Thursday, August 6, 2009

Israeli Model Bar Refaeli in Stephen King's New Story....

'Idol' After Paula: Who's to Blame, What It Means -- and What's Next
Where do we go from here?


Now that the No. 3 star on America's No. 1 show has decided to up and quit, the aftershocks will continue for days, weeks -- maybe months.


This story isn't exactly the death of Michael Jackson, but let's put it this way:

The Obama administration has one more giant media circus to compete with as it tries to sell its health care plan.


First, an update on what went down.


Fox still isn't talking beyond its statement, but people familiar with the situation insist that the network very much wanted Abdul to stay.


These sources say the network and producers were willing to up Abdul's salary by a huge 30 percent.


According to the Los Angeles Times, Abdul had been making between $2 million and $4 million per year.

If you believe the high end of those estimates -- because, really, $2 million sounds way low -- then Abdul stood to pull down around $5.5 million per year.

And since these deals always run for multiple seasons, Abdul just walked away from around $11 million to $17.5 million.


Yes, Ryan Seacrest is reportedly making almost that much each year of his new three-year pact.


But his deal includes monies from multiple other projects he works on for 19 Entertainment.


And he has a much more vital role to the show (even if he doesn't have as passionate a fan base).


That's what we know right now.



What's next?


-- The backlash.


Fox can expect to get slammed by the mainstream media, which won't understand how the network could let the Beloved Paula slip away.


Wags will predict the show won't be the same, that viewers will rebel and that the network is risking its most important franchise.


While multiple executives have been involved in the talks, Fox chief Tony Vinciquerra almost certainly took a lead role in guiding the negotiations, according to people close to the situation.


It's one of the first big deals to happen (or not happen) since Peter Chernin stepped down from News Corp.

Vinciquerra is the ultimate no-B.S. executive.


Given the antics of Team Abdul recently (Twittered demands, press attacks from her manager), it's not surprising things broke down.


But Vinciquerra also had to look at Fox's overall bottom line.


An extra $10 million for Abdul might not seem like much, except when you realized that might have translated into an extra $10 million for Randy Jackson and another $20 million for Simon Cowell once word got out how much Abdul was making.


Indeed, jealousy over Seacrest's deal has already been cited as one of the reasons for Abdul's big demands.

Ratings for "Idol" are already down, and the ad market -- while not as bad as some feared -- is still not great.


Vinciquerra needed to be financially responsible.


Acting out of fear over what might happen if Abdul left is no way to run a network (although that's exactly how many networks operate).

-- The counterspin.


In addition to fiscal sanity, Fox can also make two strong points about why this isn't the end.


"Idol" is ultimately about the kids who compete.


Their "journey" is what drives the show, and it seems unlikely a large chunk of viewers will stop watching simply because Paula won't be around to stare down Simon and say outlandish things.


And secondly, as long as Simon Cowell ( above , with teri seymour) is around, "Idol" will thrive.


Sure, there will be a core of fans who will watch less, or maybe not at all.

But Cowell, along with the kids, is the key to "Idol."


It's unclear if Fox has quietly wrapped a deal with Cowell, who still has one year left on his current contract.


The L.A. Times hinted a pact was close last week.

If not, Cowell's camp ought to send Team Abdul the biggest floral arrangement ever, because Cowell might now be able to simply ask Rupert Murdoch to just sign over the Fox network to him right now.


-- The rivals.


People often speculate as to whether Abdul is nutty -- or crazy like a Fox.

I have zero evidence to support this next theory, but what if Team Abdul actually already has a deal in place elsewhere?


And what if all they really wanted was to make Abdul a bigger star?


Given the tough financial climate, I'd be shocked if any broadcast network overpaid for Abdul.


But a sum that doesn't work for Fox might work for an NBC or ABC.


A $20 million, three-year deal would not be an impossible pill to swallow.


How much would ABC love to announce new "Dancing With the Stars" judge Paula Abdul?

