Bill Carter Gets Shafted By HBO At The Worst Time

In today's New York Times, television business reporter Bill Carter explains that he wasn't able to interview menacing-looking Sopranos creator David Chase after the final episode because Chase had "told publicity executives at HBO that he was leaving for France and would not take any calls asking him to comment about the ending of his classic television series." Oh, really? What about the superb interview Chase gave to the Star-Ledger on Sunday night?

Youch! Guess Carter's sources at HBO don't get him unfettered access to popular mob series producers. Not great timing today, either—because the NYT Business section has hired Brian Stelter, the 21-year-old wunderkind behind the TV Newser blog, to be a T.V. "media reporter" on the web.

Young Brian's job sounds similar to the position that the Times had offered to former New York Observer TV reporter Rebecca Dana, but with less "what's this new media internet mobile thing the kids are into." When rumors of unknown provenance made the rounds that Dana had said—jokingly, and possibly years ago—that she was going to "kick Bill Carter's ass" or some such, her offer was quickly changed to a three-year intermediate reporter position, an unexpected and unappreciated re-offer that she wisely declined.

Stelter has been hired at this status, called 8i, which means he'll basically be a glorified intern for three years. (It seems unlikely that the Times would've offered a 21-year-old a real full-time reporting position, but stranger things have happened.) Stelter will report to media editor Bruce Headlam on the Business desk, while Carter reports to Steve Reddicliffe on the Culture desk.

Things will undoubtedly get very interesting very quickly. Stelter has a ton of sources in the industry, and is just the kind of hungry fellow who could show up his older colleagues. Unless he gets stabbed in the back!

TV Writers Were Also Watching 'Sopranos' [NYT]
'Sopranos' Creator's Last Word: The End Speaks For Itself [Star-Ledger]
NY Times Hires TV Reporter Stelter [NYO]