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Archives: January 2008

LAT In 90 Seconds

34990631-29083731.jpgBrit’s Back In A Mental Health Observation Hold: Because that’s exactly what Britney Spears has been lacking all this time — close, unyielding scrutiny by a phalanx of people standing just outside her fishbowl.

asdjhfue.jpegiSpank: Free porn predicted to be offered on cell phones. Our prayers have been answered! Finally this country will get double-fisted anal penetration on a 2-inch screen. Oh wait, hang on. Our mom’s on the other line…

artledgerobitgi.jpgMonica’s Mad: LAT blogger Monica Corcoran tisk-tisks whomever sold TV networks a video of Heath Ledger allegedly snorting cocaine. She says she pities the fool who coughed it up. Call me cynical, but I’m guessing that person isn’t crying into his coffee this morning over it.

Obama-Rama, Complete with Ding-a-lings


Presidential candidate Barack Obama’s campaign holds a Debate Visibility Rally , today at 2 at the Kodak Theater, and then the debates. Patrick McDonald, in the LA Weekly, has a terrific piece on Jeremy Bernard and Rufus Gifford, Obama’s fundraisers/power brokers who are the New Gay paradigm.

And as an added attraction, we hear that The League of Conservation Voters and, led by Laurie David, will be holding a protest/delivering a petition to Wolf Blitzer today at 2:30 PST at the Kodak theater, where Blitzer will moderate the debate tonight. They say that his Sunday morning show one of a few that very rarely mentions global warming.

If only we had a state-controlled media, Blitzer couldn’t get away with this. Fascist.

A.N.S.W.E.R. LA takes to the streets, or at least Hollywood Blvd. with an anti-war protest from 5 to 7, also at the Kodak. From their website:

The debate is being sponsored by CNN and the Los Angeles Times, the same corporate media outlets that continually refuse to cover the anti-war struggle. Bring signs, banners, noisemakers and make your anti-war voices heard as the debate is happening inside!

See above.

Morning Call Time: 01.31.08

In today’s Morning Call Time podcast… Montel Williams says good-bye, Cloverfield director Matt Reeves turns invisible, and The Weinstein Company gets hot-and-bothered by Woody Allen‘s threeway with Penelope Cruz and Scarlett Johannson.

Click here to subscribe to‘s Morning Call Time… or check us out on iTunes!

For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Brie O’Reilly or Michelle Yates.

Barry Diller: “Editorship Is Going To Emerge As the Real Value-Add”

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IAC chairman Barry Diller introduces Tina Brown at today’s MPA/ASME awards

Though we snuck in sometime between the salad and the sea bass at today’s Magazine Lifetime Achievement Awards Luncheon at Manhattan’s Gotham Hall, we still managed to squeeze in some QT with the F.O.T’s* and the S.O.B’s* at today’s Magazine Publishers of America/American Society of Magazine Editors-hosted event. Highlights included Barry Diller‘s presentation of the award for Tina Brown, the Magazine Editors’ Hall of Fame inductee. Diller touted Brown’s “remarkable sui generis career,” pointing out that hers was “not a career of conformism and positioning,” given all the editorial chances she took to birth the melding of celebrity coverage and in-depth reporting that the magazine industry widely considers her imprimatur.

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Lunch At Michael’s: Tony Bennett Is in the House!



It’s always a treat when the dining room at 55th & Fifth is buzzing with bold-face names to observe in their natural habitat. We love when the regular gang of media mavens, television titans and social swans stop by the bar to catch us up on the latest dish. Imagine my delight when I was invited over to join Tony Bennett and Eduardo Verastegui at Table One to chat with the two dashing gents about this and that. Tony (we’re on a first name basis now) told me this was his first lunch at Michael’s. The legendary crooner has got a full schedule these days. He’s performing with Zubin Mehta on February 6 at the Waldorf at a benefit for the Israeli Symphony and will be presenting the award for Album of the Year at the Grammys. Although he’s got a room full of them (15 and counting — he’s nominated this year for his duet with Christina Aguilera,) he’s still thrilled to go to the party. “Every industry has a convention and the Grammys is a chance to see all my good friends like Bono. I enjoy it.”

