Arts & Entertainment

No reverence for showbiz's sacred cows

EntertainmentScreen Actors GuildDeadwood (tv program)UnionsCNN (tv network)Satire (genre)Jobs and Workplace

Capitalizing on the foibles of Hollywood and the absurdity of entertainment news is a not-so-serious business for http://www.datelinehollywood.com . The online publication's recent headlines — "Jackson Agrees With Jurors Who Regret Acquittal," "Novak Joins Cast of 'Deadwood': Pundit Immediately Signed After Cursing on Live CNN Show" and "Stalker Apologizes to Bill Pullman, Meant to Stalk Bill Paxton" — are a tip-off that the site turns showbiz into satire.

Hollywood-based Ben Fritz, 27, and Glendale resident Gil Cunha, 33, are the merry scribes behind the 2-year-old site. "Gil and I both love comedy writing and we felt strongly that nobody was effectively satirizing the insanity of the entertainment industry," notes Fritz in an e-mail. His spin? "We were confident there was a market for a publication that's essentially The Onion meets Entertainment Weekly."

When fresh content is added on Mondays, box office stars are often prime targets. One article reports that the Screen Actors Guild changed its name to the "Screen Appearance Guild" after Johnny Knoxville, Jessica Simpson and Willie Nelson earned their SAG cards: "According to a little known SAG by-law, if three or more individuals with no discernible acting talent who got roles only out of kitsch value join SAG … the union may no longer call itself the Screen Actors Guild, as the name is no longer an accurate description of its membership."

Other creative stories mix entertainment and current events.

The "Deadwood" article plays up Robert Novak's CNN faux pas by announcing his role as potty-mouthed Al Swearengen's (Ian McShane) brother — but the send-up doesn't stop there. "Novak immediately stirs up trouble in Deadwood when he posts notices all over town revealing that a main character (who [series creator David] Milch declined to name) is actually an undercover federal marshal sent to bring order to the lawless town."

Although not all entries hit the mark (could've lived without the "Scott Peterson to Host 'Saturday Night Live' " piece), other datelinehollywood.com spoofs prove that satire can sometimes be just as laughable as the truth.

— Christine N. Ziemba

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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