turf at the British Open.

These stories and more tonight, this hour, as we connect the world.

Rupert Murdoch's mighty media empire is under fire. The shots are political, financial and criminal. Tonight, we'll look at whether News Corp can survive this scandal. From the phone hacking, which took down Britain's biggest selling Sunday tabloid, now former U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown says he is the latest victim to be targeted by journalists, but from other News International publications.

Well, it brings into question a crucial deal. News Corp is signaling a major change in its bid for the lucrative pay TV broadcaster, BSkyB. Paying the price are shareholders. Murdoch's company has lost 11 percent, or $5 billion, of its value since this controversy began.

And how much did she know -- now police are getting ready to ask News International's chief executive directly about what went on under her editorship of the "News of the World".

Well, first up, let's get more on Gordon Brown's allegations that journalists targeted his personal information while he was council.

Our senior international correspondent, Dan Rivers, has been on this story, not just today, for about a week now.

DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes.

ANDERSON: I don't think he's slept.

He joins me now in London.

Gordon Brown?

RIVERS: It -- it's amazing. I think what's significant about this is this now goes right to the top of the British establishment, with a -- with a former prime minister saying he was targeted. But worse than that, it's not now just the "News of the World" in Murdoch's stable, it's "The Sun" and "The Sunday Times." There's other titles, as well.

"The Sunday Times" is one of the most prestigious papers on Fleet Street. And now this has been dragged into this.

He is alleging that private investigators working for "The Sunday Times" tried to access his bank details, tried to ring his lawyers pretending to be an interested party finding out how much he was selling a -- an apartment for that the son got access to his son's medical records.

And then Rebekah Brooks rang him up saying we hear your son has got Cystic Fibrosis, what do you think of that?

At that point, he realized something was amiss, because the only people that knew was him and the doctors.

ANDERSON: News International today released a statement. They said: "We note the allegations made today concerning the reporting of matters relating to Gordon Brown so that we can investigate these matters further, we ask that all new information concerning these allegations is provided to us."

RIVERS: Well, their critics will just guffaw with laughter, frankly. They've had this information, according to some sources, for five years. So they -- they're asking for people to give them details. They've had the details all this time is what their critics would say. I mean this is a catastrophe for Rupert Murdoch now. It's gone beyond one paper that they thought, you know, they could close this down by closing down the paper. It's now infected the entire stable of -- of titles here, apart from "The Times".

ANDERSON: Let me just read out what Sarah Brown Tweeted just about an hour ago. She said: "So sad to learn all I have about my family's privacy. It is very personal and really hurtful if all true -- an understandable statement or Tweet from Sarah Brown, Gordon Brown's wife, of course, today.

It wasn't the only thing that happened on this story, as it were, today. I mean the House of Commons was alive.

RIVERS: Yes, incredible. On a day when every hour, you thought this couldn't get any -- any worse or more incredible, it did. In addition to that, the takeover of BSkyB that News Corp wants to buy this 60 percent chance they don't already own, all this time they've been trying to avoid News Corp is going to the competition commission.

Today, they did a complete U-turn and said, effectively, that they want it to go to the competition commission?

Why?

To buy time. They're kicking this into the long grass. Before, they were thinking it would tie it up and it would never go through. Now, they want it to be tied up because they realize the political atmosphere at the moment is so febrile that anything is better than this thing on the front pages day after day.

ANDERSON: One analyst telling me today that if they were to get that 60 percent of BSkyB that they don't already own at News Corp, that would be the biggest media organization the world has -- the U.K., certainly, has ever question. As far as revenues are concerned, that means twice the size of the BBC.

RIVERS: Yes, I mean it's massive and this isn't new, this debate, about -- concerns about Murdoch's, you know, increasing encroachment into the U.K. market. His critics, you know, the likes of Tom Watson and Chris Bryant and, you know, the Labour MPs, have been saying this for years, that he has got too much power, he's got too much influence over -- over those in power.

And it's not just the current Conservative prime minister, David Cameron, who has very close links to Rebekah Brooks. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown had close links, as well.

And the questions for -- for Gordon Brown, as well, are, well, if you knew all this back then, why didn't you make a fuss about it then?

