Russell Brand Probably Just Retired from Hollywood and Movies

Jay Hathaway · 10/27/14 01:49PM

Before Russell Brand started a YouTube news show and wrote a book about broken politics, he used to be in movies. It's true! Remember the time they presumably Got Him to the Greek? I kind of do! Anyway, Brand says he's probably not going to do that sort of thing anymore.

Lady Gaga Went Bankrupt to Entertain Her Fans (Or So She Says)

Brian Moylan · 05/26/11 11:33AM

The Financial Times has a long interview with Lady Gaga conducted by British actor/author Stephen Fry which the paper will publish over the weekend. We were given a little sneak peek of what Gaga said to Fry during the exchange, and she makes some insane claims, including that she went bankrupt funding her Monster Ball tour.

Hotshots Now Showing They're Badasses by Wearing Bracelets

Brian Moylan · 06/07/10 03:15PM

The new status symbol for hedge funders and corporate tycoons: feminine bracelets worn on their wrists next to their expensive watches. It's an "I'm so insanely rich, I get to break the rules" kinda thing, apparently.

A&E Buys Lifetime; Another Luxury Magazine Launch

cityfile · 08/27/09 12:59PM

• A&E has agreed to acquire Lifetime, which means it's not entirely out of the realm of synergistic possibility that Duane Chapman of Dog the Bounty Hunter will make a cameo on Project Runway sometime next season. Yay. [THR, NYT]
• The Daily News has dropped its restaurant critic, Danyelle Freeman, and doesn't appear to be making any plans to replace her. [P6, NYT]
• Another luxury magazine is coming! The Financial Times plans to bring its quarterly glossy, FT Wealth, to American shores this October. [Crain's]
• It's been nearly two years since Oprah announced plans to launch a cable channel, and the venture's been riddled with problems ever since. [LAT]
• Italian officials are now investigating Google for its "lack of transparency." Yes, the same Italy that's governed by a man named Silvio Berlusconi. [NYT]
• Larry David will be bringing the cast of Seinfeld together for a multi-episode appearance on the new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Which makes sense considering it's not like Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, or Michael Richards have anything better to do, now do they? [EW, LAT]

Reader's Digest Goes Ch. 11, The Weinsteins On the Brink

cityfile · 08/17/09 12:03PM

• Another media company falls: Reader's Digest Association, the publisher of Reader's Digest (duh) and a handful of other titles (like Every Day with Rachael Ray), says it will file for bankruptcy protection shortly. [Reuters]
• As you may have heard, things haven't been too well for Harvey Weinstein and his brother, Bob. So what will happen if they don't turn the mini-studio around? "I'll be... making cheap hamburgers, or selling trailers, or refrigerators, or something," says (a refreshingly honest) Harvey. [NYT]
• Fashion mags are looking a bit thin this fall, in case you haven't heard. [WSJ]
• Don't expect the feud between Bill O'Reilly and Keith Olbermann to dissipate: Ratings for both have been up since the war of words began anew. [LAT]
• Comedian Steve Harvey is joining Good Morning America. In related news, comedian Mo Rocca is hosting a web-based show for CBS News. [ABC, NYT]
District 9 was No. 1 at the box office this past weekend. [ABC News]

The Sale of The Globe, Olbermann's Worst Week Ever

cityfile · 08/07/09 01:38PM

• 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]

Twitter, the Whiner's Best Friend!

Owen Thomas · 03/17/09 04:04PM

Want to complain about someone? Media people who love to whine, from L.A. to Austin to Washington, all turn to Twitter to air their beefs. Gripes from a Ryan Seacrest wordsmith and others today:

Chernin's Exit, Griffin's Memoir, Cost Cuts at the FT

cityfile · 02/24/09 11:01AM

• More on Peter Chernin's departure from News Corp. and the likely possibility that Rupert Murdoch will hand over the reigns to his son, James. [WSJ, NYT]
Rupert Murdoch has issued an apology for the Post's chimp cartoon. [NYP]
• Kathy Griffin scored a $2 mil. advance from Ballantine for a memoir. [NYO]
• The FT is cutting costs by giving employees three-day weekends. [E&P]
• The recession is wreaking havoc on pilot season in Hollywood. [Variety]
• Your amusing and totally frightening stat of the day: The average television viewer watches 151 hours of TV each month, a new record. [B&C]
• Oscar picks for 2010, just in case you wanna get a head start. [NYO]

Blackstone Blames the Brits

cityfile · 02/04/09 03:29PM

Steve Schwarzman's Blackstone Group has an explanation for that lawsuit by Financial Times which accused the private equity giant of sharing an account login and password to the FT website. A Blackstone employee tells the Observer that it was all the fault of the London office and the work of eight renegade employees, and that the staff in New York had "nothing to with it." (Someone ought to tell this to the FT since it argued in court papers that the culprits "worked for Blackstone within the United States.") Also? Blackstone would like the world to know that it actually has 63 paid subscriptions to the Financial Times, which in Steve Schwarzman's preferred unit of measurement, comes out to 31 stone crabs. [NYO]

Schwarzman: Too Cheap to Pay for a FT Subscription!

cityfile · 01/30/09 08:30AM

You know we're in a deep recession when even billionaire financiers can't afford to pay for subscriptions to the Financial Times. In what will go down as one of the more bizarre (and unintentionally hilarious) lawsuits we've seen in quite some time, the newspaper filed a lawsuit against Steve Schwarzman's Blackstone Group on Wednesday for sharing an FT username and password instead of setting up separate accounts for its employees. Yes, an unknown "senior employee" at the colossal private equity firm "authorized the initiation and repeated renewal of an individual, personal subscription to" and then distributed the login details to company employees so they could all join in on the fun. (The court documents list the username as "theblackstonegroup" and the password as "blackstone," although FT says it has since "disabled the credentials to mitigate damages.")

