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Both Sides In "Loud Music" Trial Come To Grips With Mixed Verdict; Bode Miller Medals For First Time Since Brother's Death; Gus Kenworthy: Olympic Medalist And Sochi Dog Advocate; Syria's War Within The War; Searchers Find Bodies Of Missing Skiers; Chelsea Clinton Raising Her Profile; Jimmy Fallon Begins Tonight Show Monday; Sports Illustrated: Barbie Is "Unapologetic"

Aired February 16, 2014 - 13:58   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. A look at top stories this hour.

A dangerous season for skiers after a string of avalanches in several states. Another disaster sent search and rescue teams to the slopes in Colorado.

After the loud music murder trial, Michael Dunn faces decades in prison. But he escapes a guilty verdict for murder. Now prosecutors make a tough call whether to try him a second time.

And the final weeks of the Olympics begins with an American star trying to rebound from a disappointing race, a skier who came to the Winter Olympic Games trying to cement his legacy on the slopes.

To Colorado now where searchers are desperately trying to reach two skiers who went missing after an avalanche. They have already located signals from beacons worn by the two. Three other skiers also caught in the avalanche were sent to the hospital with broken bones and a collapsed lung. It's been a deadly month for avalanches. Six people killed in the western U.S., including two others in Colorado.

Stephanie Elam is following the story for us today. Where is the search right now, Stephanie?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Fred. Well, they are taking a look at these beacons. We know they are honing in on one in particular right now. But no word on if this skier is alive or dead. Overall, they are trying to race against sunlight to get them out of there. Once the sun goes down, they can't do anything else to help them tonight.


ELAM: The special avalanche advisory posted today says it all. "Back country avalanche conditions are very dangerous this weekend. We are in the midst of a historic avalanche cycle."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As long as the went is here and as long as its snowing, we're going to be concerned and continue our mitigation efforts. ELAM: Those efforts are becoming even more urgent as rescue workers are now scouring Colorado mountains after two skiers went missing. They were part of a team of seven that triggered an avalanche outside of Aspen. Three separate broken bones and a collapsed lung; two walked away unharmed.

The thrill of the back country is alluring, but it can also kill. This weekend's incident followed a string of deadly avalanches that took the lives of six people in the past week alone from Colorado to as far west as Oregon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Mayflower Gulch.

ELAM: CNN's Gary Tuchman recently hit the back country with an avalanche and safety expert, highlighting three must haves before you head out on the mountain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beacon, probe, shovel. Those are the three things have you to have with you.

ELAM: Avalanche officials say unusual conditions in the mountains can lead to surprising avalanches.

TRACY LECLAIR, SUMMIT COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: People are always going for deeper and untracked areas. Unfortunately, the snowpack right now is not conducive to taking risks like that.


ELAM: And the other concern they have is how steep the hills are now. That's making it very difficult for surge and rescue, but they are doing their best out there today, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Keep us posted on that. Stephanie Elam, thanks so much. Coming up in about 25 minutes, we'll hear from the emergency management team in Lake County, Colorado and get an update for the search for those missing skiiers.

All right. Onto Florida where both sides of the loud music trial are trying to come to grips with a mixed verdict. Last night, the jury found Michael Dunn guilty on four out of five counts, including three counts of attempted murder. But on the most serious charge, first- degree murder, the jury deadlocked. Listen to the judge before the verdict was read.


JUDGE RUSSELL HEALEY, DUVAL COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: We have verdicts in counts two, three, four, and five. Based on the jury' inability to reach a verdict as to count one, I will declare that mistried.


WHITFIELD: A mistrial on the charge of murdering 17-year-old Jordan Davis, but a potential 75 years in prison for Dunn on the other counts. Martin Savidge is live for us now in Jacksonville. So Martin, what was the reaction to the verdict? I know it continues.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It does continue. Hello, Fredricka. It's quiet outside the courthouse today. Last night it was a different story. You had about 100 people demonstrating angrily over what is that kind of mixed verdict. You have a mistrial and then you have the three counts of attempted murder in which Michael Dunn was found guilty.

