Bill O'Reilly recounted on Monday night how Spike Lee once asked him in the men's room at a New York Knicks game, "You find any weapons of mass destruction in here?"
O'Reilly was talking to his ambush interview producer Jesse Waters, who had attempted in vain to interview Lee during an event on Martha's Vineyard over the weekend, when he related an experience with Lee:
"Spike Lee and I know each other a little bit, primarily from the New York Knicks game. I'm in the men's room. about 2 years ago, 3 years, Spike Lee comes walking into the men's room. Now I'm 6' 4", Spike is, what, 5' 2". So I'm at the urinal. Spike kind of saunters up two away from me. He looks up and he goes, "You find any weapons of mass destruction in here?" [Laughs] You got to give him props for that line."
NEW YORK — ABC says LaToya Jackson will be a guest co-host on "The View" Sept. 16 and 18. Having previously co-hosted the ABC daytime talk show in 2003, Jackson is the latest celebrity to be named as a substitute for Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who is on maternity leave until mid-October.
ABC is also announcing that Victoria Beckham will make her first guest appearance on "The View" Sept. 14.
Previously announced as guest co-hosts next month are Meghan McCain, daughter of former GOP presidential candidate John McCain, and former Fox News Channel anchor E.D. Hill.
Besides Hasselbeck, regular co-hosts of "The View" include Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar (BAY'-hahr) and Sherri Shepherd.
Apple’s Fifth Avenue emporium probably has annual sales of more than $350 million, topping any of the chain’s other outlets, said Jeffrey Roseman, executive vice president of real- estate broker Newmark Knight Frank Retail in New York. The location is 10,000 square feet, putting its sales per square foot at a minimum of $35,000, based on Roseman’s estimate.
That’s the equivalent of selling one Mercedes-Benz C300 sedan per square foot. Apple may be the highest grossing retailer ever on Fifth Avenue, said Faith Hope Consolo, chairman of the retail leasing and sales division at Manhattan-based Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate.
I walked by the Fifth Avenue store a few weeks ago — just looked in from above outside, on a weekday afternoon — and there’s no way to describe it other than impossibly busy.
Three years ago Maureen Dowd wrote a much talked about, much passed around column defending Anna Wintour and Meryl Streep’s portrayal of her in the just-released Devil Wears Prada. The column was sharp, incisive, full of wit, and relevant. In short: Dowd at her best. In short, everything this past Sunday’s column about Wintour’s portrayal in the upcoming documentary was not. A side-by-side reading provides a great snapshot of the slow disintegration of Dowd’s relevance. Anna Wintour may still be a “sacred monster” in Dowd’s eyes, but as is wont to be the case more often than not these last few years, Dowd has nothing more to add to the conversation.
So, given my relatively angelic self-image, I was surprised, at a screening of “The Devil Wears Prada,” to find myself sympathizing with the devil — Meryl Streep’s Miranda Priestly, the Anna Wintoury editrix of a top fashion magazine who is described as “a notorious sadist, and not in the good way.”
Is it so wrong of Miranda to expect her assistant, Andy Sachs (played by Anne Hathaway), to know how to spell Gabbana, reach Donatella and ban freesia? Is it so bad to want help getting a warm rhubarb compote for Michael Kors? Or to have an assistant who knows what an eyelash curler is?
Whether Anna and Miranda are sacred monsters, at least they are themselves. It’s more admirable to be the beast to which the parasite attaches itself than to be the parasite.
So the question invariably arises: Behind those bangs and dark glasses, is Anna human? Or did she tie Hermès scarves together and make a daring escape from District 9 in a getaway car driven by Oscar de la Renta?
On CBS’s “Early Show” on Thursday, Talley said it was a misconception that “she’s an ice floe or an iceberg and that she has no human flesh or bones.” Tom Florio, the publisher of Vogue, concedes in the documentary that “she’s not warm and friendly.”
