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Intelligencer: January 17–31, 2005

How Star botched the Brad-Jen breakdup, Morgan Entrekin finally getting married, a luxury Hamptons garage, and more.



It Happens This—and Next—Week:
• Goings-on in high culture: Metropolitan Opera returns from holiday hiatus with season premiere of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande.
• Purveyors of haute cuisine drop prices for Restaurant Week.
• “New York Remembers Derrida” event pays tribute to late French philosopher and sometime NYU prof.
• Oscar nominees announced.
• And not-so-high culture: Yanni plays three shows at Radio City.
• Trump gets married again.
• An art show devoted to Pam Anderson opens in Chelsea.
• Plus: Chinabrand, the largest “Chinese-government-sanctioned trade show of its kind in America,” opens at the Javits Center.

How did Bonnie’s glossy botch Brad and Jen’s breakup? By writing to the pictures.
Those who suspect the fallibility—if not actual fictiveness—of celebrity journalism got to feel extra-smug January 7 when the picture weeklies announced the renewed, Anguillan happiness of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston just as their reps announced a breakup. Us gushed about BRAD & JEN’S HOT CARIBBEAN GETAWAY; People asked RIFT? WHAT RIFT? But the Star was most off-course, squealing BRAD & JEN BACK ON! IT’S BABY TIME! “Against their better judgment, they tossed out all the good reporting they’d done about their marriage being in crisis and went for a story to fit the pictures,” says a source at the Star’s parent company, American Media Inc. Not all that surprising, considering that, according to a former Star employee, the paparazzi are frequently sourced as celeb friends: “If you’ve met them, you’re a ‘pal.’ ” “When the piece closed, we thought it had viable information,” says an AMI spokesperson. “We were working with the same sources who helped Star about the problems in their marriage.” But some see this as yet another crisis for editorial director Bonnie Fuller, who oversaw the story while Star editor Joe Dolce was on vacation. According to three company insiders, AMI CEO David Pecker had already dispatched news director Paul Field to find as many as twenty new Star reporters, potentially remaking Fuller’s masthead. Explains one AMI source: “Her strength is style and layout, not news gathering, so the company is bringing people in to help deal with that.”
—Jacob Bernstein

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