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Thursday, August 04, 2011

Media Whore D'Oeuvres



"Neither the left nor the right is particularly happy about the deal that was passed this week to avert a U.S. default -- memorably described by one congressman as a 'sugar-coated Satan sandwich.' Overseas, the reactions to Washington's dysfunction have ranged from confusion, to concern, to barely contained gloating." (ForeignPolicy)


"The city was quiet although it was Wednesday and the Michael’s lunch was bustling as usual. At table one in the bay, Kate White, Editor-in-Chief of Cosmo was holding a small luncheon to celebrate the publication of her novel The Sixes (HarperCollins). Ms. White. This is not the prolific Ms. White’s first. There have been six mysteries featuring a heroine, Bailey Weggins plus several other books. At her table: Donna Hanover, Barbara Butcher, Diane Clehane, Sheila Weller, Hannah Storm and Jane Green. Around the room: Micky Ateyeh with Fran Weissler, Jason Binn and guests; David Zinczenko and Noah Kotch (of the Today Show); Rob Weisbach, Peter Price, Michael Barker, Terry Allen Kramer, back from St. Tropez; Diane Dimond with Judy Twersky; Alice Mayhew; Stan Shuman; Ed Victor with David Hirshey; Christine Quinn and Christine Taylor; Thomson Reuters’ Jolie Hunt with Peter Brown, Chris Meigher with Elizabeth Stribling; Nicole Sexton, Ron Mwangaguhunga lunching with this writer." (NYSocialDiary)


"For the first time as a member of the British royal family, Kate Middleton makes her way onto the International Best-Dressed List—her inaugural appearance came in 2008, and a whirlwind of fashion successes since has earned her a nod this year. She’s captivated the world with her signature mix of high and low fashion ... Michelle has been among the best-dressed ladies for the past four years, while the president has only earned a spot once, back in 2009. (Other politicos: French First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy makes the grade for the fourth time, but her husband, President Nicolas Sarkozy, does not. And other royals include Princess Charlene of Monaco, the King of Bhutan, Princess Alexandra of Greece, Countess Matilde Borromeo, Prince Antonius von Fürstenberg, Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser of Qatar, and Nicolas Mirzayantz of Greece.) Meanwhile, from Hollywood’s royal ranks come actors Justin Timberlake, Colin Firth, and Armie Hammer—all first-time entrants—while actresses Carey Mulligan and Tilda Swinton are second-timers." (VanityFair)

"David Niven used to tell us about (Errol) Flynn’s ability to charm the fair sex, Niven being no slouch when it came to snaring women. I only met Flynn once, at El Morocco, and he was drunk but very friendly and nice. The girl I was with went weak at the knees, but I was twenty and quick on my feet. I managed to maneuver her away from him, and I learned a good lesson in the process. Always be polite and nice to women, and never try rough stuff à la Strauss-Kahn. Ditto Prince Aly Khan, no relation. Aly was extremely polite and romantic, and, of course, a great seducer. As was Gianni Agnelli, the Italian president of Fiat who broke many a heart with his good looks and refined manners." (Takimag)


"A while ago, I ran Kevin Sorbo's remembrance--as told on the Frank DeCaro show--that, when Sorbo was a model, Gianni Versace rested his hand on Sorbo's thigh. That had the young model famously responding, 'Sorry, but I'm a flaming heterosexual!' Well, in his upcoming memoir, True Strength, Sorbo adds more details to the story. According to Sorbo, the designer had an answer for that. 'Kay-vin,' he intoned, "in life you must try everything. 'In sex, too, you must try--with a woman, with a man, with a dog and a goat. You must try everything and experience the entire world.' Sorbo demurred, and says the aftermath wasn't so bad. 'Although I never did get the Versace campaign,' he relates, 'we remained friends, and I continued to do his shows.'" (Musto)


"The great US conglomerates of the 1960s and 1970s are now memories preserved by architectural relics. Just up Sixth Avenue from the offices of McGraw-Hill and News Corp, the FT’s pink logo lights up the former headquarters of the ITT of Harold Geneen, the 'conglomerateur' who added many unrelated businesses including Sheraton hotels and Avis car rentals to the telecoms group. Walk on to nearby Columbus Circle and Donald Trump has his name on the building from which Gulf+Western used to juggle car parts manufacturers, Stax Records, Paramount Pictures and the Miss Universe contest. Media conglomerates have taken longer to follow the fashion for focus. It is not much more than a decade since Jean-Marie Messier’s Vivendi and Gerry Levin’s Time Warner were diversifying, seduced into believing that digital 'convergence' would make sense of assets as disparate as RTL and Napster, or HBO and AOL. Jana Partners, the activists pressing McGraw-Hill, joined Carl Icahn’s 2005 tilt at Time Warner. The veteran activist investor backed away but the group later shed AOL and Time Warner Cable. Mr Messier’s successors have rationalised Vivendi’s portfolio and Sumner Redstone split Viacom and CBS in 2005. The slimming moves have been rewarded by shareholders wary of synergy claims." (FT)


"For a network that has only 5 shows on the air, AMC has been in the headlines with series-related issues an awful lot during the past 8 months, first over the difficult and very public negotiations with Mad Man creator Matt Weiner and more recently over the abrupt exit of The Walking Dead showrunner Frank Darabont and the ongoing negotiations for Breaking Bad. I caught up tonight with AMC president Charlie Collier who declined to discuss the specifics surrounding the Breaking Bad talks with producer Sony Pictures TV and Darabont's departure but addressed several other issues that have been the subject of a lot of speculation, including rumored budget cuts on Walking Dead which some have linked to Darabont's exit and reported AMC demands for a 6-8-episode fifth season of Breaking Bad." (Deadline)

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