But for the parents of Jordan Davis, it really was an excruciating day because for them there was no verdict on the death of their son. That was the primary point of the entire case, the murder charge that had been brought. The 17-year-old shot and killed over loud music, and he was unarmed. After the verdict came in, both parents stood up and spoke to the media. Here is what they had to say.


LUCIA MDBATH, JORDAN DAVIS' MOTHER: It's sad for Mr. Dunn that he will live the rest of his life in that sense of torment, and I will pray for him. And I've asked my family to pray for him. But we are so grateful for the charges that have been brought against him. We are so grateful for the truth. We are so grateful that the jurors were able to understand the common sense of it all. And we will continue to stand, and we will continue to wait for justice for Jordan.

RON DAVIS, JORDAN DAVIS' FATHER: I thank you all for saying that we as parents were good parents to Jordan, that we was a good kid. He wasn't allowed to say (ph) in the courtroom that he was a good kid, but we'll say it. He's a good kid.


SAVIDGE: I don't think there's anybody that could listen to those two parents and not feel the anguish in their hearts. It should be pointed out, Fredricka, that today would have been Jordan Davis's 19th birthday. His parents have asked they be left alone to mark it as they will. Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Martin, the prosecution, well, they are claiming they are thinking about retrying on this first-degree murder charge. What really are the chances of that? Is that -- is it plausible, or was that emotion speaking in response to what just took place?

SAVIDGE: You know, that's a really good question, Fredricka. Last night, of course, you saw Angela Corey immediately come out and say we're going to redo this trial, it's going to be on first-degree murder. You saw the parents, of course, they would like to see justice brought for the death of their son.

That said, Michael Dunn is still going to be spending decades in prison. So, then the question would be asked, what do you really need to go forward with a trial if he's going to be pretty much locked up for the rest of his life? Some would say there's precedent here, you have to find someone guilty of the death of this young man. And then on top of that, others would say look at the expense. A tremendous expense by coming back. We should point also out the Angela Corey was the same prosecutor that went after George Zimmerman. A lot of political pressure brought to bear on her this time, saying look, this case was open and shut. Many believe she fumbled this one as well.

WHITFIELD: All right. Martin Savidge, thanks so much from Jacksonville. Let's talk further on this with CNN legal analyst Paul Callan and criminal defense attorney Holly Hughes. Paul, to you first. Do you see there will be a retrial for this first degree murder charge?

CALLAN: I don't think there will be. I think that Angela Corey would have been much wiser if she had said, as many do in this situation, we're going to take a second look at the case and make a decision down the road as to whether there's a retrial.

And I would also suggest there's alternative mechanism. And I understand -- the Davis family, they're wonderful people, they just came across as so kind at that press conference. They want resolution here. They want a finding their son was murdered, and that he was murdered by Michael Dunn. Now, you can do that in a civil case. They can sue him for money damages. This was done in the O.J. Simpson case. And it's a lesser standard of proof. It's by a preponderance of the evidence instead of a reasonable doubt. So, you can accomplish that.

The jail sentence really going to be the same. He's in for 60 years on this. It's unlikely he'll ever get out of jail. Even if he gets a life sentence, it would be the same thing. So I think that would be a wise alternative choice for this.

WHITFIELD: OK. And Holly, how do you see this? Whether there is a retrial or not, there can still be that civil case. But if prosecutors were to proceed and say we want to do this again as it pertains to first degree murder, don't they first need to check with those 12 jurors? What went wrong in our argument for this case?

HOLLY HUGHES, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: They absolutely need to talk to the jurors who are willing to talk to them. In Florida, it's improper for the press or prosecutors to reach out to the jurors but the jurors can certainly reach out to the prosecution and press. Anybody who is willing to talk -- the prosecution needs to find out, what was the split?

