Sheila Weller's dishy new tell-all book The News Sorority: Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour—and the (Ongoing, Imperfect, Complicated) Triumph of Women in TV News won't hit shelves for a full month, but its best anecdote just exploded onto the web like 5-7 ml of semen into the mouth of Diane Sawyer, allegedly ushered there by her own enthusiastic efforts, at least according to Katie Couric (also allegedly).
Diane Sawyer was definitely probably drunk tonight during ABC's election coverage. Would you agree? Not convinced yet? She slurred every other word, rambled about the lack of music, and asked a correspondent if the exclamation point in the Obama slogan represented the direction he truly wanted to go with his presidency. What more proof do you need?
Ann Romney is ready to set the record straight about the whole "dog strapped to the roof of the car" business. In an interview with Diane Sawyer, Ann recalled that Seamus the Irish Setter "loved" riding in a carrier on top of the family's Chevrolet. In fact, it would have been far crueler to leave him at a kennel.
Last month ABC News' Diane Sawyer traveled to the decimated town of Joplin, Mo., to anchor World News in the wake of those horrible tornadoes. The brilliant Harry Shearer managed to catch some behind-the-scenes footage of an anxious, tentative, and confounded Sawyer huddling in a shawl against oncoming storms with the destroyed suburbs at her back as her crew frantically attempts put together a broadcast. It's a short Beckett play, about America, called "I Have Nothing."
Tonight, Jon Stewart finally—and brilliantly—jumped on the Chatroulette bandwagon. Stewart mocked the media's obsession with the Internet's newest fad, before trying it out himself—and running into Diane Sawyer, Keith Olbermann, Katie Couric, Brian Williams and others. Video inside.
• Is Fox about to "swoop in" and sign Conan O'Brien to host a late-night show on the network? That's the rumor. In other, not-at-all-surprising Conan news, his final Tonight Show on Friday generated huge ratings. [NYP, NYDN, LAT]
• News networks are preparing to scale back their operations in Haiti. [NYT]
• The "Hope For Haiti Now" album will debut at No. 1 this week. [Reuters]
• Diane Sawyer's ratings are up 8% since taking over World News. [NYDN]
• Avatar was No. 1 at the box office for a sixth weekend in a row; it bypassed Titanic today to become the highest-grossing movie of all time. [LAT, THR]
• The Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger has been given the go-ahead . [DF]
• The grim ad climate for fashion magazines seems to be improving. [WWD]
• Comcast's acquisition of NBC will face a few hurdles in Washington. [AP]
• Oprah was "America's favorite TV personality" in 2009, according to a new poll. Frighteningly, Glenn Beck and Jay Leno were No. 2 and 3. [Reuters]
• How did World News anchor Diane Sawyer do in her first week? Better than Katie Couric, but not as well as Brian Williams. (So-so, in other words.) [NYT]
• TV news: MSNBC is taking heat for not really covering the attempted terror attack on Christmas Day; NBC News has been scolded by a journalism ethics committee; CNN's ratings were down 30 percent in 2009, more than any other cable network; and ethics-free Fox News just recorded its best year ever.
• Comedy Central has canceled The Jeff Dunham Show, thankfully. [NYT]
• Know how TV networks give you the programming for free, but pay their bills by airing commercials? Yea, well, it isn't the best business model, FYI. [AP]
• How many product placements appear in Avatar? A bunch! [Brandchannel]
• Charlie Sheen's arrest hasn't hurt ratings of Two and a Half Men. Phew! [LAT]
• How did TMZ get duped by that JFK photo? Harvey Levin isn't saying. [NYT]
• Editor & Publisher's last issue has shipped and will close down on Thu. [E&P]
• Legendary caricaturist David Levine died today. He was 83. [NYT]
• Diane Sawyer's World News debut lifted the newscast's ratings a bit. [LAT]
• As for Sawyer's performance last night, some critics weigh in. [NYT, WP, BG]
• Chris Albrecht, who served as HBO's chief executive until he was fired for pulling a Chris Brown on his girlfriend, is now in charge of Starz. [DH, NYT]
• The second episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians has set a new ratings record for the series and E! Congrats, America. You must be very proud. [THR]
• In related news, Kim has replaced Paris in TV's dirtiest burger ad. [NYDN]
• In other random TV news, CNN has made a minor change to its lineup; and Joan Rivers, who ditched E! in 2005 after a dispute over money, is back.
• It may have been Google that decided not to buy Yelp, not vice versa. [Bits]
• Is TMZ planning to launch a sports-related site? It's looking like it. [PC]
• Hollywood grossed $10 billion at the box office in '09; it's a new record. [AP]
• Kim Peek, the savant who inspired Rain Man, has died at age 58. [NPR]
Katie Couric's ascension to the anchor chair was attended by a ceaseless and intrusive promotional blitz that ended up serving as a handy contrast to the epic editorial and commercial failure that her newscast became. Having learned that lesson well, ABC News has gone for a stealth transition, which makes sense inasmuch as nobody really cares who is reading from a teleprompter on TV while they're on the way home from work anyway. As the New York Times' Alessandra Stanley puts it, "Network anchors are a bit like European monarchs: they don't really matter much anymore, but people still perk up for a royal wedding or a changing of the stars."
It's a big week for Diane Sawyer. Last night she made her debut on ABC's World News, and today just happens to be her 64th birthday. Others celebrating today: Ralph Fiennes turns 47. Ali Lohan, Lindsay's kid sister, is turning 16. Theater producer Daryl Roth is 65. Vanessa Paradis, the French singer/actress and Johnny Depp's significant other, turns 37. Neocon/Bush crony Paul Wolfowitz is 66. Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees turns 60. And Jordin Sparks, the winner of the sixth season of American Idol, is 19 today.