Forget sleazy talk shows. Public brawls among the rich and powerful are providing America’s favorite spectacles these days. Here’s Entertainment Weekly’s review of the nose benders currently playing out in the headlines.
Time Warner v. Michael Fuchs Capping a tumultuous six months at Warner Music, Time Warner chairman Gerald Levin booted out volatile Warner Music and HBO chairman Fuchs, and placed his domain in the hands of Warner Bros. chairmen and co-CEOs Bob Daly and Terry Semel.
Why it happened: Analysts speculate that Fuchs, though a longtime Levin ally, sealed his own fate by criticizing the proposed Time Warner-Turner merger.
Who wins: Daly, Semel, and — perhaps in the long run — Fuchs, whose executive brilliance was much praised in the press and who reportedly has 3 1/2 years to go on a contract worth more than $5 million a year.
Kathie Lee Gifford v. Michael Gelman Gifford is threatening to leave TV’s Live With Regis and Kathie Lee in August unless exec producer Michael Gelman treats her like the hostess with the mostess.
Why it happened: Gelman favors Regis and discourages Gifford from making her kids, Cody and Cassidy, a never-ending TV topic.
Who wins: If Gifford flees, Wheel of Fortune’s Vanna White reportedly is in the running. Wanna buy a vowel turner, Reeg?
Rob Schneider v. Inconvenienced Saturday Night Live’s former copy boy walked off the set of the Trimark movie costarring Lisa Kudrow.
Why it happened: Chalk it up to (a) creative wrangling with director Douglas Keeve (Unzipped); (b) a disagreement over Keeve’s replacement, Steven Pearl (At First Glance); or (c) a back injury Schneider suffered while rehearsing a fight scene.
Who wins: Not Schneider. Screenwriter Jeff Eastin says filming will resume next year, most likely without the star, and a Trimark source says the studio is considering legal action. An offer has gone out to Robert Downey Jr. Maybe it’s all for the best, considering the movie track records of recent SNLers.