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Posts Tagged ‘Jonathan Alter’

Star Jones, Donny Deutsch and the Skinny on Wacoal’s Sexy New Ad Campaign

LunchAtMichaelsAs Wednesdays at Michael’s go, it was a relatively quiet scene at 55th and Fifth today, but the joint was still jam packed with the usual suspects doing their power lunch thing. You know who they are by now, but your intrepid Lunch columnist is here to serve: Star Jones and Donny Deutsch represented the talking head contingent, while Jeff Greenfield and Jerry Della Femina held court at their usual table (6) with pals Dr. Gerald Imber and Michael Kramer (the boys have been meeting for their weekly lunches for decades!) There was also the requisite representation of PR mavens, including Hearst’s Deb Shriver, Susan Blond and Lisa Linden in attendance. Perhaps all the celebs were saving their strength for tonight’s offerings at The Tribeca Film Festival.

Susan Malinowski, Diane Clehane and Leslie Stevens

Susan Malinowski, Diane Clehane and Leslie Stevens

If you ask me, our table was having the most fun because I was joined by two of my favorite Gotham power gals Leslie Stevens and Susan Malinowski. We’ve known each other since preschool (not really, but you get the picture) and our paths have crossed in interesting ways throughout the years through various jobs and clients. Back in the day, Susan, now vice president of marketing at Wacoal America, was my boss at Danskin-Pennaco Hosiery. Leslie, who helms her own PR firm, LaForce + Stevens, with partner James LaForce, worked with us as a consultant. Today, Susan is shaking things up at Wacoal America and Leslie’s agency is handling spreading all the big news about what’s happening with the brand. Read more

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Manhattan’s A-List Turns Out for Harvey Weinstein’s Giants Pep Rally

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I’ve been covering  Wednesday’s at Michael’s for five years and have never seen anything like the head-spinning scene that unfolded there today. Harvey Weinstein and Steve Tisch threw a pep rally to end all pep rallies, and the media A-list all came out to cheer on their favorite team. Peggy Siegal and her minions descended on the place before the crowd rushed in with plenty of New York Giants paraphernalia, transforming the California cool decor into an indoor tailgate party.

By noon, I counted at least a dozen paparazzi staked out at the entrance, and they certainly weren’t disappointed. Drew Nieporent was the first to arrive (“What’s for lunch?”), and in short order the lounge was flooded with famous folks, including Brian Williams, Gayle King, Piers Morgan, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb (wearing newly identical red dresses and looking fabulous), former governor George Pataki, Matt Lauer and various members of the Tisch family.

Katie Couric and Harvey Weinstein
Katie Couric and Harvey Weinstein

Everyone’s mind was on the big game; conventional wisdom says the Giants will be this year’s Super Bowl champs, but it’s going to be a close one.  (All except Jerry Della Femina, who predicts the Patriots will take it 27-24.) “I think it’s going to be a squeaker,” offered Andrew Ross Sorkin. “At least I hope so because it will be a better game.”

Not surprisingly, Giants legend Frank Gifford, who will be watching the game from his home in Greenwich with family and friends, predicts a 30-10 win for his former team. “Eli Manning has really come into his own as a quarterback,” he told me. “But a quarterback is only as good as his team. They’re a great team. If you were playing for the Giants, you’d be a great quarterback.” Doubtful, but we appreciate the sentiment. Brian Williams, who’ll be going to the game, refused to speculate on the final score for fear of tempting the gods. ”You just don’t do that,” he told me.

Diane Clehane and Brian Williams
Diane Clehane and Brian Williams (Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris)

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Jonathan Alter Heads to Bloomberg View

What Bloomberg wants, Bloomberg gets. When Jonathan Alter left his position at Newsweek on Monday, he left us wondering what his next move would be, and now we know: He’s contributing to Bloomberg News and will be a part of Bloomberg View when it launches in May.

Keith Kelly says that Alter had actually been with Bloomberg since February, putting together pieces for Bloomberg News and freelancing for Newsweek/The Daily Beast. According to a Bloomberg Spokesperson, Alter will be writing a weekly column for Bloomberg View once it’s up and running.

Jonathan Alter Exits Newsweek

Politico is reporting that Jonathan Alter has left Newsweek after 28 years. He apparently sent an email to contacts over the weekend explaining, “With changes afoot, my old Newsweek email addresses are now defunct,” and a spokesperson for Newsweek has confirmed that Alter has resigned.

