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Posts Tagged ‘Kal Penn’

Kal Penn Named Special Correspondent of Fusion’s ‘Midterm Mayhem’

Fusion_TV_2013_logoFusion today announced that actor, producer, and former associate director of the White House’s Office of Public Engagement Kal Penn will join its midterm election coverage as a special correspondent with the launch of “Midterm Mayhem: The Ultimate Political Smackdown.” In addition to its television broadcast, the program will be live streamed.

“It’s definitely possible to be entertaining while having conversations about things that actually matter in the democratic process,” said Penn in a release. “Our political debates generate a lot punchlines and crazy segments, and that’s fun, but we’re hoping to offer some smart, engaging, and entertaining reporting without obsessing over the lowest common denominator. We hope to inspire people to get off the sidelines, get engaged, and wake up on election day and actually vote.” Read more

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Morning Viewing: “Daily Show” Does Salahis

<td style='padding:2px 1px 0px 5px;' colspan='2'The Real Asswipes of Washington, D.C.
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Jon Stewart: “Frequently when we’re away on vacation we hear of distressing news… so when I came back to work today, I was so excited to look under my pillow and see what the news fairy had left me and I was kinda disappointed to find a golf club and some broken glass, and this two idiots…” And so the clip begins.

Also, “Daily Show” correspondent Aasif Mandvi on his invitation to the State Department lunch, not dinner. “I got to meet Kal Penn… again.”

And did you know Jason Jones was there? “I don’t need invitations, I’m a white guy with a tux and a hot blonde wife,” the “Daily Show” correspondent ribbed.

There’s even a special appearance by new senior news correspondent Edward R. Brokaw-Amanpour.

Zac & Claire Do DC

Efron, Danes and Linklater at the Georgetown AMC for a screening of “Me and Orson Welles” and a Q&A.

Actors Zac Efron and Claire Danes were in DC yesterday for a screening of “Me and Orson Welles” at the AMC in Georgetown. Director Richard Linklater joined the stars for press at CBS and WaPo earlier that afternoon, as well as a visit to the White House– with someone who’s no stranger to Hollywood, Kal Penn.

The Georgetown Ritz was the site of the pre-screening red carpet. Washington Life‘s John Arundel, The Hill‘s Christina Wilkie and Mix 107.3′s Tommy McFly all got a few questions in. But it was “kid correspondent” Jocelyn, Susanna Quinn‘s daughter, who stole the show!

The first few rows of the theater last night were filled with teeny-bopper girls for the PG-13 screening. WaPo co-sponsored a Q&A after the movie’s showing with Efron, Danes and Linklater. “Let’s not get hysterical,” WaPo educational reporter and moderator warned Efron’s adoring fans. Americans for the Arts’ Bob Lynch also joined the conversation- this is a cause the actors and director support and discussed with Penn and White House reps yesterday.

This is one of Efron’s first films since “High School Musical” fame. While Danes admitted she wasn’t familiar with his previous work, Efron said he learned a lot from the more mature actress and that he enjoyed the change of pace.

Another Efron, Danes fan? Or maybe just a supporter of the arts in schools? FBDC also spotted WaPo‘s Jonathan Capehart in the screening’s audience.

Though there were plenty of fans staking them out in the Ritz lobby, Efron, Danes and Linklater had drinks there with just a small group after.

Morning Reading List 10.19.09

Good morning FishbowlDC! Got a blind item, interesting link, funny note, comment, birthday, anniversary or anything of the sort for Morning Reading List? Drop us a line.

What we know and what we’re reading this Monday morning…



NYT‘s David Rohde is penning a five-part series on his captivity in Afghanistan and Pakistan and escape from Taliban kidnappers. Part one debuted in yesterday’s paper.


So balloon boy was all a hoax. Police reports cite CNN’s Wolf Blitzer‘s interview with the Henne family on “Larry King Live” that night.

ABC’s Kate Snow meets KISS.

Fox News has apparently fired liberal pundit Marc Lamont Hill.

And TLC is suing Jon Gosselin.


