Just when you thought maybe Mariah Carey had it all together, there are rumblings of turmoil in her world again.
This time, though, it's business that occupies Mariah. On Tuesday she and her new Rasputin-like manager Benny Medina met with Island Def Jam's Antonio "L.A." Reid to discuss Carey's new album project.
But therein lies the problem. Technically Medina is not Carey's manager. That job is occupied by Louise McNally, who's been Carey's staunch supporter for several years since Mariah left Tommy Mottola. But last year McNally's son died suddenly, knocking her out of business for a while. In her place came Medina, fresh from his being fired by Jennifer Lopez.
At first Medina was said to just be "consulting" with Carey, who — as we all know — is the bitter rival of Lopez. You may recall that Lopez swiped an idea for one of her records from Carey with the help of Mottola, contributing to Carey's little exhaustion breakdown a couple of years ago.
My sources say Medina took advantage of McNally's absence and has since worked his way into Carey's good graces. "It's a campaign," says a source who notes that the people really responsible for re-establishing Carey's career after her "Glitter" debacle — publicist Cindi Berger and promo whiz Jerry Blair, the same guy who worked Carey's records for 11 years at Sony — are suddenly much less present in Mariah's world.
What makes all this so much more interesting, of course, is that all these people are now stuck working with each other at the Universal Music Group, like it or not. For example, Reid hired Blair away from Sony to work with him at Arista, only to wind up costing Arista hundreds of thousands of bucks to buy out his Sony contract. Carey has thrown her lot in with the guy who once orchestrated her own unhappiness. And so on.
A source who knew Medina through the whole J-Lo/Ben Affleck episode — which included the firing of Medina, the subsequent lawsuits and settlements — says the former manager has a way of getting under the skins of stars.
"He makes them believe their own publicity," my source said.
But the same source wonders why Carey would want to be in the same company as Medina's other new clients, such as failed "American Idol" participant Justin Guarini.
"You'd think she'd know better," the source said.
Medina is branching out, however. He's said to be managing media types and even brokering book deals for clients. One deal he definitely quashed though was Carey's. The singer was all set to write an autobiography and had offers on the table.
"Benny convinced her not to do it," my source says. Also gone from Carey's plans is her stage debut in London. Her new album, meanwhile, will be recorded in Los Angeles and not in Capri, where she usually makes her CDs. One possible reason: so that Medina can be close by during the project.
In the boardrooms of McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's there can be only one name no executive is allowed to say aloud: Morgan Spurlock.
The New York filmmaker's big Sundance hit, "Super Size Me," has caused such a commotion that McDonald's is changing its menu in a frenzy before the movie's May release. Last week the company announced it was getting rid of all its "Super Size" promotions to make their meals bigger.
Yesterday wire reports stated that the new salad McDonald's is offering actually has more fat than its cheeseburger. Whoops!
There is no doubt that the company, which has made no comment about the movie, is running scared. In "Super Size Me," Spurlock — a healthy 33-year-old — decides to eat only fast food for a month. He gains 25 pounds, nearly brings on cirrhosis of the liver, and sends his vital signs into wild distress. You can actually see him inflate on screen.
In one memorable scene, Spurlock vomits up a meal while chowing down in his SUV, and then resumes eating his Big Mac. The effect is devastating for the fast food world.