Cyber Digest | EW.com

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Cyber Digest

Howard Stern's popularity is rated equal to IBM's supercomputer Big Blue, while voters were lukewarm about adding Robert Downey Jr. to 'Ally McBeal'

L.A. LAW Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you can’t get arrested in Los Angeles. A couple of TV-comedy writers — Stephanie Phillips (Grace Under Fire) and Mark Amato (Home Improvement) — have just put up a wickedly mischievous website called Daily Anxiety (dailyanxiety.com), which parodies Daily Variety. And despite headlines meant to incense and inflame (EMBRYO SELLS MILLION-DOLLAR SPEC), ”I can’t believe we can’t get sued in a town full of lawyers,” laments a palpably annoyed Phillips. ”If we can get one cease and desist, we’re famous.”

RAH! EMOTIONS Information we wish we didn’t have: The Universal website for Bring It On (bringitonmovie.com) reveals that producer Aaron Spelling was once a cheerleader.

SHOCKED JOCK We’re more than a little surprised to learn that Howard Stern is just as popular as … a machine. A true star of a machine, to be sure, but nevertheless merely a big box crammed with microprocessors and cables. According to IBM, its vaunted Deep Blue supercomputer — housed in Yorktown, N.Y. — has earned a Q ranking that puts it on a par with Stern, Larry King, and Carson Daly. Q Score ratings, administered by Marketing Evaluations/TvQ, measure a celebrity or product’s public appeal. It must be comforting to Daly, certainly, to realize he’s got star power equal to that of an IBM box.

CAST-ING A VOTE In the Web republic, everyone gets to vote. (We’d have voted Howard Stern marginally more appealing than IBM’s computer, had we the chance.) Maxim Online recently asked visitors to pull virtual levers in a ”Babe-Off”, pitting Kristy Swanson, the original Buffy, against Sarah Michelle Gellar. Gellar won by the slenderest of margins — 38,238 to 37,924. Meanwhile, over at Vote.com, voters were decidedly lukewarm about Robert Downey Jr. joining the cast of Ally McBeal. At press time, only 47 percent thought it a good idea. One visitor to the site’s chat room had some unsolicited advice for Ally star Calista Flockhart: ”Honey, eat a friggin’ sandwich, would you?”

FREEDOM ROCK According to a ”political psychologist” quoted in The Industry Standard’s Beat Sheet, Al Gore might be the man to vote against if you’re militant about the continued free flow of digital music. ”He’s likely to pick some kind of enemy, and if Tipper really cares about (extreme content in music), Gore could become moralistic about it and dig in his heels.” And George W.? He ”doesn’t like to rock the boat,” the psychologist told the Standard.

SITE PLANNING Should we pity Mike Farmer — or envy him? The Californian owns the www.survivor.com domain — he bought it in 1995 to sell personal-finance software by that name — but the success of CBS’ summer smash just about swamped Farmer’s little site. According to a report in Wired News, the show’s final episode sparked 122,470 hits on www.survivor.com. Farmer, a wise businessman, suggested a deal with CBS, which, he says, the network ungraciously declined. ”They were hostile,” he told Wired News, adding that he’s nevertheless done unexpectedly well this year by selling ads on his site.


NOTE THIS DATE: SEPT. 12 Joan Osborne’s new website for women, Heroine Magazine (www.heroinemagazine.com) launches; her Righteous Love CD comes out the same day.