The Insider

Oct 28, 2002  •  Post A Comment

How to shoot a hole in one the way Sony Pictures television Chief Steve Mosko recently did: Take MediaCom executive Jon Mandel up on his offer to stop long enough on your way to MIPCOM to wedge in a round of golf at his Mount Kisco, N.Y., club. Take 7 iron from set of gift golf clubs. Take swing at ball that has “Just Shoot Me” logo tastefully emblazoned on it. Take break in your running patter, otherwise you won’t see it slice through the windy drizzle in a perfect arc that ends some 156 yards away, mere inches past the par 3 13th hole. Take deep breath as it rolls sweetly backward into the cup. Take bow.
“I have to admit it was pretty,” said Mr. Mosko, who plans to have the ball mounted and displayed in his office.
“It was the coolest moment of my life,” said Mr. Mandel. “It was like watching him be 9 years old. It was more sappy than a MasterCard commercial.”
Mr. Mosko talks and plays a good game but had never even seen a hole in one during his 23 years on the links. Indeed, “He was talking while he was swinging,” recalled Mr. Mandel, who was playing the men’s tee with Mr. Mosko while their associates, MediaCom’s Donna Speciale and Sony Pictures’ Kristin O’Grady, were playing the women’s tee.
“Jon and I were having a conversation about somebody in the business,” Mr. Mosko said. “Literally, I was talking to him. I put the tee in the ground. I stopped for about two seconds to hit the ball. I hit the ball, picked the tee up, didn’t even look, started to finish the conversation with Jon, then I kind of looked back and went `Holy s***!’“
Much laughter ensued, not to mention toasting and tippling. Tradition has it that the hole-in-oner buys drinks for everyone in the clubhouse. Another member of Mr. Mandel’s club also shot a hole in one that day, making it one for the course’s record books. Mr. Mosko said you’re guaranteed to have a good time playing golf with Mr. Mandel “because he’s got a thousand stories. And if you’re ever going to have a hole in one, have it with Mandel, because everybody will know about it.”
The Insider thought that was her job.
Stop the presses! Imus likes MSNBC!
Is it possible, as some sources say, that Infinity’s Don Imus already has decided that when the TV contract he signed only last year with MSNBC is up that he will take the TV simulcast of his morning radio show to a TV channel in the extended Viacom family that includes Infinity? No, Mr. Imus tells The Insider, it is not.
“That’s not true. None of that’s true. I’m very happy with MSNBC. I mean I actually am,” he told The Insider. “Not to disparage [MSNBC] but it’s a miniscule part of what we do. We probably have about 10 million listeners around the country and a couple hundred thousand on MSNBC. We make fun of them and berate them all the time, but that’s part of the deal, you know. They do a good job with me, and they’re very cooperative. They do a great job. I like [MSNBC editor in chief Jerry] Nachman. I don’t have any problem.”
There are “a couple of years to run” on his latest contract with MSNBC, said Mr. Imus, who makes getting up on the wrong side of the bed funny and lucrative and who regularly hammers MSNBC programs and personalities-and anyone else in reach or the headlines-for intellectual sport and comic exercise and is thus an enduring inspiration to The Insider.
Biting hand that used to feed him?
Speaking of MSNBC and Mr. Nachman, one of the things rubbing him the wrong way recently was the news media’s interest in the political opinions of celebrities. “It seems like most of these celebrities have their knowledge of politics limited to what they have read on a bumper sticker,” he said on a recent “Nachman.” “I would rather have singers sing and comedians tell jokes.”
The Insider asked if Mr. Nachman saw any hypocrisy or irony in that stand given that he has been both a staff writer and an executive producer on “Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher.” An MSNBC spokeswoman delivered a statement from Mr. Nachman-”’Politically Incorrect’ was a comedy show produced by the entertainment division of ABC television. My problem is journalists’ seeking celebrities’ positions on public policy issues on news broadcasts”-as well as an aside: “You are comparing an apple with an orange,” relayed the spokeswoman, who also conveyed Mr. Nachman’s judgment that to ask this question said more about The Insider’s journalism than it did about Mr. Nachman’s.
This seems like the appropriate place to note that The Insider was one of Mr. Nachman’s reporters during his stint as editor in chief of the New York Post.
Of dueling lunches and Wright stuff
Speaking of NBC and Mr. Nachman, he is to help anchor Brian Williams and mogul Donald Trump gently roast NBC Chairman Bob Wright this Thursday at the Center for Communication’s annual media luncheon. “Today” anchor Katie Couric is a headliner at a competing luncheon tossed that day by NBC parent company General Electric Co. in honor of the upcoming PBS series, “Freedom: A History of US” But Ms. Couric has contributed to a tongue-in-cheeky video that features her co-anchor Matt Lauer, Tom Brokaw and Tim Russert and other NBC stalwarts saluting Mr. Wright. The Insider can hardly wait for Mr. Wright’s retorts.