Longtime Ad Age Publisher Ed Erhardt feeling his oats these days at ESPN and ABC Sports (he's now chief sales officer for all Disney Sports). Chiding me as one of little faith, Ed says their ad sales force rates No. 1 or 2 in most Myers/Beta Studies of the media biz; this year's Super Bowl equaled an all-time high average per spot ($2.2 mil); NBA ratings at ESPN are 60% up on last year and "beating TNT in all the key demos." Over a Four Seasons lunch, Erhardt said that with reality TV skewing prime time ever more female, sports generally and Monday Night and Saturday Night Football especially make his male audience that much more valuable in an already strong marketplace gearing for a record upfront. As someone else, not Ed, pointed out, "ESPN and ABC Sports execs couldn't be in the same room together three years ago," Erhardt's made a difference. So how's life? He's got tickets to every sporting event there is and "turns down more golf" than he'll ever be able to play.
Men's Health and DaimlerChrysler teamed for a two-day promotional "fashion summit" in Milan during the men's wear collections.
Ran into Myrna Blyth lunching at Michael's with the delectable Deborah Norville. At other tables, Leonard Lauder and young Jacob Bernstein, Carl's son and apparently a rising star at WWD.
Jim Larocca, dean at Southampton College, tells me Alan Alda will lecture April 10 at a "dramatic writing" seminar for the school's writing, theater and film students. Mr. Alda lives in the Hamptons.
Let's hear it for columnist Cindy Adams of the New York Post. Her "Liza is back in rehab" scooped everyone and she topped it by getting Svengali, I mean hubby David Gest on the record. Mr. Gest, who's had la Minnelli on a non-stop, three-shows-a-day world tour ever since the wedding reception, blames her childhood woes, recent weight loss and the media for Liza's problems.
Organic Style (Rodale) named a new editor at large, Danny Seo, to do celebrity wrangling.
By the time you read this I'll have been in Korea a week interviewing the troops for Parade.