In a radio interview with CBS News, President George H.W. Bush said the tone of the national discourse lacks civility. “I don’t like it… The cables (TV) have a lot to do with it.” The former President also called MSNBC hosts Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann “sick puppies.” (h/t HuffPost)


Playbook:, the network’s news on-demand source for video licensing, lists “Barack Obama Eating” at the top of its list of “Popular Searches.” Yields 108 results, from “OBAMA EATS WAFFLE” to “OBAMA HOT DOG STOP” to “OBAMA EATS MOUSE” (means “mousse”).

Sarah Palin has joined LinkedIn.

Former-actor-turned-Politico Kal Penn has been laying low at the White House. He blogged recently about President Obama’s celebration of Diwali and his restoration of the White House Initiative on Asian-Americans. (h/t Politico‘s Josh Gerstein)


Motion Picture Association of America Chairman and CEO Dan Glickman has said he’ll step down when his contract ends in September 2010. Politico reports Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Rep. Harold Ford Jr., Universal Music lobbyist Matt Gerson, Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), a longtime friend of Glickman’s, and internal candidates Richard Bates of Disney, MPAA COO Bob Pisano and federal affairs chief Michael O’Leary are among the names of possible replacements.

NYT: With the war in Afghanistan heating up, the coverage grows. “It’s like the Baghdad class of 2003 is now the Kabul class of 2009,” Richard Engel of NBC said.

AP: Military leaders in Afghanistan have backed off an attempt to ban news organizations embedded with the Army from photographing or videotaping images of U.S. personnel killed in the war.

Iran has released a foreign Newsweek reporter on bail this weekend after four months.


Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart paid a visit to GWU Saturday for two standup performances.

This Wednesday, come to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to see you fave DC journos embarrass themselves with bad singing. CBS’ Bob Schieffer, Roll Call‘s Shira Toeplitz, Hotline‘s Quinn McCord, Mother Jones’ David Corn, Politico‘s Chris Frates, Politics Daily’s Lynn Sweet and Melinda Henneberger, TPM‘s Christina Bellantoni and TWT‘s Stephanie Green and Liz Glover are all taking part in “Karaoke in the Capitol.”

HAT TIPS: mediabistro, TVNewser, Politico

Morning Reading List 08.25.09

Good morning FishbowlDC! Got a blind item, interesting link, funny note, comment, birthday, anniversary or anything of the sort for Morning Reading List? Drop us a line.

In honor of DC’s Restaurant Week, we’re bringing back a little Patrick Gavin flavor. Photo above- what restaurant did FBDC dine at for lunch yesterday? Send us your guesses and we’ll share who go it right in tomorrow’s Morning Reading List. What know and what we’re reading this Tuesday morning…



Anna Wintour graced David Letterman‘s “The Late Show” yesterday.

VH1 has cancelled “Megan Wants a Millionaire” and “I Love Money 3,” both which featured dead murder suspect Ryan Jenkins.


We’re really hoping NPR keeps this feature… “Dumbest Story of the Week.” First up, the fuss over Michelle Obama’s “short” shorts.

ONLINE managing editor says long form journalism is not working online. (h/t BeetTV)


Readers Digest Association Inc. has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.


The latest in publishing… books without jackets.


What is Kal Penn up to while everyone else at the White House is vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard? NJ fills us in… he “has been given new busywork responsibilities like opening mail and answering Politico interview requests.”

And what do President Obama’s book picks say about him? Slate’s John Dickerson here.


Stars & Stripes: As more journalists seek permission to accompany U.S. forces engaged in military operations in Afghanistan, many of them could be screened by a controversial public relations firm contracted by the Pentagon to determine whether their past coverage has portrayed the U.S. military in a positive light.

HAT TIPS: mediabistro, TVNewser

REVOLVING DOOR and JOBS after the jump…

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Morning Reading List 07.07.09

Good morning FishbowlDC!

Got a blind item, interesting link, funny note, comment, birthday, anniversary or anything of the sort for Morning Reading List? Drop us a line.

Happy Birthday to Malie Krauss– hope you’re still reading out on the West Coast! What we know and what we’re reading this Tuesday morning…



Cell phone smackdown at the NYT. NYO: New York Times editors are now strongly encouraging staffers to quit texting on their company cell phones, avoid using the phones entirely when overseas on assignment and never, ever to call 411 with a company phone.

AP reports bids are due this week for the Boston Globe.


Washington Whispers reports CBS’ Bob Schieffer is playing host to a particularly special Russian student Dariya this summer. Read their story here.


