IT'S THE MOST WONDERFUL time of the year - when Barbara Walters announces her annual list of the year's most fascinating people and Tattle asks whether the definition of "fascinating" has changed since we were young.
Honey Boo Boo?
Walters spoke with Us Weekly about why she included 7-year-old Honey (a/k/a Alana Thompson) on her 2012 list - and she doesn't think it was a Boo Boo.
"It's a love story," Walters told Us of the bond between Alana and her mother, June Shannon. "It's a very sweet, loving story."
But is it fascinating?
"A lot of people will say, 'For heaven's sake, this is ridiculous. This is a child at 5 or 6 years old entering beauty contests,' " Walters said. "But the relationship between Alana and her mother - that's the story, the two of them. It's very touching."
Touching, maybe. Fascinating?
"Honey Boo Boo is not an obnoxious little girl. She's sweet and loving with her mother and loving with her sisters [Jessica, Lauryn and Anna]. And now Anna has a new baby, and the baby has [three] thumbs - but so what? It'll make you smile," Walters added.
But will it make you think? Or look at the world in a new way? Or understand more about yourself?
Carnival sideshows can be fun, but they're not fascinating.
Except of course for Lydia the Tattooed Lady.
("On her back is the Battle of Waterloo/Beside it the wreck of the Hesperus, too/And proudly above waves the Red, White, and Blue . . .")
Disney, Netflix deal
Netflix has trumped pay-TV channels and grabbed the rights to show Disney movies shortly after they finish runs in theaters.
The agreement announced Tuesday represents a breakthrough for Netflix as it tries to add more recent movies to a popular service that streams video via high-speed Internet connections.
It's the first time that a major Hollywood studio has sold coveted rights to Netflix instead of a premium TV network such as HBO, Starz and Showtime. DreamWorks Animation SKG licensed its movie rights to Netflix last year under a deal that begins in 2013, but those movies don't wield the same box-office appeal as Disney, whose stable includes Pixar and Marvel.
Starz holds the rights to Disney's movies under a deal that expires in 2015.
Beginning in 2016, Netflix will be able to show Disney movies about seven months after they leave theaters.
By 2016, who knows if there will even be theaters?
* In other Disney news, a federal appeals court has upheld a $319 million verdict over profits from the game show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" and rejected Disney's request for a new trial.
A jury decided in 2010 that Disney hid the show's profits from its creators, London-based Celador International.
"I am pleased that justice has been done," Celador chairman Paul Smith said in a statement.
Disney asked if it could phone a friend, but no luck.
It's the great love-letter auction, Charlie Brown
It was the type of love Linus has for his blanket.
When "Peanuts" creator Charles Schulz was 48, he was so infatuated with 25-year-old Tracey Claudius that he sent her dozens of love letters and drawings of his beloved cartoon characters.
Now those love notes from 1970-1971 are being auctioned at Sotheby's on Dec. 14 by the family of Claudius, who Sotheby's says is ill at her home near Philadelphia. It's estimated they will fetch $250,000 to $350,000.
Claudius met the cartoonist while accompanying a friend on an interview assignment. She ostensibly came along as a photographer but afterward admitted in a letter to Schulz that it was a chance for her to meet her idol and thank him "for all the enjoyment Charlie Brown and that 'stupid beagle' provide me."
Schulz, who was married at the time, died in 2000 at age 77.
There are 44 letters, including 22 original drawings, some of Charlie Brown, Snoopy and Lucy. Many are signed "Sparky," Schulz's nickname.
In his 2007 book, Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography, David Michaelis said Schulz was almost between marriages when he embarked on the romance with Claudius. The first marriage ended in 1972; he remarried in 1973.
Michaelis said Schulz proposed to Claudius twice but she turned him down for fear of ruining his reputation as one of America's most loved icons.