Actor Charlie Sheen's latest run-in with the law sounds very serious. According to initial reports, he allegedly brandished a knife and threatened to kill his wife when she said she might divorce him. He denies it.
Can you imagine the uproar, even now, if Tiger Woods was accused of doing something like that if his wife said she might divorce him?
It may surprise some to realize that Sheen's alleged behavior won't even come close to the negative fall-out Woods has already received in the past month. "How can that be?" they'll exclaim.
It's got to do with expectations. Sheen is a notorious bad-boy who's been in lots of trouble before. That means in the eyes of the media--and yes, much of the public--he's much more comparable to Bobby Brown than Chris Brown. That's also why if Bobby Brown got in more trouble tomorrow the public would basically shrug, and why we were so shocked when Chris Brown--who, like Woods, had a clean image--hit Rhianna.
Furthermore, I'd be surprised if Hanes drops Sheen as an endorser. It was only about 18 months ago that they hired him to wear their underwear, and his reputation as a bad boy was already well established. In other words, if anyone at Hanes is surprised by this latest trouble that Sheen's gotten into, THEY should be fired.
Nor do I think CBS will sanction Sheen, who TVGuide says is the highest paid actor on TV making about $20 million a year. No, these charges against Sheen are not funny, but he does play a cad in his hit sitcom "Two and a Half Men." And did I mention the show's a big hit?
Finally, I saw one blog post that said Sheen will be treated differently than Woods because Sheen is white. In fact, Sheen's real name is Carlos Irwin Estévez, and his grandfather on his dad's side is from Spain.
The truth of the matter is that not all of our celebrities are treated equally. And if one is known for behaving badly and once again behaves badly, he or she gets a pass.
To be crude about it, it's the new, fresh meat that we like to grind up. Leftovers have always been of less interest.#
Bah, Humbug! Twas the Night Before Christmas and Santa's Unhappy About TV (and Other Transgressions)
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the House,
Not a doctor was stirring, not even Hugh Laurie, that louse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
But Santa wasn’t coming, as sad as he was.
Dollhouse had been canceled and Hank had no buzz.
The Beautiful Life turned ugly and Russell’s win did not arrive,
Even worse this year the print edition of TVWeek didn’t survive.
And even the problem Accenture had with Tiger Woods libido,
Santa could have taken, if only Pepperidge Farm hadn’t killed the Lido.
Of this transgression you may not yet have heard,
It actually happened a few years ago, quietly, and it’s so patently absurd.
The Lido so proud, so substantive to bite,
Far better than the Milano, a lightweight, a fright.
And “Pshaw” to the Oreo, America’s favorite,
It’s not special enough for Santa, he doesn’t savor it.
Yes, the now discarded Lido can be found in a more expensive box collection,
But that’s not the right place for this terrific confection.
So, depressed, Santa could barely say, “Now Rachel! Now Jamie! Now Mindy and Blitzen!
On Cori! On Holly! On, on the rest of you Vixen!
Alas, Santa was cheered when the first place he arrived
Had no milk nor cookies, but nonetheless had a good vibe.
Left out for him was a picture of Oprah, his dear,
With the great news that yes, she’d still be on TV another year.
Santa sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew listening to Leno and the late John Entwistle.
Then Santa stood and shouted, “Though I don’t know if Comcast and NBC will be right,
Happy Christmas to all and to all a good-night!”
(with apologies to Henry Livingston Jr, Clement Clarke Moore and Kris Kringle)
Still pondering the surprising news that the Emmys could be in for some competition—and after the initial knee-jerk reaction of “Oh, great, another awards show,” coming around to the notion that it’s probably a good idea.
The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences is one of the few award-granting entities that have an open field with no other awards competition anywhere near its time slot. The show has been airing in recent years anywhere from late August to late September, making it the first major kudo-fest of the season—by a long shot—and the only one to occur in summer.
It’s invariably 90+ degrees at Emmy time, and the red carpet is full of cocktail-length dresses—and sweat stains.
