1999-2010

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Saddam Hussein, Gerald Ford or James Brown?



And this is supposed to be a holiday week? Every time we turn on the TV, there's another dead person! Hooded hangmen! A corpse onstage at the Apollo Theatre! Chevy Chase SNL highlights! It's all too depressing
-- and we're still a day away from Dick Clark on New Year's Rockin Eve!

So let's lighten up with a little quiz! See if you can match the following tributes to the recently deceased person. Saddam Hussein, Gerald Ford or James Brown:

1) "There were people who thought he was strict, too strict."
2) "...Tragic and a reason for sadness."
3) "He just had a personality that I think would override many of the people who might not agree with him."
4) "He was like the tough-love father, the patriarch."
5) "Ronnie and I always considered him a dear friend.”
6) "He said, 'You keep going backward, if you keep going back like that you're going to end up back where I started.'"
7) "I swear to God we were deeply shaken."
8) "We mourn the loss of such a leader."
9) "He just gave up. We were astonished. It was strange. He just gave up."
10) "He was a giant among men and will be greatly missed."

Answers in the comments section...

Choked up over Saddam

This poor MSNBC newsgal was hoping for a chance to stand out among the interchangeable pack of pretty readers in 2006. Who'd expect she'd wind up alongside Dick In A Box?

Friday, December 29, 2006

Newton-John heads to prime time


Our coverage of the mysterious disappearance of Olivia Newton-John's alleged boyfriend, Patrick McDermott, has gotten international attention—and stirred up rival factions in various Olivia Newton-John fan clubs, which, for some reason, are using our comment sections to duke it out. It’s bizarre, it’s wild, it's totally off point-- and fascinating. For accusations of perversions, molestions and stalkings and more— click here or here, or pick any Olivia Newton-John story, and look at the comments. There are hundreds. Now to the latest:

Shiva and memorials are officially history, now that Olivia Newton-John, star of the 1978 blockbuster movie Grease, will be hiotting prime time as guest-star in of NBC's Grease Broadway talent search. Olivia, who's spent much of the past year spinning the mysterious disappearance (and subsequent sightings) of her alleged boyfriend into fodder for an album and concert act, will provide "commentary" for the first two episodes of Grease: You're The One that I Want, which premieres January 7th.

In a shocking parallel to another popular talent show on the Fox network (whose new season premieres nine days later and in which Newton-John will show up as a celebrity judge), the initial episodes will focus on auditions around the country, leading to audience votes that will choose the actors to play Sandy and Danny in a Broadway revival (the idea was used successfully in the UK to choose West End leads for The Sound of Music; next they're doing Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat-- doesn't that sound like a winner...)

Newton-John, who successfully slipped out of scandal regarding her behaviour during the first seven weeks her supposed lover, Patrick McDermott, was missing from a fishing boat expedition last year, seems to have a love-hate relationship with the musical. Earlier this month, she sued the Universal Music Group, claiming she's been cheated out of more than a million dollars in royalties from the Grease movie soundtrack.

There's been no indication that her Grease movie co-star, John Travolta, will be involved in the NBC show, but considering that he recently completed his cross-dressing role as Edna Turnblad in the movie version of Broadway's Hairspray, it's a distinct possibility. Him or Didi Conn.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Personally, we prefer him in Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex *But Were Afraid to Ask

Our Middle East correspondent, Our Man Elli in Israel, sends along this timely reminder:


Today's Birthdays:

Actor Lou Jacobi is 93.



From My Favorite Year:
Uncle Morty: So, Mr. Swann, we've spent time, we've broken bread together. I feel I know you.
Swann: Morty, I feel I know you even better.
Uncle Morty: So you won't mind if I ask you a personal question.
Benjy Stone: Uncle Morty!
Uncle Morty: What's the matter, you think I was born in Minsk a Pinsk?
Swann: Morty, ask your question.
Uncle Morty: That paternity rap a few years ago - did you shtup her?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gerald Ford & The Pink Panther

In the Frozen Pictures documentary film, All The Presidents’ Movies, narrated by West Wing President Martin Sheen and soon to be released on a special edition extras-packed DVD, Steve Ford, son of the late president Gerald Ford, remembers his father’s movie tastes, family movie nights in the exclusive White House screening room, his own career as a film actor (from When Harry Met Sally to Black Hawk Down)— and night at Camp David that President Ford didn’t know the truth about until he saw the documentary!

