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Posts Tagged ‘Les Moonves’

Charlie Sheen Commits Career Suicide

Maybe it was better when Charlie Sheen was partying with porn stars and a “briefcase full of cocaine.”

In a truly astonishing series of events today, the highest paid television actor in Hollywood:

1) Trashed show creator Chuck Lorre on the Alex Jones Show;

2) Caused CBS to cancel production of the eight remaining episodes of this year’s season of Two and a Half Men;

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Lunch: James Cameron’s Oscar Campaign Comes to Michael’s

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— DIANE CLEHANE

It was Hollywood on the Hudson at Michael’s today as Peggy Siegal hosted one of her legendary lunches right smack in the middle of the dining room. Today’s guest of honor was James Cameron. Looks like Peggy pulled out all the stops, rounding up quite an eclectic collection of actors, directors, and entertainment A-listers to celebrate the Avatar auteur’s nine Oscar nominations and, no doubt, drum up a few votes. Ballots are due March 2! In case you haven’t heard, Cameron is up against some stiff competition in the best picture and director categories. His ex-wife, Kathryn Bigelow, has been nabbing plenty of statuettes this award season for helming The Hurt Locker, and everyone in Hollywood is waiting to see who comes out on top on Oscar night.

I was squeezed into the bar with Redbook‘s editor-in-chief Stacy Morrison and Hearst’s director of public relations Alexandra Carlin. Stacy is about to publish her first book, Falling Apart in One Piece: One Optimist’s Journey Through the Hell of Divorce (Simon & Schuster) next month and it’s a real page turner. After spending a year “trying not to write the book,” Stacy decided to chronicle her painful but ultimately life-affirming journey from jilted wife of a year-old baby to happy single mother. The memoir, which seems destined for the big screen, took two years of writing and rewriting on weekends to finish. “I wanted to make people think differently about divorce,” Stacy told me. After tiring of deflecting people’s inappropriate questions about the split, Stacy says she ultimately thought: ‘If you want to see the real story, here it is.’ And she doesn’t hold anything back. From the nights spent sobbing on her kitchen floor to the painful conversations with her soon-to-be ex, it’s all there.

I asked Stacy if she had any misgivings about exposing so much about her personal life in the book, given her high-profile position as a relationship ‘expert.’ (She got her boss Cathie Black‘s blessing to write it.) On the contrary, she told me. “The book is a resilience road map,” says Stacy. Miraculously, she and her ex-husband have managed to remain friends (really!) and have a co-parenting strategy that works for the couple and their young son. Stacy even dedicated the book to the man who left her because, she says, “I couldn’t have written it without him in more ways than one.”

The book is getting plenty of good buzz and even earned high praise from none other than Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote of her own reawakening after divorce in Eat, Pray, Love. Gilbert “loved the tone” of the book, calling it “real, without the slightest hint of self-pity.”

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Just an intimate lunch for 38 including James Cameron and pals Bob Balaban, Oscar winner Ellen Burstyn (looking absolutely ageless), Avatar villain Stephen Lang, indie It girl Parker Posey, documentarian Ken Burns and director Julie Taymor, Jean Doumanian and Warner Music’s Lyor Cohen. Also in attendance: Les Moonves, John Stossel, Felicia Taylor, and “Mayor” Joe Armstrong. Entertainment Weekly’s Oscar odds-maker Dave Karger was also on hand taking it all in.

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WCBS Boss Upped to Pres. of CBS TV Stations

Dunn_11.9.jpgPeter Dunn, president and GM of WCBS-TV, now has the additional job of overseeing CBS’ 29 stations across the country.

In an email to staff, obtained by FishbowlNY, CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves writes, “Peter has been a terrific leader in every role he’s had at our station group, from President of Sales to running two of our biggest stations. He knows how to deliver results and inspire the best work from his people, and knows the local marketplace as well as anyone.”

Dunn replaces Tom Kane who had held the job since Sept. 2005. Kane was previously president and GM of WABC-TV.

Moonves’ email after the jump…

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NY Media Gather For Cronkite|Which Journos Were Called On At Last Night’s Presser?|Tribune Seeks Millions For Bonuses|National Geographic Publishes Readers Photos|Everyone Trusts Jon Stewart

TVNewser: Walter Cronkite‘s funeral was today, and here’s a peek at some of the people in attendance. The crowd included Bob Schieffer, Les Moonves, Katie Couric, Connie Chung, Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, Brian Williams, Barbara Walters, Charlie Gibson, Tom Brokaw, Andy Rooney, Dan Rather and Meredith Vieira.

