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Lunch: What Recession? Michael’s Keeps Buzzing with Walter Isaacson, John Sykes & The Gang

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— DIANE CLEHANE

The power lunch lives! While budgets are being slashed all over town, if the media mavens at the top are feeling the pinch, they’re determined not to show it. For the past several weeks, I’ve noticed that Michael’s is back to its pre-Great Recession level of buzz with a packed dining room. The regulars were out in force today along with an impressive array of captains of industry who were no doubt doing a lot more than catching up with old pals.

I was lunching today with Andrew Heyward, who I got to know during his tenure as president of CBS News. Andrew is busier than ever these days consulting for a full slate of companies including Monitor Group and NBC News. I asked him how he felt when the New York Supreme Court’s appellate division threw out Dan Rather‘s $70 million lawsuit against CBS last month. “I’m gratified by the appellate court’s unanimous decision to dismiss the case,” he told me. “I hope this is an opportunity for everyone involved to move on once and for all.” Not everyone seems to share that sentiment. Dan’s lawyer, Martin Gold, told TVNewser he plans to appeal.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Producer Nick Simunek with, we’re told, a table full of showbiz types including the fellow who wrote Love At First Bite.

2. Peter Brown, Shirley Lord, and two other distinguished gentlemen we didn’t know.

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and Glamour editrix Cindi Leive. Second seating: ICM’s president Chris Silbermann.

4. Showtime’s main man Matt Blank and attorney Alan Grubman. I caught up with Matt on the way out, and we chatted about Toni Collette‘s Emmy win for The United States of Tara. I also asked about one of my favorite shows, The Tudors. Matt tells me they just wrapped production and the show promises to deliver plenty of royal drama in its final season. We’ve been hearing rumors that Showtime’s next dysfunctional dynasty to receive the star treatment will be the Borgias. We can’t wait!


5. Herb Siegel

6. Investigation Discovery’s fearless leader Henry Schleiff with his senior VP Ed Hersh and actor Richard Belzer. No one throws a party like Henry, and he’s having one this week to celebrate Paula Zahn‘s new crime news show, On the Case with Paula Zahn. See you there!

7. John Rose with Vernon Jordan‘s daughter, Vicky Adams. (Dad was in the dining room with Barbara Walters last week.)

8. Dr. Gerald Imber and Jerry Della Femina. Where was the rest of the gang?

9. Jack Myers (Happy Birthday!)

11. Dateline NBC‘s David Corvo and non-profit exec Missie Rennie were having a reunion of sorts. The two pals once worked together on CBS This Morning back in the day.

12. Author Ed Klein, with a redheaded gal we didn’t get to meet.

14. Project Playlist’s CEO John Sykes with producer Desiree Gruber

15. Michael J. Wolf — nice to finally meet you! — and Marcy Simon

16. Gail Sheehy, looking fabulous in red.

17. KPMG’s Terri Santisi

18. It’s about TIME: Walter Isaacson, the weekly’s former editor and current president of The Aspen Institute and Josh Tyrangiel, managing editor of Time.com. Josh also spoke at this year’s Aspen Ideas Festival. Isn’t it great to have friends in high places?

81. Andrew Heyward and yours truly

19. Plenty of heads swiveled as two leggy stunners made their way to this table. We recognized Crystal McCrary Anthony (and coveted her Hermes Birkin bag) but didn’t know the other gal.

20. My good pals, producer Joan Gelman and politico Robert Zimmerman

21. Attorney Ron Konecky

22. Kevin Wall

23. Richard Descherer

24. Moneyman Scott Singer and pals

25. My good friend Tom Goodman and environmental communications consultant Stuart Ross. Tom, who has to be one of the busiest PR guys in New York, is fresh off the launch of Neiman Marcus’ legendary The Christmas Book. Don’t know what to get that millionaire on your list? Look no further. The Dallas-based luxury retailer is offering plenty of over-the-top gifts including His & Hers ICON A5 sports aircrafts for $250,000, which meet FAA standards, and a customized, battery operated ‘Cupcake Car’ for $25,000. But, says Tom, there are options for the budget-conscious, too: nearly half of the featured items are under $250.

26. Joe Versace. Yes, he’s related to the fashion clan, but we’re told he toils for Microsoft.

27. Would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for this one: Viacom’s Tom Dooley with Shari Redstone.

28. Steven Haft

29. Marvel Entertainment’s Sarabeth Shrager

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

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