Norman Mailer’s Life Coming to HBO

How many of you are asking, “Who’s Norman Mailer?”

Yeah, we weren’t sure either. Some writer our grandparents probably bought but didn’t read. (Hey, books were cheaper then.)

At any rate. HBO and Tina Brown, another superannuated literary figure (former editor of The New Yorker, a magazine a few people cared about back when a few more people cared about the city of New York) think Mailer’s worth watching. He did stab one of his wives, which, we suppose, TV folks think is cool.

Oh, and he worked on a project with a convicted murderer, which makes Mailer even more cool, right? So the film will be about that, the feisty Jewish writer with the NY Irish accent typing away in the cell of Jack Abbott, the even feistier Irish killer, creating the book The Executioner’s Song, which won Mailer a Pulitzer Prize.

Stephen Schiff will write the screenplay, putting everything into it that made his screenplay, WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS, such a big hit. (Seriously, the screenplay really was a big hit with those who read it; it’s just the film – the sequel to WALL STREET – that tanked.)

Our suggestion for the part of Norman Mailer: Tim Roth. According to people we know who are in the know (read: our Boss, LB and also The New York Times) Mailer and Roth have at least three things in common:

  • Both of them are/were short
  • Both of them are/were Jewish
  • Both of them are/were assholes a******s

Mission accomplished. We’re done here.

What Not To Do To Get Your Book On a Store’s Shelf

For once, we’re speechless. No, wait, here’s our speech: “Long live Chutzpah!” Yeah, it’s a showbiz thing.

Joan Rivers says Costco book ban like ‘beginning of Nazi Germany’ (L.A.Times)

Television personality Joan Rivers created a little mayhem Tuesday at a Costco in Burbank, chaining herself to a shopping cart and shouting from a bullhorn as part of a protest that also happened to promote her new book.

Clad in chunky jewelry and oversized dark glasses, Rivers went onto Costco’s property to denounce the fact that the wholesale giant does not sell her book, “I Hate Everyone … Starting With Me.” Police officers were called to the scene but no citations were issued.

Rivers ultimately left, but only after speaking extensively with television reporters. She said her book had been banned by the chain because it has cuss words on the back cover.

“People should have the right to have the literature they want,” the nasal-voiced comedienne told KTLA News. “This is the beginning of Nazi Germany.”

Rivers had her own film crew in tow for her protest, said Burbank city spokesman Drew Sugars. “She had a whole entourage,” Sugars told The Times. “Sounds like a staged media event.”

Rivers made no mention of her protest on her Twitter account, instead sending tweets about the stretch bangle bracelets and the QVC shopping network. But she did tell KTLA she wasn’t entirely satisfied with her publicity stunt.

“They kicked me out without giving me any free samples,” she told the station.

Everybody’s Talking About How Much TV Stars Make

…Because money, you know, has always had kind of a loud voice:

The highest paid star on TV. Hi, David!

Who Earns What: TV’s Highest Paid Stars – by Stephen Battaglio and Michael Schneider

Drama (per episode)
Mark Harmon (NCIS): $500,000
Ellen Pompeo (Grey’s Anatomy): $350,000
Kevin Bacon (The Following): $175,000
Lucy Liu (Elementary): $125,000
Stephen Amell (Arrow): $30,000

Comedy (per episode)
Ashton Kutcher (Two and a Half Men): $700,000
Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory): $300,000
Modern Family
 Adult Cast: $175,000 each
Lea Michele (Glee): $75,000
Crystal the Monkey (Animal Practice): $12,000

Late Night (per year)
David Letterman: $28 million
Jay Leno: $25 million
Jon Stewart: $16 million
Craig Ferguson: $8 million
Chelsea Handler: $8 million

Daytime/Syndication (per year)
Judy Sheindlin (Judge Judy): $45 million
Joe Brown (Judge Joe Brown): $20 million
Kelly Ripa (Live! With Kelly): $20 million
Sherri Shepherd (The View): $1.5 million
Mario Batali (The Chew): $6,000 per episode

Mariah Carey (American Idol): $17 million per season
Howard Stern (America’s Got Talent): $15 million per season
Pauly DelVecchio (Jersey Shore): $175,000 per episode
Betty White (Off Their Rockers): $50,000 per episode
Landry Family (Swamp People): $25,000 per episode

News (per year)
Matt Lauer (Today): $21.5 million
Bill O’Reilly (The O’Reilly Factor): $15 million
Diane Sawyer (ABC World News): $12 million
Anderson Cooper (Anderson Cooper 360 and Anderson Live): $11 million
Robin Meade (HLN anchor): $750,000

Read it all

This article contains a lot of verbiage we’ve cut out, mainly analyses of current showbiz economics and why in an era of big cutbacks everywhere some stars still are getting huge raises. We admit that, regardless of circumstances and reasons, we’re more than a little impressed by David Letterman’s $28 million paycheck. (Plus, we’re sure, added moolah in the form of commitments to his production company/reimbursement for expenses, etc.)