Jeff Gaspin would love to welcome fourth "America's Got Talent" judge Ms. Paula Abdul?

Add in a development deal for "an exciting new project starring Abdul," and suddenly things start making sense.


Or, it could just be that Abdul just pulled a McClean Stevenson.


He quit "M*A*S*H*" because he wanted more prominence.

Instead of stardom, he got ... "Hello, Larry."


-- The wildcard scenario:

It seems all but official that Abdul won't be back on "Idol."

But this is TV.

Reality TV, no less.

Twists are always a possibility.

The "Futurama" voice cast were history ... and then they weren't.

There's always a chance, as one reporter colleague of mine said tonight, that both sides will come to their senses.

If not ...


-- Bottom line, this is a sad day for TV fans.

Abdul's departure really is like a divorce, or even a death in the family.

"Idol" is a carefully-formulated TV recipe, and Wacky Paula was a key ingredient.

"American Idol" probably doesn't need four judges, but let's face it:



Losing Kara DioGuardi (above )-- or even my dawg
Randy Jackson -- would be a lot easier to take for die-hard fans.



Sure, you can argue that Abdul's antics had become stale.


Even though I think her musical commentary was the sharpest it's ever been last season, her banter with Simon had become pretty dang predictable, a waste of time better spent on, say, longer musical performances.



Or more plugs for Coke.


Sometimes family members who might seem annoying or maddening can turn out to be sorely missed when they're gone.




My Uncle Freddy often made holiday dinners tense with his drama, but now that he's gone-- he died before he turned 60-- I'd give anything to have him back at the table.


Fox may have good reason to let Abdul walk away.



"Idol"-- which was going to lose more viewers next year no matter what-- will remain a very popular show for several more years.


But anyone who tells you this isn't a bummer of an event for American pop culture is just blowing kisses in the wind.


Hotel Bel-Air to Close for Major Renovation



Famed Hollywood hideaway will shutter for almost two years.





By Sharon Waxman


Angelina Jolie, Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts are not the only ones likely to be upset at the news that one of Hollywood’s most iconic and beloved hideaways will disappear, at least temporarily, with the closure of the Hotel Bel-Air at the end of September.


The announcement was made unexpectedly to the hotel’s staff on Friday, who were informed that they would be laid off as of September 30.


Guests are being informed with a letter as they check in.


Due to the scope of a “major refurbishment,” said the letter, “the decision has been made to close the hotel on September 30, 2009 so we do not inconvenience any of our guests while the renovation is taking place.”



The letter said the hotel, which is owned by the Sultan of Brunei ( above,
with his 2 Queens ) and managed by the Dorchester Group, would be completed toward the middle of 2011.

The renovation will include an updating of all 91 rooms, and the construction of a vast new spa and 12 new villas on the property.


A spokeswoman for the hotel did not return a message from TheWrap seeking comment.


The historic hotel – which is not officially classified as a landmark – is an icon of Hollywood and Los Angeles history,

famed for its swans, its mission-style architecture, its unique rooms and for the generations of movie stars who have sought refuge and held trysts in its tucked-away spaces.
One of Marilyn Monroe’s most famous photo shoots with Bert Stern took place there in 1962


(see above), and so did a recreation of the shoot with Stern and Lindsay Lohan last year (see below).


Elizabeth Taylor(above) honeymooned here with her first husband,

and the story goes that Lauren Bacall(above ) flooded the hotel during the Academy Awards.


The staff is somewhat legendary for accomodating the unusual demands of celebrities, such as a seventeen minute wedding between Ronald Reagan’s daughter Patti and her yoga instructor.

And in an industry famed for stalkers and paparazzi, the hotel is known for its discretion.


A-list stars are known to take up residence there, but there are probably lots of others in the entertainment industry who will be equally disappointed.

“It’s so sad to me,” said Sherry Lansing( below ), the former CEO of Paramount Pictures, who like many Hollywood power players lives nearby.

