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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"THE secret is out on a clandestine billionaires' summit held in Manhattan earlier this month, when some of the wealthiest Americans met behind closed doors to plot strategies for weathering the economic downturn and coordinating their global philanthropic efforts. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett organized the hush-hush huddle held in a Rockefeller University conference room on the Upper East Side with Mayor Bloomberg, George Soros, Oprah Winfrey, Eli Broad, Ted Turner, David Rockefeller Sr. and David Rockefeller Jr., among others ..CNN founder Turner, a staunch conservationist and United Nations supporter, was reportedly the most outspoken -- he's known as Capt. Outrageous and the Mouth of the South -- while talk-show queen Oprah was in 'listening mode.'" (PageSix)



"Given what the world expects from Quentin Tarantino - the man, the myth, the pastiche-driven movie machine - his latest feature, 'Inglourious Basterds,' stands out for its seemingly low ambition. Talked about for years by the filmmaker as his epic 'guys-on-a-mission' movie, the final product, unveiled this morning in Cannes, certainly meets those standards. The story of Nazi-hunting Jewish soldiers delivers on the colorful brand of unserious entertainment implied by the plot, but no matter how much extreme contextualization and heavily stylized techniques Tarantino introduced to the production, 'Inglorious Basterds' feels like a bubblegum sidedish to the heavy dinner plate of his career." (IndieWIRE)

"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Vice President Joseph Biden, and national security advisor Gen. James L. Jones, of course, are the Obama administration's foreign-policy heavyweights. But beneath the layer of cabinet secretaries, who are the most influential foreign-policy players on the team? The following is FP's list of the 10 administration officials who, according to existing reporting and with input from sources, are driving U.S. foreign policy in the Obama era.." (ForeignPolicy)



"to clarify - i enjoy watching Idol. i just dont think it's "cool." i read graphic novels too. totally uncool. also v enjoyable .. (graphic novels = comic books that cost $12.95)." (Jake Tapper/Twitter)



"On a chilly Thursday night in late January, four weeks from his last show as host of Late Night, Conan O’Brien was strumming a guitar behind his beat-up desk in his cluttered office at Rockefeller Center, figuring out how to say goodbye. After 16 years and 2,725 shows, O’Brien would be moving, along with almost all his staff, to Universal City in California to take over 'The Tonight Show' ..While Letterman is his direct competition at 11:30, O’Brien also has to contend with the double bill of Jon Stewart and, to a lesser degree, Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central. Topical humor has proved to be popular, especially with young men. That’s why (Jeff) Zucker wanted Leno to do a nightly monologue, riffing off the events of the day, and why the network just scheduled Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursdays as a half-hour prime-time show. Last fall, during the presidential campaign, Weekend Update Thursdays specials averaged nearly two million more viewers than the Emmy Award-winning 30 Rock, also on NBC. Audiences preferred to see Tina Fey as Sarah Palin rather than Tina Fey as a character on a funny sitcom. 'They want reality,' Zucker told me." (NYTimes)



(image via JH/NYSocialDiary)

"Making the Rounds. I left the house a few minutes after six and went down to the penthouse apartment of Terry Kramer and Nick Simunek. They were hosting a little trunk show for Jeannie McQueeny .. walked couple of blocks down the avenue to 62nd Street, on my way over to Hermes on Madison and 62nd where they were holding an opening cocktail reception of the Gordon Parks 'Portraits' exhibition. The show was curated by Peter Kunhardt Jr." (NYSocialDiary)

"Last year at this time, ABC was openly wooing Jay Leno, whose contract with NBC was about to end, hoping to add the comedian to its late-night lineup. Lately, though, it doesn’t look like ABC needs him. After years of trailing its late-night rivals, 'Nightline' has finally become competitive with CBS and NBC. In fact, twice in the past week, the newsmagazine has beaten or tied NBC’s 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno' while topping CBS’s 'The Late Show with David Letterman' in metered-market household ratings. Last Friday night 'Nightline' averaged a 3.7 household rating to Leno’s 3.6. Letterman trailed well behind at a 3.2. On Tuesday night, Leno and 'Nightline' both averaged a 4.1 rating, with Letterman posting a 2.9. On both of those nights, 'Nightline' topped Leno and Letterman among 25-54s in the local people meter markets as well." (Medialifemagazine)



"No need for the maitre d' to issue the standard announcement of his arrival. Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Loewy did just fine: 'The people call Graydon Carter.' At 3:48 p.m. on Wednesday, May 20, the 59-year-old Vanity Fair editor in chief entered a Manhattan courtroom sporting a royal blue blazer with brass buttons, striped shirt, polka-dotted tie, gray slacks, maroon shoes and, of course, his trademark silver pompadour. He promptly took the witness stand and immediately apologized for accidentally brushing the microphone and causing some unpleasant feedback. After a brief introduction, Mr. Carter was asked a simple question: Who was Brooke Astor? 'If there was a queen of New York,' he replied, 'she was probably the queen.'" (Observer)

"Which supposedly cleaned-up star was spotted at a hot West Village restaurant, going to the bathroom about every five minutes to take care of business? Anyone buying the weak bladder excuse? Which once-hot pop star can barely sing a note and needs mucho enhancement in the studio, getting help from a songwriter who's also vocally stepped in for that working-class rock band? Similarly, which famous young lady actually does the singing for her more famous sister? Which quirky director who gives the wife a lot of work must be doing so in exchange for some heavy bearding? (He's rumored to be one of them there closet cases.) Which still-closety '70s superstar gets regular mansion visits from a local gay promoter? .. What diva's light-skinned son strangely has trouble getting it up? Which semi-star was supposedly busted for posting anonymous threads about how she was better in that hit show than the woman who replaced her?" (Musto)



"'Who is the black fellow who is sitting next me?' Brooke Astor had asked former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger at a dinner at her apartment in January 2002. 'He is Kofi Annan,' Mr. Kissinger replied. 'Is he a distinguished fellow?' Ms. Astor asked. In fact, the sitting secretary general of the United Nations was the guest of honor that night at the very dinner the late grande dame of Manhatthan high society was then hosting." (Observer)

"This week marks the 20th anniversary of my first Upfront experience (which consisted way back when of only four networks putting on press conferences, presentations and parties, all of them comfortably scattered over a two-week period), and to mark the occasion I watched ABC’s event at home on my computer. It’s the first time that I have not been physically present at a broadcast Upfront presentation since I started writing about television, and while I don’t think it is better to be so totally removed from one’s life experiences (personal, professional or otherwise), I will admit that it was comfortable and convenient. In truth, it seemed to me that there was little difference between watching this particular presentation at home rather than in Avery Fisher Hall at New York City’s Lincoln Center, in recent years the home to ABC’s annual Upfront events. As was true last year, the Alphabet Net offered a stripped-down, no frills affair that consisted of remarks from a few executives, a comedy routine by Jimmy Kimmel and clips aplenty. There were clips of commercials, clips from Lost (a fond farewell in advance of its final season) and clips from the many new series ABC will introduce in the fall and at midseason (including the entire opening sequence of the new and already much-hyped dramatic thriller Flash Forward). ABC topped all of that off by doing something no network has done since NBC unwisely unspooled the full pilot of the Friends spin-off Joey during its 2004 Upfront presentation: It played the entire first episode of its upcoming mockumentary-style comedy Modern Family. Once upon a time networks routinely included a full episode of what they determined to be a particularly promising new show in their Upfront events. They pretty much stopped doing so after advertisers and journalists alike expressed their extreme displeasure at being held hostage." (JackMeyers)

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