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Kate Middleton Quits Fashion — Soon to Be Engaged?

FASHION • Princely girlfriend Kate Middleton quit her job at fashion chain Jigsaw, sparking rumors of an imminent engagement! [British Vogue] • Daria Werbowy is doing a line of makeup for Lancôme that benefits a Brazilian children’s charity. Hot and philanthropic? Sigh. [Fashionista] • Surprise, surprise: This holiday shopping season is gonna suck for retailers. [NYT]

You'll Never See John Micklethwait's Byline

MEDIA • John Micklethwait, editor-in-chief of the Economist, says that not having bylines is part of the magazine's brand, and though they "look with great envy upon those publications that have big pictures of 50-year-old journalists staring out from their columns," they have no plans to change it. Wait, the Economist has an editor-in-chief? We always assumed it was run by machines. [Mediabistro] • Ben Silverman, the NBC exec who catapulted to the top by stealing foreign shows like The Office and Ugly Betty, called his competitors Steve McPherson at ABC and Kevin Reilly at Fox "D-girls," apparently some weird TV slang for cute young development execs with little power. Huh. We just call those people D-bags. [NYP] • The writers strike is forcing Fox to postpone the launch of 24, even though some episodes have already been shot; The Office will be one of the first prime-time shows to run out of episodes after next week’s show; and ex–Disney exec Michael Eisner called the strike "insanity." [NYT, Mixed Media/Portfolio]

The Bancroft Family High Jinks: Ongoing!

MEDIA • The Bancrofts are so dysfunctional that they missed the deadline for choosing their representative to the new Dow Jones board. Murdoch then vetoed two family nominations before agreeing to Natalie Bancroft, a 27-year-old opera singer and journalism neophyte. Family member Crawford Hill concluded: "This entire, sad and pathetic final episode is a fiasco. No wonder we lost Dow Jones!!" [WSJ] • With the Times hiring former sex writer Susan Dominus as the newest "Metro" columnist, will the section be heading toward the look of "Sunday Styles"? [NYO] • Nora Ephron: Blogging makes us better writers. Hey Nora, can you call our boss? [Mixed Media/Portfolio]

‘Times’ Editorial Chief Andy Rosenthal, Unplugged

MEDIA • Incoming Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes may well spin off the company's huge cable unit, but a sale of Time Inc. looks unlikely since the small potential proceeds (and big tax penalty) would little benefit a company of Time Warner's size. [NYT] • Times editorial-page editor Andy Rosenthal calls all executive editors, including Bill Keller and his own father, crazy. Sweet. [Radar] • Rupert Murdoch is confirming to all his friends he plans to bring in Times of London editor Robert Thomson to become the Journal's publisher as part of an "Aussie invasion" in the first few months of next year. [Guardian via Media Mob/NYO]

Wall Street’s Golden Idols All Have Feet of Clay

FINANCE • The struggle to find a successor at Merrill and Citi demonstrates another big flaw in the current culture of Wall Street: Do-or-die standards, and growing demands on public executives, have left firms with no succession plan and few capable of stepping in to take over. Both firms have been forced to turn outside for help: Laurence Fink, the CEO of BlackRock, has been approached about O'Neal's old job, while Robert Willumstad and John Thain are in the lead to take Prince's place. [WSJ] • Why did Chuck Prince and Stan O'Neal fail? They took Gordon Gecko's favorite maxim—"I create nothing, I own"—a little too seriously, and forgot the other part of banking is to sell, sell, sell. [NYT] • Andrew Ross Sorkin dons his Miss Manners cap to explain the rules of corporate courting—and why Stan O'Neal's worrywart parents, the Merrill Lynch board, were only looking for an excuse when they grounded him for asking Wachovia to "merge." [NYT]

Stephen Colbert Doesn't Make the Ballot

MEDIA • Hollywood and television writers have decided to strike and will announce a walk-out deadline by noon today. Late night will be most immediately effected — guess we'll find out just how funny Jon Stewart and David Letterman really are. [NYT] • The South Carolina Democratic executive committee rejected self-proclaimed "favorite son" Stephen Colbert's attempt to get on the ballot. Colbert now has to accumulate 10,000 signatures to make the ballot as an independent or pay the Republicans $35,000. Tough decision. [HuffPo] • Don Imus signed a deal with Citadel to return to radio, broadcasting on WABC in New York and syndicated nationally on ABC Radio. The I-Man had to settle for $5 million a year, half of what he made with CBS. [WSJ]

Hide Your Gold! Merrill Says There's a Crash A-Comin’

