NBC's Offensive, CNBC's Losses & The Crisis at Condé

cityfile · 08/05/09 01:06PM

• NBC is pulling out all the stops to promote Jay Leno's new show. Don't believe it? Try this out for size: "In early September, NBC will even adopt a portion of Interstate 10 in California to reiterate Mr. Leno's time slot." [NYT]
• Notwithstanding the Leno blitz, NBC is still looking to cut its budget. [NYT]
• No one cares about CNBC these days, in case you haven't noticed. [Slate]
• More on troubles at Condé Nast (revenues may fall by as much as $350 million this year), and the recent round of receptionist-purging. [NYP, NYO]
• The lobbyist scandal goes on. A couple of days after it was revealed that MSNBC's Richard Wolffe is now working for a lobbying firm comes the news that CNN's Bill Schneider has signed up with a D.C. think tank. [HuffPo]
• Related: Wolffe has another Obama-related book in the works. [TNR]
• Experts say the prognosis for BusinessWeek is not good. [DailyFinance]
• As you might expect, the mood has been very upbeat at CurrentTV today now that Laura Ling and Euna Lee have returned from North Korea. [NYT]

Stewart's Tax Troubles, Greenfield's Baby

cityfile · 04/10/09 05:50AM

• It looks like mischief runs in the family. Martha's daughter Alexis has been forced to pay $990,000 in back taxes and a $110,000 fine to the IRS, although she's blaming her accountant for the "mix-up." [NYP]
• Casey Greenfield gave birth to a baby boy the other day, but she still isn't saying who the father might be. [P6]
• Lindsay Lohan got a "post-breakup makeover" consisting of a new hair color and a new tattoo, in case you're keeping track. [People, NYP]
Jennifer Lopez has so many wigs, she has an entire room devoted to them. Or so says Star magazine. [Star]

Hollywood PrivacyWatch: Ed Helms and Ben Lyons

STV · 01/15/09 03:05PM

1/14 — At the Clipper game, ED HELMS sitting behind the basket with some agent type. Cute in person, seemed to enjoy the game, acted like a normal fellow. To screw up this nice sighting, enemy to anyone with taste, BEN LYONS was toddling around with that other E! anchor, Saul and/or Sway and/or Quaddus. Saul had floor seats, Ben was a couple rows back, sucking down what looked to be cherry daquiris, flailing his arms around uselessly, and screaming at the male cheerleaders. I swear to God, I can't swing a dead cat in this town without hitting that toolbag. [We know, we know — just swing it hard. Hollywood PrivacyWatch is written by and for Defamer readers; send your sightings to]

What Loudmouth Movie Critic Bashed the 'Old Putz' His Son Was Hired to Replace?

STV · 11/24/08 08:40PM

A tipster wasn't naming names when s/he sent word of one film critic's rather vocal dissing of another, more "highly respected" critic at a press screening earlier this afternoon. But the math seems easy enough, even for us: A father, a son and a "pathetic old putz" who's no longer on the air? Show your work after the jump.

Ben Lyons Gleans Valuable Starfucking Tips From Roger Ebert

STV · 10/30/08 05:34PM

Always the type of man to make the best of a bad situation, Roger Ebert has now spun his recent Reviewgate scandal into a deeply constructive thesis on movie critic ethics. And by "deeply constructive," we mean "a point-by-point indictment of Ben Lyons" — that proven archenemy of taste, restraint and decorum in an ever-thinning field of trained professionals.Nearly all of Ebert's rules seem like common sense to our minds — "Provide a sense of the experience," "No freebies," "A trailer is not a movie" (though the "Avoid trailers" rule seems a little dire for even our purist sensibilities) — but one in particular stands out toward the end:

Roger Ebert's Rules Are Meant to Be Broken

Alex Carnevale · 10/30/08 04:10PM

Formerly rotund critic Roger Ebert has sat through approximately one billion movies, so we supported him 100 percent when he walked out of a recent indie film after 8 minutes and gave it a bad review anyway. Nothing if not willing to drag himself further into the muck, he's released a long list of his rules for critics. We can only contend the longest tenured critic in the business is cruising for a bruising this time.After admitting that he cribbed most of the plot details of the film Tru Loved from its IMDB page, Ebert defended himself by saying: "The handwriting was on the wall. The returns were in. The case was closed. You know I'm right.'' We like that Ebert's willing to take risks, and he does the same in describing rules for critics, including some venomous shots at others in the field. As EW noted, much of the article is directed at the work of his tragically bad replacement on the syndicated At the Movies show, Ben Lyons.

