TMZ.com
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TMZ.com

TMZ
TMZLogo.svg
Type of site
Tabloid
Available inEnglish
Headquarters13031 West Jefferson Boulevard
Los Angeles, California
Created by
EditorHarvey Levin
ParentWarner Bros. (WarnerMedia) (AT&T)
URLwww.tmz.com
Alexa rankIncrease 1.400 (September 2020)[2]
CommercialYes
RegistrationOptional
LaunchedNovember 8, 2005; 14 years ago (2005-11-08)[3]
Current statusActive

TMZ is a tabloid news website that debuted on November 8, 2005. It was a collaboration between AOL and Telepictures Productions, a division of Warner Bros.,[4] until Time Warner divested AOL in 2009. The name TMZ stands for thirty-mile zone, the historic "studio zone" within a 30-mile (50 km) radius centered at the intersection of West Beverly Boulevard and North La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles, California.

TMZ's managing editor is Harvey Levin, a lawyer-turned-journalist who was previously a legal expert for the Los Angeles television station KCBS-TV.[5] The site claims that it does not pay for stories or interviews; however, Levin has admitted that TMZ does "sometimes pay sources for leads on stories".[6][7][8] A companion television series, TMZ on TV, debuted on September 10, 2007.

Development

Three months prior to the official launch of TMZ, America Online (AOL) had hinted that it was planning to launch a Hollywood and entertainment-centric news site that would be produced in conjunction with Telepictures Productions and had shown interest in launching a website featuring a focus mainly on celebrities.[9] At the time of the launch, AOL confirmed that the site would primarily feature and consist of Hollywood gossip, including interviews, photos and video footage of celebrities and information pertaining to industry news on movies, television shows, etc.[9] The site was described as "an effort to further feed the current American obsession with celebrities". Mike Shields of MediaWeek.com wrote, "the site also boasts of an expansive collection of archived star photos and videos", allowing fans to "trace changing hairlines and waistlines of their favorites performers over the years".[9]

Background

Since 2005, TMZ has signed Revlon, Chrysler, Hilton Hotels and New Line Cinema as charter advertisers to their website.[9]The New York Times cited TMZ as "one of the most successful online ventures of the last few years."[10] In October 2008, the New York Times reported that TMZ, at the time, was receiving more than 10 million viewers every month.[10] Alexa.com ranked TMZ as the 505th most trafficked website worldwide and as the 155th most trafficked website in the United States.[11]

Levin has acknowledged that TMZ has passed on multiple notable coverages because he felt that, while the stories are true, he questioned how the sources obtained their information.[10] Levin has acknowledged that TMZ pays sources, but in the form of a "tip fee". Levin stated that TMZ pays for photos and for 'tips' or leads on stories, and defended TMZ's position by stating that the sources and tips are verified before being used or reported.[6]

In November 2009, TMZ's revenue was publicly disclosed for the first time.[12] Telepictures (which TMZ is operated by) stated: "Subject to certain performance adjustments and the reimbursement of expenses, revenues are split evenly between the parties [...] Telepictures received payments of US$6.2 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2009, and US$12.7 million, US$9.6 million and US$3.0 million in 2008, 2007 and 2006, respectively."[12] Based on released figures, TMZ's revenues for 2008 was US$25.4 million and is projected to have less revenue in the 2009 year with the revenue of $12.4 million in first three quarters of the year--unlike the previous year, which was within the US$15 million range.[12]

On May 29, 2012, co-founder Jim Paratore died of a heart attack during a cycling trip in France. Paratore was known for his work in television production, producing several daytime and syndicated programs, particularly while serving as an executive at Telepictures (which co-produces the website's companion syndicated television series).[13]

Legal issues

Contempt of court motion

On June 20, 2007, a court-appointed bankruptcy trustee filed an emergency motion[14] requesting that the TMZ website be held in contempt for its publication of the entire manuscript of If I Did It, O. J. Simpson's purportedly fictionalized account of the murder of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson.[15]

The filing claimed TMZ's posting of the PDF of the entire book has "diminished or destroyed" its value.