But the hottest accessory is taking home a golden statuette, and without a doubt, the Emmys are definitely the king of the castle in TV-land. There can be no other true contender, just as Oscar has no peer, only prestigious friends like the various guilds and critics’ circles awards—and its rowdy cousin, the Golden Globes, with its mix of television and film prizes, part of what makes it so much fun.
Word is the Paley Center, formerly the Museum of Television and Radio, is thinking about handing out its own awards in what a spokesperson said would be a more fun environment, like the Globes, which has been known for some boozy unscripted moments that have gone down in television lore.
Sony Pictures Television president Steve Mosko, who formerly ran the ATAS Foundation, is leading the charge.
"We're in very exploratory stages of setting up awards for excellence on TV, called The Paley Awards," a Paley Center spokeswoman told The New York Post. "We're not envisioning it as competition for any other existing awards. That's not part of our agenda."
Notwithstanding the prestige level of the Paley Center, which puts on various television festivals and events featuring top shows and broadcast and cable movers and shakers at locations in New York and Los Angeles, there’s an indication that there would be a bit of a People’s Choice element to the awards show, along with an industry insider component.
Any one of a number of hosting candidates—Jon Stewart, Ellen DeGeneres, Steven Colbert and, gulp, David Letterman, could be a fit. And if Ricky Gervais knocks it out of the park when he hosts the upcoming Globes, he could soon have another gig lined up.
We Wuz Robbed! Russell Hantz Was Not the Only One Blown Away that He Didn't Win 'Survivor:Samoa,' and This Viewer Thinks The Producers are Playing with Fire
We wuz robbed, plain and simple.
If you're not a fan of 'Survivor,' here's what it's like that Russell Hantz didn't win the $1million on the latest edition of the show, which concluded Sunday night, Dec. 20th: It would be as if the great football linebacker, Lawrence Taylor, who was named the NFL's Most Valuable Player in 1986 based on an incredible season he had, was denied the honor because certain of his peers on opposing teams thought he wasn't nice enough, and that he played too intensely to win. That he was too enthusiastic when he clobbered an opposing player or broke up an offensive play.
If Taylor had not gotten the award because of that criteria, you'd say that was crazy. In fact, it was just the attributes that those on the opposing teams objected to, you'd say, that were exactly WHY Taylor was so great and why he did indeed deserve that Most Valuable Player Award in 1986.
It's analagous to what happened to Russell on "Survivor." He was never nice, and it was never pretty, but he was absolutely brilliant and he deserved to win.
If you didn't watch "Survivor:Samoa" this season, buy the DVD when it comes out. You may very well dislike him intensely, but it's also clear that Russell is likely the most cunning strategist yet to have played the game.
But, alas, he didn't win. Here's what both he and winner Natalie White said to E! Online after the vote: " 'It's amazing to me how people play the game," Russell told us, still visibly shocked by his loss. 'You want to be honest, have integrity, in the game? You ever play Monopoly, where you take people's houses and kick 'em out in the street? That's a game. But,' he added ruefully, 'it's part of it, I guess.' Natalie explained how that 'part' figured in her own strategy: 'There's different criteria to play the game. The majority of the people on the jury are not deceitful people, they just don't play that way in real life or in a game. I made it my mission to get to know them and try to figure out what that voting criteria was going to be. I think because of the genuine relationships that I built, they wanted to give it to someone they truly know and will do well with the money.'
Actually, they probably gave it to her because they felt she was the lesser of the three evils, the three evils being Russell, Nick and Natalie.
The problem, however, is that she was the wrong choice.
"Survivor" also arranges through a sponsor to give $100,000 to the person viewers vote as the one they think is the best player on the show. Russell did win that.
Here's my suggestion: CBS and Mark Burnett, the producer of the show, should switch who decides will win the $1 million and who wins the $100,000.
So when it comes down to the three finalists, America votes for the player who has best outwitted, outplayed and outlasted the field and who will win the $1 million first-place money. And the "jury" of nine players on the show can decide who wins $100,000 as their top choice.
