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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"My news this morning that the daytime diva has decided to give up her syndicated talk show and move it to her namesake cable network OWN in 2011, amid Discovery Communications' demands that she 'move it or lose it', caught CBS by surprise. The Eye was counting on a 1- or 2-year renewal if The Oprah Winfrey Show which its CBS Television Distribution syndicates. 'In all honesty, we have not heard she's made a decision yet whether to continue,' an insider tells me. 'We think we're still in the talking stages. To our minds, it's a non-decision.' CBS had scheduled a face-to-face meeting a month ago with Oprah and her personal and professional posse at her Santa Barbara compound to discuss her plans. But one of the people in the close group of people around her passed away. So it was canceled, I've learned." (NikkiFinke)



"Madonna is prepared to grind hard to promote man-candy Jesus Luz's career. The pop superstar showed up to catch the tail end of her boyfriend's DJ gig at the DVD release party of Matt Tyrnauer's 'Valentino: The Last Emperor' on the 18th floor of the Standard Hotel. 'She was grinding with a bunch of hot fashion guys while Luz spun,' says a spy. 'She's been tak ing a more active role in promoting him, so she stuck around for a bit and mingled before they left together.' Madonna has already given her Brazilian boy-toy's modeling ca reer a push, helping him land a juicy contract with Dolce & Gabbana, although her rep insists she's 'not at all involved in managing the career of Jesus Luz.' Also in attendance were Adrian Brody, Charlie Rose, Diane von Furstenberg, Martha Stewart, Marc Jacobs, Katie Lee -- who was overheard discussing her new book of recipes in the elevator -- and Brian Grazer and his former 'culture czar' Brad Grossman." (PageSix)



"For the first time since the September 11 attacks, a court has charged and convicted former CIA officials and a military officer for their involvement in an alleged case of 'rendition,' a now-infamous procedure used to capture and question terrorism suspects. Following a months-long trial, for which none of the defendants were present, a Milan court today convicted 23 CIA operatives and one Air Force colonel in the kidnapping a Muslim cleric, who says he was later tortured in Egypt. The implications of the ruling range from banal to the profound. The CIA operatives and an Air Force officer can forget about spending the summer in Provence, or any European Union country for that matter. But more fundamentally, the case raises questions about diplomatic immunity and the ability of foreign courts to try U.S. officials in cases of supposed human rights and other abuses." (ForeignPolicy)



"Maybe Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige had a premonition. Or maybe he’s not much of a talent spotter. But a few years back, Miscavige apparently wasn’t keen on using writer-director Paul Haggis for a series of films based on treatments by the late Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. This was before Haggis, who made news recently with his angry renunciation of Scientology had back-to-back turns as an Oscar magnet in 2005 and 2006. (Haggis wrote and directed Crash and adapted the screenplay for Million Dollar Baby. Both won Best Picture.) Marc Headley worked in Scientology’s film-production studio from 1989 until 2005, when part of the mission was to come up with scripts for movies intended to introduce newcomers—'raw meat,' in church parlance—to the teachings of Scientology. Headley says his instructions were not to pursue Haggis as a writer. 'I was told he was not to be approached because he was a crappy TV writer who did Facts of Life and Diff’rent Strokes,' Headley recalls. 'The only other person I heard that about was Jenna Elfman.' Elfman is now the star of the CBS sitcom Accidentally on Purpose but this was before she had established her career on Dharma and Greg. 'David Miscavige kept rejecting her because he thought she looked like Linda Blair,' Headley says. 'Who wants to see The Exorcist in a Scientology movie?'" (TheDailyBeast)



"The financials always seemed a bit unhinged. Not only was I lucky enough to be paid, just a few years out of college, to think and write and opine for a few well-read magazines, I was encouraged to dine out as much as possible, and expense it — it was my job to capture the mood of what was hot around town. I remember a colleague who once prepared for a business trip by sending a company messenger over to a friend’s office to pick up an Ambien. In the early ’90s, editorial assistants at Condé Nast could get reimbursed for lunches they ate at their desks — and we did, right up to the $15 limit, sneaking in enough sushi to save for dinner. Some magazines were even documents of that particular literary, luxurious world, letting the reader peek into the tasteful Cobble Hill homes of the editors or read essays about the dilemma of a writer in love, a writer, of course, in New York. But what is lost, along with a lot of image packaging, is that expansive home for good writing. Philip Roth recently predicted, in The Guardian of London, that in 25 years, the number of people reading novels would be akin to the numbers now reading Latin poetry; it will be a curiosity, certainly not a profit center. This is painful gospel for anyone who reads Philip Roth, or other great writers, the way other people read religious texts — to make sense of the world, to be humbled or inspired by the power of language." (NYTimes)

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