• Newsweek is planning to cut staff as well as give the mag a makeover. [WSJ]
• NPR is cutting 7 percent of its staff and dropping two shows. [NYT]
• Ad spending fell 2 percent during the third quarter, although online advertising continued to grow. [Adage]
• Les Moonves isn't too worried about Jay Leno's move to primetime. [NYP]
• Rumor has it Entertainment Weekly may go web-only. [Gawker]
• Reed Elsevier, which has been trying to sell trade titles like Variety and Publishers Weekly, is pulling them off the market. [NYP]
• Golden Globe nominations were announced this morning. [HFPA]
More layoffs today in the wonderful world of media: In addition to cuts at EW and Essence, 8-10 people were let go yesterday from InStyle. Blackbook canned its creative director. Jim Cramer's NYC-based finance site, TheStreet.com, closed its offices in San Francisco. Bauer Publishing laid off five editorial people from Life & Style. Forbes dismissed staffers assigned to ForbesAutos.com, scaled back ForbesTraveler.com, and closed its conference business. But despite rumors to the contrary, Nylon says it is not closing down, so it isn't all bad news today.
As we hear they're having lay offs right now, we're a little reluctant to kick Entertainment Weekly when it's down. But, meh, what the hell. Why is the magazine so ridiculously gung-ho about Twilight? You know Twilight, it's that book series and soon-to-be movie about a cloudy young woman named Bella and the irritatingly chaste relationship she has with a chiseled demigod of a vampire named Edward. Sure it's set a good deal of teen girl and sad lady shut-in poonani afire, but srsly EW? They've had some 50 mentions of the books or the movie in the past six months, including two, count 'em two!, splashy sexy covers.
Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, the most trusted names in journalism, sat down for a Q&A with Entertainment Weekly—and kicked everyone's asses all the time! For example: STEPHEN COLBERT: One of the things I love about my character is I can make vast declarations and it doesn't matter if I'm wrong. I love being wrong. So my character can tell you exactly what's going to happen: The Democrats are going to change everything. We're going to have gay parents marrying their own gay babies. Obama's gonna be sworn in on a gay baby. The oath is gonna end ''So help me, gay baby.'' More selections after the jump. So what do you think is the issue that people will end up voting on? STEWART: Whatever happens that week. It all depends on when that Michelle Obama ''I hate whitey'' tape comes out. If it comes out now, it could dissipate by the election. But if it comes out a couple days before, that could be dangerous. COLBERT: Jon? I have it. There are a lot of issues in this election. The biggest one right now is the economy. STEWART: We were in this huge credit crisis, out of money. Then the Fed goes, We'll give you a trillion dollars, and all of a sudden Wall Street is like, ''I can't believe we got away with it!'' Can you imagine if someone said, ''I shouldn't have bought that sports car because it means I can't have my house,'' and the bank just said, ''All right, you can have your house. And you know what? Keep the car.'' [He throws up his arms joyfully and shouts] ''Yeaaaaah, I get to keep the car! Wait, do I have to give the money back?'' ''No, it doesn't matter.'' ''Yeah, I'm gonna get another car! I'm gonna do the same thing the same way, except twice as fucked up!'' COLBERT: The idea that Lehman Brothers doesn't get any money and AIG does reminds me very much of ''Iran is a mortal enemy because they have not achieved a nuclear weapon. But North Korea is a country we can work with, because they have a nuclear weapon.'' The idea is, Get big or go home. How big can you fuck up? Can you fuck up so bad that you would ruin the world economy? If it's just 15,000 who are out of jobs, no. You have to actually be a global fuck up to get any help. Can any [politician] break through this mess? STEWART: I worry that those people are there, but we won't recognize them — or we'll destroy them so thoroughly that their voice won't be heard. I just imagine Lincoln out there, and people throwing the gay stuff at him. ''And what about depression running in his family?'' ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You guys regularly make a mockery of the 24-hour news networks. Do you see anything good about the format? JON STEWART: It's Muzak now. You ever walk into a clothing store in New York City and they're not playing music? And you go, ''What's going on here? Did a virus hit? This doesn't seem right.'' Twenty-four-hour news now is this weird companion to my life. STEPHEN COLBERT: There's not more news now than there was when we were kids. There's the same amount from when it was just Cronkite. And the easiest way to fill it is to have someone's opinion on it. Then you have an opposite opinion, and then you have a mishmash of fact and opinion, and you leave it the least informed you can possibly be. STEWART: We've got three financial networks on all day. The bottom falls out of the credit market, and they were all running around. On CNBC I saw a guy talking to eight people in [eight different onscreen] boxes, and they were all like, ''I don't know!'' It'd be like if Hurricane Ike hit, and you put on the Weather Channel, and they were yelling, ''I don't know what the fuck is going on! I'm getting wet and it's windy and I don't know why and it's making me sad! Maybe the president could come down and put up some sort of windscreen?'' By being on 24 hours a day, you begin to not be able to tell what's salient anymore. Read the whole interview here.
