April 2006 Archive

Finke/LA Weekly: CW Screws Underserved TV Audiences

My latest column is headlined Screwing The TV Viewers: The CW network is the bastard child of The WB and UPN. Here's what I say about CW programming:  “It's important to note that the vast majority of moviegoers can't discern any difference in product after Universal Studios was sold to NBC, MGM/UA gobbled up by Sony, and Pixar bought out by Disney. But viewers of The CW won't get to see UPN's two separate nights of African-American-oriented programming (because that's… Read

Finke/LA Weekly: Orgasmic Over Les?

My latest column is headlined Screwing The TV Viewers: The CW network is the bastard child of The WB and UPN. Here's what I say about TV execs: “Everyone loves Les. Fortune just sucked up to him. The New York Times Magazine recently smooched his ass. And Bill Carter's new book, Desperate Networks, should be sharing royalties with the CBS president/CEO because it's told entirely from his sexed-up point of view. Indeed, few media groups are more doting and docile when it… Read

Pellicano Prosecutor Nixes Press Profiles & Probes NYT Leaks

So everyone and their mother wants to do a profile on the Pellicano prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel A. Saunders. But I'm told he won't even cooperate with the legal paper Daily Journal, and they profile judges, for chrissakes. I've also learned he doesn't even have an official bio ready. And I can't find an online photo of him to feature here. It's really astounding how this guy who has got Hollywood by the balls right now has avoided any personal… Read

Sneak Peek at New VF Pellicano Article: Juicy Stories About Grey, Ovitz, Fields

I woke up at 6:30 AM to find an advance copy of the latest Vanity Fair Pellicano article in my email. It's juicy! So I began posting about it right away to give you a sneak peek. By special correspondent Bryan Burrough and contributing editor John Connolly in the June issue of Vanity Fair, it hits newsstands in NY and LA on May 3. Here are the highlights: VF: Brad Grey Used Pellicano for Brad Pitt, Adam Sandler, and the late Chris Farley VF: Pellicano Almost Became Jew… Read

VF: Pellicano's Wiretap War Room: “We Could Do Anything We Wanted To You”

In a series of interviews with Vanity Fair, Tarita Virtue, Pellicano's former executive vice president, describes in detail what has been called "the secret heart of Pellicano's business," a small, locked office that held his elaborate wiretapping set-up that he referred to as the "War Room." Virtue says that only she, Pellicano, and Kevin Kachikian--a computer programmer who created software to intercept telephone calls--had access to the room, whose only furnishings… Read

VF: IRS Debt Almost Shut Down Pellicano

Pellicano feared he might lose his business after he received $2 million from Michael Jackson (as well as a Mercedes) for spearheading his defense against that molestation charge in the early 90s. After Pellicano reported only $1 million of the payment to the I.R.S. as a loan, he received a notice from the government. An employee tells Vanity Fair: "I remember one morning when he opened his mail with the letter from the I.R.S., he jumped on his desk and started screaming… Read

VF: “310” Easiest Wiretap for Pellicano

Vanity Fair reports that Pellicano's operation had one drawback: the Macs could receive wiretap recordings only from their own 310 area code. To tap phones in the 323, 213, 626, and 818 area codes, Pellicano had to rent an apartment in each area code where he could stash a Macintosh and a detachable hard drive. When one of these computers was used, Pellicano would switch out the hard drive every few days, bring it to his office, and download the… Read

VF: Ovitz Was Pellicano's Most VIP Client

A former Pelican employee tells Vanity Fair that Pellicano had done personal work for Ovitz since at least 1996. "When Ovitz was leaving Disney," this employee says, "he became Anthony's biggest interest, meaning most important client. They were good friends and would speak to each other on a daily basis. Ovitz would often come to the office, and Anthony helped him set up his office. It went on for months, with Anthony going out to Ovitz's almost daily. Anthony helped… Read

VF: H'wood Raised $$$ for Pellicano Kids

When Pellicano was arrested in November 2002 Fields spearheaded an effort to raise $$$ for Pellicano's kids. "He left us with nothing. That's why I became a real-estate agent," Kat Pellicano tells Vanity Fair. The president of a major studio, who says he has given testimony before the grand jury, recalls that Fields told him, "Anthony has no money, and he's not going to be able to take care of his kids. A group of us should pitch in and do something for him." The studio… Read

VF: Pellicano Almost Jew for Bert Fields

Vanity Fair reports that Pellicano and lawyer Bert Fields were so close that Pellicano contemplated converting to Judaism. "Six or seven years ago, Anthony comes home one night and tells me we are going to become Jewish and that Bert Fields has arranged conversion classes for both of us," Kat Pellicano tells Vanity Fair. "I said, 'Anthony, with all that Italian and Catholic bullshit of yours and my being an almost atheist from Oklahoma, why the hell do you want us to… Read

VF: Brad Grey Used Pellicano for Brad Pitt, Adam Sandler, and the Late Chris Farley

Former associates of both Pellicano and Paramount chief Brad Grey tell Vanity Fair that the dealings between the two men were extensive, and a former Brillstein-Grey executive says Grey used Pellicano for work on behalf of any number of his clients, including Brad Pitt, Adam Sandler, and the late Chris Farley. "There wasn't a day that I didn't hear the words 'Anthony Pellicano' come out of Brad's mouth,'' this executive says. "He would be using him for this client or… Read

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