Because let's be really frank about this, Fred, this was a failure. As our online younger people say, this was an epic fail. The main thing here was a young marine's life was taken. He was murdered, shot down in a car, unarmed, doing nothing but playing his music loud. And even if he did say something to Mr. Dunn, you should not get the death penalty for mouthing off. So, they need to know where they failed in the presentation of their evidence.

And they also need to consider -- remember this, Fred, if they go forward on first-degree murder, they have to seat 12 jurors, and those 12 jurors have to unanimously agree. If they proceed on second-degree murder, which is still a life sentence, they only have to have six jurors. And it's easier to get a consensus among six. So they need to think carefully before they rush into something that might be a second failure.

WHITFIELD: All right, Paul, really quick, in about 20 seconds or less, where do you see the failure in the prosecution presenting its case? How would it try to correct itself if possible?

CALLAN: Obviously, they failed at jury selection because -- that's sometimes the most important part of the case. A different jury might have decided this a different way.

The second thing is should it have been charged as a hate crime? If they had taken that approach, maybe they could have gotten some of the letters in that seem to indicate racist attitude to show that these shots were fired not because of a threat but because of a hatred for blacks and the kind of music they listen to and the way they dress. So you could have taken a whole different approach. That would have been an alternative way to go.

WHITFIELD: All right. Thank you so much, Paul Callan, Holly Hughes, appreciate it.

Coming up in the CNN NEWSROOM, we'll talk more about that case. And Chelsea Clinton, she's stepping out of the shadows of her famous parents. Hear what she's doing now that has people speculating about her future?

And it's a part of Sochi Russians don't want you onto see. We'll tell you how a member of Team USA is stepping up to rescue stray dogs at the Olympics.


WHITFIELD: To the Olympics now. Today's spoiler alert: here is the latest medal count. So, mute your TV if you don't want to hear this. The Netherlands now leading with 17 total medals. Team USA and Russians are tied for second with 16 medals, including four gold each.

It was a record setting day for Americans skier Bode Miller. After a series of disappointments, Team USA is back on the podium in alpine events. Our Rachel Nichols is live for us now in Sochi with today's highlights. Rachel.

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it was a good bounce back day for USA. They took the silver and bronze medal in the Super G. And it was a very special medal for Bode Miller.

Look, ski racing is a tough gig as you get older. In fact, the oldest person to ever medal in an alpine ski event in the Olympics was 34 years old. Well, guess what, Bode Miller did it take at 36 years old. And it was very emotional medal for him as well. It's the first time he's won an Olympic medal since his younger brother died of seizures last year. His brother, who was actually a competitive snowboarder, had a very good chance to make this Olympic team himself. Bode said he felt like he was going down the mountain for both of them today, which was nice. And Bode, of course, his race was in the morning and that went out fine. But I have to tell you in the evening, it got more and more foggy here, and they held the biathlon or at least they tried to in the evening. But when they got to the part where they were supposed to be shooting, and the biathlon is shooting and then skiing, they couldn't see the targets.

Fred, not a good idea to shoot into fog when you can't see where you're shooting. So they both go on the event (ph) until tomorrow. Another way that weather comes into play here.

WHITFIELD: Well, that part is the good idea, that they postponed it.

All right. So, let's talk about the American spirit overall, not just on the slopes, not just on the ice. But American skier Gus Kenworthy is apparently making a name for himself by rescuing stray dogs all around Sochi. How is that going for him?

NICHOLS: Yes. Well, I'm sure you've heard of the stray dog issue here. There's quite a lot of them. But instead of handling it what most people would feel would be much more humanely -- putting them in shelters or having animal control over the past few years - instead, the police here are authorized to shoot them with poison darts. That, of course, has upset a lot of people.

It upset Gus Kenworthy, the American silver medalist, who is an also an animal lover, a dog lover. He found a bunch of dogs, puppies and their mom by the athletes' village. He sort of adopted them and he's making arrangements to bring them home. And he took me to meet them. And pretty much, Fred, they're as cute as you'd expect. Take a look.


