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Archives: May 2006

Off the Media: Five-Year-Olds Rule

50000.jpgWhat we learned from On the Media this week is that co-host Bob Garfield has a five year old daughter who can’t read (clearly that’s the D.C.-environs effect, because if he lived on the Upper West Side she’d be having tutors force feed her the alphabet for pre-school interviews) even though she used to watch Baby Einstein videos. Bob was showing that even though the tyke can’t read she has absorbed a lot of ad messages. Also, that the new baby TV channel is or isn’t really bad for kids. We do hope the Garfield daughter who says we have Garfield pegged is somewhat older. (Then, again, maybe you don’t have to read to understand Fishbowl.)

We also learned that you should also be very suspicious of the number 50,000 in news stories. Our favorite quote is from WSJ numbers guy Carl Bialik, whom we know better as the guy who sends us stuff from he thinks we should link to every day. His words:

“The strongest form of media bias is probably a reporter’s bias for his or her own story. And when you find a number that backs up your story it can be really hard to pass it up.”

(photo from

Media Minutiae: 3.0 Edition

  • WSJ 3.0?: Publisher L. Gordon Crovitz is “moving quickly to develop the print edition’s next iteration, known internally as Journal 3.0.” [AdAge]
  • The New Yorker‘s David Remnick on Talking to Tyson: “It’s like some sort of combination of reading Freud and Dostoyevsky.” [Metro]
  • Daily News: Boots longtime exec, EVP and associate publisher Ira Ellenthal. [NYP]
  • ‘Won’t Break The China … Yet’: Incoming Time managing editor Richard Stengel says a shakeup is not coming when he takes the reins June 15. [NYO]
  • New-Look Couric?: Katie may opt for “serious” look on evening news. [NYSun]

Building a New New York Cover

This week’s New York magazine and this month’s Folio::


Based on recent evidence, we’re guessing there are only a handful of ways magazines can depict the future on their covers.

Building the (New) New York [New York]
EARLIER: Magazines About Magazines Cover Their Covers

Katie: All Dolled Up and Serious

dropping anchors.jpgCould it be a plot by NBC? Cuz if we wanted to, say, make ABC’s Charlie Gibson look a little less serious-news-like before he went to another network’s evening news, we’d find as many pix of him as we could doing things like dancing in goofy outfits and jumping up and down exuberantly.

OK, Katie Couric can also ask tough questions, as we saw in the Today show tribute this morning when she asked Colin Powell, Hillary Clinton and other heavies, “You’re not going to answer the question, are you?” But was that really “The Way We Were” playing at the end of a piece on her interviews with disfigured victims of tragedy?

Maybe it’s all unfair and Brian Williams wishes he could get dolled up in petticoats or weep on air. Katie’s tears this morning certainly seemed genuine. And we do admire Katie’s range.

Here’s a thought on her mind’s inner workings. Maybe Katie saw that the top of her head wasn’t on Harry Shearer‘s parody (above), so she’s going to anchor the CBS Evening News because she knows that’s the best way to get it on there next time.

To read all Katie’s comings and goings: Check TV Newser.

You Say You Want a Revolution? Look Online

beatles_hey_jude_revolution.jpgThe whole idea of an “Internet president” was largely applied to
Democrats in 2004 (the term was floated in connection to Howard Dean
and then John Kerry to show how money could be raised quickly online). But Newsweek‘s Jonathan Alter points this week to what could be a bold new idea in the way that candidates are nominated.

A bipartisan group called is launching an effort this week to
harness the energy of America’s online masses to nominate a third-party candidate for the 2008 presidential election. Basically, the plan is to get as many people as possible participating in the nominating process and get the chosen candidate on the ballot in all
50 states. Maybe Al Gore isn’t Hillary‘s biggest problem after all.

EARLIER: A-Gore-aphobia

Sold-Out: Remnick Live From The Loser’s Locker Room


Remnick [right] with Jann Wenner at the 2006 National Magazine Awards

Tonight at the New York Public Library, the New Yorker‘s David Remnick:

REPORTING (From the Loser’s Locker Room and Elsewhere):
DAVID REMNICK in conversation with Paul Holdengraber
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
at 7:00 PM
Celeste Bartos Forum
LIVE from the NYPL books

This conversation will present an opportunity for one of the country’s most passionate journalists and editors to reveal why he finds himself particularly attracted to the “loser’s lockers room,” as well as address what reporting means to our culture at this moment in time, when the medium of print journalism is facing intense criticism and an uncertain future.

