March 30, 2015

This ain’t over. Well, yeah, it is, kinda.

A fine day to you, listeners. Leslie Gornstein here. Not the Fame Fatale, not the Answer Bitch (or even the Answer B!tch). It’s just me. And I have some sad news.

After a lot of thought, I’ve decided to put the Fame Fatale podcast on hiatus. 

I’m close to tears as I write this. Those of you who discovered me during my stint at E! know that I’ve been doing this gig for a very long time. It’s hard to let go, but here’s the reality: A podcast like The Fame Fatale requires in-depth reporting and source development, the kind of intel that you just can’t get by skimming Deadline Hollywood and The Wrap every morning. And as the months have gone by, it’s grown increasingly more difficult to find and cultivate those sources without a major entertainment brand like E! at my back. People hear you’re from E! or Yahoo! TV or even the Los Angeles Times, and they’re ready to play. But the Fame Fatale podcast — it just doesn’t have that same ring to Tom Cruise’s lawyers.

I didn’t want to continue the podcast without being able to deliver the level of reporting I think the Fame Fatale, and its listeners, are worth. 

And thank you—really, thank you—for being the smartest, most plugged-in, critically thinking listeners a reporter like me could ask for. 

I hope to come back to you someday. 

February 26, 2015

Episode 72: The Unexpected Virtue of Fraudulence

Click Me It didn't surprise me that Birdman won Best Picture last weekend. What surprised me is that the movie isn't very good. In fact it's kind of bad. Not, you know, Titanic bad, but around there somewhere. So how does a mediocre movie with schticky camerawork and the most self-serving premise since The Player win filmdom's most coveted statuette? Dirty pool, most likely. I'm not saying that the publicists for Birdman necessarily played said pool, but somebody sure did. I'm talking about underhanded Oscar campaign tactics, kids. There were a lot of them this year. I discuss how I know this in my latest podcast.

  • I covered the run-up to the Oscars. I also covered the coverage of the Oscars.
  • I am tired.
  • My co-host from Chill City needs to talk about the Oscar gowns for a minute and I let him.
  • More of your questions about how Hollywood really works... answered!
Have a listen.

Got a question about the inner workings of Hollywood? Ask via my handy feedback module to the right.

February 5, 2015

Episode 71: Jennerbender

Click Me Morning, kids! I promised a new podcast. Ergo and thusly, here it is.

Three whole people have won free copies of my new book this week. (Congrats, three people!) Is one of them you? Listen to this latest episode to find out. What's inside? Well...

How about what it's like to buy a car while famous? (Hint: Do you get to take possession of a car before paying for it? Celebrities do!)

How about what it's like to dodge, I mean do, jury duty while famous?

How about some celebrity dish from Chill City?

And how about some very, very, VERY little known dish about Bruce Jenner's latest news?

It's all here, my little Fatalities. Enjoy.

Got a question about how Hollywood really works? Ask it in the handy feedback module to the right.

January 21, 2015

Episode 70: Screener tantrum

Click Me So it's Oscar season, and lo! A certain popular historical drama has found itself largely shut out by the powers that be at the Academy. Could it be because the director of Selma is an African-American woman, and the Academy, in contrast, is largely white and male? (That's a silly question. Of course it could be.)

But there's more to the snubbing of Selma than just run-of-the-mill, everyday bigotry. There are other factors in play. There are politics. There are sensitivities. There are... screeners.

Turns out, much of a film's Oscar chances depend on how many DVD screeners are sent out to key Academy voters, and when. Paramount, the studio backing Selma, apparently didn't send out as many screeners as rival studios did. (And here you thought that all those free, big-screen presentations for guild and Academy voters actually made a difference.) Just how important are DVD screeners to the chairborne masses who vote for Oscars every year? Read this Variety piece to find out more.

Or just listen to this brand-new podcast, in which I explain exactly why a media darling like Selma can face a near-total Oscar shutout largely because of DVD screeners... and one sassy Tweet, and, yeah, probably some bigotry.

Also in this new podcast: I give away another copy of my book, and disclose the secret airport tunnel that lets some stars avoid public security screenings. Plus so much more (Baby Vegas)! 

Have a listen.

Got a question about how Hollywood really works? Ask it in the handy feedback module to the right.

December 21, 2014

The fall of the house of Akon and other bits of holiday cheer

Last week, Instagram decided to root out a bunch of fake followers among its users. By fake followers, I mean bots—fake accounts that you can buy by the terabyteful to make your Instagram presence look bigger than it really is. The resulting scrub job has been dubbed Instapurge 2014. 

Of note: Instagram itself was apparently buying followers. Or, at the very least, it had been befriending a lot of robots, because it lost 30 percent of its followers in its own purge.

But the biggest losers to emerge from Instapurge 2014 were celebrities. 

Justin Bieber just lost 15 percent of his Instagram viewers – 3.5 million borgs most likely served up unto the boy king by his viziers at his record label. Kim Kardashian? More than 5.5 percent of her followers. And the saddest celebrity of all? Singer and celebrated teen-fan-tosser Akon, who has watched more than 56 percent of his supposed Instagram fandom dry up and blow away.

God bless us, every one.

Got a question about how entertainment really works? Ask me via the the handy feedback module to the right. Or just buy all my secrets in bulk right here.

December 3, 2014

Episode 69: Kristen Stewart is lonely

Click MeAnother week, another two lucky listeners are getting free autographed copies of my new book! A book that's available in paperback or on Kindle here in the U.S. as well as across the pond!

Are you one of the two new champions of Hollywood truth and justice? Have a listen to this brand-new episode to find out. (Hint: I answer your questions about how stars open checking accounts and navigate rush-hour traffic. Yes, they do it differently than we do.)

Plus! Ever wonder exactly how an Oscar gets won? Truth is, it's like a presidential campaign: You need money behind you to win. As in, millions of dollars. In this episode I outline exactly who shells out, and where all that money goes. (Remember all this as you watch your favorite actress stump on the Oscar campaign trail this month.)

Also in this episode: Kristen Stewart recently told the media that no one wants to talk to her because she's famous. Except that there's a hole in her story. And I dig into it for ya.

Got a question about how Hollywood really works? Ask it via the handy feedback module to the right.

November 18, 2014

Episode 68: We have a winner

Click MeI told you I was going to give away free signed copies of my book, and—unlike many a Hollywood publicist—I do not lie to my public. In fact, whenever possible, I double the hell down. On truth. As in, what if I select not one lucky book winner this week, but two?

Yep, this week, two lucky listeners wrote in celebrity-related questions that I answer on this week's edition: a) Is booking a ski vacation the same when you're famous? b) What about, you know, birthing?

The quick answers: a) No. And b) ...definitely no. Two signed copies of my book are on their way to a) Jessica Carico and b) Katie Basse. Thanks for playing along. 

Also this week:
  • Co-host Baby Vegas slings a celebrity sighting from deep within the Hollywood privilege hole. Then I offer a way-better celebrity sighting. It's a fresh Cage Match, people!
  • I read your letters in a brand-new edition of our recurring Burn After Reading segment.
  • And I offer an extremely vain Blind Item.
Think you know the star I'm talking about?

Got a question about how celebrities really live? Buy my new book (available in paperback or Kindle) or ask me via the handy feedback module to the right.