Saturday Night Live cast member Aidy Bryant isn’t sure how she got home from the party that ended the 2015-16 season. But as she told Seth Meyers, she well remembers how she woke up.
Bryant admits she got blackout drunk, winding up passed out in a hallway of her New York apartment building. “The only reason I woke up is because I was hit by a newspaper that was being delivered to my neighbor’s door,” she recalled. “So, like, a woman came out of an elevator and just threw a newspaper down. And I was like, ‘hwuahhh!'”
It’s probably best that Bryant was shaken awake at that early hour, and saved from further embarrassment. She later intimidates that it wasn’t actually her floor. It’s all in the way Bryant tells the story. Don’t try this at home.
It’s natural to think that someone at TCM is winking at the viewing public by programming the 1957 film A Face in the Crowd, which eerily foretells the political rise of President-elect Donald Trump, to coincide with Inauguration Day. But per an EW report, a spokesperson for the channel has confirmed that the film was slotted into the Jan. 20 schedule long ago to honor the birthday of actress Patricia Neal, who plays a radio reporter in the film. Several of her other films are also being broadcast that day.
A few years ago in The Guardian, A Face in the Crowd screenwriter Budd Schulberg recalled the Madison Ave. research process that he engaged in with director Elia Kazan:
We spent months sitting in on meetings of leading advertising agencies, and even went to Washington to discuss the impact of the new medium with presidential candidates Stuart Symington, Al Gore Sr. and Lyndon Johnson. The senators were taking this so seriously that they set up a TV studio in the basement of the old senate office building to practice their new wares.
And LBJ confessed to us that: “You have to watch your eyes now. That TV camera is right in your face. We never had to face that kind of challenge before. For instance, if you don’t hold your eyes steady, people will say, ‘He’s shifty.'” No way was shifty LBJ going to be caught looking shifty.
Most of the film was shot at Biograph Studios in the Bronx. A pivotal plot point involves Andy Griffith‘s character “Lonesome” Rhodes being undone by some hot-mic comments. Sixty years later, a similar scenario failed to stop the rise of DJT.
I was royally excited about this week’s ‘Lunch’ with author Daisy Goodwin, who has pulled off the unfathomable feat of writing a best-selling book while simultaneously creating a series from said book all in the space of a little over a year. “I started writing the novel and at the same time realized it would make a good television series,” she told me. Within three months, she had a deal to make Victoria for ITV/PBS. “I got an agent and a producer. No one could say no to me.” And that, as they say, was that.
Of course clever Daisy already had two New York Times best-sellers, The American Heiress and The Fortune Hunter (both from St. Martin’s Press), and spent 10 years at the BBC making arts documentaries but, she said, “I’d never written a script before. It was quite an education.”
Daisy had the highest praise for Victoria stars Jenna Coleman (Dr. Who, Death Comes to Pemberley) who plays the young, diminutive and strong-willed Queen Victoria (“She’s amazing”), Rufus Sewell (The Man in the High Castle) cast as her much older and world weary Prime Minister Lord Melbourne (“Such a great actor”) and Tom Hughes as Prince Albert (“He’s an Englishman playing a German who speaks English. He’s so good that my mother-in-law, who is German, asked, ‘Are you sure he’s not German?'”)
“Hanging out with the actors was fantastic,” she said. “Sitting there for the first read-through was thrilling. I’ve never been so excited about anything in my life.” Listening to the actors say the words she’d written “felt like I’d died and gone to heaven,” said Daisy between bites of Nantucket Bay scallops.
Sewell, it seems, left a particularly strong impression on Daisy. “Rufus is a very, very close reader of the script. Some actors just turn up and do it, but with him we had some very long discussions about two of three words,” she recalled. “There was a scene where Melbourne says he doesn’t want to read Dickens and he asked, ‘Did he really say this?’ And I told him, ‘He did.’ I learned when an actors has a concern you have to listen. Rufus was a great teacher. He’s also the only actor I’ve met who is happy when you take away lines. He can do it all just with his facial expressions.”