The answer, some people are saying, is because they're terrified of Rupert Murdoch.

ANDERSON: And Rebekah Brooks of News International, the CEO, of course, who will be questioned, we are told, by police.

Dan, thank you very much, indeed.

Dan Rivers on the latest machinations out of the U.K., of course, today, on what is, though, a global story.

Let's cast our eye over Rupert Murdoch's global media empire, shall we?

Starting here in the U.K., News Corp has 37 percent of the national newspaper market, with three remaining national news brands and a large holding in British Sky Broadcasting, about 39 percent.

Across Europe, the company owns Sky Italia. It has a majority share of Fox Turkey and all of TV 5 Riga in Latvia.

In the Asia-Pacific, Murdoch's holdings in Australia make up 70 percent of the nation's media landscape, the most of any country in the world. That's 150 -- 150 news brands, including eight of the 12 metropolitan dailies, a 30 percent stake in Sky News Australia, and in Asia, a controlling interest in Hong Kong's Star TV.

And in the United States, Murdoch has Fox Broadcasting, magazines and newspapers, including the "Wall Street Journal" and the "New York Post" and Harper Collins.

Well, let's hear from a man who wrote the definitive book on Rupert Murdoch, shall we?

Michael Wolf perhaps knows more about how the great man ticks than anybody outside the News Corp family, indeed, the Murdoch family, perhaps, as some people call it these days.

I spoke to him a little earlier from New York about what would be going through this empire chief's mind right now.

This is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MICHAEL WOLFF, AUTHOR, "THE MAN WHO OWNS THE NEWS": I think that he is more panicked than he's ever been in his life. I -- I think he's suddenly face-to-face with a situation which is entirely outside his experience.

You know, Murdoch is a man who has faced lots and lots of crises. But those are crises in which -- in which he faces -- he confronts power with power, he negotiates behind the scenes. He's -- he makes a deal. Rupert Murdoch is a back room guy.

This crisis, this scandal, however, is about -- is a -- is about the public. It's about -- it's about losing trust. It's about doing things that the average man on -- on the street is -- is absolutely appalled by. And it requires, to fix this, if it's fixable, it requires explaining, it requires saying you're sorry. It requires going on every chat show that will have you and begging for forgiveness. It requires going to the family of -- of Milly Dowler and the -- the young girl who was murdered and kidnapped whose phones were hacked and -- and saying you're sorry.

These are not the kind of things that Rupert Murdoch has ever done or that he's capable of doing.

ANDERSON: How much did he or would he have known about what was going on at his British newspapers?

WOLFF: I will -- he -- here, let me tell you what -- what I know. And, you know, I sat -- for a period of about nine months, I sat with -- with Murdoch for several hours each week, almost, actually, 60 hours of interview time.

Many -- on many, many, many occasions I would -- I would be with him when he picked up the phone, when he spoke to -- when he spoke to Rebekah Brooks, when he spoke to his son, James, when he spoke to editors of -- of "The Sun," the "News of the World".

And -- and his -- his interests were absolutely granular -- what are the stories, what have we got, where did we get it from, are we sure we know that, how do we know that, what are we running, what are we not running?

I -- you know, this is the -- his involvement with the newspapers, especially the British newspapers, is, frankly, the thing that -- it was the joy of his day. It's what he lives for.

ANDERSON: Is this a man that you recognize?

WOLFF: Absolutely. And -- and I think that that's probably part of the problem. What -- what we see here is -- is -- is -- is Rupert Murdoch, I mean a man who is -- who's not about to admit defeat, who's not about to admit he's wrong, who's not about to -- to -- to fire Rebekah Brooks. He's not about to fire his son.

He is -- he's -- he's the -- the wagons are -- he's surrounded the wagons, is that the expression?

And -- and he is -- and he is challenging the forces -- and he would consider them his enemies -- to come get him. And I -- I think at this point, that is a -- going to be a foolish challenge on his part.

ANDERSON: Going forward, if there is a News Corp -- and one assumes that there will be -- how does he run this company?