Alter is currently a contributor to Bloomberg Businessweek, NBC News, has appeared on MSNBC and CNBC, and has published several books.

As of right now there is no word on why he left Newsweek.

UPDATE:

The Cutline caught up with Alter on his reasons for leaving, which include more books and an unnamed “daily job.”

Desiree Rogers, Kathie Lee Gifford & The Millionaire Matchmaker Meltdown

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— DIANE CLEHANE

There were plenty of movers, shakers and deal makers at Michael’s today to keep things interesting, but a little birdie told me the media A-list was also out in force yesterday. So, as a public service to Lunch’s faithful readers, here’s who was there on Tuesday: Matt Lauer with Jack Welch, Page Six’s new editor Emily Smith and publicist Peggy Siegal presiding over one of her legendary lunches with Ed Zwick, Jean Doumanian, Meryl Poster, Jonathan Alter, Jodi Applegate and Lori Singer (Yes, the one from Footloose!).

With that bit of news out of the way, I can tell you that I was intrigued by all the networking I saw today. It was a little more overt than usual — and that’s saying something. However, some folks, like my Greenwich neighbor Kathie Lee Gifford (looking better than ever, by the way), just come to this quiet little spot to relax with friends. I asked Kathie what she thought of co-host Hoda Kotb‘s new book, Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair and Kathie Lee, and she told me, “I’m so happy for her! She has been working so hard. Tonight she finds out if she made it on to the Times‘ best seller list, and these days that takes a lot.” We wouldn’t bet against her.

But not all the action was happening in the dining room. We spotted Patti Stanger of Bravo’s Millionaire Matchmaker pacing outside of Michael’s front window, screaming into her cellphone, stomping her feet and dropping f-bombs like there was no tomorrow. I have no idea who was on the receiving end of the ear-splitting call, but I can tell you it wasn’t exactly a love connection.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Lord and Lady Rothschild in from across the pond. Tally ho!

2.  Joan Jakobson, Pamela Fiori and Thomas P. Farley, a young curly haired gent we initially didn’t recognize but now know as the host of the web TV show New York Insider. (Nice to meet you, Thomas!)

3. Kathie Lee Gifford, sipping a white wine spritzer with Patricia Kluge and two well-heeled gal pals.

4. Stephen Swid

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Jonathan Alter’s LA Book Party

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On Friday the fanboy-worthy columnist/author Jonathan Alter had a party hosted by Arianna Huffington in Brentwood for his new book, “The Promise: President Obama, Year One.”

Spotted in the crowd of notable LA literates were Waiting for Guffman‘s Catherine O’Hara, Star Trek‘s Evan English, host of SoCal Connected Val Zavala and author Sandra Tsing Loh.

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American Lion: Jon Meacham’s Book Party and a Whole Lot of Presidential Trivia

meachbk.jpgLast night’s book party celebrating the publication of Newsweek head Jon Meacham‘s new book about Andrew Jackson, American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House, certainly attracted some big names (and presidential trivia buffs it turns out). Spotted by FBNY in the crowd of revelers at Newsweek‘s offices overlooking Columbus Circle (which was more or less shut down last night by Prop 8 protesters) were Brian Williams, Tom Wolfe, Liz Smith, Maria Bartiromo, Tammy Haddad, Jon Meacham (obviously), Jonathan Alter, Rachel Sklar, Richard Cohen, and a whole slew of other important looking people we couldn’t quite place. Not surprisingly much of the talk revolved around the recent election, which led us to wonder a) why a book about Jackson now? And b) who was everyone else’s favorite president. First of all, it turns out that Jackson is not Meacham’s favorite president, FDR is. Meacham told us he chose to focus on Jackson because of the early 19th century presidents Jackson is most similar to our modern day ones in both his strengths and his flaws. One of Meacham’s researchers, Louisa Thomas (also a Vogue and Newsweek contributor), told us she thought the interest stemmed from the fact that both Meacham and Jackson hailed from Tennessee. (Truth be told when we were kids Jackson was our favorite president because he was the best-looking one on the money, which Tammy Haddad thought was hysterical. This affinity lasted right up until we read about the Indian removal).

tammymaria.jpgBrian Williams told us his favorite president was also FDR but that Lyndon Johnson held a special place in his heart (apparently BriWi has listened to more than 600 hours of Johnson phone conversations). Other tidbits you may not be aware of: according to BriWi Johnson was actually the one who had the phone wires installed in the White House (thereby contributing in his own way to Nixon’s demise), apparently there is a photo somewhere of Nixon and Johnson crawling around the residence as Johnson explains how it all works. Also? Woodrow Wilson is the most overrated and Americans love to forgive their presidents (i.e. Truman) so perhaps Bush still has a shot at the history books. There’s more! Tom Wolfe responded to our question by apologizing for having such an obvious pick.

