Katie Couric Goes There With Larry KingThe CBS anchor unleashes her inner adolescent boy, JPMorgan wins again, and a big-time lawyer heads to the pokey in our daily roundup of news from the fields of media, finance, and law.
in other news
Sirius Creates Media Circus in Microcosm With Client 9 RadioCan you not get enough of the Spitzer sex scandal? Is the minutiae of the governor’s trysts with hookers that has subsumed pretty much every media outlet for the entire week still somehow not enough? Do you feel that there are some important people, such as deposed publisher Judith Reagan, Wikepedia dumpee Rachel Marsden, and Dennis Hof, owner of Nevada’s Moonlight Bunny Ranch, whose full opinions have not been given their due? Then, friends, we hope you subscribe to Sirius Satellite Radio, which has just announced the creation of Client 9 Radio, a station fully devoted to news and opinion about Eliot Spitzer sex scandal. In addition to the aforementioned pundits, Client 9, which will air tonight and be hosted by Court TV’s Vinnie Politan, will also air the opinions of esteemed figures like John McCain, Alan Dershowitz, and “private eye Vito Colucci.” But most important, they will provide a forum for you, the listener, to join “this national conversation.” So go forth, citizen gossips! Let no crevice go unexplored.
‘Page Six’ Manages to Not Revel in Sarah Jessica Parker’s Failure Sarah Jessica Parker is not confident that her unreleased movie, Spinning Into Butter, will ever see the light of day. Barack Obama and his wife are slated to attend the opening of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Oprah on Thursday. Cosmetics heir Olivia Chantecaille got engaged to banker boyfriend Ren Grady. Gossip Girl’s Blake Lively took a bunch of friends shopping to Armani Exchange on Fifth Avenue. Shake Shack is opening a location on the Upper West Side! Sting, Diddy, and Josh Hartnett all hung out at Half Nelson producer Charlie Corwin’s birthday at Socialista, which is now back open after the hepatitis scare. Michael Musto will appear on the cover of The Village Voice spoofing this magazine’s Lindsay Lohan shoot.
‘Blender’ Gives Britney Spears a New BodyMEDIA
• Britney Spears looks great on the new cover of Blender — too bad it’s not her body. [Radar]
• Stephen Chao, the former News Corp. exec who lost his job after hiring a male stripper for a company party and almost drowning Rupert Murdoch’s dog, announced a new Website for how-to videos. First video: how to get fired in two easy steps. [NYT]
• Now that Judith Regan’s settled her suit with Murdoch, will she give her winnings — likely north of $6.5 million — to charity like she once promised? [Mixed Media/Portfolio]
At Least Sam Zell Is Pragmatic About the Fact That Most Journalists Are Functional AlcoholicsMEDIA
• Sam Zell, the real-estate tycoon turned media mogul, took his brusque, fake-folksy style to his minions at the Tribune with a new employee manual. A few samples: “7.1. If you use or abuse alcohol or drugs and fail to perform the duties required by your job acceptably, you are likely to be terminated. … Coming to work drunk is bad judgment. 7.2. If you do not use or abuse alcohol or drugs and fail to perform the duties required by your job acceptably, you are likely to be terminated.” Also, “You may want to think twice before you enter into an intimate relationship with a co-worker. When you start, it might seem like a good idea. It’s when you stop, or the wrong people find out (and they will) that you could discover that perhaps it wasn’t.” [WP, Tribune]
• Judith Regan on Giuliani: “Is he getting uglier? Is his face looking more twisted? What happened to him?” Don’t feel too bad, Rudy. You know what they say: When someone teases you like this, it means she likes you. [Mixed Media/Portfolio]
• Facebook threatened to revoke Nick Denton’s account after the blog-lord posted pics of Steve Brill’s recent-college-grad daughter Emily. [Gawker, Daily Brief/Portfolio]
Imus Sucker Punches BrokawMEDIA
• Don Imus on Tom Brokaw: “He is not the most courageous person I’ve ever met in my life. He’s not the guy I’d want to be in a foxhole with.” You see, Brokaw didn’t defend Imus when he was down-and-out because of the whole “nappy-headed-hos” incident. Resentment, now that takes courage! [NYP]
