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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Terry McAuliffe, former DNC chairman and Hillary friend, emerged from the Arms after midnight. 'No one really was invited' to the rehearsal dinner, he told The Daily Beast. 'Are you crazy? You think we made the list? Who do you think we are? That was just the Mezvinskys and the Clintons.' The excitement had been building all day. Bill Clinton was the first to be spotted on Friday afternoon as he rolled into downtown Rhinebeck, the quaint upstate New York town where Chelsea, 30, is supposed to marry her financier boyfriend, Marc, 32, at a black-tie event at the Beaux Arts mansion, Astor Courts. Bill ducked into less grandiose surroundings—lunching with his brother Roger, at the local restaurant, Gigi’s, where he enjoyed gnochetti with spicy tomato sauce and Tuscan fries, according to Gigi’s chef, Wilson Costa. 'It was an honor—it was awesome,' Costa told The Daily Beast. 'He came in the kitchen and said thank you, then went around and shook people’s hands.' When the former president emerged after lunch, he pumped his fist to the hundred-strong crowd of gawkers, camera crews and journalists, gathered outside the restaurant. People cheered and Bill wore a wide smile, seeming to enjoy his role as father of the bride." (TheDailyBeast)



"Soon-to-be MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell and former New York columnist Kurt Andersen are awaiting word from HBO on the fate of a comedy pilot they've quietly been collaborating on at the cable network. O'Donnell, in Beverly Hills Friday to tout his newly named nightly series The Last Word, revealed that he and Andersen have penned a half-hour chucklefest which O'Donnell describes as being 'about rich people in New York in the age of Madoff.' O'Donnell said the show, inspired by real-life people and events, will 'kind of be about the employers of the women in Sex and the City. Tonally, it's in the same zone; we just move up the elevator a bit.' While he currently pays the rent spouting wise on current events, O'Donnell is no stranger to scripted TV: He was an Emmy-winning writer/ producer on The West Wing. And he's done a little acting, appearing as a lawyer on HBO's Big Love. His new MSNBC series bows September 27 at 10 p.m., and if HBO actually decides to make the show — 'It's actually verdict time,' he says — O'Donnell doesn't think he'll have a problem balancing roles on air and behind the scenes." (NYMag)



"SIXTIES. The Beatles and the British Invasion prove there's a huge appetite for music amongst the baby boomers. An era of experimentation is ushered in, aided by FM radio. It's about the statement. If you want to know what's going on, you buy records and listen to the radio. SEVENTIES. The sixties hang over until about 1973, when the labels are acquired by conglomerates, Lee Abrams programs FM hits and music explodes until corporate rock kills it and disco surges and then they're both dead. EIGHTIES Music is saved by MTV. The power of television eclipses the power of radio. NINETIES. The Tommy Mottola era. You let the media do your promotion. You create two-dimensional acts that are hyped to high heaven by print, TV and radio, driving customers to buy overpriced CDs. No act lasts, but revenue is staggering. 2000 Napster. It's like the train hit a brick wall. Or rode ride off the cliff. And the old players are still bitching about it ... 2000-2010. The major labels bitched themselves into irrelevancy." (LefsetzLetter)



"The chatter about when Defense Secretary Robert Gates will leave the Obama administration picked up again Thursday when the Washington Times published an article speculating that he will retire in April, 2011, after unveiling the fiscal 2012 budget. Predicting Gates's departure is one of the most popular parlor games in Washington. Gates used to carry a key chain with him at all times that ticked down the days until Jan. 20, 2009, when he had assumed he would hand over the reins of the military and return to private life. But with that date long gone, nobody really knows when Gates will leave - including, it seems, the secretary himself. He's taken on some major projects that he wants to see through, and the White House is imploring him to stay because they depend on him to oversee two wars abroad and defend the administration's policies at home. But eventually, Gates will step down. Based on interviews with officials, staffers, and experts, here is the current short list of potential successors, along with an assessment of the strengths and shortcomings they would bring to one of the most challenging and important jobs in the world. Here they are, in no particular order" (ForeignPolicy)