I couldn’t agree more. The chemistry between Sewell and Coleman is so completely off the charts in the show’s first three episodes, it’s sure to make a lot of viewers sad to see history play out when ‘Lord M,’ as Queen Victoria called him, steps aside when she falls in love with Prince Albert. “In the U.K. [the series aired there late last year] there was this whole thing on social media between #Vicbourne and #Vicbert,” said Daisy. Who won the day? “It was pretty close.”
Even though everyone knows Victoria and Albert went on to have what became one of Britain’s greatest love stories, I’m still partial to Lord M and young Victoria as a couple. “It was definitely love between Melbourne and Victoria,” said Daisy. “She fixated on him because she didn’t know any better. He could have stopped her from marrying Albert, but he knew it was the right thing for her. Lord Melbourne was Victoria’s first love and Victoria was his last love. His story is quite sad. When he died, she burned all his letters.”
I’ll say. The dialogue in the actors’ most poignant scenes (of which there are many) is pretty much word for word from the book. “It’s my vision in both [versions],” said Daisy. “If it worked, there was no reason to change it.”
“[Writing] a television series requires a great deal more plotting,” she explained. “In the book, you want to follow one or two characters or it gets confusing.” For fans of both, one simply reinforces the other. “If you like the series, you’ll get so much more out of the book. People who see the series first will then understand the characters more when they read the book.”
Here in the States, Victoria’s publication preceded the series, which premiered this past Sunday night on PBS in Downton Abbey’s former 9 p.m. time slot. Fans of Downton will find much to like here. Daisy added a slate of characters for the show from ‘below stairs’ many entirely fictional but others, including the Queen’s dresser Skerrett (Nell Hudson)and Mr. Francatelli (Ferdinand Kingsley) are based on real people. “There has been very little written about servants [who lived] during that time. I read a lot of personal accounts and created the characters from that. I wanted to give a sense of the huge divisions of inequality in England at that time. Buckingham Palace was less than a half-mile away from a terrible slum. It was too important to gloss over the terrible poverty and incredible wealth that existed.”
At that very moment, an extremely uncomfortable looking Donald Trump, Jr. was making his way through the dining room and brushed by our table. There was none of the usual glad-handing. He kept his eye straight ahead as he made his way to the Garden Room, where more than a dozen Trump Organization staffers were having lunch. A few moments later two very somber Secret Service agents parked themselves in the table directly across from us, ordered a platter of french fries and settled in to keep an eye on PEOTUS’ oldest son.
“They look like they’re right out of Central Casting, don’t they?” said Daisy. With their identical dark suits and ear pieces, indeed they did. Their presence seemed to spark another train of thought as Daisy continued, “Maybe it’s because of everything that’s happening right now. I think one of the reasons Victoria is so popular is because people want to see a strong female character. In the U.K., young girls had viewing parties with Victoria masks and tiaras.”
In fact, this entire project was sparked by an argument Daisy had with a strong-willed young woman in her life — her 16-year-old daughter. “She’s very small — the same height as Victoria and she’s very intense. She rushed out and slammed the door, and I thought, ‘Well, how would it be if she woke up tomorrow and found herself the most powerful woman in the world?’ I had an epiphany.”
Why did she want to focus on Victoria’s early years? “You’ve got a country that’s been ruled, for centuries, by old, fat, disreputable men, and suddenly you’ve got this beautiful young queen. It’s a very exciting moment, and I felt that this was the place to start,” said Daisy.
No word yet on where she’ll finish. Daisy is already at work on Season 2, which covers the early years of Victoria’s marriage to Albert up until 1848. They had nine children, which was unheard of in its day. “We could go as long as there’s interest. They had nine children. We’d probably have to recast.” Ultimately, Queen Victoria was succeeded by her son, Edward VII. “He tended to play down her female side. There were so many myths about her. It’s good to finally see her as the fiery young woman who loved the physical side of marriage. She was fascinating.”
