Former ABC News producer Carla De Landri has joined Goodman Media as senior counsel. She’ll be working with the firm on traditional and digital work and providing expertise on video and Web content. While at ABC News, she worked with 20/20, World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, and Nightline.
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Disgruntled JetBlue flight attendant-turned folk hero Steven Slater made all the right moves following his dramatic antics following an argument with a passenger.
Slater wisely pleaded guilty yesterday to two counts of attempted criminal mischief, and wisely kept any harbored commentary about his former employer to himself. His publicist Howard Bragman–whose firm is appropriately called Fifteen Minutes–gave Larry King the exclusive sitdown on October 26th, followed by taped interviews the next morning on the Early Show, GMA, and the Today Show, according to a scoop by the Hollywood Reporter.
Bragman will play the next card shortly, not revealing anything yet about Slater’s future–assuming there’s some deal to be made, “We got through the legal challenges and now we’re focusing on what comes next. We’re open to an interesting discussion about projects and ideas,” he told THR. Despite playing the crazy, drunk card (he is sentenced to mental health counseling and isubstance abuse treatment in lieu of jail time), Slater seems to be a good client, dropping funny and self depricating quips at just the right moments in the news cycle.
We’re looking forward to King’s classic interview style: “So what’s it like to slide down one of those chutes?” (paraphrase)
“I can officially confirm that I am now representing Steven Slater,” Bragman said in a statement. “While my work will include media relations, my team at Fifteen Minutes and I will be helping him sort out the scores of offers that have come through in the past week from media producers, brands and other interested parties.”
Bragman has been in the news a lot lately, as he is working on his own reality show about celebrities “coming out,” an area of PR counsel he has specialized in for some time.
Hollywood publicist Howard Bragman was going to represent Oksana Grigoriev, Mel Gibson‘s former girlfriend, who continues to be in the news after numerous recordings of Gibson allegedly screaming offensive threats and other obscenities to her were made public.
“I was going to represent her, and then I wasn’t,” Bragman told PRNewser today. “I need to be at one with my clients and their public life and we weren’t at one in this case,” he said.
Grigoriev gave an interview to tabloid RadarOnline this past Friday.
“I certainly didn’t do this one for the money, I wanted to help what I think is a battered woman,” said Bragman.
Howard Bragman, the veteran Hollywood publicist and founder of agency Fifteen minutes, had sold a one-time reality TV special to A&E, he confirmed to PRNewser today.
Bragman, who has helped a number of clients “come out” including Chaz Bono and Meredith Baxter, will focus the show on just that. Naturally, the title of the show as of press time is Coming Out, and will feature well known figures coming out of the closet.
“I’m the guy people come to when they want to come out, it’s something I’ve done for twenty years,” Bragman told PRNewser today. So how did the idea come about?
“A celebrity has to deal with the court of public opinion and the court of law,” said Bragman. “…And you have to know who’s more important at that moment. At that moment the publicist has to defer to the lawyers.”
Bragman said Gibson’s publicist is “doing the right thing, which is essentially saying nothing right now.”
That’s what Grenier recently told The Wall Street Journal, who asked him if with the rise of social networks like Twitter, “will stars need publicists in the future?”
“I’m no stranger to self promotion. I find it first of all more authentic when you put a bit of your creative touch to what you’re trying to share,” said Grenier.
It’s not surprising that many entertainment publicists would disagree with this statement, so we reached out to a few to get their take. The first we spoke with was veteran Howard Bragman of agency Fifteen Minutes. “Dollar for dollar publicity is one of the great bargains left in Hollywood,” he said.
“If a celebrity makes $6 million a year, for example, they probably pay a publicist give or take $5,000 or $6,000 a month, or one percent of their net. When you compare the hours a publicist puts in to the ten percent a manager or agent gets…I don’t think agents or managers are overpaid, but I think publicists are underpaid.”
Bragman also addressed Grenier’s “authentic” comment, stating that a good publicist will drive their client to be themselves.
When asked if he could give one word as to why he thinks a star have a publicist, he said: perspective. “I’ve seen a lot of celebrities who are really bad at social media and think they are really good,” he said.