“It’s like the loss of a dear friend. It’s always been one of the most beautiful hotels in the world to me.”
The Bel-Air was built as Bel-Air Estates in 1922 by Alphonso Bell, 60 acres of lush gardens, meticulously maintained north of Sunset.

The gardens are among the most famous among southern California hotels; containing more than 200 botanical species, including a 60-year-old lonchocarpus tree that spreads in a canopy over the restaurant’s outdoor space.


The hotel has changed owners and undergone renovations over the years, but none this extensive.


Extensive additions were made in 1982 when Rosewood Hotels and Resorts bought the hotel for $23 million.

The Rosewood sold the hotel for more than $110 million a decade later.


The Brunei Investment Agency, which also owns the Beverly Hills Hotel and redid that property, conducted a $20 million renovation of the Bel-Air in 2003, according to the hotel’s promotional materials.


The letter to guests signed by general manager Tim Lee did not mention whether the “major refurbishment” would fundamentally retain the historic character of the hotel.


AP Won't Be Charging Bloggers $2.50 A Word Any Time Soon

Over the weekend, a blog post on Mashable.com opened up a fresh wound for the Associated Press, forcing the news collective to put out a statement denying claims it was planning to charge as much as $2.50 a word for bloggers to quote its content.


According to AP spokesman Paul Colford, these worries are more than a year old, stemming from the company's partnership with iCopyright, which dates back to April 2008, not this April, as the Mashable blog reported.


"AP partners with iCopyright to automate fulfillment of routine requests for rights to republish AP material, either from AP-hosted sites or member and customer sites carrying AP content," the AP said in a statement.


"The licensing options vary greatly, from an array of uses -- such as e-mail, print and save -- through paid options up to and including large-scale corporate reprints of excerpts, full articles or photos."


The latest claims that the AP plans to charge for use of its content seem to have sprung up in light of the news collective's announcement late last month that it is launching a registry to tag and track its content so that it won't be plagiarized or misused.


We're eager to see how this registry will be implemented and who will be affected, but Colford assured us that it has nothing to do with the iCopyright deal.


"As the AP stated more than a year ago, the form is not aimed at bloggers," the company said of the iCopyright deal.


"It is intended to make it easy for people who want to license AP content to do so."


LCO LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE:

For the first time in four years, the prominent entertainment P.R. firm LCO -


Levine Communications Office has launched a completely new website to help the firm better communicate it's expanding range of services to it's clients including the increasing popular social media platforms.


The website, which was created and designed by Atak Interactive, includes sections devoted to blogs, testimonials, internships, services, featured clients etc..


"This is an exciting achievement for LCO" said Executive Vice-President Liam Collopy "and it will help expand our service level to our clients."


LCO is currently in it's 26th year as one of Hollywoods most prominent entertainment public relations firms.

LBN-COMMENTARY By HARA ESTROFF MARANO ( Editor at Large, Psychology Today):


What talent would I most like to have?


I would love to have the ability to instantly, automatically, perhaps telepathically, let someone know I am thinking about them in a positive way. (no response required.)

In this fast-moving world, it would be wonderful to be able to let others know they have had an impact on you.

Our lives are enriched by so many people we meet, and many live on in our hearts and minds even if they are no longer in our daily lives.


Ex-beaux, for example.


Strangers we've encountered in travels.


One thing everyone wants in life is to matter to another human being...and so it would be nice all around if others could know that they have taken up permanent residence in our heads and that we have occasion to think of them.

Bar Refaeli: A Country Girl Gets Inked

The SI swimsuit model transforms from impossibly lovely to inaccessibly exquisite as we write part of a Stephen King story on her naked body — and offers some tricks for looking sexy in photos along the way.



Model Bar Refaeli, aka Leo DiCaprio’s girlfriend, appeared on the July cover of Esquire Magazine wearing nothing but the introduction to a new short story written by Stephen King.





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