Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Wed, 6th August 2008

42 Things About the L.A. Times

Departing 18-year L.A. Times staffer William Lobdell recounts a few things folks who still work at newspapers should keep in mind going forward:

3. But the business model for newspapers is broken.

4. No one has figured out how to fix it.

5. That’s probably because it can’t be fixed.

6. The smaller the newspaper, the longer its life span in print (four exceptions: the New York Times, Wall St. Journal, Washington Post and USA Today).

7. Technology has run laps around the print media — giving readers instant news, open-source journalism, no barriers to become publishers, and an infinite news hole.

8. The idea that your daily news is collected, written, edited, paginated, printed on dead trees, put in a series of trucks and cars and delivered on your driveway — at least 12 hours stale — is anachronistic in 2008.

9. As a friend told me last week, “Bro, face it. You guys are the 8-track cassette of news.”

HarperCollins will publish Lobdell's memoir, Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America, in February.

Lobdell will continue to write a religion blog.

Posted on: August 4th, 2008


Actress Eva Mendes stars in a new perfume ad for Calvin Klein that has been banned from American TV for exposing Eva’s nipple as she rolls around naked under a sheet according to Gawker.

“You must be kidding me.

This country really needs a new president — this country is so messed up,” said Baron.

“It’s such a joke and it’s quite upsetting, frankly, how hypocritical this country has become.

It’s OK for children to see people killed by guns?

Spreading a little love right now would be a good idea.

“She is being a little sexy, but they are not provocative,” added Baron.

“They are really well done.

The spot is really beautiful — I really can’t believe this is happening.…I don’t know what else to say.”

So it seems that creative director Fabien Baron might be a bit European wouldn’t you say.

Maybe CK needs a new creative director.

In the video Eva is rolling around naked in bed covered only by a sheet.
As if this took all that much creativity and hasn’t been done a hundred times over.

The best it was ever done was in the Faith Hill video for ‘Breath’ from several years ago.

"Dark Knight" Breaks Another Record

In this image released by Warner Bros., Heath Ledger stars as The Joker in "The Dark Knight."

(AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures)


Add another entry for "The Dark Knight" in Hollywood's record books:

The Batman sequel has climbed past $400 million at the box office in just 18 days, the fastest pace ever, a studio executive said Tuesday.

As of Monday, "The Dark Knight" had taken in $400.04 million domestically, according to distributor Warner Bros.

Jeff Goldstein, general sales manager for Warner, said the film hit that mark in less than half the time it took for the previous record-holder, "Shrek 2," which crossed the $400 million level on its 43rd day of release.

That put "The Dark Knight" at No. 8 on the all-time box-office charts.

It was poised to move up to No. 7 on Tuesday, passing the $403.7 million haul of the original "Spider-Man" to become the top-grossing comic-book adaptation ever.

Warner expects the film to pass the original "Star Wars" ($461 million) in about two weeks, making it No. 2 on the all-time domestic list behind "Titanic" ($600.8 million).

Even as "The Dark Knight" heads toward the $500 million mark, it will lag behind "Titanic" and "Star Wars" in terms of the number of tickets sold because admission prices are higher now.

In today's dollars, the Batman film would have to take in about $900 million to match the number of tickets that "Titanic" sold.

"The Dark Knight" has earned wild acclaim from critics and fans, particularly for Heath Ledger's maniacal delivery as Batman enemy the Joker.

Buzz for his role and the film reached a fever in the months after Ledger's death in January from an accidental prescription drug overdose.

The movie had a record opening weekend of $158.4 million.

"There's no question Heath Ledger's performance has made cinematic history.

It's one of the most important or memorable villains ever," Goldstein said.

"That added to it, but I think you have to look at a film in its entirety.

It's the marvelous job the filmmakers and the actors did."

Scarlett Johansson "Embarrassed" About Obama Emails, Talks Lesbian Kiss

Scarlett Johansson, a cast member in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," looks down the red carpet at the premiere of the film in Los Angeles, Monday, Aug. 4, 2008.

(AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)


Scarlett Johansson can laugh about it now, but the actress says she was embarrassed by the media coverage of her so-called "e-mail relationship" with Barack Obama.

"It seemed to me to be like a product of extreme sexism, and I kept thinking to myself, 'God, if this was just, like, Kal Penn or George Clooney or any of the other (Obama) surrogates or supporters ... there wouldn't be (any) question about it.

Nobody would even talk about it," she said.

Johansson, a vocal supporter of Obama, told the Web site in June that she and the Democratic presidential hopeful had been trading e-mails.

Obama later told reporters that Johansson doesn't have his personal e-mail address, and that his assistant forwarded one message from Johansson to which he replied.

"I was merely trying to express my delight at Obama's commitment to his campaign in every aspect and his interest and his support (in) his surrogates and his staff and his fellows, and how wonderful and refreshing that is.

And it was manipulated into such an unfortunate media frenzy of kind of a nonstory," the 23-year-old actress said Tuesday in an interview from Los Angeles, where she was promoting her new Woody Allen film "Vicky Cristina Barcelona."

The romantic comedy set against the bohemian backdrop of Barcelona, Spain, has its share of buzz over Johansson's much-hyped kiss with Penelope Cruz.

