Eisner stays in touch, but out of office

GOOD MORNING: “I’m frustrated they (doctors) won’t let me go to the office,” Michael Eisner told me Thursday on the phone from his home. He sounds strong — exactly the same as he always did prior to his quadruple bypass surgery at Cedars-Sinai, July 16. “But I learned one thing while I’m here (at home) — they don’t need me (at the studio).” Eisner made one excursion out of the house: to Chasen’s, last Saturday night. (He had a salt-free fish dinner.) Friends report he looked very well, if a little thin (as expected, only a week after the major surgery). He is starting his exercise and diet regimen and “I will be fine in a short amount of time,” he promises. He remains, of course, in contact with the studio and tells me, “Everything is clicking away. Meanwhile, I’m getting to watch a lot of TV. We (Disney) have a lot on the air.” He laughingly said he caught up with “Regis and Kathie Lee,” which he hadn’t seen in a long time. “Also ‘All My Children,’ which I put on the air (when at ABC) and a lot of movies I made (at Paramount). It’s deja vu!” Has he thought about appointing an assistant — or someone to take over Frank Wells’ responsibilities? “I haven’t thought about business,” he laughed. “I’m not allowed to do anything like making decisions right now. Everything is proceeding as usual and very well.” But he hasn’t been told when he’ll head back to Burbank. However, it was obvious by his returned phone call to me that he is in constant touch with his secretary and the office. But he is also resting and not taking any of their calls … Luane and Frank Wells’ son Kevin, meanwhile, has moved down here from SanFran and may be working at Disney.

SECRETARY OF LABOR Robert B. Reich introduced Denise Nicholas Thursday at the Department, saying he was a fan of hers in “Room 222” and “In the Heat of the Night.” The occasion was a rally for the Working Women Council and the Hollywood’s Policy Center, which has been working with the Labor Dept. Nicholas was the Center’s latest speaker, following earlier talks by Valerie Harper and Linda Lavin. When Nicholas wound her speech, Reich said, “And you didn’t even use any notes.” Answered Nicholas, “I didn’t need any — I have a lifetime of experience,” Among subjects she discussed: harassment in the workplace, from the point of view of women in showbiz. “And yes,” Denise said, “I told about my experiences — like with one specific director, as well as an experience in Nigeria — on a film for the government!” Nicholas said the response from the Labor Dept. audience “was incredibly warm.” Dana Delany has narrated two radio spots for the campaign, the idea of which is to get 15 million women to respond to a survey to find out what it’s really like for women in the workplace …”Do you mind if we get you pregnant?” Suzanne Somers laughingly says that was the question put to her by her ABC “Step by Step” exec producers Tom Miller and Bob Boyett. “Every time they get a biological urge, they get a surrogate!” So, Somers and Patrick Duffy will add to their household of six children in the next two “Step” seasons. P.S., the script calls for an “unplanned pregnancy” for Somers, who is 37 in the TV series. But, she tells me, she’ll be her real age, 47, in her new one-hour, MCA-TV’d “Suzanne Somers (talk) Show.” She spends all free time from WB’s “Step” by zooming from the backlot to her Universal talkshow offices (she, husband Alan Hamel and Scott Sternberg exec produce). She tapes three talkshows each Sunday and Monday, works on the series Tuesday through Friday, with Saturday off. Unlike other talkshows, Somers sez hers is built around the guest, rather than the guest around a topic. The guests not only get to plug their wares, but can sing (there’s a band) or cook along with Suzanne, whose set resembles her home. “It’s a ‘feel-good’ show, but it also has substance.” But when Loni Anderson guested, she asked Somers not to ask about Burt Reynolds. But Suzanne figured out a way. After 16 years on the road working before audiences “and following acts ranging from pigs to elephants,” Suzanne says she’s learned how to deal with anything. “And I can feel an audience through a curtain!” The show’s sold in 70% of the major markets.

“I SHOULD BE IN POLAND right now,” said Oscar-winning director Bob Wise, who was medal’d Thursday evening with Belgium’s Knight in the Order of Leopold at Consul General Guy Trouveroy’s home here in L.A. Wise was president of the Flanders Film Fest last year and is invited back. Wise was to have started his “Knight of War” feature in Poland now, but budget problems delayed it … Showbiz merge: Danielle Marie De’Atley and Alan Chassman will wed Saturday in Calabassas. The bride’s father, Murray, is associate director of photography for ABC and the groom’s dad, Leonard, is Hollywood exec director of SAG.

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