Lunch at Michael’s: Kathie Lee Gifford & The Usual Suspects

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— DIANE CLEHANE

The morning monsoon kept the bold faced names away so today’s crowd consisted mainly of the die-hard regulars who, one guesses, would still make it to 55th & Fifth even if the apocalypse was at hand. Thank goodness today’s lone celeb, Kathie Lee Gifford, was game for a chat. Just back from a trip to Los Angeles with hubby Frank Gifford and their unnervingly perfect-looking blonde spawn Cody and Cassidy (Remember when they were tots she’d trot out to annoy Regis Philbin during her Live co-hosting days? The kids are teenagers now!), the former daytime diva was sporting a LaLa land-inspired look consisting of a Juicy Couture T-shirt dress (“Cassidy made me buy it!”), Gucci sandals and lots of bling.

Kathie Lee told me she’s still on a high from the rave reviews Saving Aimee, the musical based on her book and lyrics about Aimee Semple McPherson, received during its recent Washington, DC run. “Now we’re hoping to bring it to New York,” she said. Turns out Gifford (who invented the ‘Chatty Kathie’ routine on her morning show that Kelly Ripa has mimicked with even greater success), has been “obsessed” with the 20th century evangelist for 30 (?!) years. Who knew? Before she sailed off to her table to settle in with a gal pal, Gifford offered her take on who should take over Rosie O’Donnell’s seat on The View: “I don’t get to see the show that much. I haven’t seen Kathy Griffin or Whoopi — who is always fabulous. When I have tuned in, I’ve seen Sherri Shepherd. She’s great! She’s African American, she’s smart, she’s funny. She’s got it all.” Are you listening, Barbara?

Here’s a rundown on the rest of the gang:

1. Glamour’s Cindi Leive presiding over her monthly editors’ lunch. Her guests: Marie Claire editrix Joanna Coles, GQ’s Jim Nelson and an unidentified fellow.


2. Peter Brown.

3. The dashing duo of ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and Men’s Health honcho Dave Zinczenko.

4. Freddy Gershorn, Drew Cohen and three other gents in dark suits.

5. Ms. Gifford and Jeanne Leff.

6. Jerry Della Femina, Gerry Imber and two other machers.

8. Michael Kassan.

11. Herb Siegal (who gave up his table for lady love Leff).

12. Hachette honcho Jack Kliger (who offered us his hearty congratulations on mediabistro.com’s founder Laurel Touby’s big news) and Michael Braun.

14. Powerhouse producer Stanley Jaffe.

15. Jets’ owner Woody Johnson and a tableful of gents.

16. John Needham.

17. Rubenstein & Associates’ Steve Rubenstein and guest.

18. Jamie Niven and an elegant blonde gal resplendent in green silk.

20. Catie Marron.

21. Scott Singer.

23. Nick E. Rubinstein, who stopped by the bar to show off his new iPhone. Despite all the sniping about the gadget’s glitches, Nick’s looked impressive enough to convince us to get on the waiting list …

24. Elle fashion director and Project Runway judge Nina Garcia and style maven Joe Zee.

25. Tom Goodman and guest.

26. Alan David, so we’re told ….

27. Blonde ambition: a table full of flaxen haired gals including Shirley Lord, Susan Mercandetti and Kathy Lacey.

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

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