• Shocker: CNBC is actually scared shitless of Fox Business News. They’re now asking guests to choose sides, threatening to drop them if they dare to appear on Murdoch’s new down-home network. [Silicon Alley Insider]
• Veteran literary agent Lynn Nesbit wants a new publishing madman: “Even [former Simon & Schuster CEO] Dick Synder is a lot more colorful than [newly departed Simon & Schuster CEO] Jack Romanos, who is now gone. I mean, they had passion, they cared about literature. Even Dick, who’s not an intellectual. He cared. He was a madman … . Who is a madman now in publishing? … It was just different then.” Hi, Lynn, allow us to introduce you to our favorite publishing madwoman, Judith Regan. [Media Mob/NYO]
in other news
Kerik-Regan Pillow Talk Revealed!Now we have a better idea of what pillow talk between Judith Regan and Bernie Kerik might have been like: racist! The city has just settled a suit brought on by Eric Deravin, a former corrections officer who accused Kerik of passing him over for promotions a whopping six times — on the basis of skin color. Of course, this being Kerik, the rest of the story is even weirder: According to the Daily News, Deravin had “successfully fended off a harassment claim lodged by Kerik’s former lover, Correction Officer Jeanette Pinero.” Which, to our uneducated eye, gives Bernie an entirely different motive for fucking him over. But hey, the case is settled, Deravin is $125,000 richer, and we get to call Kerik a racist. Everyone wins? —Michael Idov
Settlement For Former Corrections Officer Who Claims Bernard Kerik Had Race Bias [NYDN]
Earlier: Judith Regan Allegedly Made Anti-Semitic Slur [MSNBC]
white men with money
Ground Zero Not Romantic Enough for Kerik?For a bald, overweight, mustached cop, Bernie Kerik sure got showered with gifts like an 18-year-old concubine. At least that’s the picture emerging from his indictment papers. Today’s Times focuses on a mysterious $250,000 loan from a “wealthy Israeli industrialist” (whom the paper fingers as Eitan Wertheimer, part of Israel’s richest family). We’re more intrigued by the “real estate developer Steven C. Witkoff, who paid more than $236,000 in rent for Mr. Kerik from 2001 to 2003.” Hang on a second — that’s $118,000 in rent a year, which translates to just under ten grand a month. Nice! And that, we’d like to add, is not counting another specially procured apartment of which Kerik had famously availed himself over the same period: a little two-bedroom number with a view of ground zero. —Michael Idov
Kerik Loan Activity Is Brought to Light After Indictment [NYT]
Judith Regan: At What Price, America?MEDIA
• Jeff Bercovici wants to know: “What’s Regan’s price for selling out her country?” After all, if Regan’s info on Giuliani is that damaging, shouldn’t she divulge it in any case, no matter how much Uncle Murdoch is willing to offer? [Mixed Media/Portfolio]
• Dan Rather’s lawyers are getting fed up with CBS nondisclosure agreements. “Who do these guys think they are? The National Security Agency?” [NYO]
• Intrepid Observer reporter spends 45 minutes staring through a window just to see who showed up to a lame Times party. Now that’s journalism! [Media Mob/NYO]
in other news
Guess the Anonymous Regan Quote!Today’s Observer story on the Judith Regan lawsuit offers a good peek into the former publishing magnate’s thought process as she tries to take down HarperCollins, Jane Friedman, Rupert Murdoch, and even Rudy Giuliani. The salmon paper reveals that at the start of all of this, the wannabe If I Did It publisher was offered $6.5 million to settle, but she turned it down. They even talk to Judith herself! Her quotes are actually sort of tepid and unrelated to the case, which makes sense, as she’s probably banned by her lawyers from talking about it. But there are a lot of quotes by people who are “familiar” with her thinking and with the lawsuit. So let’s play a game! Which of the below quotes from unnamed “sources” are actually from Regan herself, dementedly speaking in the third person?
• “The men don’t want a woman who can outshine them,” one source with knowledge of Ms. Regan’s thinking told the Observer. “They want women who can look up to them and bat their eyelashes. But honestly? She was more interesting than they were. She had a better life. She had more creativity. Men want to be on top.”
