Star Power Dwindles at White House Correspondents' Dinner

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Barack Obama

Shonda Rhimes, Andrew Lack, Kendall Jenner and Karlie Kloss are among the names who will be seated at the tables of ABC, Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and other top media brands at the April 30 event.

At the 2015 White House Correspondents' Association dinner, Idina Menzel found herself seated between former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and "a Chinese ambassador, or something," she recalls. That eclectic mix is the hallmark of the annual "nerd prom," which will lure 2,600 politicos, journalists and stars to the Washington Hilton on April 30. "I've been consuming American politics for the last couple of months," says Bloomberg guest Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who recently wrapped a role in John Madden's political thriller Miss Sloane. "I'm excited to do some real Washington people-watching."

The actress will have plenty to look at when invitees gather to celebrate Obama's final bow before the WHCA and celebrity guests like Kerry Washington, Rosario Dawson and even NFL star Odell Beckham Jr. But, as of press time, the confirmed list of attendees isn't nearly as star heavy as it was when the association welcomed Obama for the first time in 2009. 

That year featured a slew of power couples like Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw, Sting and Trudie Styler, (now split) Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore, (now split) Amy Poehler and Will Arnett, Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy, Jon Bon Jovi and Dorothea Hurley, Tommy Mottola and Thalia, and Mariska Hargitay and Peter Hermann. Other guests included actors Natalie Portman, Alicia Keys, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Eva Longoria and Samuel L. Jackson, filmmaker George Lucas and fashion designers Donatella Versace and Jason Wu. 

 Here, a sampling of guests at top media tables for the 2016 edition.

ABC
Shonda Rhimes, TV mogul, Scandal, Grey's Anatomy, How to Get Away With Murder
The cast of Scandal, including Kerry Washington, Scott Foley and Tony Goldwyn
The team from Black-ish, including actors Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross with creator Kenya Barris

ATLANTIC MEDIA
Hope Solo, U.S. women’s soccer goalie
Josh Stamberg, actor
Gene Sperling, former director of the National Economic Council and assistant to the president for economic policy
Jeff Zients, director of the National Economic Council and assistant to the president for economic policy.
Lisa Monaco, assistant to the president for homeland security and terrorism
Travis Kalanick, co-founder & CEO, Uber

AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS
Dr. Thomas Starzl and wife Joy
Ewart F. Brown, former Bermuda premier
Broderick Johnson, assistant to the president and cabinet secretary
Omarosa Manigault, The Apprentice

BLOOMBERG
Gugu Mbatha-Raw, actress

FOX NEWS
Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Chris Dodd, chairman of the MPAA
Jeff Goldblum, Vivica A. Fox and Sela Ward of Twentieth Century Fox's Independence Day: Resurgence
Gladys Knight, singer
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and wife Candice Crawford
John Cena and Nikki Bella, WWE
Cheryl Ladd, model and actress (Charlie's Angels)
JC Chasez, singer (NSYNC)
Ryan Kwanten, actor (True Blood)
Toks Olagundoye, actress (Castle)
Kyle Schuneman, Apt2B designer
Howie Long, Fox Sports
Fox News talent: Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly, Greta van Susteren, Chris Wallace, Bill Hemmer, Maria Bartiromo, Ed Henry, Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade, Ainsley Earhardt, Harris Faulkner, Sandra Smith, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Kennedy, Eric Bolling, Juan Williams, Rich Edson, Howard Kurtz, Mike Emanuel, Peter Doocy, Jennifer Griffin, Alicia Acuna, Eric Shawn, Adam Housley, Angela McGlowan, Santita Jackson

HEARST
Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Joanna Coles

THE HILL
Bridget Moynahan, actress
Emily Ratajkowski, actress

THE HUFFINGTON POST
Arianna Huffington
Charles Porch, Instagram head of global creative programs
Shannon Mattingly, Facebook strategic-partner manager
Steve Aoki
Stephanie Linnartz, Marriott evp and chief marketing and commercial officer
The Fat Jew
Rosanna Pansino, YouTube star
Aidan Alexander, social media star
Zach King, Vine star
Cameron Dallas, social media star
Bill Nye, The Science Guy
Kevin Plank, Under Armour founder and CEO
DJ Khaled, record producer, radio personality and deejay