WOLFF: I -- I think that going forward -- and let's just take a few leaps here, but not too many leaps. There will be a -- a News Corporation but it won't be run by people named Murdoch. I really think that at this point -- that what we're coming to terms with, what the company is coming to terms with, the media is coming to terms with, what -- what politicians are -- are -- are starting -- starting to realize is that -- is that the Murdochs, people named Murdoch have -- have lost their credibility. You don't go through five years of -- of saying one thing over and over and over again and having that -- that being proved over and over again to be absolutely wrong, to be the diametric opposite, to be true and yet have the ability to run a major corporation.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, all of their power -- that being the Murdochs.

This media organization still has its masters, of course. It will be the shareholders who have the final say.

Felicia Taylor has more for us now on what sort of a day and, indeed, a week, it has been for News Corp.

She's outside the headquarters in New York -- you only have to take a look at the share price, Felicia, to answer that question, don't you?

FELICIA TAYLOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely right. And today alone, it was down about 7 percent. For the last week or so, it's been down about 6 percent. So making a total of about a 13 percent drop in the stock since this scandal began.

I'm standing outside -- outside of the News Corp headquarters, which is also the headquarters for Fox News Channel. And that's one of its jewels in the crown. And at least one investor that I spoke to said that the ending of -- of the "News of the World" really isn't a problem for them because these -- excuse me, Murdoch wants to concentrate on his television division.

So getting rid of one newspaper wasn't necessarily a mark against the entire company, because its television divisions are where their greatest revenue is driven from.

So as far as shareholders up until this point, nobody can, obviously, be happy about the stock price going down 13 percent in one week. But for shareholders, going forward, at least one investor thinks that the -- the stock is a "buy." And that's what he's got it rated as.

Don't forget, though, I mean they certainly have had their problems. The selling of MySpace was certainly at a great discount. The acquisition of Dow Jones, where they paid well over $5 billion for it, hasn't been convinced to be a good thing yet.

So it's not a company without problems, but nevertheless, at least one investors from Lazard Freres thinks that this is a buying opportunity. And one of the other reasons that he believes so is because of a man named Chase Carey. He is the number two at News Corp, he being the COO, and he is a favorite of investors -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Interesting. Felicia, we thank you for that. Felicia Taylor outside new cause -- News Corp's headquarters in New York.

We're going to take a very short break. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN just after half past nine in London. I'm Becky Anderson. Let's get you a quick check of the headlines this hour.

A source says former British prime minister Gordon Brown believes the "Sun" and the "Sunday Times" newspapers of London tried to get into his private financial records and phone messages. The charge comes a day after alleged phone hacking forced the closure of the "News of the World" newspaper. News International owns all three papers.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is demanding Syria protect foreign diplomats after pro-government crowds in Damascus tried to storm the US and French embassies today. Clinton accuses the Syrian government of encouraging such attacks to deflect attention from its deadly crackdown.

Well, divers have been searching a submerged boat in Russia's Volga River. The tourist vessel sank on Sunday, killing at least 55 people. Dozens are missing. The prosecutor's office says that boat was overcrowded, hadn't been repaired in 30 years, and wasn't even licensed to carry passengers.

A new country is getting new money. Just days after South Sudan declared its independence, it announced its new currency will go into circulation next Monday. The new pound notes will be valued equal to the Sudanese pound.

The United States has spent billions of dollars to help fight terrorism in Pakistan, but it's now slashing its annual military aid package to send Islamabad a message. Reza Sayah tells us what Washington hopes to achieve and how Pakistan is responding.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If Washington is trying to send a message to Pakistan by withholding $800 million in military aid, at least for now, that message is being rejected here in Islamabad.

The initial reaction from the Pakistani military has been a defiant shrug of the shoulder, saying to Washington that they don't need their money, the Pakistani military spokesperson telling CNN that most of the operations being conducted against militant groups in northwest Pakistan are carried out without US help, and he says those operations will continue.

MAJOR GNEREAL ATHAR ABBAS, PAKISTANI ARMY SPOKESPERSON: They may have their own judgment and their own way of looking at this but, as I said, we will not stop with our military operations.

