Saturday, March 4th, 2006

Bergman Flies Pelican/NYT, Again

The New York Times is turning once again to Frontline correspondent Lowell Bergman to pump up the Pellicano volume. Bergman is a name recognizable from Michael Mann’s The Insider. (Al Pacino portayed him as a producer, then on contract to 60 Minutes, caught in the buzz saw when CBS buckled to corporate pressure and yanked his Big Tobacco story from whistleblower Russell Crowe.) As I reported at the time, Bergman was the bigfoot brought in by the NYT back in 2003 when the Pelican flap first broke. But, the probe dragged on without indictments, and Bergman eventually returned to more newsy matters. Most recently his byline ran on two NYT’s stories — one, about Jack Abramoff, the other about NSA spying — and he helped Frontline and WGBH/Boston win a 2006 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for their report on Al Queda’s new terrorist front in Western Europe. Now Bergman is back on the heated-up Pellicano beat for the NYT. Who else wishes he’d keep bitch-slapping the Bush White House and back off our scandal?

Top: Bergman; Bottom: Pellicano





That Agency Urge to Merge

No, there weren’t any United Talent agents at Ari’s Endeavor Oscar bash. Everyone’s heard that recent merger rumor. But, over a year, there’ve been many rumors: ICM-Endeavor, ICM-Broder Kurland, UTA-CAA, CAA-Broder Kurland, Endeavor-William Morris, UTA-William Morris. Every permutation. Now the Los Angeles Times Business section is planning to report the rumors and explain why they’d create in-house chaos because of all the warring ex-colleagues. Not exactly original stuff. (FYI: Very soon, I’ll have a deeply reported agents piece I’ve worked on for nine months.)

Clockwise: In-house at UTA; CAA; Endeavor 

Those Agent Oscar Orgies

It was so thoughtful of Bryan Lourd to take pity on Madonna and find her a job at his annual Friday night Oscar orgy. Standing by the door nearly the entire time, the ex-actress appeared to be the official guest greeter as Nicole Kidman, George Clooney and Sean Penn strolled by. But the stalkarazzi didn’t go into a frenzy until Jared Leto arrived. Was it because he packed on 45 pounds to portray Mark David Chapman (Lennon’s killer) in Chapter 27 or because he dates all those US magazine cover actresses. (Tell the truth: could you pick a hefty and hairy Leto out of a line-up?) After perpetrating that puerile Vanity Fair Naked Hollywood issue, Tom Ford inexplicably wasn’t embarrassed about showing up: what’s worse — that, or the fact that, for two years now, he’s been waiting for his first big movie directing break despite Lourd being his agent. (Did you hear Tom’s rag trade news? Designing a men’s line for Ermenegildo Zegna. Opening a namesake boutique on Madison Avenue. Yawn.) Lourd predictably had mega-wattage at the bash, but that also begged the question: why the hell aren’t these CAA clients too busy working to attend? At least Mel Gibson was wrangling extras on the edge of southern Mexico’s rainforests in the state of Veracruz (for his pre-Columbian epic Apocalypto) instead of padding around his agent Ed Limato’s poshness with Denzel Washington, Felicity Huffman and her husband William Macy. Limato’s party was wall-to-wall studio suits: toppers from Fox, Sony, Universal and Paramount were some who swung by (interesting how Brad Grey was soldered to Tom Freston’s side). As always, it didn’t matter what talent made it to Ari Emanuel’s shindig because the biggest star is that $10 million Brentwood mansion he’s so proud of — aka the tax write-off to dispel all those rumors from agency rivals that Endeavor is over-leveraged.

Clockwise: Bryan with Brian & Gigi; Ed; Joel with Ari. (Photos not from these parties.)

Friday, March 3rd, 2006

Snarking the Oscars: Live All Sunday Night

Host Jon Stewart

Come for the Cynicism

Stay for the Subversion

Beginning with Arrivals

Until the Last Envelope

And be sure to read my Oscar predictions at


Joan and Melissa’s arrivals horrorfest starts at 2:30 p.m. PT on the TV Guide Channel.

KTLA, Channel 5 in Los Angeles, kicks off its arrivals show at 3:00 p.m. PT with the unctuous Sam Rubin (though, for some reason, I don’t mind him).

ABC’s official Academy red carpet arrivals show is expanded this year to a full hour, starting at 4 p.m. PT. A small army co-hosts: Billy Bush (ugh), Chris Connelly (good), Cynthia Garrett (who?) and Vanessa Minnillo (another nobody).

At, live webcast of VF’s party 9:00 p.m. PT

As usual, E! Entertainment presents an orgy of Oscar-viewing:

Live Countdown: Before anyone even arrives, 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. PT

Live from the Red Carpet: Ryan Seacrest (please, god, make him have laryngitis) and Isaac Mizrahi (who’s he gonna feel up this time?). 2:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. PT

Live Post-Show: Winners backstage, then live party coverage. 9 p.m.-11 p.m. PT

Fashion Police: You have to wait for this crap. March 6, 8 p.m. PT