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Archives: January 2005

Weinraub Says ‘Ciao, Baby’

Bernard Weinraub’s farewell piece in yesterday’s New York Times is full of great cameos, among them Jim Carrey, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Michelle Peiffer, along with a poignant tale about Julia Phillips confiding to Weinraub on her deathbed. Weinraub also confesses that a) he should have left the movie beat as soon as he started going out with Amy Pascal and b) he drives a Range Rover.

How much is that contributor in the window?

We don’t know how much Peter Biskind gets paid to write for Vanity Fair. Or Fran Lebowitz. Or Sebastian Junger. Or Michael Wolff. But we can guess.

In the latter’s case, we’d say somewhere between $19.80/word and $39.60/word (30,300 words written in the last 10 months). And we’d guess that’s probably higher than “the very expensive words of Edwin John Coaster,” who, were he a real contributor, with, say, a $50,000/year contract (3,150 words written in the last 12 months), would have made $15.87/word.

How do we know? Read more:

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Stephen Glass, Raconteur

glass.jpgOn Friday night, disgraced journalist Stephen Glass performed at the UnCabaret Say The Word night at the Skirball Center.

After being introduced by MC Beth Lapides as a “wonderful and infamous writer,” he told two anecdotes from his life: the first, about a psychiatrist he started seeing “around six years ago” (in other words, when his fabrications at The New Republic were unearthed); the second, about his dog Eugene, who has a giant penis and loves to masturbate. (Seriously, that’s what it was about.)

Glass was dressed like a television writer trying just a little too hard to be hip: black Converse-ish sneakers, aggressively baggy khakis, a T-shirt festooned with an image of a cannon.

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Esquire officially kills the celeb interview.

cleavage.jpgYou knew it was only a matter of time before what Esquire refers to in its most recent issue as the encroaching pornocratization of our entire culture finally polluted august publications such as…Esquire itself. The result is the swift demise of the celebrity interview.

We mean, it must be, because the Scarlett Johansson cover and article that goes with it could hardly be any more pornocratic: While Ms. Johansson’s baby-doll pout and massive cleavage sell the book, an unrelated Tom Junod story inside goes to great pains to explain how the flames of the conservative/liberal culture wars are stoked by pornography, itself a numbing cultural agent, which is not to be supported. The Johansson article includes such tidbits as why she would like younger men to try to seduce her, rather than older creeps who are currently trying. Fabulous. Wait, wasn’t it Junod who – a few issues back – decried the ascendancy of the new female pornocratic type known as an “oven stuffer?” We think so.

Therefore, in a world where you can no longer tell the cover or content of Esquire apart from FHM or Stuff, Fishbowl herewith suggests next month’s cover. Why bother with the face? It’s merely distracting. Just feature the cleavage and have Junod interview it, waxing sentimental about the days before the laddie impulse turned gentlemen’s mags into uncritical agents of pornocratization. Perhaps it’ll have something interesting to say.

Welcome to the center of the universe

aquarium2.gifWhat do you mean, it’s not the center of the universe? We have no idea what you’re talking about. Why? Because we live in a fishbowl. Intentionally. So you don’t have to.

fishbowlNY is a gossip blog devoted to New York media—every last status-obsessed incestuous self-referential bit of it!

We’re far too passive-aggressive modest to ask you for anything directly, but if, by chance, any of the following were to mysteriously land in our inbox, we’d be exceedingly grateful:

· Internal memos – any old internal memo will do. Firing and hiring memos, desk-cleaning memos, no-sending-internal-memos-to-bloggers memos…
· Near-memos and paper trail evidence of any sortAllure meeting minutes, discarded Post-it notes from NBC, postcards from Ron Galotti, book party guest lists, unusual responses to pitch letters…
· Questionable expense reports – Or rumors of questionable expense reports.
· Seemingly innocuous information suitable for dissection and overanalysis – We’ve actually set up a special category for this. It’s called, not surprisingly, “Seemingly Innocuous Information.” However you choose to interpret that is probably fine with us.

Send to elizabeth AT mediabistro DOT com or christian AT mediabistro DOT com.

spitballs2.jpgWe’re told that a certain editor at The New York Observer used to bellow, “You can’t shoot spitballs at the Manhattan power elite if you don’t know who they are!” to newbies who, say, failed to distinguish between “Punch” and “Pinch” Sulzberger. We don’t know if it’s true, but we like it, so we’re stealing it. FishbowlNY: Because you can’t shoot spitballs at the media elite if you don’t know who they are!™

RACHEL SKLAR is a freelance writer based in New York. She has contributed to The New York Times, The New York Post, The Village Voice, Glamour, The Financial Times and numerous publications in her northern homeland of Canada. She writes the “Channeling” TV column for The Chicago Tribune’s RedEye and is the author of A Stroke of Luck: Life, Crisis and Rebirth of a Stroke Survivor (with Howard Rocket, 1998). Prior to freelancing full-time she was a corporate lawyer in New York and Stockholm, where she never learned to like herring.

