Brian Williams, famed misspeller of names, is in hot water with powerful Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel. It seems as though Ari was caught off guard by Williams's hard-hitting approach during a recent interview with the Brothers Emanuel, including Ari, Chicago mayor Rahm and bioethicist Ezekiel. What was supposed to be a fluff piece to promote Ezekiel's memoir about the brothers instead, according to a New York Post source, resembled something "from Meet the Press."
Ari, being famously mild-mannered and easy-to-work with, did the sensible thing and had his lawyers fire off a sternly worded letter to NBC over the discussion's tone.
As the Post's source described it:
Ari was not happy with it," the source said of the aggressive interview done in a casual setting. "It was very odd, and [the brothers] were caught off guard. They were there to talk about the book and growing up together. They had offers to do this interview with lots of other people."
Spies added that "something was just off."
The Hollywood Reporter confirmed the incident.
A source tells THR that Williams approached the interview in an aggressive fashion, asking the brothers about their connection to Israel and Ari's reputation as an ultra-aggressive Hollywood agent, among other things. The source says Ari, who is fiercely protective of his brothers, believed the questioning would be lighter and related only to Ezekiel's book. So the agent's lawyers sent the letter asking that NBC not air the more confrontational portions of the interview.
The Post also reported Ari angrily confronted NBC executive Steve Burke during the March 9 filming of Saturday Night Live, though the Hollywood Reporter's source denied that incident.
NBC released a statement saying, "We hope viewers saw the interview as a lively conversation with three famously colorful brothers who embody a great American story of success."
Based on the final product, which aired last Friday, there didn't seem to be anything resembling challenging or serious questions – some good natured teasing and cursing between the brothers, with a generous, friendly setup from Williams and his producers - though at one point, as THR notes, Ari made a serious looking face and said something about wishing he'd started therapy sooner.