But, for writers, here’s the good news: There are showrunners who make more. Can’t name any names, but there are more than one. So if money’s your thing, don’t despair. WRITE!!!

And if money isn’t your thing, remember: The Great Thinkers whose thoughts have endured for thousands of years tell us it isn’t the money that counts, it’s the art. And those guys (Sophocles, Jesus, Stan Lee) knew.

Now if I could only convince my parents (and my landlord and…).

LB: Alas, Poor Aaron…

by Larry Brody

…Sorkin, that is. Looks like everyone’s after him these days, and not in a good way.

And a short while ago he was such a golden boy. Screenwriting Oscar winner! Beloved creator of THE WEST WING! Toast of what we used to call “the Intelligensia” with his cult fave SPORTS NIGHT.

Now, though, he’s getting creamed in the press/on the web by critics and viewers alike. It isn’t just a case of, “Oh, dood, we’re so disappointed. THE NEWSROOM has really let us down,” but of, “Jesus, Sorkin, you phony, arrogant sonuvabitch, you lied to us, man!”

On the surface, the problem is Sorkin’s appearance at the TV Critics Association press tour, during which he unequivocally denied that he’d fired most of the writing staff of THE NEWSROOM, and then proceeded to equivocate about it. Even formerly vocal fans have been jumping all over him on this one, as though delighting in having caught the emperor without his clothes on.

And, I think, that’s what it’s all about. We love to catch people out, to expose the mighty, even those we’ve made so mighty with our approval/praise. By “we” I mean all humans. I’ve seen it so many times that the syndrome seems hard-wired.

Remember how much everyone loved Stallone back in the ROCKY days? Until he accepted his Oscar, thanked all “you little Rockies out there” and immediately distanced himself from his fans. Told us that he saw himself as special. As elevated. All it took was one word: “You.”

Sorkin’s sin is similar. By running a series in which its characters are constantly making moral and ethical judgments that by both implication and overt statement set them up above everyone in not only their TV universe but the viewers’ universe as well, he has for all practical purposes installed himself as the Godlike Arbiter of All Things Just and Good and True.

I’m not saying he did that deliberately, but that’s the result of all his deliberate decisions about the show. That’s the effect on everyone who watches it. We all get the same message: “Aaron Sorkin has set up certain standards of human wonderfulness and is holding each and every one of us up to them.”

And the immediate human reaction to such a message is: “Asshole.”

By making himself a god, Sorkin automatically creates a new set of standards to be used by us judging him. He wants us to be so much better than we are? Fine. As long as he seems better than the average bear too.Much better.

And, of course, he doesn’t. Because he isn’t. No one is. We’re all just people, trying to do our best. All of us fail, a hundred times a day, every day. And, at this point in his career, Aaron Sorkin’s professional/personal failures simply cannot be tolerated, even by those who once adored him.

Sorry, Aaron, but you don’t have a prayer of surviving this. No one in your position does. Because the truth is that the real, hidden, all-too-true-and-human reason we build pedestals and then place people upon them is so we can pull our idols down later and Hulk-smash ’em.

(In case you wondered why the Hulk is so popular. Hmm, gonna be hard to pull him down, isn’t it? But that’ll just make it so much more fun.)

Check out ‘Moses and the Golden Calf’ and other fine work by ~garadrobe


Joss Whedon’s March to Victory Continues

We’re showing an old cover of “Marvel Mystery Comics” because the exact nature of Joss Whedon’s new series for Marvel is – aw, you guessed it – still a mystery. Yeah.

As if he wasn’t busy enough, Disney has just announced that everybody’s Screen and TV Writer of the Hour is now set to:

  1. Write and Direct the sequel to this year’s smash film THE AVENGERS, which he also wrote and directed
  2. Develop a live-action series featuring Marvel characters for ABC

No one’s giving any details on what Marvel characters they are, but no matter their names, powers, and secret tragedies, we can’t think of anyone who could do a better job on them than the man behind DOLLHOUSE, FIREFLY, ANGEL, and everybody’s favorite vampire slayer, BUFFY.

EDITED BY LB TO ADD: Know those recent rumors that Marvel was about to start work on a TV version of THE HULK but was waiting for the writer they wanted to be available? I’m thinking Joss was the writer and that now that this deal’s in place we’ll be hearing about it soon. Bouquets gratefully accept when I’m proven right. Brickbats for when I’m shown to be wrong? Nah.