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LAT in 90 seconds

– Ladies and gentlemen, may we present …the $50 hamburger.

– After a squeaker, its Angelides vs. the Kalifornian. Oddly, people who don’t know what they believe in like Ah-nold: Voters who are neither Republicans nor Democrats view him favorably now, according to a recent Field Poll.

– Mass transit. It’s not just for the huddled masses anymore.

Bisch slapped: Sony stops to smell Kevin’s roses…

We just read Patrick Goldstein‘s excellent column about florist to the Olympian gods, Eric Buterbaugh. A romantic comedy loosely based on his life sold last month to Sony, which will pay Ashton Kutcher $10 million against 10% of the gross for the project, with screenwriter Kevin Bisch getting $2 million-plus to write the script for Columbia Pictures chairman, Amy Pascal.

One thing leaves us slightly agog:

“Pascal sighed. ‘I really like romantic comedies. They’re great fantasies. When they work, you feel so good about the world and life and possibilities and all the things that aren’t really true.’”

Man, Amy. Disillusioned much?

Wanted: Smart blogger. Apply within!

Yes, it’s true, folks: Yours truly has sold out. I’m going to go work for The Man. Or rather, The Men: Time Warner and Telepictures‘ newest venture,, as their industry columnist.rolodex good.gif

This means that we’re looking for my replacement. Might it be you?

Well…Can you, potential blogger, do 6-10 posts/day every business day? Can you write for an intelligent, professional audience and break news while also injecting clever opinion or piercing analysis? Do you have great Hollywood contacts? Do you own a Members Only jacket?whitemembersonlyjacket_2.jpg

OK, forget the jacket: Do you also want to have a lot of fun, gain entree to the inner sanctum of entertainment and media, and write for a relentlessly obsessive, smart audience?

Then write 2-3 posts of up to 250 words each and send them with your qualifications (perhaps even a resume) to jobs AT mediabistro DOT com with “FishbowlLA tryout” in the subject line.

And, may the Fish be with you.

The Onion Movie: It made Searchlight cry…

News came today that Miramax Films is developing a satire with the former editor in chief of The Onion. onion.JPG

Per the Hollywood Reporter, “Homeland Insecurity” will “track the misadventures of two Arab-Americans who are mistaken for terrorists while on a business trip to Texas. Robert Siegel will write the screenplay; he has co-written the script for “The Untitled Onion Movie” for Fox-based Regency Enterprises.”

This of course begs the question: What the hell ever happened to “The Untitled Onion Movie” at Fox-based Regency Enterprises, anyway?

Well, when it got started in 2004, it was to have been a Fox Searchlight release that was co-financed by Regency. You’ll notice its not billed that way anymore, because Fox Searchlight’s Peter Rice wants nothing more to do with it.

Insiders tell FishbowlLA that while 70% of the film was quite funny, the rest was quite unfunny. The more the studio dithered about what to to do about this, the older and moldier the material got. For example, jokes about Britney Spears questionable status as a virgin don’t hold up so well when she’s about to whelp her second pup.
Says one insider: You’ll probably never see it released.

Here’s hoping Disney’s Miramax pulls the trigger on “Homeland Insecurity” ASAP. With the war on terror going so smashingly, we’d hate to see it won before Siegel’s script could even be produced!

Speaking in “Code”: Sony’s Stringer disses American teens

We just finished the trifecta of Howard Stringer articles this week, and have to agree with Nikki Finke: They don’t break a lot of new ground.

But after a windy piece in this week’s New Yorker, Stringer today appears in the Wall Street Journal, defending “The Da Vinci Code.” More, he actually says a few provacative things, even stepping on some toes in an apologia for the turgid Ron Howard movie despised by critics nationwide.bobjay.jpeg


“There is a school of thought that it’s a singularly European movie inasmuch as there are foreign actors and the locations are foreign and the teenage audiences that watch American movies don’t like to work really hard at a movie.”

In other words, American teenagers aren’t going to see “Code” because they’re essentially lazy xenophobes. Funny that they haven’t responded to Sir Howard’s blandishments, non?