Today Tony was breaking bread with his new pal Eduardo — they met last year at a benefit in Las Vegas and have been fast friends ever since. During lunch Tony managed to do an incredible pencil drawing of Eduardo. “I’ve been painting and drawing my whole life,” says Tony. The charming Eduardo (who is otherwise known as the ‘Brad Pitt of Latin America’) asked me to weigh in on the two covers in the running for the DVD of his runaway hit Bella. One boasted ‘the smiley version,’ which depicted Eduardo in happy chick flick mode while the other showed a more passionate, intense image of the star and producer of the film that is sure to get hearts racing. Our verdict: go with the intense Eduardo. Turns out we’re in the same camp as Charles Osgood, Josh Hartnett and a slew of editors who’ve cast their vote. Bella is truly a phenomenon. Made for just $3 million, its domestic box office is $7.8 million and counting says producer-financier Sean Wolfington. A little gem with a lot of heart in a season full of gloom and doom pictures. Go see it now!

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Tony Bennett, Susan Bennett, Eduardo Verastegui and Sean Wolfington.

2. Peter Brown & two well dressed gents.

3. Warren Hogue & Gerald Schoenfeld.

4. Early shift: Richard Rubenstein; Second seating: Judy Price.

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The Big Three Newsweeklies And Advertising

Clearly, stiff online competition has forced the Big Three News weeklies to develop unorthodox strategies in order to remain relevant in an increasingly digitized world. And the verdict is still out on whether or not those strategies are bearing fruit.

Time, in a flurry of change a year ago decided to change the magazine’s delivery day to Fridays from Mondays. Time magazine announced, boldly, in late 2006 that it would institute a new advertising system in contrast to the previous business model. Until then ads were sold based on the number of people who subscribed or bought a copy of the magazine at the news stand. Time also decided to cut the rate base by three-quarters of a million readers while attempting, simultaneously, to pursuade advertisers that ads should be based on the total number of readers — not just subscribers and newsstand buyers — including those who read someone else’s copy. Time’s reasoning anticipated a multimedia future, where eyeballs will count for more than print circulation figures.

Time’s newsstand price also rose to $4.95, and Newsweek’s followed soon after in December 2006. A little over a year has passed since those changes were enacted. From Mediaweek:

”’It’s not where I’d like it to be,’ (Ed McCarrick, president and worldwide publisher of Time Group) said. ‘I thought we’d be further ahead than where we were.’

”Asked why more advertisers haven’t warmed to the idea, he said, ‘I really don’t know — I think the newness of it and the approach. They approach magazines with a very conventional way of looking at them.”’

US News & World Report’s Mort Zuckerman declined FishbowlNY’s request for a comment.

Fashion Week On NYTV


It’s that time of the year again. Starting at 9 pm on Sunday, February 3rd, WNYC TV (Time Warner 25 / Cablevision 22) is once again broadcasting from inside the tents and during the parties for fashion week. From the press release, ”Look no further than Full Frontal Fashion on NYC TV, where hosts Judy Licht, Lloyd Boston and James Aguiar provide nightly in-depth coverage of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.”

