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Archives: March 2006

The Artist Presently Known as Desperate


Your own personal Prince concert. At his house. How … incredibly awkward.

And yet more proof of the recording industry’s paranoia — it looks like it worked.

Prince Crowned Billboard King, Scoring Very First #1 Debut [VH1]

V for Bestseller






(March 30, 2006 — New York, NY) V FOR VENDETTA, the critically acclaimed graphic novel by Alan Moore and David Lloyd, is #8 on the BookScan Adult Fiction Trade Paperback list for the week ending March 26, 2006.

And Alan Moore’s internal rage intensifies.

V for Very Small, Somewhat Awkward Protest [FishbowlNY]

Katie Couric Contract Countdown: 62 Days Left


Again, no Katie on Today. Back on Monday. Meanwhile, her potential new employer is back in the Top 10.

Couric Stay or Go? Odds Calculator:
5:4 | Couric leaves Today

Katie Couric Contract Countdown: 63 Days Left
Katie Couric Contract Countdown: 64 Days Left
Katie Couric Contract Countdown: 65 Days Left

It’s So Warm Out, Even Those with Segways Decided to Chain ‘Em Up and Walk


Broadway bet. Spring and Prince, earlier today.

Really remote control: Cable wants to drive, but will you go along for the ride?

Interesting peek at the future of the TV business today in via the AP, courtesy Comcast COO Steve Burke. diddy-loves-tivo.jpg

Essentially, Cablevision has been trying out a new magic box that will allow customers to retrieve recorded TV shows from their cable company’s system, rather than from a TiVo-style hard drive.

The ramifications of such a switch in content control from consumer to cable company would be substantial. For one, if the cable company is doing the recording at its ‘head end’, presumably, the cost of the magic boxes goes down, and more people might pony up for ‘em.

Said Burke,

“It’s a very good idea, very well thought through,” he said at a Bank of America conference, adding, “If it all works out, I’m sure the rest of the industry will follow.”

Well, not so fast. Whether it works out, of course, comes down to whether people are willing to trade control for cost. m-short.jpg

TiVo‘s appeal, naturally, is all about control – not just control of time-shifting, so you can watch “Battlestar Galactica” in a drug-addled haze at 3 a.m. after you get home from your all-night raver.

It’s also just as much about control of the advertising. Presumably, a cable company-controlled TV recorder wouldn’t allow you to skip the commercials.

While this is the whole point of owning a TiVo, it’s the underpinning of most of the TV business.

From my standpoint, there’s no point in letting Brian Roberts be your wheelman if you’re just going to have to make a whole bunch of pit-stops in Commercialsville. That, my friends, is where the squares live.

Get Well, Charlie

charlie_rose_headshot.jpgGlad to see the Charlie Rose Show getting back on track last night — in its New York studios with guest host Harold Varmus — after a hodgepodge of guest anchors (former government officials like Dennis Ross and Ken Duberstein — we’re sorry we missed Ana Marie Cox) at Bloomberg studios in D.C. on Tuesday.

Charlie, underwent surgery for a heart problem and is recuperating in Paris. We hope he gets well soon, and we soon see him again at Michael’s restaurant alcove table after he starts his show in about 10 days, as planned.

About tonight’s show: Do the ratings need more Michael Eisner? (We saw when he guest-hosted Charlie’s show a few months back. ‘Nuff said.)

Media Minutiae: Warm Edition

  • Vanity Fair‘s Upcoming “Green” Issue?: Not so much, according to Muckraked.
  • Loathsome New Yorkers: The NYPress puts out a list. What’s more loathsome? Trying to read the story &#151 in eye-searing, justified font — on their Web site.
  • Just a Radio Gigolo: David Lee Roth battles post-Howard firing rumors.
  • Another Meth-idemic Story Questioned: This time, it’s the Washington Post put under the microscope.

Enough About Rat Feces, Already

heeb_issue10.jpg“If you read Fast Food Nation or have seen Super Size Me, I want to give you a tip: Don’t talk to me about it over fast food. I just want to eat my burger.”

Heeb Magazine: Issue 10. (See Urban Kvetch)

Yuks for Credit


The mediabistro mothership (FishbowlNY’s home, in case you hadn’t noticed) has humor writing classes. In fact, we had one just last night.

Today, we learned from a.m. New York that local comedian Eugene Mirman took it to a whole ‘nother level. He majored in comedy. In college.

For my thesis I did a one-hour standup that I produced and promoted. But before that, I took classes in writing. I took a class on the rise of mass culture, and sociology, history. I did papers on the physiology of laughter, I did something on Lenny Bruce and his effects on society. I also had a radio show. I did a huge variety of things that I related back to comedy.

Can you really get a degree in the art of yukking it up?

Or was he joking?

UPDATE: He wasn’t joking, Fishbowl LA‘s Mike Sonnenschein tell us: “It’s true that he majored in comedy. The catch is he went to Hampshire College, where pretty much everyone designs their own majors.”

What’s so funny about that?

Advanced Questions in Celebrity Profiling Ethics, featuring Sean Penn

Say you’re profiling Sean Penn. And say Sean Penn, at the time in which you and Sean Penn are Hanging Out Together so that you can Get To The Bottom Of His Complicated Personality, is writing up his trip to Iran for what will become a multi-part piece in the San Francisco Chronicle. But say Sean Penn is having some Trouble With The Piece and reads to you his Somewhat Overblown First Draft. Do you give him editorial advice and then brag about it in the profile you’re writing? From John Lahr’s piece in the current New Yorker:

Penn read for about ten minutes, glancing up occasionally to see my reaction. After five pages, he was just about to disembark from the plane in Tehran. I suggested that perhaps he should get to Iran earlier in the piece. He nodded, but said nothing. (Stripped of some of its vainglory and verbosity, the edited version of Penn’s essay became the Chronicle‘s most read story of the year, with more than half a million hits on the newspaper’s Web site.)