Jill Biden Looks at Pictures; Orszag Axes Stein

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Welcome to the Smart Set. Every morning we bring you the gossip coverage, filtered. Today: The Firm returns, Peter Orszag costs Ben Stein a gig, and Tony Kaye acts like Tony Kaye

  • Former Obama budget director and current Citigroup vice chairman Peter Orszag has pulled the plug on a planned keynote speech by Ben Stein after receiving an email complaining the pitchman and supply side advocate told "offensive and irresponsible" jokes in a March speech at a private-equity conference in Dallas. Orszag wasn't involved in planning the May 17 event on pension and endowment funds, but after receiving the email, he forwarded it to the sales team in Citigroup’s trading division, who reached the decision to cancel Stein "within hours". [Bloomberg]
  • Second Lady Jill Biden did the tourist thing in Washington Wednesday afternoon, stopping in at the National Gallery to check out the Capital Portraits exhibit. Onloookers said she was particularly captivated by a portrait of John James Audubon, the naturalist painter who was memorialized in Google Doodle form earlier this week. Biden then went over to the American Art Museum and took in the George Ault exhibit. [The Reliable Source]
  • Director Tony Kaye lived up to his oddball reputation at the premiere of his new film, Detachment, at the Tribeca Film Festival. Asked to say a few words about the drama, which stars Adrien Brody and Christina Hendricks as high school teachers, Kaye instead pulled out a guitar and instructed the audience to chant "I don't care!" In 1998, Kaye was famously kicked out of the editing room on American History X by Edward Norton, and unsuccessfully petitioned to have his credit changed to Humpty Dumpty. [Page Six]
  • Jay Penske is "working on a deal" to buy Variety. The motor oil heir already owns Deadline and Movline. [The Daily]
  • The Firm is getting a quasi-sequel--NBC is in talks to pick up 22 episodes of a new show based on the 1991 John Grisham bestseller, which director Sydney Pollack turned into a movie starring Tom Cruise in 1993. The series, produced by Eone Television, is set ten years after the book and film, with protagonist Mitch McDeere finally emerging from the Witness Protection Program. CBS had tried developing a Firm series three years ago. [The Hollywood Reporter]
  • Mark Wahlberg and Justin Bieber are teaming up for a super-secret movie about street basketball. Wahlberg hinted his character will be "kind of like a reluctant mentor in an inner-city environment." Bieber will presumably be the mentee. [Vulture]
  • CNBC anchor Erin Burnett is about to sign a multi-year contract with CNN. The move appealed to Burnett, who wants to expand beyond business news.Burnett was also in talks with CBS and ABC before coming to terms with CNN. She'll anchor either an evening or afternoon timeslot at CNN.   [Media Decoder]

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