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Posts Tagged ‘Richard Johnson’

Carole Radziwill on Her New Book and Dueling With Bravo’s Delusional Diva

LunchAtMichaelsWhen I first made my date to have lunch with Carole Radziwill some time ago, I was looking forward to talking to her about her first novel, The Widow’s Guide to Sex & Dating (Henry Holt) as well as her astonishing best-selling memoir, What Remains, in which she chronicled the aftermath of her husband’s death in a deep, affecting and intricately personal way. It was fascinating to me to see that she had approached the earth-shattering event of losing her husband, Anthony Radziwill, from two diametrically different perspectives and chosen to write about young widowhood twice. While her memoir came first, published six years ago, Carole told me the novel was ten years in the making. “It started percolating around that time, but I wasn’t in that state of mind. The novel was written in a much more whimsical state of mind.” But she made headlines in the tabloids this morning for another reason — a fellow castmate of The Real Housewives of New York City, Aviva Drescher, wrongly accused her of hiring a ghostwriter for What Remains, detonating the requisite explosion (this one dubbed “Bookgate”) that fuels the Bravo squawkfest, which Andy Cohen clearly lives for.

Carole Radziwill and Diane Clehane

Carole Radziwill and Diane Clehane

Here’s a primer on “Bookgate.” If you’re not a regular viewer, try to follow along: When Carole joined the show last season, Aviva could not have been more fawning, going so far as to tell her that What Remains inspired her to look at her own life differently. Fast forward a few episodes and this season, Aviva and Carole have become full-fledged enemies (the women didn’t know each other before the show), mainly because Carole deals in what is actually going on, while Aviva seems to be hell-bent in doing whatever it takes to stay relevant on Housewives. In this case, Aviva first asked Carole to vet a ghostwriter she was going to use on her book (and now denies she even used one) and then somehow turned the whole thing around by telling the other women on the show that “word on the street” was that Carole used a ghostwriter for What Remains. Said Carole: “There’s always one housewife on every show that’s completely contrived and that’s her. Everything she does, she does for the show.” And then of the subsequent blow-up: “If I’ve helped Aviva sell books, I’m sure my thank you note is in the mail. This is supposed to be a reality show, so I’m interjecting some reality here. I’m honest about my life.” Got it?

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Richard Johnson, Diane Clehane Compare Michael’s Lunch Notes

How’s this for a handsome couple?

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On the left is our indefatigable “Lunch” columnist Diane Clehane. On the right, New York Post columnist Richard Johnson, back at the Big Apple juicy-bites biz after a sojourn on the west coast. The two got together last week at Michael’s at the behest of Niche Media entertainment editor-in-chief Catherine Sabino.

“For their upcoming [May/June] “Women’s Power” issue, Gotham magazine asked me to select someone to have lunch with at Michael’s and they would report on our chat,” Clehane explains. “I invited Richard, who I’ve met of course at Michael’s but have never had the opportunity to lunch with. We’ve never really spoken at length, but he was game to do this which was great because he never does press.”

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David Zaslav, John Sykes, Susan Spencer and the Dish on What Bill Clinton Did Last Night

LunchAtMichaelsIt turns out the third time was the charm for my long-delayed lunch with Woman’s Day EIC Susan Spencer. Having been kept away from Michael’s first by the onset of the polar vortex and then, a few weeks later, by the snowstorm of the week, we finally managed to meet at 55th and Fifth today. Perfect timing, after all, because Susan was still buzzing about The 11th Annual Woman’s Day Red Dress Awards held last night at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall. The sold-out event, benefiting the American Heart Association, boasted a glittering gallery of A-list stars, including actress and singer Rita Wilson who acted as host; her Oscar-winning husband Tom Hanks (who, we’re told, was happy to relinquish the spotlight to his wife); actress Jennie Garth, who received the Campbell Soup Company’s Healthy Heart Award; and the Today show’s Hoda Kotbwho introduced singer Sara Bareilles and The Voice winner Judith Hill. None other than President Bill Clinton was on hand to accept an award on behalf of The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation for its work towards improving heart health by fighting childhood obesity. “I guess people hadn’t read their programs,” Susan told me, “But when I was introducing him and said, ‘Bill Clinton, the 42nd president of the United States,’ there was an audible gasp in the room. Something happened when he appeared on stage. He really drew people in and set the tone for a truly memorable evening.”