VF‘s Todd Purdum will appear on Air America today at 2:30pm for an interview with Jack Rice. Hard to believe, but his buzzed about Sarah Palin article in VF only hits newstands today.

Casey Kasem is retiring.


TechCrunch reports investor Marc Andreessen is putting money into TalkingPointsMemo.

Clean Skies News- a web-based news group reporting on energy and the environment- will launch an on-demand platform next Wednesday, giving reporters and bloggers a sneak peek inside the newsroom and studio. You can also check out their newly redesigned website here.


Speaking of Purdum’s Palin article- it is a hit for VF, generating just under two million page views in six days, according to Peter Kafka‘s MediaMemo.


In the latest round of Levi vs. Sarah, as described by the NY Post, Levi Johnston may be looking to write a Palin tell-all. According to Page Six: “Until the tell-all is released, though, Johnston is considering “a leading role” in a movie and a possible upcoming TV “docu-drama.”


Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari will face trial in Iran, accused of “acting against national security.” More at Breitbart and a plea from his mother in Newsweek.


More on Kal Penn‘s gig at the White House in TWT… turns out he took the bus to work yesterday and is going by his legal name Kalpen Modi.

From Accuracy in Media: The Cost of Controlling The Press.

HAT TIPS: mediabistro

JOBS after the jump…

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Afternoon Round-Up

Kal Penn has finally arrived to work in DC. WaPo‘s Reliable Source reports today was the former “House” actor’s first day on the job as an associate director in the White House’s Office of Public Engagement.

• Former embed reporters Scott Conroy and Shushanna Walshe appeared on CBS’ webcast “Washington Unplugged” with John Dickerson today to discuss Sarah Palin’s news. They are co-writing an upcoming book “Sarah From Alaska.” Dickerson also filled in for Bob Schieffer on this past Sunday’s “Face the Nation.” Check out the webcast segment after the jump.

Andrea Mitchell anchored her MSNBC show from Wasilla, Alaska today.

• The Examiner’s Yeas & Nays column reports President Obama’s going to Disney World! The Obama robot was recently revealed as the latest in the “Hall of Presidents” exhibit. We think it looks a little more like SNL’s Fred Armisen as Obama than President Obama himself.

Photo from Yeas & Nays.

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The Pre-Parties: Time, Fortune, People & CNN

Pretty star-studded… Eva Longoria Parker, Jason Bateman, Jon Bon Jovi, Kal Penn, Kate Capshaw and Glenn Close.

MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski and Carlos Watson, Time’s Rick Stengel, CNN’s Jonathan Klein, Dana Bash and John King, to name just some of the many jouros mingling around this party.

Time guest Steven Spielberg and Fortune guest George Lucas.

Julia Louis Dreyfus, Bradley Cooper and Jon Hamm.

Demi Moore and Tyra Banks- with Ashton Kutcher in the background. Photos above courtesy of Getty Images.

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer deep in conversation with David Axelrod.

Morning Reading List 04.08.09

Good morning FishbowlDC!

Got a blind item, interesting link, funny note, comment, birthday, anniversary or anything of the sort for Morning Reading List? Drop us a line.

Its day 79 covering the Obama administration and week ten for us. Happy Birthday to NBC’s chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd!

Couldn’t resist this copy and paste from Playbook: Spotted at an Istanbul dance club on “80s dance night”: Ann Compton, Major Garrett, Ed Henry, Catherine Loper, Jen Psaki, Stephanie Z. Smith, Jake Tapper and Chuck Todd. Possibly a bday party?

What we know and what we’re reading this Wednesday morning…



WaPo sports reporter Tony Kornheiser is leaving the paper next month. He took a buyout last year but accepted a one-year contract, doing mostly online content with Mike Wilbon.

Reuters’ Tom Glocer (via NY Observer): “Why does The New York Times need to have 600-700 journalists? Why not 30 journalists with 30 apprentices? Does The New York Times do a good job covering sports? So-so. Do they do a good job covering business? No. How about The New York Times on Israel, FT on Germany and France, which is really good, ESPN on sports and other smaller things coming together on a style sheet every morning?”

In a speech, Google’s Eric Schmidt insisted Google is a friend to newspapers and encouraged newspaper publishers to create more personalized news products that could be delivered effectively on the Web, cellphones, and other devices.

