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Posts Tagged ‘Alan Patricof’

A Regis & Kathie Lee Reunion, Plus Harold Ford Jr., Carl Bernstein and Star Jones

1003_mockup.gifI love it when Michael’s is firing on all cyclinders. After a nasty bug kept me away from 55th Street last week, it was good to see the dining room jam packed with celebs of all stripes. Everywhere you looked there was a famous face — Kathie Lee Giffordwas first on the scene and did double duty. She had a glass of wine at the bar with Eduardo Verastegui and then joined the party celebrating Charlene Nederlander‘s birthday in the dining room. Between bites, she caught up with her former co-host  Regis Philbin, who was today’s most popular celeb among the high-wattage crowd and was nice enough to pose for a whole lot of pictures.

While waiting for my lunch date, I chatted with my Greenwich neighbor Kathie Lee about her kids (son Cody Gifford is graduating from USC Film School and Cassidy Gifford is graduating from high school). We both agreed that kids today are under more pressure than ever before and are being buried under mountains of homework (my first grader gets an hour’s worth every night). Kathie Lee told me her honor student daughter has passed up numerous opportunities to pursue her love of acting in order to keep her grades up in school.  But Kathie Lee has always made a practice of taking her kids out of school when there was an opportunity to experience something not found in books.  “I think that’s so important for kids. Some of the most important things I learned as a child I learned outside the classroom.  We’re not letting kids be kids.” I couldn’t agree more.

When Kathie Lee went off to join her pals, I watched the dining room fill up with plenty of boldface names, including Harold Ford Jr., Star Jones and late arrival Carl Bernstein. I grabbed Harold before he sat down to lunch to ask him what he thought of the heat the president is getting from his opponents for his secret trip to Afghanistan on the anniversary of the killing of Bin Laden. “I think the race will pivot on the issues of the economy and jobs,” he told me. “But I’m all for defining what the ten year plan with Afghanistan will be. If there’s one thing that both republicans and democrats agree on it’s getting out of Afghanistan. If the media wants to blow up one issue, that should be it.”

Eduardo Verastegui, Kathie Lee Gifford and Regis Philbin
Eduardo Verastegui, Kathie Lee Gifford and Regis Philbin

I was joined today by Bernard Clair, one of Manhattan’s most sought after divorce lawyers among the one percenters. Bernard grew up on Long Island, attended Adelphi University on an athletic scholarship, and graduated from St. John’s University School of Law. Bernard and his law partner penned what came to be regarded as the definitive book on the legal issues facing couples who decide to live together, Love Pact.  In a bit of fortuitous timing,  Bernard met famed matrimonial attorney Marvin Mitchelson whose claim to fame at that moment was creating ‘palimony’ and found himself handling the Mitchelson’s New York based cases by the ripe old age of 30.   Bernard, who has consistently been named one of the city’s “Best Lawyers” by New York magazine, has handled plenty of headline-making cases, representingCarolyne Roehm, Georgette Mosbacher and Jocelyn Wildenstein (aka The Cat Lady) when their marriages imploded.

There’s been so much talk about celebrity hookups and uncouplings lately that I hardly knew where to start, so I decided to jump in with deconstructing the upcoming Brangelina nuptials. “I’m sure there’s a 500-page pre-nup,” Bernard speculated, ”which makes sense when there’s 1,200 kids in the mix. I have no doubt in the world that the timing for the wedding will depend on when the prenup is executed.” On the Kim Kardashian-Kris Humphries 72-day publicity stunt wedding, Bernard offered this: “She’s not necessarily upset it’s being held up because of his claim of fraud that he was bamboozled. It’s keeping her name in the papers.” As for the hapless basketballer’s hopes of getting his $2 million ring back, he can forget it. “You never get the engagement ring back.” Oh, well. Better luck next time.

In this 24-7 media age, there are a whole new set of issues when it comes to celebrity divorces, Bernard told me. Namely, the unwanted attention these cases draw to the children of high-powered couples. “Most courtrooms are open to the public. The idea is Jeffersonian, but divorce law was not part of Thomas Jefferson’s ideals. Today, the open courtroom brings kids into the fray, because the media covers every aspect of these cases and that includes kids. Everything is grist for the mill.” Bernard’s suggestion for a legal remedy: “I think we should revisit the idea of closed courtrooms for the most contentious divorce cases.”

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Rick Fox, Arianna Huffington and a Real Housewife of New York City

1003_mockup.gif— DIANE CLEHANE

It was SRO at Michael’s today with movers and shakers jammed into every corner. I was so glad I got there early and was able to chat with Rick Fox and his girlfriend Eliza Dushku (who we loved on Buffy the Vampire Slayer) when they arrived at the stroke of noon. Having watched the former LA Laker morph into a serious ballroom dancer during his stint on Dancing With the Stars, I just had to ask him if he’d kept up with his smooth moves. “No I haven’t,” he told me with a laugh. “I guess I need to call [professional partner Cheryl Burke] if I ever need to do that again.”

