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Fox Business Network: Still Painting the Offices

MEDIA • Looks like the Fox Business Network has a shitload of work to do on their studio before launching next Monday. They've got the requisite bright-red circle hung above the anchor desk, but otherwise the floor's not even finished. NBC News, on the other hand, finally cut the ribbon on their new 30 Rock studio, which president Steve Capus compared to "the dance floor of the Stockholm Hilton." Was that supposed to be a compliment? [FishbowlNY/Mediabistro, TVNewser] • Jan Wenner failed to lure Ed Felsenthal away from the Journal (and Portfolio) and had to settle for Brad Wieners as new editor at Men's Journal. Wieners has been acting editor since August, when James Kaminsky decamped for Maxim. [NYP] • Poynter Institute: As a journalist, it's your "duty" to read the print newspaper. Unclear how that affects bloggers. [Poynter]

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GE Still Hearts NBC … For Now

MEDIA • General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt said he'd postpone any decision on selling NBC until after the 2008 Olympics. Let's just hope 30 Rock and Friday Night Lights last that long. [FT] • Doris Lessing beat out Philip Roth, who was rumored as a top candidate, for this year's Nobel Prize in literature. It probably helps that Lessing's most recent novel doesn't involve an old geezer fucking a "luckless goy chick" in the face. [NYT, Hitchens/Atlantic] • FSG dominated this year's National Book Award finalists, with five out of ten in fiction and nonfiction coming from the tweedy publisher's lists. [NYT]

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Rupert Murdoch and the ‘Journal’ Eye Washington

MEDIA • Murdoch's WSJ plans to take on the Times' Washington bureau. What's next, Hollywood? [NYO] • Jeff Zucker and NBC bought Oxygen, the cable network for bored housewives, at the bargain-basement price of $925 million. [NYT] • CNN's Rick Sanchez has one big skeleton in his closet. After drinking a little too much at a Dolphins game, the eight o'clock anchor did a hit-and-run on a pedestrian who later died from his injuries. "It could have happened to anybody … There were probably a lot of other people leaving the stadium that had had a couple of beers as well." No wonder he was nicknamed Miami's "Least Credible News Personality." [NYO]

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Livin' the Life With Models and Bottles

FINANCE • The male bankers at Bankers Ball are protesting the "stereotyping" in this week’s Look Book, in which a female ex-banker says the dudes in that field are all about “livin’ the life with models and bottles." Well, they're sort of protesting. "We can only say that the “livin’ the life” part sounds a bit awkward," admit the bloggers. "Like in what situation would you say that entire phrase together?" [Bankers Ball] • The credit crisis goes from the board room to the court room, as Sallie Mae sues J.C. Flowers and its banks, JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America, over failure to follow through on their original $25 billion deal. [WSJ] • Steve Schwarzman and Henry Kravis can breathe a little easier about their outrageously low tax rates. All that lobbying paid off, and Harry Reid tabled the proposal to raise private-equity taxes to the rates the rest of us peons pay. [WP]

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If Louis Vuitton Is the McDonald's of Luxury Brands, Then What Is Coach?

FASHION • French designer Azzedine Alaïa will now be backed by fashion newcomer Compagnie Financière Richemont. [WWD] • Louis Vuitton has banned journalist Dana Thomas from all of their future runway shows after she said that they were the "McDonald's" of luxury brands in her book Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster. [Fashion Week Daily] • Michelle Parsons is indeed leaving Liz Claiborne for Coach. [WWD]

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John Galliano Is Coming for Your Children

FINANCE • Kevin Dunn, a 28-year-old former MetLife broker, was charged with defrauding a 9/11 widow of a quarter-million dollars from the victim-compensation fund. Nice one, dude. [NYT] • After rumors that Warren Buffett might take a big stake, James Cayne insists Bear Stearns has put the credit crisis behind them and the bank is not for sale. But after laying off 310 employees, a lawsuit against Bear’s huge losses, and still plenty of tension in the market, you have to wonder if Cayne, the master bridge player, is going for slam when he’s only got a three-spade hand. Snap! [Bloomberg, CNN/Money, Forbes] • Morgan Stanley and Goldman are pulling away from the pack in the league tables. [WSJ]

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Bear Stearns, Really Into Bridge