We feel that they are in our national interest, they are affecting our people and also the outside world, and we will succeed against the al Qaeda and affiliates, and we are very confident that we can do it without any external support as well.

SAYAH: At this point, it's not clear how the withholding of $800 million in US military aid is going to impact Pakistan's efforts against militant groups, and it's also not clear if the US plans to withhold more money in the coming weeks and months but, certainly, this is a move by Washington that has the potential of substantially changing the complexion of this relationship between Islamabad and Washington.

Certainly, in recent years, we've heard plenty of rhetoric and accusation and finger-pointing coming from Washington, but this move goes beyond rhetoric.

This is a message by Washington to Pakistan that they're not satisfied with their efforts against militant groups and, if they want more US aid and more US funding, they have to make some changes here in Pakistan. It signals a more aggressive approach to Pakistan.

The only problem is, in the past, this type of aggressive approach hasn't been exactly effective in this partnership. It's often viewed as a carrot and stick approach by Pakistani leaders that's often criticized here.

All of this, of course, signals a very troubled and uncertain relationship between Islamabad and Washington. Reza Sayah, CNN, Islamabad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Let me tell you, the newsroom here was all abuzz earlier, expecting golf star Tiger Woods to make a big announcement. Well, then the player's agent said the news was really more about him and about how Tiger will follow him as he moves to the Excel Sports Agency.

Golf's former world number one has been injured for the last couple of months. He's missing this week's Open Championships at Royal St. Georges in England. It's the second consecutive major he's been forced to watch on television.

As for the players who will be in attendance, now they know who their partners will be in the opening round. "World Sport's" Alex Thomas is in the -- with me in the studio to break it all down. It's a tough old one, the Open, up at Royal St. Georges.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: It is one of the few that that's far away from Scotland, where we traditionally see the Open rose go around some of those old, famous courses. But the chap in the image behind you will certainly be closely watched, young Rory McIlroy.

We all thrill to see him win the US Open last month. And the question is, with Tiger still missing, although it's a big loss to the tournament, it does open it up. Can this young man step into that huge void and win not one, but a second major in a row and establish some sort of dominance?

ANDERSON: I can't believe I'm asking you this question, but how much of a loss is Tiger Woods to a tournament like that these days?

THOMAS: I would've said huge until a few days ago. But it's interesting, I did read something the other day that the "Tiger Effect," as it's been known over the last ten, fifteen years, maybe isn't as big as we first thought.

Jack Nicklaus, the man that Tiger would love to beat in terms of record numbers of majors, was just saying actually, the game still needs to be promoted better.

We're seeing a wonderful new generation, led by McIlroy, but he's been paired with young American Rickie Fowler, for example.

Japan's Ryo Ishikawa is another, also a young man coming up that could capture the imagination of the next generation, and the Open's still one of those fabulous tournaments that kids tune into and watch as their stars stroll the sun-baked fairways.

ANDERSON: Yes. We're looking forward to it. We were talking about the weather, it looks as if it's going to be fairly good, certainly at the moment. Who knows what the British weather will do?

Your headlines from the world of sport?

THOMAS: Absolutely, and we're going to stick with the golf theme, Becky, because Ryu So Yeon has claimed the first major golf title of her career after winning a playoff for the Women's US Open.

The 21-year-old, forced to finish her final round on Monday morning because of the rain delays at the Broadmoor course in Colorado, but she birdied the last hole, then did it again in the playoff to pit fellow South Korean Seo Hee Kyung to the title. Ryu was then sprayed with champagne by some of her mates on the 18th green as the well-deserved celebrations got underway.

Now, the Klitschko brothers have been here in London to reflect on Wladimir's comprehensive victory over British boxer David Haye the weekend before last. Two fighters, I know, Becky's spoken to plenty of times in the past.

The Ukranian siblings now hold six of the heavyweight division's belts. Wladimir told CNN earlier that a rematch with Haye was unlikely. For now, he's just relishing a job well done.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO, HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION: It has been for more than two years the hassle between David Haye and us, and there has been a lot of talk, there has been a lot of promises. Some of them have been delivered from our side, the others not from the other side.

