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Posts Tagged ‘Tom Brokaw’

Tom Brokaw, Randi Zuckerberg and David Zinczenko’s Next Chapter

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As any self-respecting power luncher knows, December is no time to slack off and dip into the egg nog. Quite the contrary. The noontime hour during the holidays may be reserved for a little shopping for those that still go the brick and mortar route, but the regulars at Michael’s know that now is the time to get real business done, score some valuable face time and plot your next big move. As one mogul told me today, “I’ll celebrate in January. Now is the best time to get in there when the competition isn’t looking.” Consider yourself warned.

Judging from the interesting combinations of folks at the tables around the dining room today, I’d say there are plenty of movers and shakers whose New Year’s resolutions involve making some changes to the resume and fattening up that portfolio (even if the tax man is going to come looking for a bigger piece of the action come 2013). There were so many suits in the lounge eagerly awaiting to be seated when I showed up that I thought there was some kind of Wall Street holiday hoo-ha going on.  The appearance of Mark Zuckerberg‘s sister Randi Zuckerberg with AOL’s Jolie Hunt caused a bit of stir, and I spotted more than a handful of mavens “in transition” who have seemingly aligned themselves with some interesting power players in hopes for a brighter new year. Here’s hoping.

I was invited to join ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and David Zinczenko for a dishy lunch. While Joe and I waited for Dave to arrive, I noticed that the Mayor’s omnipresent, tri-colored western boot that doubles as a centerpiece when he’s in the house had been replaced by a bigger, bronze version. The Mayor tells me that he decided to keep the red, white and blue version at home for safe keeping. It’s signed by music men Jimmy Buffet, Willie Nelson, Fats Domino and Elton John (on the day Joe hosted a lunch for Elton in celebration of the Broadway debut of Billy Elliot in this very dining room), as well as Laura Bush who happened to spy it on Joe’s table during a visit a while back and whipped out a Sharpie before Joe knew what hit him.

Diane Clehane, David Zinczenko and Joe Armstrong

I couldn’t wait to catch up with Dave when he arrived. His headline-making departure from Rodale a few weeks ago after his incredibly successful tenure at the top has gotten plenty of coverage. Just this week Women’s Wear Daily and AdAge weighed in, with the latter speculating on “Rodale’s Rocky Road” in the face of Dave’s exit. As you undoubtedly know, Dave was the high-profile  face and voice of the Men’s Health brand, with regular appearances on the Today show and scores of other shows from Ellen to Oprah. His much imitated Eat This, Not That bestsellers became their own franchise for Rodale, cementing the company’s place in pop culture as long as Dave kept churning out different versions.

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Giants of Broadcasting Celebrates 10th Anniversary

The Library of American Broadcasting is marking its 10th year of immortalizing industry greats. The 2012 edition of the Giants of Broadcasting include two career radio executives, pioneering television newsmen, a man who made a weekly commentary “must see TV,” and a man who helped launched the 24-hour news cycle.

That man is Ted Turner. He turned an upstart CNN into a worldwide cable news powerhouse. Within six years, CNN was in the black. There were the Atlanta Braves, eventually broadcast on his new station TBS. Turner also added the Atlanta Hawks to his prospectus.

Turner, who spoke briefly in his acceptance speech, talked about his proudest moment professionally in 1990 as the Gulf War began.

“I took a nap. When I woke up, I knew the war was coming, and I knew we had our people there. I turned on the television and clicked it over to NBC and there was Tom Brokaw talking. I switched over to CBS and there was Dan Rather talking in the studio. I switched it over to ABC and there was Peter Jennings talking in the studio,” Turner boasts. “Then I flashed it over to CNN, and there was the war. As a journalist, as a television news person, wasn’t that the greatest scoop of all time?”

Another major TV executive was recognized for his body of work. Sir Howard Stringer (above) had a 30-year association with CBS. The Wales-born Stringer, after earning his B.A. and M.A. degrees at the prestigious Oxford University, arrived in New York. His first job at the Tiffany Network was an entry level clerk logging commercial times at WCBS-TV/Channel 2.

Stringer is chairman of the board at Sony Corporation. FishbowlNY spoke to Stringer at the Giants of Broadcasting event. Watch the video clip after the jump.

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A Well-Respected TV Newswriter Pens Book, Critical of Network Anchors

Network nightly newscasts lack the following they had decades ago before the advent of the Internet and cable TV. But they are still the flagship news broadcasts of the Big Three networks.

Mervin Block is recognized as one of television’s great newswriters. His resume could be a piece of the Paley Center. Block was a staff writer for the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite and the ABC Evening News with Frank Reynolds. He also was a freelance writer at NBC News during the Tom Brokaw era.

So when Block decides to write a book critical of writing and copyediting on those broadcasts, still watched by millions each night, the industry takes notice.

Block published his sixth book on the topic, Weighing Anchors, with the subtitle, When Anchors Don’t Know Write from Wrong. He says the research was “on and off for 10 years.” His reason for keeping tabs is simple.

“I was hearing so many scripts that were flawed, or worse,” Block tells FishbowlNY.

