DRAWING A CROWD: The fifth edition of “Fashion Rocks” drew the largest ratings in four years for Tuesday night’s 9 p.m. telecast of the concert on CBS. The show pulled in 5.1 million viewers who tuned in to see Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Kid Rock, Mary J Blige, Chris Brown, Rihanna, Duffy and others perform. The strong ratings bested Fashion Rocks’ past three airings, which had been broadcast on Friday nights. Last year’s show drew 3.2 million viewers, while the 2006 concert pulled in 3.7 million, according to figures from Nielsen Media Research. “Fashion Rocks” was held on Friday night at Radio City Music Hall.
Meanwhile, Rachel Zoe grabbed a smaller audience for the start of her new reality show “The Rachel Zoe Project,” but that’s because her show debuted on cable network Bravo as opposed to a network station. Zoe’s “Project” pulled in 527,000 viewers for its 11 p.m. broadcast, which depicts the day-to-day melodramas of the will-o’-the-wisp, high-strung stylist to the stars. The numbers may seem small in comparison to “Fashion Rocks,” but not compared to another Bravo fashion reality hit, “Project Runway.” When “Runway” premiered, it drew a scant 354,000 viewers in its first show and didn’t gather a strong following until midseason. Now, the show draws more than 3 million viewers every Wednesday at 9 p.m.
This story first appeared in the September 11, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
— Stephanie D. Smith
THE TIMES’ NEW INVESTOR: Carlos Slim and his family’s trust have acquired a 6.4 percent stake in The New York Times Co., which makes the family the third largest investor, aside from the Sulzberger family. The Mexican billionaire now owns 9.1 million class A common shares, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing submitted on Wednesday. As of Aug. 1, the publisher’s largest investor, Harbinger Capital Partners, had 28.5 million shares, according to a regulatory filing. The shares were bought on Sept. 4 and, at that day’s closing price of $13.32, would have cost Slim $121.1 million.
— Amy Wicks
WOMEN ON WOMEN: The scene at Michael’s Wednesday was in many ways typical: a crowded dining room, filled with the usual mix of editors and famous faces, proving that even a harsh review from The New York Times’ Frank Bruni isn’t enough to dissuade diners — in fact, one woman was spotted reading the review over lunch.
Toward the back of the room, Liz Smith, Maureen Orth, Joan Juliet Buck, Kathie Lee Gifford, Connie Chung and Kate Snow were on hand to celebrate “The Women,” a new movie starring Meg Ryan, Annette Bening and Eva Mendes. The movie’s director, Diane English, talked about the arduous process of getting the film made — it took a total of 14 years — and since it’s still fashion week, talk also turned to, well, fashion. English, also the creator of “Murphy Brown,” said she made time on Tuesday for Narciso Rodriguez’s runway show, as the designer helped her with “The Women.” “He took clothes from his archive for the film. His work is very clean, architectural and it was perfect.” The film hits theaters tomorrow.
IN THE FILM VERSION, ANDRE IS SHORTER: André Leon Talley hadn’t heard the news of Sean Avery’s development deal to make a movie about his Vogue internship — “Unbelievable! He obviously wants to do ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ thing!” — but at the party he hosted for Jennifer Hudson’s album at the Morgans Hotel penthouse Tuesday, the Vogue editor at large knew immediately who he wanted to play him. “Will Smith,” he said. “Because he’s a great actor of dignity and quality.”
Avery was tight-lipped about the project at the Narciso Rodriguez show, and at Morgans, Anna Wintour instructed a reporter to call her publicist. “He was a great intern,” was all she would say. When told that was essentially what her publicist had already said, she replied, “See, we’re on message.”
Wintour didn’t want to talk about vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin either, whom the magazine featured in its March issue, and whose appearance on a parody cover of Vogue made by a blogger had fooled more than one person, but in that she was not alone. Asked about Palin and her fashion choices thus far, Talley said, “I could only give you my full enthusiasm for Michelle Obama.”
— Irin Carmon