RIP The Daily, 2011-2012

Farewell, News Corp. media property The Daily, and flights of angel investors sing thee to thy rest. Your iPad-only content was too thrilling for this world. I mean, probably. I don’t have an iPad (or any comparable tablet), so how the hell would I know? I’m just assuming that anything Rupert Murdoch pours $30 million into at the outset is really going to pop.

The future of magazines will be officially shuttered on December 15, ending a nearly two-year run of stellar pop culture aggregation that you definitely couldn’t find for free almost everywhere else on the web, so enjoy these final two weeks before darkness descends and you can no longer enjoy playful listicles of suggested names for Kate Middleton’s baby. Except on Tumblr, Facebook, Reddit, Twitter and the sides of graffiti-prone buildings.

Some of the assets and 120 employees—though how it took that many people to produce something that apparently no one read is a mystery; I’ve often accomplished the same all by myself—will be shifted to other News Corp. companies, The New York Observer reported. In particular, editor-in-chief Jesse Angelo “will serve as the new publisher of the New York Post.” Might that fabled paper be next on the chopping block? Well, they’d have to lose a lot of money each year. Like, even more than they already do.  

Follow Miles Klee on Twitter.

Rupert Gets Spanked and a Queen Is Crowned

Happy May Day! Occupy Wall Street’s general strike is today with protests planned in 135 cities. [Occupy]

In case you want to see some action on the screen, the third trailer for Christopher Nolan’s upcoming mother of all films, The Dark Knight Rises, has been released and features even more explosions and flying cars than we had previously seen. Don’t pretend like you won’t be waiting in line to see this one opening weekend. [YouTube]

In dethroning news of the day, in the wake of the phone hacking scandal, a British parliamentary panel has decided that media mogul Rupert Murdoch is “not a fit person” to run his empire. [NYT]

The nominations for the 2012 Tony Awards were announced this morning, and the little guy doesn’t always lose—the musical that could, Once, based on the sweet albeit twee film of the same name, swept up, garnering 11 nominations. [Tony Awards]

If you know gay people, and you should, you’ll know that last night RuPaul’s Drag Race, perhaps the best reality show around, crowned a winner for its fourth season. We won’t spoil it for you, but we will say that we are very, very pleased with the outcome. Oh whatever, fine, it was Sharon Needles. [EW]

Rupert Murdoch’s Favorite Child Opera Singer Got Hacked

Do you remember Charlotte Church? Before there was Josh Groban, Church was your mom’s favorite popera singer. She had her big break at twelve, when she released her debut album, Voice of an Angel. She’s slipped a bit out of the American spotlight, but is still fairly popular in the UK, having had several bestselling albums (one was called Tissues and Issues, which you can file away in your Important Information folder) as well as a comedy show. She’s making some headlines across the globe today, however, because she testified before Britain’s media ethics inquiry into the phone hacking practices of shuttered tabloid News of the World

It turns out that News of the World owner Rupert Murdoch was a big fan of Church, and he asked her to sing her hit single "Pie Jesu" at his wedding twelve years ago. She admits now that it wasn’t a very good gig.

Charlotte Church was given a choice: a 100,000 pound fee, or a chance to generate good will with the media magnate by performing for free. She wanted the cash, but her record company and manager said no, it was better to make friends with Murdoch, head of a global news and entertainment empire.

"Despite my teenage business head screaming ‘Think how many tamagotchies you could buy!’ I was pressured into taking the latter option," she told Britain’s press ethics committee. "This strategy failed … for me."

Church, 25, told Britain’s media ethics inquiry Monday that the Murdoch press, and other British tabloids, had ruthlessly tormented her since she was a child singing sensation, blowing her credibility "to bits" and badly damaging her career.

Church certainly wasn’t immune from Murdoch’s tabloid’s crosshairs. She testified that she was convinced that friends and family were leaking information to the press, but it turns out that she was another famous victim of the paper’s phone hacking schemes. (Other A-list names who have testified before the inquiry are Hugh Grant, Sienna Miller, and J.K. Rowling.) The paper broke the news that her father was having an affair in 2005, which Church claims sent her mother into a depressive spiral that ended in a suicide attempt. 

While American celebrities are certainly targets of the press, the News of the World phone hacking scandal is further evidence that the tabloids across the pond are much more ruthless, crossing more than just ethical lines to gather news stories about their favorite bold-faced names. 

Rupert Murdoch Gets a Big Old Pie in His Small Old Face

According to the internet, some guy in a plaid shirt just attempted to ruin a perfectly good and delicious shaving cream pie by smushing it in Rupert Murdoch’s face. The incident occurred as Murdoch and his son James testified before Parliament in the wake of this gnarly hacking scandal that just won’t quit. It’s good fun watching the younger Murdoch react as the off-camera attacker approaches. And that’s Murdoch’s wife Wendi in the pink, jumping to her husband’s defense.

