August 17, 1998


Stay tuned for a new round of musical chairs at City Hall this fall. Though no one’s talking, the word trickling out from political insiders is that Rudy Giuliani may have a new chief of staff by September. One source insists that the mayor and his current chief of staff, Bruce Teitelbaum, are already in discussions to move the aide to “another senior-level post.” The name most frequently mentioned as Teitelbaum’s replacement: Planning Commissioner Joe Rose. Meanwhile, Margot McGinness, the mayoral aide whose battle last spring with Grammy chief Michael Greene provoked the show to bolt to L.A., has herself bolted. She’s now the chief of staff for financier Ted Forstmann. And Fred Cerullo, the current finance commissioner, is said to be a leading contender to take over the Times Square BID, a position Teitelbaum has also been mentioned for. Teitelbaum could not be reached, but both Rose and the mayor’s spokeswoman deny rumors of Teitelbaum’s imminent departure.


SHEA’S SECRET CLAUSE: While George Steinbrenner huffs and puffs to get a new stadium for his Yankees, the Mets’ Fred Wilpon has hardly broken a sweat. He doesn’t have to. His plan to erect a new Shea with a retractable dome in the current stadium’s parking lot is percolating along, and the Mets are pleased with their negotiations with the mayor’s office, confirms team veep Dave Howard. It turns out that the team has a secret weapon: a 1985 contract with the city that presciently included a clause guaranteeing the Mets first dibs on any new ball park. That means a new Shea will almost certainly be built before a new Yankee stadium. Financing for a new Mets home has yet to be finalized, but Howard says the stadium will be built with “a substantial private contribution” in addition to public funds.

SALT AIREANS: Reality doesn’t always bite. Just ask Ethan Hawke, who’s spending August on Fire Island with Uma Thurman and their baby. The couple is renting in Saltaire, the community known for beached politicos like Geraldine Ferraro, Victor and Sarah Kovner, Bert and Letty Cottin Pogrebin, and, until recently, Harold Ickes and Laura Handman.

RESTAURANT NOTES: Jean-Georges Vongerichten is planning not one but two restaurants in Las Vegas – the Prime Steak House in Steve Wynn’s Bellagio, and a Jean Georges in the Mirage … They’ve lost the Rainbow Room to the Ciprianis, but Windows on the World creators Joe Baum and Michael Whiteman have a new project to keep them busy. The duo is masterminding the dining facilities for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s new concert hall at the Coliseum … Sirio Maccione is in discussion with hotels in London and Paris about opening restaurants in both cities.


Candice Bergen is not a journalist, but she played one on TV, and that seems to be enough for the muckety-mucks at CBS. Sources say that Bergen and producer Don Hewitt, who were seen huddling together in the Hamptons last week, have been talking about the Murphy Brown star moving over to 60 Minutes. Bergen’s spokesperson confirmed that the actress, whose own show ended in May, has been in discussion with CBS about doing several stories a year for the investigative-news show. Apparently, the idea has been kicking around for some time; Bergen had auditioned for a spot with 60 Minutes 25 years ago, when she was a budding photojournalist. Says Hewitt, “We thought she was great. At the time, she opted to stay in Hollywood, but now that she is no longer doing Murphy Brown, it dawned on me that she may want to do a story or two for us. Once we make the determination that there is a story worth her doing, we’ll give her a chance to do it and we’ll see how she does. My guess is that she’ll do superbly. She’s one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met in my life.”


The curse of the middle child doesn’t play in the Florio family, where the middle son seems to be the blessed one. Michael Florio, the little-known 46-year-old brother of fearsome Condé Nast president Steve Florio, 49, and Condé Nast Traveler publisher Tom Florio, 42, has just recorded a CD of Christian songs. The Witness opens with Florio’s rendition of “The Lord’s Prayer,” followed by eleven original songs by the singer-songwriter (who also plays guitar). Michael was a construction worker years ago when oldest brother Steve confided to the Media Industry Newsletter that his middle brother had “made the smartest career choice in the family.” He then worked as a supervisor for Lehr Construction on the Viacom site, where co-workers remember him as an enthusiastic gospel singer. Now the born-again Christian has a day job at a Manhattan printing plant. “I don’t know where he came from,” laughs brother Tom, who’s determined to land a distribution deal for his big brother. “Mike’s here to save Steve and me.” Miracles do happen.

August 17, 1998