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The Insider

Mar 15, 2004  •  Post A Comment

What do the gonzo, weapon-lovin’ rocker Ted Nugent and Fox News’ buttoned-down Tony Snow have in common? The Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner on Wednesday, March 24, at the Washington Hilton, that’s what.
The Insider hears that Mr. Nugent, whose “Surviving Nugent” returns to VH1 in April, will rock out at Fox News’ post-correspondents dinner party and Mr. Snow, who plays the saxophone, is expected to join him. If this boogie double bill indeed comes to pass, toe-tapping surely will ensue.
Also certain to have the crowd chattering about Fox that night is the presence of News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch and Donald Trump as a guest-the sort of jaw-dropping star power traditionally associated with the White House Correspondents Dinner.
For the White House Correspondents Dinner on May 1, USA Today is going to have Howard Dean as a guest-the Insider suggests a pool on whether he fades before the main course is served-and ABC News will be taking Ben Affleck, the Boston-bred actor and congenital Red Sox fan who bonded with a “Nightline” booker over the course of a baseball piece done for the late-night news show.
But back to March 24 and the $10,000-per-table Radio and Television Correspondents gala at which Mr. Trump will not be the guest of NBC, which made him a prime-time TV star by betting on Mark Burnett’s “The Apprentice”-not to mention by heavily cross-promoting the “Survivor”-in-business-suits reality hit throughout the Peacock Network’s TV land.
If Jeff Zucker, who oversees NBC’s entertainment, news and cable programming divisions, thinks it’s at all inappropriate or ungrateful of Mr. Trump to agree to be arm candy for a network that did not invest heavily in him, Mr. Zucker did an Emmy-worthy job of hiding it last week. Fresh off a meeting with The Donald, Mr. Zucker said that all is hunky-dory-the Insider’s term, not the famously competitive Mr. Z’s. On the other hand, if the Insider were in a position to do so, she’d already be making darned sure that no NBC-family star would be making guest appearances with any other network’s bigs next year.
Meanwhile, sure to be one of the emotional highlights of the Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner is the presentation of the first of what will be an annual award bearing the name of David Bloom, the NBC News correspondent and weekend “Today” anchor who died of a pulmonary embolism in Iraq, where he had become a breakout war correspondent aboard the Bloom-mobile-the vehicle he helped design to transmit live video of stunning clarity on the march toward Baghdad.
The proceedings will get louder later as Fox cranks up Tribe Nuge and CNN cranks up the DJ-dance club formula that kept guests hopping till 3 a.m. last year.