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KAI RYSSDAL: We spend most of our time on this program finding the big stories for you, trying to make sense of what’s going on out there. Except for about a minute and half every other Friday. That’s when Rico Gagliano and Brendan Newnam quiz the Marketplace staff to find some of the stories that went under the radar. The stuff you might want to talk about at a dinner party this weekend.
Rico Gagliano: Jeremy Hobson, New York reporter, what story are you going to be talking about this weekend?
Jeremy Hobson: Well it turns out, Rico, that even reality TV is starting to reflect economic reality.
Gagliano: Oh, my word. How so?
Hobson: Well, the show “Paris Hilton’s My New BFF,” which I know you’re a big fan of, it turns out the mansion that the contestants live in this new season will cost half as much as the mansion they lived in last season, to save money.
Gagliano: And America weeps.
Hobson: Yes. And there’s no word yet on whether the contestants will be judged on their ability to renegotiate the terms of the mansion’s adjustable rate mortgage.
Brendan Newnam: Betsy Streisand, senior editor of Marketplace, what’s your story?
Streisand: The story I like this week is a story about Reebok getting into the flying trapeze business.
Newnam: What could possibly go wrong with this plan?
Streisand: Oh, they’ve teamed up with Cirque De Soleil to create an exercise program where people fly from trapezes, which if you’re ever seen Cirque De Soleil, you know that that’s not happening at any gym in America. You know these people have an extra chromosome for bendy.
Gagliano: Stacey Vanek-Smith, senior reporter for Marketplace, go.
Stacey Vanek-Smith: Well, the banks are in even more trouble right now.
Gagliano: Are they — did they start robbing banks?
Vanek-Smith: No. There’s been this wave of lawsuits from companies like Texas Instruments and other places that invested in auction-rate securities that the banks said were safe, but turned out to be worthless.
Gagliano: So basically out bailout money could go to the banks, and then they could be sued by investors, who would get it back.
Vanek-Smith: Right. Except, a lot of it will probably go to the lawyers.
Gagliano: So this is — in a way this is stimulus for America’s last remaining industry.
Vanek-Smith: It’s true. Lawsuits are too big to fail.
Ryssdal: That’s just a taste of Rico and Brendan’s podcast. It’s called the Dinner Party Download.
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