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Archives: June 2011

Former WABC/Channel Weather Anchor Heidi Jones Pleads Not Guilty

Heidi Jones, the former WABC/Channel 7 weather forecaster, pleaded not guilty today to charges stemming from lying to police about an attempted assault last year.

Jones’ lawyer, Paul Callan says he is working on getting the case thrown out.

“Under New York law, the D.A. must be ready for trial within 90 days of arraignment,” Callan tells FishbowlNY. “Heidi was originally arraigned on January 5, 2011 and the prosecution has never been ready for trial.”

Sister site TVSpy has more on Jones’ situation.

LA Times Reporter Continues to Blow Lid Off Area 51

Tavis Smiley‘s June 24 interview with Annie Jacobsen (pictured), LA Times Magazine contributing editor and author of the New York Times best-seller Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base, is currently one of the “Most Viewed” videos on the talk show host’s website.

In case you missed the conversation, and-or have not yet had a chance to catch up with Jacobsen’s book, the claims made by the author are nothing short of astounding. For example, per the Smiley interview, here’s what a nuclear weapons engineer told Jacobsen about all that supposed UFO and alien business in the Nevada desert:

“The source told me that something really did crash in the desert in New Mexico in 1947… Stalin had sent this prototype of a flying disc here to serve as a kind of a war of the world hoax, the same way that Americans had been moved to mass hysteria in 1938 when they believed Martians were attacking earth…

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Even Post-NBC, Jeff Zucker Still Has No Regrets on Tonight Show Fiasco

Former NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker spoke at the Promax/BDA conference in New York Wednesday, and his handling of Conan O’Brien‘s  Tonight Show and Jay Leno‘s 10 p.m. show came up.

Zucker stood firm on the matter, saying that they made the right decision:

“What I regret is that neither show worked. That is really what happened, neither show worked. So we had to make a decision on how to fix both. I think we went with the one that we thought would attract the largest audience, and the broadest viewership. I think we were borne out to be right about that.

It was a very unfortunate period that we went through when we made that change. It wasn’t pleasant for anybody, there are no winners out of any of that. A lot of people got hurt in that process, and that was incredibly unfortunate.

At the end of the day it was my responsibility. Others were on the line to make the decisions, but I signed off on it, so it was my responsibility.”

Myspace Has a Buyer, and Her Name is Specific Media

Digital ad network Specific Media announced today that they have acquired Myspace from News Corporation.

Terms of the agreement “are confidential and will not be disclosed,” meaning they’re not going to tell us nosy parkers how much (or how little) they paid for the the Beverly Hills-based social network. But an insider told the Wall Street Journal that the selling price was $35 million in stock and cash. So now News Corp. has a minority equity stake in Specific Media.

Tim Vanderhook, Specific Media CEO, said of the deal:

There are many synergies between our companies as we are both focused on enhancing digital media experiences by fueling connections with relevance and interest. We look forward to combining our platforms to drive the next generation of digital innovation.

Our two cents: Focus on Myspace music. It is by far the best aspect of the site.

Esquire Sued for Over $100 Million Because of Satirical Article

Joseph Farah, CEO of WordNetDaily.com, and Jerome Corsi, author of Where’s the Birth Certificate? The Case That Barack Obama Is Not Eligible to Be President, are suing Esquire and a writer of a satirical article that they say defamed them. According to Forbes, the two are seeking over $100 million in damages.

The article in question was written by Mark Warren, and posted on Esquire’s Political Blog right after Obama displayed his birth certificate to the nation. In the piece, Warren pokes fun at the book, which had its premise plainly disproven before it was even released.

Esquire even posted an update hours after the post went up explaining the reasoning behind the article, but Farah and Corsi aren’t satisfied.

FishbowlNY has plenty more to say, but we’ll just go ahead and stop here. We don’t want to get sued too.

Grantland Picks Up The Awl’s Publisher

Bill Simmons‘ sports and pop culture start up Grantland isn’t done scouring the media world for talent to poach. The New York Observer reports that The Awl’s publisher, David Cho, is stepping down to join Simmons and team as the new director of business development.

The Observer got a hold of Cho’s mass email to friends: “The opportunity at Grantland and to work with Bill [Simmons] and to work with some of the people at ESPN is the only job that ever could have made me even consider leaving what Choire and Alex and myself have built at The Awl.”

Cho will be moving to LA for his new gig.

David Cho Leaves The Awl for Grantland

According to The New York Observer, David Cho, Publisher of The Awl, is stepping down. He will be moving on to Grantland, but details are hazy as to what he’ll be doing for the website.

Cho said in an email, “The opportunity at Grantland and to work with Bill [Simmons] and to work with some of the people at ESPN is the only job that ever could have made me even consider leaving what Choire and Alex and myself have built at The Awl.”

America’s Got Talent, The Voice Top Weekly Ratings for WNBC

Three editions of America’s Got Talent took the top slots for the week, according to the Nielsen Company.

The NBC talent competition, hosted by WXRK/NOW FM morning man Nick Cannon, averaged 721,000 and a 3.5 rating.

 WNBC/Channel 4 didn’t stop there–tying at number three with The Voice (680,000/3.4). The Voice result show tied for tenth (528,000/2.6).

The BET Awards pulled in a fifth-place performance (635,000/3.1).

60 Minutes kept its familiar pace for WCBS/Channel 2 with a number six (614,000/3.0).

More from the Top 10 after the jump

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Tina Brown Speaks Out on Creepy Princess Diana Newsweek Cover

Did anyone think that the creepy “Diana at 50″ Newsweek cover, featuring a photoshopped image of what Princess Diana would look like at age 50, was a good idea? Perhaps in search of supporters, any supporters at all really, Newsweek went so far as to post a Facebook poll asking for thoughts, the New York Observer reports. Current tally is “Brilliant! Spot on” with 45 votes, a smattering of votes for “She would have looked younger,” “She would have looked older,” and “She would have changed her hairstyle” — and 324 votes for “Dislike.” So, yeah, it’s fair to say Tina Brown‘s vision did not go over well.

Nonetheless, as the Observer observed, “They’re doubling down, in fact–if you find a Photoshopped image of a tragically killed woman offensive, how will you feel when asked if her revivified body would look more youthful?”

In further evidence of doubling down, Brown went on Morning Joe, where she was asked about the bizarre feature story. “I found it really interesting to imagine what she would be doing now,” she said, by way of explanation. “What’s the response been?” Joe Scarborough politely asked. Brown responded:

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LA Set Designer Makes Good Use of Ohio Vacation Home

Six years ago, set designer Robert Harbour (The Mentalist, Heroes, The X-Files) bought a lakeside property in Goshen, Ohio sight unseen. Later this summer, the native of nearby Anderson will be renting out the vacation home as the principal filming location for Seven Below Zero, a low-budget thriller starring Ving Rhames and Val Kilmer.

What really caught FishbowlLA’s eye is the way news of this upcoming under-$5 million production was reported by WCPO Channel 9. Seriously, in LA, Kilmer remains the butt of tired, has-been jokes. But removed from the jaded confines of Hollywood, the 51-year-old actor becomes part of the reason Ohioans can “almost feel the excitement”:

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