Alex P. Keaton May Have Made a Sex TapeWeird wiretapper Anthony Pellicano says he knows what Michael J. Fox did back in 1990. Plus, Ashlee Simpson pregnancy rumors persist, Adrian Grenier gets a girlfriend, and more in our daily squeeze of the juice from New York gossip columns.
live from the sixth borough
All Comedy Is Theft30 Rock’s wildly successful reality show MILF Island? Funny, we think we’ve heard that before…
Nobody Messes With Karl LagerfeldKarl Lagerfeld’s bodyguard protects him and Jay-Z from a pesky pap, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt will get $10 million for their baby pictures, Spencer Morgan and Alexis Bryan probably will not, and more in today’s compilation of greatest hits from New York’s gossip columns!
Adam Duritz Probably Should Have Married Jennifer Aniston When He Had the ChanceCounting Crows lead singer Adam Durtiz laments the fact that he’s 43, single, and sits home a lot. Alan Greenspan is worried about the economy, but he can’t be that worried: He celebrated his 82nd birthday the other night with a pricey dinner at Le Perigord. Jimmy Kimmel says he bought his ex-wife an engagement ring from Costco. Bill Clinton says his favorite movie of the year was Michael Clayton, but that he hasn’t seen There Will Be Blood. Defense attorney Mickey Sherman says he uses Otter’s “It’s the system’s fault!” speech from Animal House to justify defending shady clients. Tina Fey thinks she’s funnier than Jon Stewart.
early and often
Clinton’s Barbs Condoned by the Patron Saint of Bitchy Sarcasm, Tina Fey
Above is the terrifyingly shrill clip of Hillary Clinton’s sarcastic comedy routine about Barack Obama that’s been making the rounds today. Some people seem to think the crack, which she delivered at a rally yesterday, is good for her, because it shows her funny side. Other people found it “unattractive.” We kind of found it to be both riveting and appalling at the same time. Also, we can’t help but suspect that Hillary felt empowered to pull the stunt because of Tina Fey’s rather surprising, rabble-rousing Clinton endorsement on Saturday Night Live the day before. We have that video after the jump. Watching both these videos, you kind of have to admit that Tina’s on to something. Bitch may be, in fact, the new black.
Being Filthy Rich Means Never Having to Say You’re SorryFINANCE
• Fortune searches Davos for financiers to express contrition over the current credit crisis but comes up empty. The closest anyone has come, the magazine notes, is the chairman and chief executive of Moody’s Corp, who said, “We and others have to retool our processes In hindsight, it’s clear to us that there were fundamental failures in key assumptions supporting our analytical models.” Quoth Fortune: “That’s probably a little too mealy-mouthed and much too late to console people who bought the mortgage-backed commercial paper to which Moody’s and its rival Standard & Poor’s gave a top-notch AAA rating — only to discover it was actually junk.” Snap! [Fortune]
• Just how big a fraud did Jérôme Kerviel, the rogue French trader, pull off? Before the bank caught him, he had taken out positions worth 50 billion euros. But some argue that he was responsible for only 1.5 billion euros in losses, and the bank’s board lost the other 3.4 billion euros unwinding his positions way too fast. Meanwhile, top executive Jean-Pierre Mustier told the Times: “I was speaking to a competitor, this competitor called me and said, ‘You are living what is a banker’s worst nightmare.’” Imagine how dramatic that must have sounded in French. [FT, NYT]
• Bonuses now in the bank, Goldman rewarded bankers for a record-setting year with a special surprise: layoffs! [Deal Journal/WSJ]
in other news
Tina Fey Confirms Our Suspicions About Paula AbdulMost celebrities these days are all coy when talking about other celebrities, as if they’re all in some dumb fucking version of Skull and Bones society and have to protect each other. It’s all “Cameron is so great, we had so much fun on the set,” and “Did you know that Drew Barrymore never shits ever?” and thus we have to console ourselves with pictures of their cellulite. Fortunately, Tina Fey has taken no vows of silence. Last year, she warmed the cockles of our heart by calling Paris Hilton a “piece of shit” and saying she “looks like a tranny up close.” Now, in Playboy, she confirms our suspicions about Paula Abdul, calling her “awful” and “disastrous … in the way she generally appears to be,” according to Us Weekly, which has an excerpt of the interview on their site. Back in 2005 when Paula co-hosted SNL Fey was pregnant “and probably a little moody,” she told the magazine. “But I remember thinking, ‘She’s a disaster! I gotta prop this lady up and get her on TV.’” It doesn’t really sound like Paula was a big Tina fan, either. Later, they ran into each other on an airplane and simultaneously experienced that thing where you see a celebrity and think it’s someone you know. “We both looked at each other like, ‘Do I know that girl?’” Fey said. “And then we both had that moment of recognition, and she was like, ‘uuuggh.’ I saw it register on her face that she had had a terrible time with us.”