Steve Ford recalls: “I wouldn’t say dad is a huge film buff. If he was going to watch a film, he’d like a comedy, he’d like musicals, which they don’t make anymore. Mom, on the other hand, she would be more somebody who would watch a film that would challenge your belief system...

“I remember one time--oh, dad’s going to kill me for telling this story-- Dad was just exhausted, you know, I mean, he’s dealing with Watergate, he’s dealing with the Vietnam War, he’s dealing with Cold War, recession, and the country. Get to Camp David and he’s beat. And we have dinner, we sit down to watch this film. And I’m not sure which one, but one of the Peter Sellers Pink Panther movies. And I remember dad got in the chair, turned the lights off, the credits start to roll, and the little cartoon comes on. Da-da… da-da… da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-daahhhhhhhhhhh…

“…and Dad was asleep within 20 seconds. And we watched the movie, saw the Peter Sellers movie, and at the end of the movie, the cartoon comes on again. Da-da… da-da… and he wakes up about that time and he looks up and: ‘Are you telling me you watched a cartoon for two hours?’ And he couldn’t… none of us would tell him, ‘Dad, it was a Peter Sellers movie.’

“It was just so precious. Everybody was actually so happy to see that he’d gotten a two-hour nap.”

Actor and cowboy Steve Ford, other presidential children, relatives, advisers, close friends, celebrities—and the Chief Executives themselves—appear in All The Presidents’ Movies, which was originally seen on the Bravo network, and now, for the first time, due to popular demand, is set to be released as a feature documentary film DVD in early 2007.

Stay tuned here for the details.

(Fun Fact: The president in 1976's The Pink Panther Strikes Again is modeled on then-President Ford.)

"Dead from Rancho Mirage, it's Gerald Ford!"


We were waiting for the third shoe to drop in the They Die in Threes curse, but after Lionel from The Jeffersons and James Brown, Gerald Ford seems to come out of left field-- even though he's been waiting in the wings for weeks now. But like Mike Evans and The Godfather of Soul, the former president does have an impressive TV resume that goes beyond his September 8, 1974 pardon of Richard Nixon. If you received the Saturday Night Live: The Complete First Season DVD box set for Christmas or Chanukkah, you’ll see that Ford, who was president during that 1975-1976 season, was the butt of many jokes and instrumental in making Chevy Chase the show's first breakout star.

Chevy Chase portrayed President Ford as a bumbling, accident-prone idiot in many an opening sketch that ended in an elaborate, painful pratfall (stunts that would cause injuries that led to Chase's painkiller addiction and eventual loss of his funnybone-- though it should noted that his Vegas Vacation is among Tabloid Baby's Top 50 movies of all time).

Good sport Jerry Ford also holds the distinction of being the only US President to open the show with the deathless "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night" intro-- also in that first season, when his press secretary Ron Nessen hosted.

Ford's moviewatching habits and tastes were documented and recalled by his son Steve in the Bravo documentary series, All The Presidents' Movies, which was narrated by The West Wing president Martin Sheen, and will be out on DVD in early 2007.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Memories from Garbage Cane Lane


As we prepare for the Christmas weekend and many happy hours staring at the Yule Log on television, we remember a past Christmas season, and the joy at seeing L.A.'s most spectacular holiday display for the first time. It was 2004 when Westchester performance artist Joaquin Blanco lit up the area and attracted Christmas car traffic from miles around by creating a giant candy cane, made up of thirty garbage cans and adorned by faux-crystal lamps. Now that was a Christmas...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Carolla forced to partner with Danny Bonaduce!

It didn’t last a year, after all.

CBS has thrown a virtual hand grenade into The Adam Carolla Show, the grating, droning anti-radio program that replaced Howard Stern in LA and five other markets-- firing Carolla’s on-air sidekick and replacing him with the unpredictable, volatile and violent former child star and current reality TV subject, Danny Bonaduce.