David Letterman will probe Monday night to find out if Wintour is as frigid as we think. But there’s no need for her to drop the Cruella de Vil guise. Moviegoers want to see a brittle Anna belittle, Simon Cowell-style. We enjoy the editrix as dominatrix.
She’s a sacred monster, an embodiment of the highest standard of style, and we don’t expect our monsters to be nice.
Updated It’s been 10 months since we first learned NBC, News Corp (NYSE: NWS) and Disney’s U.S. TV site Hulu wanted to open up shop in Britain - but still there’s no sign of it actually being ready to pounce. The venture may have rights to show some UK content across the pond but, despite starting negotiations here in February, it’s still lacking the shows it needs for a truly indigenous service.
That may or may not be about to change, depending on which Telegraph.co.uk story you read. Monday afternoon, it reported a deal that would make Hulu the exclusive third-party distributor for ITV’s in-house productions is just “weeks away”. Half an hour later, it reported an unnamed source’s gut feeling the launch has been delayed to January due to the lack of partnerships. In May, Telegraph.co.uk said Hulu wanted to launch here in September. An ITV (LSE: ITV) spokesperson told paidContent:UK it’s all “speculation”.
One thing’s for sure - Hulu is taking its own sweet time. paidContent:UK understands ITV, and perhaps the other main broadcasters, have been offered equity in a UK venture. BBC Worldwide’s signature shouldn’t be hard to get in theory, though it seems more interested in inking pay-per-view and overseas syndication deals rather than free-to-view. Channel 4 is busy developing its YouTube relationship and 4oD. And BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) likes to own its own platform.
Late last year, Hulu, in private, was holding off on UK ambitions until the completion of the Competition Commission’s investigation in to the proposed BBCWW/ITV/C4 VOD JV Project Kangaroo. The outlawing of Kangaroo in February cleared the way for an alternative provider. But, whilst Kangaroo never got off its feet, the main UK broadcasters’ desire to work together appears undiminished…
The Project Canvas proposal may be for the TV set and not the desktop, but will ultimately provide a single IPTV VOD gateway, owned by the broadcasters themselves. Not just that, but radio mast company Arqiva has bought Kangaroo’s remains and is planning its own web VOD service - perhaps rivaling Hulu, and, to all intents and purposes, launching Kangaroo after all.
Update: Staci adds: Of course, you can’t delay something that hasn’t been planned. I reported back in May that Hulu wasn’t planning a September launch. I can add now that while something may be ready by January, that’s not a target either at the point. Hulu’s Johannes Larcher continues to have discussions with usual suspects ITV, Channel 4, BBC, et al—someone familiar with the situation calls them “healthy conversations”—and a UK version is expected to happen but other people seem to be a lot more obsessed with setting dates than Hulu.
Officials at the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit in San Francisco that governs Wikipedia, say that within weeks, the English-language Wikipedia will begin imposing a layer of editorial review on articles about living people.
The new feature, called "flagged revisions," will require that an experienced volunteer editor for Wikipedia sign off on any change made by the public before it can go live.
Cable news ratings, August 21, 2009: Check out the highlights, and see the full ratings below:
• Fox News’ 8pmET The O’Reilly Factor was the number one show on cable news, and beat the cable news competition (CNN, MSNBC and HLN) combined in total viewers on Friday. The total viewer average of 2,551,000 was more than 500,000 total viewers ahead of the 2nd place show, Glenn Beck.
• HLN’s Nancy Grace is regularly topping CNN’s Campbell Brown at 8pmET in both categories. In the demo on Friday, Grace was 3,000 viewers away from finishing in 2nd place.
• The #1 non-FNC program Friday was MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show in the demo and Countdown with Keith Olbermann in total viewers.
Check out all the ratings below, and leave your own thoughts in the comments:
TV NEWS RATINGS: 25-54 DEMOGRAPHIC (L +SD)
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.
