CNN Presents Rides Along for Close-up View of Celebrity Obsession
Insiders Talk about Desperately Seeking ′Brangelina,′ Rosie, ′TomKat′ for ′Chasing Angelina′ Documentary
The celebrity hunt is on Ð and the target: mega movie star, Angelina Jolie. As stargazers await the birth of the "Brangelina" baby, CNN Presents takes viewers on a wild ride during a paparazzi pursuit for money-making shots of Jolie. Chasing Angelina - Paparazzi and Celebrity Obsession premieres on Saturday, May 13, at 8 p.m.; it re-airs at 11 p.m. and Sunday, May 14, at 8 p.m. and 11p.m. All times Eastern.
How far is too far to go for news of the stars′ lives? For Chasing Angelina, CNN talks to all sides of the celebrity media maze so viewers can decide for themselves.
"The personal lives of Hollywood celebrities these days - it really is the best reality TV show out there," multimedia celebrity gossip reporter Ted Casablanca said.
But sometimes the stars write those reality show scripts themselves. Larry Hackett, managing editor for People magazine, tells CNN Presents that the tip that Jolie was pregnant came directly from the star′s representatives.
In fact, many stars admit to cooperating with the entertainment press. During the documentary, Mariah Carey and Ashlee Simpson acknowledge they enjoy posing for celebrity photographer, Kevin Mazur, and he knows why. Mazur leaves the photo "stakeouts" to the paparazzi. Mazur snaps his shots from the red carpet - with the blessings from the stars he photographs.
Hackett says that People avoids being deliberately "mean" to celebrities in trouble. Executive editor Peter Castro says People does hold back some stories out of a commitment to responsibility and fairness. This can translate into the magazine being rewarded with big scoops when stars do decide to go public.
Power public relations consultants Ken Sunshine, of Ken Sunshine Consultants Inc., and Cindi Berger, managing director of PMK/HBH Inc., are at the top of the A-listers′ PR agencies. Between the two agencies, they have cultivated celebrity and managed media minefields for Paula Abdul, Tyra Banks, Tom Cruise, Leonardo DiCaprio and many more. Berger tells CNN how she helped long-time client, Rosie O′Donnell, navigate through negative press after being sued by her magazine publisher. People′s Castro also credits Berger with helping Mariah Carey emerge from whispers of a mental breakdown to a return to the top of the music charts.
But not all media feel they need to work with a celebrity or publicist for the scoop on the stars. Bonnie Fuller, the chief editorial director for American Media Inc., says that "in a lot of cases, it is not necessary to have a sit-down interview with the celebrity in order to get that story."
And Frank Griffin, who heads one of the most ubiquitous paparazzi agencies, Bauer-Griffin, does not ask the publicists or the stars for permission to take what may be highly valuable shots. "ItÕs almost an auction...you sell them to the highest bidder," Griffin said.
The sheer abundance of celebrity press and the Internet have changed the game for publicists. The top celebrity magazines now reach a combined circulation of at least 8.5 million. Star-studded entertainment television news programs add even more star watchers. And celebrity gossip blogs have kicked up the pace - and the sarcastic tone - of celebrity gossip. Defamer.com′s Mark Lisanti and Jossip.com′s David Hauslaib tell CNN they generally don′t care about offending stars or publicists to deliver their constant updates - it′s what their gossip-crazy fans expect.