Photographer altercation

While actor Woody Harrelson was at New York City's LaGuardia Airport, he had an altercation with a photographer for TMZ.[16] Harrelson defended himself stating that he had at the time just finished filming his scenes from the horror film, that consists mainly of zombies, Zombieland, and that he was "startled" by the TMZ photographer. "I wrapped a movie called Zombieland, in which I was constantly under assault by zombies, then flew to New York, still very much in character ... With my daughter at the airport I was startled by a paparazzo, who I quite understandably mistook for a zombie."[16]

Temporary block in the UK

On December 24, 2010, the gossip blog "Oh No They Didn't" reported that TMZ began blocking traffic from the UK, displaying the message: "Due to laws within your region, you are unable to view this website."[] Asked for further comment, TMZ responded that the blocking was due to "legal restrictions" related to English defamation law.[17] The UK website "Popbitch Board" noted on December 31, 2010 that it is possible to get around the block by accessing the website through the Google Translate website. As of January 7, 2011, TMZ is accessible in the UK.[18]

Branches

TMZ Live

TMZ Live is a live-chat program from TMZ that features Levin and fellow TMZ executive producer Charles Latibeaudiere, and occasionally senior producer Michael Babcock filling in for one or both hosts.[] Other TMZ staffers (mainly those who regularly appear on TMZ on TV) also appear on the broadcast as contributors to provide additional outline of the story as well as to provide opinion. The live webcast takes place at the TMZ offices in Los Angeles,[19] and is broadcast on TMZ.com Monday through Fridays from approximately 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time (the length varies depending on the featured segments).

The TMZ Live television and Internet programs review stories that TMZ is covering on the website, and at times, features live interviews (most of which are conducted through webcam conferencing) as well as viewer opinions via Twitter, telephone and video chat (including Skype). In addition, the program features regular segments towards the end of each edition: "Viewer's Choice" (aired as the penultimate segment) featuring viewer questions or comments about stories featured in the broadcast, with additional commentary or analysis by the hosts; "Hate Mail," featured on the Wednesday edition of the webcast (the Thursday edition on the television broadcast), in which negative emails and letters sent by viewers (some of which feature potshots at Levin or Latibeaudiere) are read by the hosts; "Tim's Rejects," featured on the Thursday edition of the webcast (the Friday edition on the television broadcast), in which staffer Tim Nowak presents three offbeat news stories (that are not entertainment or sports-related) which are critiqued by the hosts; and "The Loser's Circle," featured on the Friday edition of the webcast (the Monday edition on the television broadcast) since February 2015, in which Levin, Latibeaudiere and TMZ on TV executive producer Evan Rosenblum judge a clip from a TMZ videographer that was originally rejected from being posted on TMZ.com by Levin or broadcast on TMZ on TV by post-production supervisor Chad Weiser following its initial pitch. "Tim's Rejects" and "Hate Mail" were previously aired as the last segment of their respective editions until April 2015, when they were shifted to the block preceding that occupied by the "Viewer's Choice" segment (at which point, all three segments as well as "The Loser's Circle" began to be followed by a story segment).

In March 2012, Fox Television Stations tested a syndicated broadcast of TMZ Live (which is an hour-long edited version of the live webcast that is broadcast on a one-day delay from its original tape date, with segments aired in a different order, mainly due to live interviews that require the segment to be shown out of order on the webcast for varied reasons) on its television stations in Los Angeles and Phoenix. In June 2012, SiriusXM Radio announced that the show would be aired daily on its Sirius XM Stars channel. In October of that year, the television show was expanded to seven markets, adding Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit and Minneapolis. On September 9, 2013, TMZ Live began airing on all 18 Fox owned-and-operated stations.[20][21] The program began to be syndicated to stations outside of the Fox Television Stations group in the spring of 2014.

TMZ on TV

On September 10, 2007, TMZ launched an accompanying television series, TMZ on TV.[22][23][24] The syndicated television program airs Monday through Fridays.[]

In the United States, the show airs in various timeslots on stations of varying network affiliation (primarily on Fox stations), mainly either in early primetime or after late local newscasts, with an hour-long 'best-of' program compiling select stories from the weekday broadcasts airing on weekends.[25] The show covers stories similar to those found on the website and TMZ Live, with the main difference being that TMZ on TV largely delivers its stories in a humorous manner whereas a mix of humorous and serious news stories appear on the website and companion web/television series. TMZ offers viewers the option of being able to view the two most recent episodes of the program on TMZ.com after the episode's original airdate (being available for viewing for two days after the broadcast on weekdays and three days after the original broadcast on weekends).[26] Chris Persell, of TVWeek.com, stated that the show is a "complement [to] the website, with news updates added to later airings of the show".[27] Levin and Jim Paratore served as executive producers to the show, and the on-air cast originally included Teresa Strasser, John Fugelsang, Ben Mankiewicz and Michael Hundgen.[27] David Bianculli of The New York Daily News strongly criticized the television show, its topics, and what he sees as its reporters' tactics and lack of professionalism.[23]

Dax Chat

Dax Chat is a live chat program on Ustream hosted by TMZ clip clearance producer Dax Holt. In the broadcasts, Holt talks to "Chizzlers" about celebrity gossip and articles that have been posted on the TMZ website.[28]

