The Very Model of an English Whopper


The headline read "Gropers Start Cindy Brawl; Star Terrified." If you were at the actual scene of the incident, at the Western Show, you'd certainly read on-but you'd probably find the case was a bit, shall we say, overstated. The banner in London's Daily Mirror was atop a story about supermodel Cindy Crawford and a close encounter with fans. The story said bodyguards had to rescue the glamour girl from a rampaging mob. " Muscle-bound minders raced to her aid after the terrified cover girl was surrounded by male fans with wandering hands," according to the account, which reported that eyewitnesses said the overzealous guys were "grabbing at her clothes." Crawford did in fact appear at the Western Show, where she held a press conference and did a booth appearance with other female celebs to tout Romance Classics' change of name to WE: Women's Entertainment. Cable crowds can get a little rowdy. Some party-goers were dismayed when attendees at The Bangles concert on the final night of the trade show chose to show their appreciation for a truly rockin' concert by pelting the performers with glow sticks. But as for models getting mauled: A spokesperson for the network accompanied Crawford throughout the appearance and said Crawford was never in danger. There were security guards present but no one was grabbing at her, according to the network. A Wire correspondent saw pushing and shoving, but that was between baying paparazzi at the press conference. Cable execs we saw were content to stand a respectful distance, drooling slightly. Ah, tabloids. Why let facts interfere with a good story?

The holiday gift lode over at AT&T Broadband headquarters showed some glints of vendor drollness this year, especially over at the purchasing department. Amid the cheese wheels, popcorncans, golf shirts and electronic gadgets was one bright redstocking, stuffed with large, black.lumps of coal.
The gag gift, given by an Antec Corp. executive to an AT&T purchasing executive (whose last name happens to correspond to that of a plump, purple dinosaur adored by children), clearly commemorated AT&T's capital spending shutoff, just before the 2000 holiday season. AT&T's Scrooge-like moves weren't anticipated by hardware manufacturers, who spent the days before the Western Show scrambling on weak knees to do damage control with the investment community-and nonetheless watched in dismay as their stocks were universally hammered. The bag of coal ignited considerable mirth in its recipient and AT&T's purchasing group, says another vendor Smurf who saw the bah-humbug gift on a recent visit to the MSO. An AT&T spokeswoman confirmed the receipt of the aforementioned coal. "We're glad they can retain their sense of humor at this difficult time," she said of vendors. "Next year we hope for an orange in our stocking."

It's been said that no investment has a higher rate of return than a political campaign contribution. But sometimes, for a politician, a donation to a politician can be the most lethal form of venture capitalism-a good example being the 1,258 folks who gave a combined $3.3 million to the Gore-Lieberman Recount Fund. Not surprisingly, somecurrent and former cable-industryveterans were among those who suffered a 100 percent capital loss.
Former AT&T Broadband CEO Leo J. Hindery Jr. gave the Florida contest fund $25,000; Cox Communications Inc. doyenne Anne C. Chambers, $25,000; Time Warner Inc. Washington lobbyist Tim Boggs, $5,000; former Falcon Communications Inc. chairman Marc Nathanson, $5,000; and Willkie Farr & Gallagher cable superlawyer Phil Verveer, $2,500. At least one cable executive must be feeling good he gave to the $3.4 million Bush-Cheney Recount Fund. That's Comcast Corp. president Steve Burke, who wrote a check for $5,000.

Taking a cue from NBC's Tom Brokaw, who does his entire NBC Nightly News
broadcast while standing, CNN has swiped the cushy anchor chair from under Wolf Blitzer for his new Wolf Blitzer Reports
8 p.m. newscast. But while Brokaw does his stand-up act inside a heated studio, CNN forces Blitzer and his guests to do the entire program from outside locations in Washington.
"I just want to compliment you on the Arctic Circle arrangement out here-very nicely done," Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), sans
coat, said during an interview outside the Capitol building last Wednesday. The bearded Blitzer, donning a wool coat and leather gloves, replied that Hagel was "very brave to show up without an overcoat." But the Capitol Dome, in the background, looked coolest of all.