Want to know a secret of the inner-workings of high-profile gossip wars that get played out in public? Today’s lesson — on the pre-emptive strike — is best demonstrated via a juicy little tidbit in this morning’s Page Six about former HBO exec Chris Albrecht.
Let’s take a quick look at today’s full item, first:
It’s a happy ending — or a happy beginning — for Chris Albrecht, the former HBO chief responsible for bringing us “Sex and the City,” “The Sopranos,” “Deadwood” and “Entourage.” Albrecht, 58, was forced to resign from HBO in 2007 after a spat with his then-girlfriend in Las Vegas, but he landed at Starz, where he’s now developing original programming. On the personal side, his rep confirms that Albrecht recently got engaged to Montana Schillo-Coady, 25, his girl friend of more than a year. The couple will celebrate with friends and family at a party at Albrecht’s home later this summer.
What you’re seeing here is an terribly obvious item likely fed to Page Six by Chris Albrecht or Chris Albrecht’s publicist. How can we tell?
Well, first, to break this thing down:
- “It’s a happy ending — or a happy beginning” is pretty optimistic and positive-leaning language.
- Just like “the former HBO chief responsible for bringing us “Sex and the City,” “The Sopranos,” “Deadwood” and “Entourage.” is positive-leaning language as well, touting Albrecht’s accomplishments and progress (“landed at Starz“) since having to resign from HBO.
- But here’s where it gets fun: “A spat with his then-girlfriend in Las Vegas.” By “spat” what Page Six is actually referring to is that time “at 3 a.m. outside the MGM Grand in Las Vegas [Albrecht] allegedly punched and choked his (then)-girlfriend, Karla Jensen.” How do we know this? Oh, that’s right: Because Page Six wrote that item themselves, and it was a huge story for them.
But why would Albrecht want to play nice with Page Six now? For the same reason anyone contacts a reporter on a story about themselves: to give that reporter the exclusive on the news with the hope (or sometimes, expectation) that they, the tipster and story subject, will get treated better than if said reporter found out from someone else. And Page Six survives off of tips from publicists, but that’s no secret. What is a secret are the things in items like these that don’t get written.
And what’s Page Six missing here? Just all the “juicy” parts. Like the fact that Albrecht’s new 25 year-old fiancée used to be best friends with his daughter, Kate Albrecht. Word has it that Kate’s no longer speaking to her father because — surprise! — dad’s marrying her 25 year-old former best friend, who is 33 years her senior. Maybe you’ve heard of Kate, who used to be on HBO’s Entourage, until 2008 (around the same time her Dad got the boot from HBO, natch). Also, word has it that “everyone” in the film and TV industry knows and is sufficiently creeped out, which would explain why Albrecht would get Page Six to write him a press release: to get ahead of the story they would’ve written had someone else taken the story to them, first. But sometimes, in the summer, even gossip reporters get lazy, and just run whatever news they get without digging into it first. But to totally toe the press line of a flack with fluffed up language like “spat” in an item about Chris Albrecht? It’s the kind of standard evidence for media insiders — the ones who read and feed Page Six their tips – that the once infamous gossip column is continuing to lose its once-magic touch.