George Lucas and Joan Hamburg’s Next Act I David Zaslav at The Mirror Awards

Lunch At Michaels

LunchAtMichaelsOur weekly lunches at Michael’s always deliver plenty of star power and today was no exception. When I arrived a little before noon, I was followed in the door by none other than George Lucas, who, I’m told, happened to be walking by the restaurant yesterday with his new baby daughter and her nanny in tow when he inquired if there might be a way to “squeeze him in” today. I kid you not. He’s always seemed incredibly low key on his many visits to 55th and Fifth any time I’ve seen him here. Today, the multiple Academy Award winner showed up casually clad in his signature look: a sport short, jeans and sneakers and headed right for his table, forsaking the glad handing that is favored by his fellow West Coast brethren. Despite being the first one there, he was one of the last to leave, spending the entire time deep in conversation with an elegant white-haired lady we didn’t recognize. Talking about the joys of fatherhood, perhaps?

George Lucas with a friend at Michael's
George Lucas with a friend at Michael’s

The room filled up quickly with plenty of familiar faces, including social types and publishing big wigs (Kerry Kennedy, Jay Fielden, Jay McInerney, Jack Kliger) as well as a fair number of fashionable folks (Joe Zee, Tomas Maier, Fern Mallis). Unfortunately my date was under the weather, so after I made my rounds I hightailed it over to Cipriani 42nd Street, where there were plenty of Michael’s regulars on hand to salute Discovery Communications president and CEO David Zaslav, who was honored with the Fred Dressler Leadership Award at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University’s Mirror Awards. In attendance: Gayle King (mistress of ceremonies), Discovery ID’s Henry Scleiff and Tom Freston, who came back from a trip to Afghanistan so he could present the award to his longtime pal “The Zas.” Tom affectionately called David “a colorful cowboy” and reminisced of David’s earliest days in cable when he “kicked some ass!”

Howard Polskin and Lisa DePaulo, The Mirror Awards
Howard Polskin and Lisa DePaulo at
The Mirror Awards

At the Mirror Awards, I slipped into my seat at my table, hosted by board member and awards judge Howard Polskin, EIC of Thin Reads. I met fellow guests author David NoonanKyle Pope, EIC of Straus Media-Manhattan; RLM Finsbury’s Ed AdlerChrista Robinson,  Tribune’s chief commuincations officer; Matt Vook, co-founder of Vook; Cris DinozoAnswers’ chief communications officer; and author Lisa DePaulo. I was particularly thrilled to meet Howard and Lisa because we first “met” on Facebook where, after every episode of Mad Men, we have been dissecting the minutiae of every episode of Matthew Weiner‘s brilliant, but often-maddening creation for years. This season we took turns hosting viewing parties on Facebook, where the comments during any given episode could reach into the hundreds. We all admitted to going through something of a withdrawl at the moment and are waiting anxiously for the final seven episodes that will air in 2015. So, Mr. Weiner, ratings may have fallen off a cliff during this incredibly depressing mini-season, but we diehards will be here when you return.

The Shark centerpieces!
The Shark centerpieces!

Regardless of everything else and the numerous other awards given out, it was clearly David’s day from the shark centerpieces on the tables (the Discovery honcho has been known to come to Michael’s with the very same stuffed critter tucked under his arm to kick off the network’s “Shark Week”) to the congratulatory video that featured high praise from friends and colleagues, including Tom Brokaw, who cited David as “a great offensive player,” Henry Schleiff, who cited his boss for his vision to do things “the classy way” and Oprah Winfrey, who basically admitted that David was OWN’s white knight. I’ll say.

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