Dozens of Hollywood Stars Make a Splash at Annual White House Correspondents’ Garden Brunch

Kevin Plank, Daniela Lopez Osorio, Bryan Cranston and Jay Roach

Kevin Plank, Daniela Lopez Osorio, Bryan Cranston and Jay Roach

Some of the biggest stars in television who were in Washington for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner stopped by the annual Garden Brunch.

House of Cards favorite Michael Kelly, in a return appearance for Correspondents’ weekend, led the parade of TV stars along with co-star Neve Campbell who recently joined the cast of House of Cards for season four. They were rounded out by House of Cards alum, Constance Zimmer, who is also starring in the TV series, UnREAL.

'House of Cards' Star Michael Kelly

‘House of Cards’ Star Michael Kelly

There were three ‘presidents’ in attendance: Scandal’s Tony Goldwyn, Independence Day’s Sela Ward, who plays the first woman president, and Esia Morales from HBO’s The Brink.

Television executives were also on hand, from Nina Lederman of All3Media America, Deborah Turness of NBC News, Steve Capus, Executive Producer of CBS Evening News, and Chris Licht, the new Executive Producer of the The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Besides all the TV stars, a few famous faces from the film word were also in town. HBO’s film All the Way, which was honored at the HBO-Google party at the Renwick Gallery (voted the best WHCD weekend party by Roll Call readers) was attended by star Bryan Cranston and his wife Robin Dearden, along with Director Jay Roach and HBO Films President Len Amato and Vice President Tara Grace.



"Meet" Welcomes Erika Masonhall to NBC

“Meet the Press” rolled out the red carpet Wednesday night for its newest acquisition Erika Masonhall. Betsy Fischer, “Meet The Press” Executive Producer, hosted a cocktail reception at her home to introduce Washington TV and political reporters to the program’s new press representative. For some Hill reporters it was a chance to get reacquainted as Masonhall came to NBC from Capitol Hill, where she worked for several years as the communications director to Senator Joe Lieberman.

Masonhall is representing some of NBC News’s biggest franchises including “Meet the Press” and “Nightly News.” “Meet the Press” Moderator David Gregory invited the crowd of reporters and NBC executives to raise their glasses in a toast Mendenhall.

NBC News President Steve Capus, NBC News press team leader Lauren Kapp and the new Washington Bureau Chief Antoine Sanfuentes, chatted with reporters about the latest Washington buzz on a potential government shutdown, the 2012 GOP field and of course, the upcoming book from Mark Leibovich already causing an uproar on the Hill and in journalism circles.

A state visit from team Politico led by Mike Allen, Jonathan Martin, Manu Raju, and Keach Hagey.

Reporting favorites Emily Goodin, Jackie Kucinich (on her way to USA Today) Jeff Zeleny and Paul Kane enjoyed crab cakes, spring rolls and “Meet the Press” cupcakes made by Marla Romash of “Marla’s Magic.”

RTCA Evening Picked up the Pace at MSNBC's Neon After-Party

By Neil Grace and Catherine Hill

MSNBC threw a memorable Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner after-party that stood apart from parties past.  Held directly across the street from the main event at the Washington Convention Center, MSNBC turned the traditionally staid Historical Society of Washington, D.C. into a brightly-lit fete of themed cocktails, glowing neon necklaces and comfort food.

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As guests walked down the blue carpet entrance, we asked them the question of the night: are you a nerd or a jock? Politico’s Mike Allen said he was “all of the above!” and Patrick Gavin thought he was a hybrid of the two.  NBC’s Andrea Mitchell exclaimed she was a “total jock.” John “I’m a PC” Hodgman discussed the modern cultural divide at length during the dinner.

Inside the party, the scene downstairs included a Starbucks-sponsored coffee bar where guests ate ice cream sundaes and desserts.  From the main bar, guests walked outside to a large outdoor patio, where dance music had the party-goers on their feet for “Don’t Stop Believing.”  Faces and heads glowed in the light of neon necklaces and headbands.

Upstairs, special guest bartender Rachel Maddow was mixing up cocktails at her heavily-branded “Rachel Maddow’s Bar”– complete with MSNBC napkins and “Rachel’s Bar” menus.  Maddow’s signature cocktail was listed as a Hearst: a mix of gin, sweet vermouth and bitters (though she told us she actually served more of her cava drink, “Airmail” which mixed rum, fresh lime juice, honey and the bubbly cava on top).  Afterwards, Maddow relinquished her bar duties to catch up with Ana Marie Cox and John Hodgman.

Later in the night passed treats included mini-pancakes and mini-ham, bacon and cheese croissants.  As the bars began to close, guests went out back. Among the last to leave at 3:00 a.m. were MSNBC Morning Joe’s Willie Geist, Luke Russert and many of the cable network’s junior staffers.

Media heavy-hitters spotted at the party: Steve Capus, Tamron Hall, Norah O’Donnell, Contessa Brewer with Matt Ackland, Joe Scarborough with Mika Brzezinski, David Shuster, Carlos Watson, Chris Matthews, Lynn Sweet, Margaret Carlson, and Eugene Robinson.

Politicos rounded out the guest list, including Obama senior adviser David Axelrod, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Obama economic adviser Larry Summers, as well as Hilary Rosen, Alex Castellanos, Brad Dayspring, and Kevin Madden.

RTCA After-Party Talk: Thumbs Up for Comedian-in-Chief

Move it to a Friday night (for the first time), bring a celebrity bartender to the after-party, and the night is guaranteed to go long. The Radio-TV Correspondents’ dinner festivities didn’t break until several hours after midnight.

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The MSNBC-thrown after-party, attended by Obama advisers David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett, among others, had a different vibe than Fox’s fondly remembered 2004 disco affair: more cocktails and comfort-food. Contessa Brewer’s black dress, with its open back, was one of the more daring of the evening and drew admirers; her lengthy conversation with NBC News president Steve Capus had some guessing. The special drinks that Rachel Maddow was mixing up behind the bar — including her “signature cocktail” the Hearst (gin, sweet vermouth and bitters) — must have been potent: The last of the NBC junior staffers trickled out after 3 a.m.

U.S. President Obama attends the Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner in Washington.

Obama as Comedian-in-Chief

As for the dinner itself, the reviews are in: President Obama was pretty funny. Then again, it’s hard to know — it could be just another manifestation of that whole being-in-bed-with-the-press phenomenon that he poked fun at in his remarks last night. “Why bother hanging out with celebrities when I can spend time with people who make me one?” Obama said, comparing the RTCA event to the Hollywood celeb-studded White House Correspondents Association dinner in May.

Unlike the WHCD, there was no one line that everyone grabbed on to, but the papers, Twitterers and bloggers found plenty to like, although they appear to be tiring of his frequent jokes about chief of staff Rahm Emanuel’s colorful vocabulary. (Last night’s: “In Egypt, we had the opportunity to tour the pyramids. And by now, I’m sure you’ve all seen the pictures of Rahm on that camel. I admit, I was a little nervous about the whole situation. I said at the time, ‘This is a wild animal known to bite, kick and spit. And who knows what the camel could do.’ “) [Read more…]