‘Devil’s’ handiwork

News Corp. sibs strut their stuff for fashion laffer

Forget the devil. It’s News Corp. that’s wearing “Prada.”

The conglom’s divisions have a reputation for operating quite independently, but “The Devil Wears Prada,” the Fox 2000 pic set in the slick world of Gotham fashion mags, is littered with shots of and references to the studio’s sister divisions, including the New York Post and Fox Sports’ “Best Damn Sports Show Period.”

Even Meryl Streep was thinking about the overlords. In the best inside joke in the film, her character, editirix Miranda Priestly, comments on the ink her divorces have gotten on Page Six: “Rupert Murdoch should cut me a check for all the papers I sell for him.” The line wasn’t in the script — it was ad-libbed by the thesp.

The Post was happy to return the favor: A front-page story on June 21 featured a large photo of Streep from the film accompanied by the headline “The Devil Wears Prada: We Reveal the Movie’s Multimillion- Dollar Wardrobe,” creating a free billboard for the movie at newsstands around Gotham.

“Synergy!” came the joking exclamation from director David Frankel, who found out about the cover when his father, retired N.Y. Times journo Max Frankel, called from New York. “We’re trying to make sure Mr. Murdoch gets paid for all his children.” Whatever their ethical implications, partnerships of this kind are the corporate equivalent of thigh boots: tempting but difficult to pull off.

ABC/Disney had a hard time melding minds and business models with its “Lost” book spinoff. And News Corp. has been slow to integrate MySpace into its other entertainment properties.

And for “Prada,” there’s one obvious media connection the pic isn’t touting: the real-life Vogue magazine. There are plenty of reasons to think the film is based on Vogue. The book that provided the film’s source material is by former Anna Wintour assistant Lauren Weisberger, who strews clues about like she’s tearing up her closet. Frankel’s sister even worked for the pub.

But many involved with the film are at pains to say it isn’t Vogue. Streep even says she based her character on men, not on Wintour.

Yet in one key scene, Frankel makes a, well, devilish choice of a song to play over the action.

The track? Madonna‘s “Vogue.”

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