Chris Smith: A Bloomberg Oligarchy?Our columnist wonders at the forces that made Bloomberg feel that skirting the rules for a third term was necessary: namely, his cadre of mogul friends.
Chace Crawford Had His 23rd-Birthday Party This WeekendOur invite must have gotten lost in the mail. Meanwhile! Mean jellyfish continue to spoil summer fun! Aretha never reached the beach! And Howard Stern and his fiancée looked so tall this weekend! There was so much going on in the Hamptons … honey, where were you?
CNBC to Roger Ailes: ‘Nanny Nanny Boo Boo’MEDIA
• Despite Roger Ailes’s declaration that Fox Business Channel would start a “revolution” against rival business channel CNBC, this war appears to have petered out after a skirmish: Only about 6,300 people a day, on average, watch the babes of FBN, compared to the 283,000 who tune in to CNBC for that dreamy hunk Charlie Gasparino. [NYT]
• Let the stunts begin! David Letterman plans to shave off his beard on the air next Monday: “Can we get a guy in here Monday to shave me? Now, a good guy, because the last time we did this, I looked like—when he was done, I looked like I’d been in a knife fight.” No word yet on whether Conan O’Brien, who’s writers unlike Letterman’s are still on strike, will lose his whiskers. Meanwhile, Nation editor Katrina Vanden Heuvel turned down Colbert’s invite to appear on his show, showing solidarity with the strikers. [NYDN, NYO]
• The Writers Guild is facing its own little labor problem: The East Coast branch’s internal staff claims that the contract they signed back in October was later changed without their permission. Let’s see, what’s that word … something writers always love. Oh, right, irony. [NYP]
in other news
‘Post’ and ‘Daily News’ to Face Off Over Tenth Avenue?
The Observer reports today that News Corp. has thrown its name into the hat to compete for the right to build over the Hudson Yards. That pits them against Condé Nast, which is also fighting for the use of the space to build an office tower. As Gawker notes, that will be a battle royale. But we think it will be nothing compared to the endless skirmishes that will go on if News Corp. (and developer Related) move in there and all Post workers are faced with commuting to work with all of the Daily News employees who work right next door. Mort Zuckerman’s Boston Properties owns the only private building that already straddles the Hudson Yards, on Tenth Avenue between 31st and 33rd. It houses the News, the Associated Press, and Channel 13. If News Corp. develops the rest of the Hudson Yards, they’ll sit right across Tenth Avenue. Since Murdoch is fond of putting up hilariously competitive billboards (this month’s giant “Six Appeal” advertisement shills for the tab’s Page Six Magazine) in that terrain for News employees to enjoy on their walk to work, we can only imagine how things will escalate. Though Zuckerman employees can look forward to one thing that’s guaranteed, at least: The neighborhood would finally get a decent bar!
Murdoch and Newhouse Battle for West Side [NYO]
It’s Good to Be Dr. RuthSex follows some women everywhere, even the New York Philharmonic. Tuesday evening, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, 79 years of age and four-foot-seven in height, stood in the aisle waiting for Yo-Yo Ma’s opening-night performance. “Mort Zuckerman just came up and kissed me and said that I’m the best woman around,” she told New York. “And he had a date! She just stood there and smiled. What could she do?” She beamed. “It’s wonderful to be Dr. Ruth!” Westheimer had had a busy day. A study had just been released, showing that 55 percent of divorced women aren’t having sex, and everyone wanted her advice. “If she’s divorced and doesn’t have a partner, it makes sense,” she said. “But I hope that she keeps her libido, her desire for sex, alive. That she goes out, that she looks around if there are any eligible people, and if not, I do say that until she finds a partner, I want her to masturbate.”
Artists and Writers Play Lovely, Eloquent, Mediocre SoftballAny event that allows politico Mark Green and sportswriter Mike Lupica to engage in hip-hop-style fist bumps is worth the price of admission, especially when it’s free. That’s why hundreds (including an incognito Heather Mills) gathered for the 59th annual Artists and Writers Charity Softball game in East Hampton on Saturday. It was a perfect day to watch knock-kneed wordsmiths and paunch-addled sculptors shuffle around the diamond for charity. Despite an all-star lineup that included catcher Walter Isaacson, first-baseman Ken Auletta, and (mysteriously calf-bandaged) pitcher Mort Zuckerman, the writers fell 13-5. This bucked a recent string of scribe triumphs and sent a frustrated Lupica into a hilarious spiral of hypercompetitive melodrama, including red-faced screams and a slide into first base. Yeah, first base. But the game was clean, and just in case you were wondering, so is Auletta. “I’ve never taken steroids,” the 65-year-old media critic clarified for fans. —Selim Algar
Diddy-Diddling DenialKim Porter is in denial that Diddy is diddling Sienna Miller. (Also, his famous White Party is slated for September 2). Britney Spears was in a fender bender, after which she announced, “I’m a braniac!” On-again, off-again couple Marc Jacobs and Jason Preston are back on. Jeffrey Chodorow is keeping China Grill closed for a few extra days to get a new fridge and get rid of some insects. Phoenix Sun point guard Steve Nash got into a pickup soccer game at Central Park and scored two goals. The Freakanomics guys are moving their blog to the New York Times. Mort Zuckerman gets Harry Evan to help him write his weekly column in U.S. News. Chevy Chase found a $20 bill at a Hillary Clinton fund-raiser in the Hamptons. George Pataki is being considered for an ambassadorship.
Free Alfred TaubmanFormer Sotheby’s head Alfred Taubman claims he had no part in the price-fixing scandal that put him in jail in 2002. A cabbie claims Terrence Howard asked a blonde lady friend to engage in a rather disgusting grooming procedure, though Howard’s rep denies it was he. Bono took a private tour of Harvard, perhaps for one of his kids. Tina Brown and Harold Evans threw a dinner party for Helen Mirren. Judith Miller had lunch with Mort Zuckerman. Lindsay Lohan left one club for another because she thought her dad, recently released from prison, was about to show up. More firings may be imminent in CBS’ news division. Natalia McLennan, once dubbed the No. 1 call girl in the city by New York Magazine, is back working as a prostitute.