— DIANE CLEHANE
The votes are in and this week’s big winner is Michael McCarty whose dining room has been packed every day with A-list celebs and politicos of every stripe in town this week to dissect every nuance of election night. The star of Monday’s lunch was none other than Jessica Lange, and on Tuesday James Carville, Cokie Roberts and Tina Brown made the scene. Kirk Douglas was also spotted accepting well wishes for son Michael Douglas, who is keeping a low profile having just finished his treatment for throat cancer.
Today, politics were the topic and I overheard plenty as I made my rounds in the dining room. “Who the hell knows what this all means?” said one shell shocked Obama supporter of the midterm election results. His friend wearily replied, “It’s over. The president is in for it now.” An interested party across the room offered this assessment: “The Republican Party may think this is their time, but they’ll shoot themselves in the foot. You’ll see. ” Another friend told me, “Until we stop thinking of ourselves as a red nation or blue nation and figure out this is a red, white and blue country, we’re screwed.”
At my table, we avoided politics and stuck to dissecting the latest moves in media. My good friend Andy Amill, who this summer got a much deserved promotion and is now Vice President of Weight Watchers Media Group overseeing all print and digital media, is feeling pretty optimistic these days. And he’s got reason to be. It seems celebrity pitch woman Jennifer Hudson, who sensibly shrunk down from a size 16 to a svelte size six on the tried and true program, has been a home run for the brand. “The impact of Jennifer Hudson has been phenomenal,” Andy told me. “We’ve seen an increase in membership at meetings and on-line and an increase in magazine sales.” And, unlike the usual blink-and-you miss-’em celeb endorsement deals, Andy reports that the divine Ms. Hudson will be sticking around to spearhead some top secret programs the company will unveil in 2011.
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
1. The Early Show: Dr. Gerald Imber, Jeff Greenfield, Andy Bergman and Michael Kramer. Second seating: My pal, attorney Suzanne Bracker, and Dan Wassong.
2. Peter Brown and Michael Holtzman
3. Fortune‘s Patricia Sellers — whose cover story last month on Oprah’s next act still has people buzzing — and, we’re told, John Needham.
4. Felicia Taylor with another chic blonde gal we didn’t recognize.
5. MediaLink’s Michael Kassan and Richard Bressler
6. Publicist Harriet Weintraub in head-to-toe black holding court with a table full of fashionistas.
7. Niche Media’s Jason Binn and Zelnick Media’s Jim Friedlich
8. Michael Peterson (Holly’s brother)
9. Public relations maven Samantha Topping
11. Chanel’s Barbara Cirkva
12. Woman’s Day Brand Group senior VP Carlos Lamadrid with a table full of movers and shakers
14. Doris Kearns Goodwin and her editor, Simon & Schuster’s Alice Mayhew.
15. Attorney Jay Kriegel
16. Random House’s new executive editor Jon Meacham and a table full of gents shuffling books back and forth
17. Patrick Murphy and pals
18. Bo Dietl. We have to say the former NYPD detective-turned-talking- head looked as dapper as ever.
20. Producer Joan Gelman and political analyst Robert Zimmerman chewing on last night’s election results. Both report a bad case of heartburn.
21. Pamela VanZandt
22. Rachel Glickman, who is hard at work at her new-ish gig as GM of Woman’s Day Digital (Congrats!), and author Charla Krupp who is still out there shilling for her latest book, How Not To Look Old.
23. James LeFrak
24. Annette Johnson
25. Discovery Channel’s Ken Ripley
26. Weight Watcher’s Andy Amill and yours truly.
29. Kyle Hotchkiss Carone and Daniel Benedict
Please send comments and corrections to DianeClehane AT mediabistro Dot com and lunch at mediabistro DOT com.