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Publicists

Handicapping This Year’s Oscar Publicists

Months before media outlets begin providing those printable Oscar ballots to help keep track of office pool tallies, the Hollywood Reporter has shared an equally intriguing scoresheet.

In a sidebar to this week’s print magazine article by Gregg Kilday and Kevin Gray about a high-level split at PR firm 42 West, there is a listing of leading Oscar publicists and the projects they likely will be tubthumping post-Telluride-Toronto-Venice.

Although not quite on the level of the main-article alleged friction between Leslee Dart and departing 42 West partner Cynthia Schwartz, FishbowlLA was struck by the specter of Michele Robertson vs. Dawn Taubin. Robertson could well be handling Warner Bros. titles J. Edgar, from perennial shoe-in Clint Eastwood, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, while that studio’s former head of marketing, Taubin, will be pushing early season favorite The Help.

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The Talent Publicist Who Became a Slamming DJ

When Michelle Pesce relocated to LA from Youngstown, Ohio in the late 1990s, she landed a job at FOX thanks to a recommendation from a powerhouse family friend: actor Ed O’Neill. With such beginnings, it would be logical to assume that Pesce evolved from there to the top of the TV profession. Not quite.

In the end, Pesce’s mentor turned out to be pioneering Salt-N-Peppa member DJ Spinderella. Ahead of an August 3 gig in Youngstown, Pesce recalled via a hometown media outlet how her music mixer career started coming together on the side of a day job as a talent publicist with Wolf-Kasteler:

“Spinderella was shocked I had turntables. Most girls at the time didn’t,” Pesce says. “She mentored me for a year and a half or so and she never charged a thing. She helped me as a DJ and as a female DJ.”

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EXCLUSIVE: How Reelz Got Ten Emmy Nominations for The Kennedys

There are countless examples in Hollywood of a successful film or TV project being rejected by the studios or networks before eventually going on to find a moment in the sun. But in the case of The Kennedys, this is also what happened with Reelz Channel’s PR campaign for the 2011 Primetime Emmys. The total of ten received by the Greg Kinnear-Katie Holmes drama is all the more impressive given the fact that awards season rookie Reelz was forced to do the campaigning themselves.

“We were turned down by some of the biggest [Emmy] PR firms in Los Angeles,” Reelz CEO Stan Hubbard (pictured) tells FishbowlLA via telephone. “We were basically told that we’d embarrass ourselves if we ran an Emmy campaign.”

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Conspiracy Theorists Far From Done with Ronni Chasen Murder

Although the Beverly Hills Police Department has closed the books on their investigation into the November 16, 2010 murder of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen, the many skeptics out there remain skeptical. And not just about the Chasen end of it.

News of a final, new BHPD finding—that the gun used to kill Chasen was originally stolen from a cop in the San Fernando Valley–was first reported last night by TheWrap. But to those commenting on TheWrap piece, it’s not just Harold Smith‘s culpability in the Chasen shooting that seems preposterous. There’s also the matter of how Smith himself died. Says NURREDIN:

I don’t understand why the gun wasn’t ditched after such a publicized murder when the suspect found out who he had killed… The fact that it was a stolen police revolver,and he killed himself with the same gun in front of the police doesn’t pass the smell test. Even a petty criminal would have ditched the gun after he cleaned it… I’d start with who the gun was assigned to,and who the officer was that confronted him when he committed suicide, and if there is a connection between the two. It sounds like a hit to me.

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Hollywood ‘Quote Whore’ Watchdog Calls Out Warner Bros.

God love Erik Childress. The Chicago based film critic continues to keep a close eye on one of FishbowlLA’s favorite topics, the use by Hollywood film studios of so-called entertainment journalist “quote whores” to promote a new offering.