The shake-up, coming weeks before the show's dreaded first-year anniversary, was long overdue, and we've been calling for it since we first got caught in a traffic jam with these dullards. Carolla’s show has literally been an anti-radio broadcast, full of dull, repetitive, droning monologues by Carolla and the abrasive, honking voice of comedy writer-cum-“sports personality” Dave Dameshek, who, along with Carolla's executive producer and an on-air character, was fired in the bloodbath.

Surviving the axe were Carolla and his female co-host, Teresa Strasser, who joined the show six months ago. As with Carolla and Dameschek, Strasser is part of the Jimmy Kimmel comedy circle. Kimmel, the lunkish host of a little-viewed ABC late night talk show, is the CBS stations’ radio comedy consultant, hired in the wake of Stern’s desertion, and the main reason Carolla and his aggressively bad show have remained on the air this long.

Bonaduce, a drug, alcohol and steroid-abusing timebomb, as exhibited on the reality series, Breaking Bonaduce does not promise the most obvious chemistry with Carolla and Strasser, who present themselves as cerebral comics, while wallowing in a puerile, offensive, sophomoric pool of dead air. But the explosive former child star does promise publicity and more likely, an explosion.

Turning the ego-flaunting Carolla into one-third of a morning zoo team places the show in line with several other FM radio shows in LA, feature two males—one wacky, one trying to keep order-- and a third-wheel females.

The original was Jamie Frosty & Frank on the competing 98.7, which lasted two years until Frosty & Frank were abruptly fired and replaced by Bonaduce.

Frosty and Frank teamed up with a woman named Heidi, and as “The Triplets” (right) now follow Carolla’s show on 97.1. Bonaduce was fired from 98.7 a year and a half ago because of those drug and alcohol problems. Jamie is now teamed with Jack and Stench. So now, LA has a trio of incestuous triplets: Frosty, Heidi & Frank, Jamie, Jack & Stench and Adam, Teresa & Danny.

Make that Danny, Adam & Terry.

See this as another indication that Howard Stern will soon be lured into syndicating or simulcasting portions of his satellite radio program on the newly-christened “free” FM.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Harry Ryttenberg died


We just got word that Harry Ryttenberg died.

Harry was one of the great characters of the New York City news business, and he was in the business since he was a kid. His mother ran the newsstand outside the New York Daily News building, and he made the paper when he was a kid, rescuing a cop from a subway attack by grabbing his police radio and screaming “10-13! Officer down!”  Later he wangled a job as a copy boy for the News, but Harry always really wanted to be a cop-- which is why you see him dressed as a cop above. Harry worked with the cops, he worked around them and he got a badge and a uniform, but he'll be remembered as a New York City TV journo.

In 1979, he launched the independent Broadcast News Service, the late night prowlers who roamed the city with police radios and video cameras and responded to bloody crimes and accidents, shot the footage and sold it to the local TV stations who worked by day. Mark Monsky and John Parsons brought Harry to the WNEW-TV 10 O’Clock News team in the early eighties, where he worked as assignment editor. He always had wad of bills, a handgun in an ankle holster, police radios on his belt and a big dark sedan with lights and sirens. Harry was a wheeler dealer, a joker and a schmoozer; generous, industrious, devious and hilarious. Later he got a badge directing PR for the FDNY, he worked for the governor, he got in some kind of hot water for some auxiliary police dealings, and he worked at various station around the city.

Around 15 years ago, there was talk Harry needed a heart transplant. His heart apparently healed. But something killed him recently. We hear the funeral in Yonkers was very sad. Harry was 55. He was one of the most unforgettable people we've ever met. And we remember him fondly.

***

Harry’s death is at the least the second this year among the legendary team at the old Channel 5 News on 67th Street in the 70s and 80s, before Rupert Murdoch took over (not to mention the death last week of Channel 5 announcer Tom Gregory, who first uttered the famed catchphrase at the top of the newscast: “It’s 10 p.m. Do you know where your children are?”)

We learned only weeks ago that Mark Monsky died over the summer. He’d been fighting cancer for many years. After seeing a mention in a year-end death wrap-up in the Writers Guild magazine, we found some details on a friend’s blog. Harry Ryttenberg had written in to comment: “I had the pleasure of working for Mark for many years. Besides being my boss, he was a true and loyal friend and mentor. I will miss him greatly.”