FINANCE • Aleksey Vayner, the man, the legend, is back! The Yalie who taught the world just how Impossible is Nothing wants a job on Wall Street. He even boasts a new, toned-down résumé, which neglects to mention his mad ballroom-dancing skills. [DealBreaker] • For all his recent failures, Stan O’Neal (with the help of Time Warner chief Richard Parsons) opened the door to a new generation of African-American leaders in the corporate world. But a dearth of black execs in so-called "C-level" positions may make increasing their ranks more difficult. Not to mention, who the hell wants to be C-level? [NYT] • Here’s Charlie Merrill, cousin to the founder of Merrill Lynch: "There is going to be a major stock market crash, so protect your assets. Buy physical gold and hide it." Thank goodness we don’t live in a nepotocracy. Oh wait… [MarketBeat/WSJ]

Did Aaron Charney Only Get 100K From Sullivan?

LAW • Will Aaron Charney ever have to work again? More than likely — he may not have gotten more than $100,000 in his sexual-harassment settlement with Sullivan & Cromwell. [PrawfsBlawg via Above the Law] • Should law schools be more like business schools? One law prof thinks so, and he looks a little like Justin Timberlake, so he must be right. [Law Blog/WSJ] • Do Cravath's two rounds of bonuses signal Big Law strength and more money for associates, or is the firm just hedging so they aren't locked in to paying the same amount next year? [NYT]

Editors Give Zinczenko Bombast an ‘F’

MEDIA • Participants at the American Magazine Conference revolted against "The Magabrand Revolution," the ostensible theme name cooked up by Men's Health editor David Zinczenko. One editor commented, "I usually have to use 'magabrand' with a modifier in front of it, and that modifier starts with the letter 'F.'" [Mixed Media/Portfolio] • Jeff Zucker can't stop denying those NBC sale rumors. Wethinks the lady… [Reuters] • When they ran into each other at the Jessica Seinfeld book party, Rupert Murdoch asked Arianna Huffington how many hits HuffPo was getting. Huffington told him 3 million a month; Murdoch politely noted that MySpace, which he owns, ran closer to 70 million. [Fortune]

Will Dick Parsons Pull a Bloomberg?

MEDIA • Rumor has it that Richard Parson's will announce his departure at Time Warner as early as this week. Jeff Bewkes, longtime No. 2, is set to take over as CEO. Does this mean a Parsons run for mayor? [Times of London] • Radar cooked up a clever quiz: Fox News anchor or porn star? You decide. Wait, no, Murdoch decides. [Radar] • Jim Cramer matched Rupert Murdoch's legendary subtlety: "We have a competitor now in Fox and it is really important to destroy and mutilate them." [Broadcasting & Cable]

Tony Blair Sells Out Rupert Murdoch

MEDIA • Tony Blair sold his memoir for $9 million to Knopf, something of a surprise since Blair has long been tight with Murdoch, known for offering advances so big they resemble campaign donations through HarperCollins. [Media Mob/NYO] • A democratic member of the FCC requested an investigation of Murdoch's Dow Jones deal, arguing the merger consolidates too many powerful outlets in one less than trustworthy hand. [B&C] • Bloggingheads, everyone's favorite lo-fi insider-y political fight club, reached a content-sharing agreement with the Times. [HuffPo]

Is Kate Beckinsale Too Hot to Play Judy Miller?

MEDIA • Matt Drudge cracked open The New Republic's Iraq fabulist controversy once again. Did the mag's Baghdad diarist really make up details about mass graves and troops ridiculing a disfigured female soldier? Franklin Foer complains that Drudge's docs could only have come from the Army. [Slate, NYO] • Chris Jones, the managing editor of Portfolio.com, announced his departure from the mag after giving notice over a month ago. High-level rumors also indicate Joanne Lipman may soon be relieved from command — but only for the Website. [WWD] • The Judith Miller movie is now filming in Memphis, and let's just say that Kate Beckinsale is way too hot to be a reporter. On the other hand, the Valerie Plame CIA character, played by Vera Farmiga, looks just about right. [WP]

‘Times’ Laughs in Morgan Stanley's Face (Well, Back)

MEDIA • Marcus Brauchli remains top editor at the Journal, but there's a growing sense of inevitability that Robert Thomson, Sunday Times of London editor and Murdoch "old boy," will challenge him for the position. (Related question: Does Murdoch have any "boys" who are not "old"?) [NYO] • The Times' third-quarter earnings almost doubled analysts' expectations, giving the paper a chance to gloat about the big hit Morgan Stanley took a week ago by selling its stake in the company. [NYT, DealBook/NYT] • Rick Reilly, previously the highest-paid writer in the history of Time Inc., will get $2 million a year for five years at ESPN. Who knew wussifying sports would pay so well? [NYP]

