Jewish World Review Feb. 4, 2004 / 12 Shevat, 5764
Shriver quits NBC; "Marshmallow" Mike Tyson?; Super Bowl propriety?; MTV's next production?; more
NEW YORK Veteran NBC News correspondent Maria Shriver gave up her seven-figure salary
Tuesday in order to play the role of California's first lady without being subject to constant second-guessing by
the journalistic ethics police.
The 48-year-old Shriver said in a statement released by NBC: "It is apparent to me that it would be
difficult to maintain my journalistic credentials and still be an active first lady of the state of California.
Therefore, after much soul-searching, I have asked to be relieved of my duties at NBC News."
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's wife added: "I have no doubt that I could report now and in the future for
NBC News with total objectivity, independence and without conflict, as I have for the last 18 years. However, it
has become clear to me that as I try to move forward and balance my career as a news journalist with my new
role as first lady of California, my journalistic integrity and that of NBC News will be constantly scrutinized."
Shriver's decision came after four weeks of negotiations with NBC News President Neal Shapiro a
series of conversations that were prompted, I'm told, by this column's report last month that Shapiro had
essentially asked for Shriver's resignation a request Shriver had refused.
Under the terms of her agreement with the network, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's wife will produce
the occasional documentary or other project for NBC-owned outlets such as MSNBC, CNBC and Bravo, but
won't work for any of NBC's rival broadcast networks or all-news cable channels. It was unclear how much
NBC is paying Shriver to maintain exclusivity.
Shriver said she expects to return to a full-time NBC News job "sometime in the future."
Her agent, Richard Liebner, told me: "This is a meeting of the minds, which worked for everybody."
In his own formal statement, Shapiro said: "We are fortunate that NBC will continue to benefit from her
passion for exploring important topics through our cable channels. I speak for all of us at NBC News when I
say that we look forward to Maria's eventual return."
"MARSHMALLOW" MIKE TYSON?
Who would have thought that Mike Tyson is an incurable romantic?
"I love Luz," the 37-year-old former heavyweight champ told me Monday about model-actress Luz
Whitney, his 20-something girlfriend of the past two years. "Hey, I'm just happy she's really willing to give me
companionship and keep me company. I've had my ups and downs in life, but Luz is a very positive person,
always on an up note. I would marry her, big-time. But she's not interested in marrying me right now."
The occasion of the interview was the glam Whitney being cast in a $10 million indie movie titled
"Simon's Curse," an update on "Rosemary's Baby" in which a mad scientist attempts to clone the Lord from
the DNA found on the Shroud of Turin.
Whitney was unavailable Monday, setting up a new apartment in Los Angeles, so Iron Mike played
supportive boyfriend and stepped in to do the interview which promptly turned into a pre-Valentine's Day
"I'm so proud of her she a consummate professional," Tyson said. "But I'm not no manager. I'm not no
g-n bodyguard. I'm just a man here to support her."
The mellowed-out champ added: "She did this on her own. She's doesn't want to be known as 'Mike
Tyson's girlfriend.' She doesn't use me, and she doesn't want to get exploited as using me. She's a little too
Would Tyson be willing to play a small role in the movie which is partly set in Harlem?
"I'll do anything to contribute to Luz's career," he said. "But I just want to love her and be kind to her and
care about her, and to work on my purpose in life and worship and be appreciative to G-d."
SUPER BOWL PROPRIETY?
It seems a lifetime go (though it was only last month) that National Football League execs had refused
Irish rocker Bono's request to perform, with Jennifer Lopez, his song about global AIDS at the Super Bowl
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy explained at the time that Bono's "An American Prayer" was rejected
because the show is about entertainment, not causes: "We don't believe it's appropriate to focus on a single
McCarthy added that NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue had "bigger concerns than over who is
performing in a halftime show."
So much for the NFL's concerns about propriety.
On Tuesday, Tagliabue was monumentally mired in the fallout from Janet Jackson's widely denounced
breast-baring stunt, and Business Week magazine gave the NFL its "Hypocritical Public Service Award."
The magazine stated: "Never mind that Bono was a show stopper in the post-9/11 halftime show two
years ago. The NFL says Super Bowl off-field activities should be about entertainment, not 'single issues.'
Now, let's get this straight. Pimp Juice, exposed breasts, the N-word and violence are OK, but J. Lo and Bono
trying to raise awareness about the scourge of AIDS is off-limits? Hmmm. Nice call, NFL . . . "
GAG ORDER? TELL ME ABOUT IT!: California Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville might have
issued a gag order in the Michael Jackson child molestation trial, but that hasn't stopped Us Weekly from
scooping up info on the prosecution's investigation of the aging pop star apparently from sources close to
the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department. The magazine reports that during raids this past weekend on
the homes of Jackson associates Marc Schaffel and Christian Robinson, the cops seized videotapes of
Jackson's 14-year-old accuser being coached to make pro-Jackson statements for last February's Fox
TV-aired rebuttal to the notorious Martin Bashir documentary on ABC. Investigators also seized a computer
containing an interview script designed to portray Jackson as innocent. "The accuser's family told the police
about this script," a source tells the mag. My call to Jackson attorney Mark Geragos was not returned
MTV'S NEXT PRODUCTION?: Fresh from its PR disaster at the Super Bowl, I'm told that MTV is
getting ready to launch a reality series on the public relations business. The star? None other than publicity
queen Lizzie Grubman, who seems to know a thing or two about spinning bad ink into glitz. Grubman declined
to comment Tuesday, and MTV flacks, still swirling in the maelstrom over their halftime show, didn't return this
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© 2003, Creators Syndicate