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Thursday, April 08, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Oprah Winfrey plans to announce Thursday that she will host an evening show on her new cable network. The aptly named 'Oprah's Next Chapter,' an hourlong show, will probably debut late next year. Ms. Winfrey's new show, which could air as many as two or three times a week, will take Ms. Winfrey out of the studio setting that has been her home for 25 years and follow her around the globe for conversations in places such as Egypt and China. 'I'm going to take viewers with me, going to take celebrities I want to interview with me' around the world, Ms. Winfrey said in an interview. The larger task will be taking advertisers and viewers along to the new Oprah Winfrey Network, or OWN. Ms. Winfrey right now has a vast audience, many women at home during the day, who follow by the millions her every tip on what to read, eat, wear, and buy. But the new network will be programming 24 hours a day. And Ms. Winfrey herself will face a formidable lineup of evening reality shows. Some, like NBC's 'The Biggest Loser,' CBS's 'Undercover Boss,' or Fox's 'American Idol,' include the inspirational and instructional tales that Ms. Winfrey excels at." (WSJ)



"'I’m going into the big room,' TV host Jimmy Fallon was overheard saying to actor Matthew Broderick last night as the pair left the quaint bar area at the Monkey Bar, in New York City, and headed toward the restaurant’s dining room. But Fallon was likely referring less to square footage and more to star wattage; after all, among the many power players mingling there were broadcast journalist Barbara Walters, singer Bette Midler, CBS bigwig Les Moonves, NBC producer Lorne Michaels, business mogul Tom Freston, hair mogul Frédéric Fekkai, Vogue editor Anna Wintour, CNBC Money Honey Maria Bartiromo, fashion designers Tory Burch and Stacey Bendet, and New York Times columnist Frank Rich. The roster of East Coast–West Coast personalities at the Midtown haunt during the pre-dinner hour read like the extensive A-list acknowledgements section in Jerry Weintraub’s new memoir, When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead: Useful Stories from a Persuasive Man—no surprise, since the cause for celebration was, in fact, the publication of the 72-year-old Hollywood Über-producer’s new memoir, which he wrote with Vanity Fair contributing editor Rich Cohen. The event was hosted by V.F. editor and Monkey Bar co-owner Graydon Carter and talent agent Bryan Lourd." (Vanity Fair)



"I wanted to wait and write about this L.A. court complaint until I had gathered some reaction. First and foremost, Marc Cherry is privately denying Nicollete Sheridan's claims. In fact, his team is meeting today to discuss the situation surrounding what they say is a 'nuisance' suit. Sheridan has sued the creator of Desperate Housewives for assault and battery, gender violence, and wrongful termination, alleging he struck her across the head and face on the set, and, that after she complained, he fired her. But insiders tell me that Cherry's so-called 'extremely abusive and aggressive manner' is grossly exaggerated. What happened is there was a scene in which Neal McDonough, who played Nicollette's husband for the 5th season, was supposed to slap the actress. The way I hear it, during filming on September 24, 2008, Sheridan wasn't reacting the right way. So Cherry was on the set supervising and in that context only he struck her. 'He was showing her on set how it should be played. Ninety people on the set know what happened,' one insider explains to me." (Deadline)



"Gerald Boyd was a classic specimen of the self-made man. Born poor, he worked and studied his way up out of poverty under the guidance of his widowed grandmother. Childhood was work and study, study and work, and though they do not always guarantee success, for Gerald Boyd they did just what movies, books, and professional moralizers said they would do, probably because his widowed grandmother contributed a lot of wisdom, love, and iron to the self-making; and in his early fifties Gerald Boyd became managing editor of The New York Times. This was the second most important job in the newsroom of one of the world's better newspapers. He was the first black ever to reach such a dazzling position in the Times hierarchy, and the gaudiest job of all—the executive editorship—seemed within his reach almost until the very moment he was fired. The firing occurred in the spring of 2003 in a bizarre seizure of office politics, and, as such things will, it left Boyd anything but well disposed toward his former employer and colleagues. He has written a good book filled with ill feeling toward the Times, many of its editors, and a variety of colleagues who turned against him under pressure or simply because they wanted him to fail and be damned. Written during the three years between his firing and his death from cancer in 2006, the book is now published posthumously with the help of his wife, Robin Stone. Lovers of newspaper gossip will find it delightfully indiscreet about self-serving treacheries hatched in the newsroom by people simultaneously engaged in high-minded pursuit of all the news that's fit to print. Times folk, especially of the management class, will not be delighted by his account of their awkward struggle with the race problem or Boyd's suggestion that bigotry was one of the causes of his downfall." (NYRB)



"Traditionally, the President is not on the GQ D.C. Power List, since it is the President, and access to him, that defines power in Washington. As one staffer put it: 'It's all about influence on him.' In keeping with Obama's 'team of rivals' approach to management, every staffer we talked to named the same mix of people as the most influential. Over the seven day period during which we interviewed a dozen or so staffers, the order that people listed Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (2009's Most Powerful), Special Adviser Valerie Jarrett, Spokesman Robert Gibbs and Senior Adviser David Axelrod changed somewhat, but the names never did. It might as well be a tie: The most powerful person in the White House, according to staffers? Rahmalerie Gibbselrod. Those interested in charting the White House's tidal shifts of power would do better to look further down on the list." (Ana Marie Cox/GQ)



"'THY Neighbor's Wife' author Gay Talese, in a snappy hat, and Carmen Dell Orefice, the fashion model, both 78, drawing admiring stares as they exited the Comic Strip." (PageSix)



