Lunch at Michael’s: Don King, Monica Seles and a Tribute to Joel Siegel

Forget that it felt like the dog days of August had returned — at 55th & Fifth, the fall season is in full swing. A full house of media mavens, moguls and a few random bold faced names (Don King! Monica Seles!) kept the dining room buzzing.

Indulging in our favorite parlor game from our regular perch at the bar of who’s saying what was particularly intriguing today. We would have loved to have been a fly on the wall to hear the conversation between Zoe Baird and Judy Miller. And what could New York scribe Lloyd Grove and CBS spinmeister Gil Schwartz possibly be talking about? Just a wild guess — but we’re thinking Dan Rather’s name came up at least once.

Before the crowd settled in, there was plenty of talk about the late Joel Siegel. ABC News producer John Green brought along a crew to tape Joel’s longtime pals and Michael’s regulars Jerry Della Femina, Jeff Greenfield, Gerry Imber, Michael Kramer and Andy Bergman reminiscing about him. Jerry told me the guys have been getting together for weekly Wednesday lunches for 24 years so it made sense to tape their tribute at their favorite haunt. A portion of their conversation will be shown at a memorial service on Oct. 15 at New Amsterdam Theater.

“None of us felt comfortable about getting up and talking,” explained Jerry. “We were just too close to him.” We’re sure Joel would give the film a rave review.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. A very animated Alton Brown (the host of Good Eats! and Iron Chef) regaling a table full of Food Network execs with some good dish.

2. Peter Brown along with the WSJ‘s Rebecca Dana and Nigel Parsons, the managing director of Al Jazeera English.

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong & two lovely ladies.

4. Gerald Schoenfeld, Judge Keating and another dapper gent.

5. Today‘s executive producer Jim Bell and ABC News’ John Green.

6. Jerry Della Femina, Jeff Greenfield, Gerry Imber, Michael Kramer and Andy Bergman. Second shift: A flag waving (and I mean that literally) Don King and his entourage.


7. The always affable Gordon Elliot (who, as far as I could tell, didn’t order the soup).

8. New York Social Diary‘s David Patrick Columbia.

9. Scott Donaton.

11. Bob Friedman.

12. Today‘s senior producer Marc Victor and Cosmo gal Kate White. Second shift: Tennis great Monica Seles.

14. Steven Swid.

15. Jon Hart.

16. The New York Post‘s media man Keith Kelly.

17. Susan Silver.

18. Lloyd Grove & Gil Schwartz.

20. Deborah Grubman.

21. Teen People Paul Caine.

22. A flack from Susan Blonde PR, so we’re told.

23. Steve & Glenn Greenberg.

24. Producer Charles Finch (son of the legendary actor Peter) and Kate Lenahan.

25. Tom Goodman & Arthur Sando.

26. Alexandra Trower.

27. Zoe Baird and Judith Miller.

29. Laurie Tisch.

Please send comments and corrections to DianeClehane AT mediabistro Dot com and lunch at mediabistro DOT com.