Courtney Hazlett's first "Scoop" column is up on MSNBC, where she replaced the departed-to-write-books-fulltime Jeanette Walls earlier this month. Hazlett, who was a senior reporter at OK! magazine for just under two years and came to MSNBC via her talking head expertise, breaks the seal on the column with some new news, dishing about new NBC 'phenomenon' Criss Angel — or Diss Angel to Britney Spears, who Hazlett says is planning to spurn the magician's invite to some LA event he's hosting. The two were linked in the press in August, and he had originally participated, but had ended up not contributing to, Britney's train-wrecky VMA comeback performance (where presumably she could have used some magic). Hazlett gets a quote from a Brit pal: "He used Britney for fame. Now that he has his new TV show, he wants press again and he's is using her. People think she's a fool, but she knows when she's being used, and the stakes are higher than they've ever been." Snappity-snap! Apparently Angel is also trying to conjure up rumors that he and Cameron Diaz are an item, but Hazlett's source has thoughts on that, too: "His biggest magic trick is fooling the media into thinking he's dating women to get his name in the press." Oh, zing. Good maiden item — Britney sells, people — and extra points for leading with a takedown of a Mothership property. We're sure Zucker won't mind.
Hazlett also got "Desperate Housewives" voice-over star Brenda Strong speculating that Nicolette Sheridan's last-season cliff-hanger ending (with emphasis on the "hanger"): "I suppose in the perspective that it was a negotiation year, a little death creates a little leverage." Interesting take, especially since Sheridan's Edie is the least central to the Wisteria Lane crew (though certainly this season the most wild-card-ish).
Hazlett's "Scoop" will run Monday through Friday (a day more than Walls) and tells ETP via email that "It's my goal to break news more often than not." (She hedges against the "not" part with a cute parenthetical "I am only one person!") In the meantime she might try predicting the gossip, since she seems to be doing well there: She has apparently predicted the weekend box office leaders two weeks running on "Morning Joe," correctly tapping "Saw IV" to beat "Dan In Real Life" for the top spot. Here's a question: Why are there FOUR "Saw" movies? Gross.)
The above item may have been an excuse to use the phrase "Diss Angel." According to Google, we are the first. Woot! Try making that nickname disappear, Mr. Magic! Zing! Also, we think that "train-wrecky" and "wild-card-ish" should also take pride of place in the gossip lexicon. That would be so neologism-esque!