Susan Spencer and Diane Clehane

Susan Spencer and Diane Clehane

Susan told me that Clinton made some ”very personal” and “humble” remarks about his own experience as an overweight youngster. “Don’t clap!” he told the crowd, who was clearly charmed by his story. “This is a serious issue.” So serious, in fact, that virtually every star who attended the awards has a personal connection to the disease. Rita Wilson’s father suffered from heart disease and Jennie Garth discovered she had a leaky heart value when she was just 30 years old. The disease, which is the number one killer of women, also hits very close to home for many Woman’s Day readers. So much so, that last June Susan and her team launched the magazine’s Live Longer & Stronger Challenge, for which they selected six women from around the country who had or were at risk of heart disease and designed a nutritional and lifestyle program for them with nutrition columnist Joy Bauer. The group stayed connected to the magazine and Bauer through a private Facebook page, texts and emails. “We want to raise awareness that this doesn’t just happen to women in their 50s; it can happen in your 20s and 30s,” she said.

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Media Critic Reacts to Rumored O Magazine Change: WHAAAAA???

OMagazineOprahHere’s how The Huffington Post’s Jack Mirkinson calibrates a report by the Post‘s Richard Johnson that Oprah Winfrey – on the heels of a perceived Oscar nominations snub for The Butler – is thinking of permanently removing herself from O magazine cover consideration:

WHAAAAA??? O magazine without Oprah on the cover? That’s like Time magazine without stories about animal minds, or The New Yorker without random covers on springtime, or Vogue without Photoshop!

How else are we going to know what Oprah looks like with an Afro wig, or drinking smoothies with Dr. Oz or posing in front of flowers and other green things?

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Matt Lauer and Joan Rivers Do Christmas in January | Catching Up With Anne Fulenwider

Lunch At MichaelsIt must have been the summer-like temperatures (well, it was above freezing) that brought out plenty of media mavens (Frank Bennack, David Carey, Jack Kliger, Nancy Berger Cardone) and a heaping helping of  talking heads (Matt Lauer, Joan Rivers, Star Jones, Dan Abrams, Bill McCuddy) at Michael’s today. January is always an interesting month at 55th and Fifth. It’s the roller-coaster ride that starts off slow with the deadly quiet of the post-holiday doldrums and peaks during the pre-award show maelstrom (Yes, the Golden Globes were last weekend, but that’s just an excuse for celebrities to get together and drink champagne, resulting in the inevitable ’What the hell were they thinking moment?’” This year, that came courtesy of the clearly astonished winner Jacqueline Bisset). Everyone, it seemed, has hit their stride and with Fashion Week and the Olympics just weeks away, the cognoscenti are getting in their power lunches before departing for the gigs that keep the lights on around town.

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Diane Clehane and Anne Fulenwider

I was joined today by Marie Claire‘s editor-in-chief Anne Fulenwider, fresh off a trip to Beverly Hills. There, she traded compliments with Golden Globe winner Robin Wright (“She was so unguarded and looked so happy with her award and new fiance Ben Foster“) and chatted with her December cover gal Julia Roberts and her husband, Danny Moder, at the magazine’s post-awards-show bash. The party was cohosted by The Weinstein Company and Netflix and attended by tons of A-listers, including Taylor Swift, Bono and Diddy (or is it Sean Combs? — we’ve given up trying to keep up with what we’re supposed to call him). “It was a amazing,” she tells me. “You had to be inside the Beverly Hilton by 4 o’clock because at 5 o’clock it goes into lockdown. I watched the awards at a viewing party at the old Trader Vic’s.” On Friday, she’s jetting off to Washington, D.C., to attend the swearing in of Cathy Russell, President Barack Obama‘s pick for the new global ambassador of women’s issues at the State Department. Lest you think Anne’s life is one glam sojourn after the next, today she tells me her commute felt like a hellish version of “trains, planes and automobiles” as she slogged her way in from Brooklyn, thanks to a gushing water-main break.