Yes, one of the elements that has set "Survivor" apart from the "American Idol"-type of reality show is that viewers do NOT vote for the winner.
But there's an argument to be made that given how upset I would guess the majority of this season's viewers are with the results, "Survivor" is seriously in danger of losing a lot of loyal fans if this change isn't made and we feel betrayed by the results again come spring after the next arc of the show.#
“Sex Sells” is a premise that has been a used by advertisers almost as long as there’s been advertising.
According to the book “Advertising in America,” the rules that govern the use of sex in advertising were pretty much established by Elliott White Springs back in the late 1940s. He owned a textile company called Spring Mills.
Elliott Springs biggest contribution to the effective use of sex in advertising, says “Advertising in America,” was “The Tease.” The idea there, of course, is to show the reader or viewer of an ad something they are not supposed or expected to see. Think Marilyn Monroe’s dress being blown up to her waist by that blast of air in “The Seven Year Itch.”
“The Tease” has been written about a lot, and “Advertising in America” quotes from a 1982 book by Prudence Glynn as saying, “If you accept the Fundamentalist point of view or believe what you read in Freud, it is possible to assume that all dress is erotic in that it conceals something, which by tradition is not acceptable to the public gaze. Inquisitive as he is, and prurient by nature, it follows that man has always been excited by what is concealed. It is always what is underneath which must be discovered…”
The key, here, is that for the ad to be most successful, one should NOT reveal too much.
Author and sociologist Philip Slater once said, controversially, "If we define pornography as any message from any communication medium that is intended to arouse sexual excitement, then it is clear that most advertisements are covertly pornographic."
The key there is the word “covertly,”
So here’s the irony. When we see Tiger Woods advertising a product, we are imaging him to be what we know of him from his golf performances. Competitive. Strong. Virile. Smart. All of those things that also make him, of course, sexually attractive.
But this is also a country steeped in Puritanism. Founded by believers in that movement. So when we actually find out that Woods is also a very sexual Tiger, in the most explicit terms, and outside the bounds of his marriage at that, well, the jig is up.
I have the utmost respect for Nike founder Phil Knight, and the success he’s built, and his reading of the marketplace. He said the other day that when all is said and done with the Tiger Woods story we’ll look back at the current scandal and see that it was just a blip in Woods' career.
I don’t know about that. Yes, Americans are incredibly forgiving, especially with athletes. But I’m not so sure we nor Madison Ave will be when it comes to Woods’ future power as an endorser for most products.
I just don’t think we’ll ever again listen to Woods say how wonderful a product is and think to ourselves, “That’s Grrrrrrrreat!”#
For any of us who travel a lot—meaning that we pass through many airports—one of the joys in the past five years or so have been those huge, absolutely gorgeous ads for Accenture featuring Tiger Woods.
You know the ones: They are always extolling us to “be a Tiger,” and that Accenture has what it takes to be one as well. Many of the ads actually use that line. Others executions—all brilliantly done by Young and Rubicam—just show Woods facing some tough shot or situation. Some have also appeared in print publications and in various iterations online.
And the ads feature beautiful photography. Truly magnificent.
Here’s a typical execution: Woods is studying a golfing situation. And there’s a line drawn next to Woods on the photo, like in a graph that shows how measuring is done. And the copy by the line says “Information 40%. Interpretation 60%.” Then, on the bottom of the ad is the line “We know what it takes to be a Tiger,” and there’s some brief copy about Accenture’s services, consulting, technology, and outsourcing. The ad ends with the name of the company and its tagline “High performance. Delivered.”
Of course that defined Woods as well. It was the perfect melding of pitchman to how a company wanted to communicate its image.
Given the oneness between Accenture and Woods, the company had no choice but to cut all ties with him when Woods admitted, in a message on his website, to his “infidelity.”
As the company said on Sunday, “Accenture today announced that it will not continue its sponsorship agreement with Tiger Woods.