Remnick, of course, hasn’t had the opportunity to witness the “loser’s locker room” at the National Magazine Awards lately. Probably because he’s been too busy winning ‘em.

Martha Puts $8.9M CT Home On Block; Donahue-Thomas Finalize $25M Sale Of Theirs


Martha Stewart‘s long-rumored split from her Connecticut residence is official. Her 9-room, 3-bedroom, 3,168-square-foot, 200-year-old Colonial at 48 Turkey Hill Road South in Westport is listed by William Raveis real estate at $8,995,000.

The property includes a heated pool, converted carriage house, “extensive flower and vegetable gardens” and something called a “party barn.”

Meanwhile, Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas, longtime fellow Green’s Farms residents, have finalized the sale of their 7.7 acre, $25 million properties just down the road from Stewart, the Westport News reports.

UPDATE: Stewart’s realtor, Susan Warburg, told the Westport News that Stewart “has moved on to a new chapter.”

The full Stewart listing, including lots of pics:

Read more

Watching “Chicken Little” on your laptop? Send a thank-you note to porn

As usual, Hollywood is eating porn’s dust.

Today, Disney announced it has struck a new deal with CinemaNow, the movie download service.

Per the Hollywood Reporter,

“The deal, which took effect Tuesday, will include films on the same day that they come out on DVD, such as “Eight Below” (June 20) and “Annapolis” (June 27). Prices will be about comparable to DVDs — about $20 for new releases and half that for other movies.”

In so doing, they’re ahead of other studios, but still behind Vivid, which made a deal with CinemaNow two weeks ago. pornstar.jpgjohnny depp.jpg

Of course, by Hollywood standards, neither the deal nor the comparison to Vivid means much – the downloads are only available simultaneously with DVD release, so there’s not much incentive to pay more for a film you have to watch on your PC.

And while adult films are only available on DVD, they don’t ever cost a mind-blowing $200 million a la “Spider-man 3.” If there’s to be any chance of this service catching on, Disney and other studios will have to offer it before the DVDs go on sale – for now, the odds on that are about the same as Ron Jeremy replacing Johnny Depp in “Pirates of the Carribean 3.”

FCC: Indecent proposal? Kurt thinks so…

A fun read in New York magazine today, courtesy of Kurt Andersen, who pays a visit to his alma mater with an interesting opinion piece about the suddenly-toothsome FCC. martin.jpg.jpgindecents.jpg


“It is comforting to watch the Man reaffirm mainstream values of laissez-faire restraint. And it’s fun to see this central contradiction of conservatism – the amoralists’ economic freedom versus the zealots’ will to regulate – exposed. But what’s most intriguing is that it might just become a great test case for the modern media age: Now that 86 percent of Americans have their TV programs delivered by cable or satellite, and any 12-year-old is free to look at billions of unregulated Web pages, what exactly is the point of having the federal government make rules about how raunchy or rude broadcast programs may be?”


In case you missed it, my KCRW radio show this week features an interview with “Oz” and “Homicide: Life on the Streets” creator Tom Fontana about the chilling effect he thinks he new decency legislation will have on the TV business. You can listen to it by clicking here.

Open season on “Sopranos”? Not anymore.

You can heave a sigh of relief: The Wall Street Journal today carries the news that Chris-tuh-fuh will be on the final few episodes of HBO‘s “The Sopranos.” sirben.jpg.jpg

While the hot-tempered Moltisanti’s attempts at negotiation with Sir Ben Kingsley – pardon us, Ben Fuckin’ Kingsley – were clearly a wash this season, his real-world reps are clearly having better luck: HBO‘s attempt to define the final 20 episodes of the series as a single “season” have failed.

“The trio that secured varied raises, according to people familiar with the matter, are Michael Imperioli, who plays mobster Tony Soprano’s hothead nephew Christopher; Lorraine Bracco, who plays Tony’s shrink; and Vincent Curatola, who plays New York boss Johnny Sack.”

Silvio Dante: Chrissie, I hear you’re doing good with the gambling.
Christopher Moltisanti: You kidding me? With the money I made, I could go work at Denny’s for the rest of my life.
Silvio Dante: Yeah, like they would ever hire you.