"The Swedish palace has confirmed that dashing Prince Carl Philip is indeed entwined with nude python model Sofia Hellqvist. The two have been dating since January, and the Prince even introduced the knockout brunette to his parents, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, earlier this month. Nina Eldh, a spokesperson for the royal family, spilled the beans on the royal romance in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, saying she found it 'regrettable there are people who want to take advantage of the relationship [Sofia Hellqvist] has with the prince.' Until last year, the Prince was engaged in a 10-year relationship with Emma Pernald, who works in public relations. Miss Hellqvist, in contrast, is famous in Sweden for appearing on the rather randy reality-TV show Paradise Hotel, kissing Jenna Jameson, and posing in Slitz, a Swedish men's magazine." (VanityFair)



"Is a spy drama with two black actors as the male-female romantic leads a revolution for network television? At TCA today, the producers of NBC’s upcoming Undercovers, which is just such a show -- hemmed and hawed in answering the question that really shouldn’t be a question in 2010 but, well, still is. First of all, take note that it is incorrect to call stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Boris Kodjoe African-American players – she’s British, he’s German, and both are of mixed race. But Kodjoe and executive producer Josh Reims both said on today’s show panel that you can’t really step back from the social significance of the casting. At first, Josh Reims, co-creator/executive producer of Undercovers with J.J. Abrams, downplayed the casting, implying that it was almost coincidental: 'When J.J. and I wrote the script originally, we decided we wanted to write it like the [1940 movie] Philadelphia Story, with Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant … but they’re dead so we didn’t hire them,“ he joked. '[We said] Let’s just see every possible incarnation of person [so we won’t end up with] the same people we’ve seen on TV a million times…Boris and Gugu came in, and we sort of knew immediately, these are them. We didn’t go out of our way to say we are hiring two black people to be the leads of our show, but we didn’t ignore it either.' But then a questioner once again pushed Reims to admit to the deliberateness of the casting. 'Why is it so hard to say?' the critic asked. 'It’s not hard to say at all, it’s true,' Reims acknowledged. 'But we were not going to hire two black people because they were two black people. We don’t consider we are revolutionizing TV, at the same time we realize it is a big deal.'" (Deadline)



"Gay Talese, who is himself a scholar and connoisseur of the messy life, tells me about the early ’60s in newspapers and magazines. He remembers people keeping flasks of liquor in their desks, and recalls coming back from lunch one day and seeing one guy with his head flat down on his typewriter. No one touched him for hours, and eventually he woke up. He also recalls copy girls slipping out in the middle of the day with more than one man to the surrounding hotels. 'You didn’t have the word ‘exploitation’ then,' Mr. Talese said. 'And mostly it wasn’t exploitation.' My mother, Anne Roiphe, recently finished a memoir about that same period in the literary circles orbiting the Paris Review. Reading the manuscript I was struck by how much these productive and famous people drank. Today we would dismiss all of these brilliant, narcissistic artists and writers as alcoholics, the word itself carrying its own antiseptic morality, its own irrefutable argument for balance and sobriety, but back then they were simply charismatic." (NYTimes)



"Actor Rob Lowe has confirmed that he is involved with the acquisition of Miramax Films from Disney by Ronald Tutor, Colony Capital and others. Lowe said that he and Colony Chairman Tom Barrack, who is also an investor in the deal as an individual, had recently formed a media fund and this was their first purchase. In a statement Friday, Lowe said: 'The acquisition of a classic brand like Miramax is an exciting first step in my partnership with Tom Barrack and Colony Capital. This represents an exciting new chapter for me. And Tom and I could not have a better partner on our first deal together than Ron Tutor.' Lowe was recently confirmed as a regular on the NBC show 'Parks and Recreation.'" (THR)



"Sources close to the company tell me that CEO Rupert Murdoch is considering creating a new purely digital news venture and would be available through subscription on devices like the iPad. The news play under consideration would aim to redefine how news is consumed in the digital space with an entirely new interactive format. It would neither be a newspaper nor a web site and it would not be derivative of one of News Corp's existing papers. It would incorporate text, photo, and video, and it would be tailored for iTunes app format. The subject matter would be news for a national audience. Dow Jones' Wall Street Journal already has a popular subscription App; the subject matter of this venture would likely be more similar to the New York Post's populist tone. If Murdoch decides to go forward with the idea, it would likely move quickly. Murdoch has a reputation for fast execution and he can draw from a deep bench of executives in both content and digital." (CNBC)

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