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Posts Tagged ‘Tad Smith’

Rachel Uchitel Creates A Stir at Michael’s

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— DIANE CLEHANE

Having covered the scene at Michael’s for some time now, I’ve been witness to plenty of Fellini-esque tableaus where the head-spinning mix of stars and strivers, masters of the universe, and alien-like actors never ceases to amuse and occasionally amaze me, but today was off the charts. What started as an afternoon of ramped up power lunches (Harvey Weinstein and James Dolan! RogerAiles and Jon Meacham!) turned into a game of Spot The Tabloid Temptress. I just happened to be at the front desk when regular Henry Schleiff came in followed by a blonde, pillow-lipped gal hiding behind her huge sunglasses. I immediately recognized her as Rachel Uchitel.  What was Tiger Woods‘ infamous mistress doing with Henry? I couldn’t wait to ask him. Before I could, she darted around us, averting my eyes and making her way into the dining room. Turns out she was on her way to meet Vanity Fair’s Michael Callahan. “Did you see who that was?” I asked Henry. When I told him, he quipped, “I didn’t recognize her with her clothes on!”

Even though the party girl-turned-private eye (according to The New York Post, she’s on her first case here in New York and awaiting her gun license) and Callahan were seated behind a pillar in the back of the room, word of her arrival spread like wildfire.  I wonder what the two of them talked about during their fairly quick lunch. Could it be that Graydon Carter has greenlit yet another piece on Woods? It would be quite cheeky of him to put Uchitel on Tiger’s tail, wouldn’t it? It seems more likely that Callahan is penning a piece on Uchitel’s post-Tiger life as a self-confessed recovering “love addict.” Stay tuned …

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. It’s Harvey’s world and we just live in it. Shortly after noon, Harvey Weinstein arrived with two guys — one looked like Robert Pattinson‘s younger brother and the other like Vladmir Putin. Once the trio was seated, Harvey busied himself playing with his phone while his two babysitters? bodyguards? couldn’t sit still. One spent the entire time pacing between the table and the front door, while the other hopped up every other minute to look out the window as he talked on the phone. Could they have been tracking Harvey’s lunch date? All I know is when Cablevision’s James Dolan finally arrived, they took off.  Harvey then took out a pair of earphones to listen to a recording of some importance while Dolan sat by impassively. I don’t know what the hell really went on, but observing the scene felt like watching an episode of Mission Impossible.

2. PMK’s Cindi Berger and a handsome fellow we didn’t get to meet

3. Political commentator and marketing maestro Robert Zimmerman and Tad Smith

4. Random House EVP Jon Meacham and Fox News chief Roger Ailes, chowing down on burgers and fries. Jon arrived early and spent the time waiting for Ailes by chatting with the staff. We couldn’t help but notice that the ex-Newsweek editor looks a lot more relaxed since leaving the struggling magazine. It’s Tina Brown‘s problem now! Their table was clearly the center of gravity today as pretty much anyone who is anybody (read: all the suits in the room) stopped by to pay homage.

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Harvey Weinstein, Evelyn Lauder and A Few Sports Moguls

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— DIANE CLEHANE

We missed Al Gore and a bearded Keith Olbermann by a day. A little birdie told us Current TV’s head and recent new hire were “full of fire” and all smiles as they undoubtedly plotted Keith’s debut. Funny enough, Olbermann’s replacement, Lawrence O’Donnell, was also there and took it all in from the other side of the room. It’s such a small world, isn’t it?

Meanwhile, things today were a bit more low key but pretty crowded in the dining room. The fancy folks and artistes from The Getty Museum were in from the Left Coast to celebrate the kick-off to their sponsorship of 60 exhibits in museums all over Los Angeles. What’s the New York connection, you ask? Well, proprietor Michael McCarty‘s other restaurant is in Santa Monica, and he and his wife Kim McCarty (an artist whose works are on view here) are great patrons of the arts.

I was joined by my good friend Randy Jones, founder of Worth and author of The Greatest Stock Picks of All Time and The Richest Man in Town.  Let’s just say Randy knows a thing or two about money. It makes perfect sense then that he is now working with Lynn Tilton as  managing director of media and entertainment/talent acquisition of her company, Patriarch Partners, LLC. If you haven’t heard of Lynn, trust me, you will. (And honestly, don’t you read The Wall Street Journal?) She runs the largest woman-owned business in the United States as a private equity chief who owns all or some of 74 different businesses with revenues of more than $8 billion. (Take that, Oprah!)