Readers of Tabloid Baby know that we first met Monsky and joined the gang when he was news director and we worked with Harry on the assignment desk at Channel 5 News. Later, we moved on to WNBC. Not long after, Monsky became our boss there, too, and he brought Harry Ryttenberg along. Monsky and John Parsons Peditto created Hard Copy.

John Parsons Peditto, creator and executive producer of Court TV’s landmark Mugshots series, is still going strong, leading the way in hard boiled, hard edged documentary films and programming.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Looking Back: David Hull onstage with Aerosmith

We found this audience video on YouTube. That's our favorite rock star David Hull behind the dancing girl in the opening seconds.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Now Howard's really 'The Man Who Wasn't There'

Marking a year since he disappeared from the public eye and began doing his show in private for pay audience on the Sirius Satellite network, Howard Stern made the round of talk shows to try and get some more subscribers, some attention, and maintain some semblance of relevance (sadly, he was wearing the same outfit he wore before he disappeared in 2005). Among the stops was Friday night's appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Stern and Kimmel are close pals. But not as close you might think. There's something wrong with the picture above. It's easy to figure out after the first minute or so. Jimmy Kimmel is in Hollywood. Howard is a continent away, in New York, in front of a green screen. The audience is playing along. It's a nice trick and pretty obvious, but it could also be considered a test for the talk shows of the future.

And speaking of the future, Stern is bound to return to free radio in some form, like syndicating a censored portion of his show each day. He used to have an impact on the culture. No any more. And despite all the money he took from Sirius, that's got to be getting his goat...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Aerosmith Update: David Hull returns to reality


From the James Montgomery Band website:
Dec 29 Chan's
Woonsocket, RI
David Hull rejoins the band after 3 months as Aerosmith's bassist! Welcome back Dave! The most venerable blues and jazz club in all the Northeast. Great dinner and great music. The crowd here is the best! "We play to the crowd more here than any other place we play," says James. Come down and experience it personally!
The rock’n’roll Cinderfella success story of the year is winding to a close, and the local hero rock star of Tabloid Baby’s teenage years is returning to the trenches after a season at the top.

For a few months now, we've been following the amazing comeback of David Hull, Seventies rock star turned journeyman musician, to whom fate handed an incredible second coming in September when he was recruited to play with Aerosmith on the band's Route of All Evil tour.

We first knew David Hull more than thirty five years. It was Southern Connecticut. We must have been 14. He was the cousin of our best friend Brian Butler, a few years older and the rock star we all wanted to be. He made records with Buddy Miles and Arthur Lee, jammed with Hendrix, and had planned to start a band with Steven Tyler before returning home victorious with White Chocolate and later The Dirty Angels, a trio and quartet that provided the bar band soundtrack of our Seventies. He gave us bass lessons when we were young, and when we were older and had traded guitars for the journo life while moving the punk scene with our Connecticut pals Tom Hearn and Legs McNeil, we wrote about his band and records.

David Hull’s Aerosmith connections stuck through the years. The Dirty Angels opened for Aerosmith in their late Seventies burnout years, and he played bass with the Joe Perry Project when Joe wandered off on its own.

Over the past 25 years, he’s been based in Boston, playing with a variety of rock, pop and blues bands, back in the bars and small clubs, still socializing with the guys from Aerosmith but apparently content in his role as a journeyman who’d reached for the brass ring and almost made it. When he was young.

And then, this summer, opportunity knocked. Aerosmith was headed off on a fall tour with Motley Crue, but bass player Tom Hamilton, a fan favorite, couldn’t make it because he was being treated for throat cancer. The show would go on, and David Hull got the call to fill in. Another chance at rock stardom, years after it seemed to be in his past. In his 50s!

