Joel Klein, Diana Taylor and the December Diehards


It was good to be back on the Michael’s beat after a two week absence (Word to the wise: Get that flu shot!). I’m happy to report the monsoon-like rains didn’t keep those dining room diehards away, although the mood was a bit more subdued than usual. The place was festively decked out with holiday finery though, and we particularly liked the Christmas carols being piped in. God knows you don’t hear those enough around town.

I was joined today by my good friend Dr. Robi Ludwig who managed to squeeze in our lunch between her appearance this morning on Today discussing options in caring for one’s aging parents and a spot this evening on Jane Velez Mitchell’s chatfest on HLN. Between weighing in on the issues that keep us all up at night on every show you could possibly name, Robi still manages to see a full slate of patients in her own private practice as a psychologist. Funny coincidence: none other than fame addict Kate Gosselin, who, I’m sure, will be discussed in plenty of therapy sessions for the next several decades, shared Today’s green room with Robi this morning. The deluded mother hen appeared to talk about the reports that her children are having anger issues and defend her decision to keep them in front of the cameras. Nope, no issues there. Robi reports that Kate brought along hunky bodyguard Steve Neild for protection. We all know how dangerous those hallways at 30 Rock can be!

After Robi and I finished dishing about Kate, she told me all about her new line of jewelry set to debut next month on ShopNBC.  She’s calling her collection, Vice Mari (Romanian for ‘big dreams’). The pieces will be sterling silver and gold vermeil with genuine stones, and the designs will all have “symbolic meaning.” Why do a jewelry line? “I wanted to do something to make people feel good without therapy,” says Robi. Makes sense to me.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. The “Imber Gang”: Dr. Gerald Imber, Jeff Greenfield, Jerry Della Femina, Michael Kramer and Andy Bergman.

2. PMK/HBH managing director Cindi Berger

3. Producer Terry Allen Kramer, looking chic as ever.

4. Discovery’s main man David Zaslav

5.  Ex-New York City School Chancellor Joel Klein (who got a big hug from Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s lady love, Diana Taylor, on the way to his table) and Allen & Co.’s Stan Shuman.

6. Diana Taylor, entertaining a table full of serious looking folks

7. My good pal, public relations maven Catherine Saxton — long time no see!

8. New York Social Diary’s David Patrick Columbia

9. Screenwriter (Confessions of a Shopaholic) turned documentarian (Lucky Ducks) Tracey Jackson

11. Author of The Manny, Holly Peterson

12. Christine Taylor, who was celebrating her birthday with a table full of gal pals. Cheers!

14. Charlie Schueler and another distinguished looking gent

15.  Case Interactive Media’s Jim Casella

16. TV Guide honcho and resident wine connoisseur Jack Kliger, enjoying a nice red from a pretty fancy looking decanter with a lucky lunch date.

17.  Dr. Robi Ludwig and yours truly

18. The always dapper Randy Jones (Loved that dashing pinstriped suit!), Lauren Sydney and Dorothy Kallins.

20. My producer pal Joan Gelman and consumer crusader Joan Hamburg.

21. Quest’s Chris Meigher

22.  Musician Brian Beller

23. UBS’ Aryeh Bourkoff

24. Renowned Marvel Comic artist Gene Colan. Captain America lives!

25. PR pitchman Tom Goodman and director Roger Goodman (No relation!) — Enterprising Tom tells me that his office turned into a soundstage a few days last week when the HBO production of Andrew Ross Sorkin’s Too Big To Fail filmed some scenes there for the film due out next year. Star Tony Shalhoub was there, too! “A really great guy,” reports Tom. Just thought you’d like to know.