Blog kingpin Nick Denton turns 43 today. Adam Gopnik, New Yorker staff writer and author, is turning 53. Comedian Dave Chappelle is turning 36. Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin is 66 today. Funnyman Craig Kilborn is turning 47. Herb Allison, the former president of Merrill Lynch and now an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, is 66. Nobel Prize-winning economist Harry Markowitz turns 82. Vince McMahon, the man who brought you professional wrestling, is turning 64. Actress Marlee Matlin is 44. Former governor, presidential candidate, and Fox News talking head Mike Huckabee is 54. Former US Senator Max Cleland is turning 67. Author Paulo Coelho is 62. Steve Guttenberg is turning 51. And acting legend Chad Michael Murray celebrates his 28th birthday today.
• Jon Stewart's smackdown of Jim Cramer last week generated some of the biggest ratings The Daily Show has ever seen, not surprisingly. [MediaPost]
• Portfolio editor Joanne Lipman has once again defied logic (and some of her Condé colleagues) by putting Sarah Palin on the cover of the new issue. [WWD]
• Condé Nast is expected to trim Richard Beckman's ad sales group. [AdAge]
• Liberal activists have launched a petition drive targeted at CNBC. [AP]
• ICM's Esther Newberg has sold a memoir by Paul Allen to Penguin. [Crains]
• More on Eric Siminoff's split from Lynn Nesbit and Mort Janklow. [NYO]
• Mel Karmazin sounds off on his fight to redeem Sirius and his rep. [Fortune]
• Ratings for Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice continue to slide. [AdAge]
• 60 Minutes is the "hottest show on TV." Who knew? [Newsweek]
• Jon Stewart's showdown with Jim Cramer is getting mixed reviews, mainly because both deviated from their typical personas: the normally brash Cramer was a wimp and Stewart wasn't funny. It "felt like a Senate subcommittee hearing," writes Alessandra Stanley. [NYT, Salon, Atlantic, ABC]
• TMZ and Extra have extended their coverage to the financial services industry! Isn't it ironic that TMZ has exposed more corporate misbehavior over the past few months than CNBC has? Because it sort of has. [NYT]
• Google sales chief Tim Armstrong is the new chairman and CEO of AOL. [WSJ]
• Jim Kelly is stepping down as managing editor of Time Inc. [NYP]
• Fox has dumped Peter Liguori in favor of Fox Searchlight's Peter Rice. [THR]
• More changes are ahead at the Peter Brant-owned Interview. [WWD]
• Mel Karmazin says Sirius's poor performance last quarter was due to "doom and gloom" rumors suggesting the company would go bankrupt. [WSJ]
• Jimmy Fallon finished his first week with solid ratings, beating out the numbers that Conan O'Brien typically generated. Depressing, huh? [Variety]
Kurt Andersen, the co-founder of Spy and former editor of New York and Inside.com, turns 54 today. Also celebrating: CourtTV creator Steve Brill is 58, hedge funder Dave Ganek is 45, and 60 Minutes' Steve Kroft is 63. Tori Amos is 45 today. National Review editor-in-chief Rich Lowry is 40. And Scooter Libby is 58. On Saturday, Kobe Bryant and Strokes singer Julian Casablancas will both be 30. Village Voice fashion columnist Lynn Yaeger will turn 57. Rick Springfield will be 59. DJ Timmy Regisford will be 45. Novelist Nelson DeMille will turn 65. On Sunday, Gawker chief Nick Denton will be celebrating his 42nd birthday. The New Yorker's Adam Gopnik will turn 52. Mel Karmazin will celebrate his 65th. Craig Kilborn will be 46. Dave Chappelle will be 35. Vince McMahon will be 63. Most importantly, Steve Guttenberg will be 50.
Mel Karmazin, now CEO of Sirius Satellite Radio, started in the radio business at age 17 and rose to the top by being the glibbest and most persistent ad salesman. But his able patter hasn't served him as well in recent years. After leaving Viacom because he couldn't coexist with equally alpha Sumner Redstone, Karmazin had hoped to restore his reputation in the nascent but promising satellite-radio market. That market hasn't quite developed as he'd hope. His future, and the future of satellite radio, will be determined by consumer and government acceptance of the merger of the two satellite-radio companies — XM and his own Sirius. And Karmazin has turned to a Washington Times' op ed to use his legendary gladhanding skills to sell everyone on the merger's merits. Don't be fooled. Excerpts and translations, after the jump.
AOL Time Warner is trying to lure Mel Karmazin from Viacom. It's an unsourced report in the Post, but the story has a certain logic. Karmazin's credited for shoring up Viacom's ad sales; the company is in better shape than most other media conglomerates. Sumner Redstone, the eternal CEO of Viacom, shows no desire to reward him with promotion. Richard Parsons, CEO of Time Warner, is too warm and cuddly for his current role, but might make a good chairman now that Steve Case has resigned. Which would leave the way clear for Karmazin to take over as Time Warner's chief executive.
Warm Mel-come [New York Post]