|Michael Lohan at Rothmann's Steakhouse in midtown. (Photo credit: Edward Keating)|
On a Thursday in November last year, Michael Lohan strode into the midtown offices of private investigator Bo Dietl to tape a television pilot. Lohan is the father of the teen actress Lindsay Lohan, and he was feeling pretty good about his own showbiz prospects. The show he was about to tape was called The Lowdown; its aim was to investigate the falsehoods perpetrated by gossip columns, territory Lohan is very familiar with. Lohan and his daughter are estranged, and because he has not taken the estrangement well, he’s found himself the subject of many unsavory items. Nevertheless, at Dietl’s office he was making the most of his notoriety, pointing out stacked copies of a New York Post gossip column that declared, “Another Lohan Is Joining Star Roster.” Cindy Adams had written that Lohan, “very creative in terms of creating headlines, is very creative, period,” and expended several inches on the television show he just happened to be shopping around.
“People are going to stop and think before they say things in the future, because The Lowdown is on your ass,” said Lohan, as the crew set up for the shoot. Co-host Dietl, a former New York cop who still keeps a gun holstered at his hip, stepped over the camera equipment strewn throughout his office, looking about as thrilled as if Lohan were emptying trash cans onto the floor. In today’s scene, Dietl would fingerprint and deputize the “Gossip Scene Investigators,” a posse of telegenic women serving as Charlie’s Angels to Lohan’s Bosley. Impatient to get started, he looked around for Lohan, who had disappeared. “Where’s the lunatic?” he shouted.
Mark Arzoomanian, a Lowdown producer who at the time ran the vending-machine business for Red Bull Energy Drink, found Lohan in another room, prepping the GSIs and guzzling his product: “I told him, ‘The last thing on the planet you need is Red Bull.’ ” Dietl shook his head at Lohan’s choice of beverage. “You know what’s going to happen,” he said to Arzoomanian. “He’s going to take another collar and it’s all going to be over.”
As the tape rolled, Lohan and Dietl pitched The Lowdown as a necessary correction to unchecked profiteering on the backs of easy targets like Bill O’Reilly and Liza Minnelli and, presumably, Michael Lohan. “We’re going to investigate allegations against famous people and stars,” said Dietl. “Each allegation that we have, we’re either going to prove it or not prove it.” And then they’ll turn the tables on the purveyors of gossip—an on-camera vigilante squad. As the would-be TV personalities stepped into the elevator, they agreed that the taping had gone well. The chemistry seemed to work. Perhaps it was the feeling that they were onto something potentially big and probably fragile that made Dietl tell Lohan, “You better stay the fuck outta trouble.” “I didn’t get in trouble!” “Stay the fuck outta trouble.”