With Jim Benson and Anne Becker
NBC’s Brian Williams Gets Dirty on '30 Rock’
Brian Williams, NBC Nightly News anchor, may be the most impeccably dressed newsman in the business. But in the alternate NBC universe depicted in the network’s comedy 30 Rock, Williams is a consummate slob.
In last week’s episode, Kenneth, the show’s hapless NBC page, is seen performing the daily task of cleaning the empty liquor bottles, dirty bikini briefs and issues of a booty magazine called Junk in the Trunk from Williams’ fictional office.
At one point, Kenneth is shown scrubbing the office wall where Williams has apparently scrawled a message to his CBS rival: “Katie Couric Sucks.”
When we caught up with Williams last Friday, he told us that 30 Rock creator and star Tina Fey, an old pal, had showed him the script weeks ago—without the Couric gag.
“It was a heart-stopper to see that on the wall,” he said. “I hope my old friend Katie knows that’s not really what I do with my free time.”
Williams called the send-up “brilliant and hilarious,” and noted, for the record, that he’s a teetotaler in real life.
Unfortunately, he had to take another call before we could confirm whether or not he’s a Junk in the Trunk subscriber.
NATPE’s Sordid Past
The annual gathering of the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) may not be the bacchanal it was back in the go-go ’80s. But attendees got a taste of those bygone days last week in Las Vegas, starting with the aftermath of the 2007 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo.
In one memorable moment, two conventioneers from the previous week’s porn confab were overheard discussing where one might “find some drugs around here.”
But it was the $200-a-head dinner honoring syndication grandee Dick Robertson that really recalled NATPE’s checkered history.
A raunchy roast of the departing Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution president ran four hours (two longer than scheduled), with unsparing jokes about Robertson’s many failed marriages, his tortuous relationships with colleagues and golf clubs, and his general disdain for NATPE.
Warner Bros. Chairman/CEO Barry Meyer recounted his first NATPE encounter with Robertson in 1989, when Meyer arrived in Houston to discover that the entire Warner Bros. sales force had been jailed after a “lap dance” incident at a strip club.
“I was aghast,” Meyer recalled. “They were supposed to be with our clients. But Dick told me [the clients] actually had been with them—all night in the holding cell.”
When Meyer asked what he was supposed to tell the studio bosses, Robertson responded, “Tell them we cleared Alf.”
Return Of The Weasel
No, you weren’t having a Zima flashback to 1994: That wasPauly Shore you saw at NATPE last week.
The Comic Formerly Known as the Weasel—who burned brightly in the ’90s on MTV’s Totally Pauly and in films like Encino Man—made his first trip to the show to pitch a new sketch comedy series, Pauly Shore’s Natural Born Komics: Miami.
“I have connections with the heads of networks and the executives,” Shore, 38, told B&C. But he attended NATPE hoping to create “a groundswell of buzz” for Komics, a mix of standup, hidden-camera gags, parodies and man-on-the-street interviews that he envisions on Showtime, MTV or Comedy Central, if not the Internet.
“I don’t wanna call them 'minnows,’” Shore said, “but the people who don’t sign the checks, they come back [from NATPE], and they’re like, 'Pauly Shore was there, and he’s got this show.’”
That guerilla approach inspired the video he recently staged and leaked online. The clip, in which Shore gets socked by a heckler during a standup gig in Texas, has clocked hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube.
Displaying a wad of business cards from producers and new-media execs he met over three days, Shore said everyone’s struggling to adapt to a changing media world.
“There’s only three people who know everything: Bono, Spielberg and Madonna,” he says. “Well, Katzenberg’s really smart, too.”