Randy is keeping pretty busy at Patriarch with plenty of projects in the hopper. You heard it here first: Patriarch has a development deal with The Sundance Chanel to bring “The Diva of Distress” (It’s the working title) to the small screen some time soon. Randy describes the series as a “docu-drama” in which Lynn will star and go around the country looking for businesses on the brink to work with endangered entrepreneurs in an attempt to get them back on track. The most deserving business owners could score an equity investment from Patriarch or a much needed loan. “That’s one of the most amazing things about Lynn,” says Randy. “When she buys or invests in a company, she doesn’t sell them — she keeps them. She wants good people to succeed.” Amen. Oh, and by the way, if you’re in the market for a new job, Randy is looking to hire a CEO for Petry Media.  If you’re thinking of applying, just make sure you’ve got a track record in digital platforms and have the goods to build  ”a true 21st century media company.” You can thank me later.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Edelman’s Kathy Lacey and pals

2. First quarter: Bet they had plenty to talk about: Jets’ EVP  Matt Higgins and Mets’ chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon. Second act: Harvey Weinstein (If that wasn’t a Members Only jacket, it sure looked like one), his daughter and a pal.

3.  Moneyman Steven Swid

4. Beauty biz icon Evelyn Lauder with a dark-haired power gal we didn’t recognize.

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Lunch: Soledad O’Brien Talks Helping Haiti’s Children

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— DIANE CLEHANE

The media mob was out in force today at Michael’s and we spotted plenty of table hopping between bites. It was fascinating to see all the head honchos make the rounds while checking in with the competition. Who needs to eat anyway?

I was joined today by CNN’s anchor and special correspondent Soledad O’Brien, who I’ve known since her days as anchor of Weekend Today, and CNN publicist Van Scott. Since making the move to cable, Soledad, who left NBC in 2003 to anchor the network’s maiden season of American Morning, has gotten plenty of attention for her on-the-ground reporting of the tsunami in Southeast Asia and Hurricane Katrina. It was Soledad’s infamous interview with then FEMA chief Michael Brown that started the public outcry eventually leading to his resignation in September 2005.

After logging in plenty of air miles last year covering major news stories like the earthquake in Haiti, Soledad has unpacked her bags long enough to do a slew of documentaries that are kicking off next month. On May 8, CNN will premiere Rescued, an hour-long look at the plight of Haiti’s children told through the eyes of 6 year-old Cendy Jeune and former child slave Marc Kenson Oliphi. After being in Haiti immediately following the disaster, Soledad tells me she held orphans in her arms whose eyes had seen so much that “they looked old.” The documentary chronicles the lives of the children who are living in the Lighthouse orphanage where rather than being put up for adoption, they are instead taught skills, given an education, and encouraged to be valuable members of society when they “age out” of the orphanage at 18.

It was clearly a transformative experience for Soledad, herself a mother of four. She told me, “The best way to help Haiti is to help the children of Haiti help Haiti.” She’s planning on returning to the region next month with her 9 year-old daughter Sophia in tow. “My kids really want to do something to help. We’re going to ‘adopt a community’ and do what we can.”

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. The lovely Pat Schoenfeld, in a chic red topper and matching loafers, with a few close pals.

2. Cablevision’s president Tad Smith

3. Sony Pictures’ Steve Mosko

4. Steve Rubenstein and William Lauder

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Cablevision Exec Responds to Low Subscriber Numbers

cablevision_logo_med.gifThere has been much egg on the face of Cablevision after its pay wall plan for Newday.com was revealed earlier this week to have only 35 subscribers.

Tad Smith, Cablevision’s president for local media, reached out to Romenesko in an email declaring that the success of the pay wall initiative isn’t measured by the company in the number of people who subscribed to the $260-a-year service, but by “the change in unique visitors compared year over year in the New York metro area (our target audience).” And those unique visitors, according to Cablevision, have only decreased two percent in December 2009 compared to the same month last year. The slight decrease may be due in part to the fact that many of Newsday.com’s readers are Cablevision subscribers, and therefore get to read the site for free anyway.

Still, using a newspaper only to increase your subscriber sales isn’t anything to crow about, says Slate‘s Marion Maneker:

“Either way, Smith seems to be declaring that Cablevision’s $632 million acquisition of Newsday was simply to add another freebie to Cablevision’s subscription bundle. This was every analyst’s worst fear when it was announced that the Dolans had the winning bid for Newsday. Instead of expanding the subscription base for the newspaper and increasing advertising inventory for the cable business (buy a local ad on Cablevision and get a newspaper and Web ad as value-add), they paid a premium for some local content.”