TMZ Sports

As early as 2009, Levin was rumored to be interested in creating a TMZ branded sports site.[29] The site was initially expected to launch in March 2010 but those plans did not see fruition.[30][31] It eventually launched as a branded section on the main TMZ website in June 2013.[32]Premiere Networks launched a daily TMZ Sports radio show in October 2013.[33] A television show began testmarketing on select regional Fox stations in January 2014.[32][34] It then aired during the 2014/2015 seasons on Reelz under name TMZ Hollywood Sports.[32] On November 9, 2015, the series reverted to being known as TMZ Sports and moved to Fox Sports 1.[35]TMZ Sports is co-hosted by Evan Rosenblum, Michael Babcock, and WNBA player Renee Montgomery.

Criticism

Victory Studios in Glendale, California (pictured here in 2007), where TMZ launched. TMZ later relocated to Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles. Since April 2013, TMZ is located in Marina del Rey, California.[36]

Since the launch of TMZ, the website has faced criticism, varying from attempted boycotts to criticism of its journalism tactics and of its focus. It has been criticized for its usage of photographs and videos obtained from paparazzi.[16][37][38] Some have questioned the effect that aggressive and obtrusive photographers have on the subjects they cover.[38] Many of the videos on the site show, in the footage, that their paparazzi chase people (mainly celebrities)--a practice that has been called dangerous[38] and "creepy".[37] Over the years, some have called for a boycott of TMZ and of the accompanying show.[39]

Suicide details

TMZ has received considerable criticism for its coverage of details regarding celebrity deaths, particularly suicides.[] After the death of Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington in 2017, TMZ came under criticism for revealing detailed descriptions of Chester Bennington's suicide, including his method and immediate surroundings.[] Bennington's widow Talinda responded with criticism of the Los Angeles County Coroner's office as well as TMZ, concluding a Twitter tirade with the hashtag "#FuckyouTMZ".[40] In 2018, TMZ again posted intimate details of Swedish DJ Avicii's suicide method, revealing it through several sources -- some in disagreement with each other.[41] Chester Bennington's widow reacted again unfavourably, criticising TMZ and urging people to "[Not] click on the TMZ article or any other about the private details of Avicii's passing", adding "This is how [we] can stop [filthy TMZ]."[42]

Indiana Jones

TMZ faced strong criticism for purchasing stolen items pertaining to the fourth Indiana Jones film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.[43] On October 2, 2007, IESB reported that a number of production photos and sensitive documents pertaining to the production budget had been stolen from Steven Spielberg's production office.[44]

Movie City News, which strongly criticized TMZ for purchasing stolen items, remarked that the then-new website "wasn't getting off to a good start".[43] According to IESB, TMZ had obtained some of the stolen property and was planning on running a story about the topic on their TV show, until the lawyers of the film's production company, Paramount Pictures, intervened. Shortly after IESB broke the story, TMZ broadcast details about the Indiana Jones production budget on their show on October 3, 2007.[43][45]

Story gathering tactics

Tony Manfred of The Cornell Daily Sun strongly criticized TMZ in an article entitled "I Want My TMZ", in which Manfred criticizes various aspects of TMZ.[37] Manfred described TMZ as being "a fusion of celebrity news blog and embarrassing video archive" and felt that the website had become "the poster child for the celebrity pseudo-news industry" and that the website has "distinct advantages" over "gossip magazines" because it can "show all the borderline pornographic clips that Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood can't."[37]

Jennifer Metz and David Muir of ABC News acknowledged that TMZ has long been criticized for their "aggressive tactics, antagonizing stars with video cameras" and noted that those "encounters, capturing at times violent celebrity confrontations with photographers, receive hundreds of hits online, and critics ask if entertainment reporters are crossing the line." Metz and Muir questioned whether TMZ's tactics "go too far".[38]

Ken Sunshine, publicist for Ben Affleck and Leonardo DiCaprio, stated that his clients disliked the website because it has a tendency to be negative towards celebrities when reporting on them. "I hate that they have anything to do with trying to put celebrities into the worst light possible and that they play the 'gotcha' game".[46] A student news paper criticized for having a personality cult of figures such as Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton - celebrities who are known more as targets for paparazzi than for the work they do.[37] In defense for TMZ's coverage, Levin said that certain celebrities are main subjects on the Web site because of their "relevancy" and because their relevancy helps draw viewership to the Web site.[47] Liz Kelly of Washington Post attacked both Levin and TMZ in an article, stating "I know this is like spitting in the wind, but I have to say it: Harvey Levin, please stop it."[16]

