Memo to Hayden Panettiere: Grow up or quit

by Paul William Tenny

Hayden Panettiere, Milo MentimigliaU.S. Magazine and OK! are not what you'd call upstanding institutions of journalism. In fact, they are trashy tabloids that obsess over the public and private lives of celebrities and are basically the uncool parents of modern gossip blogs like Gawker. Stories like Hayden Panettiere's blowup at some photographers last weekend aren't noteworthy because they happen all the time, and because there's nothing especially interesting about actors and actresses acting like spoilers jerks.

That is not until a rumor came out in OK! that Panettiere's breakup with Milo Ventimiglia has spilled over onto the set of Heroes.

According to the obviously trustworthy anonymous "mutual friend", Hayden wants Ventimiglia kicked off the show and is refusing to do any scenes with him. That sounds like something a 19-year-old would do because immature teenagers do immature things, but a line must be drawn when personal vendettas become professional nightmares. If Hayden doesn't want to work with Ventimiglia anymore, the professional thing to do is either buck up and live with it because that's your job and it's what you're being paid to do, or quit and move on to something else.

But it's not even that simple, because the entire dynamic of a show is going to change when arguably the main character is driven out by a relatively minor one. If such a situation isn't dealt with quickly, you could put the entire show in jeopardy -- and lord knows Heroes doesn't need any more pressure than it already has -- and that's not just your career that you're screwing with, it's 200+ jobs and a major million dollar network investment just to satisfy a petty personal issue.

There's no way to know if this rumor is true and Panettiere's rep supposedly denied it to OK!, but a denial from a PR flake doesn't make it a lie anymore than assumptions based on her recently documented unruly behavior would seem to make such petty behavior believable.

Regardless, I'd hate to see a fine show that is struggling in the ratings get sunk by immature, unprofessional tantrums. We all saw (heard) what Christian Bale did on the set of the new Terminator feature film, but even that wouldn't compare to the lasting damage that childish power struggles like this can have on a television show.

For what it's worth, Panettiere ended their relationship because she wanted to spend her life partying, while Ventimiglia wanted to spend time furthering his acting career. Given Panettiere's behavior with the photogs and the rumor about her on-set antics, it's not hard to guess which one of the two is going to move up the food chain, and which one is going to fade into obscurity once Heroes goes off the air.

in Television


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