NBC NEWS/MSNBC
Jaimie Alexander, actress from network's Blindspot
Andrew Lack, chairman of NBC/MSNBC
Phil Griffin, president of MSNBC
Deborah Turness, NBC News president
Janelle Rodriguez, NBC News senior vp of editorial
Noah Oppenheim, senior vp of Today
Peter Alexander, NBC News White House correspondent
Ron Allen, NBC News correspondent
Mika Brzezinski, MSNBC Morning Joe co-host
Tom Costello, NBC News correspondent
Savannah Guthrie, Today anchor
Tamron Hall, Today anchor
Chris Hayes, MSNBC host
Kasie Hunt, MSNBC political correspondent
Hallie Jackson, NBC News correspondent
Steve Kornacki, MSNBC host and political correspondent
Chris Matthews, MSNBC host
Cynthia McFadden, NBC News senior legal and investigative correspondent
Ari Melber, MSNBC chief legal correspondent
Andrea Mitchell, NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent/anchor
Natalie Morales, Today anchor
Kelly O’Donnell, NBC News Capitol Hill correspondent
Lawrence O’Donnell, MSNBC host
Joy-Ann Reid, MSNBC national correspodnent
Thomas Roberts, MSNBC host
Luke Russert, NBC News correspondent
Joe Scarborough, MSNBC host
Rev. Al Sharpton, MSNBC host
Kate Snow, NBC News national correspondent, anchor
Katy Tur, NBC News correspondent
Kristen Welker, NBC News White House correspondent
Pete Williams, NBC News correspondent
Jeh Johnson, United States Secretary of Homeland Security
Cody Keenan, White House Director of Speechwriting

PEOPLE
Jenna Fischer, actress
Nyle DiMarco, America's Next Top Model winner, Dancing With the Stars contestant

THOMSON REUTERS
Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants wide receiver
Michelle Dockery, actress, Downton Abbey
Ilana Glazer, actress, Broad City
Abbi Jacobson, actress, Broad City
Michael Kelly, actor House of Cards
Von Miller, Denver Broncos linebacker, Super Bowl MVP
Liz Allen, White House deputy communications director
Kristie Canegallo, White House deputy chief of staff
Deesha Dyer, White House social secretary
Cecelia Munoz, White House assistent to the president and director of the domestic policy council

USA TODAY
Neve Campbell, actress
Rosario Dawson, actress, Daredevil
Kendall Jenner, model
Wendi McLendon-Covey, actress, The Goldbergs
Miles Teller, actor, Divergent series
Gabrielle Union, actress, Being Mary Jane
John Wall, Washington Wizards point guard

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Tory Burch, fashion designer
Ed Burns, actor, filmmaker
Christy Turlington Burns, model
Elizabeth Cutler, Soul Cycle co-founder
Julie Rice, Soul Cycle co-founder
Karlie Kloss, model
Christine Lagarde, International Monetary Fund managing director
Franklin Leonard, The Black List
Susan Rice, National Security advisor
Narciso Rodriguez, fashion designer

THE WASHINGTON BLADE
Nene Leakes, actress, reality TV star
Melissa Harris-Perry, writer, professor, TV host and political commentator
Kevin Naff, Washington Blade editor
Chris Johnson, Washington Blade's chief political and White House reporter

THE WASHINGTON POST
Erin Egan, Facebook vice president, policy and chief privacy officer
Jonathan Finer, U.S. State Department Chief of Staff and Director of Policy Planning
Thomas Perez, U.S. Secretary of Labor

NOTABLE WEEKEND EVENTS
Friday, April 29
• The Creative Coalition partners with A-List Communications’ Supper Suite by STK to host Celebration of Arts in America benefit at The One Group’s signature restaurant STK, 1250 Connecticut Avenue, NW. Sponsored by Dobel Tequila, Blue Moon Brewing and Line 39 Wines, the dinner will be hosted by actor Tim Daly with guests including actors Emily Ratajkowski, Nina Dobrev, Rosario Dawson, Neve Campbell, Gabrielle Union, Tyler Posey, Wendi McLendon-Covey, AnnaLynne McCord, Constance Zimmer and Lisa Edelstein.

People and Time host an annual cocktail party that is expected to be a big draw yet again at the St. Regis Hotel, 923 16th St. NW

The Hill and Extra partner for a dinner event hosted by the entertainment news show's AJ Calloway at the Canadian Embassy, 501 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

• Eric Podwall hosts a third annual event, welcoming guests including Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and wife Candice Crawford-Romo, Glee star Matthew Morrison, X-Men director Bryan Singer, singer J.C. Chasez and screenwriter Simon Kinberg to Top Chef's Spike Mendelsohn's pop-up speakeasy Sheppard, located at 1337 Connecticut Ave. NW. 

Saturday, April 30
• ABC and Yahoo are teaming another time to co-host one of the Washington Hilton's many pre-dinner cocktail receptions. Expected to attend are: World News Tonight and 20/20 anchor David Muir, GMA news anchor Amy Robach, chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl, chief global affairs correspondent and This Week co-anchor Martha Raddatz, The View co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Paula Farris, Raven-Symone, Michelle Collins and Candace Cameron Bure. 

A version of this story first appeared in the May 6 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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