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Now We’ll Get to See Even More of the Naked Cowboy

The scourge of Times Square is getting his own reality-TV show. Meanwhile, a Cadwalader partner sues over the mold in his Hamptons house, and the ‘Times’ thinks we care too much about people’s personal lives (can’t imagine why), and more, in our daily roundup of industry news.

Rent Stabilization Not As Stable As Before

Plus, Skadden's role in the failed Microsoft-Yahoo talks, what Perez Hilton is doing in James Frey's new novel, and the rest of today's industry gossip.

‘Esquire’ Feels That Heath Ledger’s Final Days Haven’t Been Examined Tastelessly Enough

MEDIAEsquire reports on how Heath Ledger spent his last days... except the story is not exactly true. Or, um, tasteful. [Vulture] • Let the deluge begin! Media companies line up to bid for Weather Channel, which is up for auction. [DealBook/NYT] • Wal-Mart appears to be irritated by Meredith Corporation's creative tactic of selling its magazines, which include Better Homes and Garden and Ladies' Home Journal, at the Dollar Tree store. [Folio]

The Gray Lady Lets Jim Impoco Come Crawling Back

MEDIA • Fired Portfolio editor Jim Impoco makes his comeback at The New York Times Magazine, where he'll be a consulting editor. [NYO] • NBC puts its traditional glitzy advertising on the back burner. That's really too bad for the girl who was hoping to be assigned to keep tabs on John Krasinski during the day of the presentations. [NYP] • Nielsen CEO David Calhoun charts a new course for his media-measuring company. [Fortune]

Yahoo! Rupert Cooks Up Another Diabolical Plan

Ruler
In last week's earnings call, Rupert Murdoch was asked about the talks he'd had with Yahoo about combining it with MySpace, a News Corp. property. "I think that day has passed," he said, "but you never know." Indeed! Today, Murdoch's Wall Street Journal is reporting that its parent company, along with a private-equity group, is in talks to combine MySpace and other News Corp. properties with Yahoo. This new round of discussions, the Journal tells us, are aimed at "helping Yahoo fend off Microsoft Corp's unsolicited" $44.6 billion offer to buy the company. Under the deal being discussed, News Corp. would get a 20 percent stake in Yahoo, but, more importantly, "they’d be the largest single stockholder and effectively in control of the combined Yahoo/FIM entity and their nearly 150 billion monthly page views (which would be second only to Google)," according to TechCrunch. Which basically means, we think, that Murdoch would own at least a 65 percent stake in, like, our brains. News Corp. Enters Yahoo Fray [WSJ]

Meet Microsoft's ‘Gatekeeper of Funding’

FINANCE • Now that Yahoo rejected Microsoft's $44.6 billion bid, it's up to Microsoft's self-described "gatekeeper of funding" Christopher P. Liddell to plot the company's next chess move. [DealBook/NYT] • Fearful that 90 percent of TheStreet.com's franchise revolves around Jim Cramer, today the finance-driven Website launched Mainstreet.com, which will revolve around celebrities and personal finance. You think Britney's psychological drama is intense? Wait until you hear about her bond portfolio. [NYP] • France's rogue trader Jérôme Kerviel might have had an accomplice. How did police find out? By sifting through 2,000 pages of instant-message traffic. Bet that was a gr8 time. [NYT]

Jeff Bewkes Starts Cleaning House at Time Warner

MEDIA • At least 75 Time Warner layoffs are expected to be announced today. The layoffs are among CEO Jeff Bewkes's first public tasks since taking the helm of the company from Dick Parsons last month. Earlier today, Time Warner announced a 41 percent decline in fourth-quarter earnings. [MSNBC & AdAge] • Maybe some of those Time Warner folks can hang their hats over at Condé Nast. The Observer evaluates Portfolio's recent spending spree, during which it recruited top talent from The New Yorker, the Post, and the Times. [NYO] • (Product)Red, the love child of Bono, iPod, and the Gap, has raised more than $22 million for fighting HIV and AIDS in Africa. But considering the big advertising bucks spent during the Super Bowl and elsewhere, some are arguing that it's not enough. [NYT]

Why Should Microsoft Try for First Place When It Can Buy Second?

Gates
With this morning’s announcement that it had made a $44.6 billion offer to buy Yahoo, Microsoft continues a multi-year streak of indicating that it will settle for buying second place instead of battling its way to first. Can’t beat Google at its own game? Here’s an idea: Why not buy the company that’s literally choking on Google’s exhaust? No wonder Bill Gates decided to step back from the day-to-day in 2006. When you’ve ruled the world for a decade-plus, it's little too much to constantly accept the silver medal.