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Archives: January 2013

CNN’s Blitzer, O’Brien Make Cameos in Netflix’s ‘House of Cards’

Though he participated in a well-documented Twitter fight back in 2009 with TWT‘s Emily Miller, it appears actor Kevin Spacey has forgotten who she is.

“I don’t know she is,” he said when asked if we could send Miller his regards at the red carpet premier of Netflix’s “House of Cards” last night at the Newseum. FishbowlDC explained that Miller tipped off the FBI about details surrounding the Jack Abramoff scandal, as portrayed in the film “Casino Jack,” starring Spacey himself. “Oh,” Spacey said, sort of recalling who Miller is. “Hi! Sure. I don’t know what you’re asking me,” he said. Then his handlers moved him along.

“House of Cards” tells the story of Francis Underwood, played by Spacey, a congressional Democrat who wheels and deals his way to the top of the political world. Michael Dobbs, the creator, told FishbowlDC that he wrote the story “as a form of therapy” after having worked as the chief of staff to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the late ’80s.

The Washington news corps. plays a heavy, fictional role in the show, which is based on the original 1990s BBC series of the same name. James Foley, one of the show’s directors, said while working on story lines he’d ask himself whether it would be believable if he saw it reported on CNN. If not, he’d ask the lead writer for adjustments to the script. He also said actual on-air talent from CNN make cameos in the show, including… Read more

Um, Congrats? MSNBC’s Chris Matthews Exalts BuzzFeed Scribe For Being On Show

Wearing a cornflower blue vest that made us ask “Where’s Abu?,” BuzzFeed‘s Andrew Kaczynski appeared on MSNBC’s “Hardball” yesterday. He was on to discuss the “secret donors” fighting against the confirmation of Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary.

Kaczynski tells FishbowlDC it’s a Brooks Brothers vest which he had just received in the mail. He left his sports coat at home but has “no regrets” on the vest.

But more important than Kaczynski’s Prince Ali-inspired garb was the way in which show host Chris Matthews profusely thanked the reporter for appearing on his program.

NYT‘s Jim Rutenberg was also on as a guest. At the end of the segment, Matthews said, “Thank you, Jim Rutenberg, sir, a great reporter for the New York Times.” To Kaczynski… Read more

CNN ‘Starting Point’ Staffers Brace Themselves

The announcement that CNN is totally revamping its morning show and scrapping Soledad O’Brien‘s “Starting Point” has sent shivers through her staff.

Insiders tell us Executive VP Ken Jautz and VP Bart Feder addressed the staff after the show went off the air today. Suffice it to say, the era of Jeff Zucker is underway.

In a nutshell, the execs said they have no answers for the staff and were unable to address most of their questions. Members of the staff were assured their jobs were safe, but one veteran of the changing show carousel at CNN says they would be naive to believe that.

“Every single one of these people should be preparing their resumes and trying to get out of that building as fast as possible,” a network insider told FishbowlDC, explaining that staffers are worried for their jobs. The prevailing feeling is that O’Brien, who previously worked with Zucker at NBC, will end up in another role.

For the month of January, “Starting Point” drew an average of 264,000 viewers. MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” drew 468,000 and FNC’s “Fox & Friends” drew 1.07 million. “Morning Express” on HLN drew 218,000. The broadcast shows (CBS, ABC, NBC) drew millions more than any of the aforementioned programs. In other words, “Starting Point” is behind everyone except its sister network HLN, and HLN is getting close.

Another network insider with a vantage point to this morning’s meeting said it was hilarious to watch Jautz and Feder address the “Starting Point” staff, considering they were two of the main culprits who contributed to the potential demise and dismantling of the show.

From day one, “Starting Point” was in disarray, according to multiple sources aware of the drama going on behind the scenes of the show. It wasn’t supposed to debut in January, 2012, but the decision was made to rush it on the air to coincide with the Iowa caucus. From its launch the show was never fully staffed; all the promises of branding and promotion never materialized; and the constant executive in-fighting over what to do with the show angered its host and staff.

Former CNN Managing Editor Mark Whitaker, who announced his resignation Tuesday, loved the panel format because he desired the show to have the same buzz as MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” But Jautz hated the panel, resulting in it being downsized from 7-9 a.m. to 7:30 to 9 a.m. And when Soledad was off, the panel was only on from 8-9 a.m.

Jautz also detested a single-anchor format. He preferred a two-anchor format, even going as far as focus-group testing Brooke Baldwin and John Berman when O’Brien was away.

So as Whitaker and Jautz waged a constant battle over who would control the destiny of CNN – a scenario set up by then-CNN President Jim Walton when he divided up the duties of Jon Klein when he was canned – “Early Start” and “Starting Point” were ground zero for their battle.

Read more

WTOP Reporter’s Looooong Goodbye

WTOP reporter Mark Segraves, who’s leaving for NBC 4, has written his colleagues one of the longest goodbye notes we’ve seen in awhile. His subject line: “If I had more time I’d write a shorter note.”

Get the tissues. It’s touching and heartfelt.

