— DIANE CLEHANE
There’s never a dull moment on a Wednesday at Michael’s. When I arrived in the dining room today I spotted LX TV‘s senior executive producer Amy Rosenblum shooting a segment for tonight’s show with host Sarah Gore and Michael’s GM Steve Millington about their famous $36 Cobb Salad. Who says lunch here isn’t about the food?
I had a delightfully dishy lunch with Alex McCord, one of my favorite cast members from The Real Housewives of New York City, her husband Simon van Kempen and their literary agent, my pal Jason Allen Ashlock. The couple is surprisingly down to earth given the histrionics filled season. “We’re trying to prove you don’t have to be an idiot to be on reality television,” says Simon.
At the moment, Alex and Simon are in the middle of their book tour for Little Kids Big City, which is now in its second printing. It’s a well-written, ‘mom-oir’ (as Simon likes to call it) that chronicles their transformation from DINKY (dual income no kids yet) couple to hands-on, working parents of two sons, Francois and Johan. Also in the works are a “relationship book” written in the same ‘he said, she said’ style as Little Kids, a possible cookbook, and Alex tells me she’s penning a “roman a clef about the dark underbelly of reality television.” Watch out Jill Zarin!
I just had to ask Alex what she thought of Jill’s tearful performance at the marathon three-part reunion show, which culminated in Jill basically begging former BFF Bethenny Frankel for a hug. (I’m told the women shot for nine hours with very little down time.) “It was a long day,” says Alex. “I don’t know whether it was genuine or not.” But she didn’t hold back in describing Jill’s backstabbing behavior overall: “When you have nothing else in your life, you can sit around and scheme like a character in Dangerous Liaisons.”
The couple was first tapped by Bravo to appear on what was to be called Manhattan Moms in 2007 before it morphed into The Real Housewives of New York City. “We didn’t know we were going to be paired with bitchy, socialite wannabes,” says Simon. With three seasons behind them, Simon feels Alex “hit her stride” this year. For her part, Alex says her friendships with Ramona Singer, Sonja Morgan, and Bethenny have grown and she’s spoken to all three of them “within the last 48 hours.” No decision has been made about who will be returning next season but Simon says of the couple’s plans, “At this point, it would be silly to not do one more season.”
You can catch Alex at her next New York City book signing on July 6 at Barnes & Noble on Lexington and 86th Street with New Jersey Housewife Caroline Manzo, who be on hand to promote Bravo’s new tell-all on the popular franchise.
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
1. Arianna Huffington and Jack Myers, presiding over a boisterous table of media movers and shakers.
2. Alex McCord, Simon van Kempen, Jason Allen Ashlockand yours truly.
3. Cindy Lewis, Mickey Ateyeh and producer Fran Weissler, who just nabbed a Tony for La Cages Aux Folles. Congrats!
4. Viacom’s Philippe Dauman
5. Herb Siegel and another distinguished gent.
6. The ‘Imber Gang:’ Dr. Gerald Imber, Jerry Della Femina, Jeff Greenfield, Michael Kramer, Andy Bergman and, we’re told, a mystery gal named ‘Mary’ who managed to infiltrate the boys’ club.
7. Estee Lauder’s Alexandra Trower.
8. New York Social Diary’s David Patrick Columbia and Judith Agism.
11. Casting director Bonnie Timmermann and the casually clad Andy Borowitz.
12. Designer Carlos Falchi with his lovely wife, Missy, and some pals in from out of town.
14. Simon & Schuster’s Alice Mayhew
15. Author Michael Korda
16. John Jakobson (Joan’s hubby)
17. Buzz founder and novelist Eden Collinsworth
18. Public relations maven Lisa Linden and Charles Millard
20. My pal, producer Joan Gelman, and Sandy Perl
21. EMI’s Neil Lasher with John Mayer’s manager, so we’re told.
22. EMI’s Hunter Murtaugh
23. Beverly Abrams
24. Moneyman Martin Puris
25. UBS’s Angela Dalton
26. Mark Goldberg
Please send comments and corrections to DianeClehane AT mediabistro Dot com and lunch at mediabistro DOT com.