FINANCE • Bear Stearns CEO James Cayne, ranked 611 in the world at contract bridge, fired Warren Spector, ranked in the top 225, for his role in the subprime crisis. Spector, a co-president at Bear, who took home $37 million, spent a whole two weeks at a bridge tournament in Nashville, while Cayne made do with a mere two days. Meanwhile, the firm announced 310 job cuts. [Bloomberg, DealBook/NYT] • Merrill Lynch canned three top executives before even disclosing its own subprime losses, which could exceed $4 billion. Dow Kim, the former co-head of institutional securities, Osman Semerci, global head of fixed income, and deputy Dale Lattanzio were all shown the door. [WSJ] • Zoe Cruz, co-president of Morgan Stanley, is the highest paid woman in America. At least there's good news for somebody! [CNN, WSJ]

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Former Cravath Associate Pleads Guilty to Sex Crimes

LAW • James Colliton, the former Cravath associate embroiled in a sex-crimes suit, got a lighter sentence after he admitted to paying a mother for sex with her two teenage girls. [Law Blog/WSJ] • Debevoise and Plimpton's marquee new hire, the former attorney general of the U.K., has a few scuffs on his highly polished shoes: He carried on an affair while in office with a leading woman barrister. [Above the Law] • When $1,000 an hour isn't enough, premium billing — a kind of law-firm tip for a job well done — is the best way to really start raking in the profits. [DealBook/NYT]

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Topshop Signs a Lease in NYC?

FASHION • Breaking rumor alert: After months of hinting, Topshop has possibly, maybe signed a New York lease. Anglophiles and Kate Moss–ophiles, rejoice! [Fashionista] • First he’s out as the designer of Dior Homme. Now, Hedi Slimane’s been replaced by none other than BFF Karl Lagerfeld as the photographer of the ad campaigns. Oh, cruel fashion world! [WWD] • Giorgio Armani’s raking in the dough. The designer sold back a 5 percent stake in his company to Giorgio Armani SpA for about $110 million. [British Vogue]

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All Is Not Well in Redstone Land

MEDIASumner Redstone, the octogenarian CEO of CBS and Viacom, is trying to play all lovey-dovey with his spurned daughter Shari, but the succession to the $50 billion empire is nowhere near resolved. [LAT] • With more than a 1,000 job cuts at Time Inc. behind her, Ann Moore, the CEO who rose from the back room to the boardroom, thinks there's still plenty of fat to cut — she asked some McKinsey consultants to keep sharpening their knives. [NYP] • ABC News has done gangbusters over the last year, leading nightly news and finally catching up in the morning, so why did their Disney overlords decide to shuffle management at the top? [NYP]

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Even S.I. Newhouse Hates ‘Portfolio’

FINANCE • Alan Greenspan on high-risk investors: "I must admit that I do not have considerable concern about their net worth going from $40 million to $5 million." Dude keeps getting awesomer. [CNN/Money] • Michael Jensen, an early advocate of higher pay for top performing executives, praises private equity for making someone the boss of the CEO. But you have to wonder — who's the boss of Steve Schwarzman? [NYT] • Morgan Stanley was fined $12.5 million for withholding subpoenaed emails that it claimed had been lost in 9/11, when the firm's servers were destroyed. [NYT]

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Oracle of Omaha Screws With Everyone's Head

FINANCE • Buffett to the rescue: The Oracle of Omaha may take a 20 percent stake in crisis-ridden Bear Stearns. If the deal goes through, Bear CEO Jim Cayne will have another new bridge partner to brag about. [NYT] • Goldman Sachs named Edward Forst as co-head of investment management, a troubled group with a mere $796 billion in assets. Forst takes the place of Eric Schwartz, who's retiring after 23 years with the bank. [NYP] • "The tears of Chuck Norris would supply enough liquidity to solve the credit crisis. Too bad he never cries." [Bloomberg]

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Facebook Steals Your Billable Hours

LAW • Highly paid associates are wasting lots of time on Facebook, to the tune of $50 million a year in hours the little bastards should be billing. [NYO] • Cadwalader's bracing for a double whammy: While trying to deal with the massive slowdown in its core mortgage practice area, the firm's also facing a $70 million legal malpractice suit for mortgage warrantees from the late nineties. [Law.com] • Michael Mukasey, attorney-general nominee and New York homeboy, is facing complaints that he used a U.S. marshal to take out the trash, and we don't mean that figuratively. [AP via Law.com]

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Introducing Goldman CFO David "Bones" Viniar