TV NEWS RATINGS: TOTAL VIEWERS (L +SD)
Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.
The New York Times ran a front page story yesterday on atrazine in drinking water (part of its series on worsening water pollution) and the state of federal tap-water regulation of this super-common weed killer (not good). The chemical is worrisome because of its ubiquity, its links with birth defects and low birth weights, and because it may have effects at levels lower than those previously suspected. (U.C. Berkeley's Dr. Tyrone Hayes, who correlated low-level atrazine exposure to deformities like extra legs in frogs, was absent from the Times story. You can read about his research in this article I did for Discover.)
The Times story reminds us that new chemicals appear faster than old ones are being tested, testing is often performed by manufacturers themselves, and mixture effects are difficult to sort out. The thing is, testing drinking water for every possible chemical of concern is extremely expensive, especially at lower and lower concentrations (parts per billion, parts per trillion). If a utility finds a chemical of concern, removing it can be enormously expensive (is this an argument for cleaning up only the small percentage of water we drink??). And after you remove a chemical like atrazine-using powdered carbon, for example-what do you do with it? The utility manager I interviewed in Kansas City said he dumped it back into the river from which it came.
I predict that learning more about low-dose effects of ubiquitous chemicals (perchlorate, MTBE, trichloroethane, perfluorochemicals -- all of which have been found in municipal water supplies) will give even committed tap-water drinkers pause. The Times says, "Sometimes, the only way to avoid atrazine during summer months, when concentrations tend to rise as cropland is sprayed, is by forgoing tap water and relying on bottled water or using a home filtration system." If I were living in farm country and pregnant, nursing, or the mother of a young child, I'd certainly get the best filter I could afford and be sure to use it during spring runoff.
The anti-bottled water groups, which have raised awareness of the products' environmental footprint and helped to drive down sales of bottled water for the first time in five years, acknowledge that all tap water isn't perfect and try to steer the public toward filters. But I've always found them a bit too trusting of municipal water supplies, which vary enormously across the country. I wrote an entire book on the pros and cons of both bottled and tap water (the just-released-in-paperback Bottlemania: Big Business, Local Springs, and the Battle over America's Drinking Water) and was surprised by how complicated the matter is and how local the issue. I realized, too, that living in New York City I was guilty of a certain arrogance -- the arrogance of the well-watered -and that ditching bottled water isn't so easy when you can't, or shouldn't, drink what's coming from the tap.
Still, bottled water isn't a good long-term solution to our water problems. It's too expensive, and its environmental costs are too high. Instead, we must fix our municipal systems -- upgrade treatment plants to remove contaminants, repair and lay new pipes to deliver water and, most important of all, better protect our watersheds from chemical and other pollution (this includes limiting deforestation and development). This past July, Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer introduced legislation to establish a $10 billion annual water trust fund that will, according to his website, "be financed broadly by small fees on such things as bottled beverages, products disposed of in wastewater, corporate profits, and the pharmaceutical industry. . . . The $10 billion annual fund will create more than 250,000 jobs."
I don't know if the legislation will pass, but I do know that we don't really have a choice about whether or not to protect (and improve) municipal water supplies. We're talking about water here - the stuff of life! Yes, people of means won't have a problem importing privately bottled "pristine" drinking water (so long as that water - and the oil to pump and transport it - lasts), but the vast majority of us can't afford this and won't.
What can you do? Demand to know what's in your water, do independent testing at the tap, and contact your utility and elected representatives if you don't like what you've found. Then get yourself a good filter (this site will help you pick one) and a reusable bottle and reach out to your local watershed protection group to offer your support.
After watching the commemorative pieces on the anniversary of Woodstock, I contacted my childhood friend Dr. Marilyn Bruno whose family owned property adjacent to Max Yasgur's farm. What was it like?
This is her account:
"I have nothing but sad feelings when I remember Woodstock. Over the years, I have seen the perpetrators of the trespass, kidnapping and vandalism being honored and enriched at the expense of my family. It is not true that there were no casualties at the August 1969 Festival of Peace and Love.
