Thursday, September 29, 2011

Matt Lauer is too cool for the news

Matt Lauer can't be troubled to take off his sunglasses during the news...

...even when interviewing the younger sisters of Amanda Knox, a woman who is on trial for murder.

So this begs the question Matt, do you, you know...

Sue the bastards!!

It's about time someone went after the studios for their unpaid internship bullshit.  The following is from the NY Times.

Suck it Fox.  Next up, any agency in Hollywood. 

Interns, Unpaid by a Studio, File Suit

By Steven Greenhouse
Two men who worked on the hit movie “Black Swan” have mounted an unusual challenge to the film industry’s widely accepted practice of unpaid internships by filing a lawsuit on Wednesday asserting that the production company had violated minimum wage and overtime laws by hiring dozens of such interns.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, claims that Fox Searchlight Pictures, the producer of “Black Swan,” had the interns do menial work that should have been done by paid employees and did not provide them with the type of educational experience that labor rules require in order to exempt employers from paying interns.

“Fox Searchlight’s unpaid interns are a crucial labor force on its productions, functioning as production assistants and bookkeepers and performing secretarial and janitorial work,” the lawsuit says. “In misclassifying many of its workers as unpaid interns, Fox Searchlight has denied them the benefits that the law affords to employees.” Workplace experts say the number of unpaid internships has grown in recent years, in the movie business and many other industries. Some young people complain that these internships give an unfair edge to the affluent and well connected.

One plaintiff, Alex Footman, a 2009 Wesleyan graduate who majored in film studies, said he had worked as a production intern on “Black Swan” in New York from October 2009 to February 2010. He said his responsibilities included preparing coffee for the production office, ensuring that the coffee pot was full, taking and distributing lunch orders for the production staff, taking out the trash and cleaning the office.

“The only thing I learned on this internship was to be more picky in choosing employment opportunities,” Mr. Footman, 24, said in an interview. “ ‘Black Swan’ had more than $300 million in revenues. If they paid us, it wouldn’t make a big difference to them, but it would make a huge difference to us.”

Russell Nelson, a Fox Searchlight spokesman, said Wednesday afternoon, “We just learned of this litigation and have not had a chance to review it so we cannot make any comment at this time.”

The lawsuit is seeking class-action status for what the plaintiffs say were more than 100 unpaid interns on various Fox Searchlight productions. In addition to seeking back pay under federal and state wage laws, the lawsuit seeks an injunction barring Fox Searchlight from improperly using unpaid interns.

Fox Searchlight acted illegally, the lawsuit asserts, because the company did not meet the federal labor department’s criteria for unpaid internships. Those criteria require that the position benefit the intern, that the intern not displace regular employees, that the training received be similar to what would be given in an educational institution and that the employer derive no immediate advantage from the intern’s activities.

Movie companies have defended using unpaid interns, saying the internships are educational, highly coveted and an important way for young people to break into the industry. Lawyers for numerous companies say the Labor Department’s criteria are obsolete, adding that department officials rarely enforce the rules against unpaid internships.

The other named plaintiff, Eric Glatt, 42, who has an M.B.A. from Case Western Reserve University, was an accounting intern for “Black Swan.” He prepared documents for purchase orders and petty cash, traveled to the set to obtain signatures on documents and created spreadsheets to track missing information in employee personnel file.

Mr. Glatt, who had been working at A.I.G. training new employees, said he took the position because he wanted to move into the film industry.

“When I started looking for opportunities in the industry, I saw that most people accept an ugly trade-off,” he said. “If you want to get your foot in the door on a studio picture, you have to suck it up and do an unpaid internship.”

Adam Klein, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said this would be the first of several lawsuits that seek to fight these internships.

“Unpaid interns are usually too scared to speak out and to bring such a lawsuit because they are frightened it will hurt their chances of finding future jobs in their industry,” he said.

Mr. Footman said he was sticking his neck out because “I hope this case will hold the industry to a higher standard and will get rid of this practice.”

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

And now, a few minutes with your very own Andy Rooney

The curmudgeonly Andy Rooney was finally booted off his 60 Minutes perch yesterday.  The man whose first commentary was about how overrated the wheel is made his last regular commentary at the ripe old age of 92.

But fans of the Eyebrowed One need not fear.  For your friends at the Hollywood Temp Diaries have created a Mad Lib so you can experience the wit, wisdom and whatever else of Mr. Rooney's pithy observances any time you want.


If there's one thing that really sticks in my craw, it's (PLURAL NOUN #1). 

