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Letterman Cue-Card Holder Details Sudden, Sorry Exit

On Thursday, October 9, long-time Late Show cue-card holder Tony Mendez grabbed writer Bill Scheft by the shirt collar at the beginning of the work day. He was immediately expelled from the premises and on Monday, October 13, informed by executive producer Rob Burnett that he had been terminated.

On Friday, October 17, Sheft returned to the Ed Sullivan Theater, telling co-workers he is suffering from PST, and today, thanks to the New York Post‘s Gary Buiso, everyone is talking about this. In an interview that is remarkably candid and perhaps a little foolish, given the fact that Mendez could face legal action from 57-year-old Scheft, the 69-year-old ex-employee talks about everything. How his relationship with Scheft was, for a long time, fractious. And how he had carved out a unique way of communicating with the boss:

On Wednesday, October 8, the three [Mendez, Scheft, Letterman] were rehearsing in Letterman’s backstage digs when Mendez said he reacted to one of Scheft’s interruptions, telling him, “I know what I’m doing. Get off my back.”

But suddenly Letterman growled, “Tony, your sour disposition isn’t helping,” Mendez recalled.

“‘You’re the one who has the sour disposition, motherf–ker,’” Mendez snapped back.

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Mediabistro Course

Personal Essay Writing: Master Class

Personal Essay Writing: Master ClassStarting October 21, work with the senior editor at Marie Claire magazine to polish and publish your essay! Whitney Joiner will help you to develop your voice, narrative, and identity, draft your pitch, and decide where to market your essay. Register now!

Anatomy of a Daily Mail Article

dailymailonline200It’s not every day that we come across a journalist resume with the heading ‘Freelance Writer, Pastry Chef.’ Then again, when the resume belongs to the author of a mind-boggling Daily Mail puff piece, it makes perfect sense.

Jennifer Pearson is part of the army of MailOnline contributors tasked with tapping out content at the paper’s multiple LA offices. After taking a look at a photo of Katie Couric waiting for a plane at JFK, she came up with this:

The 57-year-old journalist cut a casual figure in faded, cuffed dungarees, plain white T-shirt and a black leather jacket as she pored over her handy iPhone, most likely reading messages, news and other pertinent information.

It must have been interesting reading because Katie’s attention was undivided and her face set in concentration.

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Ahead of Guardian Expose, Whisper Rewrites Terms of Service

Want to read a most acute spark for a corporate PR crisis?

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Here it is, from an investigative report shared today by Guardian reporters Paul Lewis and Dominic Rushe:

Approached for comment last week, Whisper said it “does not follow or track users.” The company added that the suggestion it was monitoring people without their consent, in an apparent breach of its own terms of service, was “not true” and “false.”

But on Monday – four days after learning The Guardian intended to publish this story – Whisper rewrote its terms of service; they now explicitly permit the company to establish the broad location of people who have disabled the App’s geolocation feature.

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Derek Jeter Gets a Donald Sterling Scoop

PlayersTribuneLogoIf this any indication of the kind of content The Players’ Tribune will be publishing, folks at Grantland and such may want to start worrying.

Under the simple, stark headline “The Boss,” LA Clippers star Blake Griffin shares some candid thoughts about his team’s disgraced former owner. The All-Star begins by recalling his awkward first encounters with Sterling at one of the billionaire’s annual “White Party” dress-up celebrations in Malibu. Then, he tracks back to this:

When I knew the Clippers were drafting me, the first thing I did was type Donald Sterling’s name into Google. The first hit that came up was “Donald Sterling is a racist.” I read an article on how he didn’t want minorities to live in his apartment buildings. My first thought was, Wow this guy is really, really a racist… How is he an owner of an NBA team?

My second thought was, Wow, these articles are from 2003 and 2008. I guess everybody already knows about this stuff and just doesn’t care.

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AP Adds Another Film Writer

Lindsey BahrStarting next month, New York-based AP film writer Jake Coyle will have a new partner in cinematic crime.

Lindsey Bahr, who will be based in Los Angeles, is coming over to the wire service from Entertainment Weekly. From this morning’s announcement, tipped to ABC News:

Bahr, 30, has reported on all facets of the film business at EW, including the Oscars and other major award shows, film festivals, breaking news, trend stories, talent profiles and box office analysis. She also reviewed movies and contributed to EW‘s video, photo and Sirius XM radio formats.

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World Rejoices as Neil Patrick Harris Agrees to Host Oscars

Get ready for a truckload of celebrities-tweeted-this news stories. Because Neil Patrick Harris was just announced as host of next year’s Oscars.

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As The Hollywood Reporter reminds, this man’s golden statuette pedigree is unimpeachable:

He’s hosted the Emmy Awards twice and the Tony Awards four times, winning four Emmys for his Tony shows.

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The Long Lineage of Garry Marshall and The Medill School

When Garry Marshall recently guested on Late Night with Seth Meyers, he joked with the fellow Northwestern alum that his comedy writing days began when he was sports editor for the school’s newspaper. The football team was so bad, Marshall recalled, that it became a matter of article ledes like, ‘By the time “The Star Spangled Banner” was over, the team was 14 points behind.’

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Marshall has been busy talking up Billy & Ray, a play about the collaboration of Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler for the filmmaker’s 1946 classic Double Indemnity. Directed by Marshall and written by WABC-TV editor-producer Mike Bencivenga, it’s in previews through October 20 at the Vineyard Theatre in Union Square.

The Medill School also came up during Marshall’s conversation with American Theatre magazine editor Suzy Evans. This time, a little more formally:

“I went to the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern, which is a great school — I learned a lot, but mostly I learned how to meet a deadline. So I’m never late. My three kids went to Northwestern, and it was the highlight of my life just a month ago when my first grandchild, Charlotte, started at Northwestern. She’s in media studies. She’s a whiz on the Internet. I don’t even have a computer.”

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HBO to Launch Stand-Alone Streaming Service

hboAfter years of watching Netflix gain popularity, HBO has finally decided to fight fire with fire. The network has announced it’s launching a stand-alone streaming service next year.

“We will work with our current partners,” HBO’s CEO Richard Plepler said, in a statement. “And, we will explore models with new partners.  All in, there are 80 million homes that do not have HBO and we will use all means at our disposal to go after them.”

Plepler didn’t give many details about the service. Instead, he described it as “over-the-top” and insisted “It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO.”

The man is a goddamn hero.

Brian Williams for the Parrot Win!

There are all sorts of funny newspaper reports about this very funny Southern California parrot story. Then there’s the short, sweet summary offered up by a certain Nielsen-ratings-restored NBC Nightly News anchor.

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Report: Yahoo Beauty Duo Hate the Color Purple

Hmmm. We have a couple of problems with today’s New York Daily News item about Joe Zee and Bobbi Brown’s alleged objections to the Yahoo shade of purple.

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Firstly, there’s actually not that much of it at the Yahoo Beauty end. Secondly, while some sort of discussion about the color purple on Yahoo conjuring up the site’s tech origins seems reasonable enough, the hyperbole here does not:

“A particular sticking point for both of them is the overuse of purple on the site,” said our insider. “It looks so old-fashioned. They’ve been trying to get (Yahoo!) to change it and they’ve had huge fights about that and general aesthetic problems.”

A stripe of the color, along with the site’s famous logo (also in purple), follows readers as they move through the pages.

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