“For the past six years, Accenture and Tiger Woods have had a very successful sponsorship arrangement and his achievements on the golf course have been a powerful metaphor for business success in Accenture’s advertising. However, given the circumstances of the last two weeks, after careful consideration and analysis, the company has determined that he is no longer the right representative for its advertising.”
Woods was indeed a metaphor for Accenture, and a large part of this iconic campaign has been to portray Woods’ great judgment as being the sauce that makes Woods so special and, by association, what makes Accenture so special.
And while this has been illustrated in the campaign by Woods’ prowess on the golf course, what’s left unsaid—but has always been in our minds as we look and read the ads—is that this great judgment of Woods’ extends beyond the links.
Which brings me to one last point.
The only communication Woods has made about all this has been a few paragraphs he’s posted on his website.
His first posting had these lines: “Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn't have to mean public confessions.
“Whatever regrets I have about letting my family down have been shared with and felt by us alone. I have given this a lot of reflection and thought and I believe that there is a point at which I must stick to that principle even though it's difficult.”
Woods is wrong if he thinks the only ones he’s let down is his family and that they are the only ones to whom he needs to make amends.
Yes, in a later posting Woods asked his “business partners” for “understanding” so he can do some “personal healing” with his family.
But in a real and material way, Woods has let down the people at Accenture, who not only paid him a lot of money, but who made a deep brand association with him in the belief that he was person he claimed to be and who they—and we—thought he was.#
Just about when I got done chuckling about "Saturday Night Live's" opening sketch spoofing the Salahis continually interrupting a presidential speech to take even more photos of themselves, a mini controversy breaks out on the heels of a major scandal.
Seems that some people are offended by the sketch depicting Tiger Woods holding a series of news conferences, while his wife, Elin Nordegren, looks on (click here to see it). A caricature Wolf Blitzer on CNN keeps tossing back to the scene as Tiger, channeled by Keenan Thompson, gets continually hospitalized and increasingly more injured and ends up with a golf club around his head and holding up papers saying "I'm scared," "she is strong." and "help me." "SNL" host Blake Lively plays Nordegren.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence is not laughing, and its executive director said the show made a mockery of abuse, and that she hopes "SNL" refrains from using this kind of skit in the future, because it diminishes people's support for victims of domestic violence. Um, probably not so much.
Others have complained that the subject matter should have been off limits because that night's musical guest was Rihanna, who suffered severe physical abuse early this year at the hands of her ex-boyfriend, Chris Brown.
These viewpoints mirror a disturbing trend on television towards skewed political correctness and attempts at censorship. A recent case in point: the CBS "Early Show" digitizing the video of Adam Lambert kissing a male bandmate during his grantedly controversial AMA performance as if it was some kind of porn --while in the next moment running the 2003 girl-on-girl kiss between Madonna and Britney Spears.
While CBS may worry about offending its early morning audience, here’s a news flash: "SNL" is a late-night comedy show.
Does it need to be tasteful? Absolutely not. Does it strive to be funny? Of course. Should it tailor its humor so as not to potentially offend the night's musical guest? No. Are some people going to be rubbed the wrong way by its skits or impersonations? Sure. Those people are not "SNL’s" target audience.
For those watching or not, in all likelihood, no one is actually in favor of minimizing the tragedy of domestic violence--except those who perpetrate it. No sane person would find anything about physical abuse remotely amusing.
Instead of what some have interpreted as making fun of victims of domestic violence, the Tiger Woods sketch could be read as being about a man who had been caught cheating on his justifiably angry wife, and his lame attempts to make amends. And this was even before tabloid news broke of even more women who claimed to have had affairs with the mega-millionaire golfer. He’s in much hotter water now.
In addition to all the late-night ribbing, it’s easy to predict another hysterical "SNL" sketch as long as the Tiger Woods story is big news. The Salahis probably aren't going away for awhile, either.
Thanks, Lorne and cast. This season couldn't possibly top last year's biting campaign brilliance. But the laughs do keep on coming.
Is fear of the Internet one of the drivers of the Comcast-NBCU deal?
