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.

November 11, 2014

Episode 67: Win a free copy of your favorite book ever

Click Me
My new book is out! My new book is out!

Maybe you're not familiar with my conquests in the world of publishing. Maybe you remain ignorant of my bestselling sort-of selling book, which exposes the real secrets behind how celebrities operate. (Hint: Stars are not just like us.) Maybe you've been waiting for such a book your whole life. Well here comes your second chance.

The second edition of my book is now out! The Celebrity Playbook gives you all the updated dish on what it's really like to be a star—how to not pay for things, how to not raise your kids, how to not serve time in jail, how not to stand in line for... anything. 

And here's the best part: You can buy this brightly colored, candy-like volume on Amazon right now. Or you can win a free copy. It's easy. Listen to my brand-new podcast for details on what to do and how to do it. (Or just buy a copy of the book, really. It's pretty cheap. Santa wants you to put it under your tree.)

Also in this brand-new episode:
  • A listener wonders what all those random people are doing on Talking Dead. So I find out.
  • Another listener asks whether stars pay for their own trainers if they're getting buff for a role and OF COURSE THEY DON'T STARS DON'T EVER PAY FOR ANYTHING IF YOU READ MY BOOK YOU WOULD KNOW THAT.
  • A third listener writes in to ask why stars get away with bringing their dogs into supermarkets out here. Again, I find out for you.
It's all here for you! Have a listen.

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

November 3, 2014

Episode 66: Rene Zellweger's $20,000 mistake?

Click MeSo, it's no secret that Renee Zellweger looks... different. Radically. (If you care to remember her how she was, here's an old-timey photo of her. I even put a sepia tone on it for an added level of feel-good nostalgia.) The only question remaining: Precisely what did she do, and, more importantly, was this a good idea?

You listeners have been writing to me this week with those very questions. So I wrangled a top Hollywood plastic surgeon, John Vartanian, who has famous clients of his own, and asked for his unvarnished opinion. It's not, as they say, pretty. In fact, there's a good chance that she touched more than her eyes when her face... changed.

Also this week: I reveal the reason for my unusually long absence. I bait my co-host, Clint Wells, into a Cage Match he thinks he can win. And a Lena Dunham hater lobs a question that I guarantee he is not alone in asking.

Have a listen.

Got a question about what's really going on in Hollywood? Ask it in the handy feedback module to the right.

October 22, 2014

Exclusive! Lost piece of AHS: Freak Show titles


video


Die-hard American Horror Story fans: I bring you a piece of never-before seen footage from this season!

These frames were originally earmarked for the opening titles of Freak Show, but they never made the final cut. Showrunner Ryan Murphy put the kibosh on this little piece, created, along with the rest of the opening titles, by Kyle Cooper and his company, Prologue.

Look closely. If you see a pair of babies who look eerily similar to the formaldehyde fetuses in the opener of season one, you’re right. These twins, who are waltzing, if you must know, are an homage to the backstory of Murder House. Cooper's creative process is ever-flowing; this sequence is one of many darlings that had to be killed, so to speak, to create the masterful final product that you see every week on FX.

As for Cooper's theory about the firing of the fetuses, he supposes that Murphy may have thought that the sequence doesn’t really match the rest of the opening titles.

I think the babies look pretty cool. What do you think?

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