Sylvia Kaplan apparently knows Twin Cities TV people, no matter where they roam.
Kaplan and her husband, U.S. Ambassador to Morocco Sam Kaplan, attended a Seal concert a couple of weeks ago in Rabat when Heidi Klum's husband performed.
"We were backstage, and I met the new ambassador appointed by President Obama," said Todd Baer, who has been living the exciting life of a foreign correspondent, working for Al Jazeera English. "I said to him, 'Mr. Ambassador, I am embarrassed to admit that I don't know your name.'"
At that point, the wifely half of the Minnesota power couple said, You look like a reporter from Minneapolis. The ambassador chimed in, Didn't you used to work for my friend Stan Hubbard at KSTP?
"Naturally, this totally freaked me out!" Baer said. "When I was in Minny, I had only heard about them, never met them. Good people."
A great encounter that could have been better only if Klum, the "Project Runway" host, had been there. "I'm pretty sure not, because he was at a party afterwards and I didn't see her. I don't think so," said Baer, who bounces between the United States and the Middle East.
In his head, Baer is already planning what he'll do on his next trip back home: "I want to come back for a ballgame in the new stadium."
First-class luxury Sugars, word has it that Oscar-winner Mo'Nique booked the W Hotel's most expensive suite when she was here for Friday's comedy performance at the State Theatre.
Robinson bowing out WCCO-TV staffers were irked, I'm told, over the announcement of anchor Don Shelby's retirement getting big-footed by an announcement from FOX 9.
After a 20-year career, FOX 9 anchor Robyne Robinson decided she'd rather concentrate on her one-of-a-kind jewelry line creations. Riiiiiight. Maybe there was a window in her contract, and she decided to jump through it. Some viewers may miss Robinson when she leaves, but many of her colleagues know that she was often wasn't charming until the "on-air" light went on. And despite her tight on-camera smile, Smart Set owner Kevin Brown could tell you Robinson could be a real bear to deal with, even when you've done her a favor. (You can read about that in a previous CJ column at tinyurl.com/26aavun).
Robinson's fans can look forward to seeing her selling jewelry on shopping networks, or reading gossip magazines about celebrities, such as Beyonce, who wear R2's lovely designs. But don't be surprised if she someday finds herself behind another anchor desk. One source thought it was interesting that Robinson said she has bought property in Santa Fe, N.M., where Twin Cities-based Hubbard Broadcasting has a station. But I doubt there's any connection.
Bottom line: WCCOers shouldn't be too hacked off. The timing seems to have been a coincidence -- just the day the details got worked out. Besides, were you really surprised about Shelby? He has been saying he was retiring from TV in December 2010 for a couple years -- I wrote about it in September 2009. The May sweeps announcement was probably for the public. Viewers sometimes need a heads-up about the transition, as I've gotten e-mails from readers who thought Dennis Douda was Shelby's heir apparent, not Frank Vascellaro. Come on people, pay attention.
Lyle's a charmer A former husband of Julia Roberts shouldn't have any trouble making friends.
But there Lyle Lovett was, feigning a scarcity of friends after performing with His Large Band at the benie for PACER, the Bloomington nonprofit.
Lovett was signing the original copy of artist Anthony Whelihan's portrait of this year's gala headliner. Whelihan had just explained that the winning bidder for the original artwork gets a private party for 12 at the artist's studio as part of the deal. "We'll let you know when the party is. You can bring a friend if you like," Whelihan said to Lovett, who replied, "Well, if I can find one."
Later, Whelihan said, "Isn't that something? I thought that was very real."
Uh, Lovett was being facetious; he surely has friends.
He made a fast friend of PACER exec director Paula Goldberg. She can be seen at startribune.com/video saying something touching to Lovett that made him reply: "I really do appreciate that." What was she saying? "I said of all the performers we've had over the years, what he said about PACER was really the nicest. I meant it. He mentioned PACER Center, I think, three times, and talked about the community and thanked people for coming. And he said Thank you for your kindness. And he was so sincere."
Lovett was a refreshing change from the headliners who never bother to the read the promotional material and end up incorrectly calling it things like PACERS or not acknowledging the important work it does with children.
C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or firstname.lastname@example.org.