So, in -- the fight was at an amazing stadium in Hamburg, Germany, and it was a rainy day, and it was a little bit complicated, and there was a lot of different fans and mentalities, because the fans came from the US, from the UK, from the former Soviet Republics, from Germany. So, there was a lot of atmosphere and a lot of different mentalities in the same spot.

But it's -- I will never forget this fight.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS: Who can blame them for gloating just a little bit? More from me and "World Sport" in just under an hour's time, Becky.

ANDERSON: Lovely. Thank you very much, indeed, Alex.

Still to come on CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN, the multi award-winning actor tackling the so-called resource curse in Africa. Our big interview tonight with Jeffrey Wright up in just six minutes time. Find out how he's mining for lasting peace in Sierra Leone.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: Rising at least out of decades of civil war, a new nation. These are just some of the scenes of jubilation on the streets of Juba on Saturday as South Sudan officially seceded from the North to become an independent country.

The new nation is, sadly, a victim of the so-called resource curse in Africa, its people impoverished despite the wealth of oil and minerals beneath its soil. This will be the challenge for South Sudan as it has been for other African nations in the wake of their independence.

But as tonight's Connector of the Day Jeffrey Wright is proving in Sierra Leone, of course -- at least, the curse can be broken.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON (voice-over): Acclaimed on stage and screen he may be --

JEFFREY WRIGHT AS BELIZE, "ANGELS IN AMERICA": And she's in love with her daddy's number one slave.

ANDERSON: And it's performances like those that won a Golden Globe and Emmy for Jeffrey Wright's performance in the 2003 miniseries "Angels in America."

Indeed, the Washington-born star has long been lauded for his acting.

WRIGHT AS JEAN MICHEL BASQUIAT, "BASQUIAT": How long do you think it takes to get famous?

ANDERSON: His role in the 1996 film "Basquiat" was considered among his breakthrough performances.

WRIGHT AS BASQUIAT: I'm going to have to hang out with famous people.

ANDERSON: But you'll find that, perhaps, his biggest fans are in Sierra Leone, where Wright is helping people rebuild their war-torn lives through his charity, the Taia Peace Foundation. Your Connector of the Day tells me why this African country in particular has become his passion.

WRIGHT: I had been following the war with some interest for about a year and a half before first traveling there, but I was only struck by the potential of the place after traveling there. That's what really struck me.

Yes, there were -- a lot of difficulties but, at the same time, it was clear that this was a country that had the means, if everything came together in the right way, to rehabilitate itself, which it has proven to this point today.

ANDERSON (on camera): Yes, a decade on, the country's celebrating 50 years of independence. Life expectancy still only in the mid-50s, infant mortality rate 14th highest in the world. What do you think its future is at this point? And what are you doing to help out?

WRIGHT: Well, the infant mortality rate, as you suggest, for example, is pretty high, but it was the worst in the world. It was one in five children up until very recently.

There are a lot of initiatives in place, there's a lot of increased direct investment that has been attracted by the government that has put the place on a real progressive track.

You look around Freetown or you drive up country and you see people using all means necessary to really rebuild their lives, incredibly resourceful, incredibly vibrant people. And they have really taken up the mantle themselves to reclaim Sierra Leone and put it on a track toward peace.

What we've tried to do through my company, Taia Lion Resources and also our affiliated philanthropic group, Taia Peace Foundation, is partner with local communities out in the rural areas to help them harness the natural resource potential in those areas.

ANDERSON: The trial of Charles Taylor continues, and my continue for some time. These things get -- the process gets, it seems, longer and longer at the Hague. How important is a prosecution in that case for the future of Sierra Leone and its people?

WRIGHT: Well, I think it's important that folks be held accountable for crimes as heinous and devastating as some of those that were visited upon Sierra Leone. Charles Taylor, obviously, played a significant role in that. So, I think people are keeping an eye on that.

But I think people are focused on other things, on more immediate things, like how they're going to provide meaningful education for their children, how they're going to find meaningful employment.

And it's those types of initiatives that are really going to drive the success of the country.

ANDERSON: I've got to ask you this. There is a looming Chinese element in the future of Africa, and you specifically see it in Sierra Leone.

