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Archives: June 2012

Mike Francesa ‘50-50’ on Renewing WFAN Contract in Two Years

Whether you call him arrogant, curt, opinionated, argumentative, abrupt, or intolerant, Mike Francesa agrees.

However, as we conclude our celebration of WFAN’s 25th anniversary, the longtime afternoon host was nothing but open and candid during our wide-ranging, sit-down interview.

Francesa, the station’s signature talent, an afternoon mainstay for 23 years, is starting to think about retirement.

“My contract will expire in two years from right now. For the first time ever, we’re not going to negotiate until a year from now,” Francesa admits to FishbowlNY. “… When we’re a year out, we will have a conversation, Dan [Mason, CBS Radio, president and CEO], Mark [Chernoff, WFAN operations manager]. Les Moonves [CBS, president and CEO], if he gets involves. He did last time.

“…Two years could be enough. It would be 25 years. I don’t know. It depends on a lot of things… Right now, I’d say it’s ’50-50,’ it could go either way.”

Francesa, 58, realizes that any decision about his future would be made for him once he stopped being a revenue generator.

“I am an economic realist. I’ve understood from the beginning this is a business,” Francesa says. “And that’s why I feel blessed that I’ve been able to be here in this position for 25 years.”

Of course, the bulk of those years Francesa shared, sometimes contentiously, with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo. Their 19-year partnership ended suddenly in 2008 when Russo (“Mad Dog”) bolted for Sirius XM.

“I didn’t begrudge him leaving for one second. I never had an issue with that,” Francesa says. “It just wasn’t handled properly, which I think he now understands it and would readily admit.”

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Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes Call It Quits

The big news in Hollywood this morning is the divorce of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes after five years of marriage. People magazine broke the story with a statement from Holmes’s lawyer Jonathan Wolfe:

This is a personal and private matter for Katie and her family. Katie’s primary concern remains, as it always has been, her daughter’s best interest.

Holmes’s fans by and large were not thrilled with her relationship with the effusive Scientologist, particularity after the notorious couch jumping incident. Fans launched a “Free Katie” campaign, and in 2008 the protest group Anonymous joined the cause, calling Holmes a “victim” of the Church of Scientology. “We’re trying to highlight the fact that her image is being used to promote this money-making racket,” one Anon member explained “It is the most damaging cult out there.”

But public interest in the Katie Holmes liberation movement hard largely dissolved, until news broke this morning. Message boards at the Free Katie website are seeing more action than they have in years.

While Holmes is likely locked into one hell of a non-disclosure agreement, we’re holding out hope that in her golden years she comes out with a tell-all book on what has to be one of the creepiest romances Hollywood has ever produced.

(VIDEO) Anchor Upheaval Reaction: WNYW Entertainment Reporter Jill Nicolini is ‘Not Sure Why’

Greg Kelly held court on his final morning at Good Day New York with Rosanna Scotto.

On Monday, Kelly’s star ascends to prime time. But it’s not all excitement for the NYPD commissioner’s son. A source with knowledge of the information tells FishbowlNY that “Greg is very unhappy with the Fox changes.” The source adds: “Obviously, there’s more to this story than meets the press.”

As we reported yesterday, Kelly’s alarm clock will no longer be needed, as he’ll anchor the 6 p.m. and co-anchor at 10.

Last night, FishbowlNY caught up with Good Day entertainment reporter Jill Nicolini (above) at an event on Long Island. She was delighted for her colleague, albeit, like the rest of us “outsiders,” was surprised by the rapid nature to yesterday’s news.

“Nobody knew about this,” Nicolini admits. “Everyone I’ve talked to so far doesn’t know anything. It’s been a shocker.”

 

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Is Rupert Murdoch Eyeing the LA Times?

The Wall Street Journal seems to think so.

People familiar with the situation say Mr. Murdoch has long eyed titles such as the Los Angeles Times, whose parent company, Tribune Co., is due to emerge from bankruptcy in coming months. In the interview, Mr. Murdoch played down his interest in the paper, saying it would have to be looked at “closely,” citing regulatory restrictions, among other things.

