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Posts Tagged ‘Roger Friedman’

Former Billboard Editorial Director Points to Egregious Example of ‘Echo Chamber Reporting’

LadyGagaARTPOPOn Monday, BuzzFeed’s Myles Tanzer introduced a whole new audience to Angela Cheng, a pseudonymous music blogger who recently shifted her very questionable act from examiner.com to the URL popmusicgadfly.com.

Entangled in this trail is former Billboard editorial director Bill Werde and industry superstar Lady Gaga. The publication of the BuzzFeed story led Werde to reluctantly chime in via Tumblr and sparked a follow-up post from Cheng on April 1. We’re going to focus on Werde’s post, since it addresses the “Culpability of the Media” and what appears to be some very lazy reporting:

On November 17, 2013, “Sabrina O’Connor” [another mysterious examiner.com blogger byline] posted a story on Examiner.com that claimed Lady Gaga’s Interscope label had spent $25 million to promote her album ARTPOP, which had been released 11 days earlier.

Within days that number had been repeated in seemingly any outlet that could credibly cover such a matter: Business Week; New York magazine; Business Insider. A couple of weeks later, the New York Post published a razor-sharp hatchet job on Gaga, once again, floating the $25 million figure.

(Credit where it’s due: the only outlet I could find that called bullshit, and did it the very next day, was Roger Friedman at Showbiz 411.)

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Lauren Berger Writes New Book for Young People Entering "Real World"

Lauren Berger Welcome to the Real WorldCareer Expert, Lauren Berger, releases her second book, Welcome to the Real World: Finding Your Place, Perfecting Your Work, and Turning Your Job Into Your Dream Career (Harper Business), on April 22nd. In this book, Berger shares everything she wishes someone told her after graduation. Her book is the essential guide to anyone starting their first, second, or third job. She encourages readers to be fearless, step outside of their comfort zones, and go after what they want.

Exclusive! The First Interview With Dr. Oz on His New Hearst Title

LunchAtMichaelsWe understand that the deadline for Oscar voters to send in their ballots is today, but we’re still more than a little miffed that we missed seeing Leonardo DiCaprio, Bruce Dern and Richard Gere by a day. A little birdie told us Paramount threw a schmoozefest in the middle of Michael’s dining room yesterday to drum up some Academy love for its pictures — the overly long and ridiculously profane The Wolf of Wall Street and the absolutely brilliant Nebraska. Having a slew of Tinseltown A-listers in their midst gave the regular folks (it’s a relative term, I know) a chance to do some serious stargazing. “It was a bit surreal,” one diner told me. It seems only fitting to us that Hollywood took over the dining room on a day when the rest of Manhattan was in a deep freeze straight out of a disaster movie. The Day After Tomorrow, anyone?

Well, it is Wednesday, after all, and we wanted to start our new year of celebrity confabs off on the right foot so who better to whip us into shape than none other than Dr. Mehmet Oz, the Emmy-Award winning daytime television host, author of seven New York Times Bestsellers and dispenser of daily doses of helpful medical tips on 1010WINS.

Diane Clehane and Dr. Mehmet Oz

Diane Clehane and Dr. Mehmet Oz

And oh, yes, he’s also a renowned cardiothoracic surgeon at New York Presbyterian Hospital, who somehow manages to find the time to perform about 100 heart surgeries a year (he has office hours on Thursdays if you’re wondering) and a part-time superhero who goes around rescuing New Yorkers in peril all in the course of an average day. At lunch he told me of another tale of  being at the right place at the right time which occurred the same month he came to the aid of the woman who was seriously injured when she was hit by a cab on Sixth Avenue. During a trip to Salt Lake City, a fellow marathoner literally fell in Dr. Oz’s path when the man went into distress due to a heart problem. Of course, Dr. Oz was able to put him in an ambulance, visit him the next day and has stayed in touch to stay apprised of his defacto patient’s recovery.

The good doctor is launching his own lifestyle magazine in partnership with Hearst titled Dr. Oz The Good Life, and this afternoon he brought along a retinue of bigwigs and handlers from his various projects and his charming wife Lisa Oz, whose CV includes a career in television and her own slew of bestsellers (the couple co-authored their You series together; Lisa wrote Us solo and as a result, says Dr. Oz, his wife has “one more bestseller than I do!”).

