GOSSIP ICON ROGER FRIEDMAN MOVING ON

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THE WEB GOSSIP
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The guy or girl that writes this column is a very big industry insider who wishes to remain anonymous, but wants to write about all the headlines happening in Hollywood and the Music Industry.
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Dick Clark


CLAY COLE RISES --- This last six months has produced an almost staggering array of music-related books; Mark Spitz’s terrific David Bowie book, which despite some naysayers, I found totally captivating; detailed, and, very factual. It made this reader realize all over again what a truly singular talent Bowie was … and, is. Phil Sutcliffe’s terrific opus, “Queen: The Ultimate Illustrated History of the Crown Kings of Rock”; “Elton” by celebrity-biographer Mark Bego; Jon Bream’s “Neil Diamond Is Forever: The Illustrated Story of the Man and His Music”; and, Paul Shaffer and David Ritz’s “We'll Be Here for the Rest of Our Lives.” Our pal Tom Cuddy gave us a new one to read: “Sh-Boom – The Explosion of Rock ‘N Roll 1953-1968”(Morgan/James Publications) by TV’s Clay Cole. This is, without a doubt, the best book I've ever read on the early beginning of rock ‘n roll. Cole, for those who may not remember, exploded onto the black-and-white TV screen in those days; producing, writing, hosting … at times, on three different shows. Clay Cole was one of those teenagers, so the connection between him and his audiences was true and immediate. He was quite the prodigy too … writing and performing those first shows at his childhood home. He was the first to introduce Chubby Checker perfuming the “Twist;” the first to present the Rolling Stones, Tony Orlando, Dionne Warwick, Neil Diamond, Bobby Vinton, the Rascals, Ronettes, Four Seasons, and, Dion. He also debuted music video clips, go-go girls, and young standup comedians like Richard Pryor and George Carlin. After an unprecedented 15 years of fame, Cole walked away from his popular Saturday-night show at 30 years old and has essentially remained out of the spotlight for 40 years; Clay has been called the “missing link to the Sixties.” With this book, he’s back. There were so many things I liked about this book; it’s a bit difficult where to begin: His writing style is snappy, funny, direct. Many of the events and locations that he references here are gone forever, but, I do remember them. The references to the clubs of the days, the restaurants, the names, the memories … I loved and remember them all. The true stories, many of which I know firsthand to be true, are sad, revealing, and compelling. When he was at WPIX presenting some of the best new R&B performers on the scene, he was called on the carpet of the then CEO, and asked to cut back on the black talent; certainly in a more direct and unflattering way than I choose to say here. A year later, the station was awarded for its continuing efforts towards diversity. They took the award and didn't even acknowledge Cole. Johnny Carson, Dick Clark, Zsa Zsa Gabor; Vanilla Fudge; Tiny Tim; Tom Dowd; Tom Jones; Dick Clark; Sarah Dash; Ringo Starr; Dick Clark; Mary Wilson; Diana Ross; the Rat Pack; Mike Douglas; Mia Farrow; Lou Christie … they're all here. A devastatingly brilliant book … written with our friend David Hinckley from the Daily News. This book isn't for everyone, but if you truly love music and want to know an integral part of how it all happened … this is for you.

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Roger Friedman


ROGER FRIEDMAN --- Last week, Roger Friedman and his blog (Showbiz 411) in the Hollywood Reporter parted ways. Their editor Elizabeth Guider said they wanted to go in another direction. Insiders reported that Friedman had done the blog for almost a year, and then last week broke the rather huge ‘Rosie O’Donnell comes back to TV story’ … then gets canned. Guider had said when she first hired Friedman, “HR wanted to beef up its celebrity coverage.” And, they managed to do that in a very public way with the Rosie-story … then let’s Friedman go. HR was just sold and more than anything, I hear it’s a budget-oriented move; and, regrettably these days … that’s nothing new. Now, Roger is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I find him continually fascinating and marvel at the Intel he gets all the time. Believe me, Roger is tied in … from Weinstein to Sting to U2. He'll be back better than ever for sure. We love you Roger. Hold tight!

