Heath Ledger: ‘ET’ buckles under praisery protest

HeathledgerID PR mounted an impressive display of force on Wednesday in pressuring “Entertainment Tonight” and “The Insider” to drop plans to air a two-year-old homevid that purportedly showed the late Heath Ledger living in the fast lane at a party at the Chateau Marmont.

The East Coast feed of “ET’s” Wednesday telecast featured a lengthy tease for the vid and a full segment planned for tonight’s episode. Ledger’s longtime publicist at ID PR, Mara Buxbaum, went into war mode. She whipped out a letter that was emailed to the firm’s many clients as well as other praiseries, tenpercenteries and sundry other celebs urging them to flood “ET” exec producers Linda Bell Blue and Brad Bessey with calls and emails (their numbers and addresses were included in the letter) demanding that “ET” allow Ledger’s family to “grieve in peace” and to resist the ratings-driven clarion call of “shameful exploitation of the lowest kind.” Ledger, 28, was found dead in his Gotham apartment on Jan. 22.

The calls and emails must’ve flowed in fast, because by Wednesday evening, “ET” had yanked the teaser spot from the West Coast feed of Wednesday’s telecast. A show rep confirms that “ET” and “Insider” have yanked the segment entirely “out of respect for Heath Ledger’s family,” though the statement also notes that the vid in question “has been circulating in the world media.”

(Pictured above: Heath Ledger tribute segment from Sunday’s SAG Awards.)