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
1. Bloomberg’s Global Chief Officer Ken Grossman presiding over a table of five.
2. Simone Levinson
3. Lisa Caputo
4. Steven Rubenstein
5. David Shane and Claire Atkinson
6. Dr. Gerald Imber, Jerry Della Femina, Jeff Greenfield and Andy Bergman. If you’re planning on watching PBS coverage of the inauguration, look for Jeff who will be offering commentary on the day’s events.
8. New York Social Diary’s David Patrick Columbia with pals Brooke Hayward and Alex Hitz
11. Cindy Lewis
12. Drew Schiff
14. WinView’s Tom Rogers
16. Robin Lewis
18. Randy Jones
20. Joan Gelman and Joan Hamburg
21. Scott Kelley
25. PR maestro Tom Goodman and Jill Brooke whose friendship goes back to the their days a ABC News. When I stopped by their table for a chat, the conversation turned to Tom Friedman’s must-read piece in today’s New York Times.
27. Daisy Goodwin, John Karle and yours truly
Diane Clehane is a FishbowlNY contributor. Follow her on Twitter @DianeClehane. Send comments and corrections on this column to LUNCH at MEDIABISTRO dot COM.
Gambit has a brief but interesting summary of New York Times columnist Charles Blow’s talk at Tulane University in New Orleans. The event, titled “The Intersection of Social Justice and Journalism,” was held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Dixon Hall.
The article also makes passing reference to Blow having grown up in Gibsland, La., a small community located 310 miles northwest of The Big Easy. That got FishbowlNY thinking about the writer’s evocative 2014 memoir Fire Shut Up in My Bones. Check out this great passage:
I was born in the summer of 1970, the last of five boys stretched over eight years. My parents were a struggling young couple who had been married one afternoon under a shade tree by a preacher without a church. No guests or fancy dress, just the two of them, lost in love, and the preacher taking a break from working on a house.
By the time I came along, my mother was a dutiful wife growing dead-ass tired of working on a dead-end marriage and a dead-end job. My father was a construction worker by trade, a pool shark by habit, and a serial philanderer by compulsion.
With the ascension of Moonlight this film awards season, Blow’s book is well worth reading (or re-reading). The memoir received numerous rave reviews at the time of original publication, including this praise from MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell: ‘When you finish Charles Blow’s mesmerizing memoir, you will cry. And you will better understand poverty, the south, racism, sex, fear, rage and love. Then you will miss being in his authorial grip. Then you will start reading this stunning book again.’
On the same day as the Tulane event, the Times published Blow’s op-ed about Trump’s attack on Congressman John Lewis. There are some poetic words there, too:
Stop and think about what you just read: A lecher attacking a legend; a man of moral depravity attacking a man of moral certitude; an intellectual weakling attacking a warrior for justice. This on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, no less.
In November, CBS Sunday Morning shared a sparkling glimpse of Christie Brinkley’s new partnership with Italian winemakers in Treviso. Now it is the turn of Chilled magazine.
A photo posted by Christie Brinkley (@christiebrinkley) on Jan 18, 2017 at 5:58am PST
We can already hear the rumble of social media grumbling about the sexual overtones of this cover. But if you looked this good at age 62, you would probably be tempted to flaunt (flute?) it too.
Brinkley will in fact celebrate her 63rd birthday just ahead of Super Bowl LI. Her line of Bellissima Proseco, launched last year, is organic. Chilled meanwhile is a trade magazine that publishes six times a year and is aimed at professional bartenders, sommeliers and mixologists. Qualified such individuals are entitled to a free print subscription.
The digital presentation for this week’s Variety Inauguration Issue is star-spangled and bathed in a Democratic Hollywood twilight’s last gleaming.
At the top of the page, the cover photo of some of the participants, holding an American flag; followed by a scroll-down sub-headline that reads “Now What? On the Eve of Trump’s Inauguration, Hollywood and the Media Raise Their Voices;” and then 18 crisply presented celebrity Q&A links (the red and white treatment of each name is a nice touch).