Stan O’Neal Disinvited to the Literal and Figurative PartyFINANCE
• Stan O’Neal wasn’t invited to a big Merrill Lynch reunion party thrown by Evelyn Juan, the son of a Merrill founder. Guess Stan will just have to drink himself to sleep in his board-provided office. [DealBreaker]
• Goldman’s unbelievable success is forcing all the other top banks to dig deep into the honey pot and pay out a record-setting $38 billion in bonuses, despite losing $74 billion in market value. Goldman, of course, accounts for almost half of the bonus pool. Let’s just say it’s good to be Goldman. [Deal Journal/WSJ, Bloomberg]
• Steve Schwarzman spared no expense for his son’s wedding and the tab ran to $150,000, including a $20,000 BBQ supper, $7,000 for drinks, and $50,000 to rent an entire hotel and keep the riffraff out. Still pales in comparison to Schwarzman’s $3 million birthday bash. [NYP]
Rove, Regan and Rather: Crazy? Or Crazy Like Foxes?MEDIA
• How did Judith Regan’s high-level lawyers let her bat-shit-crazy legal complaint get through? Oh that’s right, she’s Judith Regan. [Legal Pad/Fortune]
• CBS finally got around to filing their motion to dismiss Dan Rather’s suit. The network claims they are “mystified” by Rather’s “bizarre allegations,” and that the lawsuit amounts to a “regrettable attempt by plaintiff Dan Rather to remain in the public eye, and to settle old scores and perceived slights, based on an array of far-fetched allegations.” [NYO]
• Karl Rove signed on to become a regular contributor to Newsweek. Maybe they should consider changing their slogan to “fair and balanced”? [Mixed Media/Portfolio]
in other news
Judith Regan: Still Got It!By now everyone in the world knows that Judith Regan, the ex-publisher who almost brought you O.J.’s If I Did It, is suing her former bosses at HarperCollins; it’s all a part of her professed desire to make her life “smaller, not bigger.” (Also part of the spotlight-reducing plan: recording a cover of “My Way,” writing about it in Harper’s Bazaar, and sending an mp3 of it to Gawker.) But it turns out the lawsuit might have implications beyond the publishing beehive. At issue is Regan’s much-documented affair with Bernie Kerik, infamously conducted atop the Shroud of Turin in an apartment near ground zero reserved for first responders.
in other news
Judith Regan Loves Karaoke, Just Like Us!This morning, the Daily News ran an excerpt from a first-person Harper’s Bazaar article by Judith Regan, in which the former editor announces that she’s going to start staying out of the spotlight. Hidden at the bottom of the News summary was a reference to an evening where Regan, licking her wounds from the bad publicity of her O.J. Simpson If I Did It book debacle, ducks into a karaoke bar in Chinatown and belts out Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.” Of course, we were dying to hear more about this anecdote, and not just because we’re pretty sure we’ve sang that exact song in that exact bar. So we tracked down a pdf of the article to read more:
During the ordeal, my friends stood by me. Blair Sabol made bracelets in support of me. Kate Li, with whom I used to sing in the Vassar Madrigals, traveled to visit me in New York in August. We wandered into a karaoke bar in Chinatown. It was crowded, full of young people who couldn’t sing, and thankfully too noisy to really hear anyone. I’d studied voice as a young woman but always hated performing. For the first time in my life, I didn’t have stage fright. The song we sang was “My Way.”
Judith Regan Says Murdoch’s Wife Smacks Him AroundA diner at the Waverly Inn overheard Judith Regan claiming that Rupert Murdoch is regularly hit by wife Wendi. Marilyn Manson may or may not have been asking for coke and Adderall in the bathroom of Bette last week. Helena Christensen’s 7-year-old son, Mingus, is a chess genius. Howard Stern thinks Beth Ostrosky has invited too many people to their wedding. Lance Armstrong chatted with Blackstone’s Pete Peterson at the Four Seasons. Cindy Adams claims that Colin Powell told friends that he sympathizes with General Petraeus but that he’s “digging his own foxhole” (or some approximation thereof).
in other news
O.J.’s Book Set to Drag Us Through the Whole Mess Again, AgainIn a discomfiting turn of events, the family of murder victim Ron Goldman has decided to publish O.J. Simpson’s book If I Did It, the fictionalized tell-all from Simpson’s perspective about what happened the night Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson were killed. We’ve been waiting all day to hear which New York publishing company will reap the benefits, but thus far, no announcement. Last month, the Goldmans were awarded the rights to the book by a federal judge, since they are owed $33.5 million in damages by the former football star. It will be published with “commentary” from the family. The book’s agent is Sharlene Martin, who made a name for herself by repping celebrity tell-alls like You’ll Never Nanny in This Town Again (by Michael Ovtiz’s angry former nanny) and the unsold This Used to Be My Playground (by Madonna’s angry former nanny). Whatever publishing house prints the book should hire Martin, because she understood what Judith Regan never did: You can’t write books about killing people unless the surviving families get in on the deal. Duh.
