Friday, February 03, 2006

Quids pro quo in TV chat shows

Skip this if you're sick of James Frey. Although, come to think of it, Frey's honesty or dishonesty is not the point....

Publishers Lunch tells us about a claim that Oprah only selected James Frey's book in the first place as a quid pro quo to get Jennifer Aniston to appear on her show last September. The reasoning behind this theory is that Aniston controls the film rights to the book.

All of which amuses me greatly. On such nonsenses do writers' careers turn. And you thought that this was a suitable profession for a young person of breeding and intellligence such as yourelf. Ha! And by the way, this little nonsense means that Frey's royalties (as estimated by Publishers Lunch) amount to some $3 million. And most of that, I would guess, comes from the Oprah exposure.

All very amusing, as I say, in a grim sort of way. But if you want to discover just how brutal and nasty the infighting and wheeling and dealing can get in the world of TV chat shows, try reading Joan Rivers's autobiography, Still Talking. In that book she describes the backstage struggles and petty jealousies which surrounded The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers, on the then-fledgling Fox Television .

Still Talking is notable for two reasons. First, although it's ghosted (written 'with' Richard Meryman) the narrative voice is Joan Rivers exactly, so Meryman did a terrific job. And, second, Joanie's account will cure you for ever of any ambition to work in American television. Though I don't suppose it's any nicer anywhere else.


Anonymous said...

Don't entirely write off Joan Rivers. She said something once tha really cracked me up:
"I was reading the Bible, and marked 'true' in the margin."

Noah Cicero said...

That's insane, jennifer aniston. America is insane.

The Catharine Chronicles said...

Noah Cicero wrote:
America is insane.

Dear Noah,

As an American, I'd argue with you, but the voices in my toaster tell me you're correct.