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The Insider

Jul 14, 2003  •  Post A Comment

When you’re a member of the publicity tribe on the wild and remote “Survivor” locations, reality truly can bite.
Just ask Bob Winsor, head of broadcast publicity for CBS, who pulled on his shorts one morning in Africa only to find he was sharing them with a scorpion.
Or ask CBS staff photographer Monty Brinton, who has earned a reputation as the Rambo of photographers with his intrepid work snapping publicity photos by the hundreds on each installment in the network’s “Survivor” series.
Two weeks ago, he went mano a birdo with a brown pelican in the Pearl Islands, the archipelago of 90 islands and 100-plus islets in the Gulf of Panama where production began June 23 on the seventh installment in the “Survivor” series.
Mr. Brinton, his camera encased in newly purchased yellow protective covering, was in the water snapping photos of one tribe fishing for food. Suddenly, a dive-bombing pelican, probably thinking it was about to wrap its bill around something exotic and yellow and a few rungs down the food chain, put the bite on his camera.
Mr. Brinton reportedly threw a punch at the pelican that helped him win the tug-of-war for the camera; but the pelican made three more swooping passes before flying off, apparently unharmed, in search of less strenuous prey (so long, chum!).
Now, before some animal rights activists get their endangered-species knickers in a knot, The Insider wants to point out that the pelican (a) was the aggressor and (b) is capable of developing significant velocity with a wingspan that can measure upward of 6 feet and inflicting extreme discomfort, to say the least, with a bill that’s big enough to hold three gallons of water and fish.
Word is that Mr. Brinton and his camera came through the scrape just fine. A CBS insider, however, expects that by this time next year, when Mr. Brinton tells the story, the pelican will have morphed to pterodactyl proportions.
To which The Insider says: No harm, no fowl.
Embezzlement was a surprise
The arrest in Chicago last week of former accounting executive Deborah Fogarty on charges that she embezzled (and that she and her husband, Timothy, also charged, enjoyed the illegal use of) $1.8 million from WBBM-TV came as a shock to former colleagues. One reason: More than one person whose business-related expenses she vetted knew Ms. Fogarty as a strict interpreter of allowable expenses. She made clear, for example, that fellow employees could not take each other out for lunch and submit the bill as a business meal.