Barbara Walters, Bill O'Reilly, Katie Couric, Harvey Weinstein Hit THR's Power-Soaked New York Party
Held at the Four Seasons restaurant, the event was wall-to-wall with boldfaced names including Anna Wintour, Bonnie Hammer, George Stephanopolous, Ben Sherwood, Piers Morgan, Richard Plepler, Matt Blank and more.
Electricity flowed all around the Four Seasons Restaurant in New York City on Wednesday.
Outside, lightning cracked across the Manhattan skyline, thunder announcing itself with sonic booms; inside, some of the biggest stars the city has to offer lit up The Hollywood Reporter's annual party honoring the 35 Most Powerful People in Media hosted by editorial director Janice Min and publisher Lynne Segall. The soiree was sponsored by Delta, City National Bank, Porsche Design and Bombardier.
The special double issue came this year with four covers, each featuring key figures from THR's 35 Most Powerful People in Media list. Good Morning America co-anchors George Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts shared a cover, and Stephanopoulos was one of the first stars to appear at the party, joined by wife Ali Wentworth. He gushed to THR about how excited he has been to have his desk partner back in business (Roberts missed five months of work while undergoing treatment for myelodysplastic syndrome) and also offered a reason why former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has stayed mum on whether she'll run for president in 2016.
"She's not saying no, and it's pretty clear that if she decides to know, based on what we know now, she'd be the front runner" and though she had many of the same advantages in 2008, "my guess is she's learned a lot from then."
One of the Democratic Party's biggest celebrity boosters, Conde Nast's Anna Wintour, added her own sparkle to the proceedings.
Another cover subject, Bill O'Reilly, doubled down on the headline-making statement he made about gay marriage several weeks ago: Simply put, he doesn't care all that much.
"I think they should leave it to the states," O'Reilly told THR, insisting that the federal government should not play a role in the debate. The Fox News host and best-selling author said he was more concerned with the economy and the threat of North Korea, though he joked that perhaps the best way to deter a nuclear strike was to send Dennis Rodman back to the country.
"I'm going to send Dennis Rodman over again and calm the guy down, slap him around," he said. "Who else would you want, in a period of crisis for America, than Dennis Rodman?"
Soon after, O'Reilly took drastic measures in an attempt to get out of the way of red-carpet photographers aiming their lenses at Liza Minnelli -- leading to the 6-foot-4 O'Reilly jumping across a backdrop behind the 5-foot-4 Minnelli.
Michael Strahan, the NFL star-turned-inheritor of Regis Philbin's seat next to Kelly Ripa, clowned around the party and embraced his former New York Giants teammate (and new CBS radio host) Tiki Barber. Ripa was joined by husband Mark Consuelos, with whom she disagreed about whether former Rep. Anthony Weiner should run for mayor of New York; she was for it, him not so much. Wendy Williams, another honoree, sided on the side of forgiveness for Weiner. Katie Couric, another honoree, mingled with friends upstairs as well. Music legend Tony Bennett split the crowd, all of whom were in awe at his presence.
CBS News was well represented, from chairman Jeff Fager to CBS This Morning co-hosts Gayle King and Norah O'Donnell (new to the show, she told THR the early-morning hours were quite an adjustment) to members of the crack team behind 60 Minutes, including Morley Safer and CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley. CNN's Piers Morgan raved about new boss Jeff Zucker and promised that "I'll be at CNN as long as Zucker will have me." One legendary journalist who's kept the media guessing about when she'll decide to retire, Barbara Walters, also worked the room.
Upstairs, cocktails were served along with hors d'oeuvres that included cheese-filled puff pastries, crab cakes, foie gras and miniature pizzas. Oscar-winning producer Harvey Weinstein made an appearance, telling THR about his favorite Roger Ebert memories (including why he gave him the nickname King of Cannes). Other Hollywood notables included Christopher McDonald (who had to leave early to appear in his Broadway play Lucky Guy with Tom Hanks), Modern Family's Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Top Chef's Padma Lakshmi, Star Trek's Zachary Qunito and the Today show's Willie Geist.
The event was heavy on the biggest executives, as well. Showtime chairman and CEO Matt Blank, Sony Pictures Classic co-president and co-founder Tom Bernard, USA network co-president Chris McCumber, AMC Networks' Josh Sapan, Sundance Channel's Sarah Barnett added some boardroom heft to the party.