GUS KENWORTHY, SILVER MEDALIST, FREESTYLE SKIIING: We were here last year for test event, and there were even more strays than there are now. There was a stray I tried to bring in at the hotel that I tried to bring in, and I got in trouble with security for it. And after that, I heard they were rounding them up, exterminating them and trying to keep them out of the public view. So, I felt really bad.

But I definitely wasn't planning to try to come here and be an animal activist or like spokesperson for humanity, for the dogs. It's just this particular family just really touched me. I think they are so cute and need some help. So I'm just going to try to bring this family home.

Hi. You're okay. Look, come here.

NICHOLS: We're going to have to give this one a Russian name.

KENWORTHY: I was thinking Sochi was kind of nice. They're like couture, Rosa, Silver. I don't know. Something --

NICHOLS: Silver could be good, right? You going to show her your medal here? Does she like it? Victory!


NICHOLS: You can see more with our visit with Gus on NEW DAY tomorrow morning. I have to tell you, Fred, he found most of the dogs homes with his friends and family in Colorado. But if you're interested, maybe I can hook you up with one. We'll see.

WHITFIELD: We'll talk. We'll talk. I'm always in the market for a new little pooch. I like the name, Sochi and Silver, and - since he's taken a whole family of dogs. There are other great Olympic, Sochi, Russia kind of names in which to impart.

All right. Thanks so much, Rachel Nichols. Appreciate it. We'll talk later about bringing me a puppy home.

All right. Her father has been president. Her mother could be president. But what's next for Chelsea Clinton? See how she's stepping out of the shadows of Bill and Hillary Clinton.


WHITFIELD: The death toll keeps rising in Syria. That country's civil war has claimed more than 100,000 lives, many of them women and children. But there has also been a war within a war, pitting moderate rebels against Islamic fundamentalists, all of whom are opposed to the Assad regime. CNN's Arwa Damon has an exclusive report from the killing fields near Syrian-Turkish border.


ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We cross from Turkey into northern Syria, escorted by armed rebels. For months, these lands are under the brutal and merciless control of ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

As we drive towards the town of Adana (ph), a (INAUDIBLE) tells us - ISIS came in and took over the area and called it their Islamic State.

(on camera): This was the main ISIS checkpoint leading into Adana (ph). As part of their terror tactics, eyewitnesses were telling us that they would leave some of the bodies of the people that they had executed lining the checkpoints so that every single car coming through would be forced to slow down and could not ignore that brutal message.

(voice-over): Across from it, the courthouse. Executions took place upfront. Freshly dug up dirt marks the graves of some of the victims.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are two corpses over here, and there are some corpses near the northern (INAUDIBLE).

DAMON: Any one who dared defy them paid a price.

Even smoking was banned.

(on camera): This was another of the ISIS headquarters and everything here, all of the walls were painted black. You can see that they had been freshly painted over in white.

When ISIS was under control, at a time like this. And it is Friday and it is prayer time, none of these people would have been able to be out on the street. They would have forced the markets to close.

(voice-over): Many here don't want their identities revealed or even to be seen talking to us. ISIS may no longer be in control but many fear they could come back.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Adana (ph), Syria.


WHITFIELD: And you'll want to stay tuned to CNN. Starting tomorrow, we begin our exclusive in-depth coverage of the Syrian conflict across all platforms. "The Syrian War," a CNN exclusive.


WHITFIELD: Breaking news now into CNN. Rescuers in Colorado have located the bodies of two skiers who went missing after an avalanche. Searchers had initially located signals from beacons worn by the two skiers before discovering their bodies.

I'm joined on the phone now by Susan Matthews. She's with the Lake County Office of Emergency Management. So Susan, what can you tell me about the search and how you were able to locate these bodies? Sadly, these two skiers did not survive.

SUSAN MATTHEWS, LAKE CO. OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT (on the phone): The search and rescue teams that were organized last evening following this incident, which happened just before dark, were on scene early this morning following a safety team that had to assess the avalanche to make sure it was going to be even safe to try to find the two persons missing.

