Thursday, May 13, 2010

Las Vegas Weekly celebrates Danny Gans' special friend Alicia Jacobs-- but doesn't get into that 4 a.m. phone call or all those texts he'd sent her

The Las Vegas Weekly and its editor Scott Dickensheets have rolled out another cover story on a major figure in the Danny Gans case. Following up on last week's confessions from Las Vegas blogger, New York Times stringer, Gay Vegas author, concert promoter and comp queen Steve Friess, comes a laudatory profile of controversial beauty queen-turned-television entertainment reporter Alicia Jacobs.

Jacobs was a close personal friend of Gans, and on May 1, 2009, the the first member of the media to learn of Gans' death, getting a 4 a.m. phone call from Gans' manager Chip Lightman. The article touches upon the incident without exploring the details of the morning or her relationship with the musical impressionist:

"Jacobs defends her reporting of Gans’ death last year. The two were genuinely close. They dined together and, sharing an interest in physical fitness, worked out together. Jacobs was the first journalist contacted by Gans’ manager, Chip Lightman, after he learned of Gans’ death.

"Danny Gans and Alicia Jacobs became close friends during her career in Vegas. Jacobs sobbed through her segment announcing Gans had died and spoke emotionally of their friendship. It was a unique moment in broadcast news for the emotion displayed on-air by the reporter. Local media critics pounced.

“'I have thought about that and re-lived it many, many times in my head. Honest to God, I would not have done anything differently,' says Jacobs. 'I thought I could get through the story. But I remember seeing b-roll of Danny on one of the monitors, singing and dancing, and losing it. To this day I don’t believe he is gone … So, yes, I got a little emotional on the air. You know what? It was real. We are real. Sometimes it’s okay to be real on the air. People cry, hurt and feel pain. I wouldn’t change it.'”

"But what about--?" No, there is no follow-up.

The profile, From Beauty Queen to Extra: The Journey of LV's Top Celebrity Broadcaster, is written by Las Vegas Sun columnist John Katsilometes, a journalist who touched on Gans' rumoured drug use in his initial story about Gans' sudden passing at 52 (the powerful opiate Dilaudid would be named as a cause), but who backed off immediately along with the rest of the Las Vegas media pack. Perhaps that's why it celebrates Jacobs' role as a correspondent on the syndicated television infotainment show, Extra, and is full of sympathetic, humanizing notes about her adoption, disfiguring car crash and career-threatening love of animals, while not pressing her on the issue for which she's gained the most notoriety.

An accompanying photo of Jacobs as "Mrs. United States," however, does reveal that she is not a natural blonde.

Those texts? Click here to read all about them.

And click here to read Kat's fascinating article. Even with his hands tied, he's a great entertainment writer.

Meanwhile, we look forward to next week's cover story on Chip Lightman.

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