Madonna's New Gym Chain: Now You Can Look Just Like Madonna

Richard Lawson · 10/25/10 12:24PM

Millennia-old, fitness-crazed pop singer Madonna has partnered up with some investors to open ultra-luxe Hard Candy gyms around the world, the first a 30,000 sq.ft. megaplex in Mexico City. Just what sets a Madonna gym apart from the rest?

The Trouble at Twitter Inc.

Ryan Tate · 07/14/10 03:03PM

Running Twitter Inc. sounds like any entrepreneur's dream: Cash flows freely. The press is smitten. Celebrity users abound. But CEO and co-founder Evan Williams is said to be on the verge of being ousted from his microblogging paradise.

Liveblogging The Shark Tank Season Finale

Anthony De Rosa · 10/20/09 07:21PM

Are you watching Shark Tank? You should be. Ever had an idea for a business you wish someone would throw suitcases full of money at? These folks do. Let's watch together as they sink or find themselves swimming in cash.

Mysterious 'Cougar' Woman Discovered in Middle America

Hamilton Nolan · 09/03/09 01:52PM

The 'Cougar' phenomenon—which never grows old, or loses its journalistic depth—is trickling down to the more...average precincts of American trendwatching. The Wilkes-Barre (PA) Times Leader went "on the prowl" for local cougars, get it? They found one!

Andrew Breitbart: Drudge's Human Face

Hamilton Nolan · 09/03/08 11:36AM

Finally, a place where Hollywood conservatives can have their say. Andrew Breitbart, the friendly half of the Drudge Report link machine, is about to launch what we can only describe as "Sort of the conservative mirror of the original idea for Huffington Post, the one what was quickly abandoned." His new venture will supposedly become a destination site for Hollywood conservatives (like Jean-Claude Van Damme!) to speak out, and have their musing published on the World Wide Web. And, you know, good luck with that. But why does anybody care? Who is this awesomely powerful (but liked!) online agenda-setter? It's not like the man has to start something new. His own news site, Breitbart.com, does huge traffic because it's where all of Drudge's wire report items link to. He also has a video site, and he worked on the launch of the now-successful Huffington Post (though he's since divested—he's a true conservative believer). Breitbart works the afternoon shift at the Drudge Report. The two have remarkably seamless editorial styles, though some feel Breitbart has a lighter touch. More importantly, while Matt Drudge himself rarely speaks to the press or flits about in public settings, Breitbart is actually popular, and even a bit of a real-life schmoozer:

Steve Stoute Is The Future

Hamilton Nolan · 08/25/08 10:53AM

Steve Stoute is Jay-Z's partner in Translation Advertising, and specializes in connecting huge corporations to "urban" celebrities for ridiculous amounts of money. Such as R&B star Chris Brown's secret deal to make a song all about Wrigley's gum, but not tell anyone until after it was a #1 hit! "It's incredible that an artist was nominated for a Video of the Year with a Wrigley's jingle," says Stoute. Yes, quite. "And 'selling out' today, he adds, means creating inauthentic relationships between pop culture and product." Oh, I thought it meant "The Slogan On Steve Stoute's Business Card." [Adweek]

Can Master P Make Better Black Television?

Hamilton Nolan · 08/18/08 12:02PM

You may have exclaimed "Uhhhhhhh!" when you heard that New Orleans' favorite musically atrocious bounce rapper Master P is planning to launch a new cable network called Better Black Television (BBTV). P says it will be "a family-friendly network" with "positive subject matter," meaning it's designed to be a kick in the balls to BET, which has been knocked forever for having a trashy programming lineup. Master P jokes aside, could this thing actually work-and should it? We, the opposite of his target demographic, will tell you the answer: BBTV's announced show lineup so far includes hip hop video and interview shows with only "appropriate" music included; a comedy show; a kids' show called Gee Gee the Giraffe; a bilingual soap opera; a cooking show; a financial literacy show; a "behind-the-scenes" celebrity show; family-friendly black movies; and profiles of historical black figures. If you've spent much time watching BET, the lineup sounds awfully familiar. BBTV is essentially saying that it will be what everyone hoped BET would be before it degenerated into lots of infomercials, Juice reruns, and endless repetitions of, um, Master P videos. (Although BET has made a bit of a comeback with original programming recently, it hasn't been enough to resurrect its reputation for embracing stereotypical lowest-common-denominator black programming). So yes, the irony of Master P running a positive network is not lost on anyone. But give the man some credit. He went from selling tapes of his terrible music out of car trunks to running a business conglomerate that probably makes him worth more the Puff Daddy, his more glamorous NYC counterpart. BET has long had the "black cable network" idea to itself, which allowed it to get away with selling such crappy programming for so long. So P, we salute your business sense and your commitment to positivity, if not any of your 15 albums or your son's equally grating music. Master P could easily be the next black billionaire; he just needs to remember not to go so heavy on the music censorship that he blocks exposure for the next coming of himself. Uhhhhhhhh.

