Like all Peggy Siegal–run caviar-and-Champagne parties at the Four Seasons, last night's celebration of Larry King's 50 Years of Broadcasting was meant to be an enormous schmoozefest. But then the entire TV-news firmament was called away to Virginia, and so the planned red carpet was canceled, video crews were turned away, and reporters, or at least Party Lines reporters, were instructed to keep the questions "appropriate." But, still, King wasn't going to give up on the chance to wring a few laughs from the three remaining (aged) newspeople in town: Barbara Walters, Andy Rooney, Walter Cronkite. Longtime King friends Sid Young and Neil Simon were there, too, as well as many of his interviewees, including Ron Howard, Sandra Bernhard, and Mario Cuomo. "I'm honored that so many people are here, especially because I get to break news to you," King joked from a podium. "Donald Trump bought the building. He was here 22 minutes, and if Donald is here 22 minutes, he buys the building." Can't imagine why people didn't stay in town for material like that. —Miriam Datskovsky
Last week's shake-up at CNN, in which not-related American Morning anchors Soledad O'Brien and Miles O'Brien were "reassigned" within the network, marked a happy turn of events for Fox News Channel refugee Kiran Chetry, who's becoming a co-anchor of the show. In February, Fox News accused Chetry, who'd been in talks with CNN, of demanding it fire her Fox & Friends co-anchor Gretchen Carlson. Chetry says that didn't happen, but Fox had her escorted from the building, and her husband, Fox weatherman Chris Knowles, had to raid her office to recover her personal belongings. Knowles was released from his Fox News contract the following day. CNN president Jonathan Klein says that Chetry's adjusting well. "I was blown away by her almost encyclopedic knowledge of CNN," he says. "I was amazed that she was even getting reception behind the iron curtain." Watching CNN at Fox News? That alone was probably enough to get her fired. —Emma Rosenblum
In a disturbing twist on the current wave of the rats-in-restaurants panic, television and city agencies now almost seem to be working in concert. The Health Department rushed to close the East 86th Street Papaya King the very day after Inside Edition gave the joint the familiar critter-footage treatment. There's something equally unseemly about the department's scramble to prove its worth and TV acting as if it had just invented a new genre, so it occurred to us that perhaps the two should take a cue from another bizarre intersection of entertainment and enforcement. Why not just join forces and let camera crews trail inspectors? Quick, someone call Chris Hansen.
Rats Shut Down Fabled 'Dog Joint [NYP]
Omigod! It's finally here! As you've no doubt heard in countless promos aired during American Idol, 24, Seinfeld reruns, and whatever else you might happen to watch on Channel 5, this year is the 40th anniversary of the station's ten o'clock news, the first newscast at that hour in New York. And today, dear readers, is the actual birthday. Yup, 40 years ago tonight, Bill Jorgenson — whom Tim Murphy interviewed for the current issue of New York — anchored that very first broadcast, and to mark the occasion, Tim dug up some great YouTube clips. They're funky, they're pompadoured, and they're after the jump. Enjoy.
With yesterday's news about Charlie Gibson's recent ratings victories over Brian Williams, we wondered what the folks at CBS think about the whole thing. After all, they're spending $15 million a year on their new anchor. Then we remembered: They don't care! They've never cared! Why would you care about a $15 million investment?
September 2006: "Where we were last week or even in the weeks to come is not as important as where we are next year and even the year after that." —CBS News President Sean McManus to the APOctober 2006: "It takes months and years to change viewer habits." —McManus to USA TodayNovember 2006: ""Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will the CBS Evening News." —Katie Couric toUSA TodayFebruary 2007: "As we've said all along, this is a very long process that takes many months, if not years. We're not losing any patience." —McManus to the New York Times
Earlier:Good News for ABC, or Just Bad News for NBC?
And now it's official: Tiki Barber will become a television broadcaster. The Times is reporting that Barber, the Giants running back who retired from football at the top of his game, will join NBC, serving as a news correspondent for the Today show and a commentator for football broadcasts. Last month, David Amsden profiled Barber for New York, looking at why he wanted to leave football and why he wanted to go to TV. The answer? Because he realized it was time to grow up.
Tiki Barber to Join NBC's 'Today' Show [NYT]
Tiki Barber: The Exit Interview [NYM]
If Arnold Diaz's Fox 5 antics fill you with shame, if Sue Simmons's NewsChannel 4 banter makes you want to chuck something at your TV, if you're just looking for something calm and earnest at eleven o'clock, no-frills, low-budget, then lovably dorky NY1 has some great news for you: The local all-news station is starting its own late-night newscast, to launch Monday night, January 22. "You're not going to get stories about the latest person fired off The Apprentice or about the killer salad bar," promises NY1 exec Steve Paulus. Lewis Dodley will anchor along with, naturally, a white woman — Paulus won't yet reveal who it is, but he says she's a former NY1 reporter who left the station several years ago — and, unlike much of the station's news programming, it'll be broadcast live, with the anchors tossing to a mix of taped and live segments and reporters in the field. Paulus expects a good response from NY1's loyal fans. "People have told me they watch us so much that our logo gets burned into their plasma screens," he says. —Tim Murphy
News execs are desperate to get O.J. Simpson to do a primetime interview about his canceled primetime interview with Judith Regan, his lawyer says. Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock are breaking up over, um, Borat. Really. Owen Wilson was diamond-ring shopping. Quoth Britney Spears: "I gave birth for 2 1/2 years, and now I want to party" (with Paris Hilton, no less). In other Hilton news, Lindsay Lohan is mad at rumors that Paris dumped a drink on her, despite the fact that she's the one who spread them. Despite the hype, Bobby didn't do so well at the box office over Thanksgiving. Jay McInerney offers Dan Aykroyd wine advice; Aykroyd to sing at McInerney's wedding in return. Longtime Brooklyn lovebirds Michelle Williams and Heath Ledger might soon be getting married. Who will be the 2006 "Media Person of the Year"? (Our money's on Stephen Colbert.) Former Post editor-in-chief Ken Chandler to quit the newspaper biz and get into consulting. The lovely folks of Darien, Connecticut, bid on a bunch of stuff from Moby's youth at an estate sale. Busta Rhymes booked a hotel room in Miami, was a no-show. Derek Jeter is still hitting on Jessica Biel; Jay-Z is still hating on Cristal. Cindy Adams's criticism of the new Bond flick: The first ten minutes are "unrelenting shoot-em-up" (uh, Cindy, it's a James Bond movie). Also, Adams is the only person in the world who doesn't find Daniel Craig sexy. Kiefer Sutherland's kill-count on 24 last season: 38.