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Posts Tagged ‘Harvey Levin’

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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Variety Film Editor Josh Dickey Heading to TMZ.com

Big news this afternoon on the Hollywood trades front. And it’s Nikki Finke once again letting the Variety cat out of the bag.

Film editor Josh Dickey, who recently lost his pit bull reporter Jeff Sneider, has accepted a job with TMZ.com. He will be the site’s new managing editor. From Finke’s brief dispatch:

Dickey will become TMZ’s managing editor after giving his notice at Variety where he was film editor. Variety’s New York editor Jill Goldsmith was let go on March 8th as was Variety’s creative director Paula Taylor more recently.

This is a huge score for Harvey Levin. Dickey, formerly of TheWrap, is leaving the trade quadrangle for a site that sometimes spends a little bit too much time in the sensational gutter. Hopefully, he can temper that. For example, TMZ.com recently got a lot of flack from the family of a Hollywood nightclub shooting victim for airing full cell phone video footage of the crime.

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Harvey Levin Seeking SXSW Job Candidates

There’s a ton of new job ads today on Mediabistro, including one that has us tipping our hat to TMZ. The managing editor search starts off with a delightful setting of the newsroom scene:

No need to have experience in Celebrity News – it’s not brain surgery.

Excepting perhaps future coverage of a famous person admitted to Cedars-Sinai for treatment of a serious head injury, that is absolutely correct. Then comes the cool kicker. Site founder Harvey Levin is going to be traveling to Austin for SXSW and is more than willing to make time for worthy candidates while there:

Harvey will be at South by Southwest on Saturday and Sunday, March 9th and 10th. He’d welcome meeting qualified candidates.

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Business Insider Gets to the Bottom of Splash News-Princess Diana Movie Partnership

Here’s a good example of how to take “hat/tip journalism” to the next level. It comes from Aly Weisman, editor of Business Insider’s entertainment vertical.

Picking up on a brief September Hollywood Reporter item, USC grad Weisman went ahead and contacted Splash News CEO Gary Morgan. To find out exactly why the makers of 2013 biopic Diana starring Naomi Watts would partner with an entity most such productions normally work hard to keep at bay:

“Traditionally, the production company will hire an on-set photographer,” explained Morgan. “And that photographer will take pictures that they want to release over time for the production, to draw attention to it. And they will then take these pictures and give it to a PR company who will then place that picture in what they think are high traffic or important magazines or newspapers. These PR companies are usually territory-based and don’t deal with a mass audience on a day-to-day basis. They’ll deal with the top-tier, like People magazine, or Entertainment Tonight, or someone like that.”

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National Enquirer Loses Three Reporters*

Here’s a question for all those inquiring minds out there: How do you put out a competitive celebrity gossip weekly when you’ve got a diminishing number of full-time reporters on the ground?

FishbowlLA is hearing that the National Enquirer has laid off Los Angeles staffers Sarah Cordes and Jon Boon.* It’s not clear whether they are being replaced or their responsibilities amalgamated. In a possibly related move, British born veteran New York Enquirer staffer Alexander Hitchen has reportedly chosen to move on to the greener pastures of the New York Daily News.

It’s hard not to think of the letters T-M-Z in this context. The Enquirer, once the cock of the celebrity gossip walk, has been overrun by Harvey Levin’s tour buses, TMZ Live, TMZ syndicated show and poll-tastic website.

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Baldwin, Cooper and Republican Strategist Blaze July Media Trail

In the space of just a few hours today, all media hell has broken loose. On what was supposed to be a lazy holiday-week Monday.

Via Daily Beast email-share exclusive, Andrew Sullivan has officially confirmed CNN newsman Anderson Cooper’s sexual orientation. In a tease for their August issue interview cover story by Todd S. Purdum, Vanity Fair dangles a hellacious quote from Alec Baldwin about TMZ’s Harvey Levin. And on the front page of the LA Times, Republican TV ad guru Fred Davis reveals to reporter Mark Barabak that Obama regrets, he’s had a few.

