Corporate whore Ben Stein, who claims to be an economist but is really a commercial actor with an undergraduate degree in economics, has sued Japanese electronics firm Kyocera for violating his "freedom of religion" by not hiring him as a pitchman because he denies the reality of global warming. This man lives his Republican values to the hilt.
Former First Twins Barbara and Jenna Bush turn 28 today. Actor/economist/ex-game show host Ben Stein is turning 65. New York Times columnist Gail Collins is turning 64. Jill Hennessy is 41. Christina Applegate is turning 38. Actor John Larroquette is 62. Pop/gospel singer Amy Grant is 49. Philadelphia Eagles star Donovan McNabb turns 33. Famed choreographer Trisha Brown is turning 73. Soul legend Percy Sledge is 69. And competitive eater (and hot dog eating champion) Joey Chestnut turns 26 today.
• Two years after he was booted from MSNBC and CBS Radio for making racist comments, Fox Business is now in talks to team up with Don Imus. [LAT]
• Is Hachette selling Elle? The company seems to be hedging. [AdAge]
• Magazine publishers are allowing advertisers to slap their ads just about any place they want these days. They're also planning to keep printing those annoying subscription cards until the end of time. [NYT, AdAge]
• ABC is planning a big programming push for the fall with seven new series set to debut, which is roughly double what NBC and CBS have planned. [USAT]
• CNBC's ratings are down big, in case you haven't heard. [Guardian]
• G.I. Joe was No. 1 at the box office this weekend, grossing an estimated $56 million. Julie and Julia came in second place with $20.1 million. [Variety]
• The New York Times Co. is now publicly shopping the Boston Globe. Meanwhile, the list of potential acquirers is getting longer: The firm that bought the San Diego Union-Tribune is now a possible buyer. [AP, NYT]
• Related: The Globe is going to start charging to access its Web site. [E&P]
• News Corp. and GE were hoping to "ratchet down the rhetoric" when they ironed out a peace pact between MSNBC and Fox News recently. Keith Olbermann didn't abide by it, of course. (And Bill O'Reilly returned the compliment.) But Olbermann is still pretending it never happened. [WP, HP]
• It seems one embarrassment this week wasn't quite enough for Olbermann. Because he's resorting to shameless (and familiar) excuses to try and explain away the Richard Wolffe conflict-of-interest fiasco. [Gawker]
• Profits at CBS dropped by 96 percent in the second quarter. [WSJ]
• Why did Twitter go down yesterday? Blame the Russians. [NYT]
At least America's last remaining actually influential film critic is Roger Ebert, and not, like, David Denby. Because Ebert, who can no longer speak due to removal of his cancerous jaw, now just writes crazy mean blogs and reviews and columns, calling out everyone who bugs him. Like Ben Stein, and his stupid anti-evolution movie.
Barbara and Jenna Bush are celebrating their last birthdays as First Daughters: The twins turn 27 today. Christina Applegate is 37. Actor John Larroquette is 61. Pop/gospel singer Amy Grant is 48. Fantasy Island's Ricardo Montalban is 88. Actor/pundit Ben Stein is 64. New York Times columnist Gail Collins is turning 63. Famed choreographer Tricia Brown is 72. And hot dog eating champ Joey Chestnut is 25 today.
If you're bored today and interested in watching one of the angrier exchanges on cable news in the last few days, look no further than this angry confrontation over the weekend between Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto and former actor/economist Ben Stein. Who knew Ben Stein was capable of such emotion? [YouTube via Huffpo]
The longer-than-anyone-expected-or-even-thought-remotely-possible reign of Ben Stein's anti-evolution screed Expelled: No Intelligence Required atop the year's documentary box office is nearing its end, we hear. And naturally, it's the heathens knocking it down: After outlasting withering reviews and a desperate legal broadside by Yoko Ono, Expelled's $7.6 million gross is expected to succumb this weekend to Bill Maher's godless hit Religulous — itself a $7 million earner in two weeks of release. But while Expelled may lose the ticket battle, is it still the winner in the culture war?You could make an argument either way (and believe us — people are), but Lionsgate never left much doubt that it would obtain the top-doc spot sooner or later. Yet while it's never been on more than half as many screens as Expelled — 568 to 1,062 — Religulous had the compounded advantages of a Toronto Film Fest launch, Maher tearing up Sherri Shepherd and anyone who would sit still for him on national TV, aggressive, conspicuous marketing, and a furtive NYC/LA residency to help qualify for its forthcoming Oscar nod. In the end, all that topping Expelled means this weekend is that Lionsgate's $3 million diatribe might break even earlier than expected. Expelled's budget was about the same, but stunned observers by finishing in the top 10 its opening weekend with little more than a grassroots push by the marketers who brought you The Passion of the Christ and other Christian-themed hits. Among them, Kirk Cameron's Fireproof carried the baton into fall with $17.2 million in less than three weeks. All due respect to Maher and Co., but that might be the long-term business to be in during bleak industry patches like this. Just avoid chihuahuas — you can't lose.