BABY BYTES: Jennifer Lopez’s twin babes helped people.com break records in terms of traffic to its Web site on Thursday, the day the issue hit newsstands. People.com hit an all-time high of four million daily unique visitors who viewed the first picture of babies Max and Emme online from the magazine’s exclusive photo shoot with Lopez and husband Marc Anthony. The four-million visitors was nearly double the number of people who went to the site when the news broke Feb. 22 that J.Lo had given birth. On average, the site gathers about two million visitors daily; on the day after this year’s Academy Awards, a day most people go to the site to check out the red-carpet fashions, People recorded 2.49 million uniques. — Stephanie D. Smith
NEW YORK WORKED ONCE, SO WHY NOT AGAIN?: HBO, which last week saw the exit of its entertainment chief, Carolyn Strauss, remains desperately on the hunt for its next hit show, and it seems to be looking, among other places, to the same kind of New York media figures who provided its “Sex and the City” success. The channel has a script deal with Bob Morris, who until recently wrote the “Age of Dissonance” column for The New York Times’ Sunday Styles section, to develop a comedy series about manners in Manhattan. Plum Sykes wrote in December that she’d be adapting her novel, “The Debutante Divorcee,” for the channel and “Mergers and Acquisitions” author Dana Vachon is also said to have talked to HBO, though it could not be confirmed by press time.
“My show will be set in the urban environment of supposedly the rudest city in the world,” Morris told WWD, “about a man who is obsessed with manners and actually doesn’t know how to treat people very well. That is me. Ask anybody I know. My tendency as a columnist was to get on a high horse and wag my finger and run my mouth off about things.” But don’t expect a journalist protagonist, what with Carrie Bradshaw having maxed out that particular conceit — Morris is considering making his alter ego a party planner or a guidance counselor at a private school.
This story first appeared in the March 24, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
So after “Friends,” “Seinfeld” and “Sex and the City,” does the rest of America really care anymore about what happens in New York? Morris obviously thinks so, betting that people are interested in “the stuff of life that comes about when you’re not in the bubble of gliding around in an automobile all the time, in seclusion from anything that has to do with culture other than show business.” Aspects of said culture he hopes to tackle include BlackBerry usage at urinals and residence in Brooklyn. “Go ahead and have your dinner parties,” he said of the latter. “I am not coming, and I’m not calling a car service.”
The timeline for the series to come to fruition is amorphous, particularly since Morris will be promoting his book, “Assisted Loving,” later this spring, and development deals don’t necessarily even mean a pilot gets produced. Still, Morris, who got his start as a playwright, is looking forward to that fabled HBO freedom of voice. “I think I’ve been tempered writing for the Times,” he mused, adding, “But [HBO] doesn’t come to people like me to water me down, do they?” — Irin Carmon