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Lunch: Charlie Rose, Dan Abrams & The Rain-Soaked Usual Suspects

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— DIANE CLEHANE

The biblical rain kept most of the moguls and media mavens away today. So, rather than people watch, I passed the time by flipping through the latest issue of Avenue featuring an ultra-glam Katie Couric on the cover. The glossy devotes eight (!) pages to the CBS Evening News anchor and photographed her dripping in diamonds and sporting gowns by red carpet favorites Alberta Ferretti and Monique Lhuiller. Interviewed by Law & Order SVU‘s Mariska Hargitay, Katie says, “Looking sexy is not my goal when I’m at work.” Obviously, it’s a different story when she’s not sitting behind the anchor desk.

I lunched today with my longtime pal Trica Jean-Baptiste, who is the principal of her own public relations firm specializing in the travel and tourism industries. We met years ago through New York Women in Communications (NYWICI) where she served on the board. Trica brought along another NYWICI member, Ross Ellis, who works on the organization’s tireless Matrix committee. We all agreed that Brian Williams will be a fabulous host for next year’s Matrix Awards. Remember Rosie O’Donnell‘s disastrous expletive-fueled turn at hosting a few years back? We’ll never forget it — and we’ve tried. Besides working on Matrix, Ross helms the not-for-profit group, Love Our Children USA, which works to end abuse and educate families about stopping violence against children. The organization has been going strong for eleven years and Ross, who was an abused child herself, has garnered the support of an impressive roster of celebrities including Bette Midler and Elton John. Both have donated great items for the group’s online auction going on right now at charityfolks.com. (Get your bids in soon, because it ends Friday.) These days, Ross is hard at work on next year’s National Love Our Children Day which is scheduled for April 10. Mark your calendars!

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. The ‘Imber Gang’: Dr. Gerald Imber, Jerry Della Femina, Jeff Greenfield, Andy Bergman and Michael Kramer

2. Nielsen’s Gerry Byrne and Fox5′s Greg Kelly

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and HarperCollins’ publisher Jonathan Burnham. I couldn’t wait to get some dish-y morsel about Sarah Palin‘s new book Going Rogue due November 17. “What was the most surprising thing about working with her?” I asked. Jon deferred with a wry smile saying, “My lips are sealed.” I guess we’re going to have to wait for her appearance on Oprah the day before the book is released for the scoop. Here’s hoping the former governor includes a Wednesday lunch at Michael’s on her itinerary for what’s sure to be a whirlwind media tour.

4. Dan Abrams (in jeans!) and John Josephson


5. Stan Shuman and another distinguished gent

6. Former New York City Council president Andrew Stein, presiding over a table full of suits.

7. Trica Jean-Baptiste, Ross Ellis, and yours truly

8. Alice Norris didn’t have to deal with today’s messy commute because she lives right upstairs!

9. My friend Bettina Zilkha, who writes for Avenue and is a contributing editor for Elle Decor.

11. Literary lioness Esther Newberg who is rooting against the Yankees!

12. 48 Hours’ Mystery executive producer Susan Zirinsky

14. John Huey and Michael Fuchs

15. Conde Nast’s David Carey who seemed to be in a bit of a hurry.

16. Eric Rudin (Beth de Woody‘s cousin, in case you were wondering)

17. Esquire‘s publisher Kevin O’Malley

18. Enzo Viscusi with Cross Media’s Eden Colinsworth

19. Charlie Rose and a pretty young gal no one seemed to know. Charlie gets some props for being the most easygoing A-lister of the afternoon. Having scored Table One last week, the PBS host arrived without a reservation today and was happy “to sit anywhere.” See, power is where you find it.

20. Fab fashionista Mickey Ateyeh (loved the coat!)

21. Parade‘s Ira Yoffe said he’s crossing his fingers this blasted rain stops because he’s got great seats for tonight’s game.

22. Chanel’s John Galantic

23. Alan and Jamie Patricof

25. My friend Tom Goodman who was catching up with Missie Rennie. Tom tells me they worked together at CBS back in the day.

26. Catherine Saxton. We wanted to ask the longtime publicist of Ivana Trump for some juicy dish about the New Jersey nuptials of Ivanka and Jared Kushner, but she slipped out before we could chat.

27. Harper‘s Peter Kendall with, we’re told, “some people from Toyota.”

28. Christine Gordon

29. Sotheby’s Debrah Robinson

Faces in the Crowd: Coty’s Catherine Walsh, fresh off receiving her ‘Star’ award from Fashion Group International at last week’s Night of Stars. Catherine had a coterie of stars on hand that night to help her celebrate including Gwen Stefani and Eva MendesKira Semler and Vi Huse, who were in for their monthly champagne lunch at the bar. Vi tells me she’s a grandmother now. The family welcomed a bouncing baby boy, Mason, on the lucky birthday of 9-9-09. Congrats!

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

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