Peter Bart Remembers When the Variety-Ads Shoe Was on the Other Foot

Being There, done that

There’s an interesting aside at the top of Deadline’s latest “Bart & Fleming” column.

Bart bemoans the current trend of advertisers running for cover from a Megyn Kelly interview, a Public Theater production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and even, up to a point, those waning-days episodes of Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News program. He then recalls a salient flashpoint from his own career:

BART: “… As President of Lorimar some years ago, I petulantly cancelled a series of ads in Variety because I was pissed off by a story. A day later I cancelled my cancellation.”

FLEMING: What pissed you off?

BART: The Variety story suggested Lorimar was not high on Being There, a Peter Sellers film I happened to love. But manipulating ad budgets, I concluded, was both a dumb and dangerous way to influence the news – an attitude I endorsed later when I became Variety’s editor-in-chief and all this became up front and personal.

From there, the pair segue to Nobody Speak: The Trials of the Free Press, a new documentary by Brian Knappenberger about the Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker trial. Fleming pays the movie a high compliment by revealing that it changed his mind about the demise of Nick Denton’s enterprise.

Previously on Fishbowl:
Nikki Finke Less Than Thrilled With Fleming-Bart Variety Column
Mike Fleming Admits He Slept Through a Third of Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Peter Bart Pays Norman Lloyd the Ultimate Hollywood Compliment