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Lunch At Michael’s: Barry Diller, Bob Iger & The Literary Lioness Club

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— DIANE CLEHANE

For those who like their cobb salads served up with a side order of adrenaline, 55th & Fifth was the place to be today. Media moguls and literary lionesses convened their cliques for some lively conversation that kept the dining room buzzing. Esther Newberg and Anna Quindlen enjoyed lively conversation with ABC’s Lynn Scherr and Faye Wattleton in one corner, while NBA commissioner David Stern and Disney honcho Bob Iger kept a much lower profile in the back. The sighting of the power pair set tongues wagging about this morning’s New York Times story that Stern is forming a Chinese subsidiary with some help from a yet to be announced multi-media partner. Has Mickey got game? Stay tuned …

I was lunching with my good pal Chris Madden. The lifestyle maven is everywhere these days: on the cover of Your Good House (her new magazine produced in partnership with Hearst), in her charming ads for her furniture line with JCPenney and in last week’s Home section of The New York Times. The tireless Ms. Madden is celebrating her 30th year in business next Wednesday at a party at the Gramercy Park Hotel in their oh-so-chic rooftop garden. (Massive goodie bag alert!) Cathie Black, Ellen Levine, Random House’s Chip Gibson and jazz man Steve Tyrell are on the guest list. “It’s all gone by so fast!” says Chris, who started out as a publicist for Random House before breaking out on her own and parlaying her eye for all things fabulous into a far-flung empire encompassing a design business (Oprah, Katie Couric and Toni Morrison have been clients), 16 books, an eight-year run on HGTV and her ever-expanding home furnishings line. Chris has always been a believer that those who do well should do good as well and as such, spent much of last spring in Mississippi where she donated the contents of her Vermont warehouse filled with furniture to help survivors of the Hurricane Katrina rebuild their homes.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Lynn Scherr, Esther Newberg, Faye Wattleton (who left her trench coat on during lunch) and Anna Quinlan.

2. Peter Brown & Jonathan Alter.

3. Ed Rollins and a distinguished looking gent…

4. Jay Cross and Steve Greenberg.

5. A smiling (!?) Barry Diller with an unidentified guest. We’re intrigued by the fact that no one ever seems to know the name of the taciturn Mr. Diller’s lunch guests…

6. Jeff Greenfield, Jerry Della Femina, Gerry Imber and pals.

7. We’re not sure and neither was anyone else…


8. Phoebe Eaton.

9. Christy Carpenter.

10. Alexandra Trower.

11. Gerry Byrne & guest.

12. Cablevision’s Barry Frey with Larry Goodman & Tony Christopher. Glad to make your acquaintance!

14. Alice Mayhew.

15. Lew Margolis.

16. Hallmark Channel’s executive vice president David Kenin with producer Michael Yudin.

17. Jim Abernathy.

18. Lew Korman.

20. Yours truly with Chris Madden.

21. Showtime’s Stu Zakim with CableFAX‘s Amy MacLean.

22. Ed Klein, whose latest page turner, Katie: The Real Story, has lots of television insiders buzzing. Just asking: Why has the usually ubiquitous best-selling author been strangely absent from the talk show circuit? We understand why Today and The Early Show might not book him but…

23. Allan Mnuich.

24. NBA commissioner David Sternand Bob Iger.

25. We couldn’t see…

26. David Corvo.

27. Charlie Schuler.

28. David Halpern.

30. Paul Smith.

Please send comments and corrections to DianeClehane AT mediabistro Dot com and lunch at mediabistro DOT com.

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