We May Be Losing a Natalie, But We May Be Getting a Kathie LeeWhen Natalie Morales announced on the Today show this morning that she was pregnant again, we were torn. On the one hand, we love Natalie Morales with all of our hearts (despite her participation in the soul-crushing fourth hour of the show) and think that the higher the percentage of babies in the world that have her for a mom, the better. On the other hand, this means that she’ll probably have to sit out the network’s sure-to-be-bonkers coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics in August, which saddens us. We were dying to see her forced into a synchronized-swimming competition with Matt or pulling Al around the streets of Beijing in a rickshaw. Our minds raced with questions — who would pick up the slack for her? Giada De Laurentiis? The sometime Today co-host didn’t seem to work out (plus she also got pregnant), so we haven’t seen her in a while. Tiki Barber? The delightful Amy Robach? The less delightful Jenna Wolfe? Not quite.
Sheryl Crow Finally Has Something to Say About Ashley and Lance
Sheryl Crow thinks it’s “pathetic” that Lance Armstrong is dating Ashley Olsen. Paris Hilton has been frequenting New York hot spots very late at night (or, rather, early in the morning). Donald Trump Jr. is suing the board members of his West Side condo for kicking him off. Jon Corzine’s ex, 48-year-old Carla Katz, is dating a 32-year-old American soldier and former model. Torch, a new club slated to open tonight, is scrambling to get Tiki Barber and 800 other invitees not to show up because the plumbing isn’t ready. A guy on the subway once told Matthew Broderick that he looked and sounded exactly like Matthew Broderick.
‘Journal’ Takes Beef with Mariane Pearl PublicMariane Pearl, the widow of murdered Wall Street Journal writer Daniel Pearl, and the Journal are no longer on friendly terms. Naomi Campbell told a crowd at a dinner for the Black Action Retail Group that she was done with throwing cellphones. (Her visit to Hugo Chavez also garnered praise from terrorist groups.) Former Giant Tiki Barber will attend the book party of NFL Network host Rich Eisen tonight at the Time Warner Center. Tyra Banks made out with a “gorgeous model type” at Thor in Hotel Rivington. Hilary Duff gave lap dances to a Joel Madden look-alike at Tenjune. Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg ran into her aunt Lee Radziwill at City Center.
Al Roker Always Thought Dumbledore Was a Bit SwishyAl Roker sees everything coming, not just storm clouds. When we caught up with him at the Quills Literary Awards last night, we asked him what he thought of J.K. Rowling’s revelation that Harry Potter character Albus Dumbledore was gay. “I was not surprised because I always got the sense there was actually something between him and Hagrid,” said Roker, who is a fan of the books. “Either that or it was Hagrid and the hippogriff. One or the other.” Oh, Al, you kidder. A hippogriff couldn’t mate with a giant! (For the record, Joan Allen told us, “It never entered my mind to think about [Dumbledore’s] sexuality.” Some people just don’t have dirty minds.) What we really wanted to know from Roker, though, was obviously how his new friend at the Today show was doing. You know, the only other guy on the show who is bald? Yeah, Tiki Barber. We kind of wonder how he’s fitting in, you know, learning how to baste things instead of score touchdowns. “He’s funny, he’s great, he’s on his game. And he’s been a heck of an addition to the touch-football team,” Roker assures us. Only “I wish he would wear some sweaters for men.” —Amy Odell
Find out about Gay Talese’s guilty pleasures and where Steve Schirripa is partying these days at our complete coverage of The Quills Awards.
Alex Kuczynski Has a Smart BrotherA drunk Justin Long spilled soup on himself twice at Veselka, and then fell for the old beer as “stain remover” trick. The Observer tried to hire event planner Elli Frank to help throw some upcoming parties, despite the fact that the paper referred to her as a “madam” three years ago. James Frey sold a book (this time a novel) to HarperCollins. John-Michael Kuczynski, brother of plastic surgery maven Alex Kuczynski, wrote a book titled “Conceptual Atomism and the Computional Theory of Mind.” Retired Giant Tiki Barber attended a book party celebrating the memoir “I Dream of Blue,” where coach Tom Coughlin was the butt of some playful ribbing. Knopf editor and Gabriel Garcia Marquez champion Ashbel Green is retiring at the age of 80.
Clive Davis Has Forgiven Kelly ClarksonJennifer 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
Tiki Barber Goes to Screening, Gets Trapped By KidsAt 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
Never Doubt Tiki
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?
Picking On Little ArthurIn 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.
Maria Bartiromo Feels Pretty, Oh So PrettyBefore 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.
it just happened
Grown-Up Tiki Barber Signs With NBC
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]
Exhaustion Sets In at ‘Gotham’ Gala• 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.
Pissed DaddySean 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.
Lindsay Lohan, DumbstruckThe big news today in the city’s big businesses.
• 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]