The Long, Fake Life of J.S. Dirr: A Decade-Long Internet Cancer Hoax Unravels

Adrian Chen · 06/06/12 10:06AM

On the evening of May 13, Mother's Day, a Canadian woman named Dana Dirr was hit head-on while driving to the Saskatchewan hospital where she worked as a trauma surgeon. She was 35 weeks pregnant, but determined to work until the moment she gave birth. The morning after the crash, her husband John ("J.S.") Dirr posted a note on Warrior Eli, a Facebook page the Dirrs had created to document their 5-year-old son Eli's battle with cancer: "Last night at 12:02am I lost the love of my life," J.S. wrote. "I lost my wife, the mother of my children, and my best friend." Miraculously, Dana had held on in the hospital just long enough to have her baby—a daughter, and the Dirr's eleventh child.

Dead Air: A Timeline of Failed Broadcast TV Networks

Chris Vespoli · 04/07/10 12:00PM

In a 1961 address to the National Association of Broadcasters, then FCC Chairman Newton N. Minow famously described TV as a "vast wasteland." Well, it's also a graveyard, filled to the brim with the bloated carcasses of dead networks.

Jay Leno: Old Media's Biggest Enemy

Richard Rushfield · 09/14/09 01:03PM

How did Jay Leno become the most punk rock upstart revolutionary force in media today? Across the spectrum, the entertainment world has lined-up arm-in-arm, salivating at the prospect of disaster when his new show debuts tonight.

Dan Rather's Lawsuit Drying Up Faster Than A Crick In A West Texas Drought

Hamilton Nolan · 09/23/08 08:55AM

Dan Rather filed that big $70 million lawsuit against CBS last year because, he said, they hung him out to dry like a coonskin on a tree branch when it turned out there were problems with his story about George W. Bush's National Guard Service. CBS said Rather was crazier than a coyote with Mexican jumping beans in his anus. (Okay, that's enough). Some of his suit was thrown out in April, and now two more of his remaining four claims have been dismissed. But he's still alive!

Americans Only Understand Sports In Video Game Format

Hamilton Nolan · 09/05/08 08:33AM

ESPN is the USA's sports leader, sanctioned by God, the American Way, and Brett Favre. Males of a certain age (11-75) who don't watch the network risk placing themselves under serious suspicion of being candy ass pansy boy homos, NO HOMO. So you'd think that ESPN wouldn't have trouble drawing young viewers. But America's sports indoctrination machine is flagging because of the internet and the computers and the fatness! So ESPN has been forced to take drastic and, we daresay, un-American measures: Video games in the football broadcasts. This marks the failure of American P.E. teachers:

Incompetent US Propaganda Network Surprisingly Unpopular Among Arabs

Hamilton Nolan · 06/23/08 10:16AM

Four years ago, the US government had a bright idea: "Let's launch a propaganda-spouting TV news network in the Arab world," the government said. "We'll spend $350 million on it, but we'll staff it with incompetent people, ensure the programming is dull and clumsy, and hopefully create a counterproductive and ill-conceived boondoggle that will go down in history as one of the stupidest 'hearts and minds' campaigns of the new century!" And that's exactly what they did. Except it didn't turn out quite that well.

Cable: The Old New Big Thing

Hamilton Nolan · 06/12/08 01:49PM

TV is dying, right? We read about it online. Kids these days spend all their time on YouTube, and television is left to geriatrics watching Depends ads, right? But no! One word, friends: Cable. Just today, news came out that the executives at Discovery Communications, home of the Discovery Channel, are some of the highest paid in all of the media—their CEO took home $20 million, right up there with the Viacoms and Time Warners of the world. How did little old cable get so rich? Good timing, good programming, and a little bit of luck. Learn and marvel!

New 'Green' Cable Network Lets You Save The World By Watching

Hamilton Nolan · 06/02/08 10:03AM

Discovery is launching a new cable network called "Planet Green" that will offer round-the-clock "green" programming. The standard assumption is that his network signals a further mainstreaming of environmentalism, and therefore will somehow be good for the environment. This assumption is incorrect. Rather, it signals that environmentalism—a brand of activism that actually means something—has been transformed into "green," a vague lifestyle term that means nothing. What revolutionary do-good messengers will Planet Green bring to the public? General Motors, Tommy Lee, and "earth-conscious celebrities":

Commercials Now Psychic

Hamilton Nolan · 05/15/08 12:11PM

TV networks continue to come up with new and better ways to morph their shows into continuous advertisements. MTV is already selling ads that are designed to be mini-shows in themselves, and ABC has gone subliminal. Not to be outdone, Turner Entertainment is now telling advertisers that it can strategically insert their ads into commercial breaks directly following part of a broadcast that relates to their product. I'm not sure how this is supposed to make us more disposed to buy crap, but it will certainly make watching movie reruns that much more annoying:

Six Apart considered a LiveJournal and Vox spinoff

Megan McCarthy · 10/02/07 06:00PM

We just heard an outlandish rumor: That San Francisco-based blogging company Six Apart, whose software powers many of the world's most popular blogs, considered splitting in two earlier this year, under former CEO Barak Berkowitz. But the company recently upgraded its CEO, replacing Berkowitz with executive Chris Alden, and a spinoff or sale is no longer on the table. By shedding its LiveJournal and Vox consumer blogging sites, Six Apart would have left behind enterprise blog service TypePad and the Movable Type software product — exactly the businesses new CEO Chris Alden ran before his promotion, which is likely why this old rumor is gaining fresh circulation.

ABC's McPherson Goes For Humble, Boring

mark · 07/27/05 11:17AM

At yesterday's Television Critics Association press event, ABC honcho Steven McPherson kept his head down, refusing to publicly wallow in the recent success that hit dramas Lost and Desperate Housewives have brought to his network.

Logo Finally Coming Out

mark · 06/28/05 12:00PM

Logo, MTV's gay network, is just two days from its long-delayed launch. (Sadly, they haven't taken our unsolicited advice and renamed the net "Dickelodeon" in the year since they've announced the channel.) But the folks at Logo want you to know that if you're in search of the HLA of The L Word, the poppers-and-stalls action of QAF, or the one-dimensional, preening eunuchs of Will & Grace, you're going to have to take your greedy eyeballs elsewhere:

Fox Auction: Bring In Da Noise, Bring In Da Fünke

mark · 06/07/05 04:53PM

We'd like to belatedly celebrate the highly unexpected (but satisfying) third-season pick-up of Arrested Development by alerting you to the latest round of Fox's Studio Store auctions, in which clothes worn by, purchased for, or possibly gazed upon, sort of, by stars in the network's stable are offered up to the highest bidder. How better to commemorate AD's rise from the dead than to purchase (at a heavy discount!) a shirt "worn" by everyone's favorite mustachioed, Blue Man Group understudy fop, Tobias Fünke?