Lunch at Michael’s: It’s Omerta for Brad Grey on Sopranos Finale

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We’re not sure if it was the unexpected sudden chill or the crushing gridlock thanks in no small part to an appearance by Bill Clinton at some glitzy awards ceremony uptown, but things were a bit subdued at 55th and Fifth today. Upon making the rounds and checking in with a few of our favorite regulars, we discovered everyone was still in shock about Sunday night’s blackout ending of The Sopranos. When executive producer Brad Grey walked in, the crowd perked up and more than a few diners were overheard whispering they’d like to march over to his table a demand an explanation for the final heart-stopping scene. Alas, Grey was so animated during his tête-á-tête with Barry Diller no one dared to interrupt, so the confounding mystery remains.

Donna Hanover, who was vocal about her “disappointment” with the HBO series finale on WOR’s Morning Show the next day told lunchtime chronicler Diane Clehane: “I kept thinking something was wrong with my Tivo and I don’t even have Tivo! It says something, though, that we’re still talking about it three days later.” Jack Myers said he was amused by all the theories imbuing even the smallest details with meaning: “I heard something about the onion rings being symbolic of communion. People need to get a life.” It’s over folks, time to move on and worry about something else — like whether Paris has really found God in a Los Angeles jail cell.

Here’s a rundown on today’s crowd:

1. A tieless and tanned Tom Brokaw with his daughters and granddaughter.

2. John Sykes — who seemed particularly thrilled to be sharing shots from his digital camera with his unidentified guest.

3. Hallmark Channel’s president Henry Schleiff, publicity head Jennifer Geisser and Multichannel News editor Kent Gibbons.

4. Barry Diller and Mr. Grey.

5. Parker Ladd and Arnold Scaasi, who sidled up to the front desk asking to make a call, long after most of the lunchtime crowd had departed. What is it with these guys? Buy a cellphone!

6. Terri Santisi and a table full of young turks.

7. Mark Dowley.

8. Gerry Byrne (who got an affectionate hello from Tina Brown).


9. Hearst publicity hotshot Deb Shriver (loved your Anne Klein — and yes, we thought it was Balenciaga, too!) and PR maven Trica Jean-Baptiste.

10. Barry Frey.

11. Jack Myers and Dave Moore.

12. Stephen Swid & Freddie Gershorn.

14. John Brunelle.

15. NBC’s Jonathan Wald.

16. Joannie Danielides & Ms. Hanover.

17. Tony Hoyt with Genre‘s VP/editorial director Chris Ciompi.

18. The wife of Neil Sedaka, so we’re told …

19. Seventeen‘s Ann Schoket.

20. Glamour‘s Cindi Leive and Peter Herbst.

21. Quest‘s Chris Meigher.

22. Rochelle Slovin of The Museum of the Moving Image.

23. Jim Abernathy.

24. Nick E. Rubinstein, who was nice enough to stop at the bar and say hello. Our new pal says he’s giving up the ghost and thinking of legally changing his name to ‘Rubenstein’ after enduring years of having to correct the constant misspelling of his last name. (You might have heard there’s more than a few folks in the city who go by Rubenstein …) “New York has a herd mentality — there are some things you just can’t fight …” Here’s hoping this helps you win a few points with errant spellers …

25. Tom Goodman and Arthur Sando.

26. We couldn’t see …

27. Emily Landau.

28. Tina Brown and a familiar looking gent whose name no one seemed to know. Was the author of The Diana Chronicles paying homage to her famous doppelganger in an elegant ivory silk suit, matching peep toe pumps and oversized tote? If so, it worked.

29. Susan Mercandetti.

Please send comments and corrections to diane AT mediabistro DOT com & lunch at mediabistro DOT com.

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