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Posts Tagged ‘Shari Redstone’

Lunch: What Recession? Michael’s Keeps Buzzing with Walter Isaacson, John Sykes & The Gang

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— DIANE CLEHANE

The power lunch lives! While budgets are being slashed all over town, if the media mavens at the top are feeling the pinch, they’re determined not to show it. For the past several weeks, I’ve noticed that Michael’s is back to its pre-Great Recession level of buzz with a packed dining room. The regulars were out in force today along with an impressive array of captains of industry who were no doubt doing a lot more than catching up with old pals.

I was lunching today with Andrew Heyward, who I got to know during his tenure as president of CBS News. Andrew is busier than ever these days consulting for a full slate of companies including Monitor Group and NBC News. I asked him how he felt when the New York Supreme Court’s appellate division threw out Dan Rather‘s $70 million lawsuit against CBS last month. “I’m gratified by the appellate court’s unanimous decision to dismiss the case,” he told me. “I hope this is an opportunity for everyone involved to move on once and for all.” Not everyone seems to share that sentiment. Dan’s lawyer, Martin Gold, told TVNewser he plans to appeal.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Producer Nick Simunek with, we’re told, a table full of showbiz types including the fellow who wrote Love At First Bite.

2. Peter Brown, Shirley Lord, and two other distinguished gentlemen we didn’t know.

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and Glamour editrix Cindi Leive. Second seating: ICM’s president Chris Silbermann.

4. Showtime’s main man Matt Blank and attorney Alan Grubman. I caught up with Matt on the way out, and we chatted about Toni Collette‘s Emmy win for The United States of Tara. I also asked about one of my favorite shows, The Tudors. Matt tells me they just wrapped production and the show promises to deliver plenty of royal drama in its final season. We’ve been hearing rumors that Showtime’s next dysfunctional dynasty to receive the star treatment will be the Borgias. We can’t wait!

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Lunch: Kerry Kennedy, Monica Crowley & Barbara Walters

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— DIANE CLEHANE

Maybe it was the gorgeous pre-Memorial Day weather, but the mood in the dining room at Michael’s today was noticeably upbeat. The usual suspects were out in force, and it seems everyone has caught a whiff of the optimism in the air. A welcome change, to say the least.

I was lunching today with Linda Gaunt, who I first met during her days as EVP of communications for Giorgio Armani: She was nice enough to provide me with an original sketch of a dress Mr. Armani had designed for Princess Diana that she never got to wear. I used it in the forward of my book, Diana: The Secrets of Her Style, and it is one of my favorite images from its pages. Since launching her own firm on Madison Avenue five years ago, Linda Gaunt Communications, Linda has amassed an impressive roster of clients, including Donna Karan’s Urban Zen, Versace, and The Whitney — and she just signed Hanro and Chantelle. Her results-oriented approach to PR has done wonders for her luxury fashion and lifestyle clients. Rather than sit back and wait for what happens next, says Linda, it is a critical time for companies to get smart about public relations and go after market share with “a targeted approach that really understands what the consumer wants and give them a reason to buy.” Sounds like good advice to us…

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Leslee Dart, Vanity Fair scribe Leslie Bennetts and Mary Alice Williams

2. The always dashing Henry Schleiff and Kerry Kennedy, who told me she is so excited about the online auction that’s going on now through May 28 for The RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights. Kerry has assembled a stellar list of lots for bidding, including a meet-and-greet with Oprah Winfrey and a day during Fashion Week with Vogue‘s man about town Andre Leon Talley. The money raised goes to aid the work being done on behalf of those in need in many areas including the Gulf Coast and in Darfur.

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong, George Farias and Fox News’ Monica Crowley (loved the necklace!) Seems the Mayor felt like he needed some fortification since he was lunching with two staunch Republicans, so he brought along an Obama bobblehead doll (which was a dead ringer for the president, by the way) and placed him squarely on the table for support. It definitely got our attention! I was glad I stopped by to say hello to the talkative trio who was dining early because Monica had to be back at the studio and on air this afternoon. Did you know that she is a team member of the Council on Foreign Relations? Now you do … George, who is always such a gentleman, had some good dish to share: He told me Nancy Reagan will be making a rare appearance at the Capitol on June 3 for the unveiling of a statue of President Reagan. Mark your calendars!

4. Barbara Walters (all in red!) and ABC Daytime head Brian Frons dishing about one ‘hot topic’ or another, I’m sure…

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Redstone Out At Midway Games — Dad Is Happy?

redstone_shari.jpgWhile blood may be thicker than water in some cases, in the Redstone family, it’s as slippery as oil.

Midway Games chairman Shari Redstone sacrificed herself by resigning to help buck up and restructure the debt for the sagging parent company National Amusements, Variety reports.

Papa Sumner Redstone was nonplused by the resignation. With CBS and Paramount Pictures in the crapper, he pays little attention to anything but the bottom line.

Redstone Stands Firm: I Ain’t Selling CBS Or Viacom

Viacom major domo Sumner Redstone, responding to all the gossip about how much he’s struggling to keep his loans paid off, flat out told the Wall Street Journal: “Not a chance” that I’m sellin’5228461[1].jpg.

And he means his most lucrative properties: CBS network and Viacom Inc.

Unclear whether he’ll have to anyway. But Redstone, who stands firm on issues left and right, makes it clear he wants to retain control. And he doesn’t want to compromise parent company National Amusements, which is run by his daughter Shari Redstone.

Redstone ruled out selling any shares in either of the two companies he controls, even if negotiations with lenders about a debt restructuring turn sour, says the Journal.

Redstone sold $233 million of his family’s Viacom and CBS holdings earlier this month to avoid breaching the terms of a National Amusements loan. The holding company has since been in negotiations with its lenders about restructuring $1.6 billion of debt.

Dog Days of Sumner

sumdrum.jpgFollowing a NYT story last week about Sumner Redstone’s squabbles with his daughter Shari (and everyone else on the planet, really), the LAT hits the ol’ man with a profile that leads with the ageist and jaw-droppingly presumptuous sentence:

“In his twilight years, Sumner Redstone should be relaxed, fulfilled and enjoying the fruits of his labor.”

No doubt the man is growing increasingly cantankerous and isolated. He hasn’t spoken to his nephew or son since the two filed separate lawsuits against him over the last year. And now, he’s telling Forbes that his daughter (and once heir apparent) Shari Redstone, VP of CBS and Viacom, had “little or no contribution” to his entertainment empire.

He may be a jerk, but we still have trouble understanding why a business story would include information like this:

Redstone is showing signs of his age despite a passion for health shakes and antioxidants. Daily swims have replaced vigorous games of tennis. He shuffles feebly and no longer brags about taking Viagra.

Kinda seems like low-hanging (and somewhat shriveled) fruit.