The Insider

Mar 3, 2003  •  Post A Comment

The Insider is supposed to be an equal-opportunity suck-up but last week she found herself at a nice Bob Wright function at New York’s Plaza Hotel for the second time in four months. In November, the Plaza’s ornate ballroom was site of the Center for Communications’ luncheon at which the NBC chairman was honored. Last week, Mr. Wright accepted the Golden Mike Award from the Broadcasters’ Foundation. (See photos, Page 30)
The crowd at the dinner, which felt like a reunion in black tie, included Viacom stations group’s Dennis Swanson, former ABC executive Phil Beuth (talking about selling his Westport, Conn., digs), past Pioneer Tack Nail and future foundation Chairman Phil Lombardo (who’ll have to top the Wright night next year). “Late Night’s” Conan O’Brien declared it “an honor to be forced to be here.”
O’Brien also joked about making “our own version of `The Bachelor’ starring Jack Welch”-and if The Insider has to explain that, her column is not for you-and how NBC, which turned 75 last year, “is finally old enough to watch CBS.”
The big teen tease
Surprise, surprise, surprise. You can’t trust a Russky teenybopper (supposedly) lesbian duo to not try to outrage someone somewhere on the TV food chain. And so it went with t.A.T.u. Tuesday night when Julie Volkova, 17, and Lena Katinia, 18, performed “All the Things She Said” on “Tonight” and broke a verbal promise to producers not to kiss, as they tend to do in selling their song, an ode to young lesbian love. They did kiss, but the camera cut to the band.
But the real fun came the next day. One of The Insider’s pals, who happens to be fluent in Cyrillic Russian, cheerfully reported that the duo’s T-shirts were emblazoned with anti-war rhetoric in the Cyrillic alphabet that loosely translated to “F**k the war.” The literal translation is ever so much more ungainly, something t.A.T.u. apparently didn’t bother to point out to “Tonight” when the tunesome coosome twosome said that their T-shirts would bear anti-war sentiment. Wednesday ended with t.A.T.u appearing on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” in little schoolgirl skirts and white T-shirts labeled “Censored.” Their big tease started with obvious posing and turned into groping during their “performance.” They coyly hid what might have been a kiss or a lip-synched whisper behind a hand.