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Covering the pulse of New York media
Updated: 19 min 40 sec ago

FishbowlNY Newsstand: Your Morning at a Glance

Fri, 04/03/2015 - 15:00

NY_NYP WSJ NY_NYT NY_DN

 

(Images: Newseum)

Categories: News

Keith J. Kelly Has Fun with Condé Nast News

Fri, 04/03/2015 - 12:45

AlexGonzalezPicAs Keith J. Kelly so often does, we now know the the rest of the (back)story.

The Post media critic writes this morning that Raul Martinez had been Condé Nast’s de facto corporate creative director for some time now. But on Wednesday, Martinez was formally promoted to the position by boss Anna Wintour, making it official and, officially, chuckle-worthy:

The change is likely to heat up the Condé-Hearst battle because Martinez’s business and life partner, Alex Gonzalez (pictured), works crosstown as the consulting creative director at Elle, a Hearst mag and one of Vogue’s main rivals.

Gonzalez earlier oversaw design overhauls at two other Hearst titles — Marie Claire and Town & Country. \"It’s hilarious,\" said one source, referring to the rivalry.

Gonzalez joined Elle in the creative director capacity last summer.

Kelly writes that the April 1 promotion has also been accompanied by a change in Martinez’s title and role at AR New York, the design firm he founded with Gonzalez. That still leaves an impressive count of three creative director titles in the Martinez-Gonzalez household.

Previously on FishbowlNY:
Raul Martinez Named Corp. Creative Director for Condé Nast
As the Condé Nast World Turns

[Photo of Gonzalez via: AR New York]
Categories: News

Daily News Takes Shots at Post’s Harvey Weinstein Coverage

Fri, 04/03/2015 - 11:45

It’s not every day that that gossip column Confidenti@l zeros in on the other New York tabloid. But that’s the case this Good Friday, and it’s fun to read.

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According to the NYDN gossip gang, Post EIC Col Allan’s \"close relationship” with Harvey Weinstein is playing a major part in the way the paper has been covering the current story of a 22-year-old woman who has accused the producer of groping her. The story was broken by the Daily News Monday, after which the Post outed Weinstein’s accuser on Tuesday’s front page and tarred her on Wednesday’s. From the Confidenti@l item:

But on Thursday, the Post mysteriously dropped the story completely and teased its Major League Baseball preview special on the front page. Not a word on Weinstein. Curious.

The News, on the other hand, reported exclusively that cops arranged a \"controlled phone call\" between the movie mogul and the Italian beauty and that he didn’t deny being piggish and groping her.
Insiders at the Post told us there was lots of yelling in the money-bleeding tabloid’s newsroom after Thursday’s report appeared exclusively in the News. Insiders estimate the Post is hemorrhaging more than $70 million a year.

Confidenti@l also makes note of a tweet sent out by Post commentary editor John Podhoretz March 30 in reply to New York magazine writer Jennifer Senior. Read the full column here.

Categories: News

Two Journalists, Two Killers

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 23:30

In the forthcoming movie True Story, Jonah Hill plays former New York Times Magazine reporter Michael Finkel while James Franco portrays convicted killer Christian Longo.

Per a Q&A in New York magazine, Finkel explains that for research purposes, Hill had dinner with the reporter in Manhattan to ask an evening’s worth of probing questions. Franco, on the other hand, has been very public about his desire to have nothing to do with Longo. Had the actor paid a visit to the killer in prison, Finkel says he probably would have been surprised by how normal the man seems:

“‘He’s a complicated guy’ is about the nicest thing I can say about Longo. On some level, he’s the most frightening person you’ve ever met because he’s not frightening at all when you meet him. This is someone who not only is convicted of murder but freely admits that he’s guilty, so it’s not like there’s any question. And yet, he seems completely normal, despite the fact that you’re talking through bulletproof glass on death row at the Oregon State Penitentiary. [He] has a lively mind and quick wit. The disparity between the crime and the sort of cavalier conversation, the chitchat that this guy is able to do, is always startling and ridiculously creepy.”

Finkel says that the movie production was so well crafted that when he spent a day watching, it felt like “journalism PTSD.” Read the rest of Finkel’s conversation with New York contributor Dan Reilly here.
 