Suddenly, this rock pro who hadn’t played to arenas full of screaming fans since the Seventies, was being plucked from the clubs and bars of New England where he’d been playing with local hero James Montgomery. Aerosmith management assured the fans it would only be for a month or so, that Tom was on the mend and would be back soon. David did a crash course on the Aerosmith songbook, worked for weeks getting into the groove with drummer Joey Kramer, getting his hair in shape. He made his debut on September 5th in Ohio. Onstage, he laid back. He knew whose shoes he was filling and the possible fan backlash that could rival the reaction when Ringo took over for Pete Best. But as weeks turned to months, and it became clear that Tom’s condition was worse than let on, David's reputation as a good guy and longtime compatriot added to the goodwill. He loosened up, started looking like a rock star again. The fans accepted him. And what would otherwise be seen as sacrilege-- playing the classic opening bassline of Sweet Emotion-- was heard as a tribute from an old friend.

He'd even inspire his own subgroup of fans known as FOD: “Followers of Dave.” And he played the entire tour, which wraps up tonight at the Arco Arena in Sacramento.

The members of Aerosmith wlll scatter to their own private rock star corners of the world for winter vacations. For David Hull, it's back to work. He'll will rejoin The James Montgomery Band, beginning at Chan’s Chinese restaurant and jazz club in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. Not quite the Arco Arena.

But Aerosmith will soldier on in 2007. And there's a good chance David Hull will be with them. His rock star comeback isn't over. We'll keep you posted.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A year without Howard Stern


It was one year ago today that Howard Stern walked away from “free” radio and abandoned his audience to do his show with less censorship and for more money for a paying audience on satellite radio.

Watching Howard this week, making appearances on shows like Conan O’Brien’s, in the same clothes he’d worn a year ago while promoting his venture last year, bragging about his celebrity interviews that no one gets to hear and the sexual antics that couldn't be shown in the past, and giving away free "Howard TV" subscriptions, did not make us want to buy the latest Sirius Satellite device and a subscription. It made us realize that things change, life goes on, and that in January, we former listeners will have lived through an entire year of the crapulous, grating, annoying, moronic, dull, repetitive, boring, unfunny, assaultive, droning, uninformative, doltish, harassing, sluggish, sophomoric Adam Carolla replacement show. And someone in the radio business will have kept that crummy, unlistenable, stultifying, stupid, rasping, irritating, nettling, boneheaded program on the air for twelve entire months.

Howard's pandering appearances this week on the one-year-anniversary of his "death," have also made us realize that, irrelevant as he has become, he will soon be back on free radio in one form or another. Just wait.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Why Judith Regan got fired

Rupert Murdoch has fired Judith Regan.

Word came tonight, meant to be buried as a weekend begins, just as Rupert's NewsCorp Christmas party was getting into swing, with Bill O'Reilly whispering in the ears of grudging production assistants about loofahs, and Sean Hannity telling yet another associate producer that he really does know Charlie Daniels. The brilliant, toxic editrix, who made writers out of Hannity and Howard Stern alike, went too far with her scheme to create and promote the OJ Simpson If I Did It, Here's How It Happened book and informercials.

We told you the firing was in the cards:

She embarrassed the boss.

On Nov 18, we asked What came first? OJ Simpson or the manuscript? and brought up the possibility that the "ghostwriter" for the Simpson book--Regan's former lover and murder trial witness, Pablo Fenjves--had concocted the book, then sold it to Simpson:

"Consider the 'evidence': Fenjves has made a living by using his imagination and, he was involved in the Simpson case, he works in the imaginary crime genre, he conjures crime scenes for the small screen, and he writes in other people's voices. This sounds to be right up his alley. And Regan, the genius packager, could have seen this as a way to right all those wrongs she wrote about in her own very disturbing Drudge Report "confession"...

On Nov. 20, it was reported: "O.J. Simpson says his ill-fated 'If I Did It' book was not a confession and that the title wasn't his idea. In a telephone interview Wednesday with WTPS-AM radio, Simpson said that he told the writer he had 'nothing to confess.'"

Earlier that day, wrote: "Rupert Murdoch is a very forgiving boss. He'll shrug off scandal, he'll laugh off journalistic crimes, he'll ignore breaches in social etiquette, he considers 'ethics' to be a county outside London. But he does not like to be embarrassed in front of his friends or become a mockery to his colleagues on that Mister Burnsian level of power. The fact that he gave up all those ratings and all those book sales from Judith Regan’s brainstorm... means that Regan embarrassed him greatly with her scheme..."

