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Posts Tagged ‘Jessica Simpson’

Behind the Scenes at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner

For the White House Correspondents’ Association, it’s a night to celebrate the free press. For Joel McHale, it’s a night where “a guy like me can stand before the president, the press and Patrick Duffy, and tell jokes without severe repercussions.” And for TVNewser, it’s a night where the people we cover all year — executives, producers, reporters and anchors from every major network — are all together in the same room: the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner, which we attended this year as a guest of ABC News.

Our night began outside the entrance to the ballroom at the Washington Hilton, where we overheard now-NBC News correspdonent Cynthia McFadden ask for directions to the ABC News party. We followed her in, and a few minutes later we were chatting with Diane Sawyer, who told us she always looks forward to the Correspondents’ Dinner, and James Goldston, who said he was pleased with his first few weeks as ABC News president. In the back of the room, Fox News anchors Ainsley Earhardt and Kimberly Guilfoyle posed for a picture with Sofia Vergara; Earhardt told us afterwards that she’s “having a blast” anchoring “Fox & Friends First,” despite the crazy hours. We spotted Katie Couric chatting with former Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman and his daughter, Abby Huntsman, who is a co-host of MSNBC’s “The Cycle.”

Wolf Blitzer made the rounds with Diane Lane. We saw NBC’s Savannah Guthrie and ABC’s Lara Spencer snap a picture with Tony Goldwyn from “Scandal.” We spent a few minutes with Rebecca Jarvis, and chatted with Alicia Menendez about her participation in the TVNewser Show as well as her Twitter habit.

On the way into the ballroom, we spotted Guthrie and her husband, Mike Feldman, chatting with Bret Baier and his wife Amy. We saw Jessica Simpson and her fiance, Eric Johnson, chatting with fans. Simpson’s ex, Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo, was also at the WHCD as a guest of Fox News. Read more

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Between the Morning and the Evening, Katie Couric Settles In to Her Comfort Zone

If today’s long-awaited debut of Katie Couric’s syndicated talk show resembled an infomercial for Weight Watchers, that’s because it was.

The first three segments of Couric’s Disney chatfest were devoted almost entirely to guest Jessica Simpson’s post-partum weight loss — thanks to Weight Watchers. There were so many rhapsodic plugs, I kept waiting for the 800 number and my free ginzu knife.

Simpson gushed about her new role as a Weight Watchers poster girl. Then came a sneak preview of her Weight Watchers ad, followed by a full segment joined by her Weight Watchers coach. The capper was a free two-week Weight Watchers membership, via ‘Katie’s’ website.

To be kind, Jessica Simpson was no Sarah Palin, but Couric appeared to be thoroughly enjoying the absence of heavy lifting. After her hellish tenure as anchor of ‘CBS Evening News,’ ‘Katie’ must feel like a fabulous, all-expenses paid vacation. Hey, if Anderson Cooper did it, why not Couric?

Call it ‘Today Extra Lite.’

As has become the fashion, ‘Katie’ opened with a cutesy taped bit. More than a little derivative, given that she did the same thing for her guest-hosting stint on ‘Good Morning America’ in April.

She wakes up from a weird dream and proceeds to tell it to a mystery person in the other twin bed. (An homage to ‘I Love Lucy?’) “I dreamed I left ‘Today’ to anchor the evening news, and I did it for five years, and then I dreamed I was going to be hosting my own daytime talk show!”

Peeling back the covers, a jammies-clad Matt Lauer says: “That wasn’t a dream, and the talk show starts right now!” Cue hilarity.

After almost a full half-hour of Jessica Simpson and Weight Watchers, however, I was reeling from estrogen-induced boredom. Thankfully, the next guest, Sheryl Crow, who composed ‘Katie’s’ up-tempo theme song and is a good friend of the host, had some interesting things to say.

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The Ticker: Katie Guests, Zahn Ratings, CNN Beirut

  • Investigation Discovery’s “On The Case With Paula Zahn” may be in its sixth season, but it isn’t slowing down in the ratings. Sunday’s episode drew a series best 1.11 household rating, and 1.088 million viewers. it has already been green-lit for a seventh season to debut later this year.
  • CNN is adding to its Beirut bureau. Correspondent Mohammed Jamjoom and shooter/producer Raja Razek will be joining the bureau. “Given the daily demands of the news from the region, CNN will be even better poised to cover the stories that need to be told,” senior VP Parisa Khosravi wrote in a note to staff.

Will Stephanopoulos and Wife Share Guests?

Wentopoulos_3.9.jpgWashington Whispers’ Paul Bedard recently talked with Alexandra Wentworth (aka Mrs. George Stephanopoulos) about the return of her Starz show “Head Case“.

Turns out, the shoptalk at home could turn into guest-swapping.

“I’m always selling George on cross-pollinating guests,” Wentworth tells Bedard. “I mean, Jessica Simpson is a Republican. Wouldn’t you like to know what she thinks about stuff?”

And while most of her guests are of the Hollywood variety, Wentworth likes the idea of adding politcos to her show.

“I would go Rush Limbaugh. I would go Karl Rove – people I would really like to bite into, so to speak,” she says. “I’m going to try next season, I really am. All they can say is no.”

The Ticker: Hill, McIntyre, Simpson…

> On this Saturday’s Early Show, a Manhattan couple will get married on the plaza for Valentine’s Day. The bigger story — anchor Erica Hill, who recently became an ordained minister online, will officiate.

> Former CNN correspondent Jamie McIntyre writes an article for the American Journalism Review about another former correspondent, Geoff Morell. Morell is now the Pentagon spokesperson (via Politico).

> Jessica Simpson appeared this morning on CBS The Early Show. In her first public comments since President Obama mentioned her, she said, “Honestly, I am right where I am supposed to be and I am so very, very happy.” Click continued to see the clip…

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“Technical Difficulties” During Lauer’s Wide-Ranging Interview with Pres. Obama

ObamaLauer_2.1.jpgIn one of the most heavily promoted interviews of the year, (yes, even more than Blago) Matt Lauer‘s 12 minute sit-down with Pres. Obama in the White House Map Room experienced the dreaded “technical difficulties.”

Seven minutes into the interview the President’s audio dropped, just as he was explaining how House Democrats had adopted some of the ideas pitched by House Republicans related to the stimulus plan.

The audio was out for 14 seconds. At one point, Bob Costas could be heard asking, “Did you lose it?” The audio returned, but wasn’t as clear as the first part of the interview. Then at one point, the two-shot on Lauer and Obama froze.

Beyond the technical problems, Lauer’s was a wide-ranging interview, Obama’s first live sit-down since becoming president. Topics ranged from living with his mother-in-law to how the family is coping in Washington, D.C. to U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq to the economy to Obama’s support of a college football playoff system.

Lauer was also impressed that the President is able to keep his Blackberry. “Can I see it? Do you have it?” Lauer asked. “It’s like Inspector Gadget, if you touched it it might blow up,” Obama joked, adding, “Look, there are security issues involved so we’ve got to make sure that I’m not creating a situation where we have…potentially people can compromise our systems.”

Lauer might have also helped “US Weekly” sell some issues. He held up this week’s edition which included Michelle, Sasha and Malia Obama on the cover, but not the president. Lauer: “You got replaced by Jessica Simpson.” Obama: “Yeah, who’s in a weight battle, apparently. Oh well.”

When Lauer sent it back to Costas in Tampa, Costas made note of the earlier technical problems. “Our apologies to our viewers for the bit of technical difficulties…but we stuck with it because we know you wanted to hear from the president.”