“It’s not going to be a tenable situation
when someone with that much power and influence
is sitting in the shadows behind your newspaper.”
Hello Cranker Darlings,
There’s a Connecticut fly in the ointment of Sheldon Adelson’s purchase of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
And if that lede sounds like a mafia soap opera, that’s because it totally is. I’ve read this and many other articles over a number of times, and I still don’t think I totally get the nuances… but let me see if I can summarize through bullets:
- In 2010, Steven Jacobs—then an executive with Sands Casino in Macau—filed a lawsuit claiming he’d be wrongfully fired for attempting to disentangle the casino from a local mob snydicate.
- The Las Vegas judge presiding over the case, Clark County District Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez, was the subject of what amounts to a smear campaign by a mysterious writer named Edward Clarkin.
- After peeking under a few rocks, we know the *true author of the since-redacted/deleted post was not Clarkin but rather Michael Schroeder, manager of News + Media Capital Group LLC. That firm is the official-acquiring entity of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
- Here’s where it gets juicy: Schroeder is actually a Shelly Adelson operative, and it was Schroeder who orchestrated the purchase of the newspaper. Schroeder, the organizer of the deal, wrote an (apparently) incoherent criticism of the judge presiding over the Jacobs case, and “bore false witness” in some of the article claims.
- Shelly A’s son-in-law, Patrick Dumont, refused to answer questions in the Jacobs case about contact with Michael Schroeder, with whom Dumont may or may not have been stage-managing an editorial assault on the judge.
Clear as mud, right? This is some seriously fucked up shit. I need a Chardonnay and Xanax after researching and writing that synopsis. I’ll post updates and revisions as they come in, but suffice it to say: the staff at LVRJ deserve major kudos for reporting on the machinations of their own paper. The best synopsis of the drama is at the New Yorker, and make sure to check out NPR’s On the Media for a deeper dive.
There are two developments I’m following in bube-tube land… both are sorta frustrating and exciting at the same time.
Let’s start with Homeland—one of the few scripted series I watch religiously, much like I did with The Sopranos. (Tony’s real-life counterpart, James Gandolfini, died in Rome back in the summer of 2013 and we’re left to wonder what would’ve followed after the diner scene famously cut to black). Homeland is still going, and strong. So, it raised some brows when news broke this week that the series will move to a domestic-based story in New York City, my hometown. I wonder about that choice, because some of the cadence and allure of the show is how they tell stories in far-flung lands, giving space to people we as country have marginalized and shat upon. My bet is that they’ll figure out how to reinvent the series yet again for Season 6.
The executives also talked about the future of the show, saying they’ve had “vague” discussions with Gansa about a potential end date. “He tends to attack the seasons one by one,” said Nevins.
Added Levine, “It’s not imminent. He sees many seasons to come.”
Homeland frustrated viewers this season—yours truly too—with the treatment of Quinn, played with Bourne-mastery by the dashing, broody Rupert Friend. Remember when the Soap Opera writers decided to kill off Joey by falling down an elevator shaft? Quinn suffered even worse fate: he was clubbed over the head. shot in the abdomen. And exposed to Sarin gas, which gave us a unexpectedly meta cliffhanger that folks are still speculating about today.
No 2016 release date has been announced, but check back in at CrankyYank and I’ll stay on it.
One last note: Quinn deserves his own prequel once Homeland runs its course. The character and the actor both have a complexity that is rare to scripted TV these days. Make it so, Showtime.
While we’re on the subject of Joey, news broke yesterday that the band of Friends will reunite in full to celebrate the 1,000th episode of James Burrows’ directorial career. Don’t get me wrong, Crankers, I’m happy to have them back together. But jamming them around a table reminiscing about the one at Central Perk is NOT a reunion.
To be fair, Burrows’ impact on Friends was earlier on—during the more formative years of the series. Directors like Gary Halvorson, co-creator Kevin Bright, Gail Mancuso and Peter Bonerz took the ball down the field after his run.
They’ve been cagey about getting back together ever since, with hints and rumors flying around. One thing is clear: TBS is cleaning the fuck up in ratings with Friends as people binge watch reruns aired in order. Over and over again. From a Time Warner announcement about TBS and TNT I found:
Both networks have been catapulted to the top by off-net series. Law & Order on TNT ranked as basic cable’s #1 off-net series among adults 25-54 and persons 2+, while Friends on TBS Superstation ranked as basic cable’s #1 off-net series among adults 18-34 and 18-49. TNT’s Monday, March 11 (8 p.m.), telecast of Law & Order earned that series’ highest-ever household delivery (2,826,000) for its run on basic cable.
Dudes: the money is on the table to make an hour-long reunion show. Stop fucking around and do it.
PS: my stove is called the “Monica” because it’s the *exact same model in her rent-controlled apartment in lower Manhattan.
UPDATE: Will & Grace is returning for an actual reunion show, also honoring Burrows. Now that is how you do it, my Friends.
The less-produced Adele is, the better she sounds. To wit: Carpool Karaoke. Oh and also: James Corden can TURN UP with some harmony. Watch:
You’d think that Adele doing a rap of Nicki Minaj’s would’ve caused a cat fight. You’d be wrong.
Turns out Adele is a uniter not a divider.
How great is Carpool Karaoke? This is the first I’ve heard of this bit he does with guests… I subscribed on YouTube and will bring you more in the future.
The LVRJ summary really took it out of me this week, so I have the gas in my tank to mention that the Golden Globes were just flat boring this year. Ricky Gervais tried to apply lipstick, but the pig kept squealing.
Jonah Hill’s bear bit bombed, and few other jokes really landed. With a h/t to Mary Quinn, Manrepeller has a great post up about how cowed celebs are about social-media backlash and how they just try to blend in. Internet trolls are awful, but why let them sway decisions?
My favorite moment was when Leo gave Gaga shade—inadvertent or otherwise.
We lost two creative voices this week—both of them masters in their fields, both passing at age 69. David Bowie, who worked up until the very end, died of cancer. Bill Weir retweeted this terrific tribute to him on Twitter that applies to us all:
Alan Rickman also passed away this week, also of cancer. An accomplished actor on stage and screen, his most memorable pop-culture cred will always be his work on 1988’s Die Hard.
That’s it from me this week, Cranker Darlings. See you right back here next Thursday at 2.
Will Pollock is a crabby New York City escapee living in Atlanta. He’s a freelance multimedia journalist and author of two books (Pizza for Good & Leaving Triscuit), with more on the way. Sign up for the mailing list, follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram—and check out the book links below.
Don’t forget to comment below. Cranky loves company.