The two persons missing were wearing beacons, and the ground crew were able to find the signals for them. The first team, however, who went up had to wait for safety clearance. They found one body. And then he safety team went to find a safe traversing (ph) pass for the team to go.

WHITFIELD: Susan, tell me about the conditions this winter, especially given there have been six deaths in the western U.S. states. This month alone involving avalanches, in your area in particular, Lake County, has this been a particularly dangerous season? Are people aware of the potential for avalanches, and that the potential is particularly high right now?

MATTHEWS: The potential is high in many places in this state. It's listed for the Swuatch (ph) range, which is where this occurred, as being a moderate avalanche danger. The areas to the north are listed much more severely. This particular avalanche was triggered in a very steep avalanche chute and actually triggered another avalanche to a chute directly next to it. There was a third largest chute that was not affected. WHITFIELD: So, what are you telling skiers or snow shoers, anyone who wants to take advantage of the back country areas -- what are you tell them about noticing the warning signs, knowing where conditions are right for a potential avalanche, how to stay safe?

MATTHEWS: The best information that anyone who wants to back country ski is to do is to prepare themselves with several things. Number one, to be very aware of the current weather conditions, to be fully prepared with the proper clothing, food, water, and maybe more important than anything beacons, because without beacons people can be lost in avalanches. It's very difficult to find them. Dogs do help a lot. I think being prepared is really key. The problem that we have in the state of Colorado and other states is that we've had a lot of snow this year.

It's record snow fall through this time of year, very deep snow, very unstable conditions because of the weather changing. The winds, patterns changing and it create very, very unstable conditions. Yes, for those people who are not prepared to be in those back country conditions, unfortunate incidents happened.

WHITFIELD: All right. For those reasons it's very important for people to pay attention to those warning signs and be very careful. Susan Matthews, thank you so much of the Lake County Emergency Management there in Colorado. Even though at least those two skiers did have those beacons, they did seem to be prepared. There was nothing they could do up against that avalanche which occurred. Thanks so much for your time, Susan.

All right, straight ahead, Jimmy Fallon, taking over one of the most legendary shows in television. He is following in the footsteps of Johnny Carson and Jay Leno, for getting his start on "Saturday Night Live." Straight ahead, we'll ask an SNL vet if Fallon is ready for that spotlight.


WHITFIELD: Her parents are political warriors who spent their entire adult lives in the public eye, former President Bill Clinton and possible 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton. Well, today, Chelsea Clinton is taking the stage at a big forum on human rights in Las Vegas.

Is she emerging from her famous parents' shadows? The former first daughter has been showing a higher profile in recent days. Just, Thursday she appeared with her mother at a forum in New York on women and girls and said it's time to break the glass ceiling.


CHELSEA CLINTON, VICE CHAIR, CLINTON FOUNDATION: I hope that we have fewer ceilings. I hope that those that still do exist, partly because of work we will do and the work that others will do, people will know how to breakdown those that still persist. Whether they are here in the United States or anywhere around the world, and that we have a very clear view of what will help crack and break those ceilings, whether in economic, political, social or cultural spheres, regardless of where one is standing in the world.


WHITFIELD: So one man who knows Chelsea Clinton well is writer, Jonathan Van Meter, contributing editor at "Vogue" magazine. Jonathan, good to see you.


WHITFIELD: So Chelsea Clinton is often a fixture alongside mom or dad on stages, like you just saw in New York recently with her mom, but today she's alone addressing this LGBT human rights audience in Las Vegas. Also later in the month, she'll be at the University of Missouri. So in your view, why is she doing this? Why? Why is she doing this? What's going on?

VAN METER: Well, in this instance, I think it's because -- it's not that complicated. I think it's because they invited her. Human rights campaign, their foundation's arm first big concert of this sort and it's about LGTB youth. That's a subject she's been very prolific on, especially on her Twitter feed. You know, the reason I think that subject is so important to her, one of the things I learned about her when I followed her around in 2012 is that she has a lot of gay friends.

