Thanks for reading The Backstory, our weekly capsule of the best new work at Puck.
It was another incredible week at Puck: Matt Belloni delivered the latest news on the Scooter-Bieber drama; Julia Alexander explained Apple’s Messi complex; Dylan Byers illuminated Zaz’s CNN plans; Julia Ioffe got into the Prigozhin kremlinology; Tara Palmeri offered the real story from the G.O.P. debate; and Bill Cohan explained Shari Redstone’s existential dilemma.
Check out these stories, and others, via the links below. And stick around for the backstory on how it all came together.
Lauren Sherman addresses the Anna Wintour succession chatter and details a new Outdoor Voices drama.
Bill Cohan considers Paramount’s latest challenges and Goldman’s boardroom inrtrigue.
Dylan Byers has the readout on WBD’s plans for CNN
Tara Palmeri penetrates the Milwaukee green room.
Baratunde Thurston ponders the Trump political-media tragedy.
Matt Belloni details Puck’s latest streaming proprietary data study, breaks the news on an NBC scandal, and has all the goods on the Bieber-Braun fallout.
Matt and Eriq Gardner investigate whether A.I. will eat the town.
Julia Alexander digs into the Apple-Messi deal.
Teddy Schleifer reveals a bankruptcy that ran the gamut from Zuckerberg to S.B.F.
Peter Hamby separates fact and fiction in Iowa.
Julia Ioffe tells us what really went down with Prigozhin.
Tara Palmeri debuts her excellent new show, Somebody’s Gotta Win, from the salt mines of the G.O.P. debate.
Matt Belloni gets into the Scooter-Biebs-Ariana imbroglio on The Town.
Peter Hamby and Julia Ioffe discuss the Putin-Prigozhin plot on The Powers That Be.
|One of the greatest gifts that I derive from working at Puck—and there are too many to count, I assure you—is that nothing surprises me anymore. Absent natural disasters or true head-scratching news events, chances are that one of my generationally talented partners has already alerted me to some piece of new information long before it comes over the transom.
Tara Palmeri’s excellent new podcast, Somebody’s Gotta Win, a co-production with our friends at Spotify’s The Ringer, is but the latest case in point: Tara takes listeners behind the talking points and into the true inside conversation. It’s an extension of the incredible work that she’s accomplished for more than a year within our The Best & The Brightest franchise. To my mind, Tara was the first reporter to honestly depict the deflation of the DeSantis balloon, the rise and fall of Youngkin donor fantasies, the machinations of the new Trump inner circle and so much more. Her reporting has been so prescient, in fact, that the attendant drumbeat of the G.O.P. primary has seemed like an afterthought.
Puck, we sincerely hope, is the place that readers turn to when they want to really know what’s going on—and also what’s going to happen next. And that was the leitmotif of this week’s work emanating from our airy Chelsea headquarters and our bureaus on the West Coast and Washington. To wit: Teddy Schleifer, the bard of the Sam Bankman-Fried saga, documented the latest foibles of the FTX bankruptcy mess, explaining how we got here and what might follow. Tales from the S.B.F. Bankruptcy Black Hole is required reading for students of Silicon Valley founder culture.
Meanwhile, in Bloomberg’s Exit Options & Goldman’s Moment of Truth, Bill Cohan wrestles with the snowballing media headache that has descended upon 200 West Street. Is C.E.O. David Solomon really as endangered as recent reports have suggested? Bill, who authored the definitive biography of the firm, offers the most compelling and nuanced analysis that you’ll read anywhere. Furthermore, pivoting to another piqued anxiety, Julia Alexander provided an expert depiction of Apple’s true ambitions in the live sports business as Matt Belloni and Eriq Gardner grappled with the reality of A.I.’s true role in the history of Hollywood dealmaking. Matt also revealed, in all its delicious detail, what is really going on with mega-manager Scooter Braun, who has gotten the shiv from a handful of his most famous clients in the past week. And Dylan Byers tells us what a new C.E.O. search at CNN explains about the true future of the network under Zaz rule.
But if you only have time to read one piece, allow me to turn your attention to Julia Ioffe’s masterwork on Putin’s latest act of vengeance: Prigohzin’s Treason & the Price of Betrayal. It was Julia, our culture’s leading voice on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, who first alerted the reading public to Putin’s former chef-turned-warlord earlier this year. And it was Julia who sagaciously anticipated the Muscovite elites’ response to his audaciousness in real time. If you want to truly understand the complexities of the modern Putinsphere, it’s a good moment to familiarize yourself with the Russian concept of ponyatie. It’s precisely the sort of around-the-corner information that you’ll only be able to read at Puck.
Have a great weekend,