Vanity Fair-use? Or plagiarism?

Just when we’d gotten past wanting to retch at the mere mention of another “Da Vinci” plagiarism claim, comes…another plagiarism claim.barcode.pngritratto.jpg

Editor and Publisher today carries word that a chunk of the “Code” was borrowed from a scholarly paper, and two libel experts concur that the “Code” owes more than just a thank you to rival hostorical thriller, “Daughter of God.”


“…two libel experts say they are convinced Brown borrowed heavily from the Perdue book, despite Brown’s recent victory in court. John Olsson, the director of Britain’s Forensic Linguistics Institute, said, ‘This is the most blatant example of in-your-face plagiarism I’ve ever seen. It just goes on and on. There are literally hundreds of parallels.’”

Finally, [VF writer Seth] Mnookin hints that Dan Brown‘s wife, Blythe, may have been the source of some e-mails that most recent plagiarism plaintiff, Lewis Perdue, received from someone claiming to be “Ahamedd Saaddodeen.”

Anonymous emails from someone pretending to be someone else? Has anyone seen Michael Hiltzik hanging around Dan Brown’s place?

LAT in 90 Seconds

Kitson owner Fraser Ross has become a partner in the paparazzi agency co-owned by Jill Ishkanian, the ex-Us Weekly employee currently being investigated by the FBI for hacking into the magazine’s computers and photo files. Ay carumba! It’s enough to make you want to stop paying $195 for a mesh trucker hat.

Now who needs to be terminated? Unions throw their support behind Ah-nold. Oddly, no word of who in Hollywood is lending a hand to the last action hero…

– Why so gun crazy?

Mark Cuban: Being a billionaire means never having to punctuate

Mark Cuban‘s blog today carries an interesting come-to-Jesus sermon for the newspaper business vis a vis movies and TV show advertising”


“Its [sic] expensive to advertise movies or TV shows in either newspapers or magazines. Very expensive Where entertainment is traditionally advertised, you guys know you got us, and it shows in your pricing. The pricing in the Movie and TV sections of print media is outrageous. Which means that every single company in the entertainment business is looking for a way to never ever have to spend a nickel with you again. Our entire business knows we have to spend money with you now, but we are experimenting with every option possible to pull that money from you and spend it elsewhere.”

(Apparently, punctuation is the first thing to go when you’re a billionaire.)

And if they don’t? Um, dont?

“…if you dont start to recognize the problem and proactively create programs that make you DEMONSTRATIVELY more cost effective and impactful than other mediums, you will lose, and lose big. Im guessing this wouldnt be a good time for this to happen in your industries.”

That last line makes us think Cuban has a keen sense of humor, after all.

Days of Thunder Thetans?

What a “scoop” – a week after NASCAR announces its gotten a sponsorship from Scientology, the national press is into it.

It’s an example of how few people follow the American Book Expo that it took Jeannette Wallsretread of a week-old L. Ron Hubbard press release today to make it a national item.

Nonetheless, it’s worrisome: I mean, NASCAR is fueled by ten cent wings and beer and plenty o’ Pepsi to wash it all down; it’s the last bulwark against Middle America checking to make sure its thetan-free. What’s next? Jeff Gordon in the Eight Weeks to Optimum Health car? Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the A Million Little Pieces ride?

LAT in 90 seconds

– “The Pentagon has decided to omit from new detainee policies a key tenet of the Geneva Convention that explicitly bans ‘humiliating and degrading treatment.’”

Under the Pentagon’s new cunning plan, Gitmo detainees will no doubt soon be walking down the red carpet at premieres in front of a phalanx of paparazzi. Celeb photogs will be paid to frantically jockey for position and shout at one another, “Is it bin Laden?! Is it Zarqawi?!” only to finally get a good luck at the prisoner and turn away, disgusted, saying, “Oh. It’s no one.”

– Homeless speedbump queen Olga Rutterschmidt pleads not guilty. Puh-leeze. With this face?

– Hip replacements: The new Botox. Sort of.