Murder of Andre Lowe

On January 16, 2013, Andre Lowe was killed outside of a nightclub in Hollywood. A nearby reporter from TMZ ended up filming the attack and it was posted to the website without permission of the family.[48] On January 22, 2013, TMZ ended up taking down the video after over two dozen advertisers revoked ads for the website because of the campaign.[49][50]

Death of Kobe Bryant

At 11:24 a.m. Pacific Time on January 26, 2020, TMZ reported on the death of basketball player Kobe Bryant,[51] being the first news outlet to do so.[52] TMZ has received backlash, notably from Sheriff Alex Villanueva of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, for reporting on the story before next of kin had been notified.[52][53]

Channel Awesome

In 2013, Internet reviewer Doug Walker criticised the show in his "Top 11 South Park Episodes" for his reviewing series, Nostalgia Critic. The producers of TMZ were angered by the criticism and later contacted Blip, one of the sites that host the Nostalgia Critic videos, and had that specific video removed as a result. Walker's responded by making a sketch in his review of A.I.: Artificial Intelligence parodying TMZ in a negative fashion. Walker noted that he had not received any further response since for the representation in the latter episode.

Incorrect information

John F. Kennedy

In what The Smoking Gun called "a colossal screw-up", TMZ published an "exclusive" picture on their website of a man purported to be John F. Kennedy on a ship with several naked women that could have "changed history" had it come out during his presidential campaign.[54] Despite having a Photoshop expert proclaiming the picture as "authentic", the picture was later discovered to have not been of Kennedy at all. The photo was discovered to have been part of a Playboy photoshoot from November 1967, which was later confirmed by Playboy representatives.[55][56]

Lil Wayne

On March 15, 2013, members of TMZ's staff claimed that they had learned rapper Lil Wayne was in an "unstable" condition after he was hospitalized following a seizure and that the 30-year-old rapper had been placed in an induced coma and was breathing through tubes.[57] Soon after the report was made, Lil Wayne's friend Mack Maine responded to TMZ's allegations on his Twitter account by stating that Wayne was "alive and well" and that he was currently at Wayne's bedside "watching the Syracuse game" with him.[58] Maine also added that Wayne's condition was never that serious and that Wayne was never in a coma or breathing through tubes.[58] Soon afterwards, Birdman stated on his Twitter account that Wayne was healthy enough to be released from the hospital.[58] Approximately one hour after these messages were made, Wayne himself stated on his Twitter account that he was fine.[58]