New York Company to Publish O.J. Simpson Book [Reuters]
Did You Hear the One About the iPhone Nano?FINANCE
• A JP Morgan analyst got canned for writing a report about a fictional Apple product, the iPhone Nano. [Apple 2.0 via DealBreaker]
• Using the screen name Rahodeb, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey posted on Yahoo Finance bulletin boards to bash competitor Wild Oats. [Deal Journal/WSJ]
• The SEC tries to reclaim authority over hedge funds by writing rules allowing the agency to sue for misleading investors. [Bloomberg]
Regan Outfoxes News Corp.?Judith Regan has secret tapes that may help her $20 million lawsuit against Rupert Murdoch. The Land Rovers and helicopters used to launch a new Ralph Lauren cologne may have disturbed a community of East Hampton piping plovers. Cindy Adams, who has a vendetta against Larry David because he dissed her once, claims that Laurie had been stepping out on him for quite some time (and that he’s being set up with Ellen Barkin). Olivia Newton-John really liked Xanadu. OK! dropped $400,000 on sex pics of Nick Lachey and Vanessa Minnillo, but the mag won’t publish them. Claire Danes may have landed the lead in the Pygmalion revival because the director directed her boyfriend in Journey’s End. Annie Leibowitz angered the Queen of England by asking her to remove her crown during a photo shoot.
Don’t Cry for Us, O.J. SimpsonO.J. Simpson had a ghostwriter for his never-released memoir, If I Did It (who’d have thunk it!) and even practiced a crying scene for his TV interview with Judith Regan. Barry Bonds’s ex-mistress, who has alleged that the slugger has used steroids, is shopping a tell-all and nude pictorial. Enrique Iglesias wishes he were gay. Nathan Lane wants to start a heterosexual pride parade, with George W. Bush as grand marshal. Jay McInerney is sick of telling people he broke his foot chasing after a taxi. Madonna didn’t invite Janet Jackson to sit at her booth at Butter, though she did hang out with Shakira. Also: Ashton, Demi, and Penélope were there. The flowers at the Waldorf-Astoria wedding of billionaire Russian heiress Angelina Anisimova and real-estate developer Ryan Freedman cost $1 million. John McCain didn’t wash his hands before leaving a restroom in East Hampton.
Merrill Lynch Better Get Over That Case of the MondaysFINANCE
• Good-bye, long weekends at the Hamptons. Merrill Lynch employees now have just three sick days a year, down from an unimaginable 40. [DealBook/NYT]
• At Renaissance Technologies, no traders and analysts need apply. The hedge fund hires only physicists, mathematicians, astronomers, and computer scientists. [Reuters via Deal Breaker]
• Some notable Wall Street wives (Mrs. Leon Black, Mrs. Steven Roth, and Mrs. Carter McClelland, to name a few) backed the recent flop Coram Boy, the most expensive play ever staged on Broadway. [DealJournal/WSJ]
Jim Cramer, Manipulator?FINANCE
• Mad Money host Jim Cramer (and New York columnist) recalls his good old days of stock manipulation. [YouTube via NYP]
• Activist shareholder Evelyn Y. Davis demands that the board of Goldman Sachs stop distributing stock options immediately. [DealBook/NYT]
• Wannabe buyer attacks Smith & Wollensky CEO, claiming that accepting another, lower bid would personally benefit Alan Stillman. [Crain’s]
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.
Presumably It’s a Pay-Per-View AudienceDon King will meet the Pope on March 21. Sarah Jessica Parker is launching a low-end fashion line. Judith Regan is in China signing a TV deal. New Line execs want Jake Gyllenhaal to play Captain Marvel, but they’ll have to get to him before he’s tapped for Spider-Man 3. Sushi joint Bond St is closing for a month due to an electrical fire. Jennifer Hudson and American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino hit the clubs in Chicago. The weekly paper City Hall asked pundits to nickname presidential candidates, and Ed Koch called Hillary Clinton “Lady Godiva,” though he meant Lady Guinevere.
