To Angelenos, there can be no more horrifying news than the launch of yet another tour-bus franchise targeting celebrity hotspots to further clutter their already over-trafficked streets. But to media mavens, TMZ’s decision to enter this business is just pure brilliance.
Who better than America’s most beloved star stalkers to provide tourists with a real-time opportunity to invade the privacy of the glitterati, courtesy of a new deal with Starline Tours. The tour will patrol the landmarks of Hollywood’s so-called Thirty Mile Zone, the area that 0.002 percent of TMZ’s fans know provided the acronym that inspired the company’s name.
The buses will be specially “customized,” and though TMZ doesn’t specify how exactly, there’s some logical conclusions to be drawn. Perhaps there’s a crane that can hoist passengers over those pesky eight-foot hedges that obscure the view into Jennifer Aniston’s living room.
The buses will even come equipped with TV screens that pipe in TMZ footage relevant to whatever its passengers are witnessing. There’s even the prospect they can become part of the action, TMZ warns: “The tour guides, armed with cameras, could…encounter celebrities and use state of the art technology to send the footage directly back to the TMZ newsroom.”
Sounds like a joke, but it turns out that Starline tourists were actually right outside the gates of Michael Jackson’s estate the day he died.
Of course, the tour only tips the iceberg of the offline brand extensions TMZ could fund to broaden its influence: plastic-surgery clinics, rehab facilities, bail-bonds agencies. Or maybe it’s best to start smaller, like some branded Big Gulp-sized cozies that Harvey Levin could promote on the air himself considering he always seems to be sipping some concoction one can only presume is Paris Hilton’s liquefied soul.
The new fleet hits the streets on May 1.