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Elizabeth O'brien Berg

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‘Blender’ Gives Britney Spears a New Body

MEDIA • Britney Spears looks great on the new cover of Blender — too bad it's not her body. [Radar] • Stephen Chao, the former News Corp. exec who lost his job after hiring a male stripper for a company party and almost drowning Rupert Murdoch's dog, announced a new Website for how-to videos. First video: how to get fired in two easy steps. [NYT] • Now that Judith Regan's settled her suit with Murdoch, will she give her winnings — likely north of $6.5 million — to charity like she once promised? [Mixed Media/Portfolio]

The Maffei Identity

Maffei
Liberty Media's effort to seize control of InterActiveCorp, the $7 billion e-commerce company built by Barry Diller with Liberty's backing, is not being driven by Malone alone. The Wall Street Journal this morning tells us a little bit about the third man involved in the mission of ousting Diller, one who may have been hired for the purpose. He even has a hit-man–like name: Gregory Maffei. Gregory Maffei. Scary! Where was Maffei before he was hired at Liberty? Zapping people in a Harry Potter novel? Building homemade bombs in Chechnya? No. Actually, he worked for Bill Gates and Larry Ellison. Then he became the chairman of IAC offshoot Expedia, where he first tangled with Diller. Relations, the Journal tells us, soon became "cold." The point is, like any good assassin, Maffei has gotten to know his mark. (When Malone made him CEO, it was due, according to the Journal, to his "understanding of Barry Diller's very delicate psyche.") Now, it appears he's using his knowledge to systematically destroy Diller: It was his plan to attempt to legally dismantle the agreement the company made with Diller back in the nineties that guaranteed him voting rights, an agreement he had believed was ironclad. "These people are insane!" Diller sputtered when he found out yesterday. Indeed. Insanely brilliant. This whole thing is going to get a lot more interesting. A Not-So-Loving Triangle [WSJ]

EPA Joins Mercury Craze; A ‘Seinfeld’–Inspired Food Study

The Environmental Protection Agency is beginning to examine the mercury levels in the twenty most commonly eaten fish in the New York City region. [NYT] Top Chef seductress/hostess Padma Lakshmi is moving into a full-floor loft in Alphabet City. [The Real Estate/NYO] The holy triumvirate of burgers, fries, and milk shakes continues to dominate the nation's culinary imagination. [NRN]