ELIZABETH SPIERS is the editor-in-chief of Prior to mediabistro, she was a contributing writer and editor at New York magazine. She was previously the founding editor of, a Manhattan gossip weblog. She has also written for, Radar, Black Book, The Face, The New York Times, and The New York Post, including Page Six.

CHRISTIAN MOERK cut his teeth as a reporter for Variety in New York and as film editor for Daily Variety in Los Angeles. He also served as a production executive at Warner Bros. Pictures before returning full-time to writing. He was also a senior correspondent for the late, lamented A graduate of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, he now contributes to the New York Times and is at work on his third novel.

Thank You for Stopping By

Welcome to Fishbowl LA. This blog will explore the nexus between gossip and social analysis. For instance, I will be posting things like What Peter Bart Ate For Breakfast Today. But I will also be eavesdropping on people in Whole Foods, from which I will derive insights on how we live. In addition, there will be contests. You may win a T-shirt.

Meanwhile, if you know what Peter Bart ate for breakfast today, please email me. Because he doesn’t take my calls. Thank you.

Flatbush traffic smackdown: Brooklyn street justice

NYC_Finance_Dept_logo.gifWhen Fishbowl first heard the news this morning that New York’s own Don Quixote had decked a traffic cop who wouldn’t let him pull his car over for just a second after a traffic accident moments earlier, we sat in a restaurant in the snowbound half of the city and cheered: State Senator Kevin Parker had apparently also crumpled the ticket and thrown it in the officer’s face. You soulless, poorly named Dept. of Finance, take that!

The only newspaper inside Vinny’s Pizzeria was the Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill Courier, which told the story broken several days earlier by the big tabs. Still, for all the talk among larger dailies about wanting to do more “local news” and keeping up “our responsibility to all five boroughs,” this little, poorly edited and still scrappy weekly has consistently covered the ongoing IKEA colonization of Red Hook (hey, it’s right next door). Every week, its sub-staffed reporters come back with the story: Construction code violations, asbestos, the lot. Now all we need is to get Rev. Al to stay the hell out of this story, please. Everything’s fine.

Dick Cheney vs. his new parka

parka.jpgWe’ll refrain from joining the press pack currently going after Dick Cheney, who has aroused the ire of Reuters and every news organization on the Eastern Seaboard (including, presumably, Anna Wintour’s) for showing up at the otherwise somber eulogy for the victims of Auschwitz in Poland the night before last wearing a green parka and Sorels as if he were going ice fishing nearby.

And we vehemently disagree with our esteemed colleagues the world over on the nature of this faux pas. It wasn’t Cheney’s choice of overcoat that was the problem, merely the cut and the color. Herewith, an alternate suggestion in a West-of-the-Hudson-River patriotic hue. Nothing says “freedom fighter” more than candy apple red. Incidentally, Halliburton carries it, we’re told.

Advantage: That coat. Vice Presidential Library, look out. It should grace the entrance hall of wherever in Wyoming you choose to build it.

PR seppuku averted? Mucha mucho eager to fall on her sword

sword.jpgThe Post made Fishbowl aware of something we’d nearly forgotten: How utterly different (and God, how much more dramatic!) flacks behave back in L.A. To wit:

Disney’s off-with-their-heads PR samurai Zenia Mucha has apparently gotten a leaked MS from Simon & Schuster of its upcoming Michael Eisner bio “Disney War” by James B. Stewart, which the studio – as it’s called in the trade – “participated in.” And she’s not happy. Because, evidently, Eisner and his heir by circumstance, Bob Iger, come off looking like the craven boobs they are. What did she expect? After Kim Masters’ book “The Keys to the Kingdom,” which was done without “participation” and made Eisner livid with embarrassment, Zenia thought it was a good idea to double dip? So because she’s apparently steered her bosses into Stewart’s lap for some interviews, she has now offered to resign. Eisner has refused to accept. It’s the “all my fault” shuffle they do in Hollywood. Back here, we’d offer her a vacant rest room and ask her not to make too big a mess.

Our Woman In Afghanistan. Our One Woman In Afghanistan.

afghanistan.jpgAJR reports today that the The New York Times‘ Afghanistan bureau consists entirely of stringer Carlotta Gall. (Newsweek and the WaPo are the only agencies with full-time reporters there.) Gall says she “has been pleasantly surprised by the ‘continuing interest of readers and editors.’”

But, really, why even have a stringer in Afghanistan? Didn’t we take care of that already? How about this headline: Afghanistan: who needs it? Now that we’ve totally nailed this state-building thing and the Afghanis are all spilling Chateau Lafite ’59 on their Savile Row suits, getting chauffeured around in their limos, buying summer villas in Tuscany and sending their kids to Harvard, do we really need to cover them? We might as well just drive to Connecticut. It seems like only yesterday that they couldn’t even vote! (And just think: this time next year, Baghdad will be exactly like that!)
[via Romenesko]