Guts football? Playing hurt? Let's hear it for Tina Brown. Last Monday, The New York Times ran a lethal story about Talk magazine and Ms. Brown on the front page of the business section, reporting ad sales flat to down, newsstand sell-through running at a lousy 20%, and her partners getting queasy. Specifically, the story had Hearst execs scuttling away as if from an anthrax-tainted envelope, and backer Harvey Weinstein of Miramax Films becoming impatient ("Miramax is fully supportive," he declared). So did Tina take to her bed and sob into the coverlet? The hell she did. She gave a terrific party that night at Elaine's for Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft, worked the room, schmoozed with ad agency and client types, bucked up her Publisher Ron Galotti, who is patently steamed at the Times, introduced me to a West Point general, and even found time for husband Harry Evans! I'm not sure I saw any Hearstlings but Mr. Weinstein was certainly showing the flag. The fact is, business is tight, Talk isn't burning up the track, but some critics think the edit mix is pretty good and getting better. What Hearst and others seem to forget, this woman is a hell of an editor who saved Vanity Fair, turned over a stronger New Yorker on which David Remnick could, and did, build, and started Talk from scratch. To write off the formidable Tina Brown this quickly says something not about her, but perhaps about them.
Manhattan media and ad hangout Patroon reopened by Ken Aretsky with a more casual, steakhouse spirit. It's at 160 East 46th.
Top PR guy Michael Kaminer (abetted by Jonathan Boorstein) wrote "Table For One," a guide to dining out alone in New York. Published by Contemporary Books at $12.95. A Chicago version comes out in February, L.A. next October.
The Broadcasters' Foundation will give its 2002 Golden Mike Award to Cathy Hughes, Alfred Liggins and Radio One Feb. 25 at the Plaza in Manhattan.
Ruth Draper fan? John Lithgow, George Bernard Shaw, Lily Tomlin, Noel Coward, Kate Hepburn are or were. The great monologist Draper, who, alas, died in '56, comes back in time for Christmas on new CDs produced by writer Susan Mulcahy, who knows more about Ruth than is perhaps healthy. The set of Ruth Draper CDs last year sold out and this new one grouping has 10 additional monologues. They're available via the Internet at drapermonologues.com. Joyeux noel, Draper cultists.