Eight new gay groping claims, two scrotum assaults, and one anus attack later, John Travolta's masseur-gate is in full swing—not that you'd know if you only got your news from The New York Times, which has yet to file a report on the megawatt star accused of manhandling nearly enough service industry employees to field a baseball team.
Entrepreneur and longtime entertainment executive Neil McGinness bought the deadpan supermarket tabloid Weekly World News from American Media, according to the Times, 14 months after the last issue was printed amid anemic circulation. McGinness has "revived" the website, which AMI had promised to keep open (as publishers tend to do), and might even bring back the print edition. The idea is that online advertising, licensing and movie deals can succeed where the prior incarnation failed. Plus, it's something of a golden age of satire, what with the Onion and Daily Show and so forth. The new site already has old staples Bat Boy and Ed Anger, but the headlines aren't quite up to snuff yet. Perhaps the site's distinguished editors can take some inspiration from this list of headlines from the past (add your own in the comments!):
Recall the tale of Stephanie Green, a researcher at Star who in 2004 began shopping Dishalicious, her Devil Wears Prada-esque novel featuring a Bonnie Fuller caricature. Green was promptly sued by American Media for violating her confidentiality agreement, though the lawsuit was finally dismissed in 2005. Sadly, the public lust (or publishing's interest) in this genre appears to be waning, as Green has been unable to find a buyer for the manuscript. Ergo, she's hawking copies of the text on Paypal, with plans to upgrade to eBay v. v. soon! After the jump, Green's philosophical take on the death of her book, plus hopes and dreams for a brighter tomorrow.
• Naomi Campbell sends a judge into a fit when she fails to show for her court date regarding that incident when she chucked her BlackBerry at her maid's head. He was further angered to learn that prosecutors had not sought a bench warrant for the supermodel's arrest, but softened when prosecution explained that it was just because they didn't want to endanger any police officers. [NYDN]
• BREAKING: Jessica Simpson is cranky! Bitchy! Barfy! Human! [Page Six]
• More on Jack Nicholson's dildo. [R&M]
• Stocking up for a long flight from JFK, the Olsen twins buy "a big bag of beef jerky, three large rolls of LifeSavers, two packs of gum and a copy of every tabloid magazine." That plane's poor toilets. [Lowdown]
• American Media Inc. is actually upset that Katie Couric didn't mention that they had an employee die from anthrax. [Page Six]
• We ignored it yesterday, but Avril Lavigne has now made a habit of regularly spitting on photographers. You, young lady, are no Canadian! [TMZ]
"Lookit who's got a MySpace page" stories are tired as hell, especially since most are fakes put up as "tributes" to the celeb in question. The only thing that distinguishes American Media editrix Bonnie Fuller's fake page is its origin as a stunt to get on the AMI reality show One Park Avenue. Ad Age reveals the perp in question to be one Shmuly Tennenhaus, a self-described "Hasidic Jew with a ton of chutzpa." In addition to the MySpace, Tennenhaus of course has an OPA-focused blog, though the latter seems to be a repository for net marketing punditry as much as anything. His chances for getting on the show don't look good so far, as you have to make it clear you're desperate without appearing desperate. A nice rack doesn't hurt, either.
American Media drones might want to keep next Tuesday and Wednesday free; alternatively, if they have any shreds of dignity remaining (doubtful), those might be good days to fake a debilitating stay-at-home virus. On those days, producers will be riffling through AMI staff during in-house casting for One Park Avenue, the reality show based on the workaday lives of employees at Star, Men's Fitness, or Fit Pregnancy. We're guessing that recently recruited beauty pageant winner and "editor-at-large" Jill Dobson at Star may be a shoo-in as "the pretty one."
Two weeks ago, Reese Witherspoon filed suit against American Media Inc. over an item in Star magazine reporting that the actress was pregnant with her third child. Star featured pictures of Witherspoon in baggy clothes and empire-waisted dresses, concluding that these wardrobe choices could only signify a secret fetus. Witherspoon thus sent her legal team to action, arguing that the inaccurate item damaged her reputation by suggesting that she'd not been honest with producers about her physical state.
