Everybody who is anybody in television news — with one glaring omission — showed up for last week’s twentieth-anniversary blowout for 48 Hours, which, after 60 Minutes, is CBS News’ most durable magazine program. On hand for the party in the twentieth-floor lounge at 230 Fifth Avenue were CBS chairman Leslie Moonves, CBS News president Sean McManus, 48 Hours executive producer Susan Zirinsky, former CBS president Sir Howard Stringer, and former news president Andrew Heyward.
Missing was Dan Rather.
The original anchor of 48 Hours — who, along with Stringer, got the show off the ground in 1986 with a highly rated pilot, "48 Hours on Crack Street," and pushed the network suits to put it on the weekly schedule — wasn’t invited. In an awkward phone call before the celebration, Zirinsky explained to Rather that he couldn’t come under the circumstances.
Last night's launch party for Fox Business Network had so many media and business moguls, you couldn't throw a canapé without mussing up the rug of some very important dude. Seriously, our throats were burning from inhaling the perfume of wealth and success. In one corner of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Temple of Dendur, Liz Smith chatted with Mel Brooks and Harvey Weinstein. (Apparently, Harvey loves the channel. "I love Roger Ailes," he said, though he would not tell us what he liked the best or whether he ate Money for Breakfast.) In another corner, Oscar and Annette de la Renta greeted Regis and Joy Philbin. And kingly in the middle of it all, like a pair of samurai and their husbands, were Rupert Murdoch, Les Moonves, Julie Chen, and Rupert's wife, Wendi Deng. "Wendi, we love your bracelets!" we cried in unison, suddenly morphing into Blair's sidekicks in Gossip Girl. "They were only twenty dollars," she exclaimed. Wow, we thought. Wendi is so down-to-earth! "But this wasn't," she laugh-cackled, flashing us her index finger, which was adorned with what looked to be the actual Hope Diamond.
• Citigroup's Chuck Prince and Chase's Jamie Dimon are battling it out to see who's the real heir to Sandy Weill. With Citi crashing and Chase eking out a gain despite the credit crunch, it looks like Dimon, long prodigal, may be the true son. [Deal Journal/WSJ]
• Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson warned that we may see as many as one million home foreclosures before the end of the year. [NYT]
• Want to be a hedger and a do-gooder, work a trading floor and enjoy the peace of mind of a nonprofit? Join the World Bank like former Goldman exec Robert Zoellick, and you can manage $55 billion in assets. [NYT]
Dan Rather insists it's not about Katie Couric — it's about Edward R. Murrow. After Les Moonves decried the ex–CBS anchor's indictment of Katie-era CBS (specifically, his use of the words "dumbing it down" and "tarting it up") as "sexist" yesterday, Rather issued a clarification through his new employer, HDNet. As nobody gets HDNet, here's what he said: "This is not about Katie Couric. Never has been … This is not about gender, this is about leadership at the very top of CBS. Les Moonves talked about 'blowing up' CBS News and [de-emphasizing] the landmark journalistic work of Edward R. Murrow." And so, in one fell swoop, Rather's comment turned from beating up on a newbie to standing up for a mentor. Neat trick, if it works.
More From Rather [TV Newser]
An agent claims to have forensic evidence and government documents that allege Saddam Hussein is still alive and well. Former CBS News reporter turned professional CBS basher Bernard Goldberg takes shots at Les Moonves and Katie Couric in his newest book. The relationship between 77-year-old Barbara Walters and 80-year-old Robert N. Butler is heating up. Arianna Huffington broke her cheekbone and got stitches after fainting in her office from exhaustion. Taxi tycoon Andrew Murstein bought a suite at Madison Square Garden for $500,000. The man accused of shaking down Oprah Winfrey claims he was set up by her lawyer, according to Radar. Exes Tom Arnold and Roseanne Barr continue to dislike each another.