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Guest Film Skewers Charlie Rose, Billy Bush

In his new film For Your Consideration, Christopher Guest skewers the awards-season buzz machine that begins cranking up right about now. The movie chronicles the making of a quirky little film and the hapless actors whose dreams of Oscar glory are fueled by a cavalcade of obsequious TV personalities.

Everyone from Ebert & Roeper to local-morning-show hosts get the Guest treatment, including a certain public-television interviewer with a penchant for stepping on guests’ answers. Apparently, Guest was inspired by a visit to The Charlie Rose Show while promoting his 2003 film A Mighty Wind.

Chief among the film’s caricatures are Cindy Martin and Chuck Porter, the smarmy hosts of Hollywood Now, a send-up of Entertainment Tonight-style magazine shows.

Jane Lynch channels ET host Mary Hart, while Fred Willard, sporting a frosted faux-hawk, manages to be more obnoxious than Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush.

Was Bush actually an inspiration? “I was doing the Tonight Show a couple of times,” says Willard. “And one time, Billy Bush came in my dressing room to introduce himself to me—and I was very flattered. And then the next time I was on, he came in, and he says, 'I understand you modeled your character after me.’ And I felt bad. I don’t know if he was flattered or annoyed. I said, 'Oh, no, he’s kind of a generic guy.’”

FCC Gets Mugged

We told you a while back about the “FCC FU” coffee mugs—and T-shirts and more—being offered by some of the top Hollywood ad talent taking aim at the FCC’s indecency crackdown. But the programming side has gotten in on the “mug the FCC” brandwagon.

The Center for Creative Voices in Media, whose creative voices include Steven Bochco, Vin Di Bona (both targets of indecency complaints), Diane English and Tom Fontana, is telling the commission off on coffee cups and cotton T’s in no uncertain terms.

A surf of its “free-speech” store at cafepress.com/creativevoices turned up, among others, the “What the FCC happened to free speech?” mug, coaster and mousepad; the “What Price Free $peech” green T-shirt; and the “Murdoch: It’s Australian for Monopoly, Mate” T-shirt (the Center is also fighting media consolidation with a vengeance).

Center President Jonathan Rintels says,” We’re not trying to take it too seriously, and we don’t think they are, either. We’re trying to have a bit of fun.”

One strong seller is the women’s “WARNING: do not remove without permission of the FCC” tank top.

Rintels says the firm has received several orders from an unlikely group: FCC staffers.

Real Men Shop At Home

Real Men may not shop, per se, but Jewelry Television is discovering that guys into collectible coins, watches, knives—and swords—are making a nice business for its brother network Shop At Home, the money-losing channel it bought from Scripps earlier this year.

Starting next month, Jewelry, which will post $425 million in sales this year, will launch an awareness campaign to tell viewers—and cable operators—it’s going after guys on Shop At Home.

Shop At Home was going to be folded by Scripps, which lost a reported $84 million after acquiring majority interest in it in 2004.

Executives of privately held Jewelry, based in Knoxville, Tenn., visited Nashville-based Shop At Home just to pick at the bones, like backup call centers and other technical equipment.

But the more they looked, they realized “they had some things that were working, particularly things targeting men, and particularly in the late-night hours,” says Shop At Home CEO Joe Fields.

He adds that men often drop hundreds of dollars on rare coins or classic knives.

The reconstituted Shop At Home now aims to be mainly an 8 p.m-8 a.m proposition; cable operators can use the other hours for whatever programming they want.

Says Fields, “We just got through our first quarter and actually made money.”

With John Eggerton and P.J. Bednarski

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