Come next week, we'll get to see with our own eyes if the pop-culture feud of 2012 is as fake as it seems when American Idol begins its 12th season featuring Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj on its judging panel. But until then, we'll just have to take their word for it. Nicki has already weighed in, and Mariah got an extended chance to do so last night on Nightline when she sat down with the always daffy Barbara Walters.
On Nightline this week, Cynthia McFadden confronted Taylor Swift on her tendency to turn into a slack-jawed yokel when her name is inevitably called at whatever awards show she happens to find herself the belle of. This quirk has been mocked widely (full disclosure: my mocking supercut of her fly-catching turned into a bigger story and ended up being the highlight of my 2010), partially because it seems like put-on false modesty but mostly because whenever it happens, it freakishly appears that her jaw is going to fall right off her head.
In last night's Nightline interview, Cher discussed her Burlesque co-star, what it's like to work with younger girls and why she envies Meryl Streep. As with every interview with the icon, Cher provides us with some amazing sound bites.
The "SnOMGpocalypse of Death" today has us thinking of the BBC commentator's hilarious meta take on how the news networks report on disastrous weather—namely snow. It's a clever dissection of scare tactics, the word "treacherous," and people falling.
• So how did Jay Leno's new show do? He hit it out of the park ratings-wise, roping in an estimated 18 million viewers. The reviews were all pretty lousy, though, so don't be surprised if it's all downhill from here. [AdAge, LAT, THR]
• The sale of BusinessWeek: Bruce Wasserstein has dropped out as a potential acquirer of the struggling mag. And it's cutting 20% of its staff. [BW, NYT]
• ABC News has apologized to the White House for Nightline anchor Terry Moran's tweet about Obama calling Kanye West a "jackass." [LAT]
• Speaking of the White House, Barack Obama will be David Letterman's guest on Monday night; it's the first time a sitting president has done the show. [NYT]
• Oprah's season premiere scored big thanks to Whitney Houston. [Wrap]
• The House of Harvey has sustained another blow: Harvey Weinstein's 70 percent stake in the home-video distributor Genius Products, once worth as much as $400 million, is now pretty much worthless. [NYP]
• Speaking of the film mogul, The Weinstein Co. picked up the rights to A Single Man, designer Tom Ford's debut film, at the Toronto Film Festival. [THR]
• The average person consumed 32.2 hours of TV each week this summer. It's a new record. And it's all thanks to the quality programming that cable channels have been putting on the air the last few months, obviously. [NYP]
• The bad news for newspapers is getting worse: Ad sales dropped by 29% during the second quarter, which means newspapers have $2.8 billion less in their (already empty) pockets than they had at this time last year. [AP]
• Related: Please take the time this weekend to read the massive story about Hurricane Katrina in the New York Times Sunday magazine. It cost the paper and ProPublica a record-setting $400,000 to produce. [CJR]
• Because Nightline feels left out of the war between Conan and Letterman, the show is launching a campaign to remind you that it still exists. [AdAge]