Sharon Osbourne's new talk show, produced by Telepictures Productions, doesn't arrive until September, but it's already getting a bad buzz in the business.
Osbourne's executive producer, Mary Duffy, has apparently not made a lot of friends in the business despite, or because of, long stints with other shows such as Montel Williams'. The word is that two big personalities like Sharon and Duffy are sure to clash very quickly.
Besides Montel, Duffy also headed up the ill-fated Ananda Lewis Show, and worked on the canceled, and completely dreadful, Sally Jessy Raphael show.
What may also affect the Osbourne show is Sharon's entourage of assistants, helpers and sycophants. There are just enough of them already, according to sources, to crowd a narrow hallway populated with producers, bookers, assistant producers and the like — all of whom are necessary for a talk show's survival.
The Osbourne show will essentially be a third-generation successor to Rosie O'Donnell following Caroline Rhea's valiant attempt to win over the morning audience. But can Osbourne, who is wickedly funny when she's allowed to curse on MTV, be able to tone it down for a national audience of housewives and moms? And if she does tone it down, will she be the least bit interesting? Those are the questions on the minds of her new staff.
Meanwhile, Sharon's only competitor among new talkers will be Ellen DeGeneres, whose reputation at least among staffers is a lot more palatable.
Forget the stories you've heard about Billy Joel sneaking a drink on Tony night.
The Piano Man did indeed have a glass of bubbly with his mates from Movin' Out. But beyond that, he had an evening of temperate celebrating, according to his pals.
"There was one story that he was caught hiding a wine glass," says a friend. "But it wasn't true."
Joel's supporters are upset because Billy, though he's obviously had some adventures under the influence, does not consider himself an alcoholic per se.
"He went into rehab a year ago from an isolated incident," says one friend. "And he talked about it so people would understand when they saw him having a drink or two in public."
In fact, there was no late night partying for Billy. According to another — and totally impartial — observer, Billy and his gang left the Movin' Out party after about 15 minutes.
What is it about Billy that's made him the target of so much nutty speculation? Among celebs, his reputation is pretty mild. He's not a bold partyer, famous philanderer, or incessant drug abuser. He's just an innocent man, folks.
He's also a brave one. Billy will venture out tonight to the very cool Songwriters Hall of Fame dinner honoring Little Richard, Van Morrison and others. This event has turned into the must-see deal of the midyear, run by former Warner Music maven Linda Moran.
If Billy toasts any of the honorees, I will let you know all about it. (Not!)
The New York Daily News ran a subdued inside story about Sam Waksal's seven-year prison sentence yesterday, with a banner along the top of Page One.
The Post, by comparison, gave the Waksal story the front page, as well as two sidebars.
Interestingly, the News trumpeted the fact that a year ago tomorrow, June 13, they ran a blazing front page story about Martha Stewart — their first big feature about Waksal and Stewart.
But let's not forget: Phone calls placed by this column last year on June 12th to the News were the reason that big story ran the next day.
Waksal had told friends that Mort Zuckerman, the owner of the Daily News, was laying off the story because they were friends. Their mutual pal was Stewart. Zuckerman and the News denied any such connection. But the business editor also told me on that day, June 12, that the Waksal story had not merited much attention.
The Daily News' business editor, David Andelman, was vehement in his explanation that the Waksal story had not been so interesting.
"We don't have the space to cover every business story. I have 25 column inches every day. I have five stories a day," he said on June 12th. "We don't have a section the size of the Times," he said. "We choose our targets. If I had an eight-page section, there might be twice as many ImClone stories."
The next day, and from then on, the ImClone/Waksal/Stewart mess became a runaway headline at the News.
You know how everyone's talking about New York Times reporters lifting material for their stories? No one mentions how wire services and other newspapers regularly lift from others for their stuff.
Let's take Reuters: Yesterday afternoon they helped themselves to this column's Sopranos story — Edie Falco's quote, the question of Silvercup Studios' lease — with both hands at the buffet table.
Yeah, there was a passing reference to "Fox News," not Foxnews.com, which is where the writer got it — and then they went on as if the whole thing was their idea!
Hello, Reuters — this was merely a free re-write of yesterday's Fox411. Gimme a break!