[Photo: Fox Searchlight]

Categories: News

Fishbowl Five: Lindsay Powers, Yahoo Parenting Editorial Director

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 23:14

Lindsay-PowersYahoo Parenting launched in October 2014 as one of several new targeted verticals Yahoo has rolled out over the past few months, the latest being Yahoo Autos. It’s clear the idea is to rule the online space on various high-traffic subjects. A smart move, natch. Yahoo Parenting is already leading the parenting category, with an average of 16 million monthly unique visitors, thanks, in part, to editorial director Lindsay Powers, who was promoted from senior lifestyle homepage editor at Yahoo. She’d previously been the online deputy editor at The Hollywood Reporter, and while on staff at Us Weekly oversaw the creation of the “Moms & Babies” channel on UsMagazine.com.

“It’s been so awesome to see how we’ve already shot to the top of comScore in such a short amount of time, and I think that we’ll only keep going up,” said Powers. Here, she answers five questions on covering celebrity kids, balancing work/life and more.

FBNY: What are your goals for Yahoo Parenting?

Powers: Our mission behind this site is to have a little bit of fun, be provocative and not [stir up] controversy for controversy’s sake, but to raise questions that keep parents up at night and to answer them [via] trustworthy experts. And it’s really important that we do it in a way that’s nonjudgmental because I do feel like sometimes the parenting space can get a little judge-y and we don’t want to go there.

I also think there are a lot of [publications] out there geared only towards one small subset of parents. I want our stories to resonate with people that may not even have kids — people that have teenagers, tweens, kids, babies, moms, dads, grandparents, everyone in between. It’s important for us to have a good space dedicated to that kind of coverage. Parenthood is the great connector; it doesn’t matter if you’re a celebrity, if you’re a normal Joe like me, I think we can all come together with our desire to do the best we can for our children and for our families.

FBNY: So what are the keys to engaging parenting content?

Powers: It’s a good mix of stories. You want newsy stories, you want some serious stuff, you want some things that will make you think, you want some things that will make you smile, something that you can look at while you’re eating lunch at your desk or when you have a couple of minutes to spare. You want something that would open your eyes. I love to do stories about studies. We did one recently about the way you can prevent peanut allergies in children.

Also, [as part of] National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, we decided to cover a 10-year-old who had an eating disorder. So we published two essays, side by side, and one was from the 10-year-old’s point of view in dealing with this eating disorder and one was from the mother’s point of view. Because I don’t think you often hear from both sides of things, and a child’s point of view is just as important and interesting.

FBNY: Tell us about your typical workday.

Powers: I tend to start my hours really early. And that’s not only because my toddler son is up at the crack of dawn every day, but I’m in the office by 8 in the morning at the latest. I’m really hands on. I like to talk to my team about what’s trending, what stories we should cover. And then my first order of business is to put together our story budget for the day and get our lineup going. And then it could be any number of things. I’m in and out of meetings. I might have to go out and do a big presentation in front of our entire company and our CEO. I may have an event in the afternoon. But then, ultimately, as a parent I do have to leave between 4 and 5 to do the daycare dash, as I call it. And then a lot times it’s back to work later that evening after [my son’s] bedtime and dinner. I think that spending time with family is really important, and I would hate to not be able to parent my own child because I’m parenting a parenting magazine.

FBNY: Many celebrities, such as Kristen Bell, have been vocal about the line that some journalists cross when they include celebrity children in their stories. How do you handle this fine line in your coverage?

Powers: When we cover celebrity children, we take the lead from the parents themselves. Like, if Christina Aguilera and her daughter are on the cover of People, that seems a fair story for us to cover. We were looking at some photos published [the other day] that were, what I call, super stalky of the backyard of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s home, and it was like North West’s playground equipment, and that’s something we would not have covered because those photos seem to be intruding on privacy. But, you know, when a celebrity’s on the red carpet with their child, when they’re speaking out publicly about them, when they approach us to do an interview, I just feel that’s something that would be totally fine for us to include in our coverage.

FBNY: Where’s your favorite spot in New York City to take your son?

