By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Real-Life Legal Eagles, Vanquished by a Real Turkey
What if you agreed to star in a reality TV show -- left your job, grappled with backstabbing strangers, exposed your inner life to the whims of some Hollywood producer -- then no one watched? Forget about eating worms or making out on camera: Nothing's more humiliating than ratings death!
That was the true-life story for the cast of "The Law Firm." Expected to be a huge hit for NBC, the reality debut of super-producer David E. Kelley tanked so badly it was bumped after two episodes to Bravo -- where it tanked again, so badly the cable channel yanked it off prime time. The final show aired Saturday -- at noon. Ouch.
We tried to ask local competitor Anika Harvey how she felt, but the Prince George's County prosecutor declined to be interviewed (maybe embarrassed about touting her "sass and [rhymes with sass]" in her online bio). So we called Mike Cavalluzzi, a Los Angeles lawyer who, it turns out, was the winner!
And yeah, even with the $250,000 prize, he's a little sore. "As a trial lawyer, there's a large performance aspect to what I do," he said. "The opportunity to do this in front of a large number of people was very appealing."
Cavalluzzi admits that he hoped the show would bring him fame. But good fame -- maybe along with TV legal-analyst gigs or new clients for the small practice he shares with his sister -- not Omarosa fame. "Yeah, my mind went to some lofty places," he said. But he'll survive the disappointment.
"I wasn't famous to begin with," he said. "I'm still not famous, so my reality still hasn't changed."
The Tale of the Ambassador's Wife
"I think it's pretty much of an open secret in Washington that I live in a menage a trois," admitted British Ambassador Sir David Manning, who shares his bed with his wife, Catherine, and award-winning mystery writer Elizabeth Ironside -- with the blessing of Prime Minister Tony Blair.
But it's all frightfully respectable (rats!): Elizabeth Ironside is the nom de plume of Lady Manning, who has been writing psychological thrillers for 21 years while doubling as a dutiful diplomatic spouse in Paris, Moscow, Tel Aviv and London. She killed off a diplomat in her first book; her husband has been very agreeable ever since.
Manning hosted at party Sunday night at the embassy to celebrate "Death in the Garden," the first of his wife's five novels to be published in the United States. The A-list of book buyers included next-door neighbors Vice President and Lynne Cheney, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes, and assorted diplomats and friends. Can't wait to find out who dies in her next novel.
Admit it: You can't stop staring at the picture above.
Apparently the experts polled by the American Society of Magazine Editors couldn't either, because they named the iconic John-and-Yoko shot from January 1981 as the greatest magazine cover of the past 40 years. Also in the top 40: Vanity Fair's 1991 nude-and-pregnant Demi Moore (No. 2), Saul Steinberg's Manhattan-centric map of the world for the New Yorker (No. 4) and National Lampoon's buy-this-mag-or-we'll-kill-this-dog (No. 7). Covers about our fair city didn't rate so high unless you count Cindy Crawford dressed as Gen. Washington for George magazine (No. 22). Props to our cousin Newsweek: Their Nixon-era image of the White House looking like a tape recorder is No. 33.
In unrelated mag news, Vanity Fair is denying allegations by Radar magazine that its photo-artists "lightened" the lovely skin tone of November's cover girl, Beyonce, who happens to be the first African American woman to grace a VF front since Tina Turner in '93. Don't you just love a good NYC-glossy catfight?
House mates: The offices of Reps. Mary Bono (R-Calif.) and Connie Mack (R-Fla.) are issuing non-denial denials of a romance between the two congressfolk. Bono, 43, announced she was separating from husband Glenn Baxley last month; Mack, 38, and his wife split in August. Mack's chief of staff told the Scripps Howard News Service, "Connie's marriage was in trouble for a long time." Bono's chief of staff said his boss "is going through a difficult time." Translation: They're dating.