Steve Tisch, Billionaire Baller?Newly divorced billionaire and New York Giants co-owner Steve Tisch might be dating women on both coasts. Martha Stewart created a special Christmas tree for Sirius Radio’s office, complete with Howard Stern cookie ornaments. Former NYSE head Dick Grasso left CNBC’s Charles Gasparino a creepy “merry Christmas” message on his answering machine, despite the fact that Gasparino’s new book takes Grasso to task for the $190 million kiss-off he took after leaving the Exchange. John Mayer has had a crush on Ricki Lake for two years (Ed. note: WTF?!), and actually got her digits at the wonderfully successful Sunshine Sachs Christmas party. Lance Armstrong picked up the tab for dinner with former flame Sheryl Crow. Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera hung out together at the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year party. Andy Samberg, Amy Poehler, and Seth Meyers had lunch together.
Wall Street’s Golden Idols All Have Feet of ClayFINANCE
• The struggle to find a successor at Merrill and Citi demonstrates another big flaw in the current culture of Wall Street: Do-or-die standards, and growing demands on public executives, have left firms with no succession plan and few capable of stepping in to take over. Both firms have been forced to turn outside for help: Laurence Fink, the CEO of BlackRock, has been approached about O’Neal’s old job, while Robert Willumstad and John Thain are in the lead to take Prince’s place. [WSJ]
• Why did Chuck Prince and Stan O’Neal fail? They took Gordon Gecko’s favorite maxim—”I create nothing, I own”—a little too seriously, and forgot the other part of banking is to sell, sell, sell. [NYT]
• Andrew Ross Sorkin dons his Miss Manners cap to explain the rules of corporate courting—and why Stan O’Neal’s worrywart parents, the Merrill Lynch board, were only looking for an excuse when they grounded him for asking Wachovia to “merge.” [NYT]
Regan Outfoxes News Corp.?Judith Regan has secret tapes that may help her $20 million lawsuit against Rupert Murdoch. The Land Rovers and helicopters used to launch a new Ralph Lauren cologne may have disturbed a community of East Hampton piping plovers. Cindy Adams, who has a vendetta against Larry David because he dissed her once, claims that Laurie had been stepping out on him for quite some time (and that he’s being set up with Ellen Barkin). Olivia Newton-John really liked Xanadu. OK! dropped $400,000 on sex pics of Nick Lachey and Vanessa Minnillo, but the mag won’t publish them. Claire Danes may have landed the lead in the Pygmalion revival because the director directed her boyfriend in Journey’s End. Annie Leibowitz angered the Queen of England by asking her to remove her crown during a photo shoot.
Happily Eva AfterOK! magazine paid more than $2 million for the rights to Eva Longoria’s wedding photos, much to the chagrin of People. Lily Allen was so drunk during a performance she referred to hostess Tinsley Mortimer as “Ashley Winksdale,” which, actually, is kind of awesome. Courtney Love has been licensing Kurt Cobain’s likeness for a bunch of lame products. (Certainly Al Pacino wouldn’t approve.) The Queen of England uses e-mail and has an iPod. Rachel Roy and Damon Dash got into a public spat at Dash’s club Socialista. Ryan Cabrera and Riley Keough — she’s Elvis’s granddaughter — are on the outs. Renée Zellweger might be dating an agent at CAA.
Albrecht Out at HBOHBO chairman Chris Albrecht was forced to resign last night after allegedly beating up his girlfriend Sunday, likely because this wasn’t his first domestic assault. Harvey Weinstein had to explain to girlfriend Georgina Chapman that Elie Wiesel was notable for being “in a concentration camp” at the Time 100 fête. And Jessica Simpson dressed conservatively at the event to not draw attention from boyfriend and honoree John Mayer. Cameron Diaz went to a sex show at the Box the night before appearing on the Today show. Josh Hartnett and Helena Christensen sang karaoke together. Lorne Michaels sang karaoke at oil heir William Hess’s bar mitzvah. Nancy Grace is trying to get on The View now that she’s out at Court TV. NBC News’ David Gregory may be Don Imus’s replacement.
show and talk
The Queen Comes to America: A Fashion Report
A visit by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II may be a state occasion, but it’s not exactly a fashion event. After all, she’s been wearing boxy suits, major hats, and skirts of that curious Hasid-chick length for as long as anyone can remember. How’d she do on her just-winding-up American tour? Here’s a blow by blow.
Rich Little, Not So Funny! Who Knew?Karl Rove got into a fight with Sheryl Crow and Laurie David at the White House Correspondents Association dinner Saturday night. Also at the dinner: Eliot Spitzer got Sanjaya Malakar’s autograph, and host Richard Little bombed. And Antonin Scalia chatted up blogger Ana Marie Cox at Christopher Hitchens’s after-party. James Carville owns several guns. Chevy Chase was mentally and physically abused as a child, according to an upcoming biography. Keith McNally is still at his street campaign against the giant Hotel Gansevoort billboard. Cynthia Nixon is still holding out hope for a Sex and the City movie. The widow of Dr. Robert Atkins is trying to remove trustees of his estate because they sued her for back pay.
Choose Your Own Gossip Adventure!Rush and Molloy let you write your own Lindsay Lohan item. Larry King used to gamble, owes a lot of people in Miami money, according to a new book. Art-mag publisher Louise MacBain has not yet made her annual $50,000 donation to the Watermill Foundation. Richie Rich’s new boyfriend is causing trouble for Heatherette staffers. Paris Hilton dropped her best friend Kim Kardashian because Kim was getting too popular. Lydia Hearst threw an award statue into the crowd at the Paper magazine Nightlife Awards, because Moby told her to. Jennifer Connelly gained some perspective shooting Blood Diamond in Africa. Before arriving at the Casino Royale premiere attended by Queen Elizabeth, VIPs had to memorize a pamphlet on royal protocol. The cover of Vanity Fair’s “Hollywood” issue feature Brits Kate Winslet and Helen Mirren but not Cate Blanchett. Newly single Kid Rock may be back with his ex-girlfriend. Drew Barrymore still wears Uggs. Cindy Adams loves Will Smith’s new movie, does not love Mel Gibson’s. A mausoleum for Fidel Castro is being built on a mountaintop in Cuba. Former Facts of Life star Kim Fields is preggers. Joan Collins loves to sign autographs for fans, despite a recent “Page Six” item to the contrary. A kosher steakhouse opened in L.A.; Mel Gibson and Michael Richards have yet to dine there.