Powers: J.J. Byrne [Playground] in our Park Slope neighborhood is our hangout. And my son also loves museums. The Brooklyn Children’s Museum. He really likes MoMA. He has a thing for Monet; he will look at [his paintings] for quite a long time. He also loves the subway. He hasn’t learned that in New York we don’t make eye contact with strangers, so he loves to talk to people and say hi and touch them on the subway for fun.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Transcription furnished by:
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Categories: News

Media Minutiae

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 23:00

TVNewser: The Peabody Awards are getting a makeover. Weirdly, it starts with Fred Armisen.

LostRemote: Good news for E! viewers — Grace Helbig is joining the network.

GalleyCat: Parents rejoice, there will be more Minions for your kids.

Categories: News

Oprah Finally Ready to Let Others Grace O Cover

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 20:30

O, The Oprah Magazine is celebrating its 15th year with yet another cover featuring Oprah Winfrey. While that’s not exactly surprising, here’s what is: Big O is finally ready to allow someone else to be shown on the cover.

At an event celebrating the anniversary, Winfrey told WWD, “I do not see myself on the cover for the next 15 years.” Lucy Kaylin, O’s editor, confirmed that there was already a plan for new cover stars ($1 million says Beyoncé is one of them). “It’s only human and appropriate for magazines to change it up, so she doesn’t have to be on the cover for the end of time,” Kaylin explained.

As for when, exactly, Oprah will not be seen on the cover of O? No one knows. So don’t hold your breath.

Categories: News

This Time, Mike Francesca Spares Les Moonves

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 20:15

Newsday sports media reporter Neil Best has a lively look today at the recently fractured relationship between CBS Radio management and WFAN powerhouse Mike Francesca.

MikeFrancescaWFAN

Francesca is unhappy about the fact that the TV simulcast of his show (on Fox Sports 1 and 2) is sometimes pre-empted, usually by an international soccer game. While he trashes CBS Radio management in general, he made a point of not including head honcho Les Moonves, who was once the subject of Francesca criticism. That in turn led Best to get some good comments from “The Man” himself:

Moonves said he is no stranger to criticism from employees, including Howard Stern and David Letterman. “What makes these the interesting personalities that they are is it’s important to take shots at ‘The Man,'” he said. “It just sort of goes with the territory.”

“Howard Stern went on the David Letterman show when they were both working for me wearing a picture of me and my wife and underneath it said, ‘I hate Les Moonves’ on his T-shirt. It doesn’t get much worse than that.”

Towards the end of the Newsday article, Francesca praises the network president and CEO for the way the latter handled both his 2007 criticism of the Don Imus’ firing and some contract negotiations the following year. And we’re not sure if this is a coincidence, but in the wake of the newspaper article, its author tweeted the following, below. Guess that goes with the territory, too.

Spoke to former @Newsday paper boy Leslie Moonves re @FloydMayweather vs. @MannyPacquiao and why he is proud of deal. http://t.co/on4HYkKoAu

— Neil Best (@sportswatch) April 2, 2015


 
[Image via: cbslocal.com]

Categories: News

Hand to God Playwright Pulls No Punches

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 19:35

Michael Paulson, who covers theater for the New York Times, previously roamed the religion beat. Which makes him the perfect man for the job of profiling Hand to God playwright Robert Askins.

The subversive comedy, inspired in part by Askins’ experiences as a youth with a Texas church’s youth puppet ministry, is currently in previews at The Booth Theatre on Broadway. If the play is anything like a stroll through the neighborhood with its writer, it’s going to be a hit:

During a walk from the Cobble Hill coffee shop where he sometimes writes to the Park Slope restaurant where he tends bar, Askins quoted Nietzsche and Derrida, described himself as \"deeply weird\" and swore like, well, a satanic sock-puppet.

Paulson’s article, online today and in print Sunday, is chock-full of colorful paragraphs. Here for example is another, part of the reporter’s summary of 34-year-old Askins’ student days:

He graduated from high school – barely – took a year off to work at a Blockbuster video store, and then, at his aunt’s urging, enrolled at Baylor. There, he recalled, he drank too much, listened to Nine Inch Nails, wrote for a secret society’s satire magazine and was repeatedly rejected at play auditions. He still has a scar from when he fell and hit his face on a table while drinking. \"I was very angry, and self-destructive and I couldn’t talk to people,\" he said.

