MORNING ROUNDUP: Kanye West Hired Media Coach for Disastrous Today Show Appearance
Plus: Demi Lovato's Disney show to continue while she battles personal issues, Sugarland settles a $14 million lawsuit and Jane Pratt returns to publishing… with a 13-year-old partner.
- Kanye West hired a professional media coach before his disastrous appearance on the Today show, the New York Post and New York Times report, citing sources. After George W. Bush revealed the "worst" moment of his presidency was when the rapper called him racist, West turned to Rubenstein Communications to determine how to respond. West's advisers booked the interview on the Today show Monday, but then Rubenstein suggested canceling the appearance Tuesday because the former president's did not say enough to warrant a response. But West then re-booked his appearance, and his rep from Rubenstein had to rush to the studio to meet him. They practiced how to respond to the questions before going on air, but West still lost his cool when Matt Lauer played a clip of his infamous 2009 MTV VMA ambush of Taylor Swift. "I didn’t need you guys to prompt my emotions,” West snapped to Lauer. “I don’t need all the jazz.” West later took to Twitter to criticize the interview -- and then cancelled his Nov. 26 Today show concert.
- Amy Banse, president of Comcast Interactive Media, will oversee a new Silicon Valley investment fund that will replace separate venture arms of the cable giant and NBC Universal, which it is acquiring, the Wall Street Journal's AllThingsD reported Monday. Banse will under her new role combine NBC Uni’s Peacock Equity and Comcast Interactive Capital. The former is a $250 million fund launched in 2007 by GE Capital and NBC Uni, has invested generally in the $3 million-$25 million range in online advertising other start-ups. Comcast Interactive Capital has $500 million under management and has concentrated on broadband and interactive firms. According to AllThingsD it was not immediately clear how much money the new unnamed equity fund will have at its disposal. Banse has for Comcast led such online moves as the acquisition of Fandango and email newsletter Daily Candy.
- Demi Lovato's Disney Show, Sonny With a Chance, will resume taping in January without her while she gets help for personal issues. The producers will instead focus on the show-within-a-show, sketch comedy So Random!, which will feature guest stars, musical performances and digital shorts, Entertainment Weekly reports. "This allows her the time she needs to get well, without distraction or pressure,” a Disney Channel spokeswoman said. “Again, we extend our ongoing support to Demi and her family as she works to overcome personal issues.”
- 13-year-old fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson is launching a magazine with former Jane and Sassy editor in chief, Jane Pratt. Blogged Gevinson: "You guys may know how I feel about Sassy. You also may know that I've been babbling about how I think our generation should get one, too. Jane Pratt, founding editor and then EIC of Sassy, also became aware, and emailed me, and we've met a couple times, and it looks like we're going to start a magazine for an audience of wallflowerly teenage girls." Gevinson is soliciting names for the magazine as well.
- The suicide note written by former Bachelorette contestant Julien Hug was read outloud at his funeral Friday. Wrote Hug, whose body was found off a Southern California highway, Nov. 3: "I'm sorry to have to do this to you. I love you both tremendously. You two are the best parents. I've suffered from severe depression for years. I feel awful and don't know how to cope. If life's not enjoyable, why stick around?"
- Sugarland has settled a $14 million lawsuit with the group's found member, Kristen Hall. Hall, who left the band to pursue a solo career five years ago, claimed she was owed a third of its profits, the Associated Press reports. Sugarland was just named the Country Music Association's vocal duo of the year; see pictures from the event.