Jewish World Review Sept. 15, 2004 / 29 Elul, 5764

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Consumer Reports

SMACKDOWN! "Access Hollywood" vs. "The Insider"; The red face; Love among the ruins?; more


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | Can this friendship be saved?


Television personality Pat O'Brien and executive producer Rob Silverstein used to be best buddies.


But this July, in a swirl of mutual recrimination, O'Brien left the anchor chair at Silverstein's "Access Hollywood" to host a rival Hollywood celeb show, "The Insider" — which premiered on Monday.


On Tuesday, in a continuation of the fierce sniping between the two, Silverstein favored this column with a merciless pan of O'Brien's new show.


"Here at 'Access Hollywood,' we call it 'The Imitator,'" Silverstein told me. "All they want to do is be 'Access Hollywood.'


"Also, I find it interesting that they could have Steven Cojocaru interview Jennifer Lopez and never once ask her about Marc Anthony. What kind of deal did they cut?


"We would never have allowed that. We had Marc Anthony on Monday night, and of course we asked about Jennifer despite being told not to. We had LaToya Jackson on, and despite being told we could not ask about Michael, we asked all about Michael."


Silverstein noted that "Access" beat "The Insider" nationally and in New York (though "The Insider" beat "Access" in Los Angeles), and that analysts are calling "The Insider's" first-night ratings "modest."


"I am not being mean-spirited," Silverstein said. "I am talking in the spirit of competition and chuckling."


O'Brien responded with a dismissive chuckle of his own.


"Poor little Rob," O'Brien told me. "I'm doing the show he always wanted to do. It's ridiculous. Instead of working on his own show and looking for his next big story, he's working on publicity and reporters in New York.


"But I will say something nice about him. I love Rob. He can still be my best friend if he wants. He learned these tactics from me."


O'Brien scoffed at Silverstein's soft-on-J.Lo complaint. "I am surprised that Rob doesn't know she's married to Marc Anthony. I think everybody knows that. Rob is used to sending Nancy O'Dell out there to ask everybody 'Who are you dating?' We don't do that. We're not a tabloid."


O'Brien added that at that very moment, while "The Insider" team was in Manhattan conducting an intimate interview with Britney Spears, an "Access Hollywood" crew was cooling its heels on the outside, waiting to ambush the flighty pop tart.


I'm the New York Yankees," O'Brien claimed. "Rob's the Montreal Expos."


Silverstein retorted: "Pat can't even name five Yankees." To be continued — elsewhere probably.

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DOUBLE ALBUM?


Don't expect to see twin models Alex and Brit Smith doing double duty down any Fashion Week catwalks.


The 18-year-old identical sisters, best known as celebrity stylist John Frieda's "Sheer Blonde Twins," have exchanged the runways for recording studios.


"Modeling was literally a complete fluke," Brit told this column Tuesday, between sessions on her and Alex's debut album as the pop duo MICA. "It's not something we ever want to get back into."


Alex said that in high school in Wilton, Conn., "some of the junior and senior girls decided we were stuck up and full of ourselves, and they had it out for us. They'd push us in the halls; they'd put sardines in my locker. The message in our music is basically never judge a book by its cover."


The twins — who count Christina Aguilera, Aretha Franklin and Prince among their role models — call their musical stylings a "soulful, poppy sound."


It doesn't hurt that they've teamed up with uberproducer Dallas Austin, who's collaborated with the likes of Janet Jackson, Gwen Stefani, Madonna and Pink.


"We start at 7 p.m. and go until 5am — even later sometimes. He's on Dallas time," said Alex. Added Brit: "We've been living like vampires."


THE BRIEFING


THE RED FACE: A spy for this column reports that randy Republican movie director Vincent Gallo — whom Chloe Sevigny notoriously pleasures in Gallo's critically reviled indie bomb "The Brown Bunny" — approached a young woman after Zac Posen's fashion show the other night. "Are you single?" he demanded. "No, I'm married," the young woman replied. "Are you sure you're married?" he asked, to the shock and awe of eavesdropping fashionistas. "I'm sure," came the response. Unfazed, Gallo made a last-ditch effort. "Can I at least give you my number in case it doesn't work out?" At which point the woman had little choice but to flee.



LOVE AMONG THE RUINS?: At Tuesday's lunch at Milos celebrating Agapi Stassinopoulos' new book, "Gods and Goddesses in Love," a self-help look at finding romance using the gods of Greek mythology, the author, sister of Arianna Huffington, confessed: "I was in love with a man in New York, and he was in love with me — which was good." "What god was he?" someone asked. "Tormented!" Stassinopoulos answered. These days, the author revealed, she's relationship-free.



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