We like the print headline (“No Separation of Church and Stage”) much better than the bland one chosen for the online version. Either way, this is a fantastic bit of profiling.
 
[Photo via: handtogodbroadway.com]

Categories: News

Cover Battle: Sports Illustrated or Complex

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 19:10

Welcome back to another edition of FishbowlNY’s weekly Cover Battle. This round features Sports Illustrated taking on Complex.

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SI’s latest cover features Russell Westbrook, who racked up his 10th triple double last night. We wonder if he likes New York. He probably does. He’s probably thinking about the city and the Knicks and smiling and smiling. Probably.

complex-cover-zoe-vn1

Meanwhile, Complex went with a photo of Zoe Kravitz  daughter of terrible musician Lenny Kravitz  dressed like an extra in Matrix Reloaded’s rave scene.

So readers, which cover is better? You can vote, comment, or do both.


Which Cover is Better, SI or Complex?

Categories: News

Some Wise Words from Jim Norton

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 18:30

There has been no shortage of op-eds about the Trevor Noah brouhaha. One such article that has stuck with FishbowlNY is an April 1 Time essay by fellow stand-up Jim Norton.

Norton, who occasionally contributes, previously wrote about, respectively, Jay Leno and Charlie Hebdo. This time around, it’s not so much Noah that is on the Norton agenda as it is the social media world’s out-of-control obsession with “Whoa!”

The Norton article slug summarizes it perfectly:

We’re addicted to the rush of being offended

Towards the end of the piece, Norton, who knows a thing or two about jokes that make one half of the room raise whoop and the other half drop jaw, fleshes out that sentiment:

When we can’t purposefully get our feelings hurt by a comedian, we usually find another, albeit less satisfying, source of indignation. A few of the old standby’s are sports announcers, radio hosts, Twittering athletes and paparazzi-hating actors. These are always great sources to look to when we need to purposefully upset ourselves.

And make no mistake about it: Upsetting ourselves on purpose is exactly what we are doing. At least that’s what I hope we are doing. Because the other alternative is that Americans have collectively become the most hypersensitive group of whining milksops ever assembled under one flag. I find this second choice to be particularly humiliating, so I opt for the first.

It’s as if the old weather hacksaw, “Hot enough for you?” has been usurped via social media with a new one, “Outrageous enough for you?” While we’re not at all sure if Comedy Central made the right choice here, they evidently saw something in Noah that goes beyond Twitter. Maybe we should all, too.

Previously on FishbowlNY:
Sean Penn Laughs Off Twitter Outrage
 
[Photo via: @trevornoah]

Categories: News

Golf Digest Cover Draws Criticism

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 18:10

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Golf Digest’s latest cover, featuring Lexi Thompson, is drawing criticism for being tacky and sexist. As you can see, Thompson is topless. Sort of an odd photograph to convey a person’s “fitness and power.”

As most on Twitter and Digest’s site have pointed out, when Digest features male golfers on its cover they are presented as what they are — pro athletes and actual people, not objects. They are also always fully clothed. And sure, no one is in a rush to see a shirtless John Daly, but that’s not the point.

We’ve reached out to Mike O’Malley and Ashley Mayo, Digest’s executive editor and senior editor, respectively, for comment. We’ll update when we hear back.

Categories: News

Businessweek Jinxes Chicago Cubs

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 17:30

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The Chicago Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908. They are historically bad and their fans know it.

Now fans can credit Businessweek for jinxing them this season. They are done. Mark it. The Cubs will not even make the playoffs this year.

Cubs fans have been through a lot, so they’re tough. But declaring that the “Cubs win!” and that “a sports empire is in bloom,” is just downright cruel.

Categories: News

Write For and About Elite Runners at Running Times

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 16:45

Running-Times-ArtRodale’s purchase of Running Times in 2007 could have put the magazine in an awkward position, as the media company also owned main competitor Runner’s World.

Running Times chose to stand out by making elite runners its focus, both as the subject of features and profiles, and as the audience for service pieces that focus on how to prevent injuries and optimize training.

You may initially find more success pitching stories to the website rather than the bimonthly print magazine:

Since the print publication comes out just six times a year, there are some great freelance opportunities online. The site is updated daily and features exclusive content. Multimedia pitches that include editorial along with videos may help your pitches make it past the front gate, but only if the pitch itself is strong and well thought out. Pitches related to masters, high school, college and trails are always appreciated.

