— DIANE CLEHANE
Who says August is dead? Well, we did last week — and it had been up until today. The head-spinning scene at 55th & Fifth packed a month full of bold-faced names into one dishy lunch. Where else in the world would you find Denise Brown (yes, Nicole’s sister), a triumvirate of Trumps, and the suddenly ubiquitous Star Jones, who seems to have put the ‘cool kids’ canteen on her speed dial? I talked to Ms. Brown, fresh of her appearance on Today about the news that the Goldman’s annotated version of the O. J. Simpson much-reviled If I Did It (which may or may not have the same title) will be published by Beaufort Books on October 3. While she appeared close to tears several times on the air while squaring off against Beaufort’s owner and president Eric Kampmann (“Why would you bring this nightmare back to these children?”), she was confident and composed for our chat. Perhaps that’s because she told me she’d received “hundreds” of supportive emails just hours after the show aired, including one from a woman who used to obsessively send her missives saying “OJ is innocent” but now is convinced otherwise.
“The whole world — or most of it — knows he killed Ron and Nicole,” said Denise, who is clearly geared up for a battle royal to quash any momentum this still highly charged tome has. When asked who she thinks would buy it, she answered, “No one, I hope.” With TMZ already ripping it to shreds and the likelihood the parts covering the murders [Chapter Six] will be making the rounds on the Internet well before the pub date, it seems more than likely even the most morbid curiosity will be satisfied before anyone with the nerve to be seen with the book can pony up their American Express card. When reached for comment this afternoon Mr. Kampmann told me, “I understand Denise’s point of view but I sympathize with the Goldmans. Simpson has always said he wouldn’t pay them a dime [of the $32 million judgment awarded in the civil case, but] this may change all that.” Kampmann claims only a “small percentage” of the feedback he’s received has been negative and vows: “I am committed to this book and I’m not going to back down. Some people have said I’m going to rot in hell, but a lot of people are for this because the Goldmans are for it. That’s the camp I’m in.” He also revealed that both Fred and Kim Goldman have completed their writings and that the book will contain contributions from two other “non-family” members but declined to name names. As they say, The plot thickens.
Here’s a rundown on the rest of the crowd:
1. GCI‘s Marc Rosen who seemed to cram one heck of a party into the alcove. As is customary, any time Mr. Rosen holds court, a photog was lurking about to capture all the action.
2. Cosmo gal Kate White and fashion photog Marc Baptiste. “He shoots a lot of our fashion,” says Kate.
3. Trump, the next generation: Don, Jr., Eric (he’s the blonde one), and burgeoning mistress of the universe, Ivanka. Ms. Trump adorns the new issue of Stuff with the coverline as “The Sexiest Boss in the World.” I wanted to get Daddy dearest’s take on the tagline but sadly, he was a no show. An unidentified young gent in a blue button down was seated with the trio instead.
4. Peter Brown & Michael Holtzman.
5. Terry Allen Kramer & James Neiderlander.
6. Today‘s Marc Victor, producer Matt Zimmerman (Matt Lauer’s booker) with Denise Brown and Ms. Brown’s assistant.
7. Star Jones, husband Al Reynolds and her new executive producer Gail Steinberg. Her new show — called what else? Star Jones — premieres next Monday on Court TV also now known as Tru Tv (We’re a bit confused about that) at 3 p.m. Which, in case you were wondering, is Nancy Grace‘s old time slot.
8. New York Social Diary‘s David Patrick Columbia, who hosted an impressive trio of literary ladies Erica Jong, Molly Jong Fast — who told me her four-year-old son, Max, is soon to be part of a brood of kiddies because she’s expecting twins in January (congrats!) — and Susan Cheever. Molly also was nice enough to introduce me to Ms. Cheever, who is just about to ink a deal for a biography on Louisa May Alcott for Simon & Schuster. (“They’ve been my home for five books. I’ve been very happy”)
9. Quest International’s Paul Austin.
11. An interesting duo: Shelley Ross and MSNBC’s Dan Abrams. There was buzz that the deposed ABC producer is about to land a top spot at CBS but perhaps her dance card is fuller than we know …
12. The Early Shift: Today‘s Amy Rosenblum. Second seating: our good pal producer Joan Gelman, who has been having a great time in Canada this summer working on all kinds of big things, lunching with hotter than hot Susan Gallin, who is bringing Desperately Seeking Susan to the London Stage. If Susan’s past hits (Angels in America & Spamalot among them) are any indication, Susan is sure to be a must-see.
14. Norman Pearlstine.
15. A big cheese from Sony, so we’re told.
16. The Murphy family
17. Estee Lauder’s Sally Susman and Lillian Vernon. I recognized Ms. Vernon from the tiny photo of her that accompanies those sweet letters she pens in her catalogs so I just had to say hello. The ageless entrepreneur told me she and pal Sally were hatching a “secret project that involved men.” Don’t they all?
18. Sports Illustrated’s Terry McDonell and agent Ed Victor.
20. Chris Silbermann.
21. Quest‘s Chris Meigher.
22. Vin Sippola.
23. Producing powerhouse Jon Hart.
24. Bob Tobin .
25. Allen & Company’s John Josephson
26. Brad Wechsler of Imax
27. Elliot Kastner
Please send comments and corrections to DianeClehane AT mediabistro Dot com and lunch AT mediabistro DOT com.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Like all good media mavens, Lunch at Michael’s will take the last two weeks in August off. (You should too!) We’ll be back with a vengeance on September 5, but don’t worry, you can still get your LaM fix on August 22 and 29 as we’ll be running a fave from the past year on those days.