If you're interested in playing along, there's a new guessing game taking place this week in media circles: Who's the unnamed billionaire mentioned in the first sentence of Michael Wolff's Vanity Fair piece about very rich men trying to buy into the newspaper biz. Or I guess you could play along, though Gawker and Variety seem to think they have a good sense of who the dude is: probably Barry Diller, maybe Mark Cuban. Their reasons can be found at their appropriate links; knock yourself out.
Then again, this morning Gawker's readers seem to think the Cuban connection isn't so likely after all -- Diller too, for that matter. Writes one, "Cuban is not big on going off-the-record, and he conducts virtually all of his media correspondence via email. He's not a serial acquirer either, and the businesses he's involved now he either started or knows something about...Btw, where does Michael Wolff live? In New York still? He writes that he 'was invited the other day to stop in for an off-the-record visit,' so it sounds like someone local if he's living/working out of NYC."
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This missive-penner believes the mystery man's actually Ron Perelman, who lives in NYC.
The speculation that the mystery man is Cuban most likely stems from his comments in Esquire in November and his December 2 posting on Blog Maverick, in which he wrote that newspaper writers need to think of themselves more like radio station disc jockeys:
Reporters have recorders for interviews (every one i do these days). Some interviews could easily be expanded to include video. Should the reporters be required to not only write a story, but also edit the audio and even video of an interview ? ABsolutely.
If you feel the need to join in the game, Gawker's still playing. They're always up for a playmate. --Robert Wilonsky