When senior film and media editor Brent Lang talked to Michael Moore, the Democratic Partys’ 2016 campaign failings were part of the conversation. So too were the talents of the man who beat Hillary Clinton on the Electoral College front.
Moore, who famously and accurately predicted Trump’s victory, recalls the time he appeared in 1998 on Roseanne Barr’s short-lived talk show. The other main guest was Trump, who expressed fears to a producer about what Moore might do alongside him on-air:
“The producer said [to me], ‘Is there any way you can help me?’ I said, ‘Oh brother, I’ll go talk to him.’ I walked over, shook his hand — it was very clammy. I don’t honestly remember the size, but it was moist. He said, ‘We don’t have to mix it up out there.’ I said, ‘Why do you assume that about me? I’m from Michigan. We don’t really know you. The only thing that sticks in my head is you were one of the few guys that was on the cover of Playboy.’ He laughed. I said, ‘It’s Roseanne. She’s a comedian. You have nothing to worry about here.'”
“He stayed, and we did the show. And it wasn’t until last year that it hit me: People think he’s stupid — he’s not stupid at all. He played me; he got me to not be myself, to not talk any anti-corporate talk. I thought I was going over to relax him. What he was doing was undoing me so I wouldn’t be Michael Moore. This guy is good.”
Moore was a left-leaning voice of reason during the campaign and continues in that capacity post-Nov. 8. Others participants in the Variety issue include Scott Baio, Bill Maher, Chelsea Handler, Glenn Beck and Van Jones.
Univision’s The Onion has signed a three-film development deal with Lionsgate.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Onion’s Onion Studios will partner with the production company Serious Business to create the films.
“We’ve plotted our takeover of the film industry for some time,” said Kyle Ryan, vice president of Onion Studios, in a statement. “With the help of Serious Business and Lionsgate, we’ll make room on our award shelf for some Oscars. To the basement you go, Pulitzers.”
A couple Revolving Door items for you this morning, involving CNBC and Reuters. Details are below.Leslie Picker has been named a reporter for CNBC. She joins from The New York Times, where she covered mergers and acquisitions. Reuters’ David French has shifted to the deals team. He will serve as an energy and financial services M&A reporter. French previously served as a Reuters reporter in Dubai.
Univision Communications and Mexico’s Televisa are combining their programming divisions, and as a result, Isaac Lee has been named chief content officer for both companies.
Lee most recently served as Univision’s chief news, entertainment and digital officer. He has been with Univision since 2010.
On the Univision side, Lee will continue to report to president and CEO Randy Falco. On the Televisa side, Lee will report to president Emilio Azcárraga Jean.
A few months ago, we wrote about perplexed reaction in Nigeria to an October issue cover of digital magazine House of Maliq. A chicken was involved.
Now, the same script has begun to play out with a new critter. That’s model and fashion designer Tania Omotayo above, on one of the magazine’s just-released January 2017 issue covers. Website pulse.ng can’t fathom why the editors chose to frame her this way:
Why in the world is a cockroach on her body? What kind of concept is this? Who thought this would make sense? Wasn’t there any old person in the room that told them this wouldn’t make sense?
Ha ha. Yes, perhaps a Nigerian equivalent to General Larry Platt could have talked some sense into that editorial meeting. On the other hand, a clue here may be the cover line at the very top-right: ‘Wizkid: Why He’s So Famous.’
You see, until a few months ago, Omotayo and the famous Nigerian musical artist were an item. Perhaps the cockroach is meant to symbolize her ex-boyfriend in some way?
The sub-headline for the Pulse.ng takedown reads: ‘House of Maliq magazine is on a constant mission to annoy Nigerians.’ At the very end of the article, senior associate Ayomide O. Tayo suggests that covers like this may be attempts to generate Instagram likes and comments. Check out some of the responses to the Omotayo responses here.
Previously on FishbowlNY:
The Beyonce-Chicken Photo Came First
Condé Nast Entertainment (CNE) has named Croi McNamara senior vice president of programming for digital video.
