J.Lo and Marc Anthony’s Problems ContinueThe couple had trouble getting into one of the inaugural balls last night. Also, Sheryl Crow had an awkward interaction with an ex, and Russell Simmons got caught stealing!
Katie Couric Must Really Hate GoldfishMEDIA
• Katie Couric’s YouTube channel provides real service journalism: While chitchatting with Joe Biden, the CBS anchor recommends viewers tune into her favorite viral video — the one where a little girl watches her goldfish get flushed down the toilet. [HuffPo]
• The New York Times op-ed columnists can’t endorse political candidates. This “isn’t a problem” for Maureen Dowd because she doesn’t “do a partisan column.” [NYO]
• Vegas, take note: Big Apple broadsheets are front-runners in the race for the Pulitzers. [E&P]
early and often
Giuliani: A Final Break From the Bravado?Rudy Giuliani has finally cracked and recognized that today’s Florida results could possibly signal the end of his campaign. Asked whether he would drop out after a loss today, the former mayor told reporters yesterday: “When it’s Wednesday morning, we’ll make the decision.” Since much of the press has already decided that Giuliani is dead in the water, speculation has turned to how he will drop out, and when. He’ll definitely participate in tomorrow’s Republican debate, but sources for the New York Sun argue that he won’t risk a major loss in New York State next Tuesday. If it’s proven that he’s not even popular in his home state anymore, where he made his name, it would be a blow to his reputation, would be bad for his business, Giuliani Partners, and would undermine his candidacy for a Cabinet position in the future. It’s all about the Giuliani brand name, which has made him millions as a speaker and as a consultant. As Maureen Dowd pointed out on Sunday, he’s not even likely to put up a tough fight on the way out, in order to preserve the purchase power of his name. He’ll likely last a few extra days, like Fred Thompson did after losing big in South Carolina, and then bow out quietly without drama. To think, it was less than eight years ago that he dropped out of the New York Senate race after battling a tidal wave of negative press after his high-profile split from Donna Hanover. And critics said Giuliani couldn’t change.
RUDY HINTS FLA. HIS LAST STAND [NYP]
George Clooney Thinks Cindy Adams Is Awkwardly NosyGeorge Clooney’s response to a question asking whether he planned on marrying Sarah Lawson: “What kind of question is that to ask in front of her? Let’s just say I’m fine the way I am right now, thank you.” Four Seasons owner Julian Niccolini is selling his own Sauvignon Blanc, available at Dean & DeLuca. After falling ill in Israel (perhaps with dysentery), Maureen Dowd got medical attention from White House doc Richard Tubb and hitched a ride home on Air Force One. Some pro-life bloggers are angry that Vogue did a fashion shoot with a woman who got an abortion 22 weeks into her pregnancy. Diddy is hiring both a personal and an executive assistant. (One responsibility: acting as a “liaison” between the chairman and his family.) Diane Keaton ate at Michael Jordan’s The Steak House in Grand Central Terminal.
Steve Schwarzman Takes the Fun Out of BuybacksFINANCE
• Steve Schwarzman found yet another way to stiff his investors, using the GSO deal as an elaborate cover to buyback shares of Blackstone without the typical benefit a buyback program gives to other shareholders. No wonder the Chinese, who have lost $1 billion on Blackstone, hate him. [DealBook/NYT]
• Bank of America bought Countrywide Financial, the huge mortgage company teetering at the edge of bankruptcy, for $4 billion in stock. Some observers worry the deal will take the bank down, but considering Countrywide was worth $30 billion before the mortgage meltdown, it may yet make B of A CEO Ken Lewis a king. [Deal Journal/WSJ]
• Merrill Lynch will likely take a $15 billion write-down next week, far in excess of the $12 billion some already bearish analysts had predicted. John Thain is looking to rescue the bank with still more foreign investment capital, but with the Senate getting anxious, that stream dry up. [NYT, NYP]
Tom Ford, CommandoTom Ford doesn’t wear underwear. Foxy Brown may get dropped from Def Jam, though this would come as news to her. Former flames Derek Jeter and Mariah Carey are set to meet this Friday, and it could be awkward. Chelsea Clinton recently got a job at a hedge fund, and her boyfriend may be her stockbroker. Is the Times playing favorites with suspended reporter Lola Ogunnaike and op-ed columnist Maureen Dowd? “Page Six”, ironically, lectures a company about freebies. (Also, it turns out Harvey Weinstein didn’t actually “swig” champagne on Halloween, as the “Six”ers reported. And that the “stripper” he was chatting up was actually Margherita Missoni. Whoops.) Ron Perelman is now dating designer Tory Burch, though she’s yet to finalize her divorce. Former Martha Stewart broker Peter Bacanovic tried to avoid getting his picture taken, failed. Lauren Bacall was denied backstage entry at the Metropolitan Opera. Guitarist Al Di Meola is a bad father. Tara Reid was drunk, again. A politician cheated on his wife in Albany, a married director got another woman pregnant, and the daughter of a retired news anchor got busy with a female fashion designer in a car, though names aren’t named. Joshua Jackson defended Lindsay Lohan. And her dad, who has thus far been unable to help himself, wants to write a self-help book.