It should be a pretty fun day over at the New Paramount (motto: "Maintaining a Scandal-to-Release Ratio of 3:1 Since Early 2005"), where an examination of studio boss Brad Grey's connections to illegal wiretapper Anthony Pellicano (who was hired by Grey's Scary Hollywood Lawyer, Bert Fields) landed on page one of the NY Times today, the Hollywood equivalent of arriving to work on Monday morning and finding one's office full of dead hookers. The Times landed an interview with Linda Doucett, the Garry Shandling ex who found herself a victim of Pellicano wiretapping while caught in the middle of Shandling and Grey's ugly legal battle following the break-up of their professional partnership back in Grey's relatively carefree managing days. Doucett explains her cooperation with the NYT as an opportunity for the "little people" to stand up to better-funded and more famous Hollywood bullies. (And, apparently, to land a picture of her horse in the paper.) She tells the Times:
To Ms. Doucett, the federal investigation gets at the core of something that has long infected Hollywood. "This isn't about $10 million going between this movie star and that movie star, and wiretapping," she said in her first extensive interview on the subject. She refused to comment on matters she had agreed to keep confidential but was forthcoming on other aspects of her relationships with Mr. Shandling and Mr. Grey.
"It's about little people being pushed around," she said.
Grey, of course, released a statement to the NYT insisting that he was only "casually acquainted" with Pellicano and "had no 'relationship'" with him until Fields employed him in his legal fight against Shandling (i.e., "I have no idea how those dead hookers wound up in my office, even though I might recognize one or two.") Despite the denial, rival executives immediately started phoning each other to giddily discuss Grey's potential problems. The LA Weekly's Nikki Finke discusses the resulting, Schadenfreude-suffused chatter:
It almost doesn t matter what the article said; just the fact that the sitting chairman and chief executive of the Paramount Motion Picture Group has now been dramatically linked by name to Pellicano was a huge shock for Hollywood. Forget Blackberrys: phones were ringing on both coasts as major players gasped with their pals first at the news of the article s existence, then about the story s prominent placement. That s because, in Tinseltown, perception has always been more important than reality. After all, the NYT reporting duo of Allison Weiner and David Halbfinger had already published big news breaks about Michael Ovitz s and Bert Fields connections to the case. As one Pelican flap insider told me: The missing piece right now is not Ovitz or Fields. Ovitz is yesterday s news, and Bert is a 78-year-old lawyer. It s Brad, especially since he s a recently appointed studio boss.
Since three dead hooker references in a single post would be in poor taste, we'll direct you back to the NY Times and Finke pieces for the rest of the story, while we wonder how long we have to wait for distracting rumors that Paramount is planning a headline-grabbing purchase of both Disney and Warner Bros. to surface.