A Second Life for Regan’s ‘7’Judith Regan may be gone from the publishing world (at least for now), but her projects live on (at least for now). Last we heard about her orphaned volumes of controversy, an attention-seeking Canadian publisher was proclaiming its interest in bringing out O.J.’s confession. (Not, you know, that anyone asked, or that they held rights to it.) Today’s news, buried as a squib in the Times, is that Lyons Press, a division of Globe Pequot, has agreed to publish 7: The Mickey Mantle Novel, another controversial project from the late-Regan period. The pub date has yet to be announced, and the print run is pegged at 250,000. “I think all the negative publicity came from people who haven’t read it,” Gene Brissie, Globe Pequot’s associate publisher, told the Times, perhaps a touch aggressively. Of course, as New York’s Vanessa Grigoriadis reported a few weeks ago, the Mantle book — and not the disastrous O.J. project — is what really got Regan fired from HarperCollins. So we can imagine why Brissie would be playing a strong defense.
7, Mantle Novel, Finds a Publisher [NYT]
Even Bitches Have Feelings [NYM]
That Big Party You Kept Reading Stephen Schwarzman Was Planning? He Had ItWall Street buyout king Stephen Schwarzman threw a party at the Park Avenue Armory. It cost $3 million. Lydia Hearst is only giving away her limited-edition purses to “role models”; Britney Spears asked for one at last week’s Heatherette show but was turned down. An executive assistant at Jive Records was fired for using interns to sell pre-release Justin Timberlake albums at $50 a pop. Registered nurse Judi Giuliani helped out a sick passenger on an airplane. Bill and Hillary are having Valentine’s Day dinner at a secret location tonight. Mario Batali won a lawsuit against his landlord at Del Posto. Paris Hilton will celebrate her birthday this Saturday with Nicole Richie and Snoop Dogg.
in other news
Regan by the Numbers: This Time, ‘Vanity Fair’Excuse us if our English major past compels us to notice that, in the extensive coverage of the decline and fall of Judith Regan, there are by now certain recurring themes emerging. We’re not entirely sure why — either certain Judith peccadilloes make the best copy, or reporters are lazy, or the woman really only does six things — but in the new Vanity Fair, Michael Wolff’s latest addition to the genre hews strictly to the storyline. Indeed, there’s no need to read the article; we’ll tell you the latest updates on the standard plotlines.
in the magazine
Five More Things You Didn’t Know About Judith ReganLast week we learned that recently deposed book editor Judith Regan kept all sorts of weird things in her office, including clothes, her kids’ report cards, and an enormous portrait of herself. In this week’s New York, Vanessa Grigoriadis tells us so much more about the woman:
1. While all the O.J.-Jews-firing saga was going on, Regan was on a 21-day liquid fast — no chewing allowed! — that allowed her to eat only an “infusion of berry drinks, enzyme shots, hot tea, live juice, and a once-a-day treat of soup — a mélange of carrots, sweet potatoes, and spinach puréed in the Cuisinart.”
in other news
Left Behind: Editors-in-Chief Are Different From You and Me EditionThing’s You’d Find in Our Office If We Were Fired
Desk drawer: Post-its, rubber bands, tampon, CapitalOne bill, draft of resume
Shoved in closet: All papers belonging to previous resident of office
Tacked to wall: Picture of ex (forgot to take down)
Things HarperCollins Found in Judith Regan’s Office After She Was Fired
Desk drawer: Financial statements, will, children’s report cards, divorce papers
Shoved in closet: Clothing, unopened Christmas gifts
Hung on wall: 30-foot high painting of Judith Regan
Pinup Emotions Surface in Wake of Regan’s Firing [NYDN]
Rupert Knows Whether Judith Regan’s Kids Are Actually Honor StudentsLawyers for HarperCollins are in possession of Judith Regan’s financial statements, will, divorce papers, photographs of her children, unopened Christmas gifts, and a 20-by-30-foot painting of her, among other things. Because she left them all at that office. Ralph Ellison didn’t like Norman Mailer and his beat pals because they reduced the world to sex. As Harvey Weinstein was buying the rights to her movie, Mandy Moore was making out with D.J. AM. Hugo Chavez tried to meet Gisele when they were both in Rio, but she shot him down. Owen Wilson hung out with Kate Hudson in Australia.