(image via clipart)

AZN Cable Network Folds

0130azn.jpgAnother cable network has kicked the dust. AZN Television, a network aimed at Asian-Americans in their twenties & thirties, has just announced they are closing up shop. The Comcast-affiliated network airs on Channel 581 on Time Warner Cable New York and tried to be all things to all people — Chinese, Japanese, Korean, South Asian and Southeast Asian-targeted programming all regularly air on AZN. It’s a shame they’re closing… it was good to have a cable source for Bollywood films and Hong Kong action flicks. According to Michael Huh of ImaginAsian Entertainment, which airs ImaginAsianTV, a different Pan-Asian television network (ch. 560 on Time Warner Cable New York):

“Although the news of AZN’s closing is disappointing, there are very few in the industry who were surprised. Like ImaginAsian, AZN had a mission to serve Asian Americans and those interested in Asian entertainment and culture. There is a tremendous market for this type of content and while looking to serve this vibrant audience, both television networks have raised awareness of Asians in this country and in the media industry. There is still much work to be done, and ImaginAsian, with its growing base of quality strategic partners in Asia and the US, will carry on and continue to grow the marketplace representing all things Asian.”

No word on layoffs or job losses as of yet.

John Strausbaugh Still Hates Emo Kids

0130strausbaugh.jpgWe’ve written a lot before about our love for the mid-90′s New York Press. Growing up as a teenager in NYC at a time when the Village Voice was lost in the wilderness and dedicated to churning out a news section full of endless crap identity politics pieces and coupling it with arts coverage that was even worse (Green Apple Quick Step? Lars Von Trier? What the hell?), the Press was our first indication that journalism could be… fun. We still blame them and Hunter S. Thompson for everything that happened after.

Back then, editor John Strausbaugh was one of the big honchos in charge. Now he’s out with a new book, Sissy Nation: How America Became A Nation of Wimps And Stoopits. Strausbaugh was just interviewed by another ex-Presser, Marty Beckerman, about the new book for blog It’s one of the best pieces of unrelenting hate and bitterness we’ve seen since Jim Goad‘s prime. Check out this sample:

I call us Sissy Nation because we have become a culture of fat, soft, stoopitized, fearful, whiny, infantile, narcissistic, fatalistic, groupthinking victims. Americans were once known around the world for their pioneering spirit, their bold individualism, their brashness and ballsiness. Now we’re hiding from the world in our safely padded virtual reality bubbles… We all swim in the same sea of Sissitude, and none of us is unaffected. [...]

Your average adult used to have at least a rudimentary understanding of how the tools around him/her worked, and how to fix them when they didn’t work. A rake was a rake. A very simple and efficient device. If, say, the handle broke, most reasonably intelligent humans could figure out some way to fix it. That’s why God created duct tape.

It used to be that you opened the hood of your car and saw a recognizable internal combustion engine. It was iron and steel and wiring. It was mechanical. With a little bit of training — I got mine from my dad, like most kids in my day — you knew which parts did what, so when it failed to function in a certain way, you at least had an idea of which parts to check. Now you lift the hood of your car and it’s like lifting the casing off your computer. You need a Ph.D. from DeVry and a million dollars in diagnostic equipment to work on it.

So most of us don’t even try. If something goes wrong, we ask The Man to fix it for us. Don’t you find that demoralizing?

True, it’s a total book push — but it’s a good book push. We like bitterness.

Rupert Murdoch Is Going Green

Environmental blog. Wall Street Journal. Environmental blog. Wall Street Journal. Weird combination, ja?

Well, at least the WSJ recognizes that their newest blog, Environmental Capital, might have taken some readers by surprise… Especially since it replaces the very un-environmentalist Energy Roundup blog. Here’s their description:

No, your computer isn’t misfiring. Welcome to a new Wall Street Journal blog, Environmental Capital. It replaces the Journal’s Energy Roundup blog. Environmental Capital will continue Energy Roundup’s tradition of tracking daily energy news. And it will go further, analyzing how the energy world, and all of business, is adapting to mounting concern about the planet.

The blog’s editors are Keith Johnson and Jeffrey Ball of the WSJ. Man… We’d make some pun about Rupert Murdoch realizing that the color of money is green or something, but that would be way too obvious. Regardless, it’s a healthy indicator of the changing demos of the Wall Street Journal and the mainstremaing of climate change awareness c. 2008. Awesome.