Back in WWII, I was a writer for Stars and Stripes.  It was (ADJECTIVE #1) time.  We (VERB IN PAST TENSE #1) our own food.  We (VERB IN PAST TENSE #2) our own typewriters.  Heck, one time I even (VERB IN PAST TENSE #3) the cat that seemed to wander by our barracks at night. And she would meow until we (VERB IN PAST TENSE #4) her.  But what I never thought to myself, "Geez.  What I could really use now is a (PLURAL NOUN #1)."

The other day I was (GERUND) on my couch while watching my favorite episode of Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts. I'm guessing it was one I (VERB IN PAST TENSE #5) on.  And a (COLOR) banjo player came on and performed (SONG).  It gave me goose pimples.  I probably haven't had that sort of sensation in (NUMBER) years.  But it reminded me of how (ADJECTIVE #2) things used to be.  And I like that.

(PLURAL NOUN #1) is everything that's wrong with society today.  We made it through the Civil Rights movement, the Cold War and the (AMERICAN PRESIDENT) without the benefit of (PLURAL NOUN #1).  And the U.S. is in pretty (ADJECTIVE #3) shape as a result.  I might be a fuddy-duddy for saying this, but I'd rather (VERB) a (NOUN) than even consider buying, renting or even testing out a (PLURAL NOUN #1).

Of course if I was a little more (ADJECTIVE #4), maybe I'd change my mind.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"The Playboy Club" cancellation countdown begins

Well, the first casualty of the 2011-12 season has been identified.

After much promotion as well as much hubbub, including calls for cancellation from both the left-wing weirdos at San Francisco city hall and the right-wing nutcases in Utah, the first victim will certainly be NBC's The Playboy Club.

And why is that?  Well, first the ratings came in and they were dismal.  Five million total viewers and 1.6 million in the important 18-49 demo.  Gag me with a bunny tail.

But let's review what the problems are...

Target audience vs. Misogyny: The show is most certainly aimed at women, which is counter to the Playboy brand.  And women, or at least the ones I know, don't want to see other women objectified.  So you're essentially alienating your target audience before the show even airs.  Producers can say the show is about "female empowerment" all they want, but no one is believing it.

No sex: There was barely even a lip-lock in the pilot.  The show was about as stimulating as looking at a strip club from the outside. 

No nudity: Like it or not, Playboy is associated with nudity.  I don't care if it's the club or the magazine, there's an expectation of some skin.  That's certainly not going to happen, unless Dennis Franz's butt makes an appearance.  And no one wants that.

No Hef: Sure they have one brief segment when Laura Benanti talks to the back of his head, but he needs a much larger presence in the show.  The Playboy identity is so inextricably linked to Hugh Hefner that having a show without him somewhere between irresponsible and impossible.

The Mad Men effect: "Me too" programming only works if you have characters that people love, hate, relate to or aspire to be.  The Playboy Club offers nothing that Mad Men does in this regard. 

No cat fights: You know what the show really needs, a good old cat fight.  It worked for Dynasty back in the day.  And Amber Heard and Jenna Dewan-Tatum (whoever that is) are way better looking than Linda Evans and Joan Collins ever were.  Bring out the claws. 

It's a boring topic: No one cares about the lives of Playboy Bunnies.  If they care about anything related to Playboy, they care about Hugh Hefner and his story.  Everything else is a distant fourth place (just like NBC).

So why do I give it another 89 days and counting (see the counter on the right)?  NBC put in an order for 12 episodes plus the pilot.  And NBC can't afford to piss off Brian Grazer, the show's producer.  They need him more than he needs them.

My guess is that The Playboy Club moves to the TV graveyard of Friday or Saturday night before the whole thing is over.

And then it will be over.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Two and a Half Men -- Episode 901

Version 2.5
[With tonight being the debut for Ashton Kutcher on Two and a Half Men, seems like just a good of a time as any to re-post this.  Feel free to compare and contrast to the actual episode.]

Lost amidst the hoo haa of Charlie Sheen leaving/getting thrown off of Two and a Half Men is how they're gonna write him out and add Ashton Kutcher.  But I have excellent contacts inside the production.  From the same source who got me Chuck Lorre Productions Vanity Card #335, I have now secured the Cold Open from the season premiere of the revamped Two and a Half Men.

Looks like things haven't changed much.  That is to say, it's still about boobs.

Charlie lays motionless in the patient bed.  He's unconscious.  Tubes and wires are connected to all parts of his body -- even his groin.  The only noise you hear is the respirator breathing pumping and the beeping of the heart monitor.  Alan sits at his bedside.  A tear wells up as he looks at his moribund brother.