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Knicks Owner Banishes Woody Allen

Shutterstock_WoodyAllenAll indications are that New York Knicks owner James Dolan will not be giving thanks this holiday weekend for the friendship of longtime fan Woody Allen.

According to a frivolous but fun item by Richard Johnson, Dolan has lowered the VIP boom on the Woodman, banning him from Suite 200 at Madison Square Garden. Why? Here’s what Johnson’s “Woody source” told the New York Post columnist:

“Allen got a call from someone at MSG saying they had bought the rights to air several of Woody’s movies on the MSG channel and wanted Woody to go on the air and talk about his movies or introduce them,” a Woody source told me. “Woody said he would not be comfortable doing that. He has never done that for any show or network.”

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Richard Johnson Gets New Gossip Column at NY Post

Richard Johnson, the veteran New York Post Page Six editor, is returning to New York to start a new gossip column. In a memo obtained by Daily Intelligencer, Jesse Angelo, the Post’s publisher and editor-in-chief, said Johnson’s column “will be a mix of gossip from both coasts, society news, business and politics in the legendary style of Neal Travis.”

Johnson left his spot at Page Six in 2010 to lead the now-shuttered The Daily’s gossip section. When The Daily shut down operations, Johnson stayed in Los Angeles and acted as a correspondent for Page Six.

Johnson’s return to New York won’t lead to other changes at the PostEmily Smith remains the Page Six editor and the column maintained by Cindy Adams is staying as well.

With The Daily Done Like Digital Dinner, Nikki Finke Reminds That Was Never Her*

It was not exactly the snazziest 22 months of former Page Six scoop-meister Richard Johnson’s career. And with today’s announcement that News Corp’s iPad endeavor The Daily will officially fade to touch-screen black December 15, his tenure as west coast bureau chief is set to end with a whimper.

Adding insult to injury, Nikki Finke in her write-up this morning pours some more cold water on his biggest initial Flash splash:

In a memo to staff today, The Daily’s Jesse Angelo and Greg Clayman ridiculously boasted that despite “great original reporting, excellent design and custom interactivity… Unfortunately we have not been able to build a big enough audience fast enough to make our business model work.” (Great reporting? They posted a photo of me that was somebody else.*)

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Richard Johnson: My Miss Universe Pageants Were Never Trumped Up

With controversy continuing to swirl around accusations by a pair of contestants that the 2012 Miss USA pageant might have been rigged, The Daily’s west coast bureau chief Richard Johnson has decided to chime in about his related Trump-tastic experiences.

Granted, Johnson’s stints as a judge were some time ago, and for a sister franchise. Nevertheless, he writes that he saw no signs of meddling at the Miss Universe pageants in Hawaii (1998), Puerto Rico (2001) and Panama (2003). NBC had a monitor present (as it did again at the 2012 Miss USA contest); judges were housed at a separate hotel; and though Trump was omnipresent during the broadcast, that was about the extent of it:

Just in case a judge was indecisive, Trump was sitting right behind us in the front row, close enough to chat with us during commercial breaks, letting us know his preferences. Was he just making small talk, or trying to influence our votes? Did his voice carry more weight than any other fan who was applauding and shouting for their favorite? Probably.

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THR Editor Moves Over to The Daily

When we recently interviewed The Daily’s west coast editor Richard Johnson, he indicated that plans were afoot to add an additional staffer in LA. Today, that intention has been officially carried through.

Joining The Daily as entertainment writer is Lauren Schutte (pictured), previously a staff editor with the Hollywood Reporter. What’s interesting about Schutte is that she was closely aligned with THR editorial director Janice Min.

In 2007, Schutte joined US as Min’s assistant and moved up to assistant editor in May of 2008. She continued in that position until the fall of 2010, following her former boss over to the revamped Hollywood trade.

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