A couple years ago, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg did a laughably stupid thing and named Cathie Black, a rich lady-about-town who ran a bunch of magazines and newspapers as president of Hearst, as his new schools chancellor. Since Black had no qualifications for the job aside from being a rich friend of Bloomberg's, some folks objected and Black resigned after 95 humiliating days. Back in 2010, former Gawker intern Sergio Hernandez thought it might be fun to read the email traffic between Black and City Hall prior to Black's appointment, so he filed a request under New York's Freedom of Information Law. Because Bloomberg is a secretive, entitled, arrogant prick, it took more than two years and a court battle to get them.
Gossip Cindy Adams celebrates her 79th birthday today. Barbra Streisand is 67. Designer Jean-Paul Gaultier turns 57. Mets star Carlos Beltran is turning 32. Playwright Eric Bogosian is 56. Djimon Hounsou (and Kimora Lee's significant other) is 45. Political reporter Andrew Kirtzman turns 48. Mystery writer Sue Grafton is turning 69. Veteran diplomat Richard Holbrook is 67. Kelly Clarkson is 27. Cedric the Entertainer is turning 45. And Shirley MacLaine is 75. Weekend birthdays—including that of the newly-named worst CEO ever, Dick Fuld, this Sunday—after the jump!
• NBC's Lauren Zalaznick is forming a "panel" to help marketers target women. Just a few who have joined the program: Maria Bartiromo, Meredith Vieira, Candace Bushnell, Shelly Lazarus, and Tori Spelling. [AdAge]
• Hearst's Cathie Black is expected to sign a new 3-year contract. [NYP]
• The FT has let 80 people go. [Guardian]
• The first Madoff-related book, Catastrophe: The Story of Bernard L. Madoff, The Man Who Swindled the World, will be out in March. [NYP]
• ABC is thinking about bringing back Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. [TVW]
• Magazines like O, Glamour, W, Marie Claire and Teen Vogue all posted sharp declines in sales during the last few months of 2008. [WWD]
• The networks that went home winners at the Golden Globes. [Variety, NYT]
♦ Madonna and Alex Rodriguez were able to fly out to the Hamptons for a "quick and cozy rendezvous" without anyone knowing, but only because Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld picked the couple up (separately) from the East Hampton airport and let them hang out for several hours at their waterfront manse. [P6, The Sun]
♦ With her husband Rossano Rubicondi filming a reality show in Italy, Ivana Trump has been hanging out with a 23-year-old Belgian model named Marius Rusovici. [P6]
♦ Tina Brown and Cathie Black are enemies, apparently, since they "disagreed on just about everything" and "wouldn't even look at each other," at a conference this week. [R&M]
♦ Is John McCain making an Saturday Night Live appearance this weekend? Does anyone care? [MSNBC]
♦ Sumner Redstone is being forced to sell about one-fifth of his stake in CBS and Viacom to meet the terms of various loan agreements. Also: Shares in Viacom plunged after the company announced third-quarter earnings fell short of estimates. [Bloomberg]
♦ It's official: Hearst's Cathie Black announced CosmoGirl will fold. [Portfolio]
♦ A little perspective: Time Warner is now less than one-quarter of what AOL alone was worth before the merger. [SAI]
♦ After much drama (and a few leaked emails), Scott Rudin has decided to talk away from The Reader. [THR]
1) Lisa Salzer had a party last night for her jewelry line Lulu Frost, where hosts Alexis Bryan Morgan and Elettra Rossellini Wiedemann were joined by Erin Fetherston and Hedi Ferjani, Derek Blasberg, Luigi Tadini, Kathryn Neale Shaffer, Peter Davis, Kate Schelter, and Carole Radziwill, who were rewarded for walking up the five flights of stairs with a live Cuban band and cocktails. [Paper/style file]
Where did Hearst president Cathie Black pick up her steely ways? Why from "mad man" USA Today founder Al Neuharth of course! (She said it, we didn't.) In a November interview at the 92 St. Y with New York Post gossip Liz Smith, Black dishes about being a career woman and her early days with Neuharth. One gem? Neuharth kept his employees alert by keeping the office temp at 55°. "All you could think about was how damn cold you were," Black says. Watching employees hobble around on frostbitten toes is fun times! Watch the video after the jump. [92YBlog]
Hearst Magazines president Cathie Black is a total hardass. "You suck it in if you're ever driven to tears at the office," she tells the San Francisco Chronicle. "Get over it." Yikes. (Not that we particularly disagree, but when we say it, it's a lot less terrifying. Probably because the only publishing corporation we preside over at present has to do with Christmas thank-you cards.) Black's the affable sort, though, no need to cower (though it's probably one of those unwritten office rules.) "I'm from Chicago. I have strong Midwestern values. I'm accessible," she says. Funny, she won't answer our calls. A little advice from her old pal Rupert Murdoch, with whom she worked at New York magazine? Don't hold meetings sitting down. "He told me, 'when I stand the meetings are shorter,' and I vividly remember that," Black says. Actually? That totally works.