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Thursday, September 03, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"For two decades, (Diane) Sawyer has been standing by at ABC, waiting for her chance to run the show. Now, at last, she finally will. It’s not the prize it once was, but it’s hers: anchor of World News, the once towering, now considerably diminished evening broadcast, which, like its competitors on NBC and CBS, keeps soldiering on in the face of looming irrelevance. If nothing else, Sawyer’s new job carries with it the promise of sweet revenge, a chance to finally win a ratings race against her old rival Katie Couric, who used to beat her every morning as anchor of NBC’s Today and who capped off the winning streak in 2006 by becoming the first ever solo female anchor of a national network newscast. ABC News President David Westin told me he offered Sawyer the job last week, and she called him at seven Tuesday evening and said, 'It’s a go.' How much of a 'go' it is for ABC remains to be seen. Good Morning America is the only news program that makes serious money for the network, and Sawyer’s anchoring is pretty much the only thing keeping it from drifting off into deep space. Come January, she’ll leave behind three talented but utterly chemistry-free co-hosts to hold down the lucrative broadcast for the network, owned by Disney, which is not exactly a charitable enterprise. Sawyer’s new gig at World News, by contrast, may be the most prestigious seat in the house, but on days when there hasn’t been a national triumph or tragedy, it’s really just 22 minutes of old news, watched by 7 million old people—and hardly a cash cow." (Rebecca Dana/TheDailyBeast)



"The arrival of Ms. Sawyer will comprehensively alter the long-established image of an avuncular male nightly news anchor. With Katie Couric, who took the CBS anchor position in 2006, two of the three main network news voices will be female, a role that in the past has punished others, like Barbara Walters and Connie Chung. 'You’re going to have, for the first time ever, two women competing as solo anchors in a television framework that just — within living memory — sort of destroyed every woman who tried to do it,' said Richard Wald, a former news executive at ABC and NBC ... Ms. Walters, the ABC host who was the first woman to co-anchor a network newscast, in 1976, said in an interview on Wednesday, 'I think it’s just a great day.'" (Brian Stelter/NYTimes)



(Yoko Ono via style)

"New York and L.A.'s style sets hit Tokyo on Saturday night to celebrate the new Opening Ceremony store in the fashion mecca of Shibuya. And despite their none-too-shabby shopping credentials, they were duly impressed .. Alexander Wang, who was guiltily taking in the spectacle: 'Fashion week is in a week and I am partying in Tokyo?'" (Style)



"In a memoir being published this month, Senator Edward M. Kennedy called his behavior after the 1969 car accident that killed Mary Jo Kopechne 'inexcusable' and said the events might have shortened the life of his ailing father, Joseph P. Kennedy. In that book, True Compass, Mr. Kennedy said he was dazed, afraid and panicked in the minutes and hours after he drove off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island with Ms. Kopechne as his passenger. The senator, who left the scene and did not report the accident to the police until after her body was found the next day, admitted in the memoir that he had 'made terrible decisions' at Chappaquiddick. He also said that he had hardly known Ms. Kopechne, a young woman who had been an aide to his late brother Robert, and that he had had no romantic relationship with her." (NYTimes)



"SO far, Janet Jackson seems to be the only member of her family keeping quiet about her brother's death -- but her silence won't last long. Magazine insiders tell us Harper's Bazaar has landed the first interview with the star since Michael Jackson's death. 'She is giving them the world exclusive and is going to be on the cover,' said our snitch." (PageSix)



"Yesterday was another most beautiful day in New York. Bright and sunny in the mid-70s. I went over to the Met to meet Michael Thomas for lunch in the Trustees' Dining Room. I don’t know what the rules of eligibility are for that particular dining room but I suppose it is club-like and requires some sort of membership. You read about Michael on the NYSD several weeks ago when I went to his book party for his new novel Love & Money over in DUMBO. I think this is his sixth novel, which from these eyes look like he’s climbed Mount Everest six times. I haven’t read it yet but Michael Korda gave it a really good review on Tina Brown’s Daily Beast. Most New Yorkers know Michael from his musings and criticisms of society and culture in New York. He’s a New York boy. His father Joe Thomas was, for years, the head of Lehman Brothers. But that was a long time ago in terms of these times. There were still a lot of actual Lehmans (and their cousins) who still had big pieces of the firm. And they did not engage in the same sort of 'financial activity' that came to characterize Lehman Brothers at the time of its Great Fall." (NYSocialDiary)



