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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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Wired Adds Associate Publisher, BuzzFeed Promotes Nguyen

A couple Revolving Door items for you this morning, involving Wired and BuzzFeed. Details are below.

  • Wired has named Doug Grinspan associate publisher. Grinspan most recently worked at Say Media as VP and US sales and strategic partnerships. He starts October 20.
  • BuzzFeed has promoted Dao Nguyen from VP of growth to publisher, a new role at the company. According to a memo from BuzzFeed’s CEO Jonah Peretti, Nguyen will now oversee “tech, product, data and everything related to our publishing platform.”

Shia LaBeouf Talks Whiskey, Cigarettes and Cabaret

This may be a small consolation for actor Shia LaBeouf, and certainly not what he was aiming for when he started out that day watching the FIFA World Cup at a Manhattan bar. But last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the actor – over the course of seven ribald, hilarious minutes – joined the ranks of all-time great late night talk show anecdotes.

The tale of how LaBeouf wound up in a New York City police station holding cell, admitting that he was in for Cabaret, is more in line with the New York of Johnny, Ed and another one on the rocks. At one point in the story, LaBeouf doesn’t just joke that it could have been Allen Iverson instead of Alan Cumming up there on stage; he runs, hilariously, with that swap-out for the rest of his Great White WTF recollection.

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CNN Debuts Roy Choi Web Series

LA restaurant scene star Roy Choi is now also, officially, a CNN star. His digital series Street Food with Roy Choi has arrived with all eight episodes posted simultaneously. Episode guests include Chef director Jon Favreau, YouTube star Michelle Phan, Beastie Boy Mike D and culinary CNN colleague Anthony Bourdain.

Choi is all over the place these days, getting ready to open an outpost of his fast-growing culinary empire at LAX and recounting his admirable life-rebound story to publications like Men’s Journal:

After graduating high school, Choi wasn’t really thinking about a career. “I still went through the motions of giving a f*ck about my future like a good little Asian kid,” he recalls. He ended up trying coke and crack, falling into a heavy gambling addiction and hitting rock bottom at 24. He tried his hand at investment banking, but still walked in with booze on his breath. After another club binge, he woke up on his friend’s couch to Emeril Lagasse cooking on TV. It was then that he realized that cooking was his buried passion.

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The Road to a Definitive Bob Hope Biography

HopeBioCoverWith advance praise from Tom Brokaw, Dick Cavett, Woody Allen and a hardcover release date of November 4, Hope: Entertainer of the Century seems sure to be one of the holiday season’s most discussed non-fiction offerings.

The author is Time vet and the magazine’s current theater critic, Richard Zoglin. He tells Stay Thirsty Media that the project grew out of both a personal fascination with Hope growing up and research connected to his previous book, Comedy at the Edge, about 1970s stand-up comedy. He’s also pretty sure Hope would not approve:

“Capturing Hope’s essence was the hardest part, because he was such a closed-off guy, difficult for even his closest friends to know. I did my best.”

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Esquire Names Penelope Cruz ‘Sexiest Woman Alive’

Penelope Cruz — the 40-year-old actress known for her roles in BlowVanilla Sky, The Counselor and more — is Esquire’s “Sexiest Woman Alive.” She’s the 11th women to receive the title.

In the accompanying profile, Cruz is described as “impossibly beautiful.” Esquire also notes that “When she walks into a room, men start walking into furniture.” Hopefully she apologizes to them.

Esquire’s “Sexiest Woman Alive” issue hits newsstands October 21.

Entertainment Journalists Wonder: Did BoxOfficeMojo Hit a Paywall?

Normally on a Saturday, entertainment journalists with a professional interest in weekend movie box office grosses would be happily checking the website boxofficemojo.com. But as first noted by TheWrap, since Friday, the seminal industry-stats site has been down.

These same entertainment journalists have taken to Twitter to speculate what might be going on. Although it’s still possible, per an early default message that some saw at boxofficemojo.com Friday morning, that this is simply downtime, in the absence of the PR word from Amazon, IMDb and critical employees, the Friday-Sunday handicapping has turned to a different kind of economics:

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