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The Hill’s Copy Editor Gets ‘Standing Ovation’

In a rare note of public gratitude, a columnist is applauding a copy editor.  The Hill‘s departing copy editor Mike Laws has received a glowing review from columnist and blogger Brent Budowksy. Let’s just say Budowksy probably didn’t have to fight too much during the editing process on this one.

The headline says it all, really: “Farewell with standing ovation to Mike Laws, editor par excellence.” Today is Law’s last day as he focuses on a writing program at Johns Hopkins.

An excerpt from the full piece:

As most honest columnists will tell you, we often look upon editors with a wary eye, always worried that our perfect work will be desecrated by forces from above. Having noted this, it a perfect moment to express my respect and admiration for Mike Laws, a talented and extraordinary gentleman and editor I have worked closely with in recent years in my roles as columnist and Pundits Blogger here at The Hill.

CNN: Which Shoe Will Drop Next?

On Tuesday we broke the news that CNN Contributors James Carville, Mary Matalin and RedState‘s Fox News-bound Erick Erickson were parting ways with the network under the direction of the new sheriff Jeff Zucker.

But who’s next?

We’re hearing that CNN may look at parting ways with Contributors Donna Brazile and Roland Martin, as they appear to have been slowly replaced by pundits who are known as their “black replacements”: civil rights activist Van Jones, NYT‘s Charles Blow and Democratic Strategist Cornell Belcher. CNN avoided using Brazile and Martin during its Iaugural coverage; ABC took advantage of  Brazile’s expertise in theirs.

Should the calls come down, Brazile likely wouldn’t be too shell-shocked. She’s already got a sweet gig with ABC. Martin, on the other hand, has his “Washington Watch” program on TV One and is a senior analyst for the Tom Joyner radio show. The call would allow him to do what his loud and loyal Twitter following has been clamoring for him to do, which is to be able to appear on MSNBC and Fox News, outlets forbidden to him while he has a contractual agreement with CNN. Martin’s contract with the network is up in early February.

 

White House Soup of the Day

The White House Soup of the Day, as reported by MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown”, is…

Tomato Basil.

“Whatever,” said an unusually attitudinal host Chuck Todd. “Not a day for a tomato basil. A day for gazpacho.”

Morning Chatter

Quotes of the Day

Howiella Kurtz (a.k.a. The Hill‘s Judy Kurtz): “Kevin Spacey joking with vertically challenged photog at “House of Cards” DC premiere. ‘What is that, a nostril shot?’” (With accompanying photograph.)

Fox News reporter: Dance for me, then I’ll give you money 

“Man on the street just “sang” me a Jodeci song – then asked for $1 Me: ‘not without some choregraphy’ – which he then performed  #worth $1.” — FNC Supreme Court Correspondent Shannon Bream.

Ahh…what sweet memories.

“A version of this would happen to me nearly every Sunday when Bloomberg did parades. I was less of an asshat, tho.” — Politico White House Correspondent Glenn Thrush. He links to this story on Breitbart.com in which Talk Radio Network’s Jason Mattera gets accosted by Mayor Bloomberg’s security detail for asking a question on gun control.

Meryl Streep as Hillary Clinton?

“39% of Americans would cast Meryl Streep to play Hillary Clinton in a movie about her life. We’d watch that.” — Vanity Fair.

So cute.

“I love that my dad still mails me clipped articles from newspapers.” — Rebecca Bredholt, managing editor, Vocus Marketing, freelance writer, photographer and scriptwriter.

NPR correspondent misses out on deluxe mac n cheese

“Some of you will understand why I just about cried upon realizing Centro in Des Moines does not serve truffled Mac n cheese after 2 pm.” — NPR’s Michele Norris.

A note to Politico‘s cat-loving Patrick Gavin from NPR: “Behind Cute Face, A Cold-Blooded Killer: Study Finds Cats Kill Billions Of Animals.” Read here.

Politico Playbook publish time: 5:22 a.m.

Watch out! “Just downloaded Vine. I feel hipper already.” — WaPo‘s Chris Cillizza.

Memo to reporters whose names bear a vague resemblance to Bylan Dyers and Chyron Welter: Just because you two didn’t CONFIRM news first does not mean it was not confirmed and confirmed by multiple sources. You two, in actuality, RECONFIRMED news that was already broken. I know it’s difficult when someone else breaks news before you alpha males, but next time, try to deal with it more gracefully.

Peter Ogburn and Eddie Scarry contributed to this report.

