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Posts Tagged ‘Howard Wolfson’

Willie Geist’s Parenting Advice to Kanye West; Star Jones Celebrates a Birthday

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After the last few head-spinning Wednesdays at Michael’s kept me ricocheting between Hollywood A-listers (Meg Ryan) and tabloid targets (Rachel Uchitel), it was something of a relief to turn my attention to the restaurant’s core constituency of authors and their agents (remember books?) who have always viewed the dining room at 55th & Fifth as a de facto company cafeteria. When I arrived a few minutes before noon and overheard Tom Connor telling L’Oreal Sherman he was meeting Gretchen Young for lunch, I just had to go over and introduce myself. Gretchen was my editor at Hyperion, and we worked together on two bestsellers: I Love You, Mom! a collection of celebrity essays I edited and Objection! which I co-wrote with Nancy Grace. Like I always say, in certain circles, all roads lead to Michael’s.

Now vice president and executive editor at Grand Central Publishing, Gretchen recently signed Tom’s clients Willie Geist and his father Bill Geist to write a father-son book scheduled for publication next year to coincide with Father’s Day. When Willie (who, it should be noted, is quite the snappy dresser) arrived, I asked him if the dapper duo had ever worked together before. “Aside from some yard work, no,” he told me. The yet-to-be-titled tome does have a subtitle: Birds, Bees and Other Conversations We Never Had. “It’s not going to be one of those super earnest father-son books,” says Willie. Bill describes the book as something “born out of our experiences and what we’ve learned from each other.”

“It’s really our humorous take on things,” says Willie, which seems only fitting since his first book, the bestselling American Freak Show, was a send-up of our tabloid culture featuring imagined conversations with characters like ’President’ Sarah Palin. The upcoming title will chronicle life growing up in the Geist household through a mix of essays and interviews. “I think we’ll both write things and then bounce it off each other,” says Bill. Sounds like there’s no shortage of material. “There’s the time the Christmas presents were accidentally locked in the trunk of dad’s company car and a sledgehammer was wielded,” recalls Willie. “And then there was the summer I was sent off to what was supposed to be an idyllic summer camp in New Hampshire, and I’m not exaggerating when I say the counselors were fresh-out-of-rehab juvenile delinquents, and there were literally knife fights going on around me. We’ll basically write about what not to do.”

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Judith Miller to Join Fox News

miller.jpgSo what do you do if you’re a disgraced former investigative reporter for the national paper of record, who, in your own words, became a “lightning rod for public fury over the intelligence failures that helped lead our country to war?” You go work for Fox News of course!

Over at WaPo Howie Kurtz is reporting that Fox News has signed Judith Miller to be an on-air analyst as well as contribute to Fox’s website. Says says Fox senior vice president John Moody: “We’ve all had stories that didn’t come out exactly as we had hoped. [Ha!] It’s certainly something she’s going to be associated with for all time, and there’s not much anyone can do about that, but we want to make use of the tremendous expertise she brings on a lot of other issues.” The “for all time” bit does seem a bit overdone, but still that was a pretty fundamental screw-up. Television is the great absolver, however! Miller isn’t the only questionable hire Fox has made of late.

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Keep Your Friends Close and the National Enquirer Closer

010726_Enquirer_Bill.jpgIf Howard Wolfson is to be believed Hillary Clinton lost the nomination to Barack Obama because the press didn’t uncover the John Edwards love child story in time for all those Edwards votes to go to her. Regrets, we’ve had a few, etc. It’s a rather shaky theory especially considering that most of the Edwards voters went to Obama after he dropped out of the race. However! According to the Palm Beach Post the National Enquirer may have been doing all they could to help out Hillary (as some sort of weird retribution for all those philandering Bill stories back in ’92 maybe?).