Vacancy: Just days after the creators of Do Not Disturb sent out a letter to TV critics apologizing for “being the perpetrators of such bad television,” their show has become the fall season's first cancellation. According to EW's Michael Ausiello, the Jerry O'Connell sitcom (which aired only three episodes) will be replaced by reruns of 'Til Death. Elsewhere on the dial, Ben Silverman pet project Knight Rider premiered third in its time slot despite having the highest viewer awareness of any new NBC show. Perhaps audiences realized that KITT is kind of a bitch? [EW]
At right is that horribly tasteless New Yorker cover from a few months back, and at left is Entertainment Weekly's new parody cover. There's faux conservopundit Stephen Colbert, dressed as a smirking Michelle "Angela Davis" Obama, terrorist fist-bumping with his old Daily Show boss Jon Stewart, who is clad in Islamobama gear. It's a well-executed (if a tad late) little bit of satire, and an example of just how thoroughly this endless horse race of an election has seeped its way into our idea of "entertainment." Click for (slightly) larger.
It was the Entertainment Weekly cover that forever scarred Livejournal: a vivid tableau of Twilight actors Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, the former barechested enough to expose millions of teenage girls to their first confusing glimpse of chest hair. Though excitement for the cinematic adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's vampire novel had been building to a crescendo, one actor's decision not to wax could have destroyed everything; fortunately, the audience's distaste for even more hirsute werewolves kept fans firmly on Pattinson's side. Still, when we spied the actor on the red carpet for the VMAs yesterday, we knew we had to settle Chesthairgate (part two!) once and for all. Also, two bonus bits: Pattinson's thoughts on the latest, controversial Twilight installment and messy vampire babies! What more do you need to sink your teeth into? [MTV]
As if your life were not already dictated my media outlets and tastemakers, sorta popular DVR recording device company TiVo—overshadowed of late by cable providers' record-two-things-at-once! DVR systems—has signed a deal with Entertainment Weekly magazine that will enable users to have EW editors pick what shows their TiVo should record. Yes, that's right! Tim Stack and Gillian Flynn and Annie Barrett and all your other magazine friends will finally force you to watch Friday Night Lights! It's an interesting development for the networks, who continue to cede control of our eyeballs. Imagine if you weren't a loyal NBC viewer, but a Gawker TV viewer instead. You'd just have to fire up the TiVo box and there waiting for you would be all of the shows we are relentlessly obsessed with (so, like, 146 episodes of Gossip Girl and then a Frontline about sad people.) If a show starts to suck, like this season of Project Runway, we remove it for you. You don't have to press any buttons or anything! (What was that point Wall-E was trying to make again?) All the networks will be able to do is desperately act as publicists for their shows, hoping the astute editors at Ranger Rick TV or whatever will decide to pick up their new Tim Daly series and feed it right into our brains. A new middleman emerges? [WSJ]
When the news broke that the next Harry Potter movie, The Half-Blood Prince, was being pushed from this fall to next summer (because Warner Bros. feared a tent pole-less 2009), things must have been squirmy down at the old Entertainment Weekly offices. Though owned by the same Time Warner company, Warner Bros. failed to let the magazine in on the "important friggin' information," so they ran a big splashy Harry Potter cover for their Fall Movie Preview (always the best issue of the year, in my opinion.) Though, it's not the first time a cover has been blown like this-at least Harry Potter isn't dead.
What more is there to say about The Hills? Since its turgid, overly-lit debut in 2006, the MTV reality gloop-about pretty dim things wandering the echoing halls of Los Angeles-has captured the fancy of a small and annoying group of Americans. Debate has raged about the verisimilitude of the ladies' (and even-worse gents') exploits, because they all seem so staged and wooden. Every possible story has churned around the media washing machine, and now Entertainment Weekly has a cover story this week in which they promise "The Most Intimate Look Ever" at the show. And, I dunno, it's probably not so much EW's fault as it is the tight-lipped and withholding producers' and stars' that the article doesn't really teach us anything new. The two most interesting tidbits come when we learn that Lauren, arguably the star of the show, sometimes wakes with a start in the middle of the night and thinks she's being filmed, and when they provide a little rundown of the show's "scheduled reality" (like that turn of phrase) production schedule. That description is below.