Had she played it right, had she been more respectful of the public's intelligence, had she not come up with that unhinged and obviously cynical explanation of her motivations, and had she not so lied so blatantly in claiming that she didn't pay Simpson, Judith Regan might be clinking glasses with Mike Darnell in Century City tonight.

But she'll be back...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

"Jerking off to the Holohoax"

Who better than to face down Iran's Holocaust Denial Conference than Our Man Elli in Israel, New York City born and now living and working as a TV journalist in Jerusalem? While we worry about Nicole Richie's driving, Elli's got more pressing issues to deal with.

He sent us this dispatch this afternoon:
There’s really so much to say about the Holocaust denier’s conference in Iran. Actually, there’s little to say about the conference itself: It was nothing more than a nutfest, a summit meeting of antisemites celebrating themselves jerking off to the Holohoax. What can you say about the conference attendees that hasn’t already been said about hemorrhoids?

Tough guys, all of them. I’d like to see them strap on a pair and hold a conference denying that black slavery took place in the United States and around the world.

It’s ironic, really: one of the questions definitively unanswered that continues to haunt America, mostly, but other allied countries of the free world that fought Hitler as well, is why didn’t Roosevelt drop a bomb on Auschwitz, or at least the train tracks to Aushwitz, in the summer of 1944? He and everyone else already knew not just that the Holocaust had taken place, with over five million Jews already murdered, but that the Nazis were racing the clock to finish off Hungarian Jewry before the end of the war fast approaching.

The irony is that America or Israel should have dropped a bomb on this conference. In one fell swoop, we could have decimated the Iranian leadership, rubbed out those scum Neturei Karta fake “rabbis,” and said goodbye to David Duke, Bradley Smith, Robert Faurisson of France, Jurgen Graf of Switzerland, Michele Renouf of the U.K., Ahmed Rami of Sweden, and the rest of world’s Holocaust deniers. Oh well, another lost opportunity. (For those reading this who saw pictures of those Jews in all the wire photos – of course, many, many photos, because they are such a cute novelty act to the main circus tent show– and didn’t understand how Jews were attending a Holocaust denial conference, understand that allethnic groups and religions have their bastard children; these guys are ours. They have been virtually ex-communicated by world Jewry from right to left, religious to secular, and even by the much larger ultra-Orthodox non- and anti-Zionist Hassidic groups. Moreover, they were paid to come. Kind of like one of their brethren who used to go to Ramallah to fawn over Arafat – he was directly on Arafat’s payroll).

No, what’s far more interesting is everything surrounding the denier’s conference. You have Prime Minister Ehud Olmert asking the pope to talk about the Holocaust denial conference, and not just to make do with a mere statement. And you have countries across Europe shocked– shocked! Gambling in Rick’s CafĂ©! – that such an event is taking place. But is even one of those countries doing anything besides issuing a statement? Like boycotting Iran, perhaps? Certainly not Germany, where Holocaust denial is a crime. The Fatherland is not about to upset the $4 billion at stake in trade with Iran. That is saddest of all, really, because if there’s one country that can play the point man in the full-court press against Iran’s nuclear ambitions, it is Germany. If the U.S. or Israel can’t take the risk to bomb Tehran before it goes nuclear, certainly Germany has the moral weight to do so. Who’s going to argue with Germany stepping into the leading role against a country that openly and directly threatens to destroy another country?

But I digress.

The point of this conference had little to do with Holocaust denial, and everything to do with Israel denial. If the Holohoax didn’t happen, or mostly didn’t happen, then Israel– allegedly established on the ashes of Europe-- has no right to exist. Indeed, a quote by Deputy Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mohammadi (cited, strangely, only in a CNN story) says so outright:

“Mohammadi said if Iran accepts the validity of the Holocaust, the next question examined will be, ‘Why should the Palestinians pay for the Holocaust?’ ”

And that’s it in a Yellow Star.

BTW, for an excellent recap of how the world’s media played the conference, check this out. And what a surprise-– the most biased reporting came from NPR.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Did Nicole Richie takes lessons from Mel Gibson?



