“It’s a news organization that feeds different platforms.
We’re one operation.”It’s been a long, unexpected trip from The People’s Court to TMZ for Harvey Levin.
The former law professor who “never saw beyond teaching” offered a master class in celebrity journalism last month when TMZ broke the story of Michael Jackson’s death, leaving traditional news outlets in the dust as they played catch-up covering the biggest entertainment story of the decade.
And while it’s an operation that has scooped the competition by being first to report Mel Gibson’s run-ins with the Los Angeles police, Heath Ledger’s death and John Travolta’s son’s death among other Hollywood headlines, Levin maintains that he and his staff are not in the business of gotcha journalism.
TMZ, says Levin, has a mission to give viewers the unvarnished truth about Hollywood — and “have fun” doing it. They love being on the show because it makes them relevant.
“If somebody makes it clear to us that they really don’t want to be any part of it, I’ve told our guys to back off. That’s the biggest thing for celebrities.” Name: Harvey Levin Position: Host and executive producer, TMZ, and managing editor for TMZ.com; executive producer, Beyond Twisted.
Prior to TMZ, created and served as executive producer for Celebrity Justice.
I started doing stuff on the radio and after the election, the radio station offered me a job doing a weekend show called Doctor Law, where I’d give advice.I quit the news, which was a huge deal for me — that was probably the single biggest risk I’ve ever taken — and decided to become a producer. I think the more interesting thing is the investigation into his death. The will is going to flare up and there are going to be creditors and twists and turns.I moved to New York for a couple of years; then I wanted to come back to LA. They are going beyond ‘a doctor’ and looking at ‘doctors.’ I know [the authorities] want to talk to Dr. I think this is going to open up a Pandora’s box of prescription practices in Los Angeles with celebrities. Michael Jackson owed a bill to a pharmacy in Beverly Hills in 2007 of over 0,000 and they sued. With all we know, he had a problem with drugs — a big problem. I’d be pretty shocked if Katherine [Jackson] doesn’t get the kids, and I think the will is going to be controlled by the executor — but I think the death is going to be more interesting.I was a law professor, then I practiced law and decided I wanted to go back to teaching.Then something really crazy happened where the dean of my law school took on this campaign against Proposition 13.I started writing a similar column for the Los Angeles Times, and then started doing these appearances and ended up on Channel 4.