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Posts Tagged ‘Van Toffler’

MTV President on Shain Gandee’s Death: ‘We Can’t Be All the Redemption’

It’s the very last answer given to Sharon Waxman by Van Toffler, president of the MTV Viacom Music and Logo Group, that provokes the most thought. Asked whether shows like Buckwild are guilty of exploiting young stars such as the late Shain Gandee for conglomerate ratings and profit, the executive suggests it’s not up to cable TV to be a full-time chaperone:

“We document and show all sides of what it’s like to be young. From True Life and Jenks, nurturing autistic kids and getting them to prom, to Jersey Shore – you can’t do one without the other.”

“You’re not going to gain their trust by saying “go out to vote” or “get tested for STDs” or “help your neighbor “or “fight for gun control” — or whatever the issue is, unless you’re honest with them. We wouldn’t be in business. We can’t be all the redemption. Life is about sin and redemption.”

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Separate Tables for Jann Wenner and Neal Boulton

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— DIANE CLEHANE

We were grateful that several faithful Lunch readers emailed to let us know  Bill Clinton was at Michael’s yesterday. Thanks guys! I guess Mr. Clinton didn’t get the memo stipulating that all A-listers book their lunch dates for Wednesdays. Oh, well. Seems the former president was lunching with Harvey Weinstein to settle a bet on Harvey’s little production company winning an Oscar for The King’s Speech. These two under-the-radar guys were accompanied by a squadron of (Clinton) handlers and Secret Service men who were stationed all over the restaurant.  Sorry we missed all the excitement!

Today, things got off to a slightly late start (1:00 pm is the new noon if you’re keeping tracking of such things), but the dining room quickly filled up with plenty of master of the universe types (Barry! Woody!) who are always interesting to observe in their  natural habitat.  All I can say is french fries must be brain food.  I expect the place to be going full-tilt tomorrow night when The Kelly Gang hosts The 7th Annual Kelly Gang St. Patrick’s Day Benefit. The organization’s founders include The New York Post’s Keith Kelly, House Beautiful publisher Kate Kelly Smith and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly. The ‘Gang’ is back in full swing after taking a hiatus last year and is expecting a huge turnout to raise money for this year’s beneficiaries: Catholic Relief Services in Haiti and Tuesday’s Children. So, if you’re looking for a great St. Pat’s celebration that is doing a lot of good, stop by Thursday night and bring your checkbook.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Legendary crooner Neil Sedaka, sporting sneakers and a jaunty beret with a chic looking lady and a fellow we didn’t get to meet. We overheard Neil say that his son, Marc Sedaka, was on the Today show this morning alongside wife Samantha to talk about Marc’s new book, What He Can Expect When She’s Not Expecting. The book deals with how a spouse can support a wife’s struggle with infertility. Talk about an evolved man! Impressive.

2. Jets owner Woody Johnson, who hobbled in on crutches. Hope you’re on the mend soon.

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong with Peter Jennings’ widow, Kayce Freed.  Kayce, a former producer of 20/20, is the co-founder of The Documentary Group which produced the much lauded To Iraq and Back: Bob Woodruff Reports for ABC News which chronicled his recovery from his near fatal brain injury.

4. Barry Diller and an unidentified important looking gent

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Vets Honored By Media At IAVA’s Annual Gala

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Veteran and motivational speaker J.R. Martinez honored at last night’s Heroes Gala Photo: Brad Barket/PictureGroup

You’ve seen the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) commercials: They’re the ones on TV and on Hulu where a young man returns home from war and is greeted with empty streets reminiscent of a post-apocalyptic Roland Emmerich movie. Suddenly, another man in camo comes out to a street corner and shakes the man’s hand. IAVA’s slogan for 2009? “We’ve Got Your Back.”

And got your back they do: In 2008, Paul Rieckhoff, Iraq veteran and founder of IAVA, lobbied Congress to pass the G.I Bill which ensures affordable college education to all veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. This year, the IAVA is also working to increase health care coverage of veterans by $4.5 billion.

The stars were out last night at New York’s Gotham Hall for the third annual Heroes Gala of the D.C. grassroots lobby group, but nobody was looking at the celebrities. Instead, the real stars of the evening were the servicemen and women themselves, who populated the non-profit, non-partisan event hosted by Brian Williams, as well as Rieckhoff, MTV‘s Van Toffler and veteran-cum-actor-cum-motivational spokesman J.R. Martinez, who delivered the night’s most moving speech after being awarded for his courageous service for veterans.

More photos from the night after the jump

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