We can certainly understand why ABC’s Nightline would want to interview Jesse James, after he has become one of Hollywood’s hottest stories.
James recently admitted to cheating on wife Sandra Bullock, and the two have since split. But why is he agreeing to do TV, especially a tell all, I’m going to cry on camera kind of interview? What does he have to gain? Is it an attempt to drum up sympathy?
“The hardest thing I have to convince my clients in tough situations is to shut up. It doesn’t matter if he is doing a good or bad interview, it’s the wrong time to interview,” said Howard Bragman, entertainment PR veteran and chairman of agency Fifteen Minutes.
At least one other PR executive agrees. “He feels like he needs to tell people he’s sorry, but no one cares,” said Richard Laermer, CEO of RLM PR. “She [Sandra Bullock] is America’s biggest sweetheart now.”
After what some are calling a “racy” performance on the American Music Awards Sunday night, in which he kissed another man and pushed a man’s head into his crotch, American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert had his appearance on tomorrow’s “Good Morning America” canceled.
“I feel like Adam’s performance was in keeping with other moments from awards shows, and he is being treated very unfairly just because he is gay,” Dowd Agency CEO Jim Dowd told PRNewser today. “It’s a double edged sword to have these other moments [i.e. Britney kissing Madonna] be treated on a different level than his moment just because he happens to be making out with a guy.” Dowd’s clients include MTV, A&E, Animal Planet and IFC.
Another entertainment industry publicist, speaking on the condition of anonymity as to not damage his relationship with GMA, said, “it’s complete crap. CBS can do it and ABC can’t? I can’t imagine the corporate playbook on what’s acceptable on TV is that different [between the two networks]. It’s a total double standard. Most people don’t care about this. This is news, this is really a big deal? 15 million watched and 1,500 people called to complain. That is like .001%. It’s silly.”
Not everyone completely agrees. Hollywood PR vet Howard Bragman, founder of agency Fifteen Minutes, is openly gay and told PRNewser, “I do feel there is a different standard.” However, Bragman was quick to point out that he was at GMA last week with Chaz Bono, the only child of Sonny and Cher, who spoke about his female-to-male gender transition.
“There may be a lot of things but I don’t think homophobic is among them. GMA has always been pretty good,” he said.
Last night on the “Late Show,” host David Letterman revealed that he had affairs with staffers on the show and that someone had tried to blackmail him for $2 million to keep the story secret. That someone is a CBS News “48 Hours” employee, Robert J. Halderman, who is currently under arrest.
Tom Keaney of Rubenstein handles all PR for Mr. Letterman. He has not returned calls as of the time of this post. A CBS spokesperson toldThe Hollywood Reporter, “Mr. Letterman’s comments on the broadcast tonight speak for themselves.” Of course, we’re curious to see what you think on how it was handled. Was it best to do it on the show with laughs?
Howard Bragman, chairman of agency Fifteen Minutes, and a well respected crisis PR counselor who has worked with clients including Monica Lewinsky‘s family, Ed McMahon and Paula Abdul, told PRNewser, “There is not a good way to do this, there are ‘less bad’ ways to do this.”
“You look at your options and you’re on CBS so you’re not going to do it with Barbara Walters, you’re not going to go on “The Early Show,” of course you’re not going to go on Leno,” he said. “Why not do it where you’re most comfortable, where you’re surrounded by people that care about you?”
Despite the many ways this story can play out, Bragman insisted that Letterman only has to speak publicly once. “He’s David Letterman, he doesn’t invest a lot of time in being up front on good news, bad news or otherwise. His ratings are good. Tonight there will probably be a big boost in his ratings. We live in a world where there is a lot of crisis. There are so many, that they tend to go away and they have a half life of a fly. I always tell people, ‘once you say it, shut up.’ Rubenstein is a great firm, I suspect he’s in great hands.”
UPDATE: A press conference with Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau began at 11:30am ET. TVNewser has more.
UPDATE 2: Rubenstein’s Tom Keaney tells PRNewser that Rubenstein President Steven Rubenstein has represented Letterman “even longer than I have.”