Are radio DJs involved in royal prank call off air for good?
By Bill Zwecker December 9, 2012 9:34PM
CORRECTS SECOND SENTENCE FILE- In this Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012 file photo, police Officers stand guard outside the King Edward VII hospital in central London where Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge has been admitted with a severe form of morning sickness. King Edward VII hospital says a nurse involved in a prank telephone call to elicit information about the Duchess of Cambridge has died. The hospital said Friday, Dec. 7, 2012 that Jacintha Saldanha had been a victim of the call made by two Australian radio disc jockeys. They did not immediately say what role she played in the call. (AP Photo/Sang Tan, File)
Updated: January 11, 2013 6:20AM
The Australian shock-jock radio hosts whose hoax prank call to the London hospital treating Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge led to the suicide of the nurse they fooled likely should start looking for new careers.
“You never know, but it certainly appears they are finished in broadcasting,” a veteran Aussie media maven told me Sunday. “However, at this point, with all the death threats they are facing, looking for a job is the least of their problems,” added the source.
In the wake of Mel Greig and Michael Christian’s ill-fated (and very amateurish) impersonations of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles (pretending they were trying to reach Catherine as she battled her early pregnancy illness) — the duo are off the air, in hiding and said to be receiving psychological counseling.
†While legal experts say the broadcasters nor their radio station likely broke any laws, the fallout from the tragic death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha, probably will not subside for some time. Reportedly, Greig and Christian are anxious to speak publicly about the incident — perhaps as early as Tuesday.
†Though unconfirmed, there are reports that Saldanha was dealing with other personal problems in her life, and the shame of allowing the radio pranksters to fool her, merely was the “trigger” that led her to take her life.
†Meanwhile, Prince William canceled plans to attend a big event Sunday night — to be at his wife’s side since she apparently has suffered a recurrence of the hyperemesis gravidarum that sent her to the hospital last week.
TV TALK: Don’t think Beyonce will be guesting on Wendy Williams’ daily chatfest any time soon. While Williams has made clear she’s a big fan of the superstar’s singing, her crack on her talk show Thursday about Beyonce having the vocabulary of “a fifth grader” has Twitter all atwitter and the entertainment world buzzing.
SENATOR STEAMED: First it was New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and other Garden State pols who ranted against “Jersey Shore” — and the unflattering image it gave to their state. Now West Virginia Sen. Joe Machin — himself a former governor of the Mountain State — has penned an angry letter to MTV president Stephen Friedman about “Buckwild,” being touted as the “ ‘Jersey Shore’ of Appalachia.”
While Machin only has seen preview “teasers” for the show, it’s clear he’s seen enough, asking Friedman and MTV “to put a stop to the travesty called ‘Buckwild.’ As a U.S. senator, I am repulsed at this business venture, where some Americans are making money off of the poor decisions of our youth. … Instead of showcasing the beauty of our people and our state, you preyed on young people, coaxed them into displaying shameful behavior and you are profiting from it. That is just wrong.”
MTV has declined to comment on Machin’s missive and his complaints about “Buckwild” reinforcing stereotypes about Appalachia. The show — focusing on nine twentysomthings who live in Sissonville, W.Va. — will debut with 12 episodes, beginning next month.
HOLIDAY HAPPENING: Parties galore are toasting the holiday season. One a bit more unusual was auction queen Leslie Hindman’s fun-filled, construction-themed party she hosted in her new Gold Coast home, which is being completely remodeled under the aegis of architect Steve Rugo. With bartenders sporting hard hats, and hors d’oeuvres served on shiny paint trays, a Chicago Who’s Who checked out the new digs including former Gov. Jim Thompson, wife Jayne, Michelle and Dick Klarchek, Craig Duchossois, John Hart and Carol Prins, Patrick Wood-Prince, Bill Kurtis and Donna LaPietra, Christina Gidwitz, Susan and Lou Manilow, Sondra and Sid Epstein, Candace and Chuck Jordan, Helen Melchoir, Kay Kriehbiel, Rev. John Costello, M.K. Pritzker, Neal Zucker, Courtney Thompson, Robin and Mark Tebbe and Maria Pappas.
ON THEIR TOES: It was a big deal in D.C. Friday night as Chicago Human Rhythm Project brought tap dancing to the Kennedy Center in Washington — the first full-length tap concert at our national arts center in its 41-year history. Among the nearly 60 Chicagoans on hand to cheer the performance were CHRP founder/director Lane Alexander, Charles Gardner and Patti Eylar, Susan and Ted Oppenheimer, Paul Boulis and CHRP board members Elaine Cohen, Judith Blank and Diana Harris.
ART SMART: Along with such celebs as Martha Stewart, Demi Moore, Owen Wilson, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Tommy Hilfiger, Paris Hilton, Cynthia Rowley and Alex Rodriguez — a large contingent of major players in Our Town’s art scene were down in Miami for the big Art Basel festivities last week. Among those spotted partying and checking out the gallery offerings were the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Madeleine Grynsztejn, Michael Darling and Naomi Beckwith, collectors Larry and Marilyn Fields, Beth and Rich Heller, Curt Conklin and Jackie Buxbaum, Eric McKissack, newlyweds Helyn Goldenberg and Michael Alper, Gary Metzner, Patty and Ron Weiss, Dr. Walter Massey and Expo Chicago’s Tony Karman.
SEEN ON THE SCENE: There was a nice reunion at RL Friday, as Marilyn Lovell, the wife of astronaut hero Jim Lovell, lunched with actress Kathleen Quinlan, who was nominated for an Oscar for portraying Lovell in “Apollo 13.” … Wynnona Judd and her husband, Michael “Cactus” Moser were spied dining at Gibson’s Rush Street steakery. … Max Sound’s Jimmy Place dined with R&B star Tasha Taylor and Stuart Benjamin at Benny’s Chop House (plus separately at Volare), while Taylor was in town for her concert taping at JBTV. … Gov. Pat Quinn and Kerry Wood got their barbecue fix at Chicago Q Friday night. … Lance Briggs made the scene at Board Room.