By Chris O'Shea on February 26, 2014 5:00 PM
SocialTimes: VW knows how to make ads so annoying that they go viral. Congrats!
PRNewser: Apple and other companies are putting pressure on Arizona to stop being so Arizona-y.
AppNewser: Google somehow finds a way to make Glass even worse than it already is.
Matt Lauer is probably going to be on the Today show for a very, very long time. Sure, he took quite a hit when people blamed him for the Ann Curry drama, but the guy is good at his job, and we imagine he enjoys being paid $800 billion a year. Nevertheless, Lauer’s contract does run out in 2015, and so speculation has begun on who will succeed him.
At offices in New York and England, the Oxford English Dictionary – OED for all you texting kids out there – is in the midst of the first comprehensive review of its alphabetical contents in a very long time.
The OED has also in recent years, as we all know, thrown its musty doors open to the concept of 21st century English-language words. And so, the gang at the third hour of TODAY is aiming to get their new lingo in there. No, it’s not “Rokeriffic.”
The oppressive heat couldn’t keep the faithful away from Michael’s today. I haven’t seen the place this crowded in ages as most tables were set for four (or more). In fact, the place was so jam packed that TV Guide magazine acting CEO and Wednesday regular Jack Kliger was seated in the Garden Room. Unlike a few people I could mention, Jack is far too cool to care about something as petty as seating arrangements. Just like the rest of the crowd — not.
Carole Radziwill, one of the more recent additions to the cast of The Real Housewives of New York City was first to arrive in the dining room today. The alarmingly thin socialite was sporting a curious furry accessory that was neither pet nor purse, sky-high platforms and a sweet flowered dress. Carole passed the time waiting for the rest of her party to arrive by taking pictures of the life-size sculptures of sheep that stand in the restaurant’s lounge. Alrighty then.
Speaking of Housewives, I was joined today by one of my favorite members of the franchise, LuAnn de Lesseps, who drove in from the Hamptons for our tete a tete. The statuesque former model (she’s 5’10″!) has always seemed like one of the more down to earth — and dare we say normal — Bravolebrities. She was all that and more. PR princess extraordinaire Catherine Saxton, who knows everyone who is anyone and is off to the south of France in a few days for the first of the big St. Tropez parties aboard Denise Rich‘s yacht, then go off to join Ivana Trump for her party in St. Tropez before finally landing in Monte Carlo for a whirlwind of swanky dinners (Can we carry your luggage?), arranged for today’s ladies’ lunch. Between bites of crab cakes and salmon tartare, we chatted about LuAnn’s sixth season on RHNYC, her various projects and, of course, her love life. It’s no secret that LuAnn was one of the last ladies to sign on to the new season of the show. “I waited until I was happy with their offer,” she told me, dismissing rumors that the cast was banding together for salary increases. “Things were handled individually.” While she’s too polite to talk about such gauche topics as money — she did write the manners manual Class with the Countess: How to Live With Elegance and Flair, after all! But she is upfront about her reasons for sticking with the show. “It’s a great platform.” All the better to ride the wave as long as you can, no? Mais oui! ”We didn’t expect it to last this long,” said LuAnn.
Like most of the industrious Housewives set, LuAnn has managed to turn in her 15 minutes into a fledgling empire that includes her book, the record “Money Can’t Buy You Class” and several product lines like tabletop that includes melamine dinnerware and elegant bone china which is currently being sold on QVC and Amazon.com (“Inspired by my love of entertaining and my travels”). Next up is a collection of turquoise jewelry with Gem Stone King. “I love costume jewelry!” she said as she flashed a Wilma Flinstone-inspired pearl bracelet by Twisted. Clearly, the serious bling encased in gold on her finger today was the real thing. “Yes, it’s a star sapphire. This ring was designed by the same man who has done jewelry for Queen Elizabeth.” And not, I’m guessing, available on QVC.
The extensive bashing of Matt Lauer has left him with few fans, but Kathie Lee Gifford — in her own goofy way — wanted to make sure everyone knew he still had friends at the Today show. The New York Daily News reports that her plan was to buy a full page ad in USA Today, featuring signatures from “hundreds” of Today staffers.
The idea of a pity party didn’t sit well with Lauer, so he asked her not to do it. Instead, she told the Daily News all about it, and now everyone knows about the ad anyway. Well done.
Here’s the ad’s cheesy copy:
After the last few head-spinning Wednesdays at Michael’s kept me ricocheting between Hollywood A-listers (Meg Ryan) and tabloid targets (Rachel Uchitel), it was something of a relief to turn my attention to the restaurant’s core constituency of authors and their agents (remember books?) who have always viewed the dining room at 55th & Fifth as a de facto company cafeteria. When I arrived a few minutes before noon and overheard Tom Connor telling L’Oreal Sherman he was meeting Gretchen Young for lunch, I just had to go over and introduce myself. Gretchen was my editor at Hyperion, and we worked together on two bestsellers: I Love You, Mom! a collection of celebrity essays I edited and Objection! which I co-wrote with Nancy Grace. Like I always say, in certain circles, all roads lead to Michael’s.
Now vice president and executive editor at Grand Central Publishing, Gretchen recently signed Tom’s clients Willie Geist and his father Bill Geist to write a father-son book scheduled for publication next year to coincide with Father’s Day. When Willie (who, it should be noted, is quite the snappy dresser) arrived, I asked him if the dapper duo had ever worked together before. “Aside from some yard work, no,” he told me. The yet-to-be-titled tome does have a subtitle: Birds, Bees and Other Conversations We Never Had. “It’s not going to be one of those super earnest father-son books,” says Willie. Bill describes the book as something “born out of our experiences and what we’ve learned from each other.”
“It’s really our humorous take on things,” says Willie, which seems only fitting since his first book, the bestselling American Freak Show, was a send-up of our tabloid culture featuring imagined conversations with characters like ’President’ Sarah Palin. The upcoming title will chronicle life growing up in the Geist household through a mix of essays and interviews. “I think we’ll both write things and then bounce it off each other,” says Bill. Sounds like there’s no shortage of material. “There’s the time the Christmas presents were accidentally locked in the trunk of dad’s company car and a sledgehammer was wielded,” recalls Willie. “And then there was the summer I was sent off to what was supposed to be an idyllic summer camp in New Hampshire, and I’m not exaggerating when I say the counselors were fresh-out-of-rehab juvenile delinquents, and there were literally knife fights going on around me. We’ll basically write about what not to do.”
AppNewser: Durex has launched an app that allows users to have condoms discreetly delivered to them. It could be argued that if you insist on discreetly delivered condoms you probably aren’t mature enough to have sex, but alas…
AgencySpy: An ad agency convinced a priest to bless their website. That’s almost as exciting as someone convincing priests to stop molesting kids, but not quite.
TVSpy: An anchor in Cincinnati called Rachel Maddow “an angry young man,” then apologized for it. The anchor also said the statement didn’t reflect her “firm beliefs in equal rights.” She sounds like a great person.
GalleyCat: Helen Fielding is going to write a new Bridget Jones book. Hugh Grant and Renee Zellweger deny having paid Fielding to do so.
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