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Archives: November 2005

NASCAR TV deal looms: $4.4 billion from Disney, TNT

Vrroom, vroom: The Miami Herald reports that while NBC clearly thinks NASCAR is a money-losing pit of white-hot flame, mikelaughlin[1].jpg Disney’s ABC/ESPN and Time Warner’s TNT will announced as early as tomorrow that they’ll pay a combined $4.4 billion to air decals hurtling past crowds of white folk in flab-hugging T-shirts. nascar_fans.lg[1].jpg

Perhaps not coincidentally, the Financial Times is reporting that Disney is readying to jettison ABC Radio in a move that might net it between $2 billion to $3 billion by the end of this year. Yee-haw!

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Feeling Peck-ish?

Reuters is reporting that Gregory Peck’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame has likely been pilfered.


“It was somebody who knew how to use a cement saw and was probably dressed as a construction worker,” said Hollywood Historic Trust chairman Johnny Grant, adding, “Whoever it was had very good taste.”


Grant’s seemingly off-handed comment about powerful aesthetic discernment allowed authorities to safely eliminate Tara Reid and Kevin Federline from a short list of suspects.

Still at large? The Village People, known to be both jealous of Peck’s enduring legacy, and in possession of construction garb.

Off to Michael’s…

…and unlike Aaron Brown, we don’t need no stinkin’ TV contract. Bring on the fries!

LAT in 90 seconds

- I have to drop the snarky blogger thing for a second and say that this guy sounds like the coolest person ever.

- Hey! It’s an I.H.M.S.W.N.F.R.F! (Interesting Hollywood Media Story Which Nikki Finke Reported First)

- Jonathan Franzen won’t do Oprah, but he’ll be on The Simpsons.

- Most Emailed Stories analysis: Silliest story ever drops from #1 to #3. Will people please stop emailing this? It makes me embarrassed for my fellow LAT readers.

“Have you got a job for Aaron Brown? You can call his agent Carol Cooper.”

I love when people use their power for good: Liz Smith dishes on her lunch at Michael’s with Aaron Brown two weeks ago Aaron Brown (a scoop which was broken by Fishbowl’s clutch “Lunch at Michael’s” team that very day! Sniffin’ out the story over Cobb Salad, that’s us). Two weeks later, Liz finally dishes on the meeting, because she can. Ah, MSM.

From the sounds of it, Brown is (er, was) – in high spirits (and having the entirety of your contract paid out until 2007 definitely helps there). He is magnanimous re: Jon Klein and CNN: “‘Of course, I think they made a mistake,’ laughed Aaron. ‘But . . . they’re entitled.’” Again, the contract thing? Definitely helpful.

But he’s lookin’ for work and thinkin’ of maybe writing a book (no doubt incentivized to land his own million-dollar deal), and eschewing fries in order to bring the hotness (Liz said he looked “younger and more handsome than he ever does on-air,” which Fishbowl inadvertently corroborated by failing to recognize him).

It’s better than a want ad and almost as blatant, given Liz’s shilling for Aaron at the end (see headline above). She stops just short of providing his agent’s number, but we’ll pick up that ball: give Carol a shout-out at (212) 765-3040, at superagency NS Bienstock (not to be confused with Bialystock & Bloom), which also reps Diane Sawyer and Dan Rather.

The day in LAT-bashing

Wow, it’s a big day for attacking the Times. Mostly because of Bob Scheer.

- Mike Davis turns down an op-ed assignment and refuses to ever grace the LAT with his presence, in solidarity with Robert Scheer. (link via L.A. Observed)

- ex-LAT book editor/op-ed deputy editor Steve Wasserman — apparently a former researcher for Scheer– contributes a piece to Scheer’s new web project truthdig eviscerating his former employer (the LAT, not Scheer). It’s worth reading in its entirety, but here’s an excerpt:

The Los Angeles Times offers an instructive example. It finds itself beset by three separate if overlapping crises: The first is the general crisis of confidence confronted by the entire profession as it grapples with technological change that dramatically alters the way news is delivered; the second is the crisis occasioned by the consequences of the paper’s acquisition by the Chicago-based Tribune Co., and the third is the crisis of identity caused by the changing demographics and political economy of its circulation area in Southern California, a region of some 18 million people that stretches from San Diego in the south to Santa Barbara in the north. These crises have combined to produce near-desperate measures on the part of the paper’s owners and managers. The resulting spectacle is exemplary.

