FishbowlDC TVNewser TVSpy LostRemote AgencySpy PRNewser GalleyCat SocialTimes


Lunch at Michael’s: Book Deals, Bernie Kerik and Flying Spaghetti Monsters

Intrepid “Lunch at Michael’s” reporter (and my boss) Laurel Touby is on the West Coast this week, so once again, I’m filling in (to the best of my ability).

First things first: Michael McCarty has a book deal. From today’s Publisher’s Lunch:

Restaurateur of the Michael’s restaurants in New York and Santa Monica Michael McCarty’s MICHAEL’S COOKBOOK, recipes from the restaurants and anecdotes about entertaining powerful patrons, to Karen Murgolo at Bulfinch, by Robert Barnett at Williams & Connolly (world).

Today’s rundown:

Table 1: Judy Collins and her nephew Kalin (sp?)

Table 8: New York Social Diary’s David Patrick Columbia with two guests.

Table 2 (I think it was Table 2. My diagram looks like a big Rorschach test. “What do you see when you look at the inkblot?” “Um, a cobb salad and Roger Ailes.”): CBS’s Vic Neufeld with ??

Table 5: (I think it was Table 5…) Showtime CEO Matt Blank & ??

Table 4: Simon & Schuster CEO Jack Romanos and William Morris’s Owen Laster.

Table 6: Fashion designer Dana Buchman and three guests.

Table 11: Hill & Knowlton’s Jonathan Capehart & ??

Table 17: NYC Film Commissioner Katherine Oliver and Beverly Camhe, who’s producing The Celestine Prophecy.

Table 19: Me (mb EIC Elizabeth Spiers) and ICM’s Kate Lee (a.k.a. my long-suffering and quite lovely agent. Primary topic of discussion: Alternatives to intelligent design, i.e., The Flying Spaghetti Monster theory. Also discussed: Carson Kressley’s new children’s book, You’re Different and That’s Super!, to be published by Simon & Schuster.)

Table 15: Ex-police commissioner Bernard Kerik, with uber-lawyer Joseph Tacopina (“to the defense bar what Donald Trump is to real estate“) and a guest. Kerik ordered a cheeseburger with no bun and left the fries sitting on the place. Kate and I were mysteriously gifted a cookie plate which Tacopina eyed and smirkingly asked if he could have a cookie for Kerik. Mi cookie es su cookie, we told him, but Kerik declined, offering us his fries. (Last time we did Lunch at Michael’s Men’s Fitness EIC Neal Boulton offered us his spinach. I smell a trend!)

Table 23: Daily News gossip columnist George Rush and Men’s Journal EIC Michael Caruso.

Table 29: AMI SVP of corporate communications Stu Zakim and AMI public relations coordinator Barrie Gordon.

Table 21: Moe Kaufman (who works for Barry Diller) and Allison Rosen, who works for Time Warner’s investment division.

Table 22: Access Hollywood’s Michael Lewittes and Mark (Lupker?)

Also spotted: Daily News gossip Joanna Malloy

Send corrections and additions to


Conde Nast Business?!?!

We’d make an attempt at a witty comment, but we’re speechless…

CONVERT BREAKS: __default__

We’d make an attempt at a witty comment, but we’re speechless…


August 24, 2005—Condé Nast Publications will launch a new business group, including a monthly magazine and website, it was announced today by Charles H. Townsend, President and C.E.O. of the company. The title and launch date have yet to be determined.

Joanne Lipman, deputy managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, has been named Editor-In-Chief, announced Thomas J. Wallace, Editorial Director.

“In her twenty-two years at The Journal, Joanne Lipman has proven herself to be a skilled journalist and an innovative editor,” Wallace said. “She is the perfect person to lead this new magazine.”

Joanne Lipman has been a deputy managing editor of The Wall Street Journal since 2000. She was the founder of the Weekend Journal and Personal Journal sections, and editor in chief of Weekend Journal. She also oversaw the paper’s 2002 redesign. Most recently she has been working on the development of Weekend Edition, a sixth day of The Wall Street Journal that will appear each Saturday beginning on September 17, 2005. Lipman joined the Journal in 1983 as a reporter in New York and was responsible for initiating and writing the paper’s daily advertising column in 1989. She subsequently was a news editor on The Wall Street Journal’s page one staff.

“Condé Nast is the premier magazine publishing company, and I am delighted to be joining the team,” Lipman said.

David Carey has been named President of the new business group, announced Charles H. Townsend.

“This new group fits well with the growth strategy of the company and will complement Condé Nast’s existing titles,” Townsend said. “David Carey has exceptional business acumen and great experience with magazine launches. Joanne and David will make an excellent team.”

