Turns out it's not just Rupert Murdoch who's interested in buying Newsday; Mort Zuckerman, the real-estate magnate who owns the Daily News, and James Dolan, whose family owns Cablevision, Madison Square Garden, and the Knicks, are making bids as well.
Sarah Jessica Parker is not confident that her unreleased movie, Spinning Into Butter, will ever see the light of day. Barack Obama and his wife are slated to attend the opening of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Oprah on Thursday. Cosmetics heir Olivia Chantecaille got engaged to banker boyfriend Ren Grady. Gossip Girl's Blake Lively took a bunch of friends shopping to Armani Exchange on Fifth Avenue. Shake Shack is opening a location on the Upper West Side! Sting, Diddy, and Josh Hartnett all hung out at Half Nelson producer Charlie Corwin's birthday at Socialista, which is now back open after the hepatitis scare. Michael Musto will appear on the cover of The Village Voice spoofing this magazine's Lindsay Lohan shoot.
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• 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]
There was an explosion earlier today in the News Corp. building on Sixth Avenue. MyFoxNY reports that it was a chemical explosion (wha?) and that one man was burned. Over 700 people have been evacuated from the building. Gawker reports that there is smoke coming from the top of the building and that they are not letting anybody in. Also, "all the news photographers who can't get into their offices are taking photos of the people standing outside!" That's so meta. It's like citizen journalism 2.0!
Explosion in Midtown Manhattan [MyFoxNY]
Update:Curbed chimes in, adding that they've learned through Instant Messenger that it was a leak of certain chemicals which may have been the cause of the explosion, and that hazmat teams have been deployed. Which really puts the whole "No Chemical Dumping" theme of their holiday party into an ironic/dangerous context.
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Most companies are kind enough not to have their holiday parties on a Friday. After all, you have enough personal holiday parties to drag your ass to this weekend (we saw you all waiting in line at Trader Joe's for your half-dozen $4.99 bottles of Merlot). But what does Rupert Murdoch care about your piddling little plans? News Corp. was having their event on Friday, and all one billion of their employees damn well showed up. Their gargantuan party took over several ballrooms in the midtown Hilton, and of course, we duly waited in line (halfway down the block!) to get in, just because we knew you'd do it for us. We were not disappointed — it turned out to be the biggest private party we have ever attended in our lives. After the jump, find out what theme room caught Bill O'Reilly's fancy, and which video games made the News Corpsies shake their bones.
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James Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch's not-un-hot, not uncool son, is stepping down from his job at British Sky Broadcasting "to take on a broader role within his father’s media empire," the Times reports today. The paper daintily suggests that the move indicates Rupert "who is 76" (quoth the Times) has a "plan of succession," meaning that it's looking like Harvard dropout James is the one who's going to take over the role of chairman when dad kicks it. (Alas, poor Lachlan!) This Murdoch the Younger, "who is five years younger than his father's hot young wife Wendi" (quoth us), will not be coming to New York, however. He'll remain in Europe, where he'll take on the titles of chairman and chief executive for Europe and Asia for News Corporation.
Elevation of Murdoch Son Suggests Plan of Succession [NYT]
Related: The Boy Who Wouldn't Be KingREAD MORE »
• The Gucci family is up in arms over Ridley Scott’s biopic. They fear he’ll focus on the family scandals. You know, instead of making a movie about all the boring stuff. [British Vogue]
• Helmut Lang is opening a pop-up shop in the meatpacking district. Just what we need, another fabulous place to spend our money while we are drunk. [Fashion Informer]
• Kaiser Karl rocked the U.K. with a Chanel fashion show. [WWD]
Today's Observer story on the Judith Regan lawsuit offers a good peek into the former publishing magnate's thought process as she tries to take down HarperCollins, Jane Friedman, Rupert Murdoch, and even Rudy Giuliani. The salmon paper reveals that at the start of all of this, the wannabe If I Did It publisher was offered $6.5 million to settle, but she turned it down. They even talk to Judith herself! Her quotes are actually sort of tepid and unrelated to the case, which makes sense, as she's probably banned by her lawyers from talking about it. But there are a lot of quotes by people who are "familiar" with her thinking and with the lawsuit. So let's play a game! Which of the below quotes from unnamed "sources" are actually from Regan herself, dementedly speaking in the third person?