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Deadline’s Mike Fleming is Going Bicoastal

DeadlineHollywoodlogoBeginning next month, Nikki Finke‘s tireless film editor will divide his time equally each month between Long Island and Los Angeles. It’s a big change for Fleming, one he wants you to know is not an indication of troubles at the mother ship:

I think Deadline is thriving despite a recent batch of articles implying otherwise, and it pisses me off when journalists cheap shot us (I disagree with New York Times’ reporter Brooks Barnes and his assessment that Deadline has grown bland. The only thing that concerns me is Barnes could teach a master class on how to write blandly, so he’s as close to an authority as you’ll find on the subject).

Ha ha. Fleming goes on to share all sorts of great recollections: how his showbiz reporter career began accidentally in connection with a project involving Ralph Macchio, Emilio Estevez and Peter Bart; how a Long Dong Silver porn tape threw Variety parent company execs for a loop; how a trial run living in LA was ended by his wife’s ultimatum; and how Disney learned to live with his Jessica Rabbit revelations.

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Cate Blanchett Tells Reporter It’s a Little Early to Call Oscar Race

The headline of the USA TODAY article by Ann Oldenburg reads “Oscar Buzz Builds for Cate Blanchett.” Builds? Really?

First of all, it’s July. Yes, the Cannes Film Festival can sometimes spark the beginning of inexorable Academy Awards chatter, but by all civilized rights this cottage industry should be kept at a minimum until Telluride, Labor Day and Toronto. Secondly, Blanchett’s turn as a Ruth Madoff type in Woody Allen‘s Blue Jasmine hasn’t even opened yet.

When Oldenburg raised the specter of an Oscar nomination during her New York hotel room chat with Blanchett, the actress replied with an apt analogy:

“Um,” she says. “The horse is hardly out of the gate. There’s always many great female performances. I just hope people go see the movie.”

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Roger Friedman Calls Out Tina Brown, Diane Dimond

For the briefest time Sunday morning, some alleged “news” published by UK’s Sunday Mirror newspaper about the late Michael Jackson was above The Drudge Report fold. But the multiple featured links quickly disappeared from Drudge, perhaps because the site’s Showbiz 411 pal Roger Friedman may have alerted that there was no substance to the sensational allegations.

This afternoon, Friedman is zeroing in on The Daily Beast article “The Story Behind The Latest Michael Jackson Bombshell:”

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Robert Redford Silent Drama Makes Big Splash at Cannes

Robert Redford is 76; the Cannes Film Festival, 66. Over the course of these two cinematic lifetimes, the manner in which information flows out of a major film festival has dramatically changed. The once gentle print and TV ripple has been replaced by a social media and Web tidal wave.

Just hours after the debut on the French Riviera of Redford’s stranded-at-sea wordless drama All is Lost, Sundance hometown critic Sean P. Means is already suggesting that the film’s October 25 Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate release date is “one of the most anticipated moments of the Oscar season.” Echoing these sentiments are Roger Friedman and Sasha Stone. From Stone’s TheWrap review:

Redford is so good in this movie that if he didn’t already have such a long history of films behind him, this would launch his career late in life. Despite his 50-year history as an actor, he has been nominated for Best Actor just once, in 1974 for The Sting. Here’s hoping he sees a second, in 2014, at the age of 77.

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David Zinczenko on His New ‘High-Profile Life’ and the Real Story Behind His Leaving Rodale

1003_mockup.gifI’ve been looking forward to today’s Michael’s lunch for quite a while. David Zinczenko, who I met in this very dining room many years ago, was joining me with his business partner Stephen Perrine and Patrick Connors, the new publisher of Men’s Fitness. As most faithful readers of this column know, Dave, arguably one of the highest profile editors in history during his tenure as EIC of Men’s Health, and Stephen, head of Rodale Books, were unceremoniously fired from their positions at Rodale last November. The news shocked industry insiders and made headlines all over the media landscape, most notably in a piece penned by Keith Kelly for The New York Post where Maria Rodale cattily commented that David could now go on living his “high-profile life.” When asked if his departure would hurt the brand, she sniped, “It’s not Dave’s Health –  it’s Men’s Health.” Jealous much?

I was thrilled to score the exclusive first sit-down with Dave and Stephen to get the real story behind their firings, an overview of their new venture, Galvanized Brands, and the first look (which Patrick brought along hot off the presses today) of the June issue of Men’s Fitness, the result of their collaboration with their first client, AMI. Dave and Stephen are co-founders and CEO/president and chief creative officer, respectively, of their new firm. Stephen describes Galvanized Brands as a “broad-based brand building and media company that helps other companies unlock their hidden value specializing in health and wellness,” and the duo is positively euphoric about the company’s prospects.