Stephen Colbert Backlash: The Fall's Hottest Trend

MEDIA • The American version of the Guardian hits our shores! [Guardian via Gawker] • Stephen Colbert is leading Bill Richardson, Dennis Kucinich, and Mike Gravel in national polls; the media backlash has already begun. [WP, HuffPo, Gawker] • ASME announced the finalists for the 2007 best magazine cover. They must have missed the backlash memo: Colbert is featured three times, more than any other star. [ASME]

Rupert Murdoch Wins the Party

MEDIA • News Corp. surpassed Time Warner to become the largest media company on the planet, and Murdoch held off a shareholder revolt in order to keep his family tyranny in place. [Hollywood Reporter, USAT] • ESPN poached marquee columnist Rick Reilly from Sports Illustrated after 22 years with the mag. Dan Patrick, who SI just poached from ESPN, will take Reilly's place at the back of the book. [NYT, Deadspin] • Stephen Colbert took his campaign to the Tim Russert show: "This is not a dream, you are not going to wake up from this. I am far realer than Sam Brownback." [NYT]

Falling Glass a Metaphor for Bank of America's Finances?

FINANCE • The debris falling off the new Bank of America tower at 42nd Street may have been metaphoric. The firm just reported steep losses, and their wannabe investment-banking unit, set to anchor the new tower, performed the worst. [MarketBeat/WSJ, Deal Journal/WSJ] • Congrats, James Cayne — nobody wants anything to do with Bear Stearns. Contrary to reports, both Warren Buffett and China's Citic Bank denied any interest in the bank. [DealBook/NYT] • Today's the real anniversary of the 1987 stock-market crash, but at least one veteran thinks parallels to the present are overblown. "The market is just like generals — everyone prepares for the last war." [MarketBeat/WSJ]

Surprising No One, Rupert Murdoch Says Death of ‘Times’ Would Be ‘Nice’

MEDIA • Rupert Murdoch minces words: "When asked whether he was aiming to kill the New York Times, Mr. Murdoch replied simply: 'That would be nice.'" Meanwhile, isn't this a fun graphic in Murdoch's Post? [Guardian] • Murdoch may get a little help thanks to Morgan Stanley, who sold off their entire 7 percent stake in the Times. But one analyst says Morgan Stanley is the real loser, since the firm completely failed to change the Times' structure and took a big hit on the sale. [NYP, NYO] • n+1 continues its campaign to corrupt young minds, slipping pamphlets under the doors of unsuspecting Columbia freshmen. [NYS]

Who's the Real Heir to Sandy Weill?

FINANCE • Citigroup's Chuck Prince and Chase's Jamie Dimon are battling it out to see who's the real heir to Sandy Weill. With Citi crashing and Chase eking out a gain despite the credit crunch, it looks like Dimon, long prodigal, may be the true son. [Deal Journal/WSJ] • Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson warned that we may see as many as one million home foreclosures before the end of the year. [NYT] • Want to be a hedger and a do-gooder, work a trading floor and enjoy the peace of mind of a nonprofit? Join the World Bank like former Goldman exec Robert Zoellick, and you can manage $55 billion in assets. [NYT]

Air America Host Randi Rhodes Mugged?

MEDIA • Air America talk-show host Randi Rhodes was assaulted on Park Avenue last night while walking her dog? [Gawker] • Jack Shafer investigates the billionaires behind ProPublica, the newly established New York–based investigative-journalism nonprofit led by former Journal managing editor Paul Steiger. Surprise, they're big Democratic donors. [Slate] • Howard Kurtz took the nonstop promotion of his gossipy new book to its logical conclusion, interviewing himself on his own CNN show. [HuffPo]

Arlen Specter Is a Great Cocktail-Party Guest

LAW • At Clarence Thomas's book party, Arlen Spector casually asked the justice if he’d read Anita Hill’s response in the Times. [Above the Law] • Even though three top partners have already pleaded guilty, Melvyn Weiss vows to clear his name and fight the marquee suit against his class-action behemoth. [Law Blog/WSJ] • Banking giant UBS unveiled a big law version of the financial-league tables, ranking advisers according to performance. Is this a way for them to create more efficiency, or are they just opening themselves up to bribery? [Legal Week]