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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"As for O’Brien, it seems increasingly likely that Fox is in his future—at least, that’s Bill O’Reilly’s prediction. O’Brien has issued a statement that he will not follow Leno at 12:05 because it would destroy The Tonight Show (which at that point would kind of be The Tomorrow Show). In so doing, he has connected with his fans, cemented public sympathy, and done what he can to deepen NBC’s already-staggering embarrassment. What he has not done is quit. It isn’t entirely clear what O’Brien’s contract says, but certainly he won’t get anything if he quits. And it appears that he would like a lovely parting gift. NBC is resisting. ('He wants to be paid,' says a network source. 'If he comes to work, he’ll be paid.')" (Kim Masters/TheDailyBeast)



"Who's having fun? Mr. Leno turned up his palms, and shrugged. It was Friday, Jan. 8., and the lame-duck comic was taping the Jay Leno Show at his studio in Burbank. Outside, the world was buzzing over the news of NBC's counter-reformation. The 10 p.m. thing was over, the bosses had told him. After the Olympics, Mr. Leno would be restored to 11:30 p.m. What would happen to Conan O'Brien, who since June had occupied the slot? The Internet was mad with speculation. It was like 1991 all over again. One desirable time slot. Two ambitious comedians. One capricious network. And another late-night clusterfuck in the making. What does NBC stand for, Mr. Leno liked to joke? Never believe your contract. He gazed at the crowd and kept riffing." (Observer)



"You can spend hours at 172 Duane Street, in Tribeca, and still have no clue what’s going on here. People come and go at all hours. A thick cloud of pot smoke makes you think you’ve wandered into a building on fire with a stereo cranked at full blast. Sometimes the four-story warehouse is a sprawling art gallery; at other times, it’s a photo studio, or an indie band’s rehearsal space. Most of the time, it’s all of these things at once. On a recent blustery December night, rapper Mos Def was in the house. Dressed in brown slacks, shiny dress shoes, jean jacket and a cabby hat tilted to the side, he sipped a bottle of Rolling Rock, taking in the vibe. 'It’s like a cross between early Hitsville, Andy Warhol’s Factory and a little bit of the Algonquin roundtable,' he told me. 'But it’s something completely different.'" (Observer)



"Harold Ford appears to be getting his finances in order for his planned US Senate run. The former Tennessee congressman and current Democratic Leadership Council chairman, who announced in The Post yesterday that he was "strongly considering" a primary run against Kirsten Gillibrand, was spotted having lunch at San Pietro with hedge fund guru Dan Loeb, whose Third Point LLC manages $5.5 billion in assets. Ford is also backed by deposed car czar and financier Steve Rattner." (DrudgeReport)



"Rich Ross, like Bob Iger, is playing a high-stakes game at the studio that he now runs. With the ouster of studio president Oren Aviv on Tuesday, Ross has made a clean sweep of the regime that thrived for many years under studio chairman Dick Cook. The head of marketing is gone, the head of home entertainment has been changed, the head of publicity has been swapped and by all accounts corporate communications chief Heidi Trotta is on the cusp of being moved out as well. With a replacement for Aviv expected to be announced before the end of the week, change is clearly the byword in the new Disney. But in the quest to bring in a new way of management -- out with the old boy’s network, and in with the tough questioning of every aspect of the studio’s methods – some are wondering whether Ross is cutting himself off from the movie expertise which he will so sorely need." (Sharon Waxman/TheWrap)



"Big banker bonuses are indeed ridiculous and offensive all of the time. They are outrageous at a time when the financial system is surviving only because of massive government intervention. I have no idea how our chaotic and irrational political system will ultimately respond to this: in the most counterproductive and ineffective way possible, if it is business as usual on the Potomac. The Paul Krugman school of political economy would like to see populist outrage over the bonuses as a big win for liberalism. It will certainly energize the base into a state of quivering outrage -- not always the emotion best suited for sagacious policy making, but a lot of fun in its own dark way. Overall, however, I think it points to two problems that are harder for liberals than conservatives to deal with. First, while rich Wall Street investment bankers are plutocrats and rich beyond the wildest dreams of normal upper middle class professionals, outrage at the bankers in America today is connected with a broader outrage against the privileges and pay of the upper middle class generally. Bankers are the most egregious, but lawyers, professors, and a whole host of us upper middle class professional Americans have been doing better than the rest of the country for the last thirty years. My fellow turkeys, I'm here to announce that it's Thanksgiving week. The bell that tolls for the bankers will be tolling for the rest of us soon." (Walter Russell Meade/Politico)



(image via JH/NYSD)

