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Posts Tagged ‘Montel Williams’

Sigourney Weaver, Howell Raines and Barbara Walters Enjoying Semi-Retirement

LunchAtMichaelsThere are Wednesdays at Michael’s and then there are Wednesday’s at Michael’s. Today was one of those days. I could hardly keep up with the steady stream of famous faces that sailed past my table and made for some of the best people watching at 55th and Fifth in a long time. First came early arrival Montel Williamswho kept himself busy with ear buds and his phone. Next came Joy Behar (who I didn’t notice until she took off her sunglasses) and two pals who were waiting for another person to join them. A little birdie told me the mystery guest was going to be none other than Barbara Walters, so I kept an eye on the door for what seemed like forever in hopes of grabbing a quick chat with her before she made it to her table. Minutes before Barbara arrived Sigourney Weaver showed up looking absolutely ageless in Prada (and from what I could tell, next to no makeup). The Oscar nominated actress (we loved her best as Ripley!) and The New York Botanical Garden’s biggest cheerleader was clearly concerned she’d kept her guest waiting because she’d gotten stuck in traffic so she dashed by before I could utter a word to her. Drats. When Barbara, who was impeccably dressed in black and white, finally arrived, Michael’s chivalrous GM Steve Millington was waiting by the door to take her by the arm and personally escort her to her table. Let me tell you, a real hush fell over the room when the world’s most famous semi-retiree made her way into the dining room. Throughout lunch, plenty of well-wishers, both famous and “civilians,” stopped by her table to pay their respects.

Dr. Phillip Romero and Diane Clehane

Dr. Phillip Romero and Diane Clehane

After making my rounds in the dining room and having made sure Barbara, Joy and their friend had finished their lunch, I made my way over to their table. When I told Barbara that her final appearance on The View, where she was joined by what seemed like every female broadcaster who has followed in her trail-blazing footsteps, including all her View cohosts as well as Jane Pauley, Katie Couric, Deborah Norville, Connie Chung, Joan Lunden and Oprah Winfrey (who managed to score the center square in the iconic photo of the seismic sorority) was one of daytime television’s most memorable moments, she took my hand and squeezed it. “I’m so glad,” she said. “It was really something.” Even more moving, I told her, was her two-hour special that aired last Friday night, where her long-time producing partner Bill Geddie interviewed her about her amazing life and ground-breaking career. What was it like to be the subject rather than the interviewer? “Bill was terrific,” she told me. “We didn’t want to have it be ‘then she did this and then she did that’ so we did it that way. I’m glad everyone seemed to like it.” I had so many questions I wanted to ask, but didn’t want to overstay my tenuous welcome (it’s a bit of a delicate dance sometimes) so I left the trio to order dessert. No word on what Barbara has planned for the summer but in her column in The New York Post this week, Cindy Adams wrote that she and Barbara planned to travel abroad together this summer. I’d say Ms. Walters has more than earned some time off after her long good-bye.

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Bonnie Fuller, Jill Zarin and Why Jeff Greenfield Skipped This Year’s State of the Union Address

LunchAtMichaelsYou’d never know hell had officially frozen over if you’d been at Michael’s today. The forsythias were in bloom, a few intrepid media mavens were barelegged (I kid you not) and the power-lunch scene was firing on all cylinders. Unfortunately, my date was detained in the studio shooting a popular television show, but I soldiered on into Manhattan, bundled up in my long-forgotten fur coat (No judgment, thank you) that makes me look like Yogi Bear’s wife to make my appointed Wednesday rounds. And it’s a good thing I did. At Table One, Hollywoodlife.com’s Bonnie Fuller had assembled a particularly interesting roster of media types (including CNN’s Christine Romans, AOL’s Brian Balthazar , ”Mayor” Joe Armstrong and our own Chris Ariens among them) as well as the requisite reality-show refugee who, in this case, was Jill Zarin. A little birdie told me the former Real Housewives of New York City cast member is getting the Where Are They Now? treatment from none other than Oprah Winfrey for an upcoming episode. The fickle finger of fate has quite the sense of humor.

Lunch at Michaels

Meta moment: Does a power lunch at 55th and Fifth count if no one’s there to see it? I think we know the answer to that one.

Before the overflow crowd sat down to discuss Justin Bieber‘s latest contretemps and why Madonna looked like the love child of the Quaker Oats man and Mae West at the Grammys, I spent some time mingling with the crowd. Bonnie introduced me to her 23-year-old daughter Sofia Fuller who was “helping out” at today’s luncheon since Bonnie is currently without a publicist (but not for long, I suspect). Clever Sofia told me that she is “definitely” interested in a career in media and has her heart set on landing something in e-commerce.