Tina Fey Says Paula Abdul Was Awful As SNL Guest Host [Us Weekly]
Wall Street’s Golden Idols All Have Feet of ClayFINANCE
• The struggle to find a successor at Merrill and Citi demonstrates another big flaw in the current culture of Wall Street: Do-or-die standards, and growing demands on public executives, have left firms with no succession plan and few capable of stepping in to take over. Both firms have been forced to turn outside for help: Laurence Fink, the CEO of BlackRock, has been approached about O’Neal’s old job, while Robert Willumstad and John Thain are in the lead to take Prince’s place. [WSJ]
• Why did Chuck Prince and Stan O’Neal fail? They took Gordon Gecko’s favorite maxim—”I create nothing, I own”—a little too seriously, and forgot the other part of banking is to sell, sell, sell. [NYT]
• Andrew Ross Sorkin dons his Miss Manners cap to explain the rules of corporate courting—and why Stan O’Neal’s worrywart parents, the Merrill Lynch board, were only looking for an excuse when they grounded him for asking Wachovia to “merge.” [NYT]
Graydon Carter Never Gets Any CreditDavid Boies, Al Gore’s lawyer in his recount battle against Bush in 2000, may have taken on Blackwater CEO Erik Prince as a client. The 2008 Zagat’s says that the Waverly Inn is owned by “Grayson Carter.” Deepak Chopra likes telling bad jokes about the president. A random crowd outside the French Institute was invited to watch a screening of Tina Fey’s Baby Mama and enjoyed it. Vince Vaughn hung out at the Rose Bar and the Box on Saturday. Mariah Carey promoted her new perfume at Macy’s Herald Square. Fox Business Network is throwing a launch party tonight at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
‘Gorgeous’ Ben Affleck Skips His Own PremiereBen Affleck slipped out of the premiere of his Gone Baby Gone to go watch the Red Sox game. (Ben says he left because he gets nervous during his screenings. Cindy Adams thinks he’s getting “gorgeouser and gorgeouser”). Fifty of the world’s greatest chefs are having dinner tonight at Le Bernadin to celebrate the book My Last Supper. Le Cirque owner Sirio Maccioni shelled out $7,000 for a 1.1-pound Italian white truffle. Tim Robbins had his birthday party on Tuesday at the Beatrice Inn. Barneys creative director Simon Doonan thought Phillip Bloch had gone blind, though he was actually just preparing for a movie role.
Tina Fey Likes It When Soledad O’Brien Is MeanThe estrogen was flowing nearly as freely as the cocktails at the Marriott Marquis last night, where American Women in Radio and Television brought together lots of, well, women in radio and television for the 32nd annual Gracie Awards. The night’s biggest-name winner was 30 Rock creator Tina Fey, presented with the award for outstanding female lead in a comedy series. Fey told the crowd that she was thrilled to be honored along with her “favorite anchor,” Soledad O’Brien. “I loved Soledad because she always seems like the only other woman on TV who was as overworked and grouchy as I am,” she joked. “You could always see it in her eyes in her promos. She was like, ’American Morning, every day at 6 a.m. 6 a.m.”
‘30 Rock’: Two Thumbs Finally Up, Way Up
Dedicated Daily Intel readers no doubt remember Emily Nussbaum and Adam Sternbergh’s IM review of 30 Rock’s premiere. Emily liked it; Adam not so much. (He likened it to wallpaper.) Five months later, how do their first impressions stand up? They checked in with each other on IM after last night’s episode to find out.
Sternbergh: I’m so excited to tell everyone to run to their TVs and watch 30 Rock — oh, wait. It’s being yanked off the schedule for six weeks.
Nussbaum: Oh, man.
Sternbergh: Didn’t you see the promos for Andy Richter’s new show?
Sternbergh:Andy Barker P.I.?
Nussbaum: No, I was too out of it. Oh, the sorrow of it all.
Nussbaum: People! You’re watching the wrong TV!
Sternbergh: NBC finally comes up with two shows you want to watch.
Sternbergh: And schedules them IN THE SAME TIME SLOT.
‘30 Rock’ Likely to Return, Keeping NYC in the Sitcom Business
Good news for fans of New York City–set TV programming that’s actually produced in New York City: 30 Rock now looks likely to return for a second season. This year, NBC didn’t place a full-season order for Tina Fey’s critically admired but audience-deprived sitcom until December, and its recent ratings in Thursday night’s post-Scrubs slot haven’t been too impressive; in the important 18–49 demo, the show lost more than 25 percent of its lead-in audience last week. But hey, funny is funny, as NBC Entertainment president Kevin Reilly acknowledged yesterday, when he told the TV Critics Association press tour in California that he expects to order another season.
‘30 Rock’: One Thumb UpTina Fey’s 30 Rock, her new sitcom-cum-infomercial about a variety-show writer and the glories of the General Electric Company, debuted last night. Was it any good? As the broadcast ended, New York pop-culture gurus Adam Sternbergh and Emily Nussbaum fired up the IM to discuss.
Sternbergh: So, did you laugh yourself silly?
Nussbaum: Yes! I actually liked it a lot, weirdly. Maybe my expectations were low, but I laughed out loud a bunch.
Sternbergh: Boy, then we’re going to have something to talk about.
Nussbaum: So, you hated it?
Sternbergh: I didn’t hate it. This was my second time seeing it — I also saw the first pilot with Rachel Dratch in the Jane Krakowski role. (Or rather, Dratch in the Dratch role, now played by Jane Krakowski.) Both times, same reaction: pleasant comedic wallpaper.
Nussbaum: I think my low expectations helped. And also the fact that I hate Studio 60: so much.
Nussbaum: I was just plain relieved to find it funny and sort of obnoxious.
Sternbergh: I think at this point we can let the Studio 60: comparisons alone. 30 Rock: is about comedians making comedy, while Studio 60: is about Aaron Sorkin making comedy, which is a whole other ball o’ wax.
Sternbergh: So what exactly did you find funny?