Rick said he was in town for Internet Week to promote Off Season, a podcast production he is working on with Michael Eisner as producer. “It’s great and that’s where the future seems to be. I’m having a lot of fun with it.” As for Eliza, who is truly stunning in person, she’s in town to film an episode of  White Collar. When asked if she is playing a good girl or femme fatale on the USA Network series, she demurred. “A little of both, I think.” With that, the dazzling couple sailed off to take their place at their table in the center of the room.

I was lunching today with Myrna Blyth, editor-in-chief of thirdage.com, the longest-running site devoted to female baby boomers. Ever since Web entrepreneur Josh Speyer bought the site in 2010 and brought Myrna, who was once the guiding force of Ladies Home Journal and More, on board, over two million visitors have been flocking to the site for everything from boomer celebrity news to the latest health breakthroughs. While magazines seem to shun the 50-plus crowd, which Myrna thinks is a “big mistake,” thirdage is welcoming ‘women of a certain age’ who have have real buying power and who want talk  — and talk — about what matters to them online. “I think it’s wonderful to give such a powerful group the voice they deserve,” says Myrna. “Thirdage is for the woman who wasn’t born yesterday and wants to make the most of today.”

Here’s the rundown on todays’ crowd:

1.  Fidelis Global’s Gerry Byrne and Hollywoodlife.com‘s Bonnie Fuller, presiding over their second monthly “Influencers” lunch. The table was so jam packed that we could barely make out all the attendees, but we were able to spot Cosmo editrix Kate White; Neil Vogel, co-founder of the Webby Awards; Cablevision’s Tad Smith; Real Housewife LuAnn de Lesseps (that’s Countess de Lesseps to you!); Veronika Ward of MediaCom Interaction; Estee Lauder’s Marisa Thalberg; MMC’s chief revenue officer Aly Racer; and WNBC-TV’s Jane Hanson.

2. Michael Holtzman

3. Alan Grubman and NBC’s Richard Engel

4. Michael Fuchs and producer Jean Doumanian

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The Paley Center for Media Launches ‘Next Big Thing’ Event Series for Tech Startups and Media Companies

The Paley Center for Media has announced the launch of The Next Big Thing, a quarterly event where tech-savvy entrepreneurs can pitch their business plans to investors and help shape the future of news. A new spin on the organization’s mission to celebrate media industry movers and shakers, the inaugural event will take place at the Paley Center in New York City in January 2011 with sponsorship from Velociter, the strategic investment arm of Mediabrands.  Get your pitches together, because the Paley Center is bringing the media, entertainment, and technology communities in one space to talk about the next big thing.  From the press release:

In consultation with About.com founder and Paley Center trustee Scott Kurnit, the Paley Center has convened a Next Big Thing advisory board to help identify startups and curate the sessions. The advisory board will be chaired by Kurnit and include Tim Hanlon, CEO and managing director, Velociter; Wendy Clark, SVP, Integrated Marketing and Communications Capabilities, Coca-Cola; Kay Koplovitz, Paley Center board member and founder and CEO, Koplovitz & Co.; Alan Patricof, founder and managing director, Greycroft LLC; Clay Shirky, author and associate professor, NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program; angel investor Yossi Vardi; and Fred Wilson, managing partner, Flatiron Partners and Union Square Ventures.

“By enabling this kind of exchange of ideas and experience between the new and the established, the Next Big Thing series could have a direct impact on innovation and growth across the media industry,” said Mr. Kurnit, CEO of AdKeeper, Inc. in a statement.  ”Startups get access to high-level executives and the wisdom of their collective experience while media executives and investors get a closed-door look at new ideas and new talent from the digital world.”

The gatherings are invitation-only, so interested parties should consider joining the Paley Center’s Media Council.

News Corp.’s Carey: Consistency For Pay Walls Is Key

carey.jpgWhen Chase Carey speaks, the media world listens. And rightfully so. As Rupert Murdoch‘s number two, News Corp.‘s COO’s opinions do have a certain amount of clout.

This morning, at the Media and Money Conference, hosted by Nielsen and Dow Jones, Carey spoke about a number of topics — from Comcast seeking majority ownership of NBC Universal to the future of network television to pay walls for online journalism.

Carey said he thought the NBCU deal “makes sense for Comcast,” adding that it is a “pretty smartly structured deal” for the company. He also seemed pretty excited about the fact that the deal would test the regulatory waters under the new administration, perhaps setting the stage for or heading off other deals in the future. “These are uncharted waters with major issues with two big companies,” he said.

Carey seemed positive that the major players involved would be left with “regulatory baggage” after the deal was completed, although he doubted any assets would have to be sold.

As for pay walls, which News Corp.-owned Wall Street Journal has excelled at and Murdoch has pushed to extend across all his brands, Carey emphasized consistency. He said he was interested in “creating a great experience around content itself,” adding that people will pay for value and a good experience. “Quality journalism has value,” he said.

Later, when a reporter quizzed him about Murdoch’s plans to take his sites off Google and the Journal‘s leaky wall, Carey said he wanted the pay wall to remain consistent — if only subscribers can access certain content on WSJ.com, then others shouldn’t get it for free. But, there is some content you can get for free on the site, Carey pointed out. He didn’t outline any plans for creating the consistency he championed.

More from the Media and Money Conference, after the jump

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