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LA Times Ignites ‘Three Strikes’ Debate Over Murder Suspect John Wesley Ewell

Today’s big story in the LA Times is on multiple murder suspect John Wesley Ewell, and the fact that prosecutors repeatedly missed the chance to put him away for life for relatively petty crimes under California’s three strikes law. According to the story, the closest Ewell–an advocate against three strikes who once went on the “Montel Williams Show” to protest against it–ever came to violence was helping to rob a man in an alley in the 80′s, while reportedly telling him “Don’t move if you don’t want to be hurt.” The three offenses prosecutors could have used to put Ewell away for life involved defrauding Home Depot. He also deposited a stolen check for $28,000. Ewell was sentenced to 7 years in jail for the check–way more than any banker in the recent collapse of the American economy–and 32 months for the first of the Home Depot crimes. Prosecutors could have sought life in jail for those crimes under three strikes. Instead he got nearly 10 years in jail–which the Times refers to as “lenient.”

Far from embodying the severity of the justice system, Ewell benefited from its lenience over the last 16 years, according to a Times review of court records and interviews.

Ewell has a lengthy criminal history that includes two robbery convictions from the 1980s. Nevertheless, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office decided on four occasions against seeking to use the full weight of the three-strikes law when he was charged with new crimes ….

Ewell’s case is likely to fuel more debate about the practice of many California prosecutors to seek less than the maximum sentence for some three-strikers.

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Air America Media Celebrates New Web Site In Style

09.23.09 Launch Party 056.jpgIt’s not often that we find ourselves at media events eating Chinese take out in someone’s living room. But that’s exactly what we experienced Wednesday night as Air America Media celebrated the upcoming launch of its new Web site.

Newly engaged chief digital officer Michael Bassik (right), CEO Bennett Zier and chairman Charlie Kireker welcomed guests to the sprawling apartment located just north of Soho on Broadway and introduced the site’s editor-in-chief, Beau Friedlander, who talked about the venture, which the company hopes will become the homepage for progressive Democrats.

Air America’s on-air talent were also in attendance, including Ron Reagan, Lionel, Montel Williams and Ana Marie Cox. We also chatted with The Onion‘s Baratunde Thurston, blogger Maegan Carberry and Deanna Zandt. And happily, unlike one unlucky partygoer (or building resident) we avoided getting trapped in the elevator. We took the stairs.

More pictures after the jump.

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What’s Next In Multi-Platform Content: 4 Questions for Air America’s Bennett Zier

bennett.jpgNewspapers are dying, magazines are closing and more journalists are finding themselves without paying gigs every day. Everyone is wondering: what does the future hold for the media? We brought the questions to the front lines, asking leaders in the field to tell us: what’s next?

Bennett Zier, the CEO of left-leaning Air America Media, knows multi-platform content and niche branding is the key to any media company’s survival today. He is quick to wave off any definition of Air America as simply a radio network.

“We’re a progressive Web site that has its own radio network, and a radio network that has a Web site,” he said.

FishbowlNY: Speaking on a media panel last week, you said that content providers need to find a target market for their content and that they should strive to become the “est” of something. What is Air America’s “est”?

Bennett Zier: We are the most left of center-est or we’re the left-est. Air America is a very well known brand and a brand that speaks to content that is left of center and progressive for listeners, viewers and readers. From our research we know that Air America has become synonymous with progressive media.

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No One Could Have Seen This Year Coming….

Well, if anyone could have seen this year coming, it would be a professional psychic. A name psychic…like Sylvia Browne. No psychics are not just for talking to amorous schnauzers or Arubian MIAs. They can look into the future and give advice to believers and skeptics alike.

Amazing.

This is Ms. Browne on Montel Williams December 31, 2007.

“What’s the best investment for the new year?”

“Property.”

Oops.

Partying With The King

King and his wife flank the Trumps

The short hallway between the “Pool Room” and bar acted as a sort of cosmic, generational media portal last night at the Four Seasons, where a pair of cocktail parties — one celebrating Larry King‘s 50 years in broadcasting (a.k.a the “old people room”), the other celebrating the New York Observer‘s redesigned paper and Web site (a.k.a the “kids room”) — were in full, boozy, media-centric swing.

In the “Old People Room”: King and his television and famous New York pals, like Joan Rivers, Donald and Melania Trump, the View‘s Barbara Walters (at one point Trump and Walters were just feet from each other, but didn’t appear to acknowledge each other) and Joy Behar, Campbell Brown, Mario Cuomo, Lou Dobbs, Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas, Tina Brown, Jeff Greenfield, Ron Howard, Time Inc. managing editor Jim Kelly, Keith Kelly, Ray Kelly, Oprah B.F.F. Gayle King, Calvin Klein, Time Warner chief Dick Parsons, Sandra Bernhard, Jerry Stiller, Arliss actor Robert Wuhl, Mort Zuckerman, American Morning‘s newly-installed Kiran Chetry, Glenn Beck, Montel Williams, James Carville, Tom Wolfe, Andy Rooney and artist Peter Max, whose colorful rendering of King served as the room’s centerpiece.

In the “Kids Room”: 23-year-old Observer owner Jared Kushner held court with twentysomething bloggers and their youthful bosses, like Gawker’s Choire Sicha, Radar‘s Jeff Bercovici and Maer Roshan, Page Six‘s Corynne Steindler, Slate‘s Jacob Weisberg, Domino‘s Deborah Needleman, WWD‘s Irin Carmon, and HuffPo’s Julia Allison, Katharine Thomson and Rachel Sklar. Fittingly, Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, chose the Observer party over King’s.

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