In particular, she told me her husband pointed out to her that many of her closest friends are gay men. I think when you're a woman close to a lot of gay men. You instinctively care more about those issues. One of the things I think she's planning on talking about today in Vegas is how it's getting easier for adults as we gain the right to marry but still tough for kids in school. That's what this conference is about.

WHITFIELD: You alluded to the amount of time that you've spent with her, I think roughly about three months, right, as you are preparing for the article in "Vogue" on her. Did you get a sense at that time or maybe your thoughts have evolved over the time about what her real focus is.

Is she eyeing, you know, a position in the public life in the way of campaigning for her mom, Hillary Clinton, or perhaps one day for herself, does she have her own political aspirations or is -- there is something else that's kind of driving this machine in her?

VAN METER: You know, I think to answer the question about if she's ever going to run for office, she said very directly to me and says all the time she has no plans. I actually believe her. She always says that maybe one day if she changes her mind, she'll ask that question then. My sense is that she really likes the life she has, which is sort of a multi-pronged career that involves academia.

That has involved doing interviews for NBC, but now is a stepped up relationship to the Clinton foundation. Obviously if her mother runs for president, that's going to lead to another role. I think she likes doing seven things at once more than sensing a political ambition in her. WHITFIELD: But she is taking advantage of the fact or maybe doesn't want to overlook the fact that because she is the child of very powerful people, she can really make an impact. Her point of view can illicit some change or help provoke some change. In your view, that's kind of what she's doing? Not necessarily that specific to an ambition but just recognizing that she does have some power just by virtue of heritage.

VAN METER: Right, exactly. And you know, one of the things about her that's so surprising when you spend time with her, she's so incredibly articulate on any subject and so passionate about everything. Also, she's so funny. I was at a benefit. This was after I had written about her, just a few months ago actually, where she was one of the keynote speakers.

She got up -- whoever introduced her said something she played off of and made some sort of off color remark that brought the house down. She has this unbelievable ability to connect with people. So that, from my sense, she's what you said, she's bringing light to issues she cares about.

WHITFIELD: And you see her as very charismatic. All right, Jonathan Van Meter, thank you so much. Again, she's in Las Vegas and likely to take the stage at any moment at the time to thrive conference, human rights conference taking place in Las Vegas. Of course, we'll monitor and share video and sound as we get it.

All right, meantime, let's talk about something else happening on the horizon like tomorrow. It's the start of a new era on "The Tonight Show." Jimmy Fallon is taking over as host. His promotion comes with huge expectations and a massive raise, $12 million.

No one is rooting for Fallon to succeed more than the comedians he actually worked with on "Saturday Night Live." Rachel Dratch among them. She shared the stage with him for five years including some of his funniest skits just like this one. Take a look.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shot down. Apparently the clerk was able to discern that I'm not one Evelyn Chang.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're Evelyn Chang to me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are so queer?



WHITFIELD: OK, she's also the author of a girl walks into a bar, calamitous dating disasters and a midlife miracle. Rachel, joining me by phone, thanks so much in New York. How excited are you for Jimmy? RACHEL DRATCH, APPEARED ON "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE" WITH FALLON (via telephone): Very excited. It's a big deal for all of the fans for Jimmy, yes.

WHITFIELD: It is a big deal. At the same time, are you a little nervous for him or he's been doing late, late night for some time now. He has that down. What's the big deal? So he steps it up a few hours?

DRATCH: You know, I'm really not nervous for him. His current show he's so great at. It will be in front of a bigger audience that doesn't have to stay up until 12:30 to watch him. I have no fear for the guy.

WHITFIELD: He really has had a reputation for kind of cracking up during skits. You see it sometimes on his show. He doesn't have a problem laughing at himself. What is it about his appeal that makes so many people kind of just love him, adore him?

DRATCH: I think you can tell there are certainly people when they are doing comedy, you can tell they are also -- there's a part of them enjoying the same thing at a level. Also I remember when we were both on the show, whenever there was some host or musical guest that we were in awe of, has he a great ability to be a super fan, but have a real conversation with these huge stars. A lot of us -- I was always super shy around them, skulk around.

