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Posts Tagged ‘Harvey Levin’

President Poitier | Magic’s Response | CAA Fail

ShutterstockSidneyPoitierFishbowlDC: Would NBC’s The West Wing have clicked if Sidney Poitier had accepted an offer to play the role of the President? That’s just one of many fascinating reminiscences in a special 15-year anniversary revisit of the series by The Hollywood Reporter.

TVNewser: Ahead of tonight’s CNN interview with Anderson Cooper, Magic Johnson called in to TMZ Live to chat with Harvey Levin and Charles Latibeaudiere. He destroyed Donald Sterling‘s ridiculous AC360 claims about Magic’s lack of charitable outreach and also corrected allegations by the Clippers owner of personal interference after the audio was released.

PRNewser: Among the many topics touched on at a recent Creative Week panel discussion in New York was a rare failure for Hollywood powerhouse CAA. It involved Election Day, The Gap and some malfunctioning robots.

[Photo of Poitier at March 2002 Oscars, circa The West Wing Season Three: The Everett Collection/Shutterstock.com]

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Chasing New Jersey Promo Spoofs SNL Opening

When the WWOR-TV Secaucus, NJ evening news program Chasing New Jersey launched July 8, replacing the station’s traditional 10 p.m. weekday newscast, the comparisons were all about TMZ. But based on a new YouTube goof posted by a show staffer, it looks like the program is hoping to be lumped with Lorne Michaels as well as Harvey Levin.

These MyFox9 news chasers obviously don’t take themselves too seriously. Still, even within that loose framework, is it really a good idea to start emulating a sketch comedy show as other parties continue to debate your platform?

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TMZ Vet Daniel Goldblatt Now at the Helm of Variety.com

Very few people can point to longer terms of service with TMZ than Daniel Goldblatt. He started with the Harvey Levin operation way back in June of 2005. Roughly six months before the site opted for an original, breaking news voice and eventually found its way to a monstrous Mel Gibson scoop.

After eight years with TMZ as a producer and coordinating producer, Goldblatt has shifted over to New York City and the position of managing editor for variety.com. This may be purely coincidental, but in recent weeks, we’ve been noticing more variety.com linkage on The Drudge Report.

Almost everyone’s a cubicle star in one way or another if they work for TMZ. But it was away from the 24/7 office that Goldblatt clocked one of his more infamous LA moments.

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Josh Dickey’s Tenure at TMZ Lasts All of Three Months

TMZ founder Harvey Levin can be a demanding boss. His ability to ferret out stories, sources and exclusives in a telephone manner that is second-to-none creates exceedingly high expectations for all those who work alongside him in the 24/7 newsroom.

Did the Levin horizon of journalism deliverables have something to do with the exit in late June of Josh Dickey (pictured), hired as TMZ.com managing editor just a few months earlier? Probably.

This morning, just as TheWrap provided a friendly, familiar home for fired Variety film reporter Jeff Sneider, it is now also the new place of re-employ for Sneider’s old boss. Dickey has rejoined Sharon Waxman‘s operation as managing editor, bumping Joseph Kapsch up to Lisa Fung‘s vacated executive editor slot.

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Questioning a ‘Disgustingly Written’ Brett Ratner TMZ Item

We hate to be the bearers of bad Web news. But catching up to Village Voice editorial fellow Raillan Brookscomplaints about the tone of TMZ’s coverage of Brett Ratner donating to the NYC mayoral campaign of openly gay candidate Christine Quinn, we must sadly inform – there’s plenty more where that came from.

There are basically three tiers of content at TMZ. The website has both feet planted firmly in the gutter; the half-hour syndicated TV show has one foot out on the cleaner sidewalk; and the one-hour call-in block TMZ Live is the most legitimate of all, with Harvey Levin and cohorts intelligently discussing the day’s top stories.

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The Dubious Beginnings of The National Enquirer

In terms of seed financing, Harvey Levin, the late Jim Paratore and Warner Bros./Telepictures have nothing on The National Enquirer.