"Since the 1950s, my immediate family (Philip and Alda Bruno, Irma Micera, and Gilda O'Moore) jointly owned several acres on Pine Ridge Lake in Bethel, New York, including a 4-bedroom house located under the pine trees. We had an easement permitting our access over one of Max Yasgur's pastures from the public road to our isolated property, which was surrounded by a gate. Three generations of my family vacationed there. My grandmother died there.
"I have some home movies from the '50s and a few photos from the '60s showing us during summers at the house, overlooking Yasgur's pastures in the front and the woods in the back.
LIFE's Special Edition on Woodstock and Wadleigh's movie feature our house, white fence, pier, boats, etc. What they call "Philipini's Pond" was what we called "Pine Ridge Lake." It was no pond -- about a mile long by 1/2 mile wide.
"In the summer of 1969, during the flurry of activity of switching the venue of the music festival from Woodstock to Bethel, N.Y., Mr. Max Yasgur sold to the promoters access to his pastures. He apparently led them to believe that my family's property was included in the deal.
"Neither Max Yasgur nor anyone else notified my family about the festival. By the time we found out, Woodstock Ventures, Inc. had sold over 114,000 tickets to the event, 300 people were setting up the festival site, and hundreds of attendees were already arriving on our property. We promptly served an order against Woodstock Ventures, Inc. and Bethel Supervisor Daniel J. Amatucci, asking for a temporary injunction to prohibit the promoters from using our property. The case was heard by Supreme court Justice George L. Cobb presiding in State Supreme Court at Catskill, Greene County (Third Judicial District). The injunction was denied because Judge Cobb held that the economic benefits that the festival promised to bring to this most remote part of the Catskills far outweighed my family's property and privacy rights. My family was denied security by Yasgur, Woodstock Ventures, and the White Lake and Monticello Sheriff's offices.
"During the festival, the promoters, their staff, and most of the artists trespassed on our property, invading our house, using our toilets and showers, and using our car park area as a heliport. My brother John, now deceased, went immediately to defend the property. He never recovered from trying to block access to our house. I don't think my brother Johnny ever got over it. He was threatened y the promoters, who locked him in the back of a van for two days. He was emotionally ripped up because he loved the artists, loved their music, loved his generation. And yet those who claimed that Woodstock was only about peace and love had destroyed one of the few beloved places he had.
"By the end of the festival, our house had been trashed by invaders. The organizers insisted that they were not responsible. The sheriff's office said that they were not responsible. Yet, photos appearing in newspapers and magazines and movies in news reels and the feature film produced by the promoters, clearly show our canoe and row boat sunk taken by revelers and sunk, our pier detached and floating toward the middle of the lake, our lawn invaded by hundreds of people, and a helicopter on our property. On each and every anniversary of the festival thereafter, our house was broken into by people commemorating the event, spray painting graffiti on the walls, and stealing literally everything from the house as souvenirs. Unable to get insurance on the property, my family was forced to sell several years later.
"In an effort to set the record straight, I have sent this account to editors and producers at all four networks , local newspapers, and national news magazines. Although I have offered to produce a copy of the injunction, a local newspaper article about my family's property published in August 1969, and to be interviewed, there has been no response from anyone in the media."
Marilyn Bruno can be contacted at email@example.com
MINNEAPOLIS (AdAge.com) -- Offstage, it's been a big year for beauty queens, with two -- Carrie Prejean and Roxana Saberi -- showing differing levels of poise, grace and congeniality under the glare of the public eye. But despite Prejean's tabloid turn and Saberi's case being covered on the front of more respected papers, there weren't any more eyes turned towards last night's "Miss Universe Pageant" on NBC, which according to Nielsen fast-affiliate ratings delivered the same rating and share -- 2.0/6 -- in the ad-centric adult 18-49 demographic as last year.