The news came at the same time Murdoch announced his intention to peel off News Corp.’s newspaper assets into a separate corporate entity from its entertainment holdings. Once that move is completed, his new print company plans to go on an “acquisition” spree. Normally we’d be terrified at that prospect. But with Douglas Manchester sizing up newspapers up and down California, we’d actually be somewhat relieved to see Murdoch take over.

Newborn Steals Show During LAT Stanley Cup Visit

Lord’s Stanley Cup made a stop at the Los Angeles Times office on Thursday and this adorable newborn stole the show.

Let’s hope it didn’t leave a little surprise for the Cup handlers.

[H/T Baxter Holmes]

To Chagrin of Handlers, Mayor Villaraigosa Answers Personal Question

Earlier this year, we wrote about LA mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s surprising and shocking admission during an interview with CBS LA reporter Stephanie Abrams. In connection with a city initiative addressing domestic violence, he recalled some deeply personal memories of growing up with an abusive father.

Though not quite as earth shattering, Villaraigosa on Wednesday made another candid revelation during a Q&A at Loyola Marymount. Per a report by KPCC senior online reporter Alice Walton, he admitted that his biggest regret is the way he handled the break-up of his marriage after his affair with a Telemundo reporter became public knowledge:

In an interview with KPCC after the event, the mayor said he believes it is possible to succeed politically while maintaining a strong marriage and family life.

“I think there are a lot of people who have done that a lot better than me. My staff would like me not to answer those questions, but I do it anyway because I think it’s important to be real, and I do think that was the one thing that I looked at and I just didn’t do it right,” Villaraigosa said.

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FishbowlNY Newsstand: Your Morning at a Glance

Coastline Pilot Staff Mourn Loss of Beloved City Editor

Last summer, as part of her occasional “From Canyon To Cove” column updates about her fight with cancer, Coastline Pilot city editor Cindy Frazier relayed an encouraging diagnosis and the “rare sight” of a smile from her oncologist. Sadly, her pancreatic cancer persisted and on Wednesday, at age 60, she passed away after a valiant battle.

Despite her weakening condition, Frazier insisted on making the superhuman effort to take part in a reading at this spring’s Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Alisha Gomez, who stepped in as interim city editor, will continue in that capacity until a permanent replacement is found:

“Cindy was fiercely loyal to Laguna Beach,” said John Canalis, who supervised Cindy as editor of Times Community News South. “She championed her staff, freelancers and columnists, and took great pride in serving as a community editor. Our entire staff is grieving…”

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Another Big Change at KLOS-FM

It’s not quite as momentous as Mark Thompson’s recently announced decision to retire from the Mark and Brian morning show after 25 years.

Still, via All Access Music Group comes the news that KLOS has now also lost its program director Jack Silver. He was separately overseeing, for a longer time at La Cienega Blvd. HQ,  the operations of sister station KABC 790 AM:

“I feel great about what we’ve done here for the past two years at KLOS, particularly,” Silver told All Access. “I’m leaving on a high note, with Top 5 Adults 25-54, and #2 Men 25-54 total week at KLOS. We knocked both JACK FM and THE SOUND off their perches. I’m a certified PPM proven winner, and I’m ready for the next challenge.”

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Creator of ‘Sorkinisms’ Video Chats with Romenesko

Media blogger Jim Romenesko tracked down Kevin Porter, the 22-year-old Los Angeles resident behind of the “Sorkinisms: A Supercut” video that went viral this week. Porter, a professional video producer, told Romenesko he’d been working on the video that highlights Aaron Sorkin’s penchant for recycled dialogue since 2010, but picked up the pace a few months ago to have it finished in time for the Newsroom premiere.

The video went viral shortly after being posted to YouTube on Monday morning, much to Porter’s surprise.

“I definitely underestimated people’s interest in it,” he told Romenesko. “I estimated it would get probably a couple of thousand view the first week. But the reaction has been larger than I ever imagined. Did I think the LA Times, Entertainment Weekly, Grantland and the Huffington Post would pick it up? I didn’t.”

Porter, a long time Sorkin fan, wrote on Twitter that he’s thinking about doing a follow-up video: “Maybe Part II premieres once The Newsroom season is over. There’ll be loads of material.”

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