Tipsters report: the NY Daily News gossip' team's down one, as Laura Schreffler's out. Is the NYDN gossip desk growing rust? We know one person who turned the gig down. Update: Ben Widdicombe's on the move: TMZ!
Schreffler brought Gatecrasher—once Page Six's competition—back to the paper with Sean Evans (also canned) after legendary NYDN gossip Ben Widdicombe left it for dead (or Star, which he left after five or so months). Sarah Polansky (who went from the National Enquirer to Page Six, where she was fired for being exposed by Radar as a "swag hag") filled in for Evans. I guess Polansky is the only person left over there? We also hear Chris Rovzar at NY Mag's Daily Intel was offered the job, but (predictably) turned it down, possibly because if he were to quit New York Magazine, Manhattan's Gossip Girl-watching population would have to be tear-gassed and read the riot act.
So: it looks like nobody's running gossip or getting decent scoops at the Daily News but the once a week Boris and Natasha-esque sideshow of Rush and Molloy — and they haven't been at the top of their game, lately — so maybe they'll try to bring Ben back again? He was awesome and he's currently doing AOL's Stylelist but I sincerely doubt that Daily News has the cash to compete with whatever he's getting at AOL. That said, the NYDN's gossip pages are just rehashing national items, and there're sleazier places to go for that dirt, so really, they might want to invest in some talent before they become the Knicks of New York's two-team gossip leagues.
Update: Maybe there's absolutely no way the NYDN can compete for Ben Widdicombe. We just heard that Widdicombe's working with TMZ as their executive editor. He hasn't let his New York apartment go, yet, and "needs the money." He's on a six-week trial with them. Well, if it's scratch you're after, Harvey Levin's got plenty to throw around. There're worse places to sell out, I suppose. Another tipster reports that Harvey Levin's been looking since last fall to fill that position, so it's a long time coming. He's met with plenty of people, but it's been difficult to fill the position because of Harvey's temperament.
2nd Update: Sheffler writes in and asks us when will we will be "updating/terminating your piece from the web" because, as it turns out, she wasn't shitcanned, but is leaving the Daily News to go to Bonnie Fuller's Hollywood Life thing. Enjoy your press-releasey goodness:
"I'm ecstatic to join Bonnie Fuller and the team at HollywoodLife.com as the West Coast Bureau Chief. I look forward to bringing my experience in celebrity news and lifestyle editorial to what will be a fabulous online destination for all women," says Schreffler, West Coast Bureau Chief, HollywoodLife.com.
In her new position, Schreffler will work closely with Fuller and Will Lee, executive editor, on editorial strategy, content development and overall direction of the site. HollywoodLife.com, which focuses on celebrity, style and lifestyle news, will re-launch in November 2009 with a new design and editorial focus, targeting style-minded women, ages 18-35...
...Where it will terminate their faces via awesome Bonnie Fuller'd website wonderfulness with little to no discretion. May I suggest a theme song? This is what the future of celebrity gossip looks like: