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Posts Tagged ‘Paula Zahn’

Eliot Spitzer, a Party for Angela Cummings and the Story Behind the New Bernie Madoff Documentary

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In keeping with the usual head-spinning weekly scene that is Wednesdays at Michael’s, the joint was jumping today. It was SRO in the front dining room and at the bar where producer Beverly Camhe was holding court with fellow producer Marc Altshuler and writer/directors Derek Anderson and Victor Kubicek in celebration of their upcoming documentary In God We Trust Who Pays for His Crime on the Bernie Madoff scandal. The film will debut in the highly coveted Friday night slot at the Tribeca Film Festival next week.

Bev tells me the tickets for the highly anticipated film sold out in ten minutes when they went on sale at with American Express last night, and they are currently looking for a theater to handle the overflow. For those of you who missed the boat entirely, there’s always pay per view. Bev says anyone who sees the film should prepare to be shocked. “Don’t believe what you’ve heard. You’ll be surprised to know who knew what and when they knew it.” For the record, Bev believes that both Madoff sons, the late Mark Madoff and Andrew Madoff, didn’t know anything. I would have loved to have explored that very topic myself when I spotted Mark at Michael’s last spring, but he bolted before I could ask him anything about their father’s massive Ponzi scheme. “Bernie was a bi-polar sociopath, so it’s entirely possible he was able to keep it from them,” says Bev.  I asked Marc if they’d heard from any of the Madoffs or insiders since they began production, and he told me, “They’ve been oddly quiet. I’m surprised they even stayed in New York.” Some people have no shame.

Mickey Ateyeh and Angela Cummings

Not all the action was in the main dining room. I was invited to the swanky lunch held in the Garden Room for Angela Cummings today celebrating the launch of her new collection with Assael. Mickey Ateyeh, Angela’s long time BFF and business partner gathered 24 New York power gals – the ladies who never eat lunch who actually lunched today – for an intimate gathering.  The first to arrive was Liz Smith followed by a veritable who’s who in New York social and business circles, including Paula Zahn, Linda Fairstein, Jackie Leo,  Barbara Taylor Bradford, Christy Ferer, who is in hot pursuit for her company’s next CEO (Anyone?), Fern Mallis, DuJour‘s Cindy Lewis and Judy Licht

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Oprah, Morgan Freeman and Mythbusters: Discovery Woos Advertisers and Media Buyers at Upfront Soiree

Yesterday evening Discovery Communications held its annual upfront presentation, wooing advertisers and media buyers, while previewing upcoming programming and networks.

With a suite of channels that includes Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet and OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, there was plenty of ground to cover.

Luckily, they had Oprah there to sell it.

Yes, talk show queen turned media mogul Oprah Winfrey herself was in attendance at Jazz at Lincoln Center, and revealed the 2011/2012 OWN programming slate on stage.

She was joined by Rosie O’Donnell, who will be making her return to daytime with a talk show on OWN later this year. O’Donnell performed a song and dance routine with a troupe of male dancers.

Discovery had other big names in attendance, inducing actor Morgan Freeman, who hosts and produces the program “Through the Wormhole” on Science, and magicians Penn & Teller, who have a new show “Penn & teller’s Secrets of the Universe” on Discovery later this year. Billy Ray Cyrus also unveiled his new show for TLC, “Homecoming,” which reunites military men and women with their families, while SNL’s Andy Samberg told some jokes in advance of his gig as “Chief Shark Officer” during 2011′s Shark Week.

FishbowlNY also spotted:

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Lunch: Tina Brown, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Media Mavens Galore!

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— DIANE CLEHANE

They were dining and dishing like it was 2006 today at Michael’s. When I mentioned to one of the regulars that I hadn’t seen the dining room jam packed with so many power lunchers in a long time, he summed up the scene this way: “People are tired of waiting for the official word that we’re out of the woods so they’re trying to act as if we are. In some ways, it’s working.” In other words, denial is the new black.

A few weeks back, my friend Robert Zimmerman introduced me to Melanie Brandman, founder and CEO of The Brandman Agency, and Diana Biederman, managing director of Blackbird PR. I chatted briefly with the two public relations mavens and today we had our own ‘Michael’s lunch.’ Melanie started her all-female agency in 2000 after serving as vice president of corporate affairs for InterContinental Hotels & Resorts in London where she headed worldwide PR for over 3,000 properties in 100 countries. Today, at the helm of her own agency, she specializes in luxury hotels and lifestyle brands and represents top-tier clients including Qantas Airways, Orient-Express Hotels & Resorts, as well as her former employer. As you might imagine, she’s logged “millions of air miles” on the job and in just the past six months alone has visited India, Morocco, and Barbados multiple times. She recently hosted a group of lucky travel writers on a six-night sojourn aboard the uber luxurious Maharajas’ Express, which travels from Delhi to Kolkata. “Absolutely the best way to see India,” says Melanie. I’ll bet.

