Ted Turner, World Savior

Explaining he’d been at a meeting “trying to save the world,” Shoptalk tablemate Ted Turner was a few minutes late for Time’s Person of the Year confab at the Four Seasons in New York last week, where advertisers, agency execs and media lumi naries got a first-time peek at the annual debate among the editors.

The 1991 Man of the Year was in fine form over lunch, recounting tales of his political ambi tions and war stories about his feuds with Rupert Murdoch. He first mulled a run for president when married to Jane Fonda, he said, but she had soured on the role of political wife after her marriage to Tom Hayden and talked him out of it. Turner reconsidered when he and Fonda split up, but concluded no one gets elected in the midst of a divorce; now, at 64, he believes he’s too old to run.

As for Murdoch, Turner claimed his fellow media mogul once tried to buy CNN. But for all their public sparring, he admitted the two had gone skiing together.

The CNN founder, still the largest share holder in AOL Time Warner, showed he’s not above taking in a free lunch: Lament ing AOL Time Warner’s plunge in share price, Turner recalled that he once encouraged the company to sell off the art collection amassed by the late Steve Ross, architect of the merger between Warner Communi cations and Time Inc. A bad move, he said, in hind sight: “At least art has gained in value—un like AOL Time Warner stock!”