• "The men don't want a woman who can outshine them," one source with knowledge of Ms. Regan's thinking told the Observer. "They want women who can look up to them and bat their eyelashes. But honestly? She was more interesting than they were. She had a better life. She had more creativity. Men want to be on top."
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• Al Gore, venture capitalist? The Nobel laureate and Apple board member is taking a hands-on role at Kleiner Perkins, the leading Silicon Valley venture firm. His goal: Save the world. And annoy GE's Jeff Immelt as much as possible. [Fortune]
• Harvard picked Robert S. Kaplan, a former Goldman Sachs vice-chairman, as the new steward for the $35 billion endowment. Something tells us his kids won't have any trouble getting in. [Reuters via NYT]
• A few management consultants with nothing better to do gave the Times its newest buzzword: CEO version 3.0. With the departures of Stan O'Neal, Chuck Prince, and Richard Parsons, it's now time for leaders "who can assemble a team that functions as smoothly as a jazz sextet." Because, as James Cayne showed, the old CEOs were way too bebop. [NYT]
This is just embarrassing. With five tabloid gossip columns in this city and countless gossip Websites, and it was L.A. Weekly's Nikki Finke that spotted arch-rivals Ted Turner and Rupert Murdoch out on a lunch date together? Okay, granted, it was at Turner's restaurant, Ted's Montana Grill, so probably nobody was really looking, but still. This is what the Finkster has to report:
Sources said to me that the lunch was requested by Turner (est worth $2.3 bil) in an effort to "bury the hatchet" with Murdoch (est worth $8.8 bil). It came just days after a GQ interview was published with the CNN founder blaming the Fox News Channel founder for helping get America into the Iraq mess and labeling it "Rupert's war" — and FNC in response using air time to belittle and demean Turner as "off his rocker." Now, Murdoch can use the Wall Street Journal and new Fox Business Channel to belittle and demean Turner as well. "Ted reached out in the hope to make nice to Rupert now that he's the biggest media mogul in the world," a Murdoch insider told me. Did it work? "Rupert doesn't change anything. He still goes after anyone he wants."
As we all know, Murdoch's News Corp recently surpassed Time Warner as the globe's largest media conglomerate. We're guessing it was a testy lunch — for a brief run through of all the icky background between the two, see Finke's piece. In the meantime, we are totally going to start lurking around the Olive Garden in Times Square. We just know that's where Donald Trump and Rosie O'Donnell have been hanging out.
Ted and Rupert Break Bread Together [Deadline Hollywood Daily]
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Lost in all the Wall Street Journal drama is the news of Rupert Murdoch getting his paws on another bastion of American journalism: The Onion. The beloved if slightly over-the-hill humor newspaper has signed on to provide exclusive content to MySpace, including audio podcasts and video from its misbegotten Onion News Network offshoot. The paper announced the partnership via press release filled with the usual barrage of jokes — and with a buzz-kill addendum ("the foregoing is a satirical press release published by MySpace, Inc…") that suggests the big-league nature of the deal. Despite its shaggy pose, the Onion boasts dead-serious print circulation (3 million copies) and online traffic (4 million visitors each month). One can't help but feel troubled, though. The newspaper industry's panicked attempts to branch out into every new platform from social networks to mobile phones should be prime satire fodder; the Onion, in doing the same thing with the same zeal (anyone remember "The Onion on Your PDA" ads?), is losing just a bit of its outsider soul every time it oh-so-self-effacingly bites a new fad.
The Onion Brings Its Irreverent Satire to MySpace [News.com]
Earlier: New ‘Onion’ Fake News: Actually Fake, Not So FunnyREAD MORE »