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L.A. Sheriff Guilty of Penchant for Paris?

Tuesday, 12 June 2007 12:00 AM

THE LEFT COAST REPORT
A Political Look at Hollywood

1. L.A. Sheriff Guilty of Penchant for Paris?

Everything has political implications. Or so it seems.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca recently made a decision to release Paris Hilton from jail and place her under house arrest instead.

Hilton's freedom from a prison cell, however, would be short-lived. The judge who first meted out her punishment would ensure that she would return to a penal institution to serve her sentence.

Could it be that in making cushier arrangements for Hilton, Baca had an eye toward his next election?

It turns out that Paris' billionaire grandfather had, in the past, coughed up some cash for Baca's campaign.

Co-chairman of the Hilton Hotel chain, William Barron Hilton, gave the maximum allowed by law — $1,000 — to Baca's re-election campaign, according to financial records and Radar magazine.

"A member of her family has been a contributor to Baca's campaign and this may have been payback time," a friend of the Hilton family told the London Telegraph.

Imprisoned Paris has indicated that she will not appeal the order that placed her back in lockup.

"Being in jail is by far the hardest thing I have ever done. During the past several days, I have had a lot of time to think and I believe that I am learning and growing from this experience," Paris said in a written statement issued by her lawyer, Richard Hutton.

In the meantime, some fellow celebs have commented on the incarcerated socialite's plight.

"All heiresses should be put in prison on general principle," actor John Cusack quipped.

Oscar nominee Samuel L. Jackson focused on the media's role, stating that "the story is way bigger than what it needs to be."

Hilton herself took a shot at the media, saying, "I would hope going forward that the public and the media will focus on more important things like the men and women serving our country in Iraq and other places around the world."

See Paris grow.

2. NBC Courting Rosie O'Donnell and Al Gore

It seems Rosie O'Donnell is a mixed bag.

The actress, TV host, and sometimes comedienne has been known to spout half-truths, fling rude affronts, and lob conspiracy theories in between laugh lines. She has also, at times, alienated the heartland, given sponsors a major headache, and frazzled the nerves of media conglomerates and their shareholders.

But Rosie has also been known for roping in a lot of viewers. And at a time when television is suffering a general decline, network producers are taking note.

The controversial May 2007 episodes of "The View," in which Rosie participated, drew larger audiences than in any other month that the decade-long Barbara Walters show has been on the air. The show averaged a record 3.8-million viewers.

In Rosie's current situation, replacing Paris Hilton on "The Simple Life," getting Paula Abdul's spot on "American Idol," or taking Katie Couric's CBS anchor job don't seem to be in the offing. However, speculation is emerging about where Rosie may turn up in her post-"View" career.

One major network executive reportedly wants her for either a daytime spot or a prime-time game show slot, according to Foxnews.com. Recently announced new head of programming for NBC Ben Silverman has let it be known that he'll do whatever it takes to obtain the services of the former "View" cast member.

NBC is in desperate need of ratings.

Judging by its imbalanced network news division and cable channel MSNBC's lack of impartiality, a decision appears to have been made to cater to its most leftist viewers.

The ex-"queen of nice" may very well end up on the cockeyed peacock network. Since quitting "The View" three weeks prior to her contract's expiration, Rosie has been working on a memoir to be released in Fall 2007 titled "Celebrity Detox." During a recent speaking engagement, she explained that her memoirs will be written in the same style as her blog.

In another skewed signal, NBC's parent company, NBC Universal, has set aside a mind-boggling 75-hours-plus of broadcast time for Al Gore's "Live Earth: The Concerts for a Climate in Crisis."

On July 7, NBC will devote all of its prime-time programming to the Gore event. CNBC will provide an additional seven hours of coverage and Bravo, another 18 hours. MSNBC will cover the Gore event via special reports and live reporting from New York and London.

"Live Earth" will also be featured for 22 hours on the Universal HD channel, with another hour on Telemundo and two hours on Telemundo's cable network, mun2.

It makes you wonder if all the face time is going to prompt Gore to enter the Democratic campaign follies.

3. Torture Flick Takes Box-Office Beating

For our young people in particular and the culture in general, it thankfully appears as though the trend of torture films like "Saw" and "Hostel" is coming to an end.

Movies that have been masquerading as horror films, but which are really a form of pornography, have been proliferating in multiplexes and on DVD.

But recently the much ballyhooed "Hostel: Part II" took in a paltry $3.4 million on its first day and ended up with only $8.8 million for its opening weekend. (In contrast, the original "Hostel" had a $19.5 million opening weekend take.)

Maybe it's because people are tired of paying money to see movies that try to pawn off mindless mayhem, butchered bodies, and unbridled depravity as entertainment.

4. George Clooney Compares Celebrities to 'Car Wreck'

George Clooney has been out promoting his latest film, "Ocean's Thirteen."

Departing from his typical Bush bellowing, Clooney recently remarked about the bad behavior that some of Hollywood's young and famous have been displaying.

Clooney used a term to describe the public's fascination with the troubled and troublesome celebrities by using the "car wreck" analogy proffered by pundits.

"We are always going to be that society that slows down to look at the car wreck on the side of the road. I think we're just in one of those places right now, and it seems to be focused on younger kids. Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan and people like that," Clooney told Entertainment Weekly.

The actor predicted that Lohan and Hilton would get through it, but acknowledged that he "wouldn't want to be growing up around that."

In fact, Clooney surmised that if he had reached a high level of fame before he had reached the age of 21, he might "be shooting crack under my eyeball."

5. The U.N.'s Hollywood Attraction

Drew Barrymore lobbied in D.C. and schmoozed on CNN with Wolf Blitzer.

Lucy Liu chatted it up on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" with daytime's reigning queen.

Angelina Jolie sat for a two-hour interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper.

George Clooney appeared on various TV shows to share his Africa experience.

What's the cause of choice these days for a host of Hollywood celebs?

It's the U.N.

And the global organization understands that stars can stir people to care about their causes.

While in Washington, D.C., Barrymore lobbied for child feeding programs in Africa.

Liu discussed earthquake victims in Pakistan during her appearance on "Oprah."

Jolie confabbed with Cooper to bring attention to a related organization, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. She has donated more than $3 million to UNHCR since her "goodwill ambassador" appointment in 2001.

After visiting Africa with his father, Clooney appeared on television to raise awareness of the crisis in Sudan.

In each case, the celebrity-related publicity resulted in skyrocketing contributions.

Hollywood celebs who have been designated as "international ambassadors" for UNICEF include David Beckham, Ricky Martin, Shakira, Harry Belafonte, Jackie Chan, Judy Collins, Mia Farrow, Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Jessica Lange, Roger Moore, Vanessa Redgrave, and Susan Sarandon.

Celebrities who have served as "regional ambassadors" for the U.N. include Laurence Fishburne, Angela Bassett, Alyssa Milano, Katie Couric, Jane Curtin, Sarah Jessica Parker, Claudia Schiffer, Téa Leoni, Isabella Rossellini, Liv Tyler, Clay Aiken, and Lucy Liu.

The Left Coast Report is put together by James L. Hirsen and the staff of NewsMax — The Left Coast Report Archives

Get your FREE copy of James Hirsen's new book 'Hollywood Nation' — Click Here Now.

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THE LEFT COAST REPORT A Political Look at Hollywood1. L.A. Sheriff Guilty of Penchant for Paris? Everything has political implications. Or so it seems. Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca recently made a decision to release Paris Hilton from jail and place her...
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Tuesday, 12 June 2007 12:00 AM
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