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His name is Norman Weiss. He was born and raised in Hollywood, but now lives in Oakland. And as he puts it, “I really have no entertainment industry connections.”
Considering the reach of his loyal and influential audience, however, that assertion is highly debatable.
Since 2000, Weiss has run TV Tattle out of his Northern California home. The site is an addictive daily read for Hollywood power-players, entertainment journalists and TV fans alike, its no-frills layout offering visitors a constantly updating repository of essential TV news and gossip.
But that churn ended abruptly on Thursday with a single, unclickable entry: “TV Tattle comes to an end,” announced the message in red. Beneath that, where the explanatory blurb usually goes, three brief sentences: “TV Tattle is calling it quits. This is the end of the line. Thanks for reading.”
The outpouring of shock and grief was immediate, particularly among the journalists and bloggers who relied on the site to keep abreast of breaking news.
“The finale of TV Tattle has left me like Roger Sterling holding a shoeshine box,” tweeted Andrew Wallenstein, digital editor-in-chief of Variety, referring to a recent Mad Men episode in which the character wept over the death of a shoeshine man. AV Club writer David Sims lamented, “I do not know what I will do without TV Tattle. I remember getting so excited the first time they linked to a piece of mine.” And Martin Gero, a writer-producer on shows like HBO’s Bored to Death and The CW’s The L.A. Complex, bemoaned, “TV Tattle is no more?! What happened? Who else is gonna comb hundreds of TV Blogs and distill it down for me?”
Indeed, what did happen?
Asked why he’s calling it quits after 13 dutiful years of service, Weiss tells THR that it had nothing to do with career burnout. What it came down to in the end was the economic viability of running a one-man online publishing operation. The money just was not there.
“I’m ending TV Tattle because I couldn’t make the advertising work,” Weiss says via e-mail. “Advertising has been hell. And ad revenue has been dwindling dramatically over the past few months. Otherwise, I’d keep on doing it.”
“I loved doing it,” Weiss wrote. “But I need to pay the bills.”
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