Jimmy would go up to Bono, Mik Jagger, whoever it was. He was so great -- I don't know. If there's a positive spin on the word schmoozing, because it's not fake at all, genuine connection with uber stars, I think that's what carries him through.

WHITFIELD: Yes, he's kind of big kid like, isn't he? Playful.

DRATCH: Yes, definitely. Also the fun thing about him, and "The Tonight Show" will be a little different because of his sketch abilities and his impressions. I think he might sort of change up the vibe over there in a cool way so, yes.

WHITFIELD: Do you think we're going to see a different kind of late show with Jimmy Fallon, or is it going to be the late show we've been seeing with Jimmy Fallon just in a different timeslot. Still have the thank you notes, the roots band. What do you think will be the same or different?

DRATCH: That's a good question. I don't know. I kind of think it will probably be kind of the same because that's what he is and what has been working for him. I don't know if the late, late spot affords you a chance to be more edgy and weirdo. My (inaudible) is he'll probably do what he does and everybody will catch up to him.

WHITFIELD: We'll all be watching, Jimmy, tomorrow night and rooting for him and I know you will be front and center rooting him on as well. Rachel Dratch, thanks so much for your time. Appreciate it. I'm sure you'll be quick to appear as guest on his show at any moment now. DRATCH: We'll see.

WHITFIELD: Take care. We'll be watching. Thanks so much, Rachel.

All right, let's talk about Barbie these days. Guess what, Barbie featured in the "Sports Illustrated" swimsuit issue. No kidding. Well, did they go too far? It may not really matter according to some. The magazine is not apologizing for it, nor is Mattel. We'll take you inside the pages next.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Serena Williams started working with French tennis coach, Patrick Mouratoglou just days after crashing out at Roland Garros in 2012.

SERENA WILLIAMS, TENNIS PLAYER: For me to lose in Paris was completely disappointing. I was completely shattered.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shortly after that painful loss, Serena travelled to the Mouratoglou Academy for her first training session with Patrick.

PATRICK MOURATOGLOU: We went on the court and she was hitting. I watched her hit for 45 minutes. She sat down and turned to me and said, talk to me. I think we need to work on and I explained what it was. She said OK. Let's do it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Serena and Patrick have been working together ever since. He has the trophy cabinets to prove it. Serena agreed to store all of the trophies that they won together inside his academy.

MOURATOGLOU: We have Wimbledon trophy, the U.S. Open trophy, all of the other tournaments that she won so 16 trophies here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now Patrick is focused on adding to her grand slam total. If they succeed, they will be rewriting the history of tennis.



WHITFIELD: "Sports Illustrated" is out with one of its raciest covers yet, three sexy models, topless in bikini bottoms in a rather playful pose. Inside the magazine top swimsuit models and Barbie doll strike a pose. "Sports Illustrated" and Mattel have joined forces in a bold promotional campaign. The issue comes up Tuesday when you see Barbie as doll-sized versions of Tyra Banks and Christie Brinkley. The photographer who shot the spread said Barbie is hot.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been waiting for this day with Barbie. I've seen all the good ones go through the locations, but she's hot. Barbie is hot.


WHITFIELD: Joining me to discuss, CNN digital correspondent, Kelly Wallace. All right, so Kelly, SI and Mattel say they are unapologetic about the campaign. So what's this 50th anniversary edition all about anyway?

KELLY WALLACE, CNN DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, unapologetic. They say they are using it. They say it's for, you know, women to show what they are made of, to not have to apologize for being great and strong. No surprise. There's a lot of reaction to it and a lot of criticism, Fredricka, from feminists and women's activists saying this is almost like a double whammy.

You have "Sports Illustrated's" annual swimsuit issue, which many believed, many women believed objectifies women, sets up unrealistic expectations what women should look like, teaming up with Barbie, that has long been criticize by many moms as not setting the right body image for girls. Together is not the holiest combination for many women.