Childress got into some constructive dialogue on Twitter today with a Warner Bros. publicist (@annairblynn), bemoaning the studio’s use of five such individuals to sing the praises of this weekend’s upcoming comedy Horrible Bosses. The culprits, according to Childress, amount to a quintet of critical quackery (try saying that fast, five times):

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PR Flack Forced to Apologize for Duke Nukem Twitter Threats

The Redner Group, based in Santa Monica, is all about procuring media attention for its small group of clients. This morning, it has managed to accomplish that mission in a thoroughly upside-down manner.

Via the firm’s Twitter account, veiled threats were issued Tuesday in the direction of outlets that had published “venomous” reviews of client 2K’s video game Duke Nukem Forever. The insinuation was that those guilty of too atomic a slam might no longer receive advance 2K review copies. This morning, those tweets have disappeared, replaced by the apologies of an admonished (and perhaps soon to be nuked?*) owner:

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Former Hollywood Publicist Tired of the Bumble Stumbles

There’s a very funny blog post today by former big-time Hollywood publicist Bumble Ward (pictured).

The Laurel Canyon resident is fed up with the fact that her first name is a minefield when it comes to dealing with smiley-faced baristas and sickly sweet pastry shop employees. She writes that Bumble has been mangled so often at Starbucks as “Barbara” that her husband now calls her the latter in public, to his great amusement. Meanwhile, earlier today, at the behest of daughter Honor, Ward fibbed when asked by a Sweet Butter Kitchen server for the information, responding with the much simpler moniker of “Emma:”

For most people, “What is your first name?” is a very easy question. For me, it involves elaborate lies, some soul searching, and a huge dose of tamping down the effrontery. Is it my age? Is it that I’m English, that I feel it’s forward to ask someone you’ve never met before their first name?…

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LA Publicist Uses ‘Humperdinck’ as a Verb

We’re always on the lookout for inventive press release headlines, and the following certainly qualifies:

Engelbert Humperdincks His Way to APA

The crafter of this hilarious headline is Elissa Buchter, the singer’s publicist. She tells FishbowlLA that it was vetted and approved by the singer’s son, Scott Dorsey, also Humperdinck’s personal manager. And why not? When you’ve got phonetic power like that, it should definitely be flaunted.

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African American Journalist Rips Image Awards PR Firm

In the wake of the NAACP’s 42nd annual Image Awards on March 4th, disgruntled LA journalist Eric Chambers (pictured) has shared a long, scathing March 11th open letter sent to organization chair Roslyn Brock and CEO-president Benjamin Todd Jealous.

Chambers, producer-host of Saturday program The Jazzspel on The Word Network, bemoans the lack of proper promotion by Fox for this year’s awards show. But his real beef is with the official accreditation publicist for the event, powerful LA PR entity the Lippin Group. Writes Chambers:

The Lippin Group is NNF: not Negro-friendly and in my estimation need some serious diversity training. How does the NAACP hold the biggest black Hollywood event of the year, and the black press not be credentialed? Or just a select few. I’ve spoken to several press members whom were denied and are as hot as fish grease over this!…

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Former LA Sparks Marketing Director Wins Greek Theatre Lawsuit

An LA Superior Court jury has handed down a $3.2 million verdict in favor of Denise Herron (pictured), whose visit to the Greek Theatre on September 2nd, 2009 led to a nightmare of personal injury, job loss, and repeated surgeries.

Herron and her boyfriend were there to see John Legend. But after they were directed to “The Jungle”, a notorious dirt parking lot carved out of a canyon hill in Griffith Park, things went south. All the lights were out; to avoid oncoming night traffic in “pitch black” conditions, Herron followed the lead of other concertgoers by climbing over a fence onto a downward slope, where she fell and broke her leg.

Safety consultant John Muse testified that the condition of this parking lot and callous disregard for patrons’ safety was the worst he had seen in the thousands of cases he has investigated… Denise Minatoya, operations manager for the Nederlander-operated city facility, admitted she had never been to the Jungle at night in the eight years that she has managed the Greek.

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