—Minyanville: Executive producer Jonathan Schwartz has been promoted to VP of business and product development for the money and lifestyle site. Schwartz, who’s been with the company since 2005, had been in charge of negotiating content-partnership deals with portals like AOL (NYSE: TWX) and MSN.
—Slingshot Labs: Co-President Colin Digiaro is resigning from the News Corp (NYSE: NWS) technology incubator. Digiaro, a co-founder of MySpace, may end up at fellow MySpace founder Christ DeWolfe’s new venture, the details of which have yet to be announced.
—38 Studios: President and CEO Brett Close is leaving former MLB pitcher Curt Schilling’s online gaming company. Close, who was with the company for three years, will be replaced by Jennifer MacLean, who had been SVP of business development.
There’s a temptation to title this piece “Local Boy Makes Good!” or something similar, for it’s extremely exciting to see that Dan Harmon (Heat Vision and Jack) has got himself a bona fide TV show. As the co-creator of Channel 101, Harmon is indirectly responsible for the rise of Internet comedy legends like The Lonely Island and Chad Vader, while also providing a platform for independent web series like Bromos and Old Friends to gain awareness. Without Channel 101, it’s hard to say where we’d all be right now. Certainly laughing a lot less.
Watching the clips of Community available on Facebook, one thing is clear: Harmon has spent a LOT of time watching TV. The 5-minute preview contains some 20 references to various shows and movies, including a delightfully meta moment when Jeff (Joel McHale) explains to a lunch lady that being raised on sitcoms means that he (incorrectly) assumes that any black woman over the age of 50 is meant to be a spiritual guide for him.
But while the clips are good, Harmon has also come up with his own way of selling the project in the form of a truly inspired series of infomercials for Greendale Community College, focusing on the five As that the fictional university at the show’s center provides its student body: Accessibility, Affordability, Air Conditioning, Awesome New Friends and A Lot of Classes. (I’m looking forward to the Air Conditioning episode most of all.) Harmon stars as Greendale’s dean of admissions, and his deliberately amateur acting style is only one facet of the dead-on infomercial style being parodied.
There’s also an official web site for the college, which features extended profiles of the series’ primary characters as well as potential hints at future interactivity (a unlinked banner ad, for example, asks if you want to join the school’s A/V department). The overall approach is extremely net-savvy, the kind of campaign that comes when new media gets a seat at the old media table. Plus, it’s funny — the one thing that will always cross platforms.
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Better late than never. Someone is finally taking the death panel debate back to its source: Facebook. It was a mere two weeks ago Sarah Palin launched the dog days of death panels via a post on her facebook page that asserted President Obama’s health care bill contained a provision for ‘death panels’:
The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.
Two weeks and a number of raucous town halls later, it is fairly clear that in the interim Obama has mostly lost control of the debate. Who needs an actual Governorship when you have Facebook?
However! According to The Plum Line, Americans United For Change, a liberal advocacy group, is attempting to change all that. The group has launched its own Facebook ad – something the Obama admin should probably have considered a while back — targeting Palin’s supporters. The ad says: “Send Sarah Palin a message; tell her to stop lying about “death panels.” The ads link through to the AUC’s website. Perhaps not quite as catchy as DEATH PANELS but worth a shot. Facebook is the new townhall!
Tim Tebow and the University of Florida Gators head the Associated Press pre-season football poll by a wide margin but the AP may not be in the stadium to cover their season opener against Charleston Southern. AP won’t be able to pick up coverage from member chain Gannett (NYSE: GCI) either. Both the news co-op and the newspaper publisher are refusing to sign a credential policy designed to severely restrict online coverage of Southeastern Conference games, according to E&P.
Gannett has told its papers that cover the SEC not to sign and an AP lawyer confirmed to E&P that it will not sign up for credentials with the limits in place. Conversations between news organizations and the SEC are ongoing, including a call scheduled for this afternoon. We’ll update as warranted. No immediate results from today’s call; another is scheduled for tomorrow.
