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Posts Tagged ‘Tom Shales’

Live From New York Expanded with Addition of Political Interviews

51FvM1SwmZLThe 2002 oral history of Live From New York by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales will see a new edition, slated for a September 1 publication. The Hollywood Reporter secured several of its politically-focused excerpts, written since it’s original publication in 2003.

The new release features 200 added pages penned by SNL cast, writers and guest hosts, including Tina Fey and the 2008 vice presidential candidate she portrayed, Sarah Palin.

On segments pertaining to the 2008 election:

Lorne Michaels, executive producer: ”We were contacted by, I think, Howard Wolfson from Hillary [Clinton's] campaign, and they wanted to do the first show of the season. [Barack] Obama was heating up, but they called first, so I said OK. You have to play by those rules. And then, the week of, they bailed. I went, “Really? You called us, and we gave it to you.” I think every now and then I get carried away and think we actually do have influence. And then, after that, we put Obama on the date when Hillary was supposed to be on. The sense of entitlement which was following her everywhere at that point peaked for me at the bailing.”

On political impersonations:

James Downey, producer-writer: ”If I had to describe Obama as a comedy project, I would say, “Degree of difficulty, 10 point 10.” It’s like being a rock climber looking up at a thousand-foot-high face of solid obsidian, polished and oiled. There’s not a single thing to grab onto — certainly not a flaw or hook that you can caricature. [Al] Gore had these “handles,” so did Bush, and Sarah Palin, and even Hillary had them. But with Obama, it was the phenomenon — less about him and more about the effect he had on other people and the way he changed their behavior. So that’s the way I wrote him.”

Check out THR’s piece on it here.

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Did WaPo’s Shales Quit on Facebook?

After a cryptic post by Tom Shales, referencing “December 31st” and being “over-and-outta here,” appeared on Washington Post chairman Don Graham‘s Facebook wall yesterday, suggested that WaPo‘s longtime TV critic may be quitting the Post.   Sources tell FishbowlDC that there have been rumblings that he is unhappy with Hank Stuever‘s recent promotion to WaPo‘s main critic – a transition that redefined Shales as a columnist. According to sources inside the newsroom “there is still a struggle over who reviews what.”

When reached for comment, a WaPo spokesperson told FishbowlDC, “Tom has been on contract since he took the buyout and he is still on contract.”

See TBD for the mysterious wall post.

Good Morning FishbowlDC Readers

Quote(s) of the Day


Erikson on fashion

“Rep. John Conyers [D-Mich.] is on “The Ed Show” wearing a tux jacket with satin lapels…so bizarre.”
-’s Erik Erikson, who is also a CNN Contributor, on Twitter Wednesday.

Outrage for Shales

“It’s not like he goes easy on guys; the man is a misanthrope. But it’s the way he goes after women that’s offensive, and I don’t understand why it’s tolerated.”
- Politics Daily Editor-in-Chief Melinda Henneberger in a Tuesday Facebook quote regarding WaPo‘s Tom Shales‘s review of ABC’s “This Week” with Christiane Amanpour.

Journo weighs math on Levi & Bristol

“I’m aware that Bristol and Levi broke up. I’m not putting it in @yeasandnays because, by the time the paper prints, they’ll be back together.” – Washington Examiner‘s Nikki Schwab on Twitter Tuesday.


WaPo’s Shales Calls Meacham ‘Pompous and Dreary’


WaPo’s Tom Shales was online earlier today chatting harshly on a range of topics. They included Betty White’s SNL appearance (he loves her), PBS host and Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham (he can’t stand him) and seeing Rue McLanahan naked (we’re not sure where he is on this one, but he thinks she’s the weakest of the Golden Girls).

On Meacham:
Need to Know: Do you think part of the problem with the show (also called “Need to Know”) is that Jon Meacham is kind of a pompous guy?
Shales: Pompous? yes. And dreary.

Shales said Meacham looked like he’d been “left out in the rain” while his co-host and NPR veteran Alison Stewart “looked as though she would have been more comfortable in Clinton’s lap.” (This would be former President Bill Clinton, the show’s debut interview.) More Shales’ thoughts on Meacham’s PBS show here in a May 11 post.

On seeing Rue McLanahan in the nude:
Shales: Ah, great details! I have seen Rue naked. No, not at my house. She posed a la Marilyn Monroe for a nudie pin-up before she decided to work in television. Naughty-naughty! I don’t think the nude photo ever really hurt her career. I thought she was the weakest Golden Girl – I mean, the character was so over-drawn, all that sex talk (why I found it embarrassing!!! – hey, I sound like I’m older than Betty White)…

Read the entire conversation here.


Friedman Praises ABC, Warns CNN of Loss

Christiane Amanpour.jpg Whatever you think about CNN, ABC and the decision for Christiane Amanpour to host “This Week,” there’s no doubt it’s causing a stir.

Yesterday we had WaPo’s Tom Shales knocking the choice of Amanpour for host, today we have MarketWatch’s Jon Friedman praising ABC’s choice and informing CNN of its loss.

Friedman assesses the personalities of CNN’s talent:

John King: hardworking, earnest
Anderson Cooper: displays empathy
Candy Crowley: authoritative

Read Friedman’s piece here.

ABC Fires Back at WaPo’s Tom Shales

WaPo’s TV critic Tom Shales believes the sky will fall for ABC’s pick of Christiane Amanpour for host of “This Week”. And ABC is firing back. Hard.

The more negative Shales is, the more positive ABC says it is about its choice. ABC Senior V.P. Jeffrey Schneider told FishbowlDC: “There have always been all kinds of fretful ink spilled about decisions we’ve made that ultimately turn out quite well for ABC News. If we are being accused of hiring one of the most well respected journalists in the world we proudly plead guilty and are looking forward to having Christiane focus her considerable talents on the Sunday morning landscape.”