"We went to these guys who have an investment fund -- I don’t know all the details -- and they were fans of my other stuff. We said, ‘We want to keep this low budget,’ and all we had was Jason Bateman attached. They were interested, and we were all set to go when one of them lost a ton of money in the mortgage crisis, and then Jason was doing 'Hancock,' so finally Miramax took on the rest of the budget in exchange for domestic distribution. So it all worked out ... I’d actually written in the script, 'Joe looks like Gene Simmons, with a ponytail and a suit and tie.' And we read a bunch of people and then thought, why not go with the real thing. I hadn’t realized he was such a big reality star, but he was like 'I’ll do anything you want.' He was a total pro. He’s definitely a bit of a character, but he’s not out of control like some people I’ve met. We had 200 extras from a reform school on 'Idiocracy' who were at a screening, and they were stealing stuff from each other." (director Mike Judge on his film Extract/TheWrap)



"NBC is developing a new take on the groundbreaking U.K. drama series 'Prime Suspect.' Hank Steinberg ('Without a Trace') is onboard to develop and write the pilot, which the Peacock will shoot as a two-hour presentation. Project is the first output from a multiproject pact sealed by NBC and ITV Studios. Deal includes two more pilot commitments over the next two years for ITV fare at NBC -- including one blind scripted project and one blind nonscripted project. Partnership was sealed by NBC Primetime Entertainment prexy Angela Bromstad, ITV Global Content managing director Lee Bartlett and U.S.-based ITV Studios CEO Paul Buccieri. 'We want to carefully choose a couple of iconic titles this year to reinvent, and our intention is to create another classic television show from this brilliant original format,' Bromstad said. 'Hank Steinberg was key in helping us secure this project, and we are incredibly excited about this modern vision for the show.'" (Variety)



"Confronted by a financial and economic shock unmatched in the postwar era, leaders of the Group of 20 have been united in their commitment to take all necessary action to restore global growth. To date, the fiscal, monetary and financial policy response across the G20 countries has been unprecedented – amounting to the largest global stimulus the world has seen. Signs of renewed stability in global financial markets confirm that the G20 policy measures put in to place are working. China, South Korea and other Asian countries are leading the way, while in June France, Japan and Germany recorded their first quarter of growth since early 2008. While such positive news has helped restore confidence, a global recovery is not assured. This is no time to be complacent. The world faces several new challenges that will require leadership from the G20. The first is to follow through on existing commitments. In many countries, much of the announced fiscal stimulus is yet to be delivered. There is more work to do to implement G20 commitments to reform financial systems, modernise and resource the international financial institutions and support developing countries." (FT/ Lee Myung-bak and Kevin Rudd)



"(David) Cameron risks mayhem if he doesn’t develop a convincing economic program ahead of the election, says Robin Harris, who was director of the Conservative Research Department, the party’s policy study group, from 1985 to 1988.' Cameron has not previously prepared anybody for the tough arguments that are now required,' says Harris, who’s now a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom in Washington. 'I really do dread a first year of nightmare chaos which destroys the Conservatives’ credibility on the economy.' As Cameron fights to take charge of the world’s fifth- largest economy, he has distanced himself from Thatcher, Conservative prime minister from 1979 to 1990, whose social and economic views dominated the party for three decades. Thatcher, who’s 83 and rarely appears in public, advocated the family as a substitute for the welfare safety net, supported a smaller state and curbed the power of unions. In contrast, Cameron has voted for same-sex civil partnerships, blamed bankers for the credit crisis and pledged to fight global warming." (Bloomberg)



"The Paterson family has been adopted by the Gersh Agency. Gersh has inked deals to rep children's author Katherine Paterson and her screenwriter-playwright son, David, as well as their production company, Arcady Bay Entertainment. Paterson is the author of more than 40 books aimed at youngsters, including 'Bridge to Terabithia,' 'The Master Puppeteer,' 'Jacob Have I Loved' and 'The Great Gilly Hopkins,' which David is now adapting for the screen. With screenwriter Jeff Stockwell ('The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys'), David co-adapted 'Terabithia' into a 2007 Walden/Disney movie that grossed $137 million worldwide. Gersh will work with the Patersons to turn more of her catalog into theatrical projects. Paterson's latest book, 'The Day of the Pelican,' is set for fall release by Clarion/Houghton Mifflin. David Paterson has published more than 20 plays, wrote the 2005 Sundance film 'Love, Ludlow' and recently wrote the short film 'Open Air.'" (THR)

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