The policy was coupled with an extraordinary effort to limit social media use on the part of fans, trying to turn the act of getting a ticket in a contract not to Twitter during games or conduct other social media activity that the conference fears will damage its broadcast rights. The SEC revised the policy after an initial public outcry but media organizations aren’t satisfied. Three organizations—the AP Sports Editors, AP Managing Editors and ASNE—protested by letter (pdf) to SEC Commissioner Mike Slive last week.
Among the limits and requirements imposed by the SEC in concert with its new online media partner XOS Digital:
—Still photos online would be limited to regular “print” news coverage and “shall not otherwise be posted, placed, or distributed on the Internet.” That would seem to exclude slide shows, galleries and archives.
—The SEC and its member schools would get a non-exclusive license to use news photos without extra charge.
—News orgs would be prohibited from blogging “real-time description” in game.
—Publishing video and audio highlights from SEC games online is prohibited for online newspapers but allowed in same cases for TV stations with websites, plus there are time limits on pre and post-game video and audio use.
A case of dog chases tail: Slate has refashioned it’s daily aggregation feature “Today’s Papers” because, well, newspapers have started delivering content at a faster, more consistent pace to keep up with their competition online. Woof.
“One of the great conveniences and frustrations of the Web recently has been the rise of the news aggregator,” wrote Slate editor in chief David Plotz to eulogize his 14-year-old aggregation feature, now obsolete, and announce the launch of its replacement — “The Slatest, The most important news and commentary to read right now.” And they do mean right now — like, right now — not just today. The Slatest also replaces “In Other Magazines,” a similar roundup for glossies.
Plotz remembers the early stages of aggregation:
“Today’s Papers” was hilariously backward by contemporary standards. The authors originally collected front pages by fax from newspapers that barely had online editions. (Our first “Today’s Papers” didn’t even have links.) But the column was an instant sensation for Slate, meeting a need our readers hadn’t even realized they had. It hooked an audience: William F. Buckley Jr. was particularly fervent, going into paroxysms if “Today’s Papers” arrived in his inbox late. “Today’s Papers” showed what Web news aggregation was supposed to be: It captured the media zeitgeist, it condensed everything you needed to know into a few paragraphs, and it was fast.
As he says, once Slate was eons ahead of the pack, and now the online magazine is being forced to evolve itself because of pressure from both sides — a print industry playing catch up and an increasingly multifarious and non-stop digital media.
“['Today's Papers'] doesn’t track the news as the day progresses, and it doesn’t encompass all the ways people get their news besides newspapers (blogs, Twitter, TV …),” wrote Plotz. “We’ve come to realize that we haven’t been doing the kind of aggregation most of our readers want.”
According to “The Slatest,” the kind of aggregation that readers want comes in three waves throughout the day: (1) in the morning to recap what the newspapers broke over night; (2) around noon to round-up blog coverage and ‘opinion maker’ spin; and then (3) in the evening to cap off the day’s coverage and preview what’s coming in the next news cycle. These three packets are part of an item called “The Slate Dozen,” basically a list of the most important stories at the time, á la Tina Brown’s Cheat Sheet.
In addition to the rundown, “The Slatest” features a Twitter feed full of links posted by Slate staffers — the idea, Plotz says, is the bring readers into the intra-office link exchange that used to happen over email: “We realized that our readers might be just as interested in these stories as our colleagues. The items in the Twitter feed usually aren’t the latest news but, rather, the stories that baffle us, amaze us, make us crack up.” The Slatest also features a constantly updating box of headlines from all over — NYT most-mailed, HuffPo, Drudge, TMZ, among others.
Oh, and Plotz forgets to mention quite possibly the most valuable part of “The Slatest”: a huge (huge) ad for Jack Daniels in case all the news is making you thirsty.