Trim, Trim, Cheri

May 30, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Being Sirius clearly agrees with Mel Karmazin. Even as the Sirius Satellite Radio CEO has been beefing up his programming arsenal-Martha Stewart 24/7; who could ask for anything more on a long road trip??!!?-he has been getting sooooooo trim that The Insider had to compliment him when she saw him at the Museum of Television & Radio’s annual gala in New York last week honoring Merv Griffin.

What’s the incredible shrinking Mel’s secret? “I married a woman who can’t cook,” he said over the affectionate protests of wife Terry, who accessorized her strapless black cocktail dress with an enviably early tan.

Somehow, The Insider doesn’t think that diet’s going to work for herself, but when Mr. Karmazin extracted a promise to publish the diet tip and kissed The Insider on the cheek, it was the perfect ending to a night of serendipitous conviviality.

The Insider’s tablemates included the astonishingly gracious Arlene Dahl (whose wrap was a dramatic cocoon of sheer black with a boa edging); bon vivant news producer Victor Neufeld; public relations power Maury Rogoff; and WNYW-TV morning personality Lucy Noland, who was so striking in a fringed, laced and flowered black sheath that a woman she didn’t know turned to her in the hotel elevator and sighed: “Maybe in my next life.”

The Memorial Day exodus had the streets of Manhattan gridlocked for hours, but the ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria was Icon Central-a testament to Mr. Griffin’s enduring fabulousness. Even Micky Dolenz, the ex-Monkee who began hosting a morning show on New York’s WCBS-FM last fall, was in the crowd.

Barbara Walters, wrapped in maroon and coordinating gems, bared a shoulder and arrived on the arm of “20/20” and “primetime>live” executive producer David Sloan. She would later say of the video montages of Mr. Griffin mugging, singing, dancing, playing the piano and talking, listening and laughing over the years he hosted “The Merv Griffin Show”: “You are watching television history.”

ABC News’ Cynthia McFadden, in a chain-link-meets-lam%E9; sheath, passed a cellphone to the honoree when former first lady Nancy Reagan called to dish with Mr. Griffin, her longtime pal. Mrs. Reagan asked permission to “say something political” and then worked in an amplified plug for her pet cause, stem cell research. “When [people] understand it they come around,” she said.

Walter Cronkite ‘fessed up to yacht envy, Henry Kissinger marveled at how Mr. Griffin had done “20 years of talk shows without offending anyone” and the peripatetic Tony Danza said, “I learned a lot sitting on Merv’s couch.”

To which Mr. Griffin would reply when he took to the stage at the end of the evening, “Even after he dies, those lips are going to keep moving.”

And to Mr. Cronkite, whose passion for sailing is not as big as Mr. Griffin’s yacht: “I remember your cute little boat.”