"Last night I was invited to a small dinner (18) at Yue-Sai Kan’s. We met eight years ago when JH and I went to interview her in her Sutton Place townhouse. That was a moment when modern China was growing expansively in the minds of Americans. It was the New Frontier of Capitalism and Industry. Since then the world has witnessed an amazing transformation – long time in developing, of course. Brought up in the era of the great Cold War, with a harsher political opinion and policy toward China, the current public attitude toward China has been transformed radically too. We are all part of it ... Her life is divided between here and Shanghai. Because of her professional history, she was the most famous modern Chinese woman’s face to hundreds of millions. She is by dint of her position an ambassador de facto in Sino-American relations. And a good example. When you hear her talk about China, and the Chinese people, you hear about a different point of view about the world, a more optimistic one also ... Talking about entertainment, they were talking about Lady Gaga’s upcoming concert at Radio City Music Hall. Tickets are hard to get. Someone at the table could only get three and they were four hundred bucks a piece." (NYSocialDiary)



"On Monday afternoon, a heavy-hitting crowd flocked to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Temple of Dendur for a luncheon in honor of the late Eunice W. Johnson. The event, billed as a celebration and planned for months, took on an added poignancy when the famed philanthropist and a founder of Ebony Magazine passed away earlier this month at the age of 93. White House social secretary Desirée Rogers, Whoopi Goldberg, Thelma Golden, Ruben and Isabel Toledo, Francisco Costa, Jeffrey Banks, Susan Fales-Hill, Veronica Webb and Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson of cult music duet Ashford & Simpson paid tribute to Johnson, whose Ebony Fashion Fair traveling runway shows are credited with launching the careers of many African-American models and changing perceptions of minorities in fashion." (WWD)



"Almost exactly a year after a payment dispute with Ukraine led Russia to cut off gas deliveries to its European customers in a misguided attempt to force Kiev to pay up, a similar dispute between Russia and Belarus threatens to disrupt deliveries of Russian oil to Europe. As with the Moscow-Kiev 'gas war' in January 2009, which left vast swaths of central and southern Europe without gas, the dispute with Belarus is only in part about money. It is also a reflection of the changing relationship between Russia and its one-time partners in the former Soviet Union, many of which are seeking to escape their political and economic dependence on Russia. And the implications could be serious -- not just for Russia, Belarus, and its neighbors, but also for the balance of power in Europe generally." (ForeignPolicy)



"This past January weekend at the Palms Casino Resort, the 2010 Adult Video News Awards took place, drawing comedians Margaret Cho and Dave Attell, guitar vamp Dave Navarro, and a never-ending parade of adult-entertainment stars. Nate 'Igor' Smith shot the red carpet scene, so you could use your imagination." (VillageVoice)



"WHAT: The 2009 New York Film Critics Circle Awards ... OVERHEARD: A solicitous George Clooney asking the photographers, 'You guys are all right? Are things going well?' When Oscar winner Sylvia Miles arrived on the red carpet, she anxiously inquired, 'Where is Patrick McMullan?''Is he all right?' Asked by a photographer to lean against the bar, which was our backdrop, Wes Anderson complied but asked, 'Is this all right?' That's the new 'civility-driven' show biz for ya!" (Caroline Torem Craig/Papermag)



"Twenty years ago, the conventional wisdom was clear: Japan was the world’s most successful high-income country. Few guessed what the next two decades held in store. Today, the notion that Japan is on a long slide is conventional wisdom. So what went wrong? What should the new Japanese government do? What should we learn from its experience? We must put this in context. The quality of the train system and the food make a visitor from the UK realise he comes from an utterly backward country. If this is decline, then most people would welcome it. Yet decline it surely is. Over the past two decades the economy has grown at an average annual rate of 1.1 per cent. According to Angus Maddison, the economic historian, Japan’s gross domestic product per head (at purchasing power parity) rose from 20 per cent of US levels in 1950 to a peak of 85 per cent in 1991. By 2006, it was 72 per cent. In real terms, the value of the Nikkei stock market index is a quarter of what it was two decades ago. Perhaps most frighteningly, general government net and gross debt have jumped from 13 and 68 per cent of gross domestic product in 1991, to forecasts of 115 per cent and 227 per cent in 2010. What has gone wrong?" (Martin Wolfe/FT)



"Olivia Palermo joined the cast of Gossip Girl, including Blake Lively, Michelle Trachtenberg, Leighton Meester, Ed Westwick, and Jessica Szohr to celebrate the publication of 'You Know You Want It: Style-Inspiration-Confidence,' a style guide written by the show's costume designer Eric Daman.The event was held at Henri Bendels, and as you can probably imagine, attendees were dressed to the nines. Blake Lively showed up in a menswear inspired look, complete with Stella McCartney thigh-high boots, and Leighton Meester braved the 30 degree weather in a Louis Vuitton miniskirt, bare legs, and Balenciaga shoes." (Guestofaguest)



"Maybe it's because (Michale Stipe) celebrated his golden 50th birthday last week, or perhaps it's because the fashion world is full of secret R.E.M. diehards, but any regular event-goer is sure to have Michael Stipe on the brain. The cheeky Capricorn's social schedule would make the Tinz tremble; how does one evolve from a Decatur-born, R.E.M. frontman and candid political activist to regular at Paris Fashion Week?" (Fashionweekdaily)

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