All of 85 pounds, whacked out on Vicodin and pot, Nicole Richie cheated death and vehicular homicide-- while besting fellow celebutard Paris Hilton's measly "erratic driving" DUI charge back in September-- with her arrest for driving the wrong way down Highway 134 in Burbank in the middle of the night. Though the California Highway Patrol (whose former officer Francis Poncherello is now filming his own law & order reality series) has now released 911 tapes from alarmed motorists, they've yet to accuse her of calling any of her jailers "sugar tits."

Even so, with the sheepish look, slight smile and oh-so tousled hair, it looks like our girl's learned the newest rule of celebrity: Live fast, maybe die young, but always take a beautiful mugshot.

Catching up with tabloid baby Ed Burns

When he's not showing up in movies as a sometimes leading man, Ed Burns, whose movie career began in the cradle of tabloid television, is best known as "the Irish Woody Allen," a writer-director auteur whose intimate movies have dealt with young working class guys who don't understand women. When he's worked behind the scenes in television, he's stuck to what he knows best, with NBCs' The Fighting Fitzgeralds (who remembers that one?), and along the sidelines of (and guesting on) Entourage, which is produced and sometimes written by his brother Brian.

Now, after his latest movie, The Groomsmen came and went (and after the first weekend of The Holiday in which he's got a small role), Ed's back into television, as his pal and mentor Steven Spielberg has picked him to co-write a new drama series for Fox. Another male-bonding adventure? Not quite. The show's about the fashion world.

And the other writer is his wife.

Eddie scored big with a supermodel bride, and now he and the missus, Christie Turlington, will be writing a drama about what she knows best: a show revolving around five twenty-somethings in the fashion industry: model, makeup artist, photographer, designers... It's an ensemble structure that Ed has worked in before, and if the series goes to pilot, he'll direct.

Spielberg suposedly came up with idea after hanging around the runways at New York's Fashion Week. Then he turned to Ed, who's been a pal since he appeared as grunt in Saving Private Ryan. As far as we know, the fashion series is Ed's first collaboration with Christie, beyond their two kids. With his writing skills and experience her, well, uh, her experience in the business, they should be the perfect team. Now if Heidi and Seal would just write a song together...

(Fun Facts: Ed Burns' dad is former cop and top PR whiz Edward Burns, Sr., a close friend of tabloid television's pioneers since the beginning. Ed's director of photography on his Sundance-winning feature, The Brothers McMullen, was a cameraman for the original tabloid TV series, A Current Affair. Eddie put the film together in an ACA editing room and got it to Sundance by handing a copy to Robert Redford after an interview, while he was working as a production assistant for Entertainment Tonight. The story of Brothers can be found in Tabloid Baby, Chapter 25, "Buttafuoco Sweats"-- and Tabloid Baby's author provides commentary on the DVD of the Burns-DeNiro movie, 15 Minutes!)

See--and comment on--Tabloid Baby's television talk at TVgasm.com
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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Malibu magazine prints our post


We've got to get to get the staff going through the magazine stacks a little more thoroughly around here! We picked the November issue of Malibu magazine from a pile in the office last night. It had been lying around for a couple of weeks, we'd guess. Malibu is without question a great local magazine, one that really captures a sense of time and place
-- anyway, we've said that before, back in June when we wrote that the June/July "Birth of Legends" issue of Malibu "may be the finest example of a local magazine ever produced."

And we meant it (the issue was even up for bids on eBay for a while).

Anyway, we were picking through the November issue and saw that they printed our entire post on the Letters page! Thanks, Malibu! You can order the great June/July issue as well as the November issue, the one in which Tabloid Baby meets Malibu magazine, at the Malibu website, which also features some cool music. We'll head up the PCH to grab the latest issue.

So what is it about the magazines out here on the Pacific Ocean beach? Malibu has the best local magazine, and the best celebrity interview and entertainment glossy is a freebie called Venice, which we think is still around. Once again, no kidding.

Check out the Venice website, read some of the articles and see if you don't agree.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

"World's gone mad, and no one's paying attention!"


With the likes of Katie Couric, Brian Williams and Anderson Cooper reading us the news of the day, we here in the States tend to take major world events a little less seriously here in the States, especially when they’re up against big stories like the airliner that made an emergency landing because a woman passenger was lighting her farts.