Boston Globe publisher Steve Ainsley addressed the paper’s dire financial situation for the first time to the staff Monday evening. Politico has that memo.

FishbowlNY: In January, the Minneapolis Star Tribune filed for bankruptcy, putting its future in jeopardy. Employees of the paper are fighting back, launching a Web site asking readers to help save the paper.


Could it be that, when it comes to political talk shows, the new slogan will be, “If it’s Sunday, it’s Univision“? In the eyes of the Spanish-language network, it’s a sure thing. “I have no doubt that eventually we will be beating” all other Sunday talk shows, Univision’s Jorge Ramos tells Politico. “It’s just a matter of time.” Look out David Gregory.

BBC America has axed its three-hour morning international news block due to low ratings. The changes to the schedule kicked in Monday without prior announcement from the BBC. The twice nightly BBC World News America, presented by Matt Frei and anchored from DC is popular with audience and will continue to air at 7 and 10pm.

MSNBC’s The Ed Show- TVNewser has the reviews.


“The Joe Scarborough Show” debuts this week on 630 WMAL in D.C. The radio show, hosted by Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski from 10-11:45amET, is up 89% from January to February ’09 in NY in the A25-54 demo, topping WOR at 10amET and lead-in “Imus in the Morning” for the month. Though, Glenn Beck‘s WOR hour from 10-11amET beat Scarborough in the demo.


Go digital or go home?

And on that note, a how-to be a digital correspondent, a la NBC’s Maria Schiavocampo.


From CJR, a look at how long the media coverage at Dover will last.


Laura Bush’s former chief of staff Anita McBride on the Daily Beast: Enough With the Clothes Already! “There’s a lot more to a first lady”s overseas travel than the wardrobe.”

HAT TIPS: Mediabistro, Romenesko

JOBS after the jump…

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‘Kumar’ Leaves Hollywood Behind for DC’s White Castle

Actor Kal Penn is leaving the show “House” to take a job under Valerie Jarrett with the Asian-American and arts communities, according to a White House spokesman (via Sun Times). Penn was active on Obama’s presidential campaign.

Entertainment Weekly has the scoop:

I understand it was your decision to leave House. True?

KAL PENN: Yes. I was incredibly honored a couple of months ago to get the opportunity to go work in the White House. I got to know the President and some of the staff during the campaign and had expressed interest in working there, so I’m going to be the associate director in the White House office of public liaison. They do outreach with the American public and with different organizations. They’re basically the front door of the White House. They take out all of the red tape that falls between the general public and the White House. It’s similar to what I was doing on the campaign.

Will you actually be working in the White House?

PENN: This particular office is in the executive building. The White House has two buildings: the actual White House and an old Navy building called the Old Executive Office.

Are you there as long as Obama’s in office?

PENN: A lot of that stuff is up in the air. This is a relatively recent development.

Safe to say you’re taking a huge pay cut?

PENN: Oh, yeah. There’s not a lot of financial reward in these jobs. But, obviously, the opportunity to serve in a capacity like this is an incredible honor.

How long has this been in the works?

PENN: I’ve been thinking about [moving into politics] for a while. I love what I do as an actor. I couldn’t love it more. But probably from the time I was a kid, I really enjoyed that balance between the arts and public service. I went to a performing arts high school, but I still took a bunch of those dorky political science classes. It’s probably because of the value system my grandparents instilled in me. They marched with Gandhi in the Indian independence movement, and that was always in the back of my head. So the past couple of years I thought about it a little more. And in ’06 I started this international studies program at Stanford, where they actually let you do most of the course work online. So it was something I could do while I was acting. And I thought this might be the right time to go off and do something else. The ultimate irony, of course, is that I love being on House. There’s not a smarter group of people that I’ve been surrounded by in television. So I thought about it for a very long time before I went and talked to David and Katie.

What was that conversation like?

PENN: We had a very long discussion. And I remember David saying, “Are you telling me that you’re unhappy with the show and that you want to leave so you can go off and do a different show?” And I was like, “Not at all. I’m actually saying the exact opposite, which is I’m having an incredible time, but there’s something aching in me to do something completely different and take a break from the acting thing for a while.” And with their blessing, we were able to work it out.

Continued after the jump…

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