• Monthly mags continue to suffer: Ad pages have dropped by 23 percent on average, although the situation is particularly dire at Condé Nast. [NYP]
• Maureen Dowd landed in a bit of hot water after it was revealed she'd "borrowed" from blogger Josh Marshall for her op-ed column yesterday. She's since offered a (dubious) explanation and apology. [E&P, HP, Politico]
• Television networks start selling ads for the fall season today as part of upfront week, although the economy is putting a damper on things. [NYT]
• Despite few successes and many failures, NBC golden boy Ben Silverman still has a job. For how much longer, though, is anybody's guess. [NYT]
• Angels & Demons was No. 1 at the box office with a $48 million haul. [WSJ]
• If you can't find Newsweek on newsstands, that may be because the magazine has totally redesigned itself. [Newsweek, WaPo, HuffPo]
GMA got in the Boxing Day spirit with an exclusive behind-the-scenes glimpse at Angels and Demons, featuring a nifty dramatic flourish we're afraid may not make Ron Howard's final cut.
Nothing suggests a good week to come like the Catholic Church calling out "godless" Hollywood — or, more specifically, rebuking Tom Hanks and the rest of the fork-tongued heathens who had requested access to shoot parts of Angels and Demons in a few of Rome's celebrated cathedrals. The Vatican apparently has yet to get over the whole Jesus-was-married thing from The Da Vinci Code, and the part in Angels and Demons when Hanks's Robert Langdon arrives at Santa Maria della Vittoria "to find a cardinal being set on fire" doesn't seem to help matters:
As EW spoiler kingpin Steven Daly might have hinted they would, shutterbugs recently got a glimpse of Tom Hanks reprising his role as coiffure-challenged Da Vinci Code symbologist Robert Langdon on the Rome set of Angels & Demons. Everything was going appropriately by-the-numbers when the chronic anguish of complacency rocketed into the Oscar-winner's pinky, requiring a brief stoppage of production as medics attended to the finger. "What ees eet, Tohm?" they were heard to ask.
The guy who unsuccessfully sued Dan Brown for ripping off the basic premise of his own non-fiction book for The Da Vinci Code has died, suggesting a deadly curse is afoot, striking anyone who dares get in the unstoppable bestseller's way. (We fear the delaying of the movie version of its sequel Angels & Demons puts many at Sony in danger. Watch out for falling pianos, Amy Pascal!) [AP]
· Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsman are frantically finalizing the shooting script of Da Vinci Code sequel Angels & Demons before the Oct. 31st deadline, hoping that the mad rush towards production won't jeopardize the duo's ability to produce the kind of easily digestible, crowd-pleasing entertainment that always results from their lucrative collaborations. Meanwhile, star Tom Hanks has been presented with a hair-growing schedule that will barely provide the actor with enough time to reproduce his character's signature demi-mullet. Truly, no one is immune from the pressures of the looming™ strike. [Variety]
· In what is always a good sign for a floundering series, The Bionic Woman gets another new showrunner, not even two months after "creative differences" ended NBC's short-lived love affair with Glen Morgan. [THR]