McNamara most recently served as vice president and general manager for Upworthy Media. Prior to her time with Upworthy, McNamara worked for Thomson Reuters Intellectual Property and Science.
“Our digital video network finished 2016 as number one in comScore’s lifestyle category, and we were number one for ten of the past twelve months,” said CNE president Dawn Ostroff, in a statement. “Croi’s creative expertise will help us innovate our video storytelling as we take our network to the next level.”
Atlantic Media’s Quartz has acquired the artificial intelligence research firm Intelligentsia.ai. This is Quartz’s first acquisition since launching four years ago.
As part of the deal, Intelligentsia.ai’s co-founders Dave Edwards and Helen Edwards will have some work published on Quartz.
“In the short term, you’ll likely see Dave and Helen’s bylines on posts on qz.com, and their research enriching our tech reporting team’s coverage of artificial intelligence,” wrote Quartz co-presidents Kevin Delaney and Jay Lauf, in a note about the acquisition. “We’re also working with the Intelligentsia.ai team on a new specialized product aimed at providing global business professionals with valuable insights into how AI affects their organizations.”
The media Trump Bump—wherein a media outlet gets a boost after being criticized by our tiny brained president-elect—is real. Just ask anyone at Vanity Fair.
According to Politico, VF added 80,000 subscriptions after Donald Trump called the magazine “way down” and “dead” on Twitter. What prompted this attack from Little Boy Trump? He was upset that VF didn’t like one of his restaurants.
VF is just the latest outlet to experience the media Trump Bump. The New York Times also added a heap of subscriptions following Trump’s win.
For news outlet execs, the best business strategy for 2017 and beyond is to simply report on Trump and wait for him to inevitably lash out like a toddler who missed his nap. Then the execs can sit back, put their feet on a desk, and watch the money pile up.
The New York Times has made a few changes to its Washington bureau. Details are below.Lara Jakes has been named Washington night editor. She joins from Foreign Policy, where she served as managing editor for news. Sharon LaFraniere moves from the general investigations team to the Washington investigations team. Yamiche Alcindor has joined as a reporter covering the Trump admin’s impact on everyday life. Jeremy Peters is rejoining the bureau to cover conservatives. Matt Rosenberg will focus on the C.I.A. Michael Gordon shifts to covering the Pentagon. Alan Rappeport will now cover the Treasury Department. Katie Rogers will cover the cultural impact of the Trump admin. Gardiner Harris will shift to the State Department beat.
This could get interesting. For Week #1, the group Art in Ad Places (AiAP) put up an Adam Wallacavage poster at a payphone kiosk in Williamsburg. For Week #2, the target was another phone kiosk in The Bowery, papered over this time with Kristen Liu-Wong art.
The group plans to continue the weekly campaign through the end of the year. Per their manifesto, AiAP equates the guerrilla effort with public service:
Outdoor advertising is visual pollution.
Outdoor advertising can be psychologically damaging.
Outdoor advertising is pushed on viewers without their consent.
Outdoor advertising marks underutilized venues for other messages.
By replacing advertisements with artwork, Art in Ad Places provides a public service and alternative vision of our public environment.
There is definitely a touch of Banksy at play here. Along with a continuation of the trend Canadian filmmaker Jill Sharpe profiled in her excellent 2002 documentary Culture Jammers.
Every Thursday on the 5 p.m. newscast on FOX8-TV in High Point, N.C., weatherman Van Denton gives local kids a chance to show their weather-map stuff. Nine-year-old Charlie Warren recently seized that opportunity and as a result, is now visiting New York.
Warren’s captivating appearance was seen by Fox & Friends show producers, who have flown the Grade 3 student up the coast (with mom) for an appearance on tomorrow morning’s program. Should be a memorable time with hosts Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade.
FOX8 reporter Amber Roberts did a nice job with her profile of the young “viral” star. His main career aspiration, at least for the moment, is to become a race car driver. Watch Warren’s Jan. 12 appearance here.