"Now behind bars at the tough Metropolitan Correctional Center, Michael Douglas' 31-year old son Cameron has enlisted his famous father, grandfather and other celebrity friends to write letters to the judge begging for mercy when he is sentenced on April 27th. Last July, the DEA barged into Douglas' hotel room at the Gansevoort Hotel where he had been selling 0.5 pounds (0.23 kg) of methamphetamine. He was arrested for intent to distribute drugs, a charge which carries a minimum sentence of ten years in prison and a maximum of life behind bars. On January 27th, 2010, Douglas pleaded guilty to conspiracy to sell drugs and also heroin possession - his then-girlfriend tried to smuggle heroin to him in a toothbrush while in prison. His 93-year-old grandfather Spartacus star Kirk Douglas flew from L.A. to visit his incarcerated progeny and wrote to the judge that his grandson was 'always a pleasant guy who cared for others.' Stepmother Catherine Zeta Jones called Douglas 'a caring, worthy human being' and even ex-Knicks coach Pat Riley wrote that Douglas was a 'gentle, fun, affable young man.' Whether all the gushing letters from famous family and friends will help or hurt Douglas' case is anyone's guess. Gossip guru Michael Musto tells to us: 'I think using celebrity cache to influence the justice system might backfire.'" (Vogue)



"What would it be like to live in an art museum? Just ask ad man and TV personality Donny Deutsch, whose art-filled New York City penthouse apartment was the scene of a launch party last night for Sony’s yet-to-be-released gizmo called the Dash ... The intimate event was held in what could only be considered the drawing room of Deutsch’s approximately 6,000-square-foot 'transition' home in the Trump Park Avenue building. (His $21 million townhouse on East 78th Street, purchased in 2006, is still undergoing renovations.) The parlor game occupying guests wasn’t the usual who-can-spot-more-boldface-names competition; no, that was for amateurs. (Though there were plenty of boldface names to be found, among them singer Jon Bon Jovi, New York Times star financial reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin, candy queen and Ralph Lauren offspring Dylan Lauren, model turned fashion photographer Nigel Barker, Cinema Society founder Andrew Saffir, and man-about-town Daniel Benedict.) Rather, discerning eyes tried to identify which artists had cranked out which works dispersed around the room. Our circle discovered pieces by Andy Warhol, Takashi Murakami, Richard Prince, and Jeff Koons—and there was even a Warhol–and–Jean-Michel Basquiat–collaboration canvas (one of fewer than 100 that were supposedly produced). There were also rumors of a Damien Hirst medicine cabinet and a Warhol portrait of Nelson Rockefeller down the hallway to the right of the elevator doors." (VanityFair)



"World domination used to be extremely hard. Music didn't drive the culture and every territory played a different kind of music. Ubiquity occurred now and again, but it wasn't until the Beatles that one sound dominated, that everywhere you went you heard the same records. The Beatles gained that attention and then delivered upon it. Then everybody realized you had to listen to music if you wanted to know which way the wind blew. And MTV was a final victory lap, we were all fascinated by videos until it imploded. Now what? It's like we've got an endless game of Home Run Derby. Played in ever smaller stadiums. First on network, then cable and now the Internet. In other words, we've got plenty of people swinging for the fences and few in the stands paying attention. Where does this leave the creator? ... So how do you get everybody to pay attention? Took the death of Jerry Garcia and Napster to cement the Grateful Dead in the consciousness of the public. Oh yeah, that was the band that let the audience tape, that made all the money on its live show, that's the paradigm of the future." (LefsetzLetter)



"In the forty-five years I spent going to Annabel’s I never once heard anyone say 'let’s go to Birley’s.' It was Annabel’s or Harry’s, or Mark’s, but never Birley’s. Now I read that Richard Caring, the man who bought Mark Birley’s joints, is trying to stop Robin Birley, Mark’s only son, from using his own name for the new club he’s planning in Mayfair. Admittedly I’m a friend of Robin’s, and have never met Caring, but surely one has the rights to one’s own name. Caring says that he’s bound to honor his agreement with Mark Birley and uphold the standards Mark set in his clubs. Well, this is as much of a joke as trying to stop Robin using his own name. I have not set foot at Annabel’s since it was sold, but friends tell me the place now resembles a bad Baghdad nightclub without the threat of IED’s. George’s, where I still go, is overcrowded and the clientele is, for lack of a better word, awful and very downmarket rich." (Taki Theodoracopulos/Takimag)



(image via JH/NYSD)

"I Started out the night at the Four Seasons restaurant where Dan Abrams, Boykin Curry, Celerie Kemble and Jeffrey Leeds hosted a book party for Vicky Ward and her new book The Devil’s Casino; Friendship, Betrayal,and the High Stakes Games Played Inside Lehman Brothers. Vicky, if you didn’t already know, is a perspicacious reporter often featured in Vanity Fair with an eye and an ear for rarefied places peopled by the ordinary craven and greedy. We’ll probably see a lot of books on the subject of Lehman and further on the subject of what are now popularly known in the financial web sites and their mainstream media followers as 'banksters.' Banksters, the 21st Century gangsters ... I have a friend, as I’ve written here before, an heiress of evidently great wealth who casually told me the day after Lehman Brothers closed, that she lost $80 million (in a day) because she owned a lot of their blue chip bonds. Uh-huh. Triple A, baby. They were actually considered blue chip to all those white shoes investment counselors and lawyers and money management firms who bought them for their clients. Eighty gazillion. The only good thing about the story is that when I expressed my sympathy, my friend remarked, “yeah, well it’s not like I went out and earned it.'" (NYSocialDiary)

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