NBC's New Marketing Agency, Cathie Black's Contract

cityfile · 01/12/09 12:13PM

• NBC's Lauren Zalaznick is forming a "panel" to help marketers target women. Just a few who have joined the program: Maria Bartiromo, Meredith Vieira, Candace Bushnell, Shelly Lazarus, and Tori Spelling. [AdAge]
• Hearst's Cathie Black is expected to sign a new 3-year contract. [NYP]
• The FT has let 80 people go. [Guardian]
• The first Madoff-related book, Catastrophe: The Story of Bernard L. Madoff, The Man Who Swindled the World, will be out in March. [NYP]
• ABC is thinking about bringing back Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. [TVW]
• Magazines like O, Glamour, W, Marie Claire and Teen Vogue all posted sharp declines in sales during the last few months of 2008. [WWD]
• The networks that went home winners at the Golden Globes. [Variety, NYT]

Financial Times in bloggy redesign

Owen Thomas · 11/10/08 04:40PM

At a time when some blogs are trying to reinvent themselves as news websites, the Financial Times, a U.K.-based rival to the Wall Street Journal, is considering a redesign adapted from blogs' reverse-chronological-order presentation of stories. [Silicon Alley Insider]

How Obama's Literary Agent Controls the World

Alex Carnevale · 10/25/08 10:15AM

Although Barack Obama can count on one hand the number of houses he and his wife own, the candidate's first real financial security was derived from his success in the publishing world with his memoir Dreams from My Father. The powerful agent who helped turn Obama into a literary franchise is lawyer Bob Barnett, who gets profiled in today's Financial Times. The mysterious Barnett also boasts the Clintons, the Cheneys, and most of Bush's cabinet as loyal clients. How exactly did he become the guy behind the guy?Locking Obama up before he even arrived in Washington turned into a brilliant steal for publisher Crown, but at the time the income from Obama's three book deal was crucial for the senator's rising star. Barnett made it happen for the young pol, and he did it far cheaper than most agents. Indeed, much of Barnett's success in attracted big-time clients can be traced back to his unusual practice of forgoing the usual commission on a book, and just billing his clients hourly for their time. Barnett's influence doesn't end in the publishing world, as last decade he was given the unenviable task of informing Hillary Clinton about her husband's indiscretions with Monica Lewinsky. Despite being employed by friends on both side of the aisle, Barnett isn't universally admired. His first big sale was Geraldine Ferraro's autobiography Ferraro: My Story, and literary agent Esther Newberg doesn't recall Barnett having an impressive debut or career:

"If You Have The Guts To Invest In This Market Because Of Negative Headlines, Go Ahead, I'm Not Following You"

Moe · 09/18/08 03:01PM

Breaking new media crush alert! The Financial Times columnist Francesco Guerrera went on CNBC this morning for a segment on how the financial crisis is so bad even newspapers read by stupid poor people are writing about it. Ooooh look it's on the cover of a Spanish paper and everyone knows Spanish speakers never met a dollar they didn't need to envia back to nineteen impoverished half-hermanos back in Santo Domingo! This, CNBC believes, is a signal for the superior intellects viewing CNBC to stop panic-selling all those stocks RIGHT NOW. Well, Francesco does not buy this logic.* Even when total idiot tool Dennis Kneale presents him with this turd of wisdom: "Come on, Francesco, you're young! You can make it back!" You know what? I'm not even going to get started on that. We'll have plenty of time to vilify him and his whole awful fact-resistant generation of denial dogmatists while we continuing not investing our nonexistent savings in the market.

WSJ Misidentifies Canada. Twice.

Ryan Tate · 09/16/08 09:18PM

This is what happens when you let an Australian-born media mogul buy an American newspaper and import his chief editor from Britain: Suddenly no one on staff can correctly identify the country to the north (for the record, it's "Canada" — just "Canada"). And to think we actually believed Robert Thomson would make the Wall Street Journal more globalist! [WSJ]

Good Morning, Your Money Is On Fire

Ryan Tate · 09/15/08 06:34AM

The morning news is terrifying even before the ominous opening of U.S. markets today, and was also scary hours ago before overseas markets opened and U.S. stock futures fell sharply. The bankruptcy at Lehman Brothers, the takeover of Merrill Lynch and the plea by insurance giant AIG for $40 billion in federal aid made for scary front pages (pictured, click for larger image) and heated chatter on CNBC. And no one wasted any time telling everyone how bad things really are. The "American financial system was shaken to its core," the Wall Street Journal said, warning of a "crisis on Wall Street." Other media outlets were scarcely more comforting: