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Mike

A fishbowl farewell

Readers,

Today marks the end of my tenure as FishbowlLA editor. Thanks to everyone who read, emailed, and pointed out fair-use violations.

A few final messages/questions for the Los Angeles media community: 1) Why doesn’t someone open a media-hangout-type restaurant across from 5700 Wilshire? You could make millions of dollars even if the food was awful. 2) Will someone please write an article about the weird subculture of non-Korean goth kids who dwell in the 24-hour computer game arcades in Koreatown? 3) Everyone please stop picking on Nikki Finke. Seriously.

In closing I’d like to say this: the people I blogged about were celebrities, surrounded by rumor and fanfare; the places I sat with them, movie lots and monuments. No doubt all of this is not true remembrance but the ruinous work of nostalgia, which obliterates the past, and no doubt, as usual, I have exaggerated everything.

I can be reached at msonnenschein AT gmail DOT com.

(Note: farewell graf cribbed from The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. )

Ron Burkle extorted by Post writer?

Los Angeles based magnate Ron Burkle– who, as we mentioned yesterday may be buying the dozen Knight Ridder papers up for sale– is the alleged victim in an FBI probe of NY Post gossip writer Jared Paul Stern who may have extorted around $220,000 from Burkle in return for not writing damaging stories. More info at our sibling site FishbowlNY. Yikes.

Hollywood Enemy No. 1: France

francemap.jpgLook, I like France. It’s my third-favorite country in Western Europe. Whoops. I forgot Lichtenstein! Okay, fourth-favorite.

But lately it seems like France is really out to get Hollywood, and American mass culture in general. What’s up with that? Consider:

- French court is hearing a flimsy-sounding case alleging that the screenplay for ‘Syriana’ was plagiarized.

- The French government is considering legislation that would break Apple’s cash-cow iPod-iTunes exclusive-download hold.

- Recently, French customs agents seized crates full of swag from the Showtime series ‘Weeds’ at the MIPTV convention in Cannes on the pretense that the paraphernalia promoted marijuana use.

I’m sure there are other examples as well. Note to France: we eat your cheese. Please consume our culture.

Attention gay bloggers! Event tonight

Attention Los Angeles area gay bloggers: Is it just my imagination or is the food at The Abbey actually pretty bad? Also, there is a gathering tonight in West Hollywood for the LA gay blogosphere. Info here. As for you straight or ambisexual bloggers, we have nowhere to send you tonight. It’ll be another lonely weekend, I’m afraid.

This has been another in the continuing series of fishbowlLA announcements of non-commercial/promotional media-related events on behalf of people who ask us nicely.

NBC tries to boost employee morale via celebrity go-karting

nbcfbla.jpgWell, NBC just lost its most valuable daytime asset, and remains solidly in fourth place in prime-time, but at least the network is reaching out to its staff with morale-boosters like this:

From: Mooshy, Rene (NBC Universal, SPS LLC)
Sent: Thursday, April 06, 2006 11:46 AM
To: @NBC Uni Everyone (BU)
Subject: An Invitation from The Tonight Show

The Tonight Show will be covering a go cart race today Thursday, April 6th between Jay Leno and Paul Newman around 5:00 p.m.

The race will take place in the hallways outside of Studio 1,3,5 and the KNBC news studio.

NBC employees are invited to line the raceway for today’s taping.
If you are interested in participating please come to the hallway outside of Studio 1 at 4:45 p.m.

Tony Odriozola and NBC Security will direct you where to stand.

Thank you,
Walter Lewis

Burkle’s bid: $2.2 billion (!)

LA-based Ron Burkle’s bid for the twelve Knight Ridder newspapers for sale is reported to range as high as $2.2 billion, handily beating the valuations of many Wall Street analysts, and equaling about ten times the papers’ cumulative yearly cash flow. Decent money for a supposedly dead medium.

LAT in 90 seconds

- Scrapbooking: like MySpace for neo-Luddites.

- Dr. Phil gets slammed in the ‘Tell’ singles column. Looking forward to the avalanche of inane pro-Dr. Phil letters.

- Over at op-ed, Patt Morrison excoriates that creepy Chris Farley Prometa billboard.

Coming soon: test audiences for trailers?

The WSJ reports on new technology which will allow more specific measurement of the effectiveness of various kinds of ads, including movie trailers. One company, IMMI (rhymes with ‘gimmie,’ I assume) uses technology which– I kid you not– uses peoples’ cell phones to sample the noise around them, and then transmits those samples to a database where they are identified so as to discern what song the respondent is listening to, or movie he/she is watching. So basically it’s consumer research via electronic eavesdropping. (Anthony Pellicano, we have a job for you!)

Anyway, IMMI tested their technology in Sacramento recently and found that respondents “who were exposed to a particular trailer for the movie ‘King Kong’ went to see the film more than twice as often as those who saw an alternate trailer for the movie.”

I guess if this kind of ultra-targeted market research helps save the movie business from economic ruin, I’m all for it. But it still gives me the willies.

KCRW and podcasting: it’s all about the underwriters

kc.jpgI’ve often wondered how KCRW’s giant podcasting initiative related to their overall fund-raising strategy. (By ‘overall fund-raising strategy,’ I mean the pledge drives in which all of Los Angeles is cajoled / flirted with / buttered up and/or guilt-tripped into donating money twice a year.) Wired looks at how podcasting is changing the economics of public radio, and, lo, quotes KCRW general manager Ruth Seymour implicitly commenting on her station’s podcast play:

KCRW general manager Ruth Seymour disagrees [that podcasts increase revenue for programming producers at the expense of local affiliates]. Seymour’s Santa Monica, California-based station was the first NPR affiliate to leap into podcasting a year ago with such programs as To the Point and Left, Right & Center. She says she’s seen few new donations from out-of-market listeners but that the expanded audience helps her sell larger underwriter sponsorships.

She also insists podcasting levels the playing field between big and small stations: “Suppose down there in Las Vegas, they created a smart show about gambling and they put humor in it and it was really interesting and entertaining. And say this thing becomes hot because everybody’s interested in gambling these days. It becomes a podcast and it takes off. It can take the Las Vegas station out into the world in a way that was never possible before. Suddenly, certain businesses may want to underwrite for them. You can go around and say the sky is falling, or you can see it as an opportunity.”

Cool! So if all these KCRW podcasts increase corporate sponsorship, does that mean I can feel less guilty about not donating?

McTiernan-Roven: as the ball rolls

Nikki Finke is now claiming that she’s learned that the dispute between McTiernan and Roven which lead to the alleged wiretapping was a standard-issue industry squabble: McTiernan didn’t want Roven to be a producer on ‘Rollerball.’

As my grandmother might say, Nu? You wiretap for this? Not to mention that, if this is true, I’m not sure what McTiernan and Pellicano were hoping the eavesdropping would turn up to facilitate de-producer-crediting him.

On the other hand, it’s the most plausible explanation so far.

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