in other news
You’ve Never Heard of Robert Loomis, and That’s the PointIs it our imagination, or have we been noticing an uptick lately in glowing profiles of old-school book editors? (Maybe we’re just projecting: We’ve only read Bennett Cerf’s At Random, oh, eight times.) Today’s Times brings the recap of another ceremony, this one honoring the 50-year career of Random House’s Robert Loomis, who counts among his authors William Styron, Maya Angelou, and Calvin Trillin. As profiles go, it’s pretty straightforward: a roundup of Loomis’s cute editing quirks, reminiscences of an era before bloated auctions and editorial meetings — really? no meetings in the good old days? — and sighs for the days when an editor could merely, you know, edit, rather than being a multimedia star. It’s charming boilerplate, all of it, but we’re more interested in why the media is suddenly obsessed with attending the publishing industry’s version of a Kiwanis send-off. Are newspapers for some reason desperately trying to remove Eau de Regan from the publishing world? (We’re pretty sure the lede “Robert Loomis has never been fired” doesn’t refer to the days before downsizing.) And, if so, we’re eagerly awaiting fawning profiles of every editorial assistant who’s managed not to scream anti-Semitic rants into the phone.
A Career in Letters, 50 Years and Counting [NYT]
Earlier: Forget the Columbia Course; Aspiring Editors Should Work on Farms
Breaking: Less Than Pure Ethics at the ‘Post’!Conflict of interest alert! The Post’s state editor, Fredric U. Dicker, has been getting paid to make speeches by the New York Bankers Association. Citigroup’s head of wealth management, Todd Thomson, left the firm yesterday, perhaps because he flew his friends around too often on the corporate jet. The Bachelor’s Lorenzo Borghese is dating the show’s runner-up, but he also hit on Tinsley Mortimer’s sister Dabney. Jared Leto got angry and Sienna Miller partied with Diddy and Josh Hartnett at Sundance. Also, Jared Leto was not pleased to hear that fellow Scarlett Johansson pal Justin Timberlake was to perform at a party he was at. Jay McInerney and Anne Hearst celebrated their marriage in Palm Beach with a gaggle of society folk.
in other news
O.J. on O.J.: Bad; Wolcott on O.J. on O.J.: GoodAs pleasingly intriguing as it is to realize that a few stray copies of O.J. Simpson’s If I Did It are floating around, we’re even more pleased that one landed in the capable hands of Vanity Fair columnist James Wolcott. So, James, was the ReganBooks fiasco worth the ensuing scandal? His answer, it seems: Not so much. In a review-cum-condemnation posted to VF.com today, Wolcott is most struck by the banality of the allegedly incendiary material, noting that O.J.’s story is a “suave void” in which the running back turned movie star presents himself as a passive figure in his marriage and the murders, only slightly less inert than ghostwriter Pablo Fenvjes’s prose. Don’t think that means you shouldn’t read the review itself, though. Even if O.J. isn’t able to spin more than a yawn-yarn from his story of a wife-beating marriage, double murder, and Trial of the Century, Wolcott’s toss-offs, like his gloriously alliterative contortion — “a shameless yet ingeniously opaque cockteaser of a cash-in confessional (who knew a book about a double homicide could be so flipping coy?)” — are the closest this case will ever get to poetic justice.
Murder, He Wrote (Sort Of) [VF.com]
in other news
O.J. Simpson Made $1.2 Million Not to Publish a Book or Appear on TVOkay, there’s one more O.J.-Judith wrinkle today worth mentioning (and, boy, do we hope it’s the last one). Court TV got hold of Simpson’s If I Did It contract with HarperCollins, part of a lawsuit Fred Goldman filed to try to recover the money Simpson owes after losing the 1997 wrongful-death suit. Slate’s Timothy Noah, together with some unnamed literary-agent friends of his, examined the document and finds some interesting points. According to Noah, under the terms of the agreement, Simpson is already owed at least $780,000, even though the book was pulped. He may be due $95,000 more, depending on whether a book is considered “published” when it’s shipped from the warehouse or when it’s rung up at the cash register. He’s also owed $400,000 for the unaired If I Did It TV special, because the contract stipulated he would be paid for being interviewed, whether or not the interview aired. Finally, Simpson apparently wanted to sign the contact under an assumed name and stipulated he would sign as “Sam Jones,” perhaps taking the name from the sixties Celtics star. Despite that clause, the contract doesn’t actually bear that signature: In what might have been the company’s only smart move in this transaction, they insisted O.J. sign his own name.