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Attacking the Attacker | Pressed Down | Nice Try

Tom Brokaw, Vernon Jordan and the Shy Divorcee

1003_mockup.gifIt was SRO at Michael’s today. The dining room was so jam packed every sqaure inch was occupied by a mogul (Mel Karmazin!), media heavyweight (Tom Brokaw, Jon Meacham, Jeff Zucker), or social swan (divorcee of the moment, Mercedes Bass who moved to the Garden Room with pal Lynn Nesbitt when the decibel level and fabulousness of it all got to be too much).  Just a thought: if you’re looking for a quiet, out of the way lunch spot, you might want to consider going somewhere else on Wednesday.

I was joined today by Forbes‘ new editor, Randall Lane. In his new position, Randall is presiding over familiar territory to him: the lives of the ridiculously rich and ambitious. In a previous life, he was the editor of Trader Monthly which chronicled the age of excess of the Wall Streeter of days gone by.  That experience later provided plenty of fodder for his book, The Zeroes: My Misadventures in the Decade When Wall Street Went Insane. In the interim, he’s been an editor at large for Newsweek and written for The Daily Beast. Having worked with him years ago when he was the editor in chief on the startup Justice, which covered the hot trials and legal issues of the day, I was thrilled when I heard he’d gotten the top job at Forbes back in September.

Randall first worked at Forbes fresh out of college in the nineties and spent six years “chasing rich people” and working on the franchise’s venerated power lists which required (and still do) hundreds of hours of research and manpower. “In some ways, it feels like I never left,” he tells me.

Diane Clehane and Randall Lane
Randall Lane and yours truly

Since taking the helm, Randall has been on a mission to make the book more visually exciting with interesting photography (the arresting cover image of Bill Gates in the “World’s 70 Most Powerful People” issue is a winner), fresh design elements courtesy of the Brooklyn-based shop Athletics, a livelier front of book section and more in-depth profiles on people the Forbes reader wants to know about.  Exhibit A: The cover story in the November 7 issue on Dropbox’s Drew Houston, the 28 year-old mogul who turned down Steve Jobs and is now worth $600 million which drew one million hits on Forbes.com.

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Brian Williams, Rick Buckley Named 2011 Giants of Broadcasting

Thirteen individuals with a rich history in the business have been selected as this year’s Giants of Broadcasting. The Library of American Broadcasting Foundation puts the event together each year.

Among the stellar list:

  • Rick Buckley (right), who died in July, was head of his own broadcasting company. As president and CEO, Buckley oversaw several radio stations, including WOR.
  • Brian Williams, anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News since Tom Brokaw stepped down in 2004. Williams is a multiple-Emmy and Murrow Award winner
  • The men behind CBS’ Sunday Morning—original anchor Charles Kuralt, successor Charles Osgood, executive producer Rand Morrison, and early TV innovator Robert “Shad” Northshield
  • Christiane Amanpour is host of ABC’s Sunday morning political program This Week. But she made a name for herself as CNN’s chief international correspondent.
  •  Brian Lamb is creator, founder, and chief executive officer of C-Span. He has been the main personality of the, now three channels, since launching 32 years ago.

Bill Baker, WNET president emeritus will serve as master of ceremonies. The awards ceremony takes place on October 14 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan.

Stuck in Europe Following Honeymoon, WCBS Anchor Maurice DuBois Was ‘Desperate for any Shred of Information’ During 9/11

For several days, we’ve been offering you some insight as to how some well-known reporters and anchors covered the horrific day 10 years ago when our city, world, and life would change forever.

We conclude our special coverage–9/11: New York Remembers.

For WCBS-TV main anchor Maurice DuBois it was, perhaps, even more difficult. DuBois, at the time, a co-anchor on WNBC’s Today in New York, was returning from his honeymoon in Southern France on September 11.

“Not quite halfway through the flight the pilot gets on the public address and says, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, this is an unusual situation, but we’ve been advised that U.S. airspace is closed and we are returning to Paris.’”

DuBois recalls passengers letting out a gasp on the plane as they remained in the dark about the details stateside.

An hour after, as they were turned back for France, DuBois tells FishbowlNY, the pilot gave one final much grimmer update, telling passengers that there were “massive explosions in Lower Manhattan.”

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Melania Trump, Charles Grodin and Princess Di’s Wedding Designer

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— DIANE CLEHANE

The oppressive heat didn’t keep the faithful away from Michael’s today. The joint was jumping with media mavens of every stripe, including one editor who is clearly having a moment (David Zinczenko), high-profile publishers (Connie Ann Phillips, Donna Lagani) and, of course, a boldfaced name (Melania Trump) thrown in the mix.

It seemed as if all anyone wanted to talk about on (and off) the record was the imploding scandal surrounding Rupert Murdoch. Said one source close to the action, “This could be bigger than anyone yet knows. Just wait if this thing hits New York. That would be major.” Uber agent and Londoner Ed Victor weighed in with this: “I made a $100 bet with Alfred Taubman that by this time next year [Murdoch] won’t be CEO.” And why? The corporation has no choice but to “throw him under the bus,” he said, adding that the televised hearings that have everyone riveted are “a complete wash.” Stay tuned.