The culprit is a man, real name Johnnie Marbles, who describes himself on his Twitter account as “Activist, comedian, father figure and all-round nonsense.” Today, he was more activist than comedian, since pies-in-the-face are never particularly funny, and since he apparently called Murdoch a “greedy billionaire” as he geared up for the public shaming. Shortly before the event (since we imagine he’s in custody now), Marbles tweeted “It is a far better thing that I do now than I have ever done before #splat.” Prepare to get a wackload of new followers, Johnnie!

As for Murdoch, is anyone else starting to feel sorry for this old man? Didn’t think so. Video below.

A Few Voicemails We Wouldn’t Mind Hacking

It was in more than poor taste for reporters (and possibly editors) at the soon-to-be-former News of the World in London to resort to phone hacking tactics to get the lowdown on the story of Milly Dowler, a missing 13-year-old in 2002, or on the victims of the 2005 London transit system bombings, or the relatives of deceased British soldiers. All were completely innocent victims of the Murdoch-owned tabloid’s nonexistent ethical standards. That said, we can think of a few individuals whose voicemails we wouldn’t mind hearing, if the opportunity happened to fall into our laps. (Call me, Rupert!)

DSK’s chambermaid – It’s doubtful that any voicemail could shed light on what actually happened in the hotel room that fateful day, but now that rumors are swirling that she has been turning tricks while being housed by the DA office …

Yo honey, it’s Daniel. I met you at Sofitel and we had a good time – I gave you that yellow diamond bracelet. Now I hear you’re staying in Brooklyn. Let’s meet up?

Charlie Sheen – Out of pure curiosity of knowing who calls Sheen these days…which is probably not a very large cast of characters. Maybe only the Insane Clown Posse, for scheduling purposes. Or…

Charlie, it’s Dr. Somers again. I’m just calling to make sure you’ve been taking your meds for passion…or the ”bi-winning” disorder, or whatever you like to call it. Call me back, and please don’t yell at me this time.

Michele Bachmann – Blah blah blah Iowa’s Family Leader’s Pro-Marriage Pledge. Let’s be real, Bachmann may be a super conservative wingnut hiding behind some mock feminist jargon, but she’s also pretty and has nice hair. That’s got to take some work.

Hi Ms. Bachmann, I’m calling from Chestnut Salon to confirm your 10:30 appointment tomorrow with Sandy for a color-and-blowout. No need to call back, I know you must be busy rendering women second-class citizens while claiming to empower them.

Brad Pitt – I just want to know if Angelina ever gets stressed out by all those kids.

Brad, Pax is refusing to come out of his room unless we get married. I tried to explain to him our position, but he’s only 7. Call me. Oh, by the way, I just adopted three more kids from some country I never even heard of before today.

Heidi Klum – Heidi no doubt has the cutest voicemail message in the history of supermodels (what are the chances it ends with auf wiedersehen?). But besides Heidi’s running partner Kim Kardashian calling to arrange jogging plans, Tim Gunn must drop a line at times. Or maybe Seal is secretly needy…

Baby, its me. Come home, you can go to the gym tomorrow. I’ve been kissed by a rose, and I just don’t feel right – I need to talk to you. I’m going a little … crazy.

Rupert Grint – Weasley must get prank phone calls from the type who gets a kick out of the “Gingers do have souls!!” video. Being a wizard is hard enough.

RONALD!! Care for a snog from a muggle?

Christopher Columbus – Okay, so there weren’t cell phones back then. But if there were, I’d want to know what he reported back to the old lady across the pond about the New World.

Hey Beatriz, we just arrived in India. That was way easier than I expected, only half the crew died on the way over! Anyway, tell Ferdinand and Isabella that they’ll make their money back and then some on this trip, because there’s nobody here. Oh wait, here come some people. They look friendly enough. Let me hit you back later. Peace.

Kate Middleton Victim of Phone & Bank Account Hacking

Kate Middleton, one of our favorite public figures of late, had her cell phone and bank accounts hacked. What kind of monster would dare to invade the Duchess of Cambridge’s privacy? An employee of Rupert Murdoch, obviously — this is part of the widespread hacking scheme that’s been unraveling for a couple years. Private investigator Jonathan Rees, who was working on behalf of Murdoch’s News International, broke into Middleton’s cell phone in 2008, when she was dating Prince William. It’s believed that he also accessed her bank accounts.

It’s not just Middleton, of course. Even Tony Blair might have fallen victim to Rees’ hacking. Other victims include various British politicians and other members of the royal family, plus celebs like Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, and George Michael.

