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Michael Phelps Is Gold for NBC

Plus, lawyers make criminals sing (to 'Don Giovanni'), another spectacular apartment you can't afford hits the market, and more, in our daily industry roundup.

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They Waterboarded Christopher Hitchens

Finally, right? Plus, David Brooks thinks Goldman Sachs may be on the cusp of a coup, and the "summer of legal vindication" kicks off in our hump-day roundup of media, finance, law, and real-estate news.

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Fifty Cent’s Baby Mama Will Get Rich or Die Tryin’

The battle between 50 Cent and Shaniqua Tompkins rages on, Columbia bulldozes most of the Upper West Side, more big changes at the Murdoch-owned 'Wall Street Journal,' and other epic battles, in our daily roundup of news from the law, real-estate, media, and finance sectors.

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Conan O’Brien Reads, But Does Not Give Recipes to, ‘Good Housekeeping’

MEDIA •Yesterday the New York Post reported on Tiger Woods's new $65 million Hamptons pad. The only problem? He didn't buy the house. [Radar] • Good Housekeeping published Conan O'Brien's stew recipe in honor of Saint Patrick's Day. Except it wasn't actually his recipe. "I've never cooked anything in my life. I didn't send this to them; they completely made this up," he said, then added: "I love this magazine, I'm not mad or anything." [WWD] • After a year of bickering, Dow Jones decided it will no longer carry news from the Associated Press. [Reuters]

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JPMorgan Gearing Up to Move Into Bear's Sweet HQ

FINANCE • JPMorgan Chase will probably move its investment-banking unit to Bear Stearns' smokin'-hot headquarters on Madison Avenue. The building is valued at $1.2 billion, which is just one-fourth of quadruple the price JPMorgan paid for the firm itself. [NYP] • JPMorgan Chase's valuation of Bear Stearns shows that financial institutions are significantly overvalued. Speaking of which, many employees had their life savings wiped out. [NYP, WSJ] • Meanwhile Goldman Sachs' earnings are down but beat analysts' expectations. [DealBook/NYT]

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Rudy Takes a Breather

LAW • Now that he's dropped out of the White House race, Rudy Giuliani plans to decompress before he starts lawyering at Bracewell & Giuliani. [Texas Lawyer] • Oh, snap! Skadden is so not pleased about the hottest-female-associate contest that took place on the Skadden Insider blog. [Law.com] • Perhaps Covington & Burling should have consulted its client Major League Baseball before agreeing to represent pitcher Roger Clemens. [American Lawyer]

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Bill Keller: Unleashed

MEDIA • Bill Keller on Rupert Murdoch: "I don't know Rupert Murdoch, he is a combative 76-year-old newspaper guy with a tabloid soul and more money than God. With those resources at this stage it looks like he will do whatever the hell he wants to do. I don't think he is going to be constrained by some strategic planning consultant telling him what he can do. That makes him very hard to predict." [Media Mob/NYO] • Meanwhile, the Times gave Sam Tanenhaus still more power, expanding his purview beyond the Book Review to the halcyon halls of "Week in Review." It's hard to tell if this is Keller's endorsement of Tanenhaus's talents or just an absurd overselling of some serious cost savings. [Radar] • Jon Stewart shows he's a real mensch and begins paying his staff just like all the other late-night hosts (Even though Stewart is paid far less himself.) Daily Show staffers never even missed a check. [Mixed Media/Portfolio]

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Lies and the Lying Arabs Who Tell Them

MEDIAThe New Republic pulled back on its long-embattled "Baghdad Diarist" series, admitting they could no longer stand behind the author, an army private serving in Iraq. Meanwhile, The National Review suffered its own Middle Eastern credibility scandal and struck back in a novel way: "As one of our sources put it: 'The Arab tendency to lie and exaggerate about enemies is alive and well among pro-American Lebanese Christians as much as it is with the likes of Hamas.'" Yikes. [NYT Mixed Media/Portfolio] • Big layoffs ahead at NBC News? "There are going to be firings very soon — everybody is terrified," according to a "former network insider," who claims tens of millions in cuts will happen in the next two weeks. [Jossip] • New NBC programming honcho Ben Silverman is looking to clear up a conflict of interest and cash in on his old production company, which Elisabeth Murdoch, daughter to Rupe, is buying for around $200 million. Not bad for a guy who built his career on stealing foreign shows like The Office and Ugly Betty and then repackaging them for the U.S. [NYP]

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Wall Street’s Golden Idols All Have Feet of Clay

FINANCE • The struggle to find a successor at Merrill and Citi demonstrates another big flaw in the current culture of Wall Street: Do-or-die standards, and growing demands on public executives, have left firms with no succession plan and few capable of stepping in to take over. Both firms have been forced to turn outside for help: Laurence Fink, the CEO of BlackRock, has been approached about O'Neal's old job, while Robert Willumstad and John Thain are in the lead to take Prince's place. [WSJ] • Why did Chuck Prince and Stan O'Neal fail? They took Gordon Gecko's favorite maxim—"I create nothing, I own"—a little too seriously, and forgot the other part of banking is to sell, sell, sell. [NYT] • Andrew Ross Sorkin dons his Miss Manners cap to explain the rules of corporate courting—and why Stan O'Neal's worrywart parents, the Merrill Lynch board, were only looking for an excuse when they grounded him for asking Wachovia to "merge." [NYT]

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Air America Host Randi Rhodes Mugged?

MEDIA • Air America talk-show host Randi Rhodes was assaulted on Park Avenue last night while walking her dog? [Gawker] • Jack Shafer investigates the billionaires behind ProPublica, the newly established New York–based investigative-journalism nonprofit led by former Journal managing editor Paul Steiger. Surprise, they're big Democratic donors. [Slate] • Howard Kurtz took the nonstop promotion of his gossipy new book to its logical conclusion, interviewing himself on his own CNN show. [HuffPo]

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