For more, including the sections to go after, read: How to Pitch: Running Times

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Categories: News

The Atlantic Makes Changes

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 16:33

The Atlantic has announced that Chris Bodenner is returning to the magazine and Emily Anne Epstein has been named visual editor.

Bodenner is rejoining The Atlantic as a senior editor for Atlantic.com, focusing on reader engagement. He most recently served as executive editor of Andrew Sullivan’s The Dish. He previously worked for The Atlantic in 2007, and from 2009 to 2011. He returns April 8.

Epstein most recently served as news editor for TheAtlantic.com. According to a memo from Altantic.com editor John Gould, in her new role, Epstein will “enhance the look and feel of our journalism across digital platforms.”

Categories: News

Rory Evans Named Food Network Mag Exec Editor

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 16:00

Rory Evans has been named Food Network Magazine’s executive editor. Evans has previously served as an editor for Martha Stewart Living, Real Simple and Glamour. Her work has appeared in publications such as Elle, GQ, New York and more.

In an announcement, Food Network Magazine editor-in-chief Maile Carpenter said Evans “has tons of experience and so many great ideas. We can’t wait to work with her.”

Evans — who starts April 13 — is succeeding Joanna Saltz, who was recently named site director of the new Delish.com.

Categories: News

Newsweek to Launch Asia Edition

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 15:40

CBBzy0tUYAAbckTNewsweek is expanding its empire. The IBT Media owned title — which just celebrated its one-year anniversary — is getting an Asia edition.

Newsweek Asia will be published in English and feature content from the American edition as well as editorial specific to the region.

“Newsweek has come a long way to reach this point,” said IBT Media CEO and co-founder Etienne Uzac, in a statement. “Its print operations were completely dismantled when we purchased it and now the whole framework and structure are back in place. Newsweek is stronger than ever and poised for growth.”

Newsweek Asia debuts April 17, and will be sold in China, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore.

Categories: News

Reuters, NY Times Mag Add to Teams

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 15:20

A couple Revolving Door items for you this morning, involving Reuters and The New York Times Magazine. Details are below.

Jamillah Knowles is joining Reuters as an online producer and deputy social media editor. Knowles has previously worked at The Next Web and BBC News. Nikole Hannah-Jones is joining the Times Mag as a staff writer. She most recently worked as an investigative reporter for ProPublica. She starts May 11.
Categories: News

FishbowlNY Newsstand: Your Morning at a Glance

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 15:00

NY_NYT NY_DN NY_NYP WSJ

 

(Images: Newseum)

Categories: News

‘Outlander’ Writer Shares Secrets From the Hit Starz Show

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 00:16

lunch at michaelsThe city is chock-full of creative types and even more suits than usual this week, as many of the networks present their 2015-2016 slate of programming during the annual Upfronts. I was lucky enough to snag some time with Ron Moore, executive producer and writer of \"Outlander,” who’s in town to talk up Starz’s breakout hit series. Produced by Sony Pictures Television, the show is based on Diana Gabaldon’s beloved best-selling (25 million copies and counting) eight book odyssey. The books spin an epic time-traveling tale of World War II nurse Claire (Caitriona Balfe) who is transported to 18th century Scotland and falls in love with Jamie (Sam Heughan). The cinematic series has plenty going for it: gorgeous castles, swashbuckling men in kilts and of course, plenty of bodice-ripping romance.

Ron Moore and Diane Clehane

Ron Moore and Diane Clehane

According to the network, when the series premiered last August, it set multi-platform records, averaging 5.1 million viewers, with some episodes pulling in as many as 6.2 million. “Outlander’s” freshman season was split in two parts (the first eight episodes aired last summer) and the midseason premiere, the first of eight new episodes, will air on April 4. Fans created the hashtag #Droughtlander for their social media threads, where they dissected and discussed the series during its absence. The show currently has 500,000 Facebook fans, with 100,000 on Twitter and 50,000 on Instagram.

