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Back to Business With Walter Isaacson, Joe Kernen and Time Inc.’s CEO

LunchAtMichaelsWe’re back! The power lunch crowd eased back into the swing of things with a fairly low key, celeb-free scene at Michael’s today. While there were plenty of head honchos filling out the dining room (Time Inc’s CEO Joe Ripp, NBCU’s Lauren Zalaznick and Discovery ID’s Henry Schleiff), there was a  touch of post-Labor Day letdown in the air (Where did the summer go?), but no matter — it’s time to get back to business.

I was joined today by Newell Turner, editorial director of Hearst Design Group and EIC of House Beautiful, Shax Riegler (don’t you just love that name?) House Beautiful’s executive editor and Hearst Magazines’ PR guru Michael McGraw. I don’t mind telling you that our table was one of the more lively spots in the dining room as we dished about our favorite show (Is Paul Giamatti really going to play the love interest of Lady Mary on Downton Abbey? Did Dan Stevens commit career suicide? ), pondered how people could possibly enjoy their vacations when they spend all their time posting photos from their holidays on Instagram and agreed Bravo needs to devote less PR oxygen to Housewives and give more attention to Property Envy which features one of my favorite designers, Mary McDonald. It’s like Fashion Police for the real estate-obsessed. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

Shax Riegler, Diane Clehane and Newell Turner

Having decided those important issues, we settled in for an interesting chat about the exciting things House Beautiful has in store this fall. Between bites of salad nicoise, Newell (who looked dashing in his Ralph Lauren linen suit), told me all about his plans for a new series of “pop up” editors who collaborated with him on a series of issues beginning in October. He told me the idea came about when he and the magazine’s Editor-at-Large, Chesie Breen “were stuck in the airport in Barbados” and were “killing time over a glass of rose.” Nice work if you can get it.

Right there on the spot, Newell decided on bringing in a series of guest editors christened “pop up editors” who could create issues that had a “curated, one-of-kind feeling” bringing their particular interest and expertise into the mix. His first order of business once he was back in New York was to “sell it to my bosses (at Hearst) and tell them that everything we did would communicate House Beautiful.” To do so, “We eased into it with Chesie as our first pop up editor,” explained Newell. “Which was great because she was already part of our world.” Still, he was interested in bringing a fresh perspective (“We get so insulated”) and started off by asking each pop up editor to “bring everything to the table.”

Chesie’s pop-up in October highlights Americans’ homes abroad in the magazine’s Global Style issue. “That’s really the way Americans are living now, even if they aren’t well-traveled, people want homes that look like they are,” says Newell. Breen showcases a gorgeous 19th century London townhouse decorated by Rob Southern as well as fabulous homes in Italy, Norway and France. You can’t get this stuff at HomeGoods. Believe me, I’ve tried. “American design is our calling card and this issue combines the best European traditions with American style,” says Newell. And, he tells me, there’s going to be a swanky party at Asprey in October to celebrate the issue. See you there!

Also in October: Designer Visions, Hearst’s annual decorator showhouse that will have its opening night invite-only gala at Walker Tower downtown. The showhouse features the work of Jamie Drake for House Beautiful, Alessandra Branca for Elle Decor and Carlos Aparicio for Veranda. There’s a full slate of VIP invite-only events held in the luxe locale through the end of the year.

In November, interior design industry legend Charlotte Moss puts her own imprint on the entertaining themed issue, “The Arts of Living” with special sections on home fragrance, books, music and wine. “She connects with such a broad spectrum of our audience and is so well known and respected in the industry it was a no-brainer,” enthused Newell. “She has done so many amazing things in her career and is now really focused on ‘giving-back’ and mentoring, so I said why not ‘give-back’ here at House Beautiful?”

November also marks the introduction of original content for Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest to go along with the magazine’s enhanced tablet edition which debuted with the September issue. ”It’s the first step in treating all the platforms equally — not just putting up a regurgitation of what’s in the magazine,” says Newell. Shax worked closely with the pop up editors to create original content for all platforms that highlights the editors’ passions. “Each one latched on to different things which made it really exciting,” he told me. “With Charlotte, who loves historic homes, we had unlimited access to Monticello and were able to create some amazing content including great video that goes beyond what readers can see in the issue.”

Newell’s idea to spotlight the ideas and curated content of a select group of designers seems particularly inspired in this celeb-obsessed age. “I really believe that interior designers are the next group of celebrities,” he says. “We’ve had models, we’ve had celebrity chefs, designers really haven’t gotten their due. The time has come now that they are branding themselves.”

Why not? Everyone else has.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Greater Talent Networks’ Don Epstein with New York Knicks’ coach Mike Woodson

2. Peter Brown

3. NBC Universal EVP Lauren Zalaznick and Clear Channel’s John Sykes

4. CNBC’s Joe Kernen and billionaire hedgie Mark Lasri

5. Allen & Co.’s Stan Shuman

6. All in the family: Ken Lieberman (Kim McCarty’s dad) and Rosemary Lieberman with Chaz McCarty (Michael McCarty and Kim’s daughter)

7. Newell Turner, Shax Riegler, Michael McGraw and yours truly

8. Howard Marks

9. Digital Place-based Advertising Association CEO Barry Frey

11. Journo Dorothy Kalins

12. CBS’ David Poltrack

14. Investigation Discovery president and GM head Henry Schleiff and Nicole Lapin

15. Would love to have been a fly on the wall at this table: Time Inc.’s new CEO Joseph Ripp and Walter Issacson

16. PR power gal Christine Taylor

81. CBS’ Margery Baker and attorney and CBS legal analyst Rikki Klieman (Mrs. Bill Bratton, in case you didn’t know)

17. East West Institue’s Eden Collinsworth

18. First seating: Mitch Kanner of 2 Degrees Venture; Act two: producer Beverly Camhe

20. Producer Joan Gelman who is out early with her newest political button — “Hillary Sweet ’16!” –and agent Lynn Goldberg

21. Peter Price

23. Glenn Horowitz

24. Cosmetic World/Beauty Fashion’s CEO George Ledes

25. PR maestro Tom Goodman

26. Warner Music Group’s Dave Johnson

27. Marty Pompadur

28. Jay Furman

29.Tech guru Shelly Palmer

Please send comments and corrections to LUNCH at MEDIABISTRO dot COM.

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