The FishbowlDC Interview With Roger Stone

Say hello to Roger Stone, the GOP consultant and strategist who is among the more colorful Twitter handles around these days. He’s also an unpaid contributor to HuffPost and writes TheStoneZone, a blog about whatever the hell is on his mind. He shoots from the hip with just about anyone who can stand it. For example, when CNN Contributor and Washington Watch’s Roland Martin recently called him the Pee Wee Herman of GOP Politics, Stone replied, “And your the Sir Mix-a-lot to TV- fat, ignorant and poorly dressed.” When Martin suggested that Stone douse himself in holy water, Stone had a simple question in return: “Who made you God, Fattass?[sic] Eat some more Popeye’s.” Late last night, he sent us his interview with a preface note. It read, “In your inbox, Warning  — ADULT MATERIAL.” When we phoned him this morning, Stone’s voicemail is a dignified-sounding woman with a British accent telling you to leave a message at the beep. It’s his longtime assistant, D.J. Thorne, who has been with him for more than two decades. Asked about being an unpaid HuffPost Contributor, he says, “Yeah, it would be nice [to get paid], but it’s a great outlet.” Writing there twice a month serves a purpose. “When I write, I would like to get beyond right-wing extremists,” he says. “I’d like to have a broader audience. I’m not your conventional conservative. I’m a Libertarian and a Libertine.” Every Tuesday morning he posts on TheStoneZone: “I post on politics, food, something obnoxious. I have a pretty decent following. I’d like to post everyday, but I can’t do it all the time.” His feelings about Twitter: “I love the format of Twitter. You get in, you get out.” He says he tries to avoid fighting and admits he gets a sizable amount of hate mail that he ignores. He points to BuzzFeed‘s Alex Kaczynski as a proverbial thorn in his side. “He insists that my white dinner jacket is wrong,” Stone says. “He’s wrong. If he engages me, as he occasionally does, then I have to respond with the correct sartorial rules.” Stone says it’s okay to wear the white dinner jacket between Memorial Day and Labor Day. “He doesn’t think it’s right anytime,” Stone says. “He doesn’t get the white dinner jacket thing. He never checked with Sean Connery obviously.” Stone also incites people by introducing political disputes into the zeitgeist. “Hillary Clinton constantly lies,” he says. “She’s lying about Benghazi. If I put that up, you get hundreds of retweets. There are certain heavy retweets. If I write about the fine points of Austrian economics, no one will retweet that. No, I don’t write about that. It’s a little dry.” Stone doesn’t just fight online. Stone, who lives in Miami Beach, says he’s currently in a dispute with  WPLG Channel 10′s Bob Norman because I have helped a couple of young men start a new community blog called The Broward Bugle. “They object. They say this isn’t real. 100,000 readers.  Sorry, welcome to the new media,” says Stone. “You don’t have a monopoly on the new media. They’ve gotten a few scoops. They resent the competition. My attitude is get off your dead ass, report the news or someone else will.”

If you were a carbonated beverage, which would you be?  I would be Pellegrino. I’m half Italian. I’m Italian from the waist down.

How often do you Google yourself? Permanent Google News and Blog alert.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor/boss (or vice versa)?  Fuck You.

Who is your favorite working journalist and why?  Matt Labash, Weekly Standard, no one does it like him.

Do you have a favorite word?  Fuck-it’s so descriptive.

Who are you named after and what are people’s general reaction to your name? Named after my father, a well digger his whole life. It’s a good name. Fits on a bumper-sticker.

Who would you rather have dinner with – NBC’s Brian Williams, CNN’s Roland Martin, ABC’s Sherri Shepherd or Fox News’ Megyn Kelly? Tell us why. Megyn Kelly. She’s hot. Roland Martin? The guy’s a buffoon. I know so many other men, black and white, who are smarter, more articulate and better on TV. Why Roland? Besides – a black man in a fuscia ascot ? No.

The Earth’s human population is dying out and you must save it. You will spend a romantic evening with either Scandal’s Kerry Washington, Homeland’s Claire Danes or any of the women from FNC’s “The Five”. Who will it be? (None is not an option.) Kimberly Guilfoil. No Question. Can I have two? Will also take Krystal Ball (MSNBC) for 3-some action.

What swear word do you use most often?  Fuck . Nixon said it constantly.

You’ve just been told the big news: You get to have your own Sunday morning talk show. Who will be on your roundtable? (Pick four journalists or pundits types.) Maggie Haberman Politico, Richard Winger from Independent Political Report, Erroll Louis from NY-1 and Nick Confessore of the New York Times.

On a serious note for a moment, if you could have dinner with a person who has died, who would it be? Napoleon. Born in Corsica, he was in fact Italian, which is why he was able to conquer most of the civilized world. No Frenchman could do this.

When you pig out what do you eat?  Pizza. Pizza is like sex. Even when it’s bad it’s still pretty good ( Stone’s Rules) All pizza is good when it’s 3am and you’re high.

Stone reveals a secret about himself he says few know…

Read more

DC Examiner Loses Features Editor

Katy Lucey, editor of features and Yeas and Nays at the Washington Examiner, is on her way out.

“Guess I should make it Twitter official: After almost six years with the Examiner, my final day at the paper is Feb. 15,” she tweeted this afternoon. “For those curious about where I’m heading, Eric Lucey [her husband] and I are moving to Atlanta!”

Lucey joined the paper in 2007. She is also a graduate of John Hopkins where she received a masters in communications.

We emailed Lucey to find out more about what she’ll be doing. Her response was curt: “My husband and I are relocating to Atlanta. And yes, I finished my masters.”

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