"It's just silly because ... the way people are talking about it you'd think it was ... a Bertolucci movie or something," Johansson said, laughing.

"People are saying, `It's Woody Allen's steamiest movie.'

I'm thinking, 'Woody Allen's steamiest WHAT?'"

It was the actress' third time working with Allen, who directed her in "Match Point" and "Scoop."

She and actor-beau Ryan Reynolds had been snapped by paparazzi on the set of the movie last summer; she confirmed the couple's engagement in early May.

Have they set a date?

"We're just enjoying our time," she said.

"We're just recently _ very recently _ engaged.

So, you know, we're just taking it easy.

And no big plan yet.

But it's a good time and we're just ... enjoying our time to be young and engaged.

"I mean, I'm 23.

There's no reason to rush into it.

Everything feels very natural and relaxed."
Bertelsmann Exits Sony BMG August 05, 2008 -

By Andre Paine, LondonSony Corporation has reached an agreement to acquire Bertelsmann AG's 50% stake in Sony BMG, four years after the joint venture was created.
The demerged music company is to be called Sony Music Entertainment Inc and it will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America.
The deal has been anticipated since last month (see, July 26).
Sony Corporation will pay the German media company $1.2 billion, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission today.
Bertelsmann will receive approximately $900 million for its 50% stake plus $300m of its share of cash on Sony BMG's balance sheet.
"This acquisition will allow us to achieve a deeper and more robust integration between the wide-ranging global assets of the music company and Sony's products, operating companies and affiliates," says Sony Corporation chairman and CEO Sir Howard Stringer.
"Over the past four years, Sony BMG has undertaken a very successful restructuring, streamlined operations and developed innovative digital partnerships that ensure it will continue to be a leader in the creation and distribution of music worldwide.
"The joint venture was due to expire in August 2009.
In a statement, Bertelsmann AG chairman and CEO Hartmut Ostrowski says, "The move is consistent with our new growth strategy and will enable us to focus on our defined growth areas.
Sony has been an excellent partner, and they are the right company to take this business to the next step and ensure that it realizes its full value and potential.
"The buy-out remains subject to regulatory approval in certain jurisdictions.
U.S. and European regulators could raise concerns about vertical integration at Sony, as the company's hardware business includes a joint venture with handset giant Ericsson for Walkman music-enabled mobile devices.
European independent music companies trade group Impala has already said it will continue to oppose the concentration of the market which it says resulted from the original Sony BMG arrangement.
Once the deal is completed, Sony Music Entertainment Inc will be home to labels such as Arista Records, Columbia Records, Epic Records, J Records Jive Records, RCA and Zomba with a roster of artists including Celine Dion, Alicia Keys, Bruce Springsteen, Usher and Justin Timberlake.
The two companies have agreed to continue to share the new company's manufacturing and distribution requirements between Sony's manufacturing subsidiary Sony DADC and Bertelsmann's services company,
Arvato Digital Services GmbH, extending agreements with Arvato for additional terms of up to six years.
Key `Idol' Producer Moving On August 05, 2008 -

By Associated Press
A key "American Idol" producer who's guided the top-rated TV show since its debut is leaving the job as the Fox juggernaut faces the challenge of staying on top in its eighth season.
Nigel Lythgoe is negotiating a joint-venture deal with "American Idol" creator Simon Fuller and 19 Entertainment, the company announced Monday.
The smiling, blond-haired Englishman, who could often be spotted on-camera sitting behind the "American Idol" judges' row, is familiar to viewers on "So You Think You Can Dance?", which he produces and helps judge.
"I will step back from my day-to-day producing work on 'American Idol' and will be devoting my time" to the new enterprise, Lythgoe said in a statement.
The change comes as "American Idol" jockeys to keep its hold on the No. 1 ratings spot, a rare feat for an aging show, and after last season's small ratings downturn and an unsettling audience shift.
The series averaged 28.4 million weekly viewers last season compared to the 30.8 million who watched during its highest-rated year, 2005-06.
Viewership for the May finale with winner David Cook and runner-up David Archuleta was the second-highest for the show in five years, but dropped slightly from last year among 18-to-49-year-old viewers - an indication that the "American Idol" audience is aging.
Fox congratulated Lythgoe on his new venture but acknowledged it was "disappointed" that he would not be continuing as executive producer.
"He is an extraordinarily talented producer whose creative contributions to the No. 1 show on television have been immeasurable," the network said in a statement.
It was unclear whether Lythgoe will continue to have a hand in "American Idol."
His fellow executive producer, Ken Warwick, also has worked on the show from the beginning.
Asked what roles Lythgoe and Warwick might have with the show when it returns next January, 19 Entertainment spokesman Eric Green said the producers for next season have yet to be decided.
National auditions for the singing contest's new season are under way.
In a statement, Fuller called Lythgoe "the best producer I have ever worked with" and noted they have collaborated for more than 10 years.
Fuller heads 19 Entertainment, which produces "American Idol" with FremantleMedia North America.
TV, film and stage projects all will be on the table for Fuller and Lythgoe's new enterprise, Green said.
The two created the "So You Think You Can Dance?" contest series, which airs on Fox.

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