Notes

References

  1. ^ "Jim Paratore, TMZ Founder, Dies at 58". TMZ.com. May 29, 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  2. ^ "TMZ site ranks". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2020.
  3. ^ "TMZ -- Pretty Mature for a 4-Year-Old". TMZ.com. November 8, 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  4. ^ "Newsweek, What's a TMZ?". Newsweek. August 1, 2006. Archived from the original on January 9, 2008. Retrieved 2009.
  5. ^ "Harvey Levin Top 49 2008". Archived from the original on March 22, 2009. Retrieved 2015.
  6. ^ a b CNN (August 2, 2009). "CNN's Reliable Sources 8/2/2009". YouTube. Retrieved 2009.
  7. ^ "A breakthrough victory for new program". The Irish Times. June 6, 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  8. ^ "Michael Jackson death news: Online activity heats up Twitter and Google, slows down some sites". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2015.
  9. ^ a b c d Shields, Mike (December 5, 2005). "AOL-Time Warner Launches TMZ.com". MediaWeek.com. Archived from the original on February 19, 2006. Retrieved 2009.
  10. ^ a b c Cieply, Michael (October 25, 2008). "A Star Watcher Has Star Power". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009.
  11. ^ "TMZ.com - Site Info From Alexa". Alexa.com. Retrieved 2010.
  12. ^ a b c Ali, Rafat (November 16, 2009). "With AOL Spinoff, TMZ To Move To Time Warner/Telepictures, As Expected; $25M 2008". PaidContent.org. Archived from the original on November 19, 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  13. ^ Jim Paratore, Co-Creator of TMZ, Dies at 58, The New York Times, June 1, 2012.
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  15. ^ "A Contemptuous Act?". TheSmokingGun.com. June 20, 2007. Retrieved 2009.
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  18. ^ @HarveyLevinTMZ (January 7, 2011). "Hey UK ... TMZ IS BACK!!!!!!!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  19. ^ Harvey Levin confirmed, during a TMZ live chat, that the live chat takes place in TMZ's office.
  20. ^ "Lamar Odom 'Roommate' Says ... I Saw Him Do Crack". TMZ.com. September 9, 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  21. ^ Eck, Kevin (August 12, 2013). "FOX Adds 'TMZ Live' To All Its Owned Stations". Mediabistro.com. Retrieved 2013.
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  28. ^ "Dax Chat, Ustream.TV: Chat here live with Dax Holt from TMZ Monday-Friday at 1pm PST/4pm ET. Overig amusement". Ustream.tv. Retrieved 2013.
  29. ^ Davis, Glenn (December 22, 2009). "TMZ To Launch All-Sports Site (Not Just Because Of Tiger)". Mediaite. Retrieved 2017.
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  31. ^ Dickley, Jack (March 9, 2011). "TMZ Sports Is Dead, Long Live TMZ Sports". Deadspin. Gawker Media. Retrieved 2017.
  32. ^ a b c "'TMZ Hollywood Sports' To Anchor Reelz Primetime". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. September 17, 2014. Retrieved 2017.
  33. ^ "Premiere Launches TMZ Sports Radio Show". October 30, 2013. Retrieved 2017.
  34. ^ "TMZ Sports Is Now On TV!". TMZ. January 13, 2014. Retrieved 2017.
  35. ^ Stanhope, Kate (November 2, 2015). "'TMZ Sports' News Show to Launch on Fox Sports". The Hollywood Reporter. Eldridge Industries. Retrieved 2017.
  36. ^ Miller, Daniel. "TMZ to Exit West Hollywood Headquarters for New Westside Office". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2013.
  37. ^ a b c d e Manfred, Tony (September 16, 2007). "I want my TMZ". CornellSun.com. Archived from the original on October 8, 2007. Retrieved 2009.
  38. ^ a b c d Metz, Jennifer; Muir, David (June 27, 2009). "TMZ Ahead of the Curve, but Do Tactics Go Too Far?". ABCNews.com. Retrieved 2009.
  39. ^ Nguyen, Katherine (January 21, 2007). "On Paparazzi Patrol With TMZ.com". The Orange County Register. Retrieved 2009.
  40. ^ "CHESTER BENNINGTON's Widow Blasts Coroner, TMZ For 'Dramatizing' And 'Sensationalizing' Previous Suicide Attempt". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved 2018.
  41. ^ Michael Hecht, Jennifer (May 5, 2018). "The coverage of Avicii's death shows the wrong way to report on suicide". Vox.com. Retrieved 2018.
  42. ^ Trendell, Andrew (May 3, 2018). "Chester Bennington's widow hits out at TMZ for reporting details of Avicii's death". NME. Retrieved 2018.
  43. ^ a b c "When It Gets Interesting". Movie City News. October 3, 2007. Archived from the original on February 27, 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  44. ^ "Indiana Jones and the Secret of the Stolen Set Photos!". IESB.com. October 2, 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  45. ^ "Why Won't They Tell The Indy IV Theft Story Accurately?". Mcn.com. October 4, 2007. Archived from the original on February 27, 2009. Retrieved 2009.
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  48. ^ Halliday, Josh (January 17, 2013). "TMZ video of murder condemned by victim's family". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2013.
  49. ^ Almendrala, Anna (January 23, 2013). "TMZ Graphic Footage Of Andre Lowe's Death Edited In Response To Change.org Petition From Family". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013.
  50. ^ Halliday, Josh (January 25, 2013). "TMZ takes down footage of Andre Lowe shooting following complaints". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2013.
  51. ^ "Kobe Bryant & Daughter Die in Helicopter Crash, Photos from Her Last Game". TMZ. Retrieved 2020.
  52. ^ a b Tracy, Marc (January 27, 2020). "In Haste to Confirm Kobe Bryant News, News Media Stumbles". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020.
  53. ^ Business, Oliver Darcy, CNN. "Police scold TMZ after outlet was first to report death of Kobe Bryant". CNN. Retrieved 2020.
  54. ^ "The JFK Photo That Have Changed History". TMZ.com. December 28, 2009. Archived from the original on December 31, 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  55. ^ "TMZ falls for JFK Photo Hoax". The Smoking Gun. December 28, 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  56. ^ "Kennedy Picture -- A Fake?". TMZ.com. December 28, 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  57. ^ "Lil' Wayne in Critical Condition After Suffering More Seizures". March 15, 2013. Retrieved 2014.
  58. ^ a b c d Johnson, Cord (March 15, 2013). "TMZ Reports Lil Wayne Is on His Death Bed; Friends Say Wayne is 'Alive and Well' (UPDATE)". Gawker.com. Archived from the original on September 9, 2014. Retrieved 2014.

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External links


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