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Lunch: Kathie Lee Gifford and Friends Grab a Bite Before Broadway

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— DIANE CLEHANE

It’s nice to see there are still plenty of writers who can afford to eat at swanky restaurants these days. Today, the dining room at Michael’s was brimming with scribes of every stripe and their fabulous friends. I was heartened to hear from a handful of fellow scribes that they’ve got lots of new projects in the works. Good news indeed!

As usual, there were also plenty of famous faces to liven things up. Kathie Lee Gifford was first to arrive with her pal Sunny Lucani. Despite the frigid temps outside, the Today show host was rocking open-toed Gucci heels (without hosiery, of course) and a jade sleeveless sheath. “I’m always hot!” she joked. I just had to compliment the seemingly ageless morning show vet on her longer, blonder locks. “The same woman (Jacquie Poldoro) has been coming to my house for years to do my nails and hair,” she told me. That’s quite a house call. As she does every Wednesday, Kathie Lee was having an early lunch before heading off to see a Broadway show with friends. (Her co-host and fellow Michael’s regular, Hoda Kotb, dished about their girls’ nights and meeting Kathie Lee’s mom in an interview with us last year.) This week, the gals were going to check out David Mamet ‘s Race. Kathie Lee tells me the hands down favorite of the season so far has been A Little Night Music with Angela Lansbury (“She’s incandescent!”) and Catherine Zeta Jones. “It was just fabulous!” We’re getting our tickets this week.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong, enjoying a friendly lunch with pals, including author Chris Buckley, Jean Halberstam, Michael Clurman, and Sharon Hoge.

2. Patrick Murphy, Joan Jakobson, and Betsy Gottbaum

3. Kathie Lee Gifford with Today show co-host Hoda Kotb and pal Sunny Lucani

4. Barry Diller and a bespectacled gent we didn’t recognize


5. Allen & Company’s Stan Shuman, who was nice enough to introduce me to his lovely wife, Sydney.

6. A table full of stunning gals, including Barbara Guggenheim

7. Sara Nelson, looking fab in head-to-toe black, with three equally chic ladies.

8. New York Social Diary’s David Patrick Columbia with Departures editor Richard David Story

9. Attorney Michael Kassan

11. The Hollywood Reporter’s Roger Friedman with my pal, writer Jill Brooke. Jill tells me she’s shopping a new radio show, The Politics of Marriage: Love & War is Never a Bore. Sounds like a winner!

12. Essence‘s Emil Wilbekin, actress Malinda Williams, and celebrity publicist BJ Coleman

14. Michael J. Wolf and a blonde gal we didn’t get to meet

15. SCS Communications’ Stephen Swid

16. United States Radio Network’s Nick Verbitsky

17. Mitch Rosenthal

18. Latecomer Cynthia McFadden breezed by us before we could get her take on how the late night talk show wars might effect Nightline.

20. Fashion Group International’s creative director Marylou Luther

21. Quest‘s Chris Meigher and Susan Duffy

22. Kammy Moalemzada and Harold Ford, Jr., who finally answered the ‘will he or won’t he?’ rumors in yesterday’s New York Post by stating that he’s “strongly considering” a run for the New York senate. I first met the former congressman a while back in this very dining room, and although our conversation was brief, I was struck by his undeniable charisma. His candidacy would surely make for a very interesting race.

23. The Early Show: Dan Wassong with my pal, attorney Suzanne Bracker. Second seating: producers Beverly Camhe and John Logigican, who, we hear, have some exciting new film projects in the works. While Bev was chatting with me at the bar, she got a call from a friend who had just gotten word that his parents were safe and sound after being in the devastating earthquake in Haiti. He learned of their whereabouts through Facebook. “Finally, social networking is paying off,” said Bev. Indeed.

24. John Steele

25. Author Ed Klein, who tells me he’s got two book proposals being shopped by his agents at the moment. Trident media’s uber agent Dan Strone is repping his non-fiction project and Robert Gottleib is handling Ed’s new work of fiction. “I haven’t written a novel since 1980 so I’m very excited,” Ed said. The details of both books are all very hush-hush until a deal is signed. Stay tuned.

26. Cosmo editrix Kate White (loved the zebra skirt!) and pals. In case you haven’t heard, Kate’s new thriller, Hush, is due out any minute.

27. Time Warner’s Ed Adler and Marketwatch’s Jon Friedman

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

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