For those who have a vested interest in the way video is currently delivered to consumers, one of the things that keeps them up at night is the havoc the Internet brought to the traditional models of the music business.
One of the questions yet to be answered is: Despite the lessons the video players have learned from their music industry brethren, and the various countermoves they've instituted to prevent the same fate---from Hulu to the forthcoming various TV Everywhere plans—will they be successful?
One of the more thoughtful pieces on this subject appeared in the Dec. 6 Los Angeles Times. In a column titled “Coming Soon: Internet via TV," David Lazarus talks about the vision of the future as seen by the Federal Communications Commission. As he says, “if this plays out as the Federal Communications Commission envisions, the world as cable companies know it will radically change, making the potential synergies of the Comcast-NBC deal all but obsolete.”
Lazarus cites two moves by the FCC.
One is the FCC’s move, last week, seeking input as to whether it should require all set-top boxes, to “work with all networks, whether run by cable, satellite or phone companies.
On top of that the FCC appears committed to making sure that “broadband Internet access is available to virtually all households.”
Later in the article Lazarus says where he thinks all this will lead us: “…here’s the nightmare scenario for bulked-up telecom behemoths such as Comcast—you’ll go online via your television and watch shows and movies at free sites like Hulu.com.”
Of course if the Comcast deal goes through, Comcast will be an owner of Hulu and can prevent that from happening.
But, as Lazarus then says, “…even if online video content providers charged a fee for access, chances are it would still be cheaper than what you currently pay for programming packages that typically include dozens if not hundreds of channels you never watch.”
Of course one would expect Comcast and its powerful video provider brethren would come up with schemes to evolve yet protect its business.
The question, ultimately, is whether or not technology will allow them to do that. For example, Lazarus looking not too far into his crystal ball prognosticates, “What, for instance, would there be to stop some box manufacturer from combining cable/satellite readiness and Internet access with a TiVo-like recorder that requires no extra fees? In a word, nothing.”
The gauntlet has been thrown. Can technology be tamed? #
On a night when many people were consumed with the tabloid-y coverage of the Tiger Woods infidelity scandal, it was a pleasure to honor authors, artists and writers whose work often represents the antithesis of the low road.
PEN USA, an organization dedicated to promoting excellence in writing across all media, handed out its 19th annual awards at the Beverly Hills Hotel Wednesday night.
HBO’s beloved defender of the documentary, Sheila Nevins, and Emmy award-winning filmmaker Liz Garbus were handed PEN’s First Amendment Award for HBO’s “Shouting Fire: Stories from the Edge of Free Speech.”
Garbus teamed with her father, noted First Amendment attorney Martin Garbus, to examine cases of infringement of free speech, including the case of Colorado professor Ward Churchill, who made some--shall we say--unpopular statements after 9/11 by blaming the 2001 terrorist attacks on U.S. foreign policy. He was dismissed from his job but later won an appeal of wrongful termination.
On the whole, the doc looks at the balancing act between protecting civil liberties and national security in a post-9/11 world, and asks whether all speech is equally “protected.”
Screenwriter Dustin Lance Black won a PEN for his screenplay of “Milk,” and favorite Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez took home a glass trophy for his book “The Soloist,” upon which the recent film was made. In accepting the award, Lopez revealed he is still actively involved with the soloist, formerly homeless musician William Ayres, who will be releasing a CD soon—with Lopez’s help.
Legendary crime writer Elmore Leonard, author of such acclaimed works as “Get Shorty,” “Out of Sight” and “Jackie Brown,” accepted the lifetime achievement award from equally legendary film producer Walter Mirisch, and later signed copies of his short, sweet and to-the-point book, “Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing.” It contains these duly-noted lessons to write by:
Keep your exclamation points under control.
Don't go into great detail describing places and things.
Never use the words "suddenly" or "all hell broke loose."
But Mr. Leonard, how else could you describe what just happened to Tiger Woods?
