Anthony Bourdain hoodwinked writer David Simon into sitting down for a CNN segment with the promise of a cronut, New York's most in-demand food trend. Sadly, that cronut never materialized, and now Simon wants his just desserts: "Tony Bourdain, you lying sonofabitch, you owe me a motherfucking cronut."
• Charlie Gibson is retiring as anchor of ABC's World News Tonight at the end of the year; he'll be replaced by Diane Sawyer, who is stepping down as anchor of Good Morning America to take the job. And now Brian Williams will soon be the only man anchoring a nightly network newscast. [NYP]
• The 66th installment of the Venice Film Festival kicked off today. [THR]
• Thanks to the success of Royal Pains and Burn Notice, USA has scored the highest summer ratings in the history of cable television. [B&C]
• Current TV's Laura Ling and Euna Lee have broken their silence and are now describing some of what happened when they were captured in North Korea. Not all it, though. You'll have to buy their book to read the rest. [LAT]
• Is Jared Kushner looking to unload the Observer? That's the rumor. [Gawker]
From the creator of The Wire! Sort of! The Iraq miniseries Generation Kill premieres this weekend on HBO, with do-no-wrong David Simon linked as co-writer/executive producer of the seven-part event. The LA Times had a look and seems to have liked it fine, despite the fingerprints of journalist and source author Evan Wright having smudged some of the central characters' "expository dialogue."
In one month's time, David Simon will (hopefully) dazzle and depress us all over again. The mastermind behind The Wire, HBO's stunning and somber study of urban decay, has created a seven-part miniseries called Generation Kill, once again for HBO. The series, based on the Evan Wright book, depicts a group of Marines during the first forty days of the current clusterfuck debacle in Iraq. While we've not seen a screener or anything, we can certainly hope that Simon's ultra-realistic, carefully worded style will make the series as icky, uncomfortable, and thoroughly fascinating as The Wire. Above find a trailer for the series, below a brief clip of cast and crew talking about the project.
Credit where it is due: after a mid-season wobble, which shook my devotion to the foundation, The Wire has come together for the conclusion. David Simon's incredibly ambitious drama of crime and corruption in a decaying Baltimore has been compared by Slate's Jacob Weisberg, among others, to the sprawling novels of the 19th century. Most creators would be flattered to be mentioned in the same sentence as Charles Dickens. Simon, who combines cynicism about the possibility of social change with complete faith in the importance of his art, makes grander literary references in a recent radio interview on NPR's Fresh Air. "We've been stealing from a lot of the Greek tragedies... Hubris, a willingness to challenge the gods, a willingness to engage in an argument against one's fate: the same things that Antigone or Oedipus struggled with we gave the same sort of dynamic to our characters... The gods are the post-industrial institutions of modern life. Whoever you serve. Wherever your paycheck comes from. Whatever calling you thought you had. On The Wire, there is every possibility it will betray you." Talk about hubris: such a claim would normally invite ridicule. But Simon, a frustrated former journalist, has defied the fate he's assigned to The Wire's heroes: the former journalist challenged the gods of television with a show that shouldn't have worked, and they let him succeed. After the jump, a clip from the interview with Fresh Air's Terry Gross.