David Carey has been Vice President and Publisher of The New Yorker since 1998. Previously, he had been founding publisher of SmartMoney, a joint venture between The Wall Street Journal and The Hearst Corporation. In 2001, Carey served as President and CEO of Gruner & Jahr’s Business Information Group. He joined Condé Nast in May of 1995 to re-launch House & Garden.

Condé Nast Publications, Inc., currently publishes eighteen magazines. It is a unit of the Advance Magazine Group, which includes Condé Nast Publications, Fairchild Publications, Parade Publications, Golf Digest Companies, and CondéNet.

Maurie Perl, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications (212) 286-5893

The Men’s Vogue demographic

A [single, straight, female] lawyer (not Rachel), over lunch today:

So I read somewhere that the Men’s Vogue target demographic was something like, ‘guys over the age of 30 with over $100,000 in annual income who were not insecure’…and I thought, ‘hey, that’s my target demographic, too!’

I smell a Sunday Styles section piece!

Mark Cuban Is a Big Baby

baby.jpgAndrew Ross Sorkin did an analysis of last week’s deal in this weekend’s Sunday Times business section, wherein he argued that Mark Cuban complaining that the sale price was too low was disingenuous given Cuban’s refusal to take the company out at a higher price than what the acquiring party, Vector, was offering. Also mentioned is potential acquirer Barington Capital Group, the CEO of which also slammed Vector’s offer despite having bid 11 cents a share less than Vector. Sorkin’s analysis, in a nutshell: How can Cuban and Barington complain about the buyout price on a shareholder value basis when they’d presumably pony up themselves if they believed the company was worth more? Do they want to help the company or do they want a more palatable exit? Sorkin thinks the latter.

Cuban, naturally, wasn’t happy with the analysis and did what people with blogs increasingly seem to be doing these days: He posted the entire email correspondence on the Internet. The suckups in the comments section (lemme guess: any of you need investors for your startups?) are slamming Sorkin, but from what I can tell, Sorkin didn’t distort or misreport a single thing Cuban said. He merely insinuated that he didn’t buy Cuban’s defense of his actions (that he only wants to help the company) and Cuban didn’t like that assessment. If anything, the email chain supports the accuracy of Sorkin’s reporting.

And if Sorkin’s wrong, there’s still plenty of time for that term sheet to fall apart. Anyone want to buy Register for more than $7.81 a share? Anyone? Anyone? (Silence… crickets chirping… tumbleweeds…)

Helpful Service Journalism: Find the Target Ads in This Week’s New Yorker

From the Chicago Sun Times:

It can only be described as the most jaw-dropping collapse of the so-called sacred wall between editorial and advertising in modern magazine history. And it happened this week — of all places — at arguably the country’s most prestigious magazine, the New Yorker…Now we can see exactly what the results of that deal are: A 90-page publication where it is almost impossible to discern any line of demarcation between Target’s advertising and the New Yorker editorial product.

And we agree. The line between advertising and editorial here is terrible confusing. Impossible to discern, really. (Impossible!)

As a service to our readers, we offer you The Fishbowl Guide to Separating the Advertising from the Editorial in This Week’s Issue of the New Yorker.

Related: How to Read Wired Magazine []

Google + NewsCorp = GoogleCorp?

Juuuust kidding. Sort of.

From the SEO blog:

In a conference call with investors and analysts, Murdoch said News Corp is in advanced discussions to acquire controlling interest in an unnamed search engine. Speculation has turned to LookSmart and Mamma.Com as reasonable targets. Class A shares of News Corp rose quickly when news of Murdoch’s plans were reported early yesterday, jumping from 16.42 to today’s close of 18.11.

From now until we get bored with it, we’re going to play a game called, “What Would Rupert Acquire?” Send your nominations/suggestions to He needs help deal-sourcing anyway, or he wouldn’t have bought MySpace. (Right? Right?)

Last Week Was More Interesting Than It Seemed [The SEO Blog]

Lunch at Michael’s: 08.10.05

Alas, your regular Wednesday lunch at Michael’s correspondent, mediabistro CEO Laurel Touby, was sadly out of town today. To compensate for her absence, we defaulted to the usual Plan B: I (mb editor in chief Elizabeth Spiers) go to Michael’s and bring back slightly inferior reportage (lunching not really being my thing, inherent misanthropy, etc.). So here’s your Wednesday lunch roundup. I’m sure I missed people, so please send corrections, additions and BRING BACK LAUREL emails to

Without further ado:

Table 7: Vogue editrix Anna Wintour and Isaac Mizrahi. Anna in red, Isaac in black.

Table 8: NBC President Jeff Zucker and Tommy Mottola. (Iiiiiiinteresting. I also noticed a piece of tomato in my salad looked strangely like Andy Lack. Coincidence?)