But in Israel, where lives hinge on every word, folks listen to the big stories like those people in the old commercials used to lean over the chess boards to hear Radio Free Europe. And what they get out of the news is often very different than the spin we hear.

Our Man Elli in Israel is working as a TV news reporter out of Jerusalem. In one of his irregular dispatches, he sends us this exclusive impression of December 5, 2006:

We're living in a world gone mad, and no one is paying attention.

US Defense Secretary-designate Robert Gates testifies today that he could not guarantee that if Iran possesses nuclear weapons it would not put its threats against Israel into action. So Iran marches on to attain nuclear capability, which it is likely to use against Israel. But he is against an American military operation against Iran because the consequences of a military confrontation with Iran could be dramatic and could lead to chemical and biological terror attacks.

But not attacking them now could very well lead to Iran using an A-bomb in a terror attack. Is that better? So we're going to sit back and wait for that to happen-- and THEN react? Are we all nuts?

Meanwhile, Iran is holding a two-day conference on the Holocaust next Monday and Tuesday, with 60 scholars from some 30 countries participating. Its purpose? To “provide the opportunity for scholars from both sides to give their papers in freedom and without pre-conceived ideas,” according to the deputy foreign minister, Manouchehr Mohammadi.

What's amazing is not that Iran is hosting the conference, but that 60 scholars from 30 countries are taking part! There is no subject of Jewish history more thoroughly examined than the Holocaust-- and that includes the Exodus from Egypt. What exactly will this conference achieve? Easy. They will announce that the gas chambers never existed for the purposes previously believed, because they could never have killed that many Jews in the allotted time frame. This itself is not a new plank in the platform of Holocaust denial, but it will be stated anew as if it was suddenly an original revelation proven by some scholar after years of study. And on and on.

So the Holocaust didn't exactly happen as previously reported for the last 65 years, Israel should not exist and be wiped off the map, and there's no guarantee, says the upcoming U.S. Secretary of Defense, that Iran won't nuke Israel if given half the chance.

And the world stands on the sidelines watching. Gevalt.

Monday, December 04, 2006

You too can make it in Hollywood!


There's a new Hollywood success story that's giving new life to an old Hollywood myth-- that with enough spunk and talent, anyone can break into the industry-- and you don't even need the Internet to get there (though it helps). This is very similar to the story of Ed Burns and The Brothers McMullen or the time Harvey Weinstein bought PJ Sloan's bar for the bartender who wrote Boondock Saints. And it's got a Tabloid Baby connection.

This one is from the CW network, which is almost Hollywood and is developing a new show to fill the hole left when Melrose Place went off the air. The Wilton is a one-hour dramedy about the relationships, sex lives, hopes, sex lives, dreams, sex lives, work and sex lives of a group of twenty-somethings who all live in a building in Hollywood.

A couple of young brothers, actors Ben and Dan Newmark, have sold a show to the CW network. The Wilton is a one-hour dramedy about the relationships, sex lives, hopes, sex lives, dreams, sex lives, work and sex lives of a group of twenty-somethings who all live in a building in Hollywood. The brothers did it the old-fashioned way. They wrote the script based on their time living in a house off the real Wilton Place (which is about five miles and cranked about five degrees in seediness from Melrose Place in West Hollywood). They and their friends produced and starred in a homemade pilot called The Wilton Hilton, and then they got more friends who worked in PR to generate some buzz. After they invited junior agents and talent agency assistants to a screening at the Pacific Theatre in Hollywood, CAA moved in, signed up the brothers, hooked them up, and the CW bit.

Of course, before the studios went with the project, the boys were matched with old school heavyweights, including Warner Brothers, CBS Paramount, music kingpin (and Mariah Carey's ex-husband) Tommy Mottola's company to produce and, as show runner and executive producer, the legendary Peter Lefcourt.

Lefcourt is no kid, but an acclaimed writer whose TV credits go back as far as Eight Is Enough and Cagney & Lacey. He created and wrote Showtime's legendary Beggars & Choosers, is author of some very funny books, and a couple of years ago, was attached to the team that's working to turn Tabloid Baby into a drama series.

Check out the original Wilton Hilton website for more on the show.

And stay tuned here for the latest on Tabloid Baby, and Frozen Pictures' latest series project, The Venice Walk.