Film Star Wattage Continues to Dwindle at White House Correspondents' Dinner
While TV actors dominate the celeb roster for the Saturday event, Bradley Cooper is expected to be the only big-name film star in attendance.
Television has increasingly looked to Washington for dramatic inspiration in recent years, and the guest list for today's annual press corps prom — otherwise known as the White House Correspondents' Dinner — draws most of its entertainment industry names from the small screen.
With the exception of Bradley Cooper, who will be sitting at Time’s table, the number of high-wattage film stars who used to be the evening’s big draw is continuing to dwindle. In fact, a commentator in Saturday’s online edition of The Guardian plaintively inquired, “Is Washington falling off the red carpet circuit? Some of the news outlets hosting tables in 2015 appear not even to be trying. The Washington Post, for example, has not invited a single guest identifiable as a celebrity ...”
Also AWOL are all of the declared or about-to-declare Republican presidential hopefuls, with the possible exceptions of Donald Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. The rest of the GOP contenders appear to be spending the weekend in Iowa, trying to get their approval ratings out of single digits.
Television and the digital media, on the other hand, will be well represented tonight:
Cosmopolitan, most of whose political coverage is devoted to the sexual sort, will host The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus and Lauren Cohan, Parks & Recreation’s Billy Eichner and Gabourey Sidibe of Empire.
Fox News has Trump, Martha Stewart, Gossip Girl’s Kelly Rutherford, tennis great Billie Jean King, another member of The Walking Dead, Alanna Masterson, and Brody Jenner of Keeping Up With the Kardashians.
CNN has the ex-wife of its former owner, two-time Oscar-winner Jane Fonda, now a Netflix regular, and Eric Dane of TNT’s The Last Ship.
CBS/CBS News with have former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, HUD Secretary Julian Castro and former U.S. ambassador to Italy David Thorne sitting with Jane The Virgin star Gina Rodriguez, Revenge’s Henri Esteve, and Madam Secretary’s Tea Leoni and Tim Daly.
Thomson Reuters has one of the more eclectic tables, with Morgan Stanley chairman and CEO James Gorman, Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Selma director Ava DuVernay, Minnesota Sen. Amy Kobuchar, House of Cards’ Mike Kelly and Selma’s Andre Holland. Other guests will include the New York Jets’ Brandon Marshal and model Chrissy Teigen.
The Hill is going all TV, with Elementary's Lucy Liu, Nashville’s Connie Britton and House of Cards’ Constance Zimmer.
Yahoo will have supermodel Naomi Campbell and Victoria’s Secret model Karlie Kloss. (Look for a lot of selfies to be shot around that table.) They’ll be joined by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Yahoo anchor Katie Couric.
ABC/Disney has Scandal’s Kerry Washington and a quartet of folks from Modern Family — Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson — along with three guests from black-ish — Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross and Kenya Barris, the show’s creator.
The New Yorker will entertain the Nightly Show’s Larry Wilmore, while USA Today is striking a more populist note with Jane Seymour, Alfre Woodard from State of Affairs, The Goldbergs’ Wendy Mclendon Cobey, Glee’s Naya Rivera, Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Michelle Trachtenberg, Trojan Bellisario of Pretty Little Liars and Maria Menounos, a Dancing With The Stars season 14 contestant and Live from E! host.
The Atlantic’s guests include Veep’s Tim Simons, True Detective’s Michelle Monaghan, America’s U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power and her Harvard professor/husband Cass Sunstein, as well as Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.
As the Guardian pointed out, the Washington Post’s table is short on glitz, but it might be the place you’d want to go for stock tips. Guests include Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Labor Secretary Tom Perez, Fred Hochberg, Chairman and President of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, AOL co-founder Steve Case and Megan Smith, Chief Technology Officer in the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Dow-Jones has the table most likely to produce a food fight before dessert with Kasich, former Virginia Democratic senator and possible Hillary Clinton alternative Jim Webb, ex-Obama advisor David Plouffe and the former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, who is chairing Clinton’s campaign. Scandal’s Darby Stanchfield and playwright and actor Eric Bogosian also will be part of the mix.
The Huffington Post has invited an array of digital and alternative media stars, including Sarah Koenig, Steven Johnson, Bethany Mota, the rapper Killer Mike, Napster co-founder Sean Parker, Nash Grier, Marcus Johns, Heather Armstrong, Jerome Jarre and Tyler Oakley.
True to its habitually low profile C-SPAN’s sole guest is Joyce Woodhouse, the woman who called in to the station to scold her arguing pundit sons, Brad and Dallas Woodhouse.
The Guardian pushing perhaps for a glimmer of magic, has Harry Potter movie series actors Alan Rickman and David Tennant, the Turner Prize-winning artist Chris Ofili and actress Georgia Moffett.
People, with a keen eye toward cultivating the folks who can turn on the lights for the photo shoots, goes totally practical with a table including Clinton communications adviser Kristina Schake, Elizabeth Allen who fills the same slot for President Obama and Michelle Obama’s communications director Caroline Adler.