• 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]
Josh Schwartz, the man responsible for bringing you The OC and Gossip Girl, turns 33 today. Jim McGreevey, the man responsible for bringing New Jersey its most embarrassing political scandal—up until two weeks ago, that is—turns 52. Director M. Night Shyamalan is turning 39. Karenna Gore Schiff, the novelist daughter of Al and Tipper Gore, is turning 36. Publishing exec Jamie Raab is 56. American Express' marketing chief, John Hayes, is turning 55. Victoria's Secret model Marisa Miller is 31. Actress Melissa George is turning 33. Reality TV star Adrianne Curry is 27. Former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell is turning 37. And Soleil Moon Frye, who will always be Punky Brewster to you and me, celebrates her 33rd birthday today.
Oh look. The CW built us a time machine. And, hey, a date's already programmed in. It says "sometime in the 1980's." Huh. That's sorta vague and unfocused. Oh well. Let's step in.
• Got an idea for how Arthur Sulzberger Jr. might be able to rescue the struggling New York Times? He now says he'll "consider anything." [NYO]
• Hachette plans to leave Midtown for cheaper space near Wall Street. [NYP]
• Josh Schwartz is finishing the pilot for an as-yet-untitled Gossip Girl spin-off that will be tied into GG's season finale on May 11. [NYO]
• Depressing: The story of the 55-year-old former TV Guide editor who is now an unpaid intern—yes, unpaid intern—at wowOwow.com. [LAT]
• Why did Jon Stewart go off on Rick Santelli? An unnamed "on-air host" claims Stewart is "bizarrely obsessed with" with the CNBC reporter. [Dealbreaker]
• Speaking of Stewart, Slate's The Big Money would like you remind you that Jon Stewart is not actually a journalist. Yea, thanks for that. [TBM]
· The O.C. and Gossip Girl creator Josh Schwartz has been hired to write X-Men: First Class, featuring a "younger set of mutants." Pyro's gonna go totally psycho on Rogue and burn all her dress designs! [Variety] · McCain-stumping cultural barnacle Patricia Heaton continues to work, this time in ABC sitcom The Middle, about which we could give a shit. [THR] · Disney and Imax have paired for a five-movie deal that begins with Robert Zemeckis's motion-capture A Christmas Carol, and probably ends with 10,000 amazingly lifelike chihuahua-asses shaking in your face. [Variety] After the jump: What modern Asian monster classic is about to be improved immeasurably by Hollywood? We know you want to know!· Korean toxic-sludge monster movie The Host gets a Hollywood remake, produced by Gore Verbinski and with commercials director Fredrik Bond behind the camera. It's a production that should provide a nice marketing tie-in for Burger King's planned sandwich launch, the BK Tapeworm Broiler. [Variety] · The Chronicles of Narnia and Prince Caspian writing duo Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have been hired to write First Avenger: Captain America. This is really happening, guys! You can officially start getting really jazzed now! [THR]
New Jersey's former governor—and gay American—Jim McGreevey turns 51 today. Also celebrating: The man who brought Gossip Girl to TV, Josh Schwartz, turns 32. Publishing queen Jamie Raab turns 55. Creepy director M. Night Shyamalan is 38. The man to blame for all those celebrity-laden American Express commercials, Amex marketing chief John Hayes, is 54. Reality "star" Adrianne Curry, who you probably fondly remember from America's Next Top Model and My Fair Brady, is 26. And former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell is 36.
As we've been told time and time again, life often imitates art. And while we'd refrain from calling Gossip Girl "art," Leighton Meester has allegedly been using her on-screen character's controlling and manipulative tendencies behind the scenes as well. Nan Zhang, who played suspected Gossip Girl scribe Jenny, has disappeared from the New York set. Though creator Josh Schwartz is blaming the sole minority character's displacement on Zhang's ridiculous decision to focus on school, those on set are pointing their fingers in Meester's direction:
"To me, one of the biggest differences between the ['The O.C.' and 'Gossip Girl'] is that New York City is a character in 'Gossip Girl," according to both shows' wunderkind creator Josh Schwartz. And: sure! Especially if you mean "the only difference" and "Vancouver or Toronto or a soundstage is a character." Anyway: on last night's episode, Jennifer Aniston's little sister Serena Van der Woodsen has called her star-crossed Williamsburg love Dan. She is just about to ask him to her on-again friend Blair Waldorf's masquerade ball, but then she hears a girl's voice in the background and she's all "Who's that" and he says, "Um, my sister," even though it is actually his old best friend, the terribly-wardrobed Vanessa, whose tacky outfits pissed me off in every scene (she can't dress well because she is meant to portray a poor!).
Tonight's arrival of the new television show Gossip Girl on the CW is at least the most important event of the week. It is a real-life doomsday scenario for us, in which the lives of 10 wealthy Upper East Side teenagers somehow become intangibly yet irrevocably ingrained into our consciousness. Last night I went into the Tora Bora caves of the Gossip Girls premiere party at Tenjune. Someone had unrolled a black carpet and some velvet rope. On one side, a claque of television cameras and desperate reporters clutching iPods with microphone attachments scrummed with each other to get a quote. On the other, these newly-minted slender starfolk fielded sycophantic questions. The mastermind, "The OC" creator Josh Schwartz, showed up shorter and nicer then expected. "Thanks for the piece," he said. "I really liked it." Was he being sarcastic? Is having your show compared to the largest attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor a good thing these days?
· Lost's producers officially get three more years to pretend that they have any clue what's happening on that island, as ABC gives the series an advance order for three more 16-episode seasons. As currently scheduled, all loose ends involving smoke monsters, polar bears, and Jack and Kate finally getting it on should be tied up in early 2010. [Variety]
· Did we mention that Spider-Man:3's $227 million overseas was an international box office record? Well, it was! Unless you don't think it should count because it includes a six-day total from some early-opening foreign territories. [THR]
· DreamWorks wins the bidding war for Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones adaptation, committing at least $65 million to the project. Now that the deal is closed, perhaps Jackson's lawyers will calm down about assistants sharing the script. [Variety]
· Fans of the The OC who think the show was mercy-killed prematurely should be heartened by creator Josh Schwartz's pilot season buzz, which indicates that his projects for NBC and The CW are looking like strong contenders for pick-ups. [THR]
· In other pre-upfront pick-up news, NBC has already greenlighted Medium for a fourth season, ensuring that at least one network will have a juggsy psychic on its primetime schedule this Fall. [Variety]