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Posts Tagged ‘Rob Wiesenthal’

Sandra Lee Serves Up a New Magazine and Novel; Hoda Kotb Celebrates Book Number Two with Today Show Gang

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Every time I think it can’t get anyone more Fellini-esque at 55th and Fifth, another Wednesday at Michael’s proves me wrong. All that was missing today was a lion tamer and clown shot out of a cannon. There were so many ‘acts’ going on simultaneously I hardly knew where to look.

While I dined with Food Network star Sandra Lee (and tried my best to hear her over the roar of the crowd even though we were sitting next to each other), there was an intimate party of 20 for Hoda Kotb being thrown by her Today show co-host Kathie Lee Gifford.  The gals were celebrating the release of Hoda’s new book, Ten Years Later: Six People Who Faced Adversity and Transformed Their Lives (Simon & Schuster).  Hoda and Kathie Lee, who spend more time together than most married couples, looked fresher than springtime in Crayola colored (sleeveless!) dresses and were the first to arrive for the noontime fete. Minutes later, the back corner of the front room was jammed with members of the Today show, as well as plenty of well-dressed gals who were there to toast Hoda. The gang was really whooping it up and, of course, a camera man was there to capture it all for posterity or, more likely, for tomorrow’s fourth hour of Today.

I arrived a few minutes before noon to meet Sandra Lee and she came right in the door behind me. After spending just a few minutes with her, it’s easy to see why the creator of the phenomenally successful Semi-Homemade brand is one of the Food Network’s biggest stars. She’s the in-the-know girlfriend who everyone wishes they had.  Within minutes, we were trading tips on our favorite places to shop for bargains. For cake decorating, hers is New York Cake & Baking  on 22nd and Sixth for the most divine sugar roses — “You can get a whole batch for under $10!”

Diane Clehane and Sandra Lee

She arrived laden with proofs for the next issue of her new magazine with TV Guide Magazine named — what else? – Sandra Lee. They’ve already published a Christmas issue, and the January/February “Love” issue is out now. EIC Sandra is in the midst of editing the Easter issue and told me she was trying to explain to a male staffer earlier today why birds’ nests made from shredded coconut should be dyed green instead of brown. It’s all in the details. As the faithful viewers of Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee (now in its 15th season!) know, no one does holidays like her. (“I am working on my latest Cher incarnation. Every Halloween I have to do Cher!”) The Emmy winner covers it all  from the recipes to the cocktails to her trademark ‘tablescapes’ (my personal favorite) to help viewers enjoy entertaining at home without the heavy-handed pretense, over the top expense or work intensive preparation that no one has time for anyway. When I asked her where he love of holidays came from she told me, “When I was a child we didn’t celebrate holidays so when I was 18, that was it. It was Halloween, Christmas and Easter every day.”

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Bart Lauds Sony’s Stringer But Wonders How

Variety Editor Peter Bart unleashes on Sony Corp. chairman Howard Stringer in his column last Fridaystringer2.jpg.

Bart points out that Fox top dog Peter Chernin is about to sign another deal atop News Corp. He notes that 66-year-old Stringer is quietly signing on for three more years. So much for mandatory retirement. He also marvels at Stringer’s ability to continue existence as a non-Japanese Yank-Brit-Welshman.

While Bart wonders how Stringer can maintain, the executive was more than present cutting deals up at Sun Valley with Sony CFO Rob Wiesenthal last July. He seemed to have no intent of retiring, regardless of Bart’s posture.

Will Smith Is No Spiderman so Sony drops 31%

Sony Pictures declared a nightmare downtick in its revenue and stock today. The studio reported a 31% drop in year-on-year sales to $1.5 billion. That was because last year, the Spiderman-led studio was breaking records, while this year, even though “Hancock” cleared more than $500 million worldwide, the studio still fell back to Earth.
“Hancock” had enormous prints and advertising costs, which have not been offset by any future films.
Sony executives were sheepish about the drop.
“The losses that you see in the first quarter, again, you have to look at the pictures business holistically over the course of the year,” Rob Wiesenthal, chief financial officer, said during a conference call with analysts.
If it’s any solace, the tech division fell too, so the film side wasn’t fully to blame for Sony’s suffering.
Sony reduced its net profit forecast for fiscal 2008, which ends in March 2009, going from a May figure of $2.69 billion down to $2.23 billion. It has also dialed back its operating profit outlook from $4.83 billion in May to $4.37 billion, citing a tough environment for electronics sales, off-setting a depreciating yen.
You can’t blame it all on Will Smith.

The Secret to Sun Valley: “Many of the People We’re Doing Deals With Are Here”

SV2008v.jpgDan Cox, on special assignment for FishbowlLA, covering the 2008 Sun Valley Media Conference.

Sony chairman Sir Howard Stringer and his right-hand man, CFO Rob Wiesenthal were scurrying about the Sun Valley meeting hall early Wednesday.

“We’re making progress with our Blu Ray and DVD deals,” Stringer said. “Our PlayStation Network people are here.”

Stringer_7.9.jpgStringer said he uses Sun Valley to forge ahead with meetings that Sony has underway. “Many of the people we’re doing deals with are here,” he said. “They’re all in one place and accessible.”

Wiesenthal added: “We actually get a lot of work done here. We don’t have any kids.”

But more to the point, Stringer had a request of Wiesenthal as he entered the business center.

“Do they have a USA Today?” Wiesenthal emerged with a USA Today and a Wall Street Journal.

“I don’t need that one,” Stringer said and he handed the Journal off to a nearby journalist.

A few minutes later, former Viacom exec Tom Freston and his wife ran into Susie Buffett, Warren Buffett‘s daughter who runs the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, named after her mother who passed away in 2004.

Freston was eager to tell Buffett about a trip he’s taking to Rwanda next week.

The elder Buffett, meanwhile, was avoiding reporters as he traipsed about the meeting hall. “I’m ducking out on interviews right now,” he told the Financial Times reporter as he breathlessly walked back into the business center.