The TV Column: Chris Brown’s rough morning on ‘Good Morning America’


Chris Brown is interviewed by Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America.” (Ida Mae Astute/ABC)
March 22, 2011

Singer Chris Brown blew up at ABC’s “Good Morning America” Manhattan digs after Robin Roberts asked him “questions about his former girlfriend Rihanna,” ABC News — which produces the show — reported Tuesday.

The fracas was the result of Roberts having asked him about his “abuse incident” with Rihanna, ABC News said.

And when ABC News says “questions about his former girlfriend” and “altercation,” what it means is: In 2009, Brown pleaded guilty to felony assault, admitting that he beat Rihanna in a sports car as they drove away from a pre-Grammy Awards party. Remember how word started to get out on Grammy night that year, when both Brown and Rihanna were no-shows? As the Grammy Awards began its broadcast on CBS, Brown was turning himself in to the cops, according to news reports. A photo of Rihanna’s bruised, scratched, swollen face later popped up on the Web.

“What’s going on now is recently the restraining order has been relaxed,” Roberts said during the interview — a reference to the restraining order that was slapped on Brown after that 2009 “altercation” with Rihanna.

“Have you all seen each other, been around each other?” Roberts asked Brown, who thought he’d come on the morning infotainment show to plug his new album.

“I mean, not really,” Brown replied, looking not happy with how this interview was heading. “It’s not really a big deal to me now as far as that situation. I think I’m past that in my life. I think today’s the album day, so that’s what I’m focused on. Everybody go get that album!”

Roberts tried a couple of more times to turn the conversation back to Rihanna, while Brown grew increasingly “agitated,” as ABC News described it.

After the interview, Brown performed “Yeah 3x,” the lead single off that new album, “F.A.M.E.

When the number was over, Brown stormed offstage, ABC News reported, and went back to his dressing room. Then he came back down the hall, still backstage, and stopped upon seeing the person who produced the segment.

Brown didn’t have his shirt on, ABC News reported. On the other hand, why should he?

“At that point, the producer backed away and went back to ‘GMA’s’ dressing rooms,” ABC News stated.

The show’s hair and makeup staff called security when they heard loud, non-happy noises coming from Brown’s dressing room.

“It was then discovered that a window had been smashed in Brown’s dressing room. The thick glass was destroyed,” ABC News said.

By that time, Brown and his entourage had left the building, but ABC News attaches importance to the fact that paparazzi photos show that the singer was still shirtless outside “GMA’s” Times Square studio.

“As always, we asked questions that are relevant and newsworthy, and that’s what we did in this interview with Mr. Brown,” ABC News reported itself as having said.

At the time of the 2009 incident, Brown was a skyrocketing star — the newish face of Wrigley’s gum and a part of the whole celebrity Got Milk? campaign. The Rihanna “incident” also cost him those relationships.

In 2009, Brown was sentenced to five years’ probation and six months of community service. This past February, his probation was downgraded to a restraining order mandating that he stay 10 yards away from Rihanna.

After Tuesday’s interview, Roberts tweeted: “Sure has been an interesting AM @GMA. Still sorting thru everything myself. Just my 2nd day on twitter, wonder what tomorrow will bring?”

In her tweet, however, Roberts did not address a report in the tabloid Web site TMZ that unnamed “sources connected to the production” said she’d asked Brown — in advance of the live interview — “if it would be ok” for her to ask him questions about Rihanna.

TMZ reports that Brown had “approved” of Roberts asking him a few Rihanna questions.

Roberts works for ABC News.

ABC News did not address this TMZ report in its coverage of the incident. Reps for “GMA” could not be reached.

But the TMZ report has led to some speculation as to whether the whole window-cum-shirtless thing might not have been one of those clever publicity stunts intended to gin up sales of albums, tickets, books, whatevs that the creative community cooks up from time to time.

At any rate, whether Brown consciously decided window-smashing and shirt-removing were just the touch needed to launch “F.A.M.E.,” which — how’s this for irony? — stands for “Forgiving All My Enemies,” or whether he was just having another attack of anger-management issues, after the “GMA” incident, he was officially crowned a “hot topic” on Google. And Robin Roberts was trending on Twitter.

Everybody wins!

Speaking of Twitter, shortly after the incident, Brown had tweeted, “I’m so over people bringing this past [expletive] up!!! Yet we praise Charlie Sheen and other celebs for there [expletive].”

But at some point, Brown thought better of that, deleting that tweet, and instead tweeting: “All my fans!!! This album is for you and only you!!! I’m so tired of everyone else!! Honestly!! I love team breezy!!”

‘Dancing’ with the ratings

An impressive 22.7 million viewers caught the 12th-season debut of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” Monday night — a.k.a. the Free of Polarizing Political Figures Season.

That’s 1.4 million more people than watched the 11th-season debut of the dance competition — a.k.a the Bristol Palin Season.

According to press reports about ABC’s unveiling of the cast of this 12th season, the public was underwhelmed with the lineup. Apparently the press was wrong.

Monday’s debut goes into the record books as the third-most-watched kickoff episode in the franchise’s history. Only two seasons of the show had caught more of the public’s fancy as the show got underway.

The biggest opening-night American audience ever for an edition of “DWTS” was the spring ’10 season — season No. 10, a.k.a. the Kate Gosselin Season — when more than 24 million people caught the first-night fever.

The second-most-watched season debut of “Dancing” dates back to spring 2009 — season No. 8 — a.k.a the Melissa Rycroft season.

Rycroft, you’ll recall, is the former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader who had recently won ABC’s pick-a-bride reality series “The Bachelor.” But then the bachelor who had proposed to Melissa — that skunk Jason Mesnick — dumped Melissa on national TV during ABC’s “After the Final Rose” post-“Bachelor” blather-fest, announcing that he’d decided he liked the runner-up (Molly something) better than Melissa.

Naturally, ABC’s heart bled for Melissa, so the network invited her to work off her sorrow/humiliation on “Dancing With the Stars.” She had just two days to practice her first dance, but America was rooting for her!

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