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Election Day ’08: Where to Watch Online

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The New York Observer has put together a comprehensive guide to watching the returns online including links.

The Washington Post is anchoring live Election Day video on tonight beginning at 6 pm ET, which will combine the Post‘s and Newsweek‘s political teams including: Chris Cillizza, Jon Meacham, Dana Priest, E.J. Dionne, Len Downie, Dana Milbank, and Jonathan Alter. Users will also be able to interact with guests during the show through a live discussion platform below the video screen.

Finally, our very own TVNewser will be liveblogging all the election coverage tonight and if you’re not already following FishbowlDC‘s Twitter you definitely should start.

Lunch: Politics As Usual

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— DIANE CLEHANE

Timing is everything. Just ask Hillary Clinton. If we’d come a day earlier we would have dined with Karl Rove. (Well, okay, we’d have been in the same room.) Our spy says the sight of ‘Bush’s brain’-turned-Fox commentator at table five had the joint buzzing (or was it hissing?). In any event, politics were still very much front and center today. My pal producer Beverly Camhe introduced me to Patricia Duff who had just yesterday hosted a lunch at the Friar’s Club with Paul Begala for her political think tank, The Common Good. According to Beverly, who says joining Patricia’s group has been “life-changing,” Paul told the crowd that he’s all but certain Barack Obama will win the Democratic nomination. Since Paul is a Hillary supporter his prediction carries some heft. Patricia, who has also hosted Henry Kissinger and economic advisor Robert Hormats, is sure to have more heavy hitters hold forth on all things presidential in the coming months. Check it out yourself. After all, you can’t spend all your free time watching Gossip Girl no matter what New York says

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Kathie Lee Gifford, Hoda Kotb, Eduardo Verastegui, Sean Wolfington and his lovely wife Ana, Kathie Lee’s right-hand gal Christine Gardiner and my new pal Today show producer Brian Balthazar. Seems those new BFFs Kathie Lee and Hoda have a regular Wednesday date to take in a matinee and then talk about it on Today the next morning. Today the girls were off to see Crybaby. Tune in tomorrow to catch their review.

2. Nick Simunek

3. Ron Delsener and John Eastman

4. Stan Shuman with a fellow we didn’t recognize …

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Lunch at Michael’s: Presidential Politics & Brian Grazer

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— DIANE CLEHANE

The media mavens, captains of industry and money men were out in full force today where a heaping helping of presidential politics were on the menu. Mayor Joe Armstrong, fresh off his latest trip to Paul Newman‘s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp hosted one of his legendary lunches where his guests were Robert Draper, GQ writer and author of Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush (Free Press), political pundit Jonathan Alter (who deconstructed FDR’s first 100 days in his book, The Defining Moment) and Joan Ganz Cooney. “There are some explosive things in Robert’s book!” says Joe. No doubt. On the other side of the aisle, I learned a fun fact about Estee Lauder’s Sally Susman who stopped to chat with me at the bar. Before she became a beauty bigwig she worked at the White House. Which one? I asked. “The only one,” she quipped. “The Clinton White House!” Of course. Coincidently, Sally was lunching with another Clinton alum, Internet exec. Margo Spiritus, who now toils as Pingg Interactive’s vice president of marketing. Turns out 55th & Fifth is a must-stop on the campaign trial. Are you listening Hillary & Barack?

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Mayor Joe Armstrong and the gang.

2. Gerry Byrne.

3. Terry Allen Kramer and her son, who, we hear, made the scene at the US Open this weekend.

4. Viacom’s Philippe Dauman.

5. 60 MinutesSteve Croft, Brian Grazer (thanks to his distinctive ‘do we spotted him immediately) and a fetching mystery gal. We wanted to ask Brian about the upcoming season of 24 which, we’re told, has Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) matching wits with the first female president. But since he kept his back to the room throughout lunch, we abstained.

6. Luke Janklow (loved the charming photos of your family at home in this month’s Vogue!), Michael Soloman and designer Liz Lange.

7. An exec. from Satellite Radio XM, so we’re told…

8. George Leeds and Estee Lauder’s Lew Rice.

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