This is a country that's celebrating 50 years of independence. Are you concerned about the influence, for example, of the Chinese and the sense at having moved into sort of post-colonial period that the country could be drawn back into an environment where it wasn't run by its government, but it was run by big business outside of its country?

WRIGHT: Well, I think those concerns do exist. But at the same time, the economic growth in China, the economic growth in India, is really driving substantial economic growth in Africa.

And in Sierra Leone, the natural resources that are required for the large infrastructure build-out in those countries require -- or exist in countries like Sierra Leone. So, the economic growth in those countries can be a boon.

But at the same time, business can't be done in the colonial or even post- colonial way. We have to approach these opportunities in 21st century ways.

I think the government of Sierra Leone is really putting into place measures that encourage businesses to do things in the right way, to do things transparently. Also to do things so that benefits to local communities out in the rural, remote areas of the country, are touched by these things in meaningful ways.

ANDERSON: Listen, you couldn't be doing any of this if you hadn't been a successful actor. You've been called one of the most underrated actors in the world. Jamie asks, when you chose to become an actor, is that the most important decision that you've made in your life?

WRIGHT: Certainly acting has been really good to me. Any career decision of that magnitude is an important one. I don't know if it's the most important decision I've made in my life. I think my decision to be a father would probably trump that one, but it's a pretty important decision.

ANDERSON: All right. And Jurgen asks, what can we expect from you in 2011 and beyond?

WRIGHT: Well, in 2011, I'll be fully engaged in our work in Sierra Leone, but also I have a couple of new films coming out, one called "Ides of March" that was directed by George Clooney, which is to open the Venice Film Festival this year.

And another coming out later in the year called "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," based on the Jonathan Safran Foer novel about a young boy who loses his father in one of the towers during 9/11.

ANDERSON: Right.

WRIGHT: So, those two pieces will be out by the end of the year.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Multi award-winning actor Jeffrey Wright, speaking to me, there, making a difference on the ground in Sierra Leone.

Well, our next big interview is with one of the world's best "Friends." Most of us know him as Ross on the much-loved American TV sitcom, but David Schwimmer has moved behind the camera to tackle the darker side of finding friends online.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID SCHWIMMER, ACTOR AND DIRECTOR: I started developing the script seven years ago, and it seems like it's even more prevalent than it was, and there are even more dangers out there for kids online, now, with cyber- bullying and other things.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: David Schwimmer talks to us about his film "trust_" and why all parents have to be aware. To find out more about some of the guests coming up on the show, head to cnn.com/connect.

Coming up this hour here tonight, the reviews are in for the royal couple. So, did Will and Kate win over the public on their tour of North America? We're going to find out more on that just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANDERSON: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are back on British soil after visiting Los Angeles, the final leg of their North American tour. CNN anchor and royal correspondent Max Foster reports the couple showed Hollywood a thing or two about star power.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After taking Canada by storm, it was time to visit California. The duke and duchess invited some friends around to the consul general's house, where they were staying.

The next morning, it was off to Santa Barbara for a game of polo. The duke was, in his own words, looking forward to letting loose after a busy few days. His team won, and a proud duchess presented her husband with a trophy and a kiss.

On Saturday night, they hit the red carpet.

FOSTER (on camera): Well, the duchess has arrived, and she hasn't disappointed.

FOSTER (voice-over): The dress by Alexander McQueen wowed the Hollywood A- listers inside.

From the red carpet to Skid Row. On Sunday, the couple threw themselves into an art class with kids from this very deprived neighborhood, the artistic duchess showing her skills.

And their last engagement was a war veterans' job fair.

FOSTER (on camera): So, this is the final stop on this very successful North American royal tour. But in many ways, this is the most important stop, particularly for the duke.

HRH PRINCE WILLIAM, THE DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE: This is the last event on our tour of North America, but to my mind, it is one of the seriously most important. This is because it's about men and women who, of their own free will, choose to put their life on the line for their country.

They are the front line of a remarkable relationship between the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada, which has safeguarded our freedoms for a century.

