The Year Celebrity Gossip Became Celebrity News

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Knowing who Brody Jenner hooked up with at Opera last night or what color baby Uggs Nicole Richie bought for her baby yesterday is oddly comforting.

Useless, yes, but surprisingly compelling.

Perez Hilton Picture

If Hollywood were high school, then Perez Hilton, TMZ and YouTube would be like the 21st Century equivalent of the writing on the girls' bathroom wall.

But this year was different, as those scribbles graduated to the front page of the school paper. Yes, these outlets of the tawdry, the titillating, and the tabloids have finally broken down the barrier and entered the "legitimate" news world.

In 2007, more than 2,000 news stories were sourced to TMZ. With attention spans dwindling and the appetite for celebrity gossip only growing, blogs like Perez Hilton's are increasingly barking orders at the mainstream media.

Witness the attention placed on â€" to name just one of 2007's top train wrecks â€" Paris Hilton's summer jail term. Helicopters. Up-to-the-minute news alerts. A swarm of reporters. Larry King. In their desperate rush to keep up with all the bloggers like Perez â€" respectable news outlets flushed Ms. Hilton's saga out of the tabloid brush and into the spotlight. It was, by all accounts, a huge story.

  Celebrity gossip is not a new phenomenon. But will our desire to know if Britney Spears ran a red light with Sean Preston and Jayden James in the car flame out?

Or might we suggest that the badly behaved celebrities clean themselves up for the sake of the ever-clicking cameras? Or, heaven forbid, stay inside and order delivery instead of driving drunkenly and wearing no underwear to Popeyes? No, no, no... a cleaner, gentler Hollywood wouldn't be nearly as fun, would it?

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