Well Charlie. You've finally done it.  I always knew sex would kill you, but not this way.

He gets choked up. 

I figured when you tied the sex swing to the roof and invited over the Swedish bikini team, that would be the end.  But not this way...Not some fast-moving hybrid of AIDS, herpes, gonorrhea and Swimmer's ear.

Alan sobs again.

But when it comes to setting new records for sex, you always said, "Never underestimate Charlie Harper."

Berta enters.

Is the dick dead yet?

Berta?!  That's my brother you're talking about.

No.  I meant his actual penis.  I figured his member would be the first to go.  The rest of his body would follow due to lack of instruction.

Berta starts to leaves the room as Jake enters.  Jake gives her a look as to say "How's he doing?"  Berta smiles.

Soon.  Very soon.

Uncle Charlie hasn't kicked off yet?

No!  Jake!...Jake, your Uncle Charlie, my brother...We're still holding out hope.  The lab is running tests and...

Can I have some change?

Alan reaches into his pocket and pulls out his wallet.  He starts getting some quarters...
Sure Jake.  Yeah.  Since you're going to the vending machine, can you get me a coffee.  But don't spend too much.  We're in a bit of a financial pickle because Uncle Charlie's medical insurance doesn't cover unknown diseases...

Coffee?  No.  They've got Galaga in the game room. 

...Jake decides to grab the wallet instead and runs out the room.  Some of the change falls to the floor and rolls under Charlie's bed.  Alan gets on all fours to look for the wayward coins.  A moment later Raymond (Kutcher) and a chesty blond - both dressed in hospital whites - enter the room ready to have a little fun.  They only see Charlie as Alan is still looking for the loose change.

The coast is clear.  Just one nearly stiff.

They go behind the curtain that separates the two halves of the room.  This is quickly followed by the sound of pants being unzipped.

More like two.

Alan pops his head up and his eyes go wide.  He sees the silhouettes of the two and can't believe it.  He pokes Charlie.  No response.

Charlie...Charlie...You'll wanna see this.

The foreplay continues behind the curtain.  It's getting hot and heavy until...

Wanna play doctor?

The kissing stops immediately.

Why do you always do that?


Just because I'm a nurse and you're a surgeon, you always throw it in my face.  (imitating her) "Wanna play doctor?"  (as himself) There's nothing wrong with being a nurse.  

I never said there was.  Raymond come here...Let's kiss and make your boo boo feel better.

Don't patronize me!  You think all nurses do is put on band aids and clean bedpans.  I'm a medical professional just like you...It's not like I'm a chiropractor.

Alan slumps.

Whatever.  Listen Ray.  That's it.  I've been giving you the benefit of the doubt for a long time.  But if you don't want my body, someone else will. 

Alan raises his hand and mouths "Me."


I want you out of the house tonight.  If you won't put a ring on this finger, I'll find someone who will...Someone with an advanced degree.

She storms out the room and as she does, Charlie flatlines.  Raymond runs over and is more than a bit surprised to see Alan there.

I guess you heard that.

Uh.  Can we deal with that later?  I have a dying brother here.

Oh.  He's toast.

Can't you resuscitate him?  You know -- the paddles and the pushing and the breathing?

And touch that science experiment?  Hell no.  I wouldn't even recommend sitting that close.  Let me ask you, does it hurt when you pee?

Alan grabs his crotch and backs away from his dead brother.

Hey, you wouldn't happen to know anyone who needs a roommate would you?

End Cold Open 

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Brown List 2011 -- Call for Nominations is now OPEN!!


For the third year in a row, the Temp Diaries is surveying its readers to identify the MOST-LIKED and LEAST-LIKED entertainment executives.  Once the results are tallied and the report is released, they are compiled into something I've called THE BROWN LIST. THE BROWN LIST is designed to serve as a resource for job seekers to answer the question "Do I really want to work for [Hollywood Executive]?"

Nomination is easy.  Using the form below:
  • Write in your MOST-LIKED entertainment industry executive.
  • Write in your LEAST-LIKED entertainment industry executive.
  • Add any comments you feel like about your nominees.
  • Hit Submit.  All entries are completely anonymous. (See below for more info)
[Note:  Please include their company if you know it.]

THE BROWN LIST uses American Idol-style voting.  So nominate someone as many times as you want.  The deadline for nominations is October 7, 2011 at 11:59 p.m.  I will then tabulate the results and release them October 17, 2011.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Final the 2011 Brown List nominations

It's almost the most wonderful time of the year.  By that I mean Brown List nominations is now just a few days away.