Not sure I completely agree with Wasserman, but he gets points for thoughtfulness. And big words.

- Over at, Oscar bloggers respond to Patrick Goldstein’s blogga-hata (did I just coin that?) piece in yesterday’s paper. Some of them agree that maybe he kinda sort has a point; others call him names.

Is Google going Hollywood?

The New York Post suggests that Google’s appointment of former Disney/Pixar exec Ann Mather to its board of directors indicates the the company may be preparing for a Yahoo-like move on Hollywood.

Mather’s appointment is a “potential harbinger” of things to come, as the major entertainment and Internet companies warily begin to embrace each other, said UBS Internet analyst Benjamin Schachter.

“Mather’s appointment gives Google’s board a media perspective that it currently lacks,” said Schachter. “This is the first person on the board without a purely technological or academic background.”

Of course, Google-rival Yahoo already employs Terry Semel and Lloyd Braun, two high-profile ex-studio-bigwigs. So: while Hollywood gets more internetty, the internet gets more Hollywoody. Hypothetical question: If (or DEN, or any of those other companies) launched now instead of when it did several years ago, would it succeed? I think quite possibly maybe.

A Harper’s Hodge Podge: Roger Hodge through a Fishtern-eye lens

When Fishtern Maureen Miller suggested running a hodge-podge on Rog Hodge, we were thrilled, and eagerly awaited what we were sure would be the type of work that transcends the run-of-the-mill video artist masturbating in his studio. (Masturbating in one’s studio is so 2004.) We were not disappointed; our Maureen got the goods on Hodge and his Onanistic, genital-celebrating proclivities, which delighted her almost as much as his manly chin and strong cowboy arms made for balin’ hay. This, dear reader, is her breathless story.

Rodge Hodge.pngWhen I heard that Roger Hodge, aka “Rog Hodge” had been named editor of Harper’s, my reaction was strangely akin to Gawker’s: A prettier Wes Anderson, with better-fitting blazers — the boy was fiiine!

But beyond that, I quickly saw that this was, in fact, a story of the West. More accurately, Hodge is exactly what the New York media is missing, its very own cowboy poet, a real-life Eli Cash (Hodge is even writing a profile of “Western epics” poet Cormac McCarthy. Coincidence? I think not.)

Which made Maureen think: What poetry is the fruit those tenuously clasped hands, that sober expression? Unfortunately, LexisNexis did not provide the good word, and we lack McCarthy’s facility with parataxis and hypermasculine prose forms to translate Hodge’s print output into poetry ourselves. But Factiva had the articles.

Here at Fishbowl we shall call these excerpts, ever so creatively, “The Hodge Podge” (full name: “The Hodge Podge of Rog Hodge: You Can’t Take The Boy Outta Dodge”). Deep thoughts on genitals and our sacred seed after the jump.

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Media Minutiae, Wednesday Bloody Wednesday Edition

bono arigato mr. roboto.jpg How long, how long can I sing this song? If it’s the song of success and relevance and you’re U2, well then, forever, says David Carr. Carr analyzes U2′s staying power and lauds their savviness, realness and techno-awareness, through the mulleted times and beyond. [NYT]

  • She hears in mysterious ways: Poor Diane Sawyer — she’s ill with an ear infection which forced her to miss her interview with CIA honcho Porter Goss. Aw. Feel better! And a slap on the wrist to whatever “network exec” sniped to Page Six that “She always calls in sick when she’s unhappy. She feels they’re not paying enough attention to her.” Someone owes someone an anonymous apology. On your knees, boy. [NYP]
  • Tryin’ to throw their arms around the world: The New York Observer‘s Rebecca Dana reports on the growing trend of American cable newsies migrating to Al-Jazeera International (presumably because they still haven’t found what they’re looking for on American networks). The BBC’s David Frost, former CNNer Riz Khan, possibly Nightline’s Dave Marash are attracted to the international reporting opportunities and the chance to reach an untapped audience, possibly help bring a new and improved picture of America to the Arab world. Will it work? Who knows?
    P.S. Rejected depressing titles for this item: “Until The End of the World,” “In God’s Country,” Lemon. But, see also “Peace on Earth” and “When Love Came To Town.” [NYO]