WHITFIELD: OK. So help us understand, you know, why Mattel, which has for a very long time tried to rebrand its image for Barbie, feminists and other women you speak of, why they decided this is the route in which to do that because it would seems to me the market base of SI, "Sports Illustrated" are men. Are they the ones that are buying Barbie?

WALLACE: Right. I think there's something at work here, which is the buzz factor, right. It is crowded out there. It is noisy out there. Mattel, the sales of Barbie has gone down. I think about 13 percent last quarter, steadily going down since 2012. It appears this might be a move by the company to generate buzz, some interest, some controversy, right?

Look, we're talking about it right now, of course. My sense is that -- Mattel also paid them money, undisclosed sum to "Sports Illustrated" to have this partnership. They are investing a lot. It seems they are hoping the publicity, the edge. The provocative nature might have a renewed look at Barbie for young girls.

WHITFIELD: Maybe translate into sales. So Mattel, the maker of Barbie did release this statement, saying, quote, "as a legend herself under constant criticism about her body and how she looks posing in the issue gives Barbie and her fellow legends an opportunity to own who they are, celebrate what they have done and be #unapologetic.

The models who were featured in this, on the cover say they are, you know, ecstatic, thrilled, consider it an honor. Even people like Christie Brinkley and Tyra Banks are said to be very pleased with the parallels being made her with Barbie.


WHITFIELD: It seems as though all the women involved, or at least many of the women involved are very happy with this? WALLACE: Yes, and not a surprise other women aren't happy with it. I think, you know, some criticism is that sense of unapologetic, is this unapologetic if you're just pretty and sexy, et cetera. I think, Fredricka, it would have been more interesting for Barbie and better job for sales if they showcased Barbie and her 150 careers and showcased that in some type of issue in "Sports Illustrated." I think that would get more traction with the moms who are buying the dolls for their girls.

WHITFIELD: Great idea, I think Mattel ought to give you a call.

WALLACE: One writer was saying, you know, if we spent more time talking about all the different careers, Barbie has had as opposed to the size of her breast and her waist, think about that message we could give to our girls. This writer said there are other dolls on the market, other dolls, not Barbie, other dolls with fishnet stockings that make babies and girls look like hookers.

That in some way how ironic that Barbie with her professional jobs she's had, could be more the feminist dolls -- one of the most feminist dolls out there, which is an interesting way to look at it.

WHITFIELD: It really is, indeed. All right, Kelly Wallace, always good to see you. Thanks so much.

WALLACE: Great to see you, thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right, coming up at 3:00, more reaction to the Michael Dunn verdict in that Jacksonville loud music case. Jane Velez- Mitchell will join me with her take.


WHITFIELD: All right, if you've got the winter blues and you're planning a warm vacation get away, you might want to consider a trip to South Florida. NASCAR driver, Brian Vickers gives us a tour of his favorite spots in Fort Lauderdale in this week's "Travel Insider."


BRIAN VICKERS, NASCAR DRIVER: Hi. I'm Brian Vickers. I'm a NASCAR driver. Ft. Lauderdale is my city. We are here at Yolo's in Fort Lauderdale. It actually stands for you only live once, which I find to be a great name. The food first and foremost, being in Fort Lauderdale good to have that open indoor-outdoor kind of atmosphere. Yolo really has that.

We're sitting here at the Fort Lauderdale Beach. This is one of the things that make it unique. You see people riding on the boardwalk, bike path, activities on the beach, swimming in the ocean. It's a great place to stay healthy, active, especially traveling on the road or if you live here.

Now coconuts a great place for a little 5:00 happy hour. It's a place you can go to. It's not really a tourist spot at all. I love coming here on the boat, kind of nice slow cruise, tying off, going to a bar and sitting outside here, somewhere and just having a nice cocktail and grand slam at home with an off-season, not on the road. And it's a great place to wrap your day up.


WHITFIELD: All right, fun times in Ft. Lauderdale.