The Insider

Nov 3, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Some very important people think Ed Bleier has written a book that offers very important food for thought about how to make Thanksgiving stand for something more than surfeits of food and football.
The former Warner Bros. and ABC executive’s “The Thanksgiving Ceremony” proposes a 20-minute ritual of national, nonsectarian, nonpolitical and nonracial thanks-giving, home by American home. Contributing dust-jacket blurbs were movie mogul Steven Spielberg (“When Ed Bleier talks turkey, all of us listen”), child of history Julie Nixon Eisenhower (“A gem”), music maestro Quincy Jones, actor Alan Alda and his wife Arlene and ABC News anchor Peter Jennings and his wife, producer Kayce Freed (“A wonderful and moving idea”).
Mr. Bleier enjoyed the experience of writing, though it was daunting to have his prose follow a foreword by New York Times columnist William Safire.
This red, white and blue first-generation American has been nursing the “Ceremony” idea for years but didn’t have time to dig into it until he went into “semi-retirement” nearly three years ago.
Among other commitments he’s: senior advisor to Warner Bros., on the Council on Foreign Relations and chairman of the Center for Communications, and thus knee-deep in preparations to give the annual Award for Excellence to News Corp. Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin at a luncheon Nov. 17 at New York’s Plaza Hotel.
Mr. Bleier is booked to talk about “Ceremony” on NBC’s “Today” early in Thanksgiving week, when food-prep frenzy peaks. When The Insider asked about his favorite holiday dish, Mr. Bleier replied: “I didn’t gain all this weight without eating my grandmother’s mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top.”
Bobby Rivers, host of Food Network’s “Top 5” (just renewed for another 26 installments), is one of a long list of well-known folk who contributed their thoughts to “American Pride.” The book will be published-and celebrated with a midday reception at the Senate Building in Washington-Veterans Day, Nov. 11.
Contributors range from soccer star Mia Hamm and CNN’s Paula Zahn to businessman Wayne Huizenga and the aforementioned (and recently naturalized) Mr. Jennings.
With Dana Lewis headed from NBC News’ Moscow bureau to Fox News, Preston Mendenhall is headed back to NBC’s Moscow bureau, where he spent five years as a producer before joining MSNBC.com in 1998.
Mr. Mendenhall, who has been MSNBC.com’s London-based international correspondent, will be a correspondent-producer, sharing the digs with producer Judy Augsburger and bureau chief Thomas Bonifield.