Sad news. Responding to my query, Edward Jay Epstein confirmed today he’s giving up his entertainment industry column on Slate. “I am writing a book on 9/11 and do not have the time to write a column for Slate anymore,” he emailed. His column, “The Hollywood Economist: The numbers behind the industry,” has been a low-profile but shrewd analysis of Hollywood and the infotainment companies that own them. I happen to disagree, however, with Epstein’s way of looking at the Industry: I’ve always maintained that numbers aren’t key because this is a town of relationships first and foremost. Which explains all those deals that get done even though they make no sense financially. The column is an outgrowth of Epstein’s 2005 book, The Big Picture: The New Logic of Money and Power in Hollywood which purported to tell Hollywood everything it’s doing wrong. (I say they know already, and they don’t care.) But he has written about so many different subjects — the JFK assassination, the diamond industry, the KGB and the CIA — it was inevitable Epstein would get bored with Hollywood and move on.
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