Dispatches From the Edge Of Last Night's Planet in Peril Screening
Like Portfolio's Jeff Bercovici, the New York Observer's Nicole Dweck, and TVNewser's Chris Ariens, ETP also attended last night's screening of the upcoming CNN special Planet in Peril. The 45-minute preview featured spectacular HD-imagery as hosts Anderson Cooper (on a scooter!), Sanjay Gupta, and Jeff Corwin traveled through countries such as Thailand, Madagascar, and Greenland "exploring the earth's environmental issues." But, of course, the real show took place at the after-party, where the same well-heeled folk that gasped in horror over dehydrated, dying, and dead animals in Bangkok's JJ market lined up to consume (delicious, miso-glazed) chicken and beef skewers as well as some more eco-friendly hors d'ouerve (like vegan-friendly vegetables — sauteed in oil, not butter, as HuffPo's resident vegan/video specialist Patrick Waldo informed us).
Notables in the crowd at New York's Museum of Natural History included proud Ander-mama Gloria Vanderbilt, looking elegant but frail, activist/model Lauren Bush, sporting her FEED bag as she mingled with boyfriend David Lauren and his candy-girl sister Dylan, and Chevy Chase, who waited patiently on the food line with everybody else. (Ed. We asked Chevy if his appearance as "Senior Political Correspondent" on SNL would be a regular thing, and he said he didn't know, he supposed it was up to him. We smiled because it was his birthday, and because we love Clark W. Griswold, but we sort of bet it's up to Lorne Michaels.) Court TV's Jami Floyd wisely noted the irony of walking through the museum, lined with what appeared to be Native American artifacts, on Columbus Day, which was only slightly less ironic than the meat on a stick.
Moving amongst the well-fed, well-heeled and well-watered crowd (two bars — inside and out! — both stocked with free-flowing champagne in the name of our imperiled planet) were the evening's stars themselves — Corwin, Cooper and Gupta (Ed. looking no less manly and rugged for trading in their swamp garb for natty suits and ties!). We met Cooper on the way into the room who struck us as earnest and polite, and genuinely appreciative when we said we liked the doc. (Ed. Thanks to CNN prexy Jon Klein for the intro, who was ever the genial host, and to his credit is always that genial even though I sometimes write stuff like this.) We didn't meet Corwin but he seemed genial too, certainly more relaxed than when racing low over frozen tundra in a chopper shooting tranq darts into frightened polar bears. To save them!. As for Gupta, we'll let our editor fill you in because he's got a special place in her heart. (Ed. Thanks Danny. Does it compromise my journalistic objectivity to say that Dr. Sanjay Gupta is a very classy guy? CNN publicist Christa Robinson introduced us — gingerly — last night and he was not only civil he was good-humored and warm. We discussed health care from the perspective of two people who care, dammit — he as a neurosurgeon who often has his hands buried inside people's skulls, I as a Canadian who still resents having to shell out for a co-pay — and he good-naturedly told me that his mom had read my post. Aw! I mean, urk. He was much nicer than he had to be, and also he's saving the world! So, Sanjay, we're good..)
CNN hosted a hefty chunk of HuffPo last night including Arianna Huffington, site editor Roy Sekoff, ETP editor Rachel Sklar (Ed. Me), VP of Media Relations Mario Ruiz, News Editor Katharine Zaleski (and her eco-blogger sister, Olivia), this reporter and the aforementioned video-vegan Waldo. Jerry Seinfeld and his wife Jessica Seinfeld (née Sklar) were there, but they were gone before our ETP editor could awkwardly introduce herself. Other actor-type people in attendance included Ben Shenkman ("Angels in America") and Lake Bell of "Boston Legal"/"The Practice". CNN stalwarts naturally came out for the occassion, including John Roberts (Ed. Canadian!) and his "American Morning" cohost Kiran Chetry, out past their bedtimes given their obscenely early-morning call time; Klein, whose droll introduction before the screening included a shout-out to his boss Jim Walton, also in attendance; CNN senior political correspondent Candy Crowley and recent acquisition Campbell Brown (whom one of our number espied being "heavily schmoozed" by Fox News' Bill Hemmer after the screening). Other media types in the Peggy Siegal-assembled crowd included Court TV's Ashleigh Banfield (Ed. Canadian!) and Lisa Bloom, Fortune's Patty Sellers (who chastised me for checking my BlackBerry during the screening), ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider (whose boyfriend, incidentally, is also named Jeffrey), the New York Times' Brian Stelter with TVNewser successor Chris Ariens, and Lara Spencer of "The Insider," who gave our boss' Newsweek cover a shout-out on the show earlier that night. Together, we're totally going to save the planet.
Trailer: Planet In Peril [CNN]
Photo: Patrick McMullan.