Ashley Alexandra Dupré Continues to Haunt New YorkReal celebrities are riled by sightings of Eliot’s lady friend; Simon Doonan gets his own TV show and pretty people buy expensive homes in our daily roundup of the news from New York’s best gossip columns.
Lies and the Lying Arabs Who Tell ThemMEDIA
• The 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]
in other news
After ‘WSJ’ Deal Closes, Will Pam and Jim at Least Get Together?As the shadow of Murdoch begins to loom over Dow Jones, the offices of The Wall Street Journal are turning into the set of The Office. At least according to today’s Times, which depicts the Journal staff reduced to a very familiar kind of gallows humor and passive-aggressive sniping. Some have been answering phones with a cheery “News Corporation!” Others, getting ready to mock the boss, have begun to mimic Rupe’s Australian accent, the same way every Californian in 2004 had an Ah-nuld impersonation. A cryptic “I fly with Leslie” poster, noticed by the Times reporter, translates to a statement of defiance: Leslie Hill, a former pilot, is a Bancroft who’s against the deal. Even the bureau chiefs are getting into the populist-outrage humor: “We will have Page 3 girls,” announced one after a conference call with Murdoch, referring to the cheesecake shots his London Sun publishes. “But in a concession, they will be dot drawings.” And it’ll only get worse: Wait till they find out they’ll be merging with the Stamford office.
Murdoch’s Arrival Worries Journal Employees [NYT]
Jacko PornoMichael Jackson is trying to reclaim a trove of Jacko memorabilia set to be auctioned off this month, some of which is pornographic in nature. Lindsay Lohan and “boyfriend” Calum Best got into a shouting match at the Soho Grand. Jerry Hall called Mick Jagger cheap. Billionaire David Koch boasted that he had graduated college when his wife was only six weeks old. The Office star Jenna Fischer slipped and fractured four bones in her back at Buddakan, but she’s okay now. Charles Barkley thinks Don Imus should just have been suspended, not fired. Top Chef contestant Sam Talbot backed out of his deal to open a gastropub on the Lower East Side.
Odd CouplingsTwo men bought a date with New York Giant Michael Strahan at an auction. Denise Richards and Richie Sambora finally split. Bruce Willis is dating a 23-year-old Playmate. Former HBO exec Chris Albrecht went out on the town with the girl he allegedly assaulted. The Office stars Rashida Jones and John Krasinski may be dating again.
Ricky Gervais Writes ‘The Office,’ But Is It Any Different?
The British were coming! The British were coming! And this time we colonials were looking forward to it. Last night’s episode of The Office — the American version, airing on NBC — was written by Ricky Gervais, the creator of the original, British version of the show, and his writing partner, Stephen Merchant. It was a big moment for TV-comedy geeks — but did it live up to the anticipation? New York’s very own TV-comedy geeks, Adam Sternbergh and Emily Nussbaum, tuned in to find out.
Nussbaum: So, what’d you think?
Nussbaum: You’re a huge Office fan, no?
Sternbergh: I am, it’s true.
Sternbergh: Like most, I like the American one but revere the British one.
Sternbergh: So it was nice, for one night, to be able to put aside the international squabbling
Nussbaum: Yes, it’s good to shut our ears to the war and enjoy one night of laughter.
Nussbaum: Oh, you mean because it was written by Ricky Gervais.
Sternbergh: Even though I know he’s the exec producer of the U.S. one and a professed fan, I still like to think that the two casts hate each other and might one day have a rumble
Sternbergh: Gareth would definitely be an asset in that case
Nussbaum: Like in the Michael Jackson “Bad” video?
Sternbergh: Exactly. But with more neckties.
Nussbaum: So, did this episode have a distinctive Gervaisian flavor to you?