Add in the Cruise-Holmes mess and this is about the wackiest July media kickoff in recent memory. Without even counting New York-based Susan Candiotti’s weekend CNN bomshell about some apparent Penn State, e-mail cover-up orchestration.

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TMZ Disputes KABC’s Lindsay Lohan Report

According to KABC, Lindsay Lohan was rushed to the hospital after she was reportedly found unconscious in the penthouse of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Marina del Rey Friday morning.

But leave it to TMZ to one-up traditional media outlets once again as Harvey Levin‘s team says Lohan not only never went to the hospital but she’s back on the set of her Lifetime movie:

We’re told someone became alarmed because they could not wake her up and the person called 911.

Paramedics responded, and determined nothing was wrong with Lindsay.  They left without transporting her to the hospital.

Lindsay is back on set shooting her Lifetime movie, “Liz and Dick.”

As far as we know, Lindsay did not go to the hospital herself.

TMZ: 1, KABC: 0.

TMZ Founder Jim Paratore Dead at 58

Television executive and TMZ founder Jim Paratore died Tuesday of a heart attack during a cycling trip in France.

Paratore, 58, spent most of his professional career working for Warner Bros. He was responsible for not only starting the wildly popular entertainment website and TV show, but was the mastermind behind The Rosie O’Donnell Show, The Bachelor and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

“The Warner Bros. Television family has lost an incredibly talented and creative friend and colleague in Jim,” said Bruce Rosenblum, president, Warner Bros. Television Group.  “He has left an indelible mark not only on our company’s success but on each of us who worked with him during the past 26 years. Jim had a passion for life, both inside and outside the entertainment industry, and he will truly be missed.”

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Dylan Howard Takes Over as Celebuzz.com Editor-in-Chief

This is definitely one of the funnier ways we have found out about a major shift in the ranks of top-tier entertainment journalists.

A little earlier today, we posted an item about the new Chevy Chase audio released on celebuzz.com. We were a little confused, as the byline was that of Dylan Howard (pictured), for the past two and a half years the senior executive editor of Star Magazine and Radar Online. Thankfully, Howard has set us straight via email:

I joined BUZZMEDIA as editor-in-chief of Celebuzz just a few weeks ago. My appointment is part of an original content effort that is intended to make Celebuzz the leading celebrity news source.

We have an exciting opportunity to create the definitive celebrity editorial experience — where readers will find showbiz content that is authoritative, comprehensive and engaging. It isn’t just about breaking news reporting — it is a contextual editorial experience in categories such as television, film, style. We’re also building state-of-the-art video studios in both our Los Angeles and New York offices and intend on producing quality live programming, each day.

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INTERVIEW: Michael Lewittes on Becoming a Gossip Cop

Long before e-mail bulletins, tweets and Drudge Report siren headlines, there were alpha-numeric pagers and pay phones. As veteran east coast journalist Michael Lewittes recalls, these now antiquated devices played a key role in one of his earliest moments of reporter triumph.

“One night I was out to dinner and drinks with New York’s police commissioner and deputy commissioner,” Lewittes (pictured) tells FishbowlLA. “Across the pagers came the message that Tupac Shakur has been shot (not when he was murdered, but a previous shooting).”

“I got the scoop,” he continues. “I had to drop a quarter in a pay phone to call the desk at the New York Daily News. Just a few hours later, I was on the subway — en route to work — and the riders were reading the Daily News and our rivals, the New York Post. But only the Daily News had the Tupac exclusive that he had been shot outside of a recording studio on the West Side in New York. And it remained a Daily News exclusive all day long on the radio and news broadcasts.”

“Naturally, today that story would have been picked up in a split second, spread across the globe, and no one would have known it was broken by the Daily News.”

The era of “hat tip” entertainment journalism is replete with theft, cacophonous forward-momentum and miraculously scrubbed errant reports. Which for Lewittes, who moved on from the Daily News to Cosmopolitan, the Post, US Weekly and Access Hollywood, frames his latest gig. Since 2009, he has been calling out bad entertainment reporting on his well-respected website gossipcop.com. And he has, in part, Perez Hilton to thank for this.

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