Last year, Melanie launched Blackbird PR, a lifestyle subsidiary of The Brandman Agency, and asked Diana, who had been working as public relations director of ’21′ Club for eight years, to head up the company. Of the spin-off Melanie says: “It was a natural progression, because we do a lot of work within the lifestyle divisions of our travel clients. I wanted to keep Brandman as a separate entity.” Things are off to a good start with clients like VOS Selections, whose handcrafted artisanal wines are the brainchild of Victor O. Schwartz and Ray Griffiths Fine Jewelry.

Melanie also tells me she just opened an office in Los Angeles so she could “get more business out of Asia” and squeeze in a few more trips back home to see the family in Australia. Where does she find the time?

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Hotshot Hollywood attorney and producer Freddie Gershon with legendary Oscar winning songwriters (“The Way We Were“) Alan and Marilyn Bergman.

2. Peter Brown

3. Howard Rubenstein

4. Allen & Co.’s Stanley Shuman

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Lunch: Glenn Close Talks Fatal Attraction

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— DIANE CLEHANE

I love when the stars align just right on a Wednesday at Michael’s, and I get to chat with a star I’ve always admired. I hit the jackpot today when I spotted Glenn Close in the dining room. Just last week, I’d seen Glenn on Oprah Winfrey‘s Oscar special where she and Michael Douglas did their first joint television interview about Fatal Attraction. “It was great fun,” Glenn, who looked positively radiant, told me. “We’d never done that before and it brought it all back for us.”

I don’t think anyone who saw the iconic thriller (nominated for six Academy Awards, including a best actress nod for Glenn) could ever forget her portrayal of book editor Alex Forrest. While audiences pegged Glenn’s character as a home wrecker and bunny boiler, the actress, after doing tons of research for the part, saw her much differently. “I never thought of her as a villain,” she says. Instead, she viewed the character as an unstable woman driven to madness over an affair gone wrong. Audiences made it the second highest grossing film of 1987, and it became a cautionary tale for men everywhere who thought twice, at least for five minutes, about having that one night stand. “We had no idea we were going to be part of a social phenomenon,” says Glenn, who happened to be lunching with Stanley Jaffe, the film’s producer. “But it was right at the time when there was a lot of feminist anger, and we touched something that was right below the surface.” I’ll say.

I was joined today by Myrna Blyth, who after spending two decades as editor-in-chief of Ladies Home Journal and later launched MORE, is now at the helm of BettyConfidential.com. (Full disclosure: I write a parenting blog for the site). Since launching two years ago, the site, which was co-founded by Deborah Perry Piscione and Shaun Marsh, now ranks seventh in comScore’s top ten in the Beauty/Fashion/Style category and was recently nominated by MIN for editorial excellence for their Best of the Web Awards — competing with Conde Nast and The Daily Beast. “What’s great about being online is that you can talk to women about what they want to talk about when they want to talk about it,” says Myrna. While so many in print are bemoaning the decline of magazines, Myrna doesn’t have time for all the whining: “The web is great. You can’t go backwards and you can’t fight it, so you’ve got to get with it.”

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Today show co-hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb with Sunny Luciani. The gals ducked out early for their weekly Broadway outing.

2. Michael Fuchs and a blonde mystery gal

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and Paula Zahn

4. Jonathan Wald and The Financial TimesChrystia Freeland. I told Jonathan that his Facebook posts on Sunday had reassured me that Cablevision and WABC-TV would, in fact, come to their senses and restore service so that their 3.1 million viewers could watch the Oscars. “It will be settled in time,” he predicted when things didn’t look good later that afternoon, and lo and behold, the show appeared 13 minutes into the telecast. Whew!

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Lunch: Happy Birthday Donna Hanover & Paula Zahn

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— DIANE CLEHANE

If it’s Wednesday, it’s party time at Michael’s. We’re still recovering from the head spinning spectacle of last week’s A-list lunch for James Cameron. This week, the celebration was a tad more low-key at Table One as public relations maven Joannie Danielides hosted her annual birthday luncheon for her good pal and long time client, Donna Hanover, whose actual birthday was February 15. Joannie, who is busier than ever these days with a full roster of clients in health care and education, told me it was actually a double celebration since it was guest Paula Zahn‘s birthday as well.