O.J.’s Book Contract [Slate]
Hollywood Heat Exclusive: Contract Details Payments Between Simpson and HarperCollins [Court TV]
in other news
ReganBooks to Die; Future Uncertain for Distasteful Stories of Sports Stars’ ExploitsAnother day, another chapter in the O.J. Simpson–Judith Regan debacle. (We’ll once again insert an offensive “This story won’t die!” so you don’t have to.) Numerous outlets are reporting that as of March 1, Judith Regan’s HarperCollins imprint, ReganBooks, will be folded into HarperCollins proper, with books from her division bearing the interim imprint “HC.” Her L.A. headquarters — she moved her operation to California last year, so as to better cross-market TV and film projects — will be shuttered, with five senior staff members returning to New York and ten employees being let go. While most of the 100 books signed by ReganBooks will transfer over to HarperCollins, one more casualty will be Peter Golenbock’s 7: The Mickey Mantle Novel, a planned salty, eww-inducing “fictionalization” of the baseball player’s bedroom exploits. We have no idea if the future HC will continue publishing a controversial, ReganBooks-style list, but O.J. and Mickey’s fates make at least one thing clear: You should probably pitch your unseemly tales of former sports greats’ exploits elsewhere for the next little while.
ReganBooks to Shut Down After Firing of Its Creator [NYT]
Former O.J. Publisher’s Imprint to be Dissolved [MSNBC]
Regan’s Staff: Down and Out in Santa Monica
Judith Regan likely won’t be the only person to lose her job in the If I Did It fallout: Her imbroglio with HarperCollins leaves a dozen loyal New York publishing types stranded in Los Angeles. Six months ago, Regan relocated her imprint from Harper HQ in Manhattan to sunny Santa Monica so that she could more easily work on cross-platform, book-related movie and TV projects. (Yay, synergy!) She uprooted her publishing, marketing, and editorial staffers from Manhattan, and they headed west as recently as October, signing apartment and car leases and learning to call highways “freeways.” Then Regan got the ax. Now her bagel-craving staffers are spending their days on a half-floor in a gorgeous Santa Monica office building, praying for a lucrative severance deal from HarperCollins, which presumably won’t keep the pricey office open. “We’re just waiting to hear from corporate,” says one staffer. “We thought there would be an announcement last Friday, but there wasn’t.” Erin Crum, a HarperCollins spokesperson in New York, says only that the office’s fate will be decided “at the appropriate time.” —Arianne Cohen
Madonna Does Not Live Up to Angelina’s StandardsAngelina Jolie questions Madonna’s adoption practices, when hers seem to be just as suspect. The publisher of Tom DeLay’s book isn’t exactly sure how to market it. Bridie Clark’s debut novel, Because She Can, is, like, about Judith Regan. Geraldo Rivera dared Keith Olbermann to fight him, and Olbermann accepted the challenge. (No word yet on when they’ll rumble.) Spielberg and Scorsese and Cruz and Eastwood all attended the National Board of Review event at Cipriani. Parker Posey admits she doesn’t take the National Board of Review Awards seriously, says “I’m rambling.” Paris Hilton accomplice Kim Kardashian may have a sex tape, and, if so, is likely involved in its distribution. Mandy Moore and DJ AM: “It’s pretty new, but they look cute.” Richard Gere rallied sex workers at an AIDS awareness event in Mumbai. “Page Six” calls Leigh Haber, an editor at Rodale, the next Judith Regan. Ivana made a particularly insensitive comment about war-torn Lebanon, even for a Trump. Remember when “Page Six” called Bono a drunk yesterday? Yeah, they were wrong.
in other news
Judith Regan Stopped in the Nick of Time?So who was embattled, mezuzah-violating, rat-metaphorizing book publisher Judith Regan about to sign just before she was fired? According to Mediabistro’s GalleyCat, none other than the most famous power-lifter, tennis champion, tango lover, spy, and Yalie ever to apply for an i-banking job and hit YouTube: Aleksey Vayner.
You know who he is, right? If not, go read up. And then tally another reason why Rupert made the right call.
