Aug 19, 2011

Former employee sues Lidia's Italy host

Lidia Bastianich, whose latest public television series, Lidia’s Italy in America, premieres Sept. 10, is being sued by an Italian cook who alleges that Bastianich made her a "virtual slave," reports the New York Daily News. Maria Carmela Farina is asking for $5 million in the suit, filed Thursday (Aug. 18) in Manhattan. Farina says in the suit that she came to America in 2006 thinking she would oversee Bastianich's kitchens and prepare recipes for her shows. Instead, she claims, she became a live-in personal assistant for an elderly woman whose husband had worked as Bastianich's handyman.

Keno brothers depart Antiques Roadshow for their own program on Fox

Twin brothers Leigh and Leslie Keno, known for their appraisal work since 1997 on the pubcasting hit Antiques Roadshow, premiere their own program, Buried Treasure, Aug. 24 on Fox. The two go on location, and "sleuth for worthy finds from basement to attic for people who are often down on their luck, facing money problems or illness," according to ArtFix Daily, an online arts news site.

Leigh Keno reports: "We have found treasures from all over the world, valuable and rare objects ranging from 1000 B.C., a Minoan bronze bowl with inscriptions that was buried under a pile of magazines ... and a rare Egyptian tomb figure with the figure of Osiris, polychrome painted, that was just sitting in a dresser."

Roadshow spokesperson Judy Matthews said the brothers didn't participate in this summer's production tour. "We wish them well," she added, saying they're always welcome to return.

Former pubcaster is winging it with new barbecue franchise

Bob Friedman, a Nightly Business Report correspondent back in the 1980s, left pubcasting for a life in ... barbecue. And it turns out he's still enamored of it. As Friedman tells the News & Observer newspaper in Raleigh, N.C., "I still have pig fat in my blood."

While reporting for NBR, a conversation on foreign trade with then-U.S. Rep. Don Sundquist of Memphis led to a discussion of barbecue and an idea for a restaurant, Red Hot & Blue. It eventually grew to 35 outlets when Friedman and his partners sold it three years ago. But the sale to a private equity firm wasn't lucrative enough to retire, he says. So Friedman and his wife moved to Raleigh and bought a video production company "about five minutes before the recession hit."

So now it's back to barbecue: Friedman has opened an East Coast Wings & Grill franchise in Cary, N.C. — 75 flavors of wings!

Public Insight Network wants to connect with conservative voters

The Public Insight Network, a reporting tool from American Public Media that invites audience members to volunteer as sources, wants to increase the number of conservative voices in its database of some 100,000 names. So Michael Caputo, a Minnesota Public Radio analyst with PIN, wrote to the right-leaning Powerline blog for help surveying its readers. "We recognize the need to have more Republican and/or conservative citizens in this network, especially with the GOP nomination up for grabs," Caputo writes. "So we are making a specific plea for you to become part of this network and help inform what the media sees as news. We need conservatives from around the U.S., since our news organizations come from all parts of the country. We have an easy way to do this. The Public Insight Network has a short survey on the Republican race for the presidency. It’s aimed at putting voters’ stories first (rather than candidates’) and helping reporters understand more about what’s motivating and inspiring conservative voters this year."

The first online comment: "Yep same story as before. Liberal news organizations always 'reaching out' to understand the conservative point of view so they can get a better understanding of how to distort it and create a negative tide within the conservative wing."