So Cablevision is using Newsday not just as a newspaper, but as a way to sweeten the deal for Internet subscribers to choose their service. But that’s not to say that Newsday would be better off had Rupert Murdoch had purchased the paper in 2008. Whose to say the site wouldn’t be behind a pay wall in that scenario?

Read More: Newsday exec: We don’t measure success by how many people sign up to pay $260/year for our website –Romenesko

Cablevision Exec Defends Newsday Web Strategy –Slate

Previously: Newsday’s Pay Wall Experiment Yields Disappointing Results

Newsday Publisher Knight Resigns After 5 Years

knight.jpgTim Knight, the publisher of Cablevision-owned Long Island newspaper Newsday has resigned from his post. He will be replaced by Terry Jimenez, the publisher of amNewYork, the free paper also owned by Cablevision. Jiminez will now serve as Newsday‘s acting publisher, although Knight said he would stay on until November 1 to help with the transition.

In a letter sent to staffers yesterday, Knight touched on some of the challenges he has faced as publisher in the last five years:

“I am proud, as a team, we successfully addressed the circulation
misstatements and, in the process, strengthened relationships with our
advertisers as well as created a stronger circulation department. We
undertook a number of changes to the paper to better focus our
resources on providing Long Islanders with unique and valuable local
news and information. A recent effort by the newsroom to expose the
abuse surrounding the state pension system resulted in widespread
changes to better protect taxpayers. And, importantly, we recently
re-launched newsday.com, which will allow us to better provide our
subscribers with a unique and valuable multimedia web experience.”

However, beyond saying it was “the right time to let others move our business forward,” Knight did not give a reason for his departure. You can read more of Knight’s memo, as well as a memo from Tad Smith, president of Cablevision’s local media unit, after the jump.

Since Cablevision purchased Newsday last year, the paper has undergone a number of changes, from a new layout (that looks more like amNewYork), to a new Web site, launched in July.

Newsday Publisher Tim Knight ResignsNewsday

Related: Newsday Revamps Web Site

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Breaking: Reed Elsevier To Sell Part Of U.S. Business

pw.pngIn a memo to staffers today, Reed Business Information Global CEO Keith Jones revealed a plan to divest a bulk of the company’s U.S. publications. RBI will hold on to Reed Construction Data US & Canada, RS Means, Variety, Marketcast, LA411 and Buyerzone, Jones said. The rest of the U.S. titles will be sold, including Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Broadcasting & Cable and Multichannel News.

“We have decided to focus our efforts and investments on a narrower range of brands and markets, and with this in mind we are announcing today our intention to divest a significant part of the RBI US business,” Jones said in his memo. “This has been a difficult decision to reach as there are many strong brands here, with very experienced and professional teams running them, but we have concluded that they are less well suited to RBI’s strategy going forward.”

Jones also added that Tad Smith, CEO of RBI’s U.S. business, has resigned “to pursue a new job challenge.” He will be replaced by EVP and CFO John Poulin, who has been appointed acting CEO.

Jones’ memo is below. We will keep you posted as news develops. And, as always, your tips are welcome.

Update: RBI’s parent Reed Elsevier has put out a statement and a full list of those properties that have been put on the block — nearly 50 publications plus their related international editions and online products. “We have had to contend with a far harsher advertising environment than any of us have experienced before and, in such a climate, we have to focus not just on innovation and efficiency, but also on ensuring that our portfolio is well-matched with our long-term ambitions,” Jones said.

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Staff Cuts At Variety

Logo-Variety2.jpgMichael Speier, Executive Editor of Variety, has been laid off. More cuts are expected to come at Variety throughout the day. The parent company of the publication, Reed Business Information, is laying off 7% of their staff today according to a memo obtained by The Wrap. From the memo sent by Tad Smith, CEO of RBI:

We recently completed our quarterly forecast for the full year and the revenue outlook continues to concern us. On January 26th I wrote to you that we might reduce further our staffing levels if the economic circumstances became worse than our already conservative expectations for 2009. We are in that unfortunate situation today.

Smith also warns staff that more cuts and furloughs may be on the horizon.

Madelyn Hammond Rejoins Variety

hammond_madelyn.jpg Variety Entertainment Group announced a new job — and a former hire. Former Associate Publisher of Variety, Madelyn Hammond, has been plucked to become Variety’s Chief Marketing Officer, a position the company has never had.

The press release explains it all:

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