Harvey Levin sounded, as he so often does, excited.
The co-founder of the celebrity-gossip site TMZ.com was sitting on a videotape that he knew could be explosive. "It involves a star doing a really crazy thing," Levin told me last week. "It was caught on surveillance. We haven't put this on the site yet."
Ooh, sounds juicy. Who is it, and what's this star doing? Getting pinched for drugs? Exploding in an anti-Semitic rant? Leaving an abusive voice mail for a supposed loved one?
"I'm not gonna tell you that," Levin said, tantalizingly.
Soon enough the world will know, however, because Levin is planning to lead with the tape on "TMZ," the new syndicated TV series that premieres nationwide today (in Los Angeles, on KTTV Channel 11 at 6:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.). Levin and Telepictures Productions -- the Warner Bros. unit that also makes "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and "Tyra Banks" -- are about to discover whether America's No. 1 entertainment news site can be adapted for the brutal world of syndicated television, where original programming tends to drop like underage starlets who have over-imbibed.
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