Even HBO needs an editor

May 22, 2008

New York Times columnist Frank Rich plainly was missing something in his life: a creative consulting gig at a major cable network. See the release for details:

In this capacity, Rich will both initiate and help develop projects at the pay-TV network.
“Frank is one of the smartest and most astute observers of popular culture, and we are thrilled that we can call upon his judgment and superb instincts,” said Plepler and Lombardo.

And the important part for ethics-types, considering Rich will stay at the Times:

Rich will recuse himself from writing about HBO and Time Warner in his weekly OpEd column, which is largely about politics and public affairs.

The New York Times covered the story as well (circles within circles!):

Andrew Rosenthal, the editorial page editor of The Times, said that he had signed off on Mr. Rich’s deal with HBO, and that the top newsroom editors and the publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., were informed and did not raise any objections. “There was no concern that there was a conflict of interest, because he no longer has any connection to news coverage of HBO or any related entity,” he said.

He added that Mr. Rich has severed his connections to The Times’s culture desk, which covers HBO. He has been an adviser to that desk, and from 2003 to 2005, his column appeared in the Arts & Leisure section, rather than on the Op-Ed pages.

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