The latest case in point: the death of Luciano Pavarotti.
When beloved television legend Merv Griffin passed away last month, the site ran a picture of Griffin discovery Vanna White applauding. After the legendary Charles Nelson Reilly died, TMZ simply showed the purple, purse-toting TeleTubby.
Jerry Falwell didn't get a word of copy after he dropped dead-- only the Teletubby picture.
So how does sleazy TMZ commemorate the death this week of the big fat Opera Man with the Gene Palma eyebrows and beard? The biggest, fattest target for TMZ's nasty brand of "humour"? A photo of Barney the dinosaur, perhaps-- with the headline "The Fat Lady sings for Two Ton-Tenor"?
"Chubby's last chase?"
No, TMZ played it CNN-straight:
"Legendary Tenor Pavarotti Dead at 71."
Epic opera singer Luciano Pavarotti, whose voice and style made him one of the most famed opera singers to have ever lived, has died, his manager told The Associated Press. He was 71...And this morning, in another bizarre change of face, TMZ reported on Pavarotti's funeral! "Sticking the bear in the box"? "Pava-rots?"
"Singer is a stinky poo"?No. TMZ writes: "Pavarotti's Final Curtain Call."
Pavarotti's Final Curtain Call
World-renowned opera singer Luciano Pavarotti was large in life -- and his funeral, in his home town of Modena, Italy, was equally grand... His private invitation-only funeral, held in Modena's main cathedral, was attended by fellow opera stars Andrea Bocelli, Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras, as well as U2's Bono and a slew of Italian dignitaries...
Ciao bello? Ciao bello??!! Has Harvey Levin been subjected to chemical castration? Is it simply a Judy Garland thing?
Combine that with TMZ's straight Court TV-style report on the Phil Spector trial and it's far more likely that the coprorate forces behind TMZ.com are forcing the flamboyant staff to lie low until the initial TV storm passes. The bigger question is whether the existence of the TMZ TV will mean that the website will be neutered permamently. Harvey Levin made his splash on the Internet by unleashing his inner Perez Hilton. Now that he's being zipped into the Star Jones suit for one last grab at the TV donut, he could be selling out TMZ's anti-soul altogether. Stay tuned.
There are only two Harveys to go until the big TV debut!