Photos of Ledger's Dead Body May Be Up for Grabs
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]
Plus: Cloverfield way down at the box office!
FINANCE • Fortune searches Davos for financiers to express contrition over the current credit crisis but comes up empty. The closest anyone has come, the magazine notes, is the chairman and chief executive of Moody's Corp, who said, "We and others have to retool our processes In hindsight, it's clear to us that there were fundamental failures in key assumptions supporting our analytical models." Quoth Fortune: "That's probably a little too mealy-mouthed and much too late to console people who bought the mortgage-backed commercial paper to which Moody's and its rival Standard & Poor's gave a top-notch AAA rating — only to discover it was actually junk." Snap! [Fortune] • Just how big a fraud did Jérôme Kerviel, the rogue French trader, pull off? Before the bank caught him, he had taken out positions worth 50 billion euros. But some argue that he was responsible for only 1.5 billion euros in losses, and the bank's board lost the other 3.4 billion euros unwinding his positions way too fast. Meanwhile, top executive Jean-Pierre Mustier told the Times: “I was speaking to a competitor, this competitor called me and said, ‘You are living what is a banker’s worst nightmare.’” Imagine how dramatic that must have sounded in French. [FT, NYT] • Bonuses now in the bank, Goldman rewarded bankers for a record-setting year with a special surprise: layoffs! [Deal Journal/WSJ]
[Ledger's] shocking death is clearly a story a lot of people are interested in, but tonight we will not be reporting more on it. The truth is there is not really anything new to report. The full results of the various tests done on Mr. Ledger will not be ready for perhaps a few weeks and there is very little new information. I have no doubt other networks will spend a lot of time tonight discussing his death and the various rumors about what might have caused it, but I am not a fan of speculation, so unless there is something really new to discuss we probably won't be covering it anymore anytime soon.Wow, that makes sense (unless, like us, you are covering the coverage). Frankly, it's a sober, levelheaded choice to make when deciding how to handle Ledger's death. But it's certainly not the only one. In fact, we were just watching Fox News and heard this teaser for Bill O'Reilly's show later today: "ON THE O'REILLY FACTOR: DO AMERICANS CARE MORE ABOUT THE LIVES OF CELEBRITIES THAN THE LIVES OF OUR TROOPS?" Mmm. Anderson's View: Heath Ledger coverage [CNN] Earlier: Heath Ledger Posts
We confirmed this story last night with an impeccable source inside the NYPD and we stand by our reporting. Almost immediately after the tragic passing of Mr. Ledger, Ms. Olsen’s attorneys began emailing us threatening letters. As has been well reported, there were a number of calls to Ms. Olsen from the masseuse before the NYPD arrived on the scene. We would find it strange if Ms. Olsen were not questioned at all. The New York Post will not be pressured and we find it odd that the chiefs at the NYPD appear to be terrified of 4-foot-11 inch, 90-pound Mary Kate Olsen.Classic. Related: In Ledger Mystery, ‘Post’ Goes After Mary-Kate. Cops, Not as Much
Oft-reliable British tabloid The Sun reports today on an unsubstantiated rumor that Johnny Depp could replace Heath Ledger in The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Terry Gilliam's in-production fantasy film which Ledger's death threw into uncertainty this week.
Perhaps the urge to put things in 1-10 order should be resisted in the immediate aftermath of death.
Gilliam, though surely incredibly upset at the death of his friend and collaborator, must also be shaking his fist at Heaven and shouting, "What next?"
The role that truly defined Heath Ledger's career wasn't in Brokeback Mountain.