Meanwhile, "Top Chef" judge Padma Lakshmi believed she made her mother proud by eating most of her lunch in between hosting duties at the event. Lakshmi took the podium with her mouth full before introducing the event's honorees. "I'm living my mother's dream," said Lakshmi, "I sit on my ass, I eat and I talk." Other honorees included Anne Sweeney, president of Disney ABC Television Group; New York Times Supreme Court correspondent Linda Greenhouse (who recently retired from the paper to become a journalist in residence at Yale); playwright and actress Anna Deavere Smith; Susan Gianinno, Publicis USA chairman and chief executive officer, and publicist Joannie Danielides. Diane von Furstenberg received a Lifetime Achievement Award and acknowledged during her speech that all women are strong, but often, because of "circumstances," that strength in some women is held inside. — Stephanie D. Smith
PERHAPS THEY SHOULD GET THEIR RESUMES READY: Things are heating up in the battle between the Old Guard at the Tribune Co. and new owner Sam Zell. The company on Monday sent a rather unorthodox press release blasting Randy Michaels, who Zell appointed as chief executive officer of Tribune's Interactive and Broadcasting units, for hiring Marc Chase as the new president of Tribune Interactive. The release begins with, "Surely you can't be serious?" regarding the appointment, and goes on to say "another freaking Clear Channel Communications executive on the payroll and this one's been named president of Tribune Interactive." And there's more: "Tribune Broadcasting's Randy Michaels' past finally caught up with him when Marc Chase obviously blackmailed his way into a position he is not remotely qualified to hold. Insiders are irate. Chase is a fraud." Chase's professional experience lists "vocabulary advisorist for George W. Bush" from 2004 to the present and, prior to that, at eBay as "president of buying crap."