And more from our Gossip Girl: life is a cabaret for Edie Falco … plus, why cable news can’t let go of Sarah Palin
“NOTHING SUCCEEDS like excess,” said our old friend Oscar Wilde.
Surely this is the motto for the ongoing saga of Charlie Sheen. The “Two and a Half Men” star was rushed to a hospital late last week suffering from severe abdominal pains. He had reportedly been partying for 36 hours with five ladies (at least one of them a porn star) and there was allegedly a “briefcase of cocaine” involved.
Mr. Sheen’s press rep told the online gossip site TMZ — which was on top of the story instantly — that he “chose not to believe” TMZ’s sources. At least one of those sources was one (or more) of the “ladies” involved in Mr. Sheen’s debauch. Or whatever it was. Could have been just a quiet evening at home, watching adult movies. They are all grown ups, after all. (Sheen’s publicist insisted on Friday that the actor is expected back on the set as early as tomorrow. Sheen either has the world’s greatest constitution, or is already dead and nobody has noticed).
CBS, once “the Tiffany of television” programming, finds itself between a rock and a hard place. Mr. Sheen shows up for work, knows his lines (despite how many other lines he’s had the night before) and is professional and pretty well-liked on the set. The show still enjoys high ratings. What to do? The network is increasingly seen as Sheen’s enabler; clearly he has issues. Should he be reprimanded for an out-of-control private life that incredibly does not affect his professional life? This is a difficult call.
But people at the top at CBS have reason to be concerned. If Sheen were to — God forbid — die while in the grip of his partying, or — much worse! — cause injury to another, it would not simply be bad public relations, it could cost the network millions in lawsuits.
And as nice as Charlie is rumored to be (if you’re not married to him) it’s not so nice that he appears to care so little for the fate of his co-stars, who all depend on him on remain alive and functioning, so as to keep their own jobs.
When Charlie can’t or won’t work, nobody gets paid!
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LATE FRIDAY Sheen reportedly entered a rehab facility. His show is on “temporary hiatus.” Good luck to him, and to the rest of the “Two and a Half Men” cast.
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I KNOW I keep citing the new and fabulously revamped Hollywood Reporter, but what can I say — the magazine is chock full of great articles and photographs.
The Feb 2 issue has the cast of “Glee” on the cover. Inside there’s a nifty story on this TV phenom. But the real meat of the issue is an article by Paul Bond titled “Cable News’ Sarah Palin Sickness.” The piece follows the trajectory of Palin’s public career, and how the cable news pundits “just can’t quit her.” This, despite her high disapproval ratings and general un-likeability, even among most Republicans. (Palin’s fan base is fairly small, but rabid — and they inspire fear in the rest of the Republican party, which seems to behave as if it has no sensible alternatives. Unless you want to count Michele Bachmann, the impoverished man’s Palin.) Not surprisingly, Palin’s foes on MSNBC talk about her the most, with Chris Matthews the most virulent. Sarah’s friends at Fox News are close behind. (Greta Van Susteren takes the lead there.)
The author predicts: “It won’t be easy for cable news to break its Sarah Palin habit … the dirty little secret is that Palin has become the go-to topic that requires very little work and no boring background explanations. She is already known by everyone, which is rare in this era.”
The departure of MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann is cited as perhaps a turning point in Palinmania, but I doubt it. Just the other night Chris Matthews opened his show with a long piece on Palin and Michele Bachmann.
Palin is the Charlie Sheen of cable TV. They can’t let her go. She is too profitable, ratings-wise. Without her, what would they talk about — the issues? Don’t be silly
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OH, and here are the best photographs in the new issue of The Hollywood Reporter — several pages of vintage shots taken by the late lensman Sam Shaw. These include a shirtless, sexy Marlon Brando playing pool … the elfin Audrey Hepburn in Paris, circa 1957 … ravishing portraits of Gena Rowlands and Lee Remick … Lauren Bacall hugging Swifty Lazar’s bald pate … and Marilyn Monroe — who was Shaw’s good friend — perched on a Central Park bench, wearing a simple white summer dress, reading the New York Times. Sitting near MM is a young New York couple. They do their best to avoid looking at the goddess.
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LIFE IS a cabaret, old friend. Especially in Manhattan, where cabaret is alive and thriving, and always attracting the most interesting people.
On Feb 4-6 at the Laurie Beechman Theater (407 West 42nd Street), the divine Edie Falco of “Sopranos” and “Nurse Jackie” fame will make her cabaret debut, performing with Stephen Wallem (he plays Thor on “Nurse Jackie.”) The show, conceived by Wallem and Falco, is titled “The Other Steve and Edie.” The pair will sing everything from jazz to show tunes to contemporary pop. And yes, Wallem and Falco will even salute the other Steve and Edie. Call 212-695-6909.
Oh, and for fans of “Nurse Jackie” the new season debuts on March 28.