When The New York Enquirer was purchased in 1952, it was a modest 17,000-circulation broadsheet favored by amateur horse racing handicappers. It would later, after a move to Florida, become the precursor to the modern era of celebrity news and gossip reporting. In a fantastic feature article in DuJour magazine, John Connolly shockingly reveals where some of the original funding came from:

For decades, rumors have swirled about the purchase price — placing it between $10,000 and $75,000 — and [owner Generoso] Pope Jr.‘s source of funds. According to exclusive interviews for DuJour magazine with former employees, the money came from two men: a $10,000 loan from Pope’s godfather, Frank Costello, the boss of the Luciano crime family and head of a national gambling empire, and an equal amount from the lawyer Roy Cohn, a friend of Pope’s who had helped convict Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and was soon to gain notoriety as counsel for Senator Joseph McCarthy.

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TMZ Jettisons Longtime Staffer Johnny Lopez

This is definitely not what we expected so soon after TMZ made the 12-and-a-half-mile move from West Hollywood to Playa del Rey. But sources tells FishbowlLA a number of staffers were let go Friday.

It’s not unusual for TMZ to cycle through employees. However, what makes this latest bit of turnover notable is that among those getting the axe is a loyal soldier who has been with Harvey Levin since the very beginning.

As we once highlighted, Johnny Lopez (pictured) was the only person besides Harvey who could point to a byline on the TMZ.com website. From the get-go, very cleverly, AOL-Telepictures-Warner Bros. decided that the best way to brand TMZ was to make sure “By TMZ Staff” sat underneath each headline. That strategy seems a little antiquated now that TMZ is fully brand-established.

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Tony Ortega Puts the Skids on Tom Cruise TMZ Item

Here’s a suggestion for TMZ. When the next need-for-verification Church of Scientology-tinged item comes along, like this Friday afternoon EXCLUSIVE speculating that a pair of wee-hour motorcycle riders were Tom Cruise and girlfriend, check with Tony Ortega first.

The former Village Voice editor-in-chief works tirelessly at the helm of his must-read Scientology blog The Underground Bunker. No one knows more about CoS celebrity members past, present and near future-than this guy. If TMZ had checked with Ortega, they could have easily avoided this Saturday morning admonition:

This isn’t the first time that ex-Scientologist Tiziano Lugli has been mistaken for Tom Cruise zipping around Hollywood on his Ducati motorcycle.

But TMZ? You’d think Harvey Levin’s outfit would want a bit more confirmation before deciding that a video of Tiziano and his wife Jamie is Tom Cruise and his “Rebound Chick.”

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Alan Citron Moves Over to Yahoo

LinkedIn remains a very handy tool. Per a FishbowlLA tipster, it does indeed appear that Alan Citron is newly installed as a business lead with Yahoo Entertainment.

Citron, one of the genuinely nicest guys in town, has had a long, illustrious career, one many journalists today would pine for. After working for more than a decade as a reporter and editor at the LA Times, he segued to Ticketmaster Online and MusicNet.

Most recently with BuzzMedia (a.k.a. SpinMedia), Citron was instrumental as founding GM in helping the late Jim Paratore and Harvey Levin build out TMZ. His fellow TMZ-er at Buzz-Spin, Gillian Sheldon Heckendorf, previously left for Berman Braun.

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Howard Bragman Chats with Magic Johnson’s Outed Son

On the latest edition of the YouTube interview show GWISSUES, Earvin Johnson III (a.k.a. EJ) says that the person shown on TMZ TV walking with him hand-in-hand on the Sunset Strip was not actually a boyfriend but rather his best friend. Nevertheless, the April 2 report led to Magic’s son being outed in the media and EJ’s dad doing a subsequent interview with Harvey Levin.

Johnson tells host Howard Bragman that in addition to his current focus on an event planning and hospitality degree at NYU, he has a personal passion for media and journalism. One day, he tells the former uber-publicist, he hopes to host his own TV talk show.

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