For Judith Regan, Impossible is Nothing [GalleyCat]
Previous Incident Reported Involving a Fired Publisher [NYT]
Rodentia? We Hardly Even Know Ya!Sources claim Judith Regan often compared Jews to “rats” and “rodentia,” but Regan (and her lawyer) deny it. Anybody who is anybody (Harold Ford! Harvey Weinstein! Taki Theodoracopolous!) has been spotted eating at Graydon Carter’s friendly neighborhood joint, the Waverly Inn. Madonna is keen on adopting another child from Malawi, though her husband, Guy Ritchie, is not. Josh Hartnett is in an open relationship with Scarlett Johannson, which is why it’s okay he was making out with Gisele Saturday night. PayPal dumped Vincent Gallo after he tried to sell more than, uh, T-shirts on his Website. John Mara, son of late, great Giants owner Wellington, got fired from a broadcast-booth job in 1978 for slamming his fist and knocking over equipment. Adam Levine allegedly got drunk and brought three girls back to his room at the Mercer, though his rep denies it. Republican fund-raiser Georgette Mosbacher had both Dems and GOPers over for dinner at her swank Fifth Avenue digs Tuesday. Ludacris ate with Cosmo’s Kate White at Michael’s. Hugh Jackman once gave his sister a stick of deodorant for Christmas. Liz Smith claims she’s responsible for the new Rocky getting made.
in other news
If You Spun It, Here’s How It Would Have Happened
Now that we know Judith Regan was fired from HarperCollins over a volley of anti-Semitic remarks, it strikes us that with the recent bumper crop of Great Moments in Racism — Michael Richards–gate, Rosie-gate, Mel Gibson Über alles — our culture has found a new cottage industry: Awesome excuses for Great Moments in Racism. And nearly all of them have shown up already in the Regan affair. After the jump, a cheat sheet for spinning your next ching chong.
in other news
Murdoch to Regan: J’accuse!Oh, see? Now it all makes sense. It’s not that Judith Regan was fired for offending Rupert Murdoch’s notoriously delicate sensibilities by trying to publish a faux-confessional by O.J. Simpson. Today comes the news that Regan was fired for offending Murdoch’s deep commitment promoting civil discourse by tossing off a few anti-Semitic remarks in a fight with lawyers. Reports the Times:
Rupert Murdoch personally ordered the dismissal of Judith Regan, the publisher of a widely criticized O. J. Simpson book, after he heard reports of a heated conversation Ms. Regan had with a company lawyer on Friday that included comments that were deemed anti-Semitic, according to two people familiar with the News Corporation’s account of the firing.
Mark Jackson, a lawyer with HarperCollins, a division of the News Corporation that includes Ms. Regan’s imprint, reported the alleged comments from a phone conversation with Ms. Regan to Jane Friedman, HarperCollins’s president and chief executive.
“And then Jane called Rupert and Rupert said he won’t tolerate that kind of behavior,” said one of the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Think of it as Murdoch’s Hanukkah present to the Jews. (Query to research department.: Any cable or satellite deals currently pending in Israel?)
Fired Editor’s Remarks Said to Have Provoked Murdoch [NYT]
the morning line
Cops and Yoko
• The NYPD is developing a scary trend in the people-killing arena. Another man, this one in the Bronx, was fatally shot by the cops last night — four times and at very close range, witnesses say. He was armed, at least. [amNY]
• Both tabloids lead with Yoko Ono’s extortion news, which we reported yesterday; today’s added value is the following tidbit: The driver claims that rock’s First Widow is just trying to stop him from proceeding with a valid sexual-harassment case against her. Eww. [NYP]
• It’s hard to top If I Did It, so Judith Regan’s next book project is a “biographical novel” about Mickey Mantle. Tame enough, except it calls Billy Martin a rapist and includes fictional scenes of Mantle sexin’ Marilyn Monroe, who just “lies there staring at him.” [NYDN]
• The Times continues its disturbing — and sometimes darkly hilarious — series on New York’s deranged small-town justice. In this one, a judge sentences young male cons to “judge’s probation,” which involves them hanging out with him, driving his car, and, in one case, moving in with him. [NYT]
• And Peter Boyle is dead at 71. Judging from the headlines, the press seems intent on remembering this fantastic character actor (one of John Lennon’s best friends, by the way) as the dad on Everybody Loves Raymond, to which we can only respond: Go rent Taxi Driver. Now. [WNBC]