• Ron Burkle wants to buy the L.A. Times, and the Chandlers are finally willing to talk to him. And we're sure he'll continue to care deeply about Radar if he buys a real — well, real enough — media outlet. [WSJ]
• Bushies hate the Times even more than usual these days. [WP]
• AMI might be holding on to Bonnie, but a different bigwig will hit the road at week's end. [Ad Age]
• New editor Steve Garbarino to add an advice column to BlackBook by Siberia owner Tracy Westmoreland? [NYO]
Because few things make us happier than idle bitchery, we of course enjoyed Keith Kelly's roundup in the Post today of all sorts of AMI staffers' anonymous snipes at their newly and richly re-contracted editorial director, perennial employee fave Bonnie Fuller. We remain, however, mystified by Keith's lede:
Happy Monday to Bonnie Fuller: With just five days left on her contract, AMI has recycled the editorial harridan's paperwork for another three years. Fuller will keep her base salary of $1.5 million per year, and the only change to this round of paperwork is the potential for more bonus pay: she had previously earned an average bonus of $275,000 per year, but that has been upped to a guaranteed minimum of $500,000, provided that Star doesn't deteriorate into bag-lady toilet paper. At the end of the day, it's the same luscious paycheck, the same angry staffers pissing in her soup.
So long as Reese Witherspoon is suing AMI for Star magazine's story claiming that she's pregnant with her third child, she might as well have her educated pit bulls serve something similarly sweet for the rest of celebrity weekly gang. At left, Life&Style claims that loose top = fertile womb; at right, OK! points out Witherspoon's gut and politely calls it a pregnancy.
Because everything at AMI these days is fluffy and wonderful — five magazines on the block, Bonnie Fuller on the contract-renegotiation warpath, layoffs at Star — here's some more good news: actress Reese Witherspoon has filed suit against Star for publishing a "fictional" story claiming she was pregnant. The counsel for Laura Jean Reese Witherspoon (whoa) charges that the mag exploited Reese's squeaky clean persona "in a callous effort to boost the tabloid's sagging sales."
• Times to sell ads on front business page. Coming next: white after Labor Day. [NYT]
• VF to boost biz coverage; AMI to miss accounting deadlines. [NYP]
• Us Weekly has its best-selling issue ever, and Janice Min had nothing to do with it. [Jossip]
• New Times Building turning out to be a good investment. Huh. So it turns out Pinch knows how to make those, every now and then. [NYP]
• The Committee to Protect Journalists picks a new executive director, and it turns out he's one of our machetunim, sort of. (I.e., new CPJer is real-life bro-in-law of our glittery little brother, Defamer.) [CPJ]
• The Village Voice's new EIC Erik Wemple changes his mind, quitting the gig before he had technically started. Not surprisingly, the New Times has fucked things beyond repair.
• Britney Spears assures Matt Lauer and the world that she's just as pathetic as we all suspected, if not worse. (YouTube then slaps us and takes away our video.)
• Finally, Page Six finds someone to accept their job offer, it's just not who you'd expect: Post City desker Bill Hoffman.
• Hour Media buys Absolute; the mag's audience of rich people shrug, go about with their usual, rich-people lives.
• Rite-Aid removes Shock from its newsstands, arguing that the magazine clashed with the drugstore's Danielle Steel selection.
• MTV begins filming its reality show in the offices of Rolling Stone; Men's Journal and Us Weekly staffs are promptly forgotten.
• Rocco DiSpirito refuses to disappear.
• Now that Ellen Barkin has removed her balcony's privacy fence, neighbors are easily treated to a night of watching her kids drink bongwater.
• AMI plans to sell off five of its lackluster titles, if only so the company can afford Bonnie Fuller's driver.
• Beyonce graces the cover of Spin, and it's overwhelmingly clear why Andy Pemberton was sacked.
• Hell has a zipcode, and it's 02138.
• Nothing's the same, not even the simple things.