The Insider

Aug 27, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Bada-bing, bada-oops!
Jeanne Moos, the CNN correspondent known for her wryly eccentric pieces, last week had some ‘splainin’ to do to folks who thought her story about a lap-dancing feminist professor was, as Ms. Moos said on her Web page, “problematic. Several producer types at our Atlanta headquarters thought the footage was too racy and considered the story tasteless.”
Ms. Moos’ story made it onto CNN in late-night for the first two of three regularly scheduled runs. But producers of the daytime blocks in which it normally would have run during the next day vetoed it.
No such judgment prevailed at sister channel CNN Headline News, which has spent a lot of time and money jazzing itself up this summer and which carried the story twice the next morning. Late-morning, said a CNN spokesman. But it was early morning on the West Coast as the scantily clad (and occasionally digitized) subject moved like a dancer in Tony Soprano’s topless club. “We wouldn’t want anyone to choke on their Cheerios,” Ms. Moos said on the Web.
The Insider, whose job it is to ask questions even if they do make her seem prudish, asked whether this particular piece-of which Ms. Moos said “any more revealing and we’d be censored”-was a portent of things to come at the all-news channel, which until this year’s major management changes, had proudly declared its intention to remain boring, no matter how fierce the competition.
“No, no,” was the response. This is just Jeanne Moos, not the tip of any iceberg.“Jeanne Moos enjoys a reputation for offbeat stories that show the funny or ironic side of life,” CNN said in a statement. “A woman with a Ph.D. in drama and French philosophy who took up stripping as research for her performance art certainly qualifies as both.”
The, um, bottom line for Ms. Moos, according to her Web posting: “I agree this one was borderline for mainstream TV. I guess I just have broader borders.”
On pens and needles for Zucker profile
The Insider is breathlessly awaiting the mid-September Sunday when she finds on her 14th-floor doorstep the New York Sunday Times magazine with NBC Entertainment President Jeff Zucker on the cover. The Insider is not the only one dying to see whether cutting-edge celebrity writer Lynn Hirschberg, who had been hangin’ with Mr. Zucker and associates since last spring, has given the freshman entertainment executive the Jamie Tarses treatment (shudder) or the Les Moonves treatment (happy, happy, joy, joy).
The greatest wonderment is why Mr. Zucker wouldn’t at least have waited until he knew how his first fall lineup is going to play before he submitted to celebrity journalism’s equivalent of Russian roulette-whose most recent casualty, of course, is Variety chief Peter Bart, flayed and filleted at length by Los Angeles magazine. The Insider, who has the utmost affection and respect for Mr. Zucker, nonetheless has ordered a fresh supply of schadenfreude. Just in case.
The WB’s party line
The Insider misses all the good parties. Like the third annual and biggest-ever affiliate advertiser bash on the Warner Bros. lot Thursday night. Essentially catered by The WB and paid for on a per-head basis by the affiliates, it is designed to let affiliates play host as their major advertisers mix and mingle with WB executives and stars. And despite the continuing tight travel dollar, the party drew a crowd of some 600, the largest turnout yet, according to WB network distribution Chief Executive Ken Werner.
Against a backdrop that included a blimp, a ferris wheel and a dunk tank (the dunkees were, apparently, hired hands, not hapless guests), contingents from 21 TV markets throughout the country noshed on casual food, downed vodka-spiked watermelon and lemonade and posed with a big phalanx of stars from new and returning shows. “Angel’s” David Boreanaz brought his dad. “Dawson’s Creek’s” Joshua Jackson met “Gilmore Girls’“ Lauren Graham for the first time. “Raising Dad’s” Bob Saget had a little reunion with “Full House” co-star John Stamos, who’s shooting ABC’s “Thieves” on the lot. “It worked out just the way we’d like it to,” said Mr. Werner, sounding none the worse for wear the next morning. The Insider misses the day when she sounded none the worse for wear after a West Coast party.
The final word
There was, as we all know, much speculation about just why Connie Chung got the big-get sit-down with Rep. Gary Condit last week. Much of the scuttlebutt suggested that what tipped the balance was related to Ms. Chung’s husband, talk-show host Maury Povich, who has long and deep family ties to Washington. When The Insider broached that theory directly to Mr. Povich, he let loose a Santa-sounding laugh and declared his wife landed the interview “the old-fashioned way. She wore out three pairs of Manolo Blahniks.”