FishbowlDC: A run-down of who was called on to ask questions at the president’s press conference last night.

Chicago Tribune: The Chicago Tribune asked the bankruptcy court to allow millions of dollars in bonus payments to more than 700 employees.

Folio: National Geographic magazine is planning to publish a special edition “Your Shot” issue featuring photos submitted by readers.

Time/All Things Digital: It’s a big news day for Jon Stewart. A Time online poll found Stewart was the most trusted newscaster in America, but a segment from his show making fun of President Barack Obama‘s opening pitch of the MLB All Star game has been blocked by the league.

Lunch: Dishing With Dolly Parton

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— DIANE CLEHANE

Sure, it’s fun checking in with the media mavens and moguls during our weekly Wednesday outings at Michael’s, but sometimes it’s the random celebrity sighting that can be the most entertaining. When I heard that Dolly Parton was coming today, I was really looking forward to chatting with her. I first sat down with her and Jane Fonda way back when there was some big anniversary for her breakthrough film, 9 to 5. Of all the celebrities I’ve interviewed over the years, Dolly was by far one of the least pretentious. The hair, the outrageous outfits, the nails — the boobs — it’s all part of a perfectly calibrated persona that is as compelling today as it was back then.

When she arrived in the dining room, every head turned. Trust me, she’s like no one you’ve ever seen. At 63, she looked like a living doll with her expertly made-up ageless face, Barbie doll suit (paired with sheer black leggings), that famous platinum mane, and shoes that no other human being could possibly walk in. When I stopped her to chat, she gave me a big smile and grabbed my hand. “Of course I remember you!” she drawled when I explained when we last spoke. I almost believed her — she’s that genuine. When I asked her how things were going with 9 to 5 set to debut on Broadway next week (she wrote 40 songs for the show; 16 made it into the production), she said, “We’re working like crazy just tweaking little things until we get it right. We’re working ’til midnight. I’m really enjoying myself!” Then she sailed in to meet her producer Bob Greenblatt (Showtime’s president), Matt Blank and the rest of her table.

I was dining today with my good pal Kathryn Leigh Scott, who is one of the most prolific women I know. She’s written so many books I’ve lost count (and is currently working on two — one fiction and one nonfiction). But her really big news involves the article she’s penned on “the star and the stalker” for Opera News, due out in August. Kathryn has left no stone unturned in the account of the downside of divadom, which chronicles the complicated and chilling relationship between legendary opera star Birgit Nilsson and her stalker, model Nell Theobald. Kathryn uncovers some startling details in her report, which has attracted the attention of some Hollywood bigwigs: “There’s some interest in the dramatic rights,” Kathryn tells me. Like they say in Tinseltown, stay tuned…

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Dolly Parton, Showtime’s Matt Blank and Bob Greenblatt and Lee Resnick. There was also an imposing looking fellow at the table who, from the looks of things, keeps things running smoothly for Dolly. I’m guessing you wouldn’t want to mess with him…

2. The first lady of New York, Michelle Paterson, and Jackie Rogers. For the moment, at least, it seems as if her husband’s dismal poll numbers weren’t top of mind: We spotted Michelle yukking it up as she enjoyed some white wine with her friend.

3. Dan Abrams and CNBC’s Brian Steel (Glad to hear you’re a ‘Lunch’ loyalist!)

4. Expectant father Les Moonves (congrats!) and Viacom’s Philippe Dauman. When Michael McCarty offered the television titan a hearty greeting of “Dad!” Les looked a little sheepish and uttered, “I’m an old man.” What’s that old saying about kids keeping you young? Please extend our congratulations to the missus, Julie Chen.

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Lunch: The Special Post-Election Edition

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— DIANE CLEHANE

The Michael’s crowd was in full party mode today as television titans, media mavens and talking heads mingled gleefully with politicos who were celebrating Barack Obama‘s historic victory. “Finally, some good news!” exclaimed one of the regulars as he made his way into the jam-packed dining room. It seemed more than a bit poetic that on the eve of Camelot 2.0 Caroline Kennedy quietly made her way to table one, avoiding all the table-hopping and glad-handing that was going on around her. If there were any disappointed John McCain supporters in the room, they were keeping a low profile. Okay, Mary Matalin made the scene with hubby James Carville but she didn’t exactly look like she was celebrating. Everyone agreed Obama’s speech last night was stirring, but one observer offered this insight to chew on: “Sure it’s exciting, but it’s going to be pretty much impossible to live up to all this hype. The guy’s gotta be feeling some pressure.” If he is, he sure is wearing it well.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. The Early Show: Saturday Night Live scribe James Signorelli; Second shift: Caroline Kennedy, Jimmy Buffett and his wife Jamie

2. Producer Jon Hart, Doug Steiner and another gent we didn’t get to meet…

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong, producer Susan Stroman (Young Frankenstein), uber-agent Ed Victor and his gorgeous wife Carol. A little birdie told me the ‘Mayor’ will be hosting one of his legendary lunches next week. We can’t wait!

