It’s very hard in the public spotlight to have second acts. Much less third acts, fourth acts, or infinite acts like Tina Brown. (Remember when her Talk mag died from lack of interest, and then her short-lived CNBC talk show received a zero rating?) Now Brown appears to have made a big blunder by falling back on that tired trick of a “Hollywood Power List” to help launch her new blog. Because moguls, agents, mouthpieces, and the like are telling me they’re refusing to cooperate with Tina. “The idea is so 1980s. Both Premiere and EW have abandoned their lists, thank god, and Vanity Fair‘s is totally different,” one Hollywood source contacted by Brown’s people explained to me. “I think she wanted to stir up a frenzy. But a lot of us are saying, ‘Thanks but no thanks. We’re not going to participate. We don’t care if you list us or not.’ “
I feel sorry for Brown’s likeable L.A. rep Tom Tapp who’s now starting to flopsweat. First he sent around a blizzard of emails asking for meet-and-greets for what he described as “a Hollywood Power List, circa 2010. The idea here is that as the Industry changes rapidly, it’s more important to know who you should be in business with in 2-3 years than it is to know who’s on top right now. We’re speaking with all the agencies, the studios and players around town as well as Silicon Valley. We’d love to come in sometime soon and talk to your best and brightest about [insert name of person or company here] and the future of the Industry.” The result was that a lot of people and places have politely put him off or turned him down flat.
Now Tapp is sending out increasingly desperate-sounding emails to flacks working for studios, tenpercenteries, big producers and PR firms begging for help. (“Hey Man, We need to get moving on this. Any chance we can set something up in the two weeks?”) I doubt it’ll be forthcoming. Much of the problem, I’m hearing, is that 1) Hollywood feels Brown is played out because of the failure of her recent ventures except book-writing, and 2) thinks the website is just another of her self-promotional stunts to raise her own profile, and 3) still resents her cozy relationships with loathed former power players Mike Ovitz (whose agenda she slavishly followed at Vanity Fair) and Harvey Weinstein (whose agenda she slavishly followed at Talk) and most recently Barry Diller (whose agenda she’s surely following now since he’s funding her new little venture).
But Tina, I wish you all the best!