Who better to write up coverage of the 50th anniversary plaque dedication and gala that took place Wednesday at Hollywood’s famed Magic Castle than a correspondent who goes by the Twitter handle @MagicScribe and describes himself as “a sub-par journalist who can do a few card tricks.”
Mike Larkin certainly knows all the Mail Online tricks that have made his outlet the most trafficked newspaper website in the world and a staple of The Drudge Report. The outlet’s local brand of Web hocus pocus, tapped out assembly-line style at several westside offices, often includes a top-heavy celebrity headline and as many gigantic photos of Hollywood boldface as possible. In other words, no Tom LaBongehere.
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Here’s a vivid reminder of just how well Tom O’Neil and his group of goldderby.com editors know the Emmy Awards beat.
Thanks to a recent Skype discussion between O’Neil, Chris Beachum, Matt Noble and Daniel Montgomery about the Best Supporting Comedy Actor chances of New Girl’s Max Greenfield (pictured), the performer’s Hollywood agents realized the wrong episode had been submitted on the co-star’s behalf. Instead of “Control,” which Greenfield’s reps had selected, the DVD reproduction house somehow pressed copies of the episode “Bad in Bed.” Tipped by Gold Derby, the TV Academy worked with the actor’s team to remedy the mistake and get new discs out to voters with special instructions in time for the September 17 deadline.
“It’s definitely one of Gold Derby’s top ten scoops,” O’Neil tells FishbowlLA via telephone. “But nothing will likely surpass our story about Katherine Heigl lashing out at her writers after having withdrawn from Emmy consideration for Grey’s Anatomy. She was ticked off at her writers, and then there was that whole backlash against her after the story broke.”
We’ve floated this idea past a couple of media colleagues with unimpeachable Academy Awards expertise. One is a full-time kudos season chronicler; the other, a published Hollywood history author and film PR whiz. Since both gave our suggestion the big Broadway thumbs up, FishbowlLA is now officially proposing it to the Academy.
To Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, co-producers of next February’s Oscar telecast, we say: If you have not already contacted Nathan Lane’s reps to see if he would be interested in doing the Dolby Theatre honors, then please do so – pronto.
We have no idea if Lane would say yes. But here’s a guy who can handle any necessary musical telecast components as smoothly as Hugh Jackman and Neil Patrick Harris. More importantly, per his regular sit-downs with David Letterman, Lane is also flat-out, ad lib hilarious.
A year ago at this time, Scott Feinberg (pictured) had just signed a contract with The Hollywood Reporter to join the publication as lead awards blogger and tumbled into his first-ever trip to Telluride. This weekend, he’s back in the picturesque Colorado mountains, ready to handicap 2012 Oscar hopefuls alongside a small group of LA journo regulars that includes Anne Thompson (Indiewire), Gregory Ellwood (Hit Fix), Steve Pond (TheWrap) and Pete Hammond (Deadline).
“It’s funny, the one place where we all end up is the Santa Barbara Film Festival,” Feinberg told FishbowlLA via telephone yesterday shortly after arriving in the rain. “It’s weird. Some of us can’t make it to Telluride, some of us can’t make it to Toronto. But the one that it just seems, year after year, all the usual LA Oscar beat writers end up at is Santa Barbara.”
Everything is walking distance in Telluride. It’s also a place where, with a very few exceptions, outlets pay the same hefty price for journalist passes as attendees. And because locals are used to living next to the likes of Ralph Lauren, Oprah Winfrey and Tom Cruise, the already secluded event has a welcome, casual feel for A-list attendees. Starting with today’s traditional kick-off picnic.
“At the end of last year’s awards season, George Clooney told me Telluride had been one of the highlights of the circuit, which he was on for a whole six months,” Feinberg recalled. “He felt that he could walk around here with no bodyguards, no entourage… Of course, one or two people might still ask him for photos. But it’s nothing like LA or Toronto.”
Remember last December, when Live! with Kelly co-host Neil Patrick Harriswas compelled to apologize on Twitter after inhaling sulfur hexafluoride and uttering the word “tranny” on-air? Well, that doesn’t seem to be a problem for the folks getting ready to work the Off Off Off Oscar circuit this weekend.
On Sunday, the 4th Annual Tranny Awards will be handed out at Joseph’s Café in Hollywood. Then, on President’s Day at a strip club in West Hollywood, nominees from shows past and present will be among those taking part in a “Tranny Awards Celebration Party.”
On Friday, after six years spent under the LATimes.com umbrella, awards season expert Tom O’Neil (pictured) bid farewell to TheEnvelope.com. It’s time, he enthused, to take his groundbreaking website Goldderby.com back onto the wide open expanse of the Web and run it independently.