Table 1: Lunch party with lots of ladies. Ten or so of them. Ladies who were lunching, but not, perhaps, ladies who lunch. We weren’t sure. There were red feathered fans waiting for them in front of each place setting before they arrived, though. The last time I went to Michael’s I speculated that Court TV CEO Henry Schleiff’s pre-ordering of a cobb salad (that was waiting for him when he arrived) was some heretofore unnoticed gradation in the Lunch at Michael’s status heirarchy that was perhaps the next step up from a good table in the front of the room. This, of course, begs the question: red feather fan waiting for you when you arrive > or < cobb salad waiting for you when you arrive? And if I called at tried to pre-order a red feathered cobb salad, would they seat me in the very back of the back of the back room? At any rate, if anyone knows who the ladies at lunch were, do share.

Table 2: MTV President Christina Norman with ??

Table 4: Initially, PR guru Howard Rubenstein with ?? Rubenstein left and was replaced by the Observer’s George Gurley, PR guy Richard Valvo, a lovely young woman who was introduced to me but whose name I didn’t catch (and UPDATE: who another lunchee IDed as possibly Wafeh Bin Laden, and if Google Images is to be believed, was in fact her), and a running tape recorder. George?

Table B: Men’s Fitness editor in chief Neal Boulton, AMI SVP of corporate communications Stu Zakim and Women’s Wear Daily’s Jeff Bercovici. Neal offered me his spinach. For once media-industry-as-third-grade-playground analogy has a positive ring to it: we’ve learned how to share with others.

Table 16: New York Post media reporter Keith Kelly (who recommends that you read Seth Mnookin’s book, Hard News, by the way) with Domino editor in chief Deborah Needleman and ??

Table 19: Me (mediabistro EIC Elizabeth Spiers) and Vintage Books Publicity Manager Sloane Crosley. [Sloane: "I think Anna Wintour is judging my pants...(pause. silence)...They're Theory."]

Table 26: My ex-colleague and New York magazine communications director Serena Torrey with Steve Rubenstein.

Table 17: Peter Price, flipping through an issue of the somewhat Avenue-esque Gotham magazine, until his guest (?) arrived.

Table 11: Media Village’s Jack Meyers and Cheyenne Group CEO Pat Mastandrea

Table 15: Seated so close we could have reached over and snatched his copy of the Observer, Senior Vice President and Executive Editor of HarperCollins Publishers David Hirshey with CBS’s Gil Schwartz, a.k.a., “Mr. Bing.”

Also present, but didn’t spot where she was seated: Martha Stewart CEO Susan Lyne


Dear Walter: Sorry We Haven’t Written in a While

Questions for Novak [FishbowlDC]

Headlines Less Flattering Than They First Appear: “Is Eric Alterman the New Carl Bernstein?”

eric-alterman.jpgWhen I was still doing party reporting, I used to go to a lot of movie premieres. If movie premieres have permanent seating charts, they’re always the same: Row X = Hollywood celebrity, Hollywood celebrity, Hollywood celebrity, Hollywood celebrity, Hollywood celebrity, Hollywood celebrity, Hollywood celebrity, Eric Alterman, Hollywood celebrity, Hollywood celebrity, Hollywood celebrity, Hollywood celebrity. In fact, the last few times I’ve seen Alterman out socially it’s either been at a celebrity-infested function or an event hosted by Tina Brown. (But I suppose that’s redundant.)

All of which begs the question: are the celebrities required to have master’s degrees in American History to interact with Alterman? Or are the intellectual requirements inversely proporational to the status of the celebrity in question? (For instance: Could Madonna get away with only having written a ninth grade book report on Democracy in America while Andy Dick needs to have written a 763-page dissertation on Marxist sublimations in 19th Century West Virginian Shaker eschatology?)

Related: The inexplicable NNDB classifies Alterman’s “Level of Fame” as “Somewhat.”

You’re Not Good Enough to Fetch Eric Alterman’s Dry Cleaning [Gawker]

The Magazine Will Now Be Called Help Wanted

jane.jpgJane editor and magazine namesake Jane Pratt is stepping down. (We’re resisting the temptation to insinuate that Paris Hilton on the cover was the last straw.) Full memo after the jump.


Contact: Andrea Kaplan (212) 630-4865 or (917) 836-2741


Successor Will Be Named Shortly

New York, July 25, 2005—Jane Pratt, founder and editor-in-chief of Jane magazine who launched the magazine with Fairchild Publications in 1997, today said that she will be stepping down, effective September 30th, 2005. The announcement was made jointly today by Mary G. Berner, president and CEO of Fairchild and Patrick McCarthy, chairman and editorial director. Her successor will be named shortly.

Read more