I caught up with Paula before she joined the party to chat about her new show, On the Case with Paula Zahn, on Discovery ID. “We’ve just been renewed for a second season,” said Paula, who looked better than ever in a chic leopard print top and some killer stiletto boots. “It’s been great. I’m getting to do some amazing stories. Right after this, I’m getting on a plane and heading to an Alabama prison.” Some people have all the fun.

I had lunch with two of my favorite people today: producer Joan Gelman and Robert Zimmerman, partner of the Long Island based marketing firm, Zimmerman/Edelson. Joan arrived first and told me about her recent trip to Vietnam with her husband, Don Aronson. Both Joan and Don were anti-war activists back in the day and are still true believers. On this trip, the couple spent some time visiting orphanages and were “shocked and appalled” to see the awful effects that Agent Orange has wrought on the country. “It was horrifying to see the stark reality of what war can do to a people — and what we did to these people,” Joan told me.

Things lightened up a bit when Robert arrived. Between the two of them, they know just about everyone in New York and, trust me, the conversation is never dull. (Most of the juiciest stuff is, of course, off the record.) Since Joan is a die-hard Democrat and Robert is an in-demand political commentator for all the cable channels, we had plenty to talk about. When Evan Bayh‘s surprise resignation from Congress came up, Robert offered this assessment: “Saying he’s fallen out of love with Congress is something a 14 year-old adolescent would say. There’s a lot more to it than being in love; it’s about getting the job done.” Robert had these words of advice for jump-starting the stalled government: “The challenge for the Democrats is to come out of group therapy and get things started again. The ball is in our court. Success depends on us acting on our message.”

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Birthday girls Donna Hanover and Paula Zahn, Joannie Danielides, Gayle King, Time Inc’s Ann Moore, Linda Stacey, Karen Scott, Sue Leibman and Matilda Cuomo. A little birdie told me the girls dug into two birthday cakes: one carrot cake and one chocolate. It seems like the group couldn’t get enough sweet treats. We spied doggie bags stuffed with cookies being packed into a few purses.

2. Most of ‘The Imber Gang:’ Dr. Gerald Imber, Jerry Della Femina and Jeff Greenfield

3. Gerry Byrne, who just launched Fidelis Global Enterprises LLC. New clients of his advertising media consultancy agency include Adgenesis and Beezag. I caught up with Jerry until his guest, Jane Hanson, arrived. I told Jane I loved the stuff she’s been doing on LX New York, showing the fledgling talking heads how it’s done.

4. A bespectacled Mike Ovitz and a fellow we didn’t recognize

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Lunch: ‘Bag Lady’ & Madoff Victim Alexandra Penney: ‘Writing Well is the Best Revenge!’

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— DIANE CLEHANE

Things must be looking up in the journalism biz, because Michael’s dining room was jam packed with media folks of every stripe. While CEOs and spinmeisters held court from their usual perches, writers and editors were shoehorned in all over the place. I was glad I got there early because I bumped into former Self editor-in-chief Alexandra Penney, who I had not talked to since she authored the much buzzed about book, How to Make Love to a Man. “That was another life ago,” said Alexandra. I’ll say. Last fall, I was riveted by her posts on The Daily Beast where she chronicled the emotional and financial devastation that almost consumed her when she lost everything thanks to Bernie Madoff‘s ponzi scheme.

Alexandra bravely wrote about her experiences for Tina Brown‘s site under posts dubbed ‘The Bag Lady Papers,” because, she says simply, “I needed money.” When agent Ed Victor read her deeply personal revelations he told her, “I think you might have a book here.” And indeed she did. The Bag Lady Papers is due out February 16 from Hyperion’s Voice imprint. “When something like this happens, it either galvanizes you or devastates you. I chose to be galvanized because I had to. It’s amazing what you can do when you really need to.”

I was joined today by another enterprising woman, my good friend Dr. Robi Ludwig. In addition to her thriving private practice as a psychotherapist, Robi is a frequent contributor to the Today show where she weighs in on modern relationships and the celebrity crack-up of the moment. She’s logged plenty of airtime trying to get inside Tiger Woods‘ marital meltdown, and she and Redbook‘s editor-in-chief Stacy Morrison dished with Al Roker just yesterday on what couples are fighting about most these days (If you guessed money, you’re right). When Robi is not seeing patients or lending her expert opinion on matters of the heart, she keeps busy with her “inspirational” jewelry line for QVC, Dr. Robi. After her first book, Till Death Do Us Part: Inside the Mind of A Killer Spouse (Atria), kept her busy on the talk show circuit, she is now hard at work on her second which will offer tips on how to have a happier marriage during these stressful times. Earlier this month, she also signed on as a contributor to care.com, an online community and comprehensive source for people searching for caregivers of all kinds from babysitters to eldercare workers. “I’ve always loved the idea of not pigeonholing myself,” says Robi. “There’s no reason to do just one thing if you’re passionate about a lot different things.” Obviously.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. The “Imber Gang”: Dr. Gerald Imber, Jerry Della Femina, Andy Bergman and Michael Kramer.

