TMZ loves to get all the dirt on bad-behaving celebrities. But when it comes to its own operations, full disclosure is not always standard operating procedure.
Take the release Warner Bros., which is home to TMZ, issued Wednesday afternoon announcing that Brett Bouttier has been named general manager of TMZ, which besides its red-hot Web operations is also home to a daily syndicated gossip show.
In announcing Bouttier's appointment from senior vice president of digital for Warner Bros. TV Group to general manager, TMZ executive producer Harvey Levin said his new general manager "really understands the brand." Jim Paratore, the show's other executive producer, said Bouttier's "range of experience in television and the digital space is exactly what we need as we continue to innovate and grow TMZ."
Left out of the TMZ release was that someone else -- Pam Russo -- had been named to that exact position two years ago. At that time, Levin said, “Pam is precisely what TMZ needs to take the leadership position of this brand to the next level. We are beyond excited to have her here." Paratore said, “Pam will be key to maximizing and expanding the business opportunities for the brand.”
Pressed about what happened to Russo, people familiar with the situation said some positions were consolidated, which led to her exit. It is true that Bouttier had already been selling online advertising for TMZ and will now add TV and mobile ad sales as well. But at the same time, the release positioned Bouttier's appointment as evidence of the growth at TMZ.
Companies often leave out relevant information in hopes that reporters won't notice what is not in the release. It gets tiring. Fortunately, we know TMZ will respect a news organization that goes beyond what is spoon-fed them. At least we hope that's the case because the last thing we want is Harvey Levin going through our trash cans.
-- Joe Flint