I was joined today by Morgan Stanley’s Patrick Murphy and his sister, author and documentarian Mary Murphy. While I’ve had my share of Michael’s chats with Patrick, who spent four years with the Bloomberg administration and was one of the folks responsible for bringing Fashion Week to Lincoln Center, we’d never had our own lunch. These days, he’s hard at work at Morgan Stanley’s Reiser Group where he manages the finances of families, foundations and pension funds. “It’s so rewarding,” he tells me. “So many people are in need of good financial advice.” Indeed.

I was also glad I got the chance to finally sit down with Mary, having been so impressed by the success of her multimedia project, Hey, Boo: Harper  Lee & To Kill A Mockingbird. The paperback version of the book is out this week, and the DVD, which features interviews with a host of A-listers including Tom Brokaw and Oprah Winfrey reading their favorite passages and reflecting on the novel’s legendary influence, is out and available on Netflix and iTunes today. Mary also just learned that PBS’ American Masters just bought the television rights. “That’s pretty much the biggest thing that can happen to you as a documentarian. I’m thrilled.”

She and I learned we were both inspired to become writers because of our love of the children’s classic, Harriet the Spy written in 1964 by Louise Fitzhugh. “When I think about it, there were definitely some similarities between Harriet and [Mockingbird heroine] Scout,” says Mary. The moral of the story: Parents, turn off the television and read to your children.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Producer Freddie Gershorn

2. Ed Victor and author Will Schwalbe, former Hyperion VP turned author whose new book, SEND: Why People Email So Badly and How To Do It Better, has people talking – and texting.

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong, O Magazine’s Sara Nelson and two other gals we didn’t get to meet.

4. Stephen Swid

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Jon Meacham, Desiree Gruber And A Squadron of Spinmeisters

1003_mockup.gif— DIANE CLEHANE

I’ve said it before but it bears repeating: On Wednesdays, all roads lead to Michael’s. Exhibit A: This week, one of my best friends from Bay Shore High School, Scot Safon, was featured in a New York Times piece by mediabistro.com alum Brian Stelter. So I was thrilled to catch up with Scott when he walked into the dining room this afternoon on his way to meet Fortune‘s Pattie Sellers (one of his best friends from college).

Scot’s come a long way from his days as one of the editors of our school newspaper, The Maroon Echo. Having risen through the ranks at Turner, he is now helming CNN sister network HLN and shepherding shows headlined by Nancy Grace, Joy Behar, Dr. Drew Pinsky and Jane Velez-Mitchell. The Times piece chronicled HLN’s runaway ratings thanks to their coverage of Casey Anthony‘s headline-grabbing murder trial. As Scot sees it, the trial “has so many layers” for his stable of talent to explore as they relate to each host’s area of expertise. As Nancy continues to hold “tot mom” Casey’s feet to the fire seeking  ”justice for [Anthony's late daughter] Caylee,” Dr. Drew explores the myriad psychological issues unearthed during testimony. On their respective shows, Joy and Jane chew over the day’s events and keep viewers up to the minute on all the developments. “It is a fascinating case that has viewers riveted,” says Scot. “It’s a once in a lifetime trial.” (That is, at least until the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray starts in September.)

I was joined today by Fidelis Global’s Gerry Byrne, and we had a terrific chat about the state of the media business. Gerry, who has run an incredible stable of publications including Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard, is involved in a head spinning number of projects these days that cross all platforms. He recently added the role of managing partner at Black Ocean, a diversified media holdings company launched by Oliver Ripley, founding partner of the UK-based Ocean Group, and Tremor Media founder Andrew Reis. Gerry also hosts monthly ‘Influencer’ lunches with Hollywoodlife.com’s Bonnie Fuller. (He sits on the board of its parent company, Penske Media.)

Having presided over so many print titles during their heyday, Gerry says he’s invigorated by the “wild west of digital opportunities” he and his partners have discovered, and created, online. His belief that companies that own the next generation’s digital paths will be the big winners going forward is keeping him thinking big and moving forward. “The consumer is king!” says Gerry. “Long live the consumer!”

1.  A trio of ladies who launch: public relations maven Christine Taylor, producer Desiree Gruber and Katherine Oliver, commissioner of The Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting.

2. Socialite Sugar Rautbord just in from Chicago — with two gal pals

3. Thomson Reuters’ global head of PR Jolie Hunt, looking terribly chic in all white

4. Uber agent Esther Newberg, at her usual perch with Random House EVP Jon Meacham

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Tom Brokaw Purchases Upper East Side Co-Op

For those of you who (weirdly) keep track of where Tom Brokaw lives, we have an update: He and his wife have purchased a two-bedroom co-op at 33 East 79th Street. The New York Observer says that the couple paid $1.95 million for the place.

Some additional details about the place:

Renovated in a stark white palette, the Classic 6 was converted into a more modern and open five-room spread, though it still has its prewar flourishes, like a wood-burning fireplace and intricate molding. The master bedroom in the 11th-floor home is ringed with French doors, though they do not look out on the park. Along with the monochrome colors, it gives the place quite the big sky feeling.

If you want even more details, you probably have a problem and should seek professional help.

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