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Keifer Sutherland


24 --- By now you've heard and read that Keifer Sutherland’s terrific “24” will end its 8-year run this May. While the news is not all that surprising, I think we have to say yet again that the show this year is as good as ever and will certainly be going out on top. When the show first debuted, its split-screens and editing startled everyone. Now, every show does it and the luster has worn thin. But, let’s give a proper testament to what the show has done and for Sutherland’s terrific acting and performances. Even when the going got tough, he was there delivering 100%. Even when the plot lines blurred together, Keifer was all there. They're saying a movie is in the works and I do hope it happens. A terrific adventure, we were all lucky to have witnessed it. LARRY STEVENS --- Our Park Ridge, New Jersey singer/songwriter Larry Stevens is opening for Todd Rundgren this Friday at BergenPac in Engelwood. Now, this writer is a HUGE fan of the Runt’s. His epic music from the 80s, 90s, and now, is just in a class by itself. Last year he joined the reunion of The Cars and seamlessly melded their hits with his. His two-album set “Something/Anything” is in a category all by itself. Stevens, who’s most recent CD is the terrific “Downstair’s At Mayo’s,” is prepping for a label showcase next month with his manager David Salidor. According to the pair, Peter Abraham from The Cutting Room will be involved in the production. We're going to be there Friday so we'll have an on-the-spot report next week.
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Dick Van Dyke


ROSENFELD PASSES – Michael Rosenfeld, Sr., a founding partner at Creative Artists Agency and who started its literary department, died last week of respiratory failure. He was 75. After working at William Morris throughout the 60s, Rosenfeld con-founded CAA in 1975 along with Bill Haber, Ron Meyer, Michael Ovitz, and Rowland Perkins. Among the deals he helped package, were, roles for Rita Moreno and George Chakiris in “West Side Story”; Dick Van Dyke in “Mary Poppins”; and, selling mini-series “Rich Man, Poor Man” (1976) to ABC in 1976. He also repped Marlo Thomas, Joanne Woodward, Ann-Margret, Eva Marie Saint, and Dyan Cannon, as well as the writers for “Columbo,” “Mannix,” and, “Murder, She Wrote.” His son, Michael Jr., worked at Warner Brothers Records and with Madonna and then, Dreamworks Records. Michael Sr. was, one of the good guys. He will be missed.

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Deborah Norville


NORVILLE SOLDIERS ON --- Michael Starr in today’s New York Post reminds that Deborah Norville is celebrating 15 years as the host of TV’s “Inside Edition.” He says, “No mean feat where news magazine anchors are set adrift with alarming regularity.” So true. The show continues to generate strong numbers. I well remember her at the helm of the “Today Show” in the late-80s and she was simply terrific. The Dalton, Georgia born anchor also appeared on several CBS News shows before beginning “Edition” in 1995. She’s also done radio as well, replacing Sally Jesse Raphael, on ABC Radio. Season-to-date, “Edition” is ranked sixth among all syndicated programming; just behind “Entertainment Tonight” and ahead of “Dr. Phil.” It’s also up 7 percent over last year and has gained an additional 328,000 viewers over last season. A class act for sure, congratulations.... AIR TRAVELS --- Last week at this time, I was prepping for a short weekend to Barcelona. My JFK/Delta flight turned around after an hour to repair a generator that had gone bad. Watching fuel being burned off from my window seat was rather upsetting. Coming back, my flight from Amsterdam was delayed four hours; face it, air travel just ain’t the same anymore. Plus, rudeness seems to be the fashion of the day. In between I found Barcelona totally captivating. The Gaudi church, tapas, the people, fashion, and the museums with work from Miro and Picasso, simply outstanding. It was great, too short, and little too much drama. Am glad to be back in the hood.

Photos By: Sara De Boer/Retna

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