cityfile · 01/12/10 06:09PM

• More on the epic mess at NBC: Conan O'Brien's manager says the late-night host's missive earlier today "came from the heart" and wasn't a negotiating ploy; TMZ reports that Conan is close to signing a deal with Fox; the public is siding with O'Brien over Leno; Letterman is taking lots of pleasure in the drama, naturally; and as for NBC chief Jeff Zucker, the man responsible for creating this disaster, this latest chapter may (finally!) be his undoing.
• Sarah Palin showed up for her first day at Fox News today. [AP, NYT]
• Is Rupert Murdoch about to kick Fox News CEO Roger Ailes to the curb? Some people seem to think so, although it's probably pretty unlikely. [NYM]
• Longtime Condé Nast exec Richard Beckman is leaving the publishing giant to become the CEO of e3 Global Media, the company that is now in control of The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, AdAge and others. [NYP, NYT]
• Remember that breach-of-contract lawsuit against CBS that Dan Rather lost last fall? His motion to appeal the decision has ended in defeat, too. [AP]
• ABC is bringing back Cougar Town, The Middle and Modern Family for second seasons. No word on the fate of Conveyor Belt of Love, alas. [LAT]
• Who will replace Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man 4? Take your pick! [LAT]
• Google may close its China operations over freedom of speech issues. [PC]
• "Just how bad was 2009 for magazines?" Pretty bad. [NYT]

Happy Birthday

cityfile · 10/30/09 06:55AM

She got married last weekend, but Ivanka Trump will be getting another big stack of presents today. It's her 28th birthday. Also celebrating: Simon Doonan, Barneys' inimitable creative director, is turning 57 today. Mega-agent Binky Urban is 63. Fashion photographer Mario Testino is 55. Gavin Rossdale is turning 42. NBC News' Andrea Mitchell is 64. Private equity bigwig Wes Edens is turning 48. Former Page Sixer Paula Froelich is 36. Henry Winkler turns 64. Actress Nia Long is turning 39. Kevin Pollak is turning 52. Harry Hamlin is 58. Cash Cab host Ben Bailey is turning 39. And Olympic gymnast Nastia Liukin is 20. A few weekend birthdays after the jump.

Mort's Bid For BW, Condé Rumors & Cable Ratings

cityfile · 09/30/09 01:43PM

• Who hasn't looked at buying BusinessWeek by now? Daily News and US News owner Mort Zuckerman appears to be the latest mogul to join the party. [BW]
• The wave of job cuts at Condé Nast could begin in a few weeks or in a few months, depending on who you ask. But either way, it's going to be ugly. [NYO]
• Fox News continues to trounce the competition: Both CNN and MSNBC experienced big declines in ratings during the third quarter. The situation appears to be especially bleak at CNBC, however. [B&C, HuffPo, ZH]
• Simon & Schuster is shaking things up at a couple of its imprints. [Crain's]
• The New York Times is planning to introduce a Chicago-centric edition of the paper. That's in addition to the San Fran edition launching this fall. [NYT]
• Related: Is the New York Times going to start charging readers to access its website? That's still unclear, but the answer should be coming soon. [NYO]
• "Print is undead," reports the undead print newspaper the Village Voice. [VV]

Dan Rather's Suit Dismissed; Name Change at TLC

cityfile · 09/29/09 01:59PM

• It's all over for Dan Rather and his long-running legal campaign against CBS. A state appeals court dismissed the ex-anchor's lawsuit today. [Reuters, NYP]
• At least four parties are still in the bidding for BusinessWeek. But Bloomberg LP remains the most likely acquirer of the struggling magazine. [BW, Reuters]
• An "unbelievably conscientious" Sarah Palin has finishing her memoir in less than four months. You can not buy the book beginning on November 17. [WP]
• Michelle Obama will appear as guest on Sesame Street's season debut. [NYT]
• TLC announced today it's dropping Jon Gosselin from Jon & Kate Plus 8. This news calls out for name change, obvs, so it'll be Kate Plus 8 from now on. [THR]

Letterman's Ratings, Rather's Suit & The Post Parody

cityfile · 09/22/09 02:28PM

• Barack Obama's appearance on David Letterman's show last night helped the Late Night host score his second-highest ratings ever. [NYT, WP]
Dan Rather scored a couple of victories in his suit against CBS: A motion by the network to dismiss the case was denied by a judge; and Rather's lawyers will be permitted to question Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone. [Reuters]
• Yesterday, activists handing out fake copies of the Post outside its offices were detained by cops. Today, the paper says it was "flattered" by it. [NYP]
• Book deals: Jenny Sanford, the estranged wife of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, is writing "inspirational memoir" for Random House. And Andrew Young, an aide to former Senator John Edwards, has landed a deal with St. Martin's Press' Thomas Dunne Books to publish his tell-all memoir.
• In an effort to keep more viewers tuned in, ABC plans to reduce—yes, reduce—the number of commercials in the premieres of its new shows. [LAT]
• Fox won the opening night of the fall season, a first for the network. [THR]