FishbowlLA chatted with O’Neil via email to get a better sense of the operation. His executive editor, Paul Sheehan, is a former entertainment lawyer who returned to the Gold Derby fold in 2010 after freelancing for major newspapers and magazines. Together, they watch over a hand-picked team of senior editors.
“I recruited my editors from the smartest posters at the Gold Derby message boards over the past 11 years,” O’Neil explains. “By following the discussions there, I could see who really knew their stuff and who didn’t. I believe it’s much easier to take award experts and turn then into journalists than it is to take cocky, know-it-all journalists and turn them into award experts.”
“I don’t believe that 99.9% of Hollywood writers really know anything about awards,” he adds. “This year no one at the Hollywood Reporter, TheWrap, Deadline, the New York Times, TV Guide or Entertainment Weekly bothered to scrutinze what episodes were submitted by nominees to Emmy judges, but those episodes decide who wins and loses. However, my editors at GoldDerby can not only tell you what episodes the nominees entered this year, they can tell you what was submitted ten and 20 years ago and why those contenders won or lost.”
Dana Tyler, the veteran WCBS/Channel 2 anchor and resident culture guru, is back as host of the station’s annual Tony Awards preview. The Saturday night half hour special, At the Tonys, explores the nominations for Best Play, Best Musical, Best Revival, and Best Revival Musical.
Even before the Primetime Emmys opened with a musical number by Neil Patrick Harris, the show’s host — who also served as co-producer — was a lamenting the death of network television.
“This may very well be the last year they’re on a network show,” Harris told New York magazine in a a profile featured in last week’s issue. “This wheel contract they have, where each year a different network gets the show, as the ratings decline it becomes less of a good thing to ‘get it.’ It’s a very expensive show. Which means they have to get more ad revenue. Ads are less expensive, because ratings are down. So you have to do more ads, which makes the show smaller…and finally someone will do it on cable, where there won’t be any commercials. Which will be a wonderful show. Our three-hour show is only two hours and five minutes long, due to economics.”
If cable is a better outlet for award shows, is it also a better outlet for award-winning television? It seemed that way as a slew of the first few awards of the night went to basic cable shows — Toni Collette won Best Actress in a Comedy Series for her role on Showtime‘s “United States of Tara,” Glenn Close took home the Best Actress in a Drama Series award for “Damages” on FX, Bryan Cranston won Best Actor in a Drama Series for the second year in a row for his role in AMC‘s “Breaking Bad” and AMC’s “Mad Men” won the drama writing award and Outstanding Drama Series.
But, the networks still had a strong showing. Kristin Chenoweth took home the Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series prize for her role in ABC‘s “Pushing Daises,” which was canceled even before nominations were announced. Jon Cryer took home Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy for CBS‘s “Two and a Half Men,” Alec Baldwin won for the second year in a row for Best Actor in a Comedy Series for NBC‘s “30 Rock,” which also took home the Outstanding Comedy Series award for the third year running.
Still, the changing world of television as a medium was a prevailing theme throughout the show. At one point, Harris revisited his online persona, Dr. Horrible, to (literally) sing the praises of Internet television over network and cable TV — complete with “buffering” gag.
And in her acceptance speech, “30 Rock” creator and star Tina Fey took a jab at Jay Leno when she thanked NBC brass for not pulling her show off the air, “even though we are so much more expensive than a talk show.”
Even Harris couldn’t help mentioning network TV again in his sign off, telling viewers, “May we see you again on broadcast television again next year.”
After the jump, some Emmy highlights, including the Harris’ Dr. Horrible Sing-a-Long Blog bit.
Neil Patrick Harris gets a nice pat on the back from LA Times‘ staff writer Scott Collins on the heels of his Emmy nomination for the CBS laffer “How I Met Your Mother.” And it just so happens to come in the same 12 months that Harris, a beloved TV star for “Doogie Howser,” came out out of the closet to People Magazine following a slew of Internet rumors, stirred by the pesky fingers of Perez Hilton. While serving as an Emmy-pushing profile of the gay actor, the story also is a quick survey of the landscape for Harris’ fellow gays in an industry that has often worked hard at keeping its stars private lives, well, private. (Not so easy these days, thanks to Perez and other insatiable celeb sites like TMZ and X17).
Collins writes: The subtext of Harris’ Emmy nomination seems to be an effort to reassure gay actors: Relax. You can come out and still play straight guys. Even playboys, cads and heels. Just like straight guys can play gay cowboys. (As Harris marveled, “Now gay parts in big movies are only played by straight actors. They don’t really cast gay actors in gay parts!”)
But as for Harris’ future, he is sticking to the old adage that “if you’re talented in this business, you’ll keep working.” And of course, if you’re talented too, you might win an Emmy.