Jennifer Hudson may have been the Idol alum on Clive Davis's arm when UJA-Federation honored him at a Music for Youth benefit yesterday, but the veteran hit-maker has no hard feelings toward her fellow former Idol, Kelly Clarkson, who very publicly dissed him earlier this month and then apologized last week. "Kelly's been a vital, vital recording artist for us from the very beginning," he told us, displaying the diplomacy that's made him a success in the music business for decades, "so I'm delighted to take her back on track, and we'll be getting to work on her next album real soon." Former Giants running back Tiki Barber — who knows a thing or two about public tiffs — was there, and he defended Clarkson's outburst, and her apology. "Kelly has an opinion about her life. It is her prerogative to express it," he said. "There is nothing wrong with saying sorry." So has he apologized to his former coach, Tom Coughlin, whom he publicly criticized? "I never really criticized him," he said. "There was a story that I criticized him, but it wasn't him I was criticizing. It was others. But the media will run with what they want to run with." Barber, we'll remind you, is now a national correspondent for the Today show. —Shira Levine
At what was billed as a family screening of the animated penguin mockumentary Surf's Up at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square yesterday afternoon, the socialite-to-kid ratio was about five-to-one — which was remarkable in a room full of SeaWorld penguins, enormous beach balls, and a sundae bar. Former Vogue cover girl Liya Kebede rushed through inflatable palm trees and a crowded room full of pint-size people to greet fellow model Veronica Webb. (Her son, meantime, was punting the beach balls to the ceiling.) Tiki Barber was cornered on his way to the sundae station. “All I want is to grab a brownie, but I’m afraid if I move, I’m going to accidentally kick one of them,” he told us, as a crowd of little boys squeaked for autographs. “I mean, they come up to my knees, and they’re all around.” Later, we spotted him dangling his two boys over the live penguins, which were the hot attraction. “Oh, my girls have already seen Pete and Penny,” Veronica Webb said of the penguins. “I took them backstage at SeaWorld, where they met and fed them. But you have to be careful, though — get too close to them, and you’ll end up with a bucket of paint on you.” Paint? That’s mommy talk for penguin poo. —Genevieve Leon
Tiki Barber just retired from football, but has his throwing arm already atrophied? At NBC's upfront presentation yesterday, the former Giant and the rest of the Sunday Night Football sportscaster team were trotted out to face advertisers. Barber and colleagues Jerome Bettis and Chris Collinsworth rehashed a bet from last year: Who could toss a football into the balcony of Radio City Music Hall?
In his new memoir, former Time Inc. editor-in-chief Norm Pearlstine accuses New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger of being more concerned with publicity than with the law during the Judith Miller saga. (Of course, Pearlstine was concerned with neither, happily capitulating to the prosecutor!) Tom Brady and Gisele went to Easter Mass in Little Italy. Disgraced former Miss USA Tara Conner has left New York for L.A. Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds now seem to be an item. Socialite Dori Cooperman was arrested and charged after she allegedly stole and cashed a $4,300 check. A Gawker editor had a tough time handling Jimmy Kimmel's questions on Larry King Live. Giada De Laurentiis may be one of Tiki Barber's co-hosts on the Today show.
Before Maria Bartiromo was on MSNBC and flying on private jets, she lived a life out of West Side Story. Speaking of Bartiromo, Citigroup head Charles Prince may have leaked the jet-ride scandal to the media. Former Philippines first lady Imelda Marcos uploaded some unintentionally funny government-propaganda films to YouTube. Financier Henry Kravis complained that he wasn't invited to Stephen Schwarzman's blowout birthday party. Brad and Angelina needed beads and masks to escape from a New Orleans restaurant.
And now it's official: Tiki Barber will become a television broadcaster. The Times is reporting that Barber, the Giants running back who retired from football at the top of his game, will join NBC, serving as a news correspondent for the Today show and a commentator for football broadcasts. Last month, David Amsden profiled Barber for New York, looking at why he wanted to leave football and why he wanted to go to TV. The answer? Because he realized it was time to grow up.
Tiki Barber to Join NBC's 'Today' Show [NYT]
Tiki Barber: The Exit Interview [NYM]
• Gotham Magazine Gala. Capitale, 130 Broadway, nr. Grand St., 7 p.m. Truly an overflowing cornucopia of party fruits and sponsorship vegetables, this event is billed as Gotham’s “Seventh Annual Gala” and a retirement party for Tiki Barber; it’s sponsored by Cadillac, the luxury Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet, and a London hotel called the Rushmore; entertainment will be provided by D.J. Cassidy, the “Chez-Zam Entertainment Group,” and the “Fifty-Person Rhythm & Rhyme Marching Band.” Scheduled to be exhausted by all of the above are Spike Lee, Ice T, Jon Bon Jovi, Nina Sky, and Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
Sean Combs threw a hissy fit when he wasn't allowed into CAA's post–Golden Globes party, may have gotten himself banned from Sunset Tower. Lindsay Lohan may have hit the bottle, and then hit rehab, after being rebuffed by James Franco. Paris Hilton's left eyelid is droopy because she once had surgery to raise her lids, and it's getting worse because she continues to wear tinted contact lenses. (We can't believe we just typed that.) British chef Marco Pierre White claims the New York Times once hired a private eye to dig up dirt on him in an unsuccessful attempt to prove he had a booze and drug problem. Hillary Clinton to throw a book party for Chuck Schumer at his favorite Chinese restaurant on Capitol Hill.
The big news today in the city's big businesses.FASHION
• Lindsay Lohan’s Miu Miu ads keep coming — now she’s a vibrant, dumbstruck dolly. [Fashionologie]
• There’s a bimbo logjam at the top of Mr. Blackwell’s annual worst-dressed list. [Downtown Darling]
• A Paris court dismissed Karl Lagerfeld’s claim against journalist Alicia Drake. He sued her for invasion of privacy — but really, people say, because she called him middle class. [WWD]