An item in today’s Post says that “the troops at the Enquirer were instructed not to do any anti-Hillary Clinton stories during the campaign.” Really? One could argue there weren’t a lot of skeletons to be further flushed out of Hillary’s closet (Bill may be a different story) but the Post speculates that two Clinton chums — Clinton numbers man Roger Altman, who “poured $767 million” into NE‘s parent company AMI back in 1999, and the infamous Ron Burkle, who was tried to buy AMI last year — may have had more to do with it. Sometimes you get what you need.

Lunch at Michael’s: All Hail Tina Brown!

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When a little birdie told us to switch our weekly reservation from Wednesday to Thursday so as not to miss the confab of publishing powerhouses that were expected today, we did so in a heartbeat. We’re happy to report today’s crowd didn’t disappoint. Where else could you see Newsweek honcho Jon Meacham bow down to Tina Brown at Mayor Joe Armstrong‘s table, or watch a gaggle of social swans fawn over Project Runway breakout star Tim Gunn while cooling their Jimmy Choos in the lounge? The worlds of substance and style collided today at 55th & Fifth.

The results kept us so busy gawking that we barely finished our salad nicoise:

1. Mayor Joe Armstrong presiding over one of his legendary lunches with a host of truly impressive guests. Tina Brown arrived looking every inch the power blonde in black leather and was greeted with great fanfare by all including an enthusiastic hug from neighboring diner and former Condé Nast colleague Shirley Lord. We can’t wait for Tina’s new book, The Diana Chronicles, due out in June from Doubleday with an excerpt to run in Vanity Fair. Word is she breaks big news about the People’s Princess. We can’t imagine what’s left to reveal, but we’re all ears! Joe kept the conversation flowing among pals Liz Smith, Newsweek‘s Jon Meacham, ABC News producer Kathy O’Hearn, Random House’s Susan Mercandetti (who edited Bob Woodruff‘s new book, In An Instant. The ABC newsman’s tale of recovery following his near-death experience in Iraq as written mainly by his wife will debut at number one on the Times bestseller list Sunday, March 16. Couldn’t happen to nicer guy!).

Always the gentleman, Joe took time out from keeping things lively to introduce lunchtime chronicler Diane Clehane to two of his other guests, Vanity Fair correspondent Marie Brenner and Newsweek scribe Holly Peterson. We’ve been fans of Marie’s ever since she took on the tobacco industry in a piece that became the basis for The Insider. Joe teased that her upcoming expose on Guantanamo Bay for Vanity Fair will be even more explosive. We’re really intrigued by Holly’s new book, The Manny, — which earned her $1 million for the book and movie rights. (Not bad for a first timer.) The novel taps into the cultural zeitgeist by chronicling the fictional exploits of a male nanny who does more for Upper East Side yummy mummies than look after their kiddies. The sure-to-be-bestseller is also due out here in June from HarperCollins but is already selling like mad in the U.K.

2. Shirley Lord & Peter Brown.

3. Charlie Rose and Zoe Baird. The talkshow host looking more debonair than usual (the no tie look really works for you, Charlie) held Ms. Baird’s rapt attention throughout lunch — must have been a very intriguing tale …

4. ‘Entourage’ East: EMI president Charlie Walk with four black-suited young gents.

5. Herb Siegal.

6. Freddy Gershorn and Steve Swid.

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Obamagate Fallout: Is Hillary’s Communications Director On Way Out?

nyp_022207.jpgThe plot thickens in L.A. following yesterday’s Democratic campaign sludge-slinging between Camps Clinton and Obama over comments made by David Geffen in a Times article.

Now Nikki Finke reports that Hillary Clinton‘s communications director, Howard Wolfson, the one that fanned the flames yesterday. Finke says senior campaign adviser Ann Lewis, formerly White House communications director in Bill Clinton‘s administration, is already prepping for the role. It was Wolfson, of course, who “made yesterday’s major mistake: saying Geffen is Obama’s campaign finance chair when he isn’t. But then, even after Geffen and others corrected the record, Wolfson went on Chris Matthews‘ MSNBC show Hardball and not just repeated the error but compounded it.”