Patrick Connors, David Zinczenko, Diane Clehane and Stephen Perrine

Not surprisingly, it turns out Dave’s living a “high-profile life” that made millions for his former employer has its advantages. (The highly successful Eat This, Not That series he wrote while at Rodale sold 7 million copies in North America.) Last month, it was announced Random House gave Dave distribution and a multi-million dollar deal for his own imprint, Zinc Ink, through its Ballantine Bantam Dell division. As part of the deal, Dave will pen three health/fitness books, the first of which will be published in 2014.  Zinc Ink will publish six to 12 non-fiction and lifestyle books annually — and Dave will share in the profits. He explained that, in addition to Zinc Ink, Random House is prepared to create a series of imprints, like say, AMI/Galvanized, tied to media brands which Random House will publish and distribute. There are currently “half a dozen” AMI/Galvanized book idea percolating, and Stephen told me the first book will be published some time this summer.

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Melania Trump, Star Jones and the Man Behind Katie Couric’s Cushy Set

1003_mockup.gifCompared to the past few Fellini-esque Wednesday’s at Michael’s, today’s crowd was pretty low key. That said, the usual suspects were at their regular perches and the people watching quotient was satisfied by regular Star Jones (dressed to kill) and Melania Trump who, I must say, looks as if she doesn’t have a care in the world. Perhaps that’s because she doesn’t… unless, of course, she’s worries about hubby Donald Trump‘s war against President Barack Obama. Something tells me she’s able to look beyond that and focus on the positive. But you knew that, didn’t you?

I was joined today by Scalamandre’s smart, savvy and sartorially splendid president Steven Stolman, fresh off the plane from London but looking none the worse for wear. I first met Steven back in the nineties when he was designing power suits (remember them?) for Albert Nipon. Since then, Steven has sold his own eponymous collection out of his charming store in Southampton, consulted for preppy icons Lilly Pulitzer and Jack Rogers, and even dabbled in the not-for-profit world. Today, says Steven, he is happily ensconced in the “job of a lifetime.” It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

In just over a year and half at the helm of the legendary fabric house, Steven has forged exciting new partnerships that, he says, have broadened Scalamandre’s horizons while remaining true to its core customers of designers. A new line of decorative accessories developed exclusively for Barney’s is now available in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, in Barney’s oh so cool Chelsea Passage outpost and online. Next month, Christmas stockings fashioned from Scalamandre’s most iconic prints will be available at the store with coordinating pillows. Just the thing for your country estate, no?

Diane Clehane and Steven Stolman

Diane Clehane and Steven Stolman

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Penske Deal May Put Gerry Byrne Back in Driver’s Seat

Media reactions to this morning’s Variety-PMC deal confirmation are coming in faster and more furiously than a Vin Diesel-Paul Walker car chase.

But forget for a moment about Jay Penske, Nikki Finke and Bonnie Fuller. As NYC-based columnist Roger Friedman astutely points out, one of the central figures in this new Hollywood trade horizon could be an individual most media watchers are unfamiliar with:

Sitting pretty on the Penske board is my old friend, Gerry Byrne (pictured), who commands a daily table at Michael’s. Years ago, it was Gerry who engineered Variety’s stunning comeback from the dead with Peter Bart as editor-in-chief. In the early 90s they revamped the Variety design and made the paper matter again. Eventually Gerry left Variety and sometime later became publisher of The Hollywood Reporter when it was owned by Nielsen. When the Guggenheim people came in, Byrne was sidelined. He left when his contract was up, and joined up with Penske.

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Latest Church of Scientology PR Crisis Heats Up

As we reported earlier this week, Paul Haggis’ comments about the shocking Vanity Fair October cover story involving Tom Cruise, the Church of Scientology and an alleged 2004 audition process was met with an almost equally disturbing response from the church. The CoS pointed to Googled proof of a prior Haggis “relationship” with the woman at the center of Maureen Orth’s article, Nazanin Boniadi (pictured).

Today, there is more of what will be much more as the Vanity Fair October issue begins to circulate. Over at Tony Ortega’s Village Voice CoS blog, Haggis has chimed in with a few more thoughts. He clarifies that although his emails to Showbiz 411 columnist Roger Friedman were taken as confirmation of the VF report, “Like everyone else, I have not even read their story.”

But Haggis stands firm on the central point of his reaching out. Vouching for Boniadi’s character:

“I am simply coming to the defense of a woman who has been publicly called a liar… Perhaps it’s just me, but I have never found Scientology’s blanket denials equally credible… It is my understanding that Naz is the subject of this article, not the source of it. Scientology has a long and well-documented history of attempting to bully its critics into silence. Here they are bullying a woman who has yet to even speak. I guess I just don’t like bullies.”

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