After stepping on the bus in the middle of Times Square, a TMZ-trained tour guide — handsome, blond, amiable Australian — will ask you and the rest of the bus if you’re a huge fan of the show.You’ll clap; the rest of the bus will roar in agreement.(TMZ did not respond to multiple requests for comment.) According to these ex-employees, the sealed testimonies from the Michael Jackson molestation trial hide there as does footage of various celebrities — Bieber, Lohan, Travolta — behaving badly.The vault isn’t a secret at TMZ — even the lowest on the staff ladder have heard whispers of its existence.
Because as anyone affiliated with the site will tell you, the story of TMZ is really the story of Harvey Levin. from University of Chicago, passing the California bar in 1975. He was but one player in the larger industry that popped up around the trial and its aftermath, but he was skilled enough — and natural enough on camera — to win the role of host of the revival of The People’s Court.Reza got engaged to his longtime boyfriend Adam Neely last year, but so far, like Jennifer Aniston, no wedding.For just , you can purchase a guaranteed front-of-the-bus seat on the TMZ NYC Tour.As to what goes up on the site and what stays vaulted, that’s a finer, more esoteric calculus — and one in which celebrities and their publicists have come to live in fear.As one source explained, “There’s no doubt: [Harvey] Levin absolutely changed the way celebrities function today.”TMZ has been responsible for breaking the biggest celebrity scandals of the last 10 years: effectively ending a 30-year career (Mel Gibson), tarnishing golf’s most sacred idol (Tiger Woods), and puncturing the pristine image of celebrity royalty (Solange Knowles attacking Jay Z).The TMZ tour gives the same experience of a generic Manhattan tour — the story of Times Square, which, in the guide’s words, "isn’t just home to 1,000 illegal immigrants working as Disney characters"; a quick turn through the Meatpacking District; a view of Central Park — only punctuated with landmarks of celebrity significance, introduced with TMZ’s trademark leering tone.