Lunch at Michael’s: Business Class

lunch_at_michaels_logo.jpgAfter gorging ourselves on the delicious menu of high calorie celebrity (Cameron! Diane! Barbara!) that filled the dining room last week, this week’s lunch consisted of a more “sensible” diet of regulars — the captains of industry, entertainment moguls and media types whose internal compasses almost always points to 55th and Fifth on Wednesdays. One of our favorites was missing, though. Mayor Joe Armstrong, where were you? Hope to see you next week.

Our most interesting conversation today was with Vanity Fair contributing writer Leslie Bennetts whose new book, The Feminine Mistake is due out from Hyperion’s new imprint, Voice, in April. Ms. Bennetts, best known for her headline making, tearful celebrity interviews, (Teri Hatcher went through more than a few Puffs when she admitted she’d been sexually abused by a family friend to Ms. Bennetts; Jennifer Aniston got all weepy about her breakup with Brad) is about to make some headlines of her own. Ms. Bennetts told today’s lunchtime chronicler Diane Clehane that the ‘mistake’ she refers to in the title is misguided notion that many women have, she says, that they can count on a man for financial support. Ms. Bennetts takes particular aim at career women who opt out of the workforce to be “helicopter mothers” who feel the need to hover over every detail of child rearing. (Uh-oh!) It is a “finite” period of time that children need around the clock attention, cautions the mother of two. She warns those looking to reenter the workforce when say, their kids are in school full time, that they will never really regain the momentum that they’ve lost. At a time when more and more women are tapping into their inner June Cleaver, Ms. Bennetts is sure to strike a nerve.

Here’s a rundown on the rest of today’s power set:

1. The always dapper Henry Schlieff, CEO of the Hallmark Channel presiding a table of “suits.” Our friend Mr. Schlieff, who is master of promotion (Look what he did for Court TV!) always manages to make his presence felt in the best possible way. One question: why were you sitting with your back to the room today?

2. Peter Brown and a gentleman who dug into his plate of French fries with gusto.

3. Marty Bregman and guest.

4. Ron Perelman, who, we’ve noticed, is looking fitter than ever. The casually dressed mogul, who sported a black turtleneck and jeans and a brown pullover, sipped diet coke and chatted with nearby diners until his lunch date arrived. We’re told the mystery brunette was his daughter.

5. Jim Wyatt.

6. Gerry Byrne and guests.

7. Television titan (and one time producing partner of Carsey Warner) Peter Tortorici and, we think, John Burbank.

8. New York Social Diary‘s David Patrick Columbia who was nice enough to tell us he’s been enjoying our reporting. Thanks David, for the kudos on the column. We never miss yours, either!

9. Author Michael Gross.

11. CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo. The former “Money Honey” exchanged air kisses with Mr. Perelman before settling in for lunch with a guest we couldn’t see.

12. PR legend Helen O’Hagan, formerly of Saks Fifth Avenue.

14. Bill Siegal (Herb’s son) and guests.

15. Harper Collins’ David Hirshey.

16. We couldn’t see …

17. Hearst hot shot Deb Shriver with Marie Claire’s former editor in chief Lesley Jane Seymour. We were shocked by Ms. Seymour’s abrupt departure from MC. (The jury is still out whether Joanna Coles’ vision for the mag is an improvement. We think Elizabeth Vargas, whose image was photo shopped in a recent issue to look as if she were breast feeding her new baby from her former anchor perch, would say vote “No!”) Nice to see that some friendships trump uncomfortable business decisions. Let us know about your future plans, Lesley!

18. Peter Gregory and guest.

19. Sony music men David Massey and Rick Dobbis.

20. Producer Joan Gelman and guests.

21. David Corvo of CBS.

22. Publisher Weekly‘s editor Sara Nelson.

23. Today‘s talent booker Mark Victor and Sean Cassidy (no not that one!)

24. Martin Puris

25. Steve Greenberg

26. Missy Godfrey

27. Ms. Bennetts and the Self magazine team of editor in chief Lucy Danzinger, book editor Liz Egan and two other minions.

28. Peter Gregory & James Goldschmidt.

29. David Moyer and NBC’s Hilary Lane.

Please send comments and corrections to DianeClehane AT mediabistro DOT com & Lunch AT mediabistro DOT com.

Map of Michael’s