Welcome to the Smart Set. Every morning we bring you the day's gossip coverage, filtered. Today: Chris Brown uncorks a truly awful pick-up line, Larry King and CNN are kaput after 27 years, and Oprah is considering a big-screen return.
Chris Brown -- who pleaded guilty to beating the hell out of then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009 -- apparently approached "an attractive brunette" at a hair salon last Friday and said. "Can I get your number? I promise I won't beat you!" The woman says the singer's entourage started to laugh, with one explaining, "'That's his new line!" Brown's rep responds, none-too-convincingly: "I'd be surprised if Chris said something that stupid." And yet, here we are. [Us Weekly]
Larry King and CNN have "mutually agreed" to part ways after 27 years. Since the end of Larry King Live last January, King had been hosting a series of quarterly specials for the network, one of which, Brian Stelter of The New York Times (today's Media Dieter) notes, was "[a] dinner party with a number of celebrity guests." According to sources, the decision to end King's quarterly pop-ins comes with time still left on his contract. Last month, word leaked that King and richest-man-in-the-world Carlos Slim were plotting a "huge" and vague online venture. Huge! [Media Decoder]
Oprah Winfrey may be getting back in to pictures: she's said to be "mulling" an offer from Precious director Lee Daniels to appear in new project, The Butler. Winfrey, who people forget was nominated for an Oscar in 1985 for The Color Purple, would play the wife of Eugene Allen, who served as White House butler from 1952 to 1986. (Somewhat hysterically, Daniels is also said to be targeting John Cusack to play Richard Nixon.) It would be Oprah's first non-voice role since she starred in Beloved for Jonathan Demme in 1998. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Kari Mokko, the spokesman for the Embassy of Finland in D.C. for almost five years, is going home. That's bad news for the 150 diplomats, policy wonks, Hill staffers, reporters, and other assorted Washington types who are members of the Mokko-founded Diplomatic Finnish Sauna Society of D.C. As often as three times a month, Mokko would host informal, clothes-free bull sessions in the embassy's basement sauna. (We were never invited to one, but have been stuck in the traffic jams they create on numerous occasions.) Mokko's going back to Finland to be communications director for prime minister Jyrki Katainen. He held a farewell sauna bash at the embassy on Tuesday. [The Reliable Source]
Philadelphia Media Network -- which owns The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, and philly.com -- is laying off 37 staffers across the publications in order to "unify the newsrooms." A "voluntary separation program" (buyouts, in other words) will be offered until the end of the month. The sale has been a tricky subject for PMN: Last week, according to sources, PMN publisher Gregory Osberg summoned the three top editors of the publications to his office for a three hour meeting, where he told them he'd be overseeing all coverage of the impending sale, and that if any article on the saler an without his permission, the editor would be fired. Osberg, for his part, denies there ever was a meeting. [Philadelphia Magazine and The New York Times]
The Valentine's Day dinner crowd at Le Cirque was a who's who of people who would go to Le Cirque for Valentine's Day. Donald Trump was there with his wife Melania. So were Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn, though for some reason they brought director Joel Schumacher along as well. Other in attendance included: Leonard Lauder, the former CEO of Estee Lauder Companies, billionaire New York real estate developer Steve Roth and his wife Daryl, who produced Wit and Proof on Broadway, and Tim and Nina Zagat, of Zagat Restaurant Surveys fame. [Page Six]