4. Gerald Schoenfeld with an unidentified gent

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Les Moonves and CNET: Out to Kill the Newspaper Star?

moonvesmixx.jpgLes Moonves hates newspapers! Or at least that’s the impression one might get based on recent comments he made recently at an annual advertising conference. The CBS head, who recently spearheaded the company’s surprising $1.8 billion purchase of CNET earlier this year, says that one of the upshots of CBS’s foray into the new media world is that it will “eliminate the need for dead tree media.”

One of the advantages of the Internet is we’re taking money away from the newspapers.

Lunch: Les Moonves, Barry Diller & Kathleen Turner

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— DIANE CLEHANE

Forget the lazy days of summer. Class is back in session as the cool kids returned to the cafeteria today in force. The scene at Michael’s was a tasty stew of moguls and media mavens with a side order of the random celebrity sighting — Kathleen Turner cooled her heels at the bar with her face buried in a newspaper until her pals arrived. And in true Michael’s media-centric style, a photographer from The New York Times was on hand to capture it all for Frank Bruni‘s review due out soon. We can’t wait, can you?

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Kathleen Turner, Felicia Taylor, Margo McNabb, Sommers Farkas, Terry Allen Kramer and a very late arriving Peggy Siegal who joined the festivities just in time to be included in the pics for the Times. David Patrick Columbia dashed in just before coffee to grab a few quick shots of the gals for New York Social Diary. You’re no one if you’re not getting your picture taken, darling …

2. Showtime’s head honcho Matt Blank with Holly B. Newman. Loved the leopard skirt!

3. Liz Smith with Jonathan Van Meter. The grand dame of gossip, looking sunny in yellow, told me she was being interviewed for New Yorkfor another anniversary issue.

4. Les Moonves sipping chardonnay with Leon Black

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Breaking: Dan Rather Ruling: Let the Spin Begin!

041408_rather_web.jpgA judge has issued a ruling on CBS’s motion to dismiss Dan Rather’s $70 million lawsuit. In short, some aspects (and defendants) of the suit were thrown out, but the suit will proceed.

Sounds like, in essence, not a lot has changed — but that hasn’t stopped both sides from proclaiming victory:

“We are extremely happy with the results,” said James Quinn, the lawyer for the CBS defendants. “[The justice] has essentially thrown out the core allegations of the complaint with regard to the fraud. He dismissed all the claims against the individual defendants: Les Moonves, Sumner Redstone and Andrew Heyward. What’s left in the case is a garden-variety contract dispute.”

Dan Rather’s side (surprise!) has a different take:

Justice Gammerman issued a decision today which leaves in place the entire essence of Mr. Rather’s lawsuit against CBS and Viacom, including both contract and tort claims. Although not every legal theory of the case survives, as a result of the decision, the Court has permitted discovery and a trial of all of the factual issues that form the basis of Mr. Rather’s lawsuit, including his $70 million claim for compensatory and punitive damages. The defendants’ statement that all that is left is a “garden variety contract dispute” is simply inaccurate.

Watch the Box: Playing with Blocks

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NBC has put together a block deal for primetime, just like Saturday morning kids’ shows. In a first look deal with BermanBraun, NBC has contracted to air 2 or even 3 hours of primetime reality programming in a single block supplied by Thom Beers’ Original Prods. Ownership of the shows will be split with NBC, and the network will keep the domestic rights, while the producers retain international rights. Beers’ current and previous shows include Deadliest Catch, Ice Road Truckers, Monster House and Monster Garage. Expect this in later 2008.

Les Moonves confirmed that CBS has plans to slot Showtime series into the primetime schedule this midseason if the strike continues. Show under consideration include Dexter, Weeds and Brotherhood, all of which would be edited for broadcast TV. Weeds will probably end up to be about 15 minutes long.

LOGO channel is looking for people to tell their real stories for Be Real: Season 2, the documentary series about the GLBT life. Producers particularly wants to focus on compelling stories about an upcoming pivotal event such as a wedding, anniversary, reconciliation with family or friends or a move to a new location. Especially if you’ve recently moved to say, Mecca.

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