DIAMONDS FOR A GOOD CAUSE: Though the National Bureau of Economic Research finally made the recession official last Monday, Gayle King wasn’t so sure it had fully hit Florida, where she spent Thanksgiving with her family. “I made the mistake of going out on Black Friday,” King said Monday night. “I normally don’t do that, but everybody in the house wanted to go, and I’m thinking, Where is the recession? It is not at the Sawgrass Mills mall in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.! It was like craziness.” King attended a dinner that Russell Simmons hosted to support his Diamond Empowerment Fund, an organization that helps education funding for nations in Africa where diamonds are a natural resource. Simmons was joined by Hearst Magazines executives including president Cathie Black, executive vice president; chief marketing officer Michael Clinton; Susan Plagemann, publisher of Marie Claire, and Jim Taylor, publisher of Town & Country, along with recording artist Cassie, “30 Rock” actress Katrina Bowden and Kim Kardashian. Despite the one-day excitement garnered on what’s traditionally the busiest day of the holiday shopping event, King said she has been personally affected by the year-long economic decline. “I’ve been trying to sell a house in Connecticut, and I had one really solid person that I thought was interested and they’d been back to see it three times. And then I learned later they worked for Lehman Brothers, so you can imagine that’s fallen through.” Meanwhile, King is working on development for her best friend Oprah Winfrey’s new television network, OWN, launching in 2009. Will that include her own show? “I hope so. That would be the game plan. We’re still noodling around on what that would be.” King and Winfrey will also attend President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration and dedicate an episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” to his swearing in. But she admitted there’s a hitch. “I don’t have tickets. I don’t have my outfit picked out, but I have a hotel room and transportation. I just know somehow, some way, I will be somewhere in Washington.” — S.D.S.