In a power move sure to rock the universe of self-absorbed Westside LA liberal showbiz activists, Arianna Huffington has grabbed Billy Silverman, producer Brian Grazer's former "cultural attaché" to head up her forthcoming Los Angeles local site.
The move creates a fabulous new ladder of ascent for aspiring young dreamers looking to scale the heights of the LA swanky cocktail party-centric web journalism.
The Grazer Cultural Attaché slot is one of Hollywood's most-fabled sinecures. The job as it, has been described, focuses around bringing in the great thinkers of the land to meet with the greatest producer of our times for a free-wheeling meeting of the minds. Past great minds wrangled over the years are said to include Jonas Salk, Edward Teller and author Malcolm Gladwell as well as less renowned professors and thinktank dwellers who've been wheedled into showing off their knowledge wares beneath Grazer's Beverly Hills throne.
While the responsibility of genius-wrangling has been traditionally assigned to a one (or in recent months, a couple) Imagine employees, former workers describe the process as consuming the entire office, with all employees brainstorming and submitting a list of names for Grazer himself to whittle down.
In May of last year, when Brad Grossman, Grazer's former CA stepped down, an email seeking his successor was widely circulated and reported on. The email contained the following job description:
This person would be responsible for keeping Brian abreast of everything that's going on in the world; politically, culturally, musically... They're also responsible for finding an interesting person for Brian to meet with every week... an astronaut, a journalist, a philosopher, a buddhist monk... There is LOTS of reading for this position! Grazer may ask you to read any book he's interested in. You'll probably get to read about 4 or 5 books a week and you may be required to travel with him on his private plane to Hawaii, New York, Europe-teaching him anything he asks you about along the way... You will also be provided with an assistant... Salary is around $150,000 a year... You will be to Grazer what Karl Rove was to Bush.
The task of finding his own "architect" however, finding a mind worthy of the being his personal Karl Rove, may have been too much for the The Klumps producer. Grazer gave an interview to, ironically, to the Huffington Post last December in which he claimed himself attaché-free. He said:
That was sort of a joke title. I've been out meeting different people, I have a record, for 24 years, of meeting someone every two weeks. It helps inform your filter and hopefully informs your taste. I don't have anyone that's doing that for me right now. I use a couple of my assistants and I just say 'hey, can I meet so-and-so' and then we work on it or I'll call them myself, but I don't have a person that does that any longer.
Considering to whom he was speaking, Grazer may just have been wanting to hide his attaché from Arianna's potentially poaching claws. Whether the title was formally bestowed upon him or not, sources tell us that Silverman, who had been Grazer's assistant, was in fact acting in the Karl Rovean role. For a cultural attaché to leap out of that heady role after little more than a year at most, seems a bit abrupt, but perhaps once you have tasted the air at those heights, it is hard not to climb ever higher, right into the eagle's nest of all showbiz self-congratulation, The Huffington Post.