The Continuing Adventures of Ben Lyons, Starfucker

STV · 10/13/08 06:20PM

We (and you) were none too pleased when Ben Lyons joined Ben Mankiewicz as the host for At the Movies earlier this year, particularly when we considered Lyons' track record as something of a half-wit Richard Roeper to Mankiewicz's low-rent Roger Ebert. And while Mankiewicz has settled in relatively well in the last six weeks, we continue to cringe at the sight and sound of Lyons fluffing away at Hollywood loins in his blurb-fertile reviews. Still, we knew he was a hack; what we didn't know (at least to the extent we do today) was the garish, staggering extent of his starfucking.By "starfucking" we mean more than just dating Whitney Port (which, let's be honest, is more like "radar-blipfucking"). We mean his Zelig-like proximity to celebrities and events where no mere blurb-whore has gone before. Take Christopher Mintz-Plasse's publicity-tour stop last week at the University of Michigan, where the Superbad co-star was accosted by a street preacher who said he was going to hell for his work in Hollywood. And look who was with McLovin, natch:

Whitney From 'The Hills' Gets Spinoff, New Fake Boyfriend

Kyle Buchanan · 10/09/08 12:40PM

MTV's worst-kept rumor has finally been confirmed: eternally OMG-faced Whitney Port (seemingly the most normal member of The Hills) has gotten her own NYC spinoff show, The City. According to Us, "Port, now a Diane Von Furstenberg employee, reunites with 'a best friend from her past' and meets 'a guy she's head-over-heels for.'" Translation: MTV provides Port with brand-new, camera-ready pals (including NYC socialite Olivia Palermo) and a carefully focus-grouped boyfriend! Paparazzi snaps of Port filming have strongly suggested that the teased love interest is Aussie musician Jay Lyon, who already has one ignoble celebrity relationship on his resume:

Shia Gets a Break, Lindsay Gets an Order of Protection

cityfile · 09/26/08 05:51AM

♦ Charges will not be filed against Shia LaBeouf in connection with his car accident in LA in July. He may still lose his license, though, for failing to submit to a blood-alcohol test after the crash. [E!]
♦ Lindsay Lohan is so scared of her dad that she may take out an order of protection against him. [P6]
♦ Last week it was rumored Leonardo DiCaprio and Bar Refaeli had split up. Now it's rumored they're back together. [OK!]
Robert De Niro is a giant pain to work with who makes "weird midnight phone calls." Or at least that's what Harvey Weinstein and Quentin Tarantino said in a taped phone conversation from 1997 that's just now been leaked. [P6]
♦ Julia Roberts left the Waverly Inn covered up in a pashmina, which means it's time for a fresh round of rumors that she's secretly pregnant. [The Sun]

The (Bad) Reviews Are in as 'At the Movies' Changes Guard

STV · 09/09/08 03:00PM

At perhaps the worst time in years for new movies, and with little advance fanfare from their Disney benefactors, the Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz era of At the Movies officially began over the weekend. If you happened to miss it (who are we kidding, of course you did), never fear: We attempted some of the heavy lifting for you in clips you'll find after the jump. Seeing as it's almost too easy to pile on a critic who actually issues praise like, "It's Don Cheadle's uncanny ability to create a complete character — and not just an archetype — that saves [Traitor]" aloud, and our minds haven't changed much since the pair was named co-hosts in July, for now we defer to the expert jury at EW's PopWatch blog, where the consensus hovers between general ambivalence and "Ben Lyons is about as much of an expert about films as Heidi Montag is about the art of sound":

Russell Brand, Britney Spears, And The Tale Of One 'Terrifying Vagina'

Kyle Buchanan · 09/05/08 02:00PM

Though ladykiller VMAs host Russell Brand is certainly no stranger to female anatomy, his elephant-starring VMAs commercial with Britney Spears was nearly waylaid when he became obsessed with, as he puts it, one "terrifying vagina." In a chat with the Ebert-usurping Ben Lyons, Brand details how the elephant's mammoth sexual orifice nearly blew his mind, causing him to be late to an initial meeting with Spears (and subsequently leading the confused pop singer to ID him on-air as "Russell Brown"). With colorful anecdotes like these, the Defamer liveblog of this Sunday's VMAs should be a breeze; most of all, we can't wait until an onstage Brand takes the Jonas Brothers aside to demonstrate the colorful things an ambitious trio is really capable of. [MTV]

Caleigh Perelman Passes On Vacation With Mom

cityfile · 08/01/08 05:30AM
  • Caleigh Perelman is still refusing to talk to her mom Pat Duff, or even go on vacation with her. Now a judge is warning Ron Perelman not to interfere with their phone calls and visits. He also ordered Caleigh to undergo a psychological evaluation before the couple return to court next month. [NYDN]