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James Brady Uses Occasion Of Dirt To Dish From His Own Sordid, Checkered Media Past

james_brady_head_fbny.jpgForbes.com media columnist James Brady has a few ideas culled from his glory days to improve FX’s Dirt:

Since I was the guy who created Page Six, wrote high-flown gossip for New York magazine and was the editor of what was then called The National Star, now directed by [Bonnie] Fuller, I have a few ideas about juicing up Dirt. Start with the gin mills where Courteney [Cox]‘s staffers hang.

When I took over as editor of the Star (I was also to write the gossip column under a pseudonym, “Winston Daniel”), owner Rupert Murdoch gave me one crucial bit of advice: “Don’t drink in the same bar where your reporters drink.”

The bar that Star reporters then frequented was Tim Costello’s, presided over by Freddie the bartender. Freddie was famous for deftly squashing cockroaches on the bar with his thumb, then wiping the residue on his apron, to resume mixing drinks. But the featured players at Costello’s were my guys, led by chief reporter Steve Dunleavy, whose career began as a “tea boy” at the South China Morning Post.

But Brady saves his best, awkward gem for last:

I’d been hired by Murdoch out at his rented beach house on Further Lane. Following lunch, we talked money during a swim. Up and down we went, treading water and haggling. He was offering 50 grand, and I was holding out for 75. “50!” “75!” “50!” “75!” Then Rupert asked if we had sharks in these waters. “Yes, but why?” “I think I just saw one,” he said. “I’ll take 50!” I shouted, swimming rapidly toward the beach. Anything there for you in all this, Courteney?

  • ‘Dirt’ On TV [Forbes.com]
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