Ted Casablanca Bids Adieu to E!

The door has closed on a Hollywood gossip institution.

After many years at the helm of column “The Awful Truth,” Ted Casablanca (a.k.a. Bruce Bibby) announced last Thursday, right after Independence Day, that he was moving on from E! Online. This morning’s pick-up by TheWrap’s media reporter Lucas Shaw was the first we’d heard of it. From Casablanca’s farewell note:

When I first took this job at E! – in 1996, when the network founded E! Online – I was working at the established and respected Premiere magazine. Scores of people told me, “Online just isn’t the place to go.”

Everybody told me to pass on the job, and so I did. Then I called back the next day and an amazing man named Lew Harris said, yes, of course, I could change my mind. And I did.

Harris is now managing editor of TheWrap. Casablanca’s inspiration for his pen name came from a character in Valley of the Dolls.

E! Online switched to a new website design this morning. According to Casablanca farewell-note commenter whoa!, this has had one very unfortunate side effect:

Just like that 900+ comments are deleted. I hope you all saved the ones from walker/an education and SB cuz E! Online just deleted everything from this weekend.

[Photo of Casablanca with former E! Online colleague Marc Malkin: Helga Esteb/Shutterstock.com]