“It was Starz’s decision,” said Ron of the split season. “It was always going to be 16 episodes split into two groups and they told me to think of what would make a strong midseason finale.” Mission accomplished. The first half of the season focused on Claire’s search for a way home and in the penultimate episode, despite having her husband, Frank (Tobias Menzies), back in 1945 trying to figure out what happened to her, she marries Jamie. The bliss is short-lived when Claire is abducted and attacked before Jamie rescues her. In Act Two, she’s now embraced her new life and battles new foes to fight alongside her new husband. According to the network’s press release: “Ruthless redcoats, volatile clan politics, and a brutal witch trial force Jamie and Claire to escape to a new home. Just when their life as a married couple begins to take shape, Jamie is once again drawn into Captain Randall’s darkness. Ultimately, Claire discovers there is a fate worse than death as she struggles to save Jamie’s heart, as well as his soul.” Proving, once again, that the first year of marriage is always the hardest.

Ron arrived fresh off doing an XM Sirius broadcast with the “Outlander” cast and is gearing up for the big premiere tonight at the Ziegfeld, where a few thousand fans (broken up into two screenings), along with assorted VIPs, will get to see the first new episode and attend a Q&A with the show’s stars. Having gotten his start in television writing for “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (more on that later) and later creating the reboot of “Battlestar Galactica,” Ron knows a thing or two about dealing with a franchise’s fervent fans. I asked him what it’s been like adapting material so revered by the books’ legions of fans in another medium. “It’s an interesting balance,” he told me between bites of Cobb salad. “This is my first time doing an adaptation. I’ve always appreciated fans going back to my days on ‘Star Trek.’ Fans always come from a position of loving the show. [As a writer] you just don’t want to screw it up.”

Fat chance of that happening. A lifelong fan of sci-fi on television (as a youngster Ron bought The Making of Star Trek at an elementary school book fair and “was hooked”), he headed out to Los Angeles “to become a writer” and slept on the floor of a friend’s home in Studio City after flunking out of Cornell. He landed a job as part of the writing staff of \"Star Trek: The Next Generation,” where he worked on 27 episodes, including the two-hour series finale \"All Good Things,\" for which he won a Hugo Award in 1994. That same year, Ron scored an Emmy nomination and was named a producer on the series. He went on to \"Star Trek: Deep Space Nine\" and when that series ended, he created \"Battlestar Galactica,\" for which he nabbed an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series. In 2008, he won one for the \"Battlestar Galactica\" webisodes. He was also showrunner and executive producer for HBO’s “Carnivale,” where he met his wife, costume designer Terry Dresbach.

It was Terry that turned him on to “Outlander,” said Ron. “She was a fan of the books and when I read the first one, I could picture the episodes in my head.” It took six years to convince the rights holder of the material that the books were better suited to television than film. “I kept checking periodically and then three years ago, we finally convinced them.” Terry is now the costume designer on “Outlander” which is, said Ron, “a huge job.” It involves a tremendous amount of research and keeps her in Scotland, where the series is shot, during the duration of production. The couple have two children, ages 14 and 16, and Ron spends much of his time commuting back and forth between Los Angeles and Scotland. “I’m a husband and father — but seldom both at the same time.”

Despite the challenges his schedule poses to maintain any semblance of a work-life balance, filming in Scotland is a huge advantage for the show, explained Ron. While some of the series is shot in a studio, there is no shortage of stunning locations in the Scottish midlands, many untouched by time, that help transport viewers to the 18th century. “We shot in Doune Castle, which was built in the 14th century and we don’t have to build anything. It’s ready to go. We’ve also shot in plenty of villages that have not been seen on film before. It all adds a degree of authenticity.” I noted that like that other wildly popular costume drama, “Downton Abbey,”  “Outlander” features a cast of actors largely unfamiliar to American audiences, which helps make the show more of an immersive viewing experience. “We discussed some names, but I think we always thought we’d wind up going that way because of that reason,” said Ron. “It makes everything more believable.”

One aspect of the production that does pose “enormous” logistical challenges is changing locations as the story evolves. “In season two, we’re in Paris and everything is different — the costumes, the sets and because of the time travel, we’re always shooting two different periods,” explained Ron. “With most television shows, there’s a ‘home base’ which saves a lot of time and money. With this [show] we shoot and move, leaving things behind, never to return and there’s always new cast members to dress and sets to build. It’s incredibly expensive but Starz really puts their money where their mouth is.”

