Sunday, April 21, 2024

Journos, Stars Descend on DC for WHCD Garden Brunch, Meet Jane the Virgin and House of Cards Stars


It’s been a couple of years, but I’m back in Washington DC for the White House Correspondents dinner and the inevitable parties. After reports from Friday night’s disappointing efforts by Time & People, and The New Yorker, all eyes were on Tammy Haddad and friends’ annual garden brunch in Georgetown. It didn’t disappoint.

Despite unusually cold and blustery weather, the Beall Washington House was outfitted for stars and their cars. Haddad, Larry King’s former producer, is the doyenne of WHCD, partnering up with other influencers for this impossible to get ticket. You can’t report on the party directly but there’s plenty of color to go around. And it was one of those elegant moments where the chit chat was better than news.

Right off the bat we spotted Katie Couric and her husband John Molner. Gayle King, check. But then there was Bill Plante, the CBS eminence grise journalist, White House correspondent, the real thing.

And then came the stars: Tim Daly, Alfre Woodard, Carla Gugino, Norman Reedus from “The Walking Dead,” among them. “House of Cards” stars Constance Zimmer and Michael Kelly were treated like royalty. So was Timothy Simons from “Veep.”After all they’re playing people in the room! Brit star Jason Isaacs also commanded attention, as did Jesse Tyler Ferguson, from “Modern Family,” wearing blue pin striped seersucker.

Crossing paths like ships in the dusk: “War Horse” star Jeremy Irvine, and NSync star J.C. Chasez. The latter told me he’s just finished a movie I’ve written about called  “One Shot,” a musical produced by and starring Topher Grace with a high powered cast. “Taye Diggs is doing something he’s never done before,” J.C. says. “He’s going to blow you away.”

Will there be an NSync reunion? Unlikely, says J.C. Chasez for the foreseeable future. Has he seen the Justin Timberlake-Jessica Biel baby? “Justin sent pictures and we’ve been texting back and forth,” says Chasez.

And who’s the star everyone wants to meet? Katie Couric tells me she can’t wait to shake hands with Gina Rodriguez, Golden Globe winning star of “Jane the Virgin.” Couric, who’s been doing great reports for Yahoo News and ABC, says, “She’s hot right now. Everyone is interested in her.”

And the countdown begins to the WHCD.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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