• Conan O'Brien's Tonight Show debuted last night. The reviews were mixed, although he did very well in the ratings, not surprisingly. [Variety, THR]
• Playboy Enterprises named Scott Flanders as its CEO yesterday. [NYP]
• Lawyers for author J.D. Salinger have filed suit against an author who is publishing a book billed as a sequel to The Catcher in the Rye. [NYT]
• Five magazines—Popular Photography, Flying, Boating, Sound & Vision and American Photo—have been sold to Bonnier Corp. by Hachette. [Crain's]
• Paris Hilton and producer Michael Hirschorn have teamed up to bring a version of Paris Hilton's My New BFF to Dubai. Yes, Dubai. No joke. [Variety]
• Not surprisingly, nearly every major network is planning "longer and more exhaustive" coverage of the inauguration compared to years past. [NYT]
• Ugly day at Time Warner: The company is reporting its annual first loss in six years and is writing down $25 billion in the fourth quarter. [BN]
• Is Dick Parsons in line to become Commerce Secretary? [B&C]
• Forbes laid off 19 people yesterday. [ATD]
• People's Jess Cagle is taking over as managing editor of EW. [NYP]
• Michael Hirschorn thinks it's possible the New York Times will go bust in the next year; the Observer says Times boss Arthur Sulzberger Jr. is the "media mensch of the year." Go figure! [Atlantic, NYO]
• Lloyd Grove's 4,100-word article on Sumner Redstone is online. [Portfolio]
• If a cable news doctor can be Surgeon General, we probably shouldn't be surprised to see that Joe the Plumber is now a war correspondent. [NYP]
While the Michael Hirschorn era at Vh1 will likely be best remembered for bringing pop culture talking heads (I Love The..., Best Week Ever), washed-up celebs (Surreal Life) and horny musicians (Flavor Of Love, Rock Of Love) into millions of homes, there is one program from his tenure that was just as critically acclaimed as it was popular. Back in the summer of 2006, a four-part documentary called The Drug Years aired to rave reviews — Variety called it a "fascinating insight into the growth of the counterculture and ... its eventual hangover" — and arguably became the first series in the channel's history that was equally appealing to pop culture enthusiasts and intellectuals. Now, after nearly two years worth of research and production, the same creative team that put The Drug Years together has returned with a brand new four-part doc entitled Sex: The Revolution. Defamer recently sat down with series writer Martin Torgoff and executive producer Brad Abramson to talk about the series that, as Torgoff explains, puts its focus on "how the sexual revolution fed into the dynamic of what became the Culture Wars in the United States."
If you have "responsibilities" and "a life," you may not know that Paris Hilton is searching for a best friend on her new MTV reality show. So how does one get in on that sweet action and earn the right to hang with Hilton (for as long as the cameras are rolling)? MTV suggests you start by heading over to http://parisbff.com and creating a profile. Then, if you get enough votes, you could be picked for the show. You'll be in good company because two of the most celebrated members of Howard Stern's Wack Pack have already done so.
Paris Hilton is not going to just stand by idly while the likes of Lo Conrad and her posse of entitled Hills chickettes steal all of her thunder. The lazy-eyed heiress is returning to the reality television fold in a yet-to-be-named project from Ish Entertainment, the production company recently founded by former Vh1 reality show maestro Michael Hirschorn. The show will revolve around Paris Hilton's attempts to comb through a gaggle of camera-ready twentysomethings an attempt to find a new "best friend" (read: someone who she'll gladly appear with for a few reunion show photo opps and then promptly never call again). But wait, that's not all! In a move likely prompted by being repeatedly passed over by magazine editors in favor of her spawning friends, Paris is desperately trying to reignite her fading star (a la Sunshine) by, you guessed it, strutting around town with a new boytoy on her arm.
The VH1 creative maestro responsible for the channel's oddly comforting mix of reality shows and instant nostalgia delivered by stand-up comedians and barely-famous celebrities, Hirschorn stepped down as exec veep of programming in January 2008. He now heads the production company Ish Entertainment.
The renegade commenter expats at SLC Outsider, fresh from breaking the news that Jezebel plagiarized a post on SLC Outsider (which bore purely coincidental resemblance to an old Wonkette item) write to ask why we haven't covered the shocking news of the Tionna Smalls/Michael Hirschorn battle. Maybe because we don't know what the hell is going on.
Bad news for Sumner Redstone's Viacom: one of the media conglomerate's most talented show creators has decided to leave. Michael Hirschorn, to whom Gawker yesterday gave a rare and much-prized herogram, is setting up an independent production company. More embarrassing: MTV owner Viacom, now run by an 84-year-old mogul and a long-time lawyer with no experience making programming, was briefing yesterday that its expert in high-low entertainment, Hirschorn, might be tempted to stay. The first-look deal, which will give Viacom channels an early glimpse of Hirschorn's projects, looks like a face-saving arrangement. To think Viacom, freed of boring network CBS, was supposed to be the hip and dynamic company in old Redstone's stable. (After the jump, a scene from A Shot At Love with Tila Tequila, the latest hit Hirschorn has shepherded to the air.)
One of the most talented producers in television, Michael Hirschorn, may or may not be leaving VH1, the entertainment channel he revived with shows like Best Week Ever, Flavor of Love, and I Love New York. The New York Post says the Viacom exec is in discussions with a number of rival networks, but he might just move into another role at Viacom, the company that owns VH-1. So, why should you care?
Have they no decency? Quicker than Art Cooper's tears can dry, the media commentators are handicapping the race to succeed him as editor of GQ. Keith Kelly is offering odds.
· Dylan Jones, editor-in-chief of British GQ: 2-to-1 favorite
· David Zinczenko of Men's Health, although he's taken himself out of the running: 5-to-1
· Michael Hirschorn, past editor of Spin: 10-to-1
· Kurt Andersen, resting at public radio: 35-to-1
· David Kamp, a VF editor: 35-to-1
· Maer Roshan, if Radar doesn't fix: 50-to-1
· Glenda Bailey of Harpers, because SALTYT thinks it's time a lad's mag had a woman editor.