I was fascinated listening to Ron talk about the creative process and it was clear that bringing an idea from the printed page and seeing it come alive is truly his passion. He is “first among equals” in the show’s writers room, where six others are charged with writing full scripts. The best ideas are culled to create the episode that gets shot. “It’s a happy room,” he said, noting that this team is comprised of all but one writer he’s worked with on previous projects. For the most part, he’s enjoyed every writer’s room he’s been a part of — except on “Carnivale.” “That was not a pleasant place to be. We didn’t like each other.” You’ve got to enjoy writing to make it work. “I do think you have to love it,” he said. “You see shows where you can tell people are phoning it in and that has to be a soul sucking experience. You have to work just as hard to make a bad show as you on a good show so you might as well do a good show.” Clearly, Ron’s talents have yielded the latter. As we said our goodbyes, I told him that there must be something unique to his creative talents that have resulted in making these wildly popular shows hit.  “You can try to make it good but you can’t make it successful,” he told me. “And it takes a lot of luck.”

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Donna Anne Soloway hosting a “Monet themed” ladies lunch for Alyse Muldoon in celebration of her upcoming nuptials to actor Tony Lo Bianco (“The French Connection,” “Law & Order.”) “I wanted to introduce her to some of Tony’s New York friends,” said Donna, who arrived well before noon to adorn the table with a breathtaking floral arrangement, sprinkle flower petals at every place setting and inspect the cake inspired by her favorite artist (“I’m a bit of a francophile”). In attendance: Rita Cosby, Margo Catsimatidis (wife of John Catsimatidis), Barbara Winston, Jody Newton, Michelle Marie Heinemann, Rosie Hefferman and Joanna Carson (Johnny Carson’s ex). Not sure which of these ladies who lunch swanned in wearing a giant pink Easter bonnet, but I did notice that it was the exact same shade as the goodie bags the were lined up in the banquette.

2. Forbes Travel Guide’s Jerry Inzerillo

3. Sony Pictures Television head honcho Steve Mosko

4. Steve Rattner

5. Tech guru Shelly Palmer and SFM Entertainment’s Stanley Moger

6.  Dr. Gerald Imber, Jerry Della Femina, Andy Bergman and a mystery guest we didn’t get to meet

7. Dr. Robi Ludwig (Long time no see!) who is busier than ever, working on a top secret new book project, shooting episodes of “Scorned: Love Kills” and designing her jewelry line. Where does she find the time?

8. Dan Abrams (Loved the hightops!)

9. Newsgals Lynne White and Judy Licht

11. Bookseller Glenn Horowitz

12. Avenue’s Pamela Gross, Bettina Zilkha and Prince Dimitri Karageorge of Yugoslavia. Yes, really.

14. Simon & Schuster’s Alice Mayhew

15. Ron Dozoretz

16. Flack-to-the-fashionable Harriet Weintraub

17. David Kohl and Suzanne Grimes

18. LAK PR’s CEO Lisa Linden sporting a to die for Tiffany & Co. charm bracelet with her colleague, Hannah Arnold

20. Christy Ferer and Diana Taylor (Michael Bloomberg’s better half)

21. Jack Myers and my former Scarsdale neighbor Marshall Cohen who is now EVP, corporate research at Univision

22. Lance O’Connor

23. Leonard Shulman

24. Steven Stolman who was hosting a trio of Kohler marketing execs — Beth Bouck, Betsy Froelich and Stephanie Simons, visiting from Wisconsin to help kick off the Kips Bay Decorator Show House at tonight’s President’s Dinner at Cipriani. Steven tells me this is the second year the good folks at Kohler are sponsoring the Show House, which is always so fabulous. Check it out to see how the other (richer) half lives — and decorates.

25. Niche Media’s Jim Smith and Terry Waldan

26. Richard Wurman and Tom Scott, who so we’re told, is the creator of Nantucket Nectars.

27. Ron Moore and yours truly

29. The Wall Street Journal’s David Sanford and Lewis Stein

81. The New York Observer’s Ken Kurson

Diane Clehane is a FishbowlNY contributor. Follow her on Twitter @DianeClehane. Send comments and corrections on this column to LUNCH at MEDIABISTRO dot COM.

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