Lunch: Christiane Amanpour Draws an A-List Crowd



On the menu at Michael’s today: a tasty stew of media mavens and moguls with a heaping helping of famous faces on the side. We could barely keep up with the goings-on in the dining room, since every other minute there was some boldface name heading to the Garden Room for CNN’s lunch to celebrate Christiane Amanpour’s new show. We spied Gayle King, Cynthia McFadden, Joni Evans, Gloria Steinem, and Harry Evans among the scribes invited to cover the soiree. (Nice to see you, Steve Krakauer!) Our own TVNewser Kevin Allocca editor was there, too.

I was lunching today with Carrie Kania, senior vice president and publisher of It Books and Harper Perennial. It Books, HarperCollins’ hip new imprint, is tapping into the zeitgeist with a fall list brimming with of-the-moment tomes including Twitter Wit (Who knew so many people could write such witty Tweets?) and the just released I Love Your Style by the uber stylish Amanda Brooks. “I love the book because it shows how fashion evolves,” Carrie told me. I Love Your Style is full of fabulous images of timeless style icons like Jackie Kennedy, Ali McGraw and Charlotte Rampling as well as today’s trendsetters like Natalie Portman. It’s also got plenty of great ideas and tips on how to identify and develop a style that’s truly one’s own. Carrie is just as passionate about the classics on Harper Perennial’s backlist. “So many 13 and 14 year-old girls have not read The Bell Jar; I want to help them find it.” Seems like Carrie is on a mission to get everyone she can excited about publishing: she’s also teaching the New York University graduate course ‘Introduction to Publishing.’ Says Carrie of her gig that spends eights weeks focused on books and another eight on magazines: “I take the students through every step from acquisition to marketing. The mentoring I got early on was invaluable to me, and I want to help people like that. There is no better business to be in.”

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. My good friend, public relations maven Lisa Linden (Happy Belated Birthday!) and her partner, Steven Alschuler — their firm, Linden, Alschuler & Kaplan works with plenty of Gotham’s movers and shakers in real estate, government and philanthropy, in case you didn’t know — with former senator Nick Spano and his colleague from Empire Strategic Planning, Perry Ochacher.

2. Most of the ‘Imber Gang’: Dr. Gerald Imber, Jerry Della Femina and Andy Bergman. Where were Jeff Greenfield and Michael Kramer?

3. Diane Sokolow and a formidable-looking fellow we didn’t recognize

4. Producer Bill Haber and television legend Norman Lear

5. Gloria Allred, in a gorgeous St. John’s suit, and pals. I bumped into Gloria on the way out and briefly chatted with her about her appearance on Good Morning America this morning with her client, Christie Prody, the former girlfriend of O.J. Simpson. If you’re a high-profile wronged woman, it seems Gloria is your gal. Remember Scott Peterson’s former girlfriend, Amber Frey? “She’s moved on with her life. She has a baby now and she’s very happy,” Gloria told me. So what was she doing on television? “She was speaking out, warning women on the dangers of addictive relationships.” While Gloria said Christie does not have a book deal in the works, that’s not to say, I’m sure, that any reasonable offer wouldn’t be entertained. By the way, Gloria reports she’s over the moon that her daughter, my pal Lisa Bloom, has relocated to the West Coast. “I get to see her a lot more now that she’s close by,” says mom. Nice.

6. Peter Duchin

7. Richard Flynn

9. Latina Media’s Cynthia Lewis and Missy Godfrey

11. Queen of all casting directors, Bonnie Timmermann

12. Lucianne Goldberg with her longtime director of media relations, Bonnie Dudley, and another pal. I first got to know Lucianne when she was making news during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. When we chat these days, it’s usually about where she blogs about — what else? — the political hot potatoes of the day.

14. Reuters’ Jolie Hunt (back for a visit since moving to London) and politico Jay Kriegel

15. Art aficionado John Silberman

81. HarperCollins’ Carrie Kania and yours truly. We got the chance to chat with Liz Smith who was there for Christiane’s luncheon. “Plenty of really important people back there,” Liz told us of today’s partygoers. I introduced Liz to Carrie, and they got to chatting like old pals when they discovered a mutual friend in former HarperCollins’ editor Maureen O’Brien. “She was great,” said Liz of Maureen, who is now happily living in California working on a number of projects, including acting as a ‘book doctor’ for writers in need of polished proposals.

16. TV Guide’s head honcho Jack Kliger with a table full of business types

17. Fashionista Harriet Weintraub with another elegantly dressed gal

18. Jeff Haley, president of the Radio Advertising Bureau

19. Icelandic filmmaker Joni Sighvatsson

20. Producer Joan Gelman (Long time no see!)

21. IMG’s John Steele

22. Zachary Karabell, author of Peace Be Upon You, so we’re told

23. Dapper designer Steven Stolman (We can’t wait to see what he’s going to do with the next Jack Rogers collection!)

24. Kara Swisher and pals

25. My pal Tom Goodman, whose tireless efforts on behalf of the Museum at Bethel Woods resulted in wall-to-wall coverage for the site during Woodstock’s 40th anniversary. Congrats!

26. Francois Teiss

27. Peter Schaeffer

28. James Yockey

29. MPAA’s Nina Link

30. CBS Digital Media president Larry Kramer

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