Welcome to the Smart Set, every morning we bring you the gossip coverage, filtered. Today: Prince Harry sees more of America, Chris Christie breaks his diet, and Happy Feet may be costing 600 Australians their jobs.
- Never let it be said Prince Harry did not take full advantage of helicopter training in California. A week after renting a motorcycle and riding through the Arizona desert and days after making his first trip to Las Vegas, Prince Harry received a private tour of Universal Studios in Hollywood on Wednesday. Sources say the prince's day began with "a gourmet lunch," and ended with him "offering a giant Curious George stuffed toy that he won at the theme park's carnival games" to a small, presumably non-royal child. As for the rides, a royal source says King Kong 360 and the War of the Worlds attraction were "particular hits" with Harry, who also rode Revenge of the Money twice. [Us Weekly]
- Back in 2006, the original Happy Feet grossed nearly $200 million at the U.S. box office and won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. The sequel, released last week, has grossed less than $30 million, despite having a reported budget of $135 million. Now there's a report that Dr. D Studios -- the Australian digital production company started by Happy Feet director George Miller with funding from Omnilab Media -- will lay off close to 600 workers from its 700-person staff starting in December. [IF via Deadline]
- New Jersey Chris Christie was spotted having dinner at Cellini in Manhattan on Monday night with "wife Mary Pat, son Andrew and an unidentified priest." Spies say Christie, who told Piers Morgan over the summer that he was "struggling" with his weight and has reportedly been on a diet, tucked into "[a] spread of cheesy focaccia and bruschetta" and a shared platter of pork sausages before having a calorie-packed slice of lasagna bolognese as an entree. At least the meal wasn't totally unhealthy. According to a fellow diner, Christie limited his beverage intake to "a couple of Diet Cokes." [Page Six]
- John DeLucie, the former chef at Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter's Waverly Inn, is "in talks to take over 1920s speakeasy Bill’s Gay ’90s," which is located right across the street from the Carter co-owned Monkey Bar. Sources say that DeLucie and his partners plan to reopen the bar in the spring, after planned renovations to "re-create the old-time feel of the original bar with a first-floor tavern and several private rooms." DeLucie took "a leave of absence" from The Waverly Inn last year that became permanent when his new restaurant The Lion opened. [Page Six]
- Defense Secretary Leon Panetta sent Iraq veteran-turned soap star J.R. Martinez a note congratulating him on winning the latest season of Dancing With the Stars. Pentagon spokesman Douglas Wilson confirmed that Panetta sent the letter, but got cagey when asked if his boss was a regular viewer of the ABC dance competition. "I don't know," Wilson said. "but it's been the talk of the troops." It's unclear whether he was referring to the letter or the show. [The Reliable Source]
- Hedge fund billionaire Steven Cohen is reportedly interested in buying baseball's Los Angeles Dodgers. The SAC Capital Advisors founder has reportedly been discussing his bid with investment banker Steve Greenberg of Allen & Co., who used to be deputy commissioner of MLB and is"considered by many in the business to be the banker-of-choice for MLB when it comes to team sales and acquisitions." The first round of bidding for the bankrupt club is expected to start in January. [The Wall Street Journal]