We hope that when we reach whatever the equivalent of our 1,000th issue is — probably Item No. 50,000,000,000, cranked out under duress after a bitter, mop-wielding Coffee Bean barista tells us they closed over an hour ago — we have achieved the kind of clout displayed this week by Entertainment Weekly. There, in celebration of its "New Classics" canon, a handful of celebrities including Viggo Mortensen, Jodie Foster and Sarah Michelle Gellar offer top-10 lists comprising their own cultural touchstones of the last 25 years. And while we might need the weekend to digest Foster's sobering "New Classic Near-Death Experiences," Gellar's gender-bending casting fantasies have our tired, late-Friday minds reeling after the jump.
Entertainment Weekly's Q&A with Angelina Jolie is unremarkable-except for the remarkably unflattering photograph the magazine uses for its cover. Now it could be that EW wanted an image that matched in spirit the "candid interview" touted in the coverline. But I thought the Hollywood publicists demanded photo approval when negotiating interviews-even when they're pushing a movie such as Jolie's forthcoming Wanted (watch a chase from the movie, here). On the EW cover, the screen beauty's chin juts forward; lighting from above has left a shadow under her nose; the pores haven't been smoothed out in retouching; and there's a mole on her forehead. Well, there was one the issue itself (scan at left) under the letter "r"-in the same photo from the magazine's website (right), however, the spot isn't visible. Did EW bring out the photoshop only after the issue had gone to the printers? (After the jump, the cover and Angelina Jolie's blemishes in higher definition.)
Browsing the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, we came across Steve Daly's survey of the modern spoiler, never more epidemic in the Internet age than on exterior shoots. And while some studios conceal their films' secrets by burning the entire set and even the movies themselves to smoldering rubble, we tip our cap to the more creatively minded subterfuge happening on sets from Indiana Jones 4 to Gossip Girl to Sex and the City. That's not going to stop us, though, from giving away everything that happens in Daly's piece after the jump.
Hey, remember Knocked Up and Superbad? Sure, they were each a little sexist and homoerotic (not that there's anything wrong with that), respectively, but nonetheless spawned the adjective "Apatovian." Now any movie featuring a lovable goof and the Apatow players, also known as the cast of Freaks and Geeks, gets a rave. The latest is Forgetting Sarah Marshall, starring 73 frames of Jason Segel's penis. A tipster writes in to complain that the Entertainment Weekly review and the Slate review are awfully similar, both using Segel's body (penis) as a metaphor for the movie. Well, isn't his penis a metaphor for everything?
Entertainment Weekly provides one its handy listicles this weekend, in two parts. "50 Most Vile Movie Villains" wisely hands first place to Darth Vader and runner-up to Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. But after that, the selections grow maddening. First of all, Halloween's Michael Myers is nowhere on the list! And, please, Michael could-and would-totally gut the hell out of any villain anywhere, ever.
Entertainment Weekly gets in on the fiery death of Eliot Spitzer's every last hope and dream with a list! Predictably, the mag's "25 Hollywood Hookers" reserves its top spot for the Julia Roberts fantasy Pretty Woman. But it does give a nod to Jon Voight's awesome Joe Buck from Midnight Cowboy. Better yet, there's a full-body shot of a teen Jody Foster in the pedo-bait outfit that helped make Taxi Driver such an iconic must-see. [EW]
Entertainment Weekly ran a feature today showing 14 of their favorite films about writers, in honor of the WGA strike ending. It's a pretty good sampling we think, and have decided to go one step further and dredge up some clips. We were able to find 12 of the 14 films listed, so we've included two bonuses: a clip from Curtis Hanson's Wonder Boys, and a touching video of aspiring poet Vada Sultenfuss reciting a sad poem in the groundbreaking 1991 film My Girl. (We tried to find the ice cream poem, but alas were foiled.) What films did they miss?
We hear that Entertainment Weekly flew their entire Los Angeles staff into New York for the Time Inc. holiday party, in advance of a magazine-wide staff retreat. Staff retreats? What is this, 1995? Who can afford those anymore, other than white-shoe law firms and ClearChannel? Apparently EW can—staffers were put up at Le Parker Meridien (home to Norma's and its infamous $1,000 caviar omelet). Well, the negotiated corporate rate at Le Parker Meridien for Time Warner is $300 a night—so can we assume that the once-renowned perks at Time Inc. properties (Beverage carts! Company car rides home to Greenwich! And in-house medical and childcare—Oh wait, never mind, they still have those), all but eliminated in 2002, are back? What's more, if the job boards are any indication, EW is on a bit of a hiring binge. So did all that cost-cutting and laying-off work?