The Insider

Nov 10, 2003  •  Post A Comment

It was a starry, starry night Nov. 2 at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom, site of the most elaborate ruse ever for a going-away bash. The cavalcade of then and now CBS stars were told to dress for a live telecast celebrating the network’s 75th anniversary. What the festivities really marked was communications director Michael Silver’s last night in a tux for the Tiffany Network.
After 39 years as resident bon vivant and bon mot-ster, Mr. Silver no longer has to wait till weekends to retire to the lovely front porch from which he has a lovely view of some lovely hilltops north of the Big Apple. Mr. Silver took the train in from those hills Nov. 2 wearing his impeccable tux. The Insider took a city bus across 34th Street wearing the 40-percent-off ensemble designated for must-fluff-up occasions this season. But she digresses.
The sweetest buzz during the dinner din was about sightings of Lassie, whose forebears, all of whom had the given name Pal, starred on CBS from 1954 to 1971. When Pal IX took center stage for the CBS group photo, every star within reach wanted to touch the collie. When the executive triumvirate of Leslie Moonves, Sumner Redstone and Mel Karmazin posed, Mr. Karmazin threw his arm around man’s best friend.
The post-broadcast buzz was about how Dave Price, the chutzpatic weatherman for WCBS-TV, New York, and “The Early Show,” maneuvered himself into the middle of the front row of the group shot, while “Evening News” icons Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather, who had earlier earned a swell standing ovation, were at the very far left and right ends of the row.
Two nights later, in the same getup, The Insider hopped an HBO-supplied bus carrying boldfaced names from a screening of the first half of the six-hour, $60 million “Angels in America” (which will debut on HBO Dec. 7) to the star-packed party that didn’t get rolling until after the fashionably late hour of 10 p.m.
There will be much praise heaped on all involved with the faithfully enhanced and powerfully cast “Angels” adapted by playwright Tony Kushner and directed by Mike Nichols, for whom wife and “Good Morning America” co-host Diane Sawyer stayed out late. In the meantime, The Insider says that when the time comes to watch it, A) pay close attention to the rabbi, and B) see if you don’t agree that actor Al Pacino as lawyer Roy Cohn looks eerily like “60 Minutes” creator Don Hewitt.