The plot thickens in the case of Michaele and Tareq Salahi, the now infamous White House state dinner party crashers who made their first television appearance on the "Today" show Tuesday morning.
The Salahis, a social-climbing couple who reportedly are having serious financial difficulties, told Matt Lauer they were not getting paid for their appearance—after the Associated Press reported they were asking for six-figure deals for an interview.
They abruptly cancelled an appearance on “Larry King Live,” and there’s speculation that a Bravo contract they signed restricted them to NBC---hence the Lauer interview.
Media whores, shameless fame-seekers. Whatever you want to call them, the Salahis have achieved their goal of attracting worldwide attention for their stunt, which called into serious question the Secret Service’s ability to protect the leader of the free world and other national and world leaders from harm.
Yet during the interview, they blamed the media for ruining their lives. “Our lives have been destroyed, everything we’ve worked for, Matt,” Michaele Salahi said. “For me, 44 years, just destroyed.” Her husband declared: “This has been the most devastating thing that’s ever happened to us. We’re greatly saddened by all the circumstances that have been involved in portraying my wife and I as party crashers. I can tell you we did not party crash the White House.”
The White House insists they did, leaving many questions on the table, beginning with exactly how the couple was able to obtain access to the event honoring India’s prime minister without being on the guest list. Tall blonde in a see-through sari, anyone?
Normally, a member of the White House social office would be present to oversee the first guest check point, but somehow, reversing protocol, that did not happen. So the Salahis are under investigation for lying to a federal official to get into the dinner.
Even before the “Today” spot, they claim they were invited, at least to the cocktail portion of the evening, via a connection with a Pentagon official who has denied their claim, saying she told them they should not come to the event.
In a statement released by the White House, Michele S. Jones, special assistant to the Secretary of Defense said: “I specifically stated that they did not have tickets and in fact that I did not have the authority to authorize attendance, admittance or access to any part of the evening’s activities. Even though I informed them of this, they still decided to come.”
Here’s what the Salahis have been official invited to: the House Homeland Security Committee’s hearing Thursday about the incident. So has the Secret Service. The couple says they have already turned over documentation that they were in fact, invited to the dinner.
They’re also denying reports that they recently crashed another high-profile DC event, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Awards dinner on Sept. 26 at which Obama spoke—and from which they were apparently kicked out after they sat at a table reserved for donors. The Salahis attribute that account to a gossip column.
In their quest to become cast members of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of D.C.,” cameras filmed their preparations for their big night on the town—where they photogenically glad-handed the likes of Rahm Emanuel, Joe Biden, D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty, Katie Couric, Robin Roberts and the president himself. Yikes.
Within hours, Michaele posted photos on her Facebook account, most showing her closely wrapped around the men she posed with. She initially spelled Emanuel’s first name as “Ron,” before being corrected, and referred to the US White House. There are nearly 2,000 comments, mostly from haters.
A separate Facebook fan page says this:
“Michaele Salahi is rumored to be one of the cast members featured on Bravo's upcoming "The Real Housewives of DC." Michaele Salahi owns Oasis Winery along with her husband, Tareq Salahi. Michaele Salahi is also the chair of America's Polo Cup, the spring strutting ritual—and polo match—that sports her husband as its president. Michaele Salahi is also a former model who was the face of virginia dot org's Wine Getaways ad campaign. Michaele Salahi has been featured in "O" (Oprah), Gourmet, Conde Nast Traveller, Home & Garden, New Yorker, Vogue, Elle, Victoria Secrets and many others. Michaele Salahi has been featured in television spots for everything from charity events and fashion shows to polo matches and wine & food gatherings.”
Shameless self-promotion is a way of life in Hollywood, and in D.C., as is crashing high-profile events, but these wannabes have taken it to a new low. Unless, of course, they somehow prove their case.
If not, it would be a crying shame if Bravo bought into the Sleazys', oops, the Salahis' game and furthered their ill-gotten “fame,” but it looks like the cabler won’t be able to resist—as the smart money says they’re a lock for “Real Housewives.”