ABC sees Shales as a Chicken Little. He doubted that George Stephanopoulos should leave “This Week” for “GMA”. He wrote that “Nightline” would fail after Ted Koppel. And now, in Shales’s column today, he boldly predicts that ABC will reverse its Amanpour pick and “come up with another nominee for the job.”

An excerpt:
Giving Amanpour the “This Week” job seems like one more bitter pill for ABC professionals to swallow, even as they overdose on all the others they’ve been forced to gulp down. After artfully orchestrating a smooth transition from Charlie Gibson to Diane Sawyer on ABC’s “World News,” Westin now seems to have ended his winning streak with a resounding clunk.

Read Shales’s entire column here.

WaPo’s Shales Picks Barbara

barbara_walters-1.jpgWaPo’s TV columnist Tom Shales has advice for ABC’s “This Week” on whom to hire in what is fast becoming a gaping hole in Sunday morning political talk shows.

He writes: “Barbara Walters – so long considered [Diane] Sawyer’s nemesis and vice versa – had such a good time Sunday morning as host of “This Week” that the gig should be hers for keeps, if she wants it, which she probably doesn’t.”

Shales called the performance a “brisk and electric” hour of TV. His one critique is her holding up her own Cosmo spread (the same issue as Massachusetts GOP Sen. Scott Brown’s naked picture) — Shales believes it would have only been relevant had Walters also appeared nude.

Read the full story here.

Good Morning FishbowlDC

1086_Goldfish_300dpi_smcopy.jpgQuote of the Day

“Whom did he sound more like — Mary Poppins on the joys of a tidy room, or Ron Popeil on the glories of some amazing potato peeler?”
WaPo’s Tom Shales on Fox New’s Brit Hume’s advice to Tiger Woods on Christianity as the solution to his problems.

Read Shales’s full story.

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Morning Reading List 11.10.09

Good morning FishbowlDC! Sesame Street is coming to DC… in celebration of the show’s 40th anniversary, Union Station will display an exhibit called “Sesame Street: The Longest Street in the World.” Kick-off party with Elmo and Telly tonight.

Happy Birthday to Glenn Ballard! And happy three-year anniversary to Pamela’s Punch! Pamela Sorensen will celebrate with friends and loyal readers tonight at Hudson Restaurant.

Zac Efron and Claire Danes are in DC for a meeting at the White House today and to promote their new film “Me and Orson Welles.”

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



More today on TWT‘s shake-up.


The rise of the I’ve-been-on-TV profile picture.

WaPo‘s Tom Shales on ABC’s George Stephanopoulos‘ speculated move to “GMA” mornings: Will host switch horses as ‘Week’ gains ground?

Watch: Wolf Blitzer knows marijuana when he smells it.


According to an internal C-Span email obtained by TPMDC, the network’s website served up 201,741 live streams of the House debate of the health care reform bill Saturday, the highest online viewership C-Span has seen since President Obama was inaugurated in January.


New York Magazine profiles Andrew Ross Sorkin.


Meghan McCain on The Daily Beast: “…The media’s constant bullying of women leaders is scaring young women away from politics.”


ABC has posted the full transcript of Jake Tapper‘s interview with the President yesterday.


CQ-Roll Call Group and Political Wire’s Taegan Goddard will host an “Early Election Preview” next Tuesday from 8:30am-10:30am at the Columbus Club at Union Station. Register here.

HAT TIPS: mediabistro, TVNewser, Politico

Morning Reading List 10.16.09

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.

Congrats to WUSA’s Lindsey Mastis, who announced on her blog that she’s engaged to her boyfriend of six years, Patrick.

Tweet-of-the-day: @jackieraytapper: @thenote just know i have more followers than several journalists and some pols — and i just pooped my pants.

What we know and what we’re reading this rainy Friday morning…



Massive cuts at Gazette newspapers. Check out the memo to staff here.

Philip Anschutz, new owner of the Examiner, is paying a visit to DC. Politico: What is he looking for?


Roland Martin was named “Broadcaster of the Year” by Rainbow PUSH Coalition. He’ll be presented with the award by Rev. Jesse Jackson at the 10th annual “Creating Opportunity” conference in Atlanta.

Who are some of DC’s TV newsers favorite guests? Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Jon Stewart are among their picks.

MSNBC will air an encore presentation of Keith Olbermann‘s program-length Special Comment on health care tonight.

CNBC’s John Harwood had an exclusive with Larry Summers yesterday for “The Kudlow Report.”

WaPo‘s Tom Shales on NBC’s possible “Comcastic” deal.

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer filled in on “Larry King Live” last night, where he had an exclusive interview with the Henne family, during which Falcon said, “We did it for the show.” Hmmm…

@McCainBlogette: “I would like to thank CNN for running a special segment on my twitphoto drama, you guys are #3 in the ratings for a reason.” Ouch. CNN’s segment on McCain’s twit-photo drama here.

And one more CNN note… The network will, going forward, disclose contributor Alex Castellanos‘ ties to America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), according to NYT.


E&P: Yahoo, CNN and MSNBC still topped the chart, but in one surprising shift The Huffington Post surpassed in unique users in the month of September, new data from Nielsen Online reveals.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) will join C-SPAN’s Newsmakers webcast.


Author-in-chief? GQ‘s Barack Obama’s Work in Progress.


CJR announced its four “Encore” Fellows- the fellowships, first of its kind, “provide downsized professionals with a writing position as well as support to help them choose how best to use their experience in the years ahead. Their work will be featured in the magazine and on over a nine-month period beginning in late October.”

HAT TIPS: mediabistro, TVNewser, Politico