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Tangled Web

Rove McManus Captures Footage of a Very Strange LA Backyard Specimen

Last night at Meltdown Comics‘ NerdMelt Showroom on Sunset Blvd., magician Justin Willman hosted the fifth edition of his monthly Web talk show Sleight of Mouth. It’s got a name-brand producer (The Late Show‘s Robert Morton), musical sidekick Billy “Bushwalla” Galewood, a very loose vibe and guests who are always game.

The highlight of Episode #5 was Down Under jokester Rove McManus, who does reports for The Tonight Show and currently films a version of his smash Australian talk show here in LA. At one point, McManus cued up some video footage taken in the back of his SoCal canyon home by means of a motion-activated camera. There were a couple of deer, a bobcat at night and, on the vacant lot next door, “something I don’t think I can prepare you for in any shape or form.”

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CraveOnline Adds LA Production Studio

To help feed an operation that attracts around 54 million unique monthly visitors, CraveOnline has added a 4,000-square-foot green screen studio to its Ladera Heights headquarters. The new facility also features edit bays, dressing rooms and full live-streaming capabilities.

The Evolve Media men’s lifestyles publisher will be using the new studio in May to shoot – among other things – episodes of Clocked Out, TechKnow and The B-Movies Podcast. It’s also going to beam out pre- and post-boxing match analysis in conjunction with Sherdog and RingTV.

The B-Movies Podcast is one of two weekly audio streams co-hosted by CraveOnline film channel editor William Bibbiani and Witney Seibold. The lively pair also do something called The Trailer Hitch, which layers in fun MST3K-style VO on to the latest Hollywood coming attractions.

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Crunching Quantcast’s Latest Mobile Traffic Numbers

When it comes to the Top 50 mobile content destinations in the U.S., a pair of killer “B’s” crown the latest Quantcast ratings (next to comScore, these are generally agreed to be the most accurate publicly available metrics). Coming in at #7 with 4,373,802 monthly visitors is BuzzFeed, while 3,919,244 measured Smartphone/tablet visitors places The Bleacher Report at #9.

A number of listed sites have chosen to keep their profile names “hidden.” For example, if our cross-referencing is correct, #41 is Gawker.

Looking at the rest of the Top 50 group, FishbowlLA is intrigued by the listing’s reminder of the ageless value of the “Hollywood” word-brand. PMC’s ranks 32nd and Guggenheim Digital Media’s comes in 48th.

“Hollywood Life’s audience of millennial women wants to get the latest news no matter where they are or what time it is,” Fuller tells FishbowlLA via email. “That’s why they are flocking to Hollywood Life’s well optimized mobile site in rapidly increasing numbers.”

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Kevin Smith, HuffPost Live Host?

Because Kevin Smith still and primarily uses an AOL email address (!), he is utterly familiar with HuffPost Live and a major fan of the nascent network. From the get-go of his half-hour chat alongside Jason Mewes with Alicia Menendez this afternoon, he kept dropping hints about wanting to be a host himself.

Smith continued energetically banging that drum, leading a producer to tell Menendez in her ear that he was hired. Then, HuffPost Live president Roy Sekoff bounded on set to seal the deal.

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USA TODAY Launches Las Vegas Travel Website

Upon clicking into the article “Best Places to Spot Stars in Las Vegas” on USA TODAY ‘s new co-branded vertical, we noticed something a little different. Next to each menu-page picture of the suggested A-list ambush locales, there is a button that reads: ‘ADD TO MY EXPERIENCE.’

Very clever. As readers make their way through a site that feels a lot like those of and other similar city-centric email blast services, they can build their own travel destination repertoire. This is a good example of how a newspaper can extend itself into the Web, well beyond the paywall-or-no-paywall realm.

And any Vegas Buzz section toplined by articles about topless pools and additional Caesar’s dates for Jerry Seinfeld immediately has both our outdoor and indoor attention. Put it this way: the new Sin City compendium is much more colorful than the blue-dot logo USA TODAY recently plunged into. (It’s prominently displayed on the new Vegas site.)