  • Even better than the real thing: Prolific week for Jack Shafer; in another new column today he blasts the Wall Street Journal for puffing up the similarities between crooked Congressman Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-Calif) and former disgraced speaker of the House Jim Wright. It’s true, Wright was on the take, but as Shafer says, “Cunningham’s offenses to Wright’s is like comparing a Brink’s job with the looting of a Pez dispenser.” Shafer doesn’t like it when the WSJ exaggerates. [Slate]
  • Jon Stewart on NBC’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Turkey

    Jon on M&Ms.pngLast night Jon Stewart went to town on NBC’s Thanksgiving Day Parade coverage, in which Katie Couric, Matt Lauer and Al Roker failed to report that the M&M balloon had struck a lamppost in Times Square and injured an 11-year old girl and 26-year old woman (or, as we like to call it, “News You Can Use…Unless You’re NBC”). Instead, NBC broadcast footage of last year’s M&M balloon crossing the finish line (or, as we like to call it, “News You Can Use…From This Time Last Year”). OUCH.

    Jon’s theory: “I assume hit the lamppost because they weren’t paying attention because they were too busy sodomizing each other – I Sodom&my.jpgdon’t think that parade’s ’til June!” Which goes well with some choice Al Roker commentary:

    “Will these classic candymen get out of this delicious dilemma? Hard to say, but when it comes to sweetness, yellow and red continue to melt your heart – but not in your hand.”

    Maybe I’m depraved but I see innuendoes all over that (plus, melting in your mouth is totally implied. Hey, don’t shoot the m&messenger).

    After a few more banal soundbites, during which it is widely agreed that NBC made their on-air talent look like chumps, Jon unwittingly rains all over the anchor-mongering parade of late : “I don’t know what those guys make on the Today show but whatever it is, it’s not worth it” (I say “unwittingly” because we know Jon doesn’t read print media. Otherwise he’d know what they all make!).

    As a side note, this turkey (to flog a metaphor) has interesting timing as the rumors swirl about Katie Couric being wooed by CBS – surely on accont of hard-hitting journalistic pieces like her Runaway Bride interview back in June. I’m gonna put it out there: I can’t quite see it happening.

    the oddly compelling androgynous appeal of adrien brody.jpgI am far less certain about another divisive issue, however: Is Adrien Brody hot? That nose! That beanpole bod! That frenetic, hummingbird-like quality! I never used to think so. Though to be fair, “The Pianist” was hardly a glamour vehicle. Nonetheless, his weird androgynous appeal was workin’ for me last night, I must admitab-tastic adrien iii.jpg (though not the most compelling interviewee, sad to say). Hmm. Why not let the December cover of Men’s Health cast the deciding vote. To the right, if you hadn’t already noticed. Ah. Okay, then. (NB: The cover says that AB went from “Scrawny to Brawny!” So maybe the hotness is recent. Though I do remember appreciating those Ermenegildo Zegna ads.) In other news, I think Men’s Health is my new favorite magazine.

    There was more to The Daily Show, of course — Rob Corrdry did a funny holiday shopping bit called “OK Consumer” which won big points for the title alone, about the annual rite of post-Thanksgiving bargain hunting, aka “Just Another Manic Black Friday and Cyber Monday.” That was a blatant attempt to be the first person ever to combine Radiohead and The Bangles references in one paragraph. I defy you to find another. Otherwise, that was it – except for a very happy birthday to Jon! If you’re wondering what to get him, I’d spring for a subscription to Men’s Health. Scrawny to Brawny, Jon!

    Enlarged cover pic of Adrien and his six-pack after the jump. Happy Late Thanksgiving Coverage!

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