Phyllis George gets a raise from CBS this month . . . even though the former Miss America hasn't been on the air since last August. At that time, George left her eight-month stint as co-anchor of the "CBS Morning News"--but the raise (it's called "compensation escalations" in TV land) was built into her close-to-$1 million annual contract. And, even though it's pretty clear that she won't be back on the air next January, she'll get a raise then, too, sources said, all part of the "pay or play" contract that superagent Ed Hookstratten negotiated for the beautiful newscaster. And she never has to leave home.
OH LA DINER--There was the defunct Ma Maison's Patrick Terrail, knee-deep in architectural plans and descriptions of steak-by-the-ounce. Terrail, set to open a new Ma Maison late next year, will by summer also open the Hollywood Diner on North Fairfax. "No pizza, no pasta, no mesquite," he intoned, banishing the current favorites of foodies. He might be concentrating on basic American, but the Parisian pizazz is still there. His old Melrose Avenue bistro used to pride itself on the number of Rolls-Royces in the parking lot. This week, Terrail looked longingly at a business, Rolls-Royce of London, across the street from his new location and wondered aloud if they'd like to park their overflow in his diner's lot.
VOICE IN THE LAND--Former Cleveland Mayor Dennis Kucinich--who just finished a 450-mile walk across the state of Ohio--was in Los Angeles this week (no, he didn't walk), trying for political contributions from the likes of Helen Reddy and Shirley MacLaine. Kucinich's pitch was that he was running as an "independent" on a populist platform for governor--joining a field that will apparently include the current Gov. Richard F. Celeste, a Democrat, and former Republican Gov. James Rhodes.
MONEY TO FOLLOW--Not since "National Velvet" has so much money ridden on Elizabeth Taylor and her love of horses. This time, it's a major fund-raiser for the American Foundation for AIDS Research and for the Arizona AIDS Fund Trust. Taylor will be joined by Dr. Eugene Lacroix, a pioneer in the world of Arabian horses in the Thursday announcement of the multimillion-dollar fund-raiser set for February in Scottsdale. . . . If you've been wondering what's happening with Ken Kragen's Hands Across fund-raiser for domestic hunger--well, more details will be announced at a big news conference Jan 16.
ROASTING--When Stephen J. Cannell gets his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Tuesday, the party doesn't stop on the sidewalk. That night, friends of Cannell--producer of "A-Team," "Hunter" and "Hardcastle & McCormick"--will gather at the refurbished Hollywood Roosevelt to roast him. Look for Bob Conrad, Connie Sellecca, Ben Vereen, Robert Culp, Martin Milner and Tony Musante. Cannell, a dyslexic, is the national chairperson of the Orton Dyslexia Society, which will also honor him at the event.
TIMES CHANGE--Harry Bridges, the longtime and controversial leader of the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union, gets honored next month at a benefit for the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research. And the invite carries top-drawer names like honorary dinner committee co-chairmen Mayor Tom Bradley, Councilman Robert Farrell, San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein, Assemblywoman Maxine Waters and AFL-CIO exec William R. Robertson. The dinner, at the L.A. Hilton, is set for Feb. 9.
ROSES AND ROSES--The invitations from the National Assn. of Women Business Owners Public Affairs Day--mailed at government expense from the Small Business Adminstration--carry a large sketch of a rose that looked vaguely familiar. Indeed, it's the same rose that has been seen on the fund-raising invites for Chief Justice Rose Elizabeth Bird. And indeed, the chief justice is addressing the conference--the theme of which is "Strategies for Success."
ACE THIS ONE--Merv Griffin does his hosting shtick this week when the annual political face-off at John Gardiner's Tennis Ranch in Scottsdale features not just the usual U.S. senators but also a bunch from the United Kingdom. Joining the two dozen (bipartisan) competitors such as Sen. Gary Hart (D-Colo.), Sen. H. John Heinz (R-Pa.), Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), are six members of the "UK Parlimentary Team." The benefit supports the Hospice of the Valley--and Clint Eastwood is a rumored late starter.