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 Viacom Freelancers, Neither Happiness Nor Health for ChristmasMEDIA
• Viacom screws over its army of freelancers by rolling back benefit programs drastically. Merry Christmas! [MixedMedia/Portfolio]
• The Washington Post is sending veteran reporter and inveterate partier Keith Richburg to town to take over the paper’s New York bureau. He’s well known for throwing parties with, get this, as many as 30 people! Will Manhattan will be able to handle it? [NYO]
• No holiday party at Time Inc. or the New York Times. Suckas! [Radar]
‘Times’ Editorial Chief Andy Rosenthal, UnpluggedMEDIA
• Incoming Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes may well spin off the company’s huge cable unit, but a sale of Time Inc. looks unlikely since the small potential proceeds (and big tax penalty) would little benefit a company of Time Warner’s size. [NYT]
• Times editorial-page editor Andy Rosenthal calls all executive editors, including Bill Keller and his own father, crazy. Sweet. [Radar]
• Rupert Murdoch is confirming to all his friends he plans to bring in Times of London editor Robert Thomson to become the Journal’s publisher as part of an “Aussie invasion” in the first few months of next year. [Guardian via Media Mob/NYO]
Alan Greenspan: ‘Not My Fault’FINANCE
• Alan Greenspan says don’t blame him for the credit crisis. He may not have understood the dangers until recently, but the former Fed chief claims there’s nothing he could have done. [NYP]
• Who needs Wall Street 2 when Gordon Gekko is already back in the guise of Steve Schwarzman? The Blackstone founder just bought a big stake in a firm called BlueStar, the same name as the central company in the original Wall Street. [DealBook/NYT]
• Big surprise: Funds that invest in Vice typically do far better than those that insist on Virtue. [NYT]
Another Buyer Interested in Dow JonesMEDIA
• Brian Tierney, the ad executive who bought the Philadelphia Inquirer, is interested in bidding on Dow Jones. [DealBook/NYT]
• Women’s Wear Daily is the latest paper to sell ads on its front page; the crass commercialism doesn’t seem to bother anyone these days. [NYT]
• The Newspaper Guild of New York (representing Time, Fortune, Fortune Small Business, Money, People, and Sports Illustrated) accuses Time Inc. of bargaining in bad faith. [Romenesko]
Picking On Little ArthurIn his new memoir, former Time Inc. editor-in-chief Norm Pearlstine accuses New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger of being more concerned with publicity than with the law during the Judith Miller saga. (Of course, Pearlstine was concerned with neither, happily capitulating to the prosecutor!) Tom Brady and Gisele went to Easter Mass in Little Italy. Disgraced former Miss USA Tara Conner has left New York for L.A. Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds now seem to be an item. Socialite Dori Cooperman was arrested and charged after she allegedly stole and cashed a $4,300 check. A Gawker editor had a tough time handling Jimmy Kimmel’s questions on Larry King Live. Giada De Laurentiis may be one of Tiki Barber’s co-hosts on the Today show.
More Bad News for Time Inc.The cafeteria at Time Inc. has a rodent and plumbing problem. Arnold Schwarzenegger is considering running for Senate. Nobu partner Drew Nieporent just opened Mai House, a Vietnamese eatery on Franklin Street, says Cindy Adams. (Actually, Cindy, he opened it a few months ago.) Some snobby Columbia students were disappointed that alum Matthew Fox was chosen to speak at graduation. Howard Stern filmed a naked basketball segment with porn stars for his TV show. Martha Stewart is not fond of the courtroom sketch artist who drew her.
• Turns out models can speak — at least in Ridley Scott’s new Prada movie. [Fashionista]
• Bottega Veneta has designed the interior of a penthouse suite at the St. Regis. [British Vogue]
• Model Paulina Porizkova has joined the cast of Dancing With the Stars. [Flypaper]
• Naomi Campbell left Premier Models, where she’s spent most of her career, for IMG. [All Company News]
Proenza Schouler Shoots Too Early at TargetFASHION
• Proenza Schouler’s Target line was available online for four hours yesterday (three days before its official debut), causing mass Internet shopper hysteria. [Fashionista]
• Snejana Onopka, one of the poster girls for the current Save the Models movement, is rumored to be skipping New York Fashion Week. [FlyPaper]
• Jordan Scott, former designer at Betsey Johnson and child of the East Village, will launch his first collection during Fashion Week. [British Vogue]
Time Inc. Staffers (Who Didn’t Lose Jobs) Lose Cheap CDs
As if a few hundred layoffs weren’t bad enough, there’s more bad news this week for Time Inc.-ers: The company announced it’s shuttering the Time Inc. Bookstop, a fixture on the second floor of the Time & Life Building, in March. A company-wide memo noted that “many nearby and online shops” provide “alternatives for purchasing cards, books, music, and DVDs,” which is true enough. But the Bookstop offered special prices on company merchandise and holds a special place in the hearts of those who recall that 1989 merger of Time Inc. and Warner Bros., when the store began selling CDs from all the Warner-affiliated record labels at absurdly low prices — as low as $6. No cash was required; by flashing their I.D. cards, company workers could stock up on old Neil Young or Talking Heads discs or pick up the latest from Madonna or Prince, and have the bill deducted directly from their next paycheck. But those days are gone, and Warner Bros. Records isn’t even part of Time Warner anymore. Still, for anyone who ever worked there — including, disclosure, this reporter — it’s a demise as saddening as Tower’s. —David Browne
Uniqlo’s Success Brings More Japanese RetailFASHION
• Following the ultrasuccessful debut of Uniqlo, Japanese store Muji to open two stores in NYC. [WWD]
• Libertine settled its copyright-infringement suit against knockoff king Allen Schwartz. [Downtown Darling]
• Tyra Banks gains weight, laments fashion’s unreasonable expectations. [People]
• Merrill’s top brass gave themselves a big ($172 million) pat on the back for a job well done in 2006. [WSJ ]
• Venture capitalists invested $2 billion in 249 companies in the New York area last year, up 18 percent from 2005. It was the highest level of funding since 2001, when the Internet broke. [Crain’s]
• If increasing the size of the biggest leverage buyout bid in history doesn’t make Stephen Schwarzman sweat, the Blackstone Group should be just fine. [DealBook]
in other news
Here’s Looking at YouLast year, Time Inc. laid off hundreds and hundreds of workers from all different departments and publications. This year, the mag giant has been trying to sell off a whole division. And now comes news that 27 consumer-marketing employees were laid off yesterday. It almost makes you wonder who’s left to keep the place running.
And then suddenly Time’s whole “You Control the Information Age” Person of the Year thing makes sense. Head’s up, You: You start Monday.
Holiday Hatchet Handiwork at Time Inc. [NYP]
Earlier: You’re the ‘Time’ Person of the Year, and Joel Stein Has Penis Envy