Go Sweetly, Mr. Wheatley

Jun 13, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Last week was a bittersweet one for fans of Bill Wheatley because it was his last week as VP at NBC News.

On Monday night three decades’ worth of NBC News history and personnel-including former News Presidents Bill Small, Reuven Frank and Dick Wald-and Wheatley fans came together to toast Mr. Wheatley.

Mr. Wheatley in turn delivered a speech that transformed even the most hard-bitten veterans into mush for a few moments. Among other things, he praised his boss, NBC News President Neal Shapiro, for his astute handling of a long list of news events. That portion of the speech by Mr. Wheatley, it is said, provoked particularly long and heartfelt applause from a crowd that included many who think Mr. Shapiro has earned better treatment than he’s gotten in the recent swirl of speculation about his future.

Three nights later, at the launch party for MSNBC’s “The Situation With Tucker Carlson,” Mr. Wheatley still was accepting best wishes and thanks from a long list of NBC newsies whose careers he had touched.

There was a very different kind of touching going on just 4 feet away as “The Apprentice II’s” Raj Bhakta, still in eccentric preppy horndog mode, um, uh, chatted up one young thing after another in hopes of scoring a (fill in the blank) and one producer after another in hopes of scoring an on-air gig.

While The Insider was taking notes on who was there-from Steve Friedman, the emperor of morning TV, to media mogul Mort Zuckerman to political gadfly Al Sharpton-Gawker was taking photos. Check them out at Gawker.com. Scroll way down to June 9 entries.

A “The Situation With Tucker Carlson” magnet-The Insider doesn’t even want to break the plastic wrap on the logoed

T-shirt pressure-packed into a bow-tie shape-goes to the first reader to identify the lip gloss lady mentioned and pictured on the Web site.

Gawker clearly hasn’t watched early-morning news or MSNBC.

‘Queer Eye’ of the Needle

The Insider’s favorite quilt shop, The City Quilter in Manhattan’s Chelsea district, is making its national television debut on the June 21 installment of Bravo’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.”

A “Queer Eye” crew of 20-including two cameramen and a lighting team, producers, assistants and directors-recently taped two of the Fab Five, and the ex-Marine they were making better, getting an embroidery lesson from Diane Rode Schneck, a quilter-author who teaches some of The City Quilter’s very popular classes.

“It’s crazy, but it’s fun,” said Cathy Izzo, who was a CBS producer before she founded the shop several years ago.

It’s a good thing she’s been so successful that she had to move into a bigger shop around the corner last year. Otherwise, The Insider would get downright cloth-trophobic just thinking about that mass of equipment, people and energy in the old space.

P.S. The reason for the embroidery lessons will, The Insider hears, have viewers hauling out their hankies.