Welcome to the Smart Set. Every morning we bring you the gossip coverage, filtered. Today: If you're in New Hampshire, Chuck Todd and David Gregory want to watch tonight's BCS game with you, Stephen Hawking missed his birthday party, and Scarlett Johannson's mom is having cashflow problems.
Jill Abramson, who has been executive editor of The New York Times since September, comes in for a drubbing in New York magazine's cover package "Workplace Confidential," which features short anonymous office griping. The complaints that a Times source gives to the magazine's Gabriel Sherman: after a brief goodwill Abramson has "retreated into her office and Dean Baquet, the new managing editor, has taken a very large role in working the newsroom and being in charge of the daily news report"; her appointment of Sam Sifton to run the national desk and David Leonhardt to lead the D.C. bureau bucks tradition of appointing former foreign correspondents to key news positions ("They’re brainy, know both high and low culture, and are charismatic, but maybe without the deep reporting credentials and pedigree that you used to see"); and she's not running the paper's 4 p.m. meeting to decide page one, leaving that to Baquet. [New York]
Chuck Todd and David Gregory will be the guests of honor tonight at an NBC-sponsored "primary pregame party" in Manchester where everyone's going to watch the BCS championship game between the University of Alabama and LSU. Fun! If you want to heckle (or befriend) Chuck Todd, be sure to share your theories on what it will take for his beloved University of Miami Hurricanes toagain become a staple of January bowl games. As for Gregory, we'd suggest talking to him about hockey. [TV Newser]
The extra security that greeted the arrival of Beyonce and Jay-Z's Blue Ivy Carter has apparently complicated one Brooklyn man's efforts to see his own newborns. Neil Coulon, a 38-year-old contractor from Brooklyn, claims he's been "repeatedly barred from the sixth-floor neonatal intensive care unit, once for 20 minutes, by the superstar couple’s private security" detail, which has taken over Lenox Hill hospital in recent days. Couton also claims that "bodyguards wearing headsets even cleared the sixth floor waiting room, booting his relatives out" of the NICU. When contacted for a comment, a hospital spokesman said this is the first she's personally heard of the complaints. [New York Daily News]
Stephen Hawking was too sick to attend a conference/birthday held at the University of Cambridge over the weekend in honor of his 70th birthday. A school spokesman said that Hawking, who was diagnosed with ALS when he was 21, was released from the hospital on Friday and said his recovery has "not been fast enough for him to be able" to attend. He didn't specify why Hawking was in the hospital, but did add that Hawking might be able to start seeing visitors this week. [AP]
Scarlett Johannson's mother, Melanie Sloan, is suing to get out a contract to purchase a $1.4 million midtown Manhattan apartment on the grounds that she's "cash poor" and "can't afford the mortgage." According to court papers, Sloan's also demanding that the return of the $130,000 deposit she put down when she agreed to purchase the property in October. Sloan has managed her daughter's career -- and taken 10 percent of her earnings -- starting when she was 9-years-old, but Johannson fired her in 2009, telling Vanity Fair last month that it was time to "cut the cord" on her mom. [New York Post]
Respected international businessman Warren Buffett will not, in fact, be singing and playing guitar later this month on the "Chinese New Year Gala" broadcast by China Central Television. The initial, widely picked-up report from China's state-run Xinhua news agency said that Buffet's New Year's greeting would be of the musical variety, but Wu Cheng, tthe "co-chairman of Sun Media Investment Holding Ltd....and person who connected the U.S. billionaire with the show’s Chinese producers" says Buffet will just be speaking. According to Wu, Buffett objected when he found out that the event's producers planned incorporate video of him singing "I've Been Working on the Railroad" taken last year into his planned New Year's message, and organizers agreed to pull the offending clip. [The Wall Street Journal]
Kristen Wiig -- who in recent weeks has been spotted furiously necking Fabrizio Moretti of The Strokes -- "rolled solo" to the second season premiere of Portlandia at the Museum of Natural History last week. Despite the presence of SNL cast members Jason Sudeikis, Seth Myers, Bill Hader, and Andy Samberg, Wiig reportedly "hung close to Lorne Michaels on a couch" during the festivities [Page Six]