2. A casually clad Paul Wilmot (loved the sweater!) and Omnicom’s CEO Tom Harrison

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and Norris Mailer

4. Former William Morris chairman Jim Wiatt and Quadrangle Group’s Josh Steiner

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Paula Zahn Out @ CNN — Less Than 24 Hours After Campbell Brown’s Arrival

Brown forces Zahn’s hand @ CNN

Roughly 55 hours after Campbell Brown announced she was leaving NBC, and a mere 24 hours after CNN announced Brown’s arrival, Paula Zahn has resigned from CNN. Here’s the internal memo:

    July 24, 2007
    To: CNN U.S. Staff
    From: Jon Klein

    Paula Zahn has announced today that she will be leaving CNN. We are grateful for her dedication, professionalism and class over the last six years, as she has presided over our coverage of such significant news stories as 9/11, the launch of the war in Iraq, national elections and natural disasters, among many others.

    In addition, she has used her on-air platform to tap into issues that were underrepresented in the national dialogue through her recent Out in the Open series, and the entire Paula Zahn Now team should be extremely proud of their work.

    Paula’s last day on the air will be next Thursday, August 2. Throughout the coming weeks, we will be utilizing substitute hosts at 8pm leading up to the November launch of a new program anchored by Campbell Brown. Additional details will be forthcoming.

    Earlier this afternoon, Paula shared the news with her staff and she has asked me to pass along the following message from her:

    To All,

    It is with mixed emotions that I announce my departure from CNN, effective Thursday, August 2nd. I’d like to take this opportunity to express my tremendous respect for my good friends and colleagues, their talent and high standards.

    It’s been an extraordinary journey since my first day on the job, September 11th, 2001. During my 6 years with CNN, we’ve covered the war in Iraq, the devastation of Hurrican Katrina, the death of a Pope and the massacre at Virginia Tech. I am enormously proud of the work we’ve done covering these stories as a team.

    Now is the right time for CNN and me to move ahead on different paths. I wish good luck and success to everyone I was fortunate to work with. And for the first time in 30 years, I plan to take a break between jobs and catch my breath before I take on my next role.

    — Paula

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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Imus Snubs Larry King Party

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One of the more intriguing questions about tonight’s Larry King 50th anniversary party in New York has already been answered. Beleaguered radio host Don Imus, a longtime friend of King’s, was on the invitee list for tonight’s bash, but don’t expect to see him.

“He’s not coming,” our inside source says.

Here’s who is: Fox News chief Roger Ailes, Tom Brokaw, Donald Trump, Tina Brown and Ron Howard.

Planned co-hosting duties were to be done by King’s fellow CNNers Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer, Soledad O’Brien and Paula Zahn, but they are all in Blacksburg covering the Virginia Tech shooting.

EARLIER:

  • Larry King Thinks God Is From Brooklyn
  • Frequent Guest Ana Marie Cox Drops Imus

    ana_marie_cox_imus.jpgRefreshingly honest on Imus appeal

    The former Wonkette-turned-Time blogger had become part of Imus‘ rotating cast of media characters, and loved the ego-stroking attention. No longer, she says. Here’s why:

    I had been invited inside the circle, and to be perfectly honest, I was thrilled to be there.

    As the invites kept coming, I found myself succumbing to the clubhouse mentality that Imus both inspires and cultivates. Sure, I cringed at his and his crew’s race baiting (the Ray Nagin impersonations, the Obama jokes) and at the casual locker-room misogyny (Hillary Clinton‘s a “bitch,” CNN news anchor Paula Zahn is a “wrinkled old prune”), but I told myself that going on the show meant something beyond inflating my precious ego. I wasn’t alone. As Frank Rich noted a few years ago, “It’s the only show … that I’ve been on where you can actually talk in an informed way — not in sound bites.” Yeah, what he said!

    I’m embarrassed to admit that it took Imus’ saying something so devastatingly crass to make me realize that there just was no reason beyond ego to play along. I did the show almost solely to earn my media-elite merit badge. The sad truth is that unless you have a book to promote, there’s often no other reason any writer or columnist has to do the show.

  • An Imus Guest Says No More [Time]
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