Daily News Gossip Shakeup: Jo Piazza Out, Gatecrasher Returns

The New York Daily News has trailed the Post's Page Six in the New York gossip wars for a long time. Now the paper is blowing up its gossip columns and starting over. Two major changes went down today. First, husband and wife gossip team Rush & Molloy announced this morning that they'll be moving from a daily column to a Sunday-only schedule, after more than 13 years. Second—and more dramatic—we hear that Jo Piazza, who wrote the paper's Full Disclosure column, has resigned.

Piazza's move hasn't been officially announced yet so the reasons aren't entirely clear. We hear that the paper tried to yank her column and she resigned in protest (though that's not officially confirmed either). To some extent, it's a product of the tough times for newspapers and a desire to shrink newsroom budgets. And some of it is likely dissatisfaction by both Piazza and the paper with her role there. When we find out more, we'll let you know.

As for R&M, their official explanation in their going-away column was this:

Gossip, after all, can wear a body down. Being married to each other, and to the column, hasn't always been easy on Rush & Molloy. We've had disagreements. Julia Roberts once begged Rush not to run a sighting of her nuzzling then-secret boyfriend Benjamin Bratt at a SoHo restaurant. Rush talked Molloy out of writing it. Julia sent flowers in gratitude. But the secret got out elsewhere. The flowers wilted, as did their romance.

They say they want to branch out and write various new things at the paper, which may be true. We hear that their contract was up, and they've obviously renegotiated a new one with a smaller role.

The Daily News is making one major addition, though. They're bringing back the Gatecrasher column (originally written by Aussie Ben Widdicombe, who left the paper after six years last April). The new Gatecrasher—which will now be the paper's flagship gossip brand—will be written by NYDN gossip disciples Sean Evans and Laura Schreffler.

It's a new era of newspaper gossip wars! If you'd like to contribute further gossip regarding the gossip on this gossip situation, email us. [Pic: New York Mag]