By Lisa de Moraes
Thursday, August 5, 2010; C04
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF.
On the eve of Michaele Salahi's debut on Bravo's "The Real Housewives of D.C." -- and five days after her husband, Tareq, threw a glass of wine at another cast member while the housewives were attending Summer TV Press Tour 2010 to promote their new show -- America's favorite alleged White House party crashers have accused Whoopi Goldberg of verbally attacking and abusing Michaele on ABC's "The View."
It all started Wednesday when "The View" brought out D.C.'s "Real Housewives" to talk about their show, which debuts Thursday night. Here's how it went down:
Addressing Michaele, co-host Sherri Shepherd notes that Tareq "was supposed to be here, but apparently something happened that made the women feel a little bit uncomfortable being around your husband. What happened?"
Michaele explains that, in the past, castmate Lynda Erkiletian has teased Michaele about being too thin.
At that point, it gets complicated:
Sherri says Lynda should tell the story, because "it happened to Lynda."
Lynda says she was the one who was "accosted with the red wine."
Michaele protests, insisting that the question was addressed to her.
Co-host Joy Behar tells them to "save it for your show."
Sherri weighs in, in favor of Lynda telling the story, since the wine toss happened to her.
Joy seconds the motion.
Lynda says that she was sitting at a table (Friday at the Beverly Hills Hilton hotel, where Summer TV Press Tour 2010 is happening) and that Tareq was being "verbally abusive to two women sitting at our table" and "I just basically said, 'Can you keep it down?' " -- after which, she says, Tareq "threw a glass of red wine on me."
Michaele says Lynda then threw a glass of Scotch back, "so there was wine, scotch."
Sherri asks, "Who threw the wine first?" Sherri is clearly having trouble keeping up.
"It was the anorexic -- beauty comes in all sizes," Michaele says. Seriously -- we don't make this stuff up.
"What does that have to do with him abusing women," Lynda snaps.
"Because you've been abusing me. You're a woman," Michaele shouts.
"That gives him the right to abuse other women?!" Lynda asks, rhetorically.
At this point, Whoopi, who had not been part of the Ugly Sofa Gaggle, walks out onstage, touches Michaele on the small of her back and her arm to get her attention and says: "Excuse me, can you get back to the White House, please?" The camera cuts over to show Whoopi turning and walking offstage.
"I want to go forward," Sherri says, a little flustered.
"Yeah, I felt someone touch me," Michaele says.
At some point after "The View" appearance, someone threw this statement in Whoopi's face via Michaele's Facebook page:
"Salahis will address on Thursday Morning LIVE on National TV the outrageous abuse and exchange that took place on the ABC Show the View and a audio & video file from Whoopi Goldberg verbal attack to Michaele. Standby for details."
By Wednesday afternoon, the post had been removed from Michaele's Facebook page.
Nonetheless, "The View" tossed this statement -- like a glass of hotel scotch -- back at the Salahis:
"At one point during Michaele Salahi's appearance on 'The View' on Wednesday, Whoopi lightly touched Ms. Salahi to get her attention and said to her 'Excuse me, can you get back to the White House, please,' meaning could Ms. Salahi return to the original subject of the conversation. After the show, Ms. Salahi and her husband accused Whoopi of hitting Ms. Salahi. As the broadcast clearly shows, the accusation was completely unfounded and erroneous. After the show and after being told she was being accused of hitting Ms. Salahi, Whoopi proceeded to defend herself verbally from this baseless claim in a heated exchange with the Salahis."
Michaele (though not Tareq) and the other housewives are booked to appear on NBC's "Today" show Thursday morning to plug the Thursday night debut. NBC and "Housewives" home Bravo are both owned by NBC Universal.
And Bravo is staying as far away from this as possible, declining to comment. See C2 for more with the housewives who are keeping it "Real."Burns's Pete Rose pitch
Pete Rose deserves to be entered into baseball's Hall of Fame -- but not until he's dead, because he "doesn't deserve to know he's in the Hall of Fame," documentary filmmaker Ken Burns told the Television Critics Association on Wednesday.
Burns, whose documentary "Baseball" remains public television's most watched program (45 million viewers), came to the tour to plug his two-night, four-hour sequel, "Baseball: The Tenth Inning," picking up where the original series ended in 1994 and wrapping with 2009.
Burns says he initially resisted the idea of taking another stab at the subject until the Boston Red Sox won the World Series and "steroids fully became an issue, and you realized how consequential, in retrospect, the last two decades had been."
During his Q&A session at the Summer TV Press Tour 2010, critics and panelists started to play the Who-Belongs-In-the-Hall-of-Fame Game and Burns made his suggestion about Rose, who in 1989 was banned for life from baseball because of his involvement in gambling.
"Baseball" will be back for an 11th inning, Burns said, "when the Cubs win the series, and will include [chapters on] hell freezing over and a month of Sundays."'Turmoil' at PBS
PBS chief Paula Kerger told TV critics she did not regret airing "Turmoil & Triumph: The George Shultz Years," and she said the kerfuffle that arose over its funding does not highlight the difficulties that PBS faces as it incessantly trolls for money in a lousy economy.
That was in response to a question put to her by a TV critic who seemed to be trying to offer her some sort of out for having put on the controversial documentary about the Reagan-era secretary of state.
"Turmoil and Triumph," which aired last month, was produced for PBS by Free to Choose Media, a nonprofit production company that says it focuses on "issues of personal, economic and political freedom."
Before it aired, questions were raised about some of the funding for the three-hour project.
Among the funders, according to PBS Ombudsman Mike Getler, was the Stephen Bechtel Fund, an arm of the firm that Shultz once headed and also served on the board of directors. Another was Charles Schwab, founder of the investment firm where Shultz served as a board member. Also contributing was Peter G. Peterson, the businessman and fiscal conservative who was a Nixon administration Cabinet colleague of Shultz's and whose wife is one of the founders of the Children's Television Workshop, which has ties to PBS, Getler noted.