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The Fader‘s Andy Cohn: ‘Great content first, figure out where it goes second’

With a bimonthly print publication, podcasts and a robust website and online store, The Fader has succeeded as a brand by allowing each of its outlets to have its own style, says Andy Cohn, president and publisher of Fader Media.

“We saw a lot of other music publications trying to become websites and just becoming very busy and very formulaic,” Cohn told Mediabistro for its latest So What Do You Do? interview. “For us, we let our website be the website and let the magazine play to its own strengths, both from a visual — design, photography — and medium- to longer-form journalism standpoint. The approach that we’ve always taken is great content first, and then figure out how and where it goes second. And we’ve always been willing to let our readership play a role in that, because we’re not going to ever be married to one medium.”

For more, read So What Do You Do, Andy Cohn, President and Publisher of The Fader?

Nicholas Braun

How Zócalo Public Square Got Its Start at ‘Snooty’ LA Gathering

Last week, we highlighted Ken Layne’s great remembrance piece for The Awl about humbly launching in 2001 and almost carrying over his pioneering news-blog efforts into print. Now, on the occasion of website Zócalo Public Square’s 10th anniversary, founder Gregory Rodriguez has shared an equally delightful trip down memory lane.

He explains that around the time Layne and Matt Welch were building out LAExaminer, he was happily working on his own stuff and only occasionally venturing out of the house to network. It was during one such rare 2002 sojourn that everything turned:

I wasn’t thinking about that [subconscious need for creative brethren] in 2002 when I accepted an invitation to attend a snooty LA gathering of writer types. I was honored to be a part of the mix, looking forward to some interesting conversations. Instead, a small, untoward comment would wind up shaking me out of my solitary life.

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Inquiring WEHOville Minds Want to Know: Is WeHo News Going Out of Business?

Thanks to a brief but complicated pre-launch history linking Henry Scott’s to Ryan Gierach’s WeHo News, the gloves are always quick to come off whenever these two outlets get tangled up in the same story. The latest example involves an April 1 Gierach exclusive, WEHOville’s quick response and a subsequent WeHo News April 2-3 rebuttal.

The WeHo News articles pertain to some serious business: a West Hollywood city councilman’s alleged misuse of a credit card and Gierach’s accusations that he has been libeled by his cross-town competitor. But there’s also a more light-hearted side-note element that we had to share.

According to Gierach, Scott twice emailed him (in December 2012 and March 2013) to ask whether rumors of WeHo News’ demise were true and offer, generously (?), to cover this developing story. From the 4/2-3 WeHo News item:

Scott has sent WeHo News emails that stated “Rumor going around… that you are no longer publishing. True? If so, care to comment? We’d be happy to do a story…”

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HollywoodLife Enjoys Its Best Month Ever

March was very good to Bonnie Fuller’s PMC website HollywoodLife. The celebrity news destination, launched in November 2009, attracted a new high of 13.9 million unique visitors. To top it off, Monday (April 1) was HL’s best single day yet, with unique visitors cresting past the one-million mark.

The March 2013 numbers represent a 60% increase over the same period last year. Also intriguing is the fact there was no “major” celebrity news event last month around which traffic coalesced. Rather, HollywoodLife editors tell us the site was stealthily visited by young readers on the hunt for famous-people and famous-fashions tidbits.

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Tom Leykis Celebrates a Year of Online Merriment

It was exactly one year ago that, free of a five-year CBS Radio contractual hold, Tom Leykis set out to became a master of the online universe.

Reflecting on his one-year anniversary, the former KLSX afternoon drive king makes no bones about the fact that it has all been very experimental:

We didn’t know if it would last six months when we started. We didn’t know if the stream would be dependable for a large audience. We didn’t know if there would even be a large audience.

And yet, when the first year ended, we had worked about 50 weeks out of 52, the most I’ve worked since 30 years ago in Albany, New York. When I was at Westwood One and CBS Radio, we worked about 45 weeks most years with seven weeks of vacation and holidays.

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