Rather's David v. Goliath Battle with CBS Goes On

Andrew Belonsky · 09/21/09 09:46PM

CBS and its hot shot lawyers were impotent in their efforts to thwart old manDan Rather's $70 million wrongful termination suit. Now Rather's lawyers want Viacom big wig Sumner Redstone to take the stand. It's war! [Reuters]

Time's New Cover, Twitter's Value & Ernie's F-Bomb

cityfile · 09/17/09 02:26PM

• Glenn Beck is Time magazine's cover boy this week, sadly. [Time, HuffPo]
Spike Lee and Robert De Niro are teaming up with Showtime "to develop a drama series about Manhattan's Alphabet City." [THR]
• Twitter is now worth $1 billion, believe it or not. [TechCrunch]
• Nikki Finke hears that Variety is planning to start charging for access to its website and The Hollywood Reporter is dropping its daily print edition. [DHD]
• Jenna Bush made her debut on the Today show this morning. [BS]
• An update how Jay Leno's new show is faring three days in. [NYT]
• An update on the protracted legal battle between CBS and ex-anchor Dan Rather, a feud that only "seems to get pettier by the day." [TDB]
• Fox 5's Ernie Anastos managed to both embarrass himself and coin a delightful new catchphrase on the news last night. [Gawker, NYP, B&C]

Consumers Know: 'Free' Media Must Suck

Hamilton Nolan · 08/04/09 01:29PM

In your sizzling Tuesday media column: the future of the media is paid, Newsweek fights the power in Iran, another mag mogul kicks BusinessWeek's tires (made of paper), and Dan Rather's madder'n a lake trout with fiery testicles, at CBS.

Olbermann's Folly, Cuts at Condé, BusinessWeek Bids

cityfile · 08/04/09 01:27PM

Keith Olbermann took Times reporter Brian Stelter to task last night for reporting that News Corp. and GE had worked out a deal to tone down the rhetoric between MSNBC and Fox News. But he didn't disagree with everything Stelter reported. Conveniently, only the bad stuff about him was wrong. [NYM]
• More bad news for Olbermann: MSNBC now admits it made a mistake by not disclosing that Countdown fixture Richard Wolffe is a paid lobbyist. Naturally, Olbermann had absolutely no idea about any of this. [Politico, Salon]
• Condé Nast is shedding more staff. This time around it appears the media giant's receptionists will be paying the ultimate price. [Gawker, NYM]
• Reps for Bruce Wasserstein met with BusinessWeek execs yesterday to discuss a bid for the magazine. Joe Mansueto, the founder of Morningstar and owner of Fast Company, may be a potential bidder as well. [BW]

Min's Departure, McKinsey's Arrival, Rather's CBS Suit

cityfile · 07/22/09 12:23PM

• Why did Janice Min leave Us? It was about money, reports WWD, which explains that given the economy, Jann Wenner wasn't prepared to offer her the $2 million a year she's been collecting. Min is denying it. [WWD, NYDN]
Dan Rather’s $70 million lawsuit against CBS is back on track. [NYT, WSJ]
• McKinsey has been retained by Condé Nast to do the sort of "rethinking" and "realigning" that the consulting firm gets paid enormous sums to do. And while it isn't the first time McKinsey has been in the building—they were hired by Condé in 2001—this time employees are totally freaking out. [NYO]
• One title that is doing well: Food Network Magazine, apparently. [CNY]
• ESPN's Erin Andrews was secretly videotaped in the nude while staying at a hotel. Now an ESPN employee is said to have been behind it. [NYDN, AP]

WSJ Scales Back, Dan Rather Now Hiring

cityfile · 03/04/09 11:34AM

• The Wall Street Journal's new glossy mag, WSJ, will remain a quarterly and will not be going monthly as planned due to "market conditions." [WWD]
• Amazon is launching a program to let you read books by iPhone. [WSJ]
• Fox is ahead in the ratings with 18 to 49-year-olds thanks to the success of Idol, but CBS is gaining ground and is now No. 1 among total viewers. [LAT]
• As expected, Julius Genachowski has been nominated as FCC head. [AP]
• Cablevision will soon start targeting TV ads based on "income, ethnicity, gender or whether the homeowner has children or pets." [NYT]
• WNBC's new digital channel, New York Nonstop, launched Monday. [NYDN]
David Carr's Carpetbagger blog will not be a year-round thing. [NYT]
• Good news, unemployed TV journalists: Dan Rather is hiring. [NYO]

Ms. Martha Goes to Washington

cityfile · 01/22/09 01:18PM

What was Martha Stewart's favorite part about attending the inauguration in DC? No, not watching Obama's swearing-in or attending the galas, silly. Martha says she was most excited about the train trip that she took to get there, since she got a really good deal on first class Acela tickets and ran into Dan Rather, too! [MarthaStewart.com]