FOSTER (voice-over): The public would've liked to have got closer to the couple in America, but the trip has confirmed them as the biggest stars on the planet right now. Max Foster, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON: Well, Max is on his way back after a long tour of duty for CNN, so -- and of course, are the royal couple. They may have taken the crown when it comes to making headlines as a star couple, but did the royal visit get America's seal of approval?

Joining me now from New York is "Vanity Fair's" royal watch editor, Sarah Ball. They certainly made a big effort. They made themselves available to a lot of stars, not necessarily the general public. Did that matter?

SARAH BALL, ROYAL WATCH EDITOR, "VANITY FAIR": I think we at "Vanity Fair" especially, after we had sort of seen the royal wedding, we are really trying to tell whether Americans were going to stay interested in the couple.

And the visit, especially over the weekend, just completely confirmed suspicions that we're just ravenous for them. We just -- they have the charisma of a Hollywood couple, we couldn't get enough.

ANDERSON: What -- what do you think, what sort of does this do to the brand, I think? That's what people, certainly in the UK, will wonder. Because the brand, the royal brand, as it were, has been somewhat gray for some time, let's say.

BALL: Well, this trip was really great, I think, in both honoring the past and giving a new face to royalty. She wore the Canadian pin, diamonds, maple leaf pin throughout the Canadian visit that Queen Elizabeth wore, but Kate had it in a much more fetching young way.

They planted trees, which we know is a tradition in Canada for royalty, but in a fresh -- they gave a fresh face to it.

And in terms of coming to LA, that glittering -- we love ourselves a good red carpet, glittering Hollywood affair, and they really rose to the occasion.

They certainly didn't look stodgy, they didn't look old and stuffy. You saw Jennifer Lopez and Nicole Kidman falling all over themselves, feeling star-struck themselves.

ANDERSON: I think what was interesting is that so many people will look back to Princess Diana's time and say that she was so good for the royal family and, of course, Kate is doing a fantastic job so far as the brand is concerned.

I think what a lot of people were also surprised by was just the genuine enjoyment that William seemed to be getting out of everything, from the -- Calgary cowboy hat to the polo match in California. That makes a difference, as well, doesn't it?

BALL: It does make a difference. You really -- you can't have predicted how good they looked in that western gear. They really kind of owned it. He especially, he really looked quite rugged and handsome in the plaid shirt and the big cowboy hat, and her by his side, Annie Oakley style. They really looked great.

Certainly, their stamina is completely commendable.

ANDERSON: Sure.

BALL: The fact that at every turn, they were all smiles. They were always onboard. And yes, he especially has joked at the BAFTA gala in LA has -- his joke about "The King's Speech" and just the way that he played to that crowd, he really -- he did seem in great spirits the entire time.

ANDERSON: Sarah, so you now know that the Americans, the North Americans really do like and have embraced this royal family, the two newest part of this royal family, as it were. So, how does "Vanity Fair" treat them going forward?

BALL: Going forward, I think that we realize our audience just has an unabating appetite for coverage of them, certainly coverage of her, her style. Looking forward, it'll be interesting to see what she kind of chooses to own as her philanthropy. That'll be something that we'll be looking at.

Then, as a couple, their appearances. One thing about this trip is that we know that royals don't often come over here, and I think there's a sort of sense of sadness and a real hangover that it's gone, now, and we don't know the next time they'll return.

But we'll be watching them and their travels all over the country -- all over the world as they develop.

ANDERSON: Believe me, they'll be back. If they get that sort of reception, they'll be back, Sarah.

BALL: Oh, I hope so. I hope so.

ANDERSON: Sarah, thank you for that. The view of "Vanity Fair" this evening.

Well, your Parting Shots today involve a very slippery challenge, wrestling while smeared in olive oil. For 650 years, wrestlers in Edirne in western Turkey have been competing in the annual event, trying to win by forcing their opponent's back or shoulders into the ground.

It's said to be the world's oldest continuously running sporting competition. If one wrestler can win the competition or the championship for three consecutive years, he gets to keep a gold belt worth $40,000. Guess it's worth it.

I'm Becky Anderson, that is your world connected this evening, thank you for watching. The world news headlines and "BackStory" here on CNN will follow this short break. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END