According to the Guardian:

Rees, who worked for the Mirror Group as well as the New of the World, is also accused of using a specialist computer hacker in July 2006 to steal information about MI6 agents who had infiltrated the Provisional IRA. According to a BBC Panorama programme in March, Rees was commissioned by Alex Marunchak, then the News of the World’s executive editor, to hack the information from the computer of Ian Hurst, a former British intelligence officer in Northern Ireland who had stayed in contact with several highly vulnerable agents. Marunchak has denied the allegations.

God, the British tabloids are intense. This isn’t the only shady activity Rees has gotten up to: he was arrested and thrown in jail for planting cocaine on a woman back in the 90s so her husband would get custody of their children. News of the World still hired him again after his release. Dude has even been investigated for murder (!). And you thought American gossip rags were bad for lying about Kim Kardashian.

Afternoon Links: Charlie Sheen Back Where He Belongs, Madonna Off to Cannes

● Uh oh. Charlie Sheen was just rushed to the hospital from his home in L.A. No, Charlie! Oh, wait. Two young girls were seen exiting the house at the same time. Go Charlie! [TMZ] ● Kanye West follows one person on Twitter, and her name is Kim Kardashian. Can he please stop being so avant-garde? [Media Takeout] ● Ron Howard is a little late on the “wanting Javier Bardem to appear in your movie about a lone cowboy on a quest to find a metaphorical tower” train, but better late than never. [Deadline]

● The Cannes Film Festival just got some much needed star power: Madonna will premiere her directorial effort, W.E., at the poorly-attended fest. [Perez] ● Lifetime is slamming the gas pedal on a movie called William & Kate, about the future King of England and his prized stallion, who also happens to be called Kate. [TV Guide] ● Rupert Murdoch’s iPad-only news “paper,” The Daily, will officially launch on February 2. We look forward to their flashy new gossip column, Screen Six. Ba-dum…..ching? [HuffPo/AP]

Industry Insiders: Ivanka Trump, Executive Heiress

The Donald’s little darling talks industry jargon, raises cash for the fuzz, gives props to Rupert Murdoch, plays a few rounds, then slings gold to those Trump-loving Russians. All in a day’s work.

Point of Origin: I’m a native New Yorker, born and raised — and from the looks of it, likely to remain here in perpetuity.

Occupations: Modeling, for me, was purely a pit stop, fun, in the moment. I worked for a year for the [Bruce] Ratner organization in Brooklyn, cutting my teeth on the business, away from prying eyes. I believed I could be effective in this field through real life training and experience outside of the fishbowl that would be the Trump Organization, where people would have been observing and watching a 22-year-old commence her first few weeks of work. I joined the Trump Organization a year-and-a-half later, and am now the vice president for real estate acquisitions and development for the organization and for Trump Entertainment Resorts and Gaming.

With my older brother, Don, and young brother, Eric, we’ve initiated the Trump Hotel Collection, and we have 13 new hotel constructions underway, using the Trump International here in New York as our springboard. We opened in January in Chicago. Conde Nast Traveler added us to their 2008 Hot List for North America — it really is phenomenal. Las Vegas opened a few months ago, at the end of March, and it’s been receiving great reviews. Trump Ft. Lauderdale, then the Soho property. The Trump Taj Mahal has been open for the past two weeks, and occupancy has been terrific. We opened a new hotel tower with an additional 800 units, and the official opening ceremony is October 2. I have the jewelry company that I opened a year ago in a very challenging market, but we’re doing a terrific business. And we just signed a lease in Las Vegas for our second store. The third is in Russia — the Russian market is very strong and they really respond to the brand, the aesthetic, which is really luxurious. The fourth store is in Los Angeles, and Tokyo comes next. As you can imagine, gold is going crazy.

Any non-industry projects in the works? I am athletic — my mother [Ivana] was a professional skier — but in terms of recreation, I love skiing, tennis, golf. That’s now sort of starting to blur the line between work and play, as I’m always playing on one of our courses. I call it “market research.” Then on a charitable side, I’m very involved with Eric Trump’s foundation that he stated two years ago. And then there are several other charities in which I am involved.

Favorite Hangs: I love Central Park, an all time favorite hang-out and, of course the Czech Republic where I often visit my maternal grandmother. I really love Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach.

Industry Icons: I’m incredibly impressed with international initiatives, particularly in the Middle East. That’s a fascinating place to look, and I really look up to the great Rupert Murdoch.

Who are some people you’re likely to be seen with? Normally, when I’m not in the office, I’m with my closest group of girlfriends who I brunch with, regularly.

Projections: More acquisitions in real estate, of course, and the Ivanka Trump Collection, but as you can imagine with the price of gold going up, I’ve got to get back to work!

What are you doing tonight? It doesn’t look as if your evening includes eating. I’m hosting a party with Vanity Fair in my jewelry store.