Did A Friend Swindle Daily Candy's Founder?

Ryan Tate · 08/14/08 02:13AM

No one will shed tears for Dany Levy. The Daily Candy founder made close to $25 million, by our calculations, on the sale of her email shopping newsletter to Comcast. But former AOL honcho Bob Pittman's Pilot Group took the lion's share of the $125 million windfall, after paying Levy and her family investors just $3.5 million for the privilege five years ago. Pittman's incredible return on investment has helped rehabilitate his tarnished image. But, despite her cheery public pronouncements, Levy must lose some sleep wondering whether she could have driven a harder bargain in the dark post-dot-com days of 2003. Perhaps, one tipster wonders, her thoughts turn to Andy Russell, Pittman's junior partner at Pilot Group, and the "close family friend of Dany since childhood" who is said to have advised her on the $3.5 million valuation.

Dany Levy Is Richer Than You Think

Hamilton Nolan · 08/11/08 01:02PM

Daily Candy, the email newsletter for women who like to buy things, was improbably successful. Former journalist Dany Levy founded it in 2000; it quickly became profitable, and she sold a controlling stake in the business to the private investment firm Pilot Group in 2003 for $3.5 million. Pilot Group sold the newsletter to Comcast last week for (an unbelievable) $125 million. But Levy, we hear, retained about a 20% interest in Daily Candy-which would mean that she walked away from the sale with $25 million. That would make her the undisputed internet cash queen of New York media. Take that, Laurel Touby!

Spanx: The Ass End Of Commerce

Hamilton Nolan · 07/30/08 09:30AM

I do not have one single informed or worthwhile opinion about women's fashion, except this: The existence of "Spanx" is a bad thing. Shoving one's thighs, buttocks, and midsection into a tight spandex tube that crushes you like a hot dog casing does not count as "reshaping your body." It counts as "cutting off blood flow to vital organs." Spanx represent deception and instant gratification in the form of underwear, which explains their popularity and their status as a celebrity must-have. So I guess it's not surprising that the company's founder and president credits her success to "my butt":

Harvey Levin Will Settle The World's Arguments

Hamilton Nolan · 04/29/08 08:56AM

Harvey Levin, you clever dog. The amoral TMZ founder is helping to launch on online version of the People's Court, called PeoplesCourtRaw.com. It features pairs of videos, one arguing each side of an issue, which users can vote on to pick a winner [Mixed Media]. See how he plucked a concept from TV and put it right on the web? It could work! Levin used to work for the People's Court on TV, so he has the scholarly background needed to pull this off. After the jump, one example of the site's work: a couple debates whether the boyfriend should shave his back hair. Well, Judge Wapner never had any important cases either.

Kanye West Will Book You A Rental Car

Hamilton Nolan · 04/02/08 10:37AM

Going on a trip any time soon? Why not ask Kanye West? What? Why of course he has his own travel website! It's called KanyeTravel.com, and it just launched after a year of preparation. Why the fuck does Kanye West have a travel website, why would anybody use such a thing, and how in the world could it take a year to set it up? There are so many questions in this crazy world! [Ad Age]

Ivy League Jocks Play Dress-Up With Their Own Clothing Line

Maggie · 01/08/08 06:05PM

The founders of Vineyard Vines hit it big a few years ago with a clothing line given a leg up by by fancy-nancy John Kerry's ability to pull off a pink whale-dotted tie on the campaign trail. Seems they've gone and started a thing. Prepster-chic Salmon Cove was founded by four Cornell grad s (three of whom played pro hockey afterwards) and their lone James Madison University friend (wait-listed, don't you know, poor thing.) For sale on the Upper East Side at CK Bradley, their stuff (seven whole shirts and a couple of jackets so far!) is tailored for those interested in "a life well-lived," which is code for 'loaded and not afraid to show it.' In a stroke of semi-genius, the Salmon Cove kids stuck their company's insignia under the collars of their polo shirts, necessitating a little power collar-popping in order to properly whore the "lifestyle-inspired" brand.