Kaplan to the rescue? Rick Kaplan, former head of both CNN and, until last summer, MSNBC, has been hired by CBS to take over as executive producer of "The CBS Evening News" in a bid to bring up Katie Couric's ratings. The New York Post reports that Couric's ratings are down slightly -- by 120,000 viewers -- from her predecessor Bob Schieffer's numbers a year ago. (Page Six)
Turkey bans YouTube: On Wednesday, a Turkish court ordered that access to YouTube be immediately blocked from Turkish Internet because of videos on the site allegedly insulting former Turkish leader -- and founder of the modern Turkish state -- Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Visitors to the site are now greeted by a message saying "Access to this site has been blocked by a court decision!" (left), and the head of Turkey's largest Internet provider told reporters on Wednesday, "We are not in the position of saying that what YouTube did was an insult, that it was right or wrong. A court decision was proposed to us, and we are doing what that court decision says." The offending video is reportedly part of a "virtual war" that Greeks and Turks have been waging on YouTube recently, posting increasingly offensive videos. A poster tells Boing Boing that the video that spurred the ban "had a picture of Ataturk, his eyes bulging out, talking about how he's gay, insulting himself, talking about how all Turks are gay, etc." (Boing Boing, the Age)
Borat, human rights abuse victim: The State Department's annual global human rights abuses report, released on Wednesday, includes a chapter devoted to Kazakhstan's abuses. Among the country's other offenses -- for instance, the murder of Kazakhstan opposition politician Altynbek Sarsenbaiuly -- the State Department notes a crackdown on the freedom of speech: "The government deemed as offensive the content of a satirical site controlled by British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen and revoked the .kz domain." (Defamer)
White noise ... Apparently trying to prove there's literally nothing he can't do, Justin Timberlake is rumored to be trying to save Britney Spears' career, putting "his reputation on the line," according to an insider, by convincing Spears' label, Jive, not to drop her. (Socialite Life) ... Simon & Schuster imprint Simon Spotlight Entertainment announced on Wednesday that it will publish Lance Bass' (right) autobiography about "his life, his music and his sexuality," to be titled, of course, "Out of Sync." (Associated Press) ... Cameron Diaz may have been recently linked with Tyrese Gibson in Los Angeles, but spies in New York tell Page Six that Gibson has been playing "kissy-face" with model and actress Melyssa Ford recently. (Page Six) ... R.I.P. Captain America -- the superhero, who has been fighting crime since 1941, was gunned down by a sniper in the series' latest issue, released on Wednesday. (N.Y. Times)
Blogno-scenty: Thirteen years after it released CK One, the mega-selling fragrance that, for some, embodied the essence of the mid-'90s grunge era, Calvin Klein is trying to capture the scent of the blogging, texting "technosexual" (a word the company coined and trademarked) generation. Hence the fittingly texty name of the new scent: CK in2u. A line from the press materials: "She likes how he blogs, her texts turn him on. It's intense. For right now." As the New York Times reports, though, not every Internet geek is going to be turned on by the scent's base play for tech cred. Gothamist food blogger Youngna Park tells the paper, "I just imagine kids putting on cologne to sit behind their computers. That's really weird," while CollegeHumor.com founder Zach Klein (no relation to Calvin) says, "Abbreviating in2u like that is lame, to put it simply." ("How to Bottle a Generation," N.Y. Times)
Right-wing gay porn star redux: In his piece today for Salon ("Porn Free"), Fox News darling and Columbia student blogger Matt Sanchez -- whom we reported on yesterday -- writes about his past: "We have all done things we don't want advertised, and many of us may have identities we've outgrown, but the truth is, most of us haven't strayed far enough from the run-of-the-mill to rate more than a bit of whispered gossip from a snubbed co-worker. There are others of us, however, like me, who have the kinds of résumés that can keep everybody around the office water cooler smirking for days." He says, though, that his porno past led to his conservative present: "I started off as a liberal but I progressed to conservatism. Part of that transformation is due to my time in the industry. How does a conservative trace his roots to such distasteful beginnings? I didn't like porn's liberalism."
- Most e-mailed story from the Washington Post: "'Family Values' Chutzpah"
- Most popular on Google News: "Britney Reportedly Chafing at Rehab," MSNBC
- Most popular news story on Technorati: "Libby Guilty of Lying in C.I.A. Leak Case," N.Y. Times
- Most searched-for phrase on Sphere: "Scooter guilty"
"Apple Unveils New Product-Unveiling Product" (The Onion)
Shakespeare for dummies: Kevin Kline has the lead role in a new Public Theater production of "King Lear," but Times theater critic Ben Brantley, while admitting Kline is "an actor of a high order," is driven to desperation "trying to find something nice to say" about the play. Calling it "Lear Lite," he writes, "I have sat through worse productions of Shakespeare's most devastating tragedy than the one that opened last night, directed by James Lapine. But I have never seen one that left me so utterly unmoved or that seemed so perversely out of touch with the play's soul-wrenching depths as this whimsical storybook interpretation." ("Howl? Nay, Express His Lighter Purpose," N.Y. Times)
-- Tim Robbins on the career effects of speaking your mind. (ContactMusic)
40 billion: Number of page views Fox Interactive -- which includes all Fox TV Web sites and MySpace -- had in the month of January, according to Fox Interactive Media president Peter Levinsohn. (Broadcasting & Cable)
13: Number of additional episodes of "The 1/2 Hour News Hour" Fox has ordered from producer Joel Surnow. (SFGate Culture Blog)
On Thursday evening, Nathan Lane guest-stars as Jack's (Alec Baldwin) bad brother on the last "30 Rock" (NBC, 9:30 p.m. EST) before the show goes on hiatus, PBS airs "Soundies: A Musical History Hosted by Michael Feinstein" (check local listings), and IFC presents all five films in the classic Japanese gangster saga "The Yakuza Papers" (8 p.m. EST).
|Regis and Kelly (ABC, 9 a.m. EST)||Julia Louis-Dreyfus|
|The View (ABC, 11 a.m. EST)||Queen Latifah, Mark Indelicato, guest co-host Kimberley Locke|
|Ellen (Syndicated, check local listings)||Paula Abdul, Taylor Hicks, 10-year-old Girl Scout Alexis Moyers (repeat)|
|Oprah (Syndicated, check local listings)||Weight-loss surgery aftermath|
|Charlie Rose (PBS, check local listings)||TBD|
|Larry King (CNN, 9 p.m. EST)||The Secret|
|Jon Stewart (Comedy Central, 11 p.m. EST)||Dr. Sharon Moalem|
|Stephen Colbert (Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m. EST)||Ted Koppel|
|David Letterman (CBS, 11:30 p.m. EST)||Jim Carrey, Daytona 500 winner Kevin Harvick (repeat)|
|Jay Leno (NBC, 11:35 p.m. EST)||Don Rickles, John Stamos, Rocco DeLuca & the Burden (repeat)|
|Jimmy Kimmel (ABC, 12:05 a.m. EST)||Andy Dick, Ivanka Trump, NAS (repeat)|
|Conan O'Brien (NBC, 12:35 a.m. EST)||Gisele Bundchen, Jim Cramer, Madeleine Peyroux (repeat)|
|Craig Ferguson (CBS, 12:35 a.m. EST)||Bill Maher, Jacinda Barrett, Razorlight|
Fix contributors: Heather Havrilesky, Scott Lamb, Kerry Lauerman, David Marchese, Laura Miller, Andrew O'Hehir, Amy Reiter, Stephanie Zacharek
Fix logo by Rhonda Rubinstein