Fox News Sicced Bill O’Reilly on NBC’s Punk AssThin-skinned media bigwigs trade insults, Microsoft and Yahoo continue to make eyes at each other across the boardroom table, and a mysterious, rich felon moves into the Plaza … all in today’s roundup of media, finance, law and real-estate news.
The Couric Countdown Has Already BegunAs we learn more about the meetings and discussions behind yesterday’s report that Couric may leave CBS in 2009, it seems like she’s already planning life after the evening news.
Bernanke Says That a Recession Is ‘Possible’As both the economy and the media seem to be contracting, Jared Kushner solidiers on, throwing himself into a new project after his breakup with Ivanka. All this and more in our roundup of finance, media, law, and real-estate news.
For Cecilia Sarkozy, Revenge Is a Dish Best Served During the Venetian HourCecilia Sarkozy, the ex-wife of French president Nicolas Sarkozy, is set to get married to PR exec Richard Attias in New York on March 22. (Friends say it’s a “revenge” wedding.) Shelley Ross was so hated in her capacity as executive producer of CBS’ The Early Show that CBS News president Sean McManus didn’t even wait to find a replacement before firing her. Colin Farrell tried hitting on model Meghan Lowther at the Rose Bar, but found out the hard way that she has a boyfriend. The April issue of Elle features an interview given by Michelle Williams right after she broke up with Heath Ledger. New York real-estate giant Steven Fisher, best known for turning the aircraft carrier Intrepid into a museum, is trying to get his own TV show. Gossip Girl’s Conor Paolo wants, uh, Daniel Day-Lewis to join the cast.
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In Defense of ‘Early Show’ Producer Shelley RossShelley Ross, the executive producer of CBS’ Early Show, whose staffers were complaining about her last week, has been out of the office all week, and her things “were seen being taken out of her office” yesterday. “Page Six” thinks she’s probably been fired, and they give a whole rundown of the terrible sins she supposedly committed against her staff, culminating in a quote from former colleague Charlie Gibson, who reportedly muttered at a funeral they both attended over the weekend, “It took us six years to get rid of her. How come it only took them five months?” Maybe it’s because we once had a boss who instituted an office-wide “tackling policy” and occasionally spoke to us through the zipper on his pants, but we maintain our position that Ross’s staff sounds like a bunch of babies and that she has been, perhaps, unfairly maligned.
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CBS Gives Katie Couric Another Thing Not to Smile AboutIf Katie Couric had a real Facebook page, one that just her friends could see, for the past couple of years you could just imagine that it would have this constant status update: “Katie Couric is disappointed.” After her ratings at CBS News slumped and the network became less supportive of her, you might imagine that she’s sort of just generally a little disillusioned all the time. So you almost forget that there might be specific things that she’s disappointed about. Like presidential primary debates, for example. Today, we learn from the Observer that she wanted to host one (as anchors tend to do — Anderson Cooper alone moderated, like, fifteen), but for various reasons a CBS debate never materialized.
Anchor Dan Rather Left Out of ‘48 Hours’ Twentieth-Anniversary PartyEverybody who is anybody in television news — with one glaring omission — showed up for last week’s twentieth-anniversary blowout for 48 Hours, which, after 60 Minutes, is CBS News’ most durable magazine program. On hand for the party in the twentieth-floor lounge at 230 Fifth Avenue were CBS chairman Leslie Moonves, CBS News president Sean McManus, 48 Hours executive producer Susan Zirinsky, former CBS president Sir Howard Stringer, and former news president Andrew Heyward.
Missing was Dan Rather.
The original anchor of 48 Hours — who, along with Stringer, got the show off the ground in 1986 with a highly rated pilot, “48 Hours on Crack Street,” and pushed the network suits to put it on the weekly schedule — wasn’t invited. In an awkward phone call before the celebration, Zirinsky explained to Rather that he couldn’t come under the circumstances.
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The ‘Early Show’ Office Is More or Less As Dysfunctional As YoursEarly Show producer Shelley Ross’s staff is revolting against her! Apparently 21 people have left the CBS program since she started in September, and others are, well, just complaining to “Page Six.” “I can’t stand working here anymore. I can’t stand people being humiliated this way,” one producer told the paper today. Beefs include the fact that Ross supposedly wants everyone to work 18-hour days, made one producer read an apology after he joked about the lameness of a segment they were doing on people who were “addicted to lip balm,” and told a guy to reschedule a colonoscopy because it was sweeps week. “I’ve seen a lot of crazy people, but she takes the cake,” the staffer said. Um, really? We don’t know about you, but we don’t really think this sounds that bad. This is New York, where legendarily crazy bosses flourish as potatoes do in Idaho. Hasn’t this dude ever heard of Ball-Bustin’ Bonnie ? Shriekin’ Scott Rudin? Judith “My cock is bigger than yours” Regan? A certain Prada-Wearing Devil? Chin up, dude. That said, we’re watching The Early Show right now and Harry Smith does look as though he could be wearing nipple clamps, so maybe what the CBS staffers told “Page Six” is merely the tip of the iceberg.
Tantrum Time At ‘Early Show’ [NYP]
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Dan Rather Rails Against ‘Corporate Overlords’ Colluding With ‘Powers in Washington’Part of what Dan Rather was hoping for, in his $70 million lawsuit against former employer CBS, was the ability to open to public scrutiny the company’s actions that led up to his ouster in 2005. So it’s no surprise that when the network asked Manhattan Supreme Court to keep documents concerning Memogate private, the former anchor got a bit upset. CBS originally said it would keep things public, but they have backed off that. Rather, who wanted the public to see all the information involving the media giant’s investigation into the origins of disputed memos about President Bush’s National Guard Service, railed against network execs. “It is a fact that corporate overlords working in secret collusion with the powers in Washington are intruding far too often in far too many newsrooms,” he said. “Corporate overlords? “Secret collusion”? “Powers”? What is this, a Wachowski movie? Whether or not he is right, Rather isn’t doing himself any favors in the battle to rescue his reputation. He, of all people, should know how much phrasing matters.
Rather: CBS Bosses Hiding Truth [NYDN via Jossip]