FINANCE • Meet David "Bones" Viniar, the reclusive Goldman CFO who's quadrupled profits in the last eight years. A graduate of Bronx Science, he sits at the top, surveying his domain, as CEOs come and go. [Financial News via DealBook/NYT] • Stephen Feinberg's Cerberus is clearly the hedge fund's hedge fund: to help finance the firm's acquisition of Chrysler, Feinberg roped in $100 million from at least four other top firms — and made them pay for the privilege. [Deal Journal/WSJ] • Another sign that we're in the wrong business: Henry Kravis managed to ink an $8 billion buy-out, later back out of the deal, and then even got his bankers to step up and pay the penalties. [MarketBeat/WSJ]

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Walters Says Greenspan Always Gave Bad Advice

FINANCE • Alan Greenspan's old flame Barbara Walters complained the G-man never gave good advice, insisting back in the seventies that she avoid an apartment on Fifth Avenue because it was a "bad investment." [NYP] • Henry Kravis got a little egg on his face thanks to the collapse of the $8 billion Harman buyout. Steve Schwarzman gets bragging rights or an excuse to back out of his own impossibly huge deals. [Deal Journal/WSJ] • With computers taking over, the NYSE plans to cut the trading floor down by half from its historic high. The famous Main Room and "the Garage," opened in 1903 and 1922 respectively, will remain open. [NYT]

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Goldman Defies Credit Crunch

FINANCE • Credit crunch, what credit crunch? Goldman's record profits, which involved somehow shorting the mortgage market, have left a bonus pool of $17 billion, even larger than last year's record. [WSJ, DealBreaker] • The surge in the markets aside, the Fed rate-cut had one immediate bad effect: The Canadian dollar, a.k.a. the Loonie, pulled even with U.S. greenbacks for the first time since 1976. The euro also pushed past $1.40, another record. [NYP] • It's tough out there for a billionaire: While sixty-four New Yorkers made Forbes's list of the 400 richest Americans, eighty-two Americans failed to make it with their paltry billion dollars. [AP]

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Bong Hits 4 Everyone

FINANCE • Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein got a nice little birthday present this morning: The firm reported earnings and somehow managed to increase profit, despite the credit crunch, once again blowing analysts’ expectations out of the water. [DealBreaker] • The recent influx of women in private equity has led to a new problem at this week’s big conference at the Waldorf. Suddenly, ladies have to wait in line for the bathroom. [Deal Journal/WSJ] • Fed Chief Ben Bernanke looks more and more like he’s following in Alan Greenspan’s footsteps, but changing economic circumstances may make that not such a great idea. [NYT]

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Murdoch Mulls the Liberation of WSJ.com

MEDIA • Murdoch is hinting heavily that he'll take WSJ.com free, but Dow Jones CEO Richard Zannino doesn't think it's such a great idea. [WSJ] • Well, we'll be — Portfolio pulling down pretty good ad pages. [NYP] • Roger Ailes, former CNBC president now with Fox Business Network, making many CNBCers interested in switching teams. It may be many things, but it won't be boring! [NYO]

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‘Journal’ Union Unhappy With Contract?

MEDIA • Dow Jones may not be any good at negotiating with Murdoch, but they just pulled a coup with their union. Jim Browning, a Journal reporter and union representative, sent off a bulk e-mail: "This is not the best contract that we could have gotten." [Media Mob/NYO] • Jill Ishkanian, the former West Coast bureau chief for US Weekly, filed a $55 million lawsuit against the mag, and the details, including an attempt to seduce a nanny, are beyond juicy. [NYP] • Did Erin Burnett's agent start the "feud" with Maria Bartiromo just to raise her profile? Or did Bartiromo's agent plant this claim to get back at Burnett? [NYDN]

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Greg Larkin Was the Al Gore of the Subprime Mess

FINANCE • Alan Greenspan was giddy when old buds Don Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney took over the White House. But it turned out they were bad boys and not his friends at all. Check out this and more in Greenspan’s new bio. [NYT] • So basically everyone’s sitting around twiddling his thumbs today while waiting to see just how much the Fed cuts rates tomorrow. The market has already priced in a quarter-point cut, and the real speculation is whether they’ll cut a full half-point. [DealBreaker] • Greg Larkin of obscure research firm Innovest was like the Al Gore of the subprime mess. [ NYP]

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