To the uninitiated, the Brown List is a quasi-scientific ranking of the Most-Liked and Least-Liked entertainment executives.  People can't wait to read it and they dread being on it (at least the "Least Liked" side).  It's designed to help people like you figure out who they might or might not want to work for.  If you're new to the site, or just want to experience the 2010 Brown List, click here.

Tick tock tick tock...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Call center employees are stupid everywhere

"Thanks for calling, please hold"
Any temp knows, when you start a long-term assignment, you need to set up your computer.  This entails all the nonsense of dealing with Microsoft and often times a network ID and password.  And this brings us to our story of the day.

I recently started a long-term gig at a major network in name only (their ratings are in the toilet).  The first thing the 28-page temp manual said was for me to create a network login.  So I filled out three forms presumably created by the CIA, had my boss sign them, fax them in and wait for a call from the IT department to take care of the final steps.

Here's what happened when that call came through...

INT.  Formerly Important Cable Network
Temp X sits at the desk gazing wistfully at the computer screen.  He longs for his tech problems to be resolved so that he can either A) do work, or B) waste time on Twitter.

The phone rings.  He answers it.

Hello [Executive's Name Redacted] office.

No response.  But he can hear Carnatic music going on in the background.

Hello [Executive's Name Redacted] office.

(In a thick Indian accent)
Hello this is Paul from tech support.  How may I help you today?

Hi.  Thanks for calling.  I need my computer set up.

Yes I am calling to help you exactly on that matter.  We have received all of your paperwork.  I believe you to be confirmed.

So I'll just need my password for logging in, right?

That would be correct.

Long pause

So what is it?

I will need to be to calling you back and leave the password on the voicemail.

Well can't you just tell me now?  I'm on the phone with you.

I cannot.

Why not?

This is our policy.

Wait, what?

This is our policy.  I am unable to tell you your password directly.  I must leave it on your voicemail.

That's kinda silly, don't you think.

No, not at all sir.  Now I will need to be calling you back on this number and leaving a voicemail.  It will contain your password.

Well Paul, that poses a bit of a problem.  You see, I just started here today and no one knows my voicemail password.  So you can leave it here, but I'm just gonna call you back in five minutes and ask you what my network password is...unless you also know my voicemail password.  Then we'll kill two birds with one stone.

I do not know that information.

Well, this brings us back to where we started.  You NEED to tell me my password, because if I go back to my boss and tell her that I can't log into my computer because the tech department is left my password on a voicemail I can't check, she's gonna fire me...Got it?!

[Now I can't verify this, but I have this sneaking suspicion that at this time Paul looked left, then right. Then he snuck into the corner of his cubicle hoping no one would see what happened next.]

Your password is...
Now do not tell any person ever that I did this.  I will be in very much trouble if you do.

Your secret is safe with me.

Is there anything more I can do for you today.

Nope.  You've done just enough.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Special Thursday Job Posts

And now, because I like you guys, here's a couple of pre-Labor Day jobs for your enjoyment.

Top LA PR Firm Seeks Assistant to Owner and President
Busy PR firm CEO and President looking for smart, aggressive, kind and intuitive assistant to run their desk.  Needs to listen and get it the first time; heavy doses of intuition; able to handle multiple tasks with minimal hand-holding.  Opportunity to grow within a dynamic environment but only if you can succeed on one of the most challenging desks in town.  Need to see a resume (imbedded—no attachments accepted), salary history, and a passionate letter about what you have achieved in life that make you ready for this opportunity.  This is a full time position, salary commensurate with experience.  Please send email to

Development / Production Assistant; Los Angeles, CA for a Production Company
This position is to assist Senior Executives of the company in executing strategic publicity campaigns and events for clients while learning the procedures and processes to maximize publicity opportunities. As a representative of the company and the client within themedia, the assistant’s role is to be a professional, proactive, organized, and detail-oriented team member who effectively and consistently follows through on all tasks undertaken.

The Associate Account Executive’s job includes office duties and administrative responsibilities for the Senior Executives that may include taking incoming calls or following up on calls, updating calendars, creating client or press memos, etc.

If the assistant is successful in this role, learns the PR basics, has developed industry relationships, effective at managing client relations, procuring publicity for clients, and handlingresponsibilities of a publicist, s/he can advance with the company to become an Account Executive and take on accounts and projects of her/his own as new business opportunities arise.

Email resumes to:

"My life in Hollywood sucks" -- September calendar

Think your experience in Tinseltown is worse than everyone else's? Tell me how on the "My Life In Hollywood Sucks Because..." entry. Your tale of woe might just make it to the monthly calendar.