Denise Rich| Jerry Seinfeld| TNT's Bull | Death Takes a Holiday for Book Bash

Denise Rich Was Tutored for TV Interviews — But She Doesn't Need Business

Call her Eliza Doolittle. I am told that for her performances on Larry King Live and 20/20 with Barbara Walters, Denise Rich was more than prepped in advance. She employed a "media trainer" and "speech modulator," both of whom worked with her to give the desired effect of a flaky, put-upon hausfrau, songwriter and communicator with the dead. I am also told she brought her own hair and makeup people to both interviews.

All so she could tell Larry and Baba: "I'm sorry, but there's an ongoing investigation and I can't tell you anything." Sort of like, "The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain."

Meanwhile, the "naïve" Denise has learned how to get a leg up — not only in TV appearances but in business as well. On the recording front, Denise, it seems, is in business with Sony Music and Tommy Mottola.

No, they're not having a romance or anything like that. In fact, on the subject of romance, I wonder why in all the ridiculous yakking about Denise's purported affair with former President Clinton, no one at the tabloids has mentioned that Denise's boyfriend for almost the last decade, Dr. Neils Lauersen, is currently in prison and awaiting sentencing for medical fraud and trying to exit the country illegally. (He was caught applying for a new passport after being convicted.)

Indeed, Denise Rich and Tommy Mottola have been in business together for some time. Sony Music is partnered with Denise in DV8 Records, her own record label.

For many years, Denise's other partner in DV8, record producer Ric Wake, has been a house producer at Sony Music. Now Wake has become vice president of A&R at Epic, the Sony label in need of hits. (They recently gave Mariah Carey away to Virgin Records.)

On the DV8 Web site, which lists the artists and labels where Denise has placed her songwriting compositions, the preponderance of business has been on Sony labels.

Pam Rousakis, the COO of DV8, tells me it's been very good to have Wake in both places. "It's helped with access to Sony, there's no doubt about it."

Wake has also been a producer on Celine Dion's albums, placing Denise Rich co-written songs on them. The songs are also published by Wake and Rich, so they get to collect royalties twice. In the long list of Denise Rich's songs, only a handful has been written by her alone. Otherwise, Rich is famous for adding her name to existing songwriting teams and thereby getting credit and a royalty.

And she'd like us to think she's naïve and incompetent. Hardly.

Seinfeld: No Ladies at Annual Birthday Dinner

Comic Jerry Seinfeld — who once had a high-rated TV series — celebrated his 47th birthday on Monday night with pals: Comic George Wallace, actor James Spader and four other male friends were all at Dan Tana's restaurant in West Los Angeles.

There were no women at the birthday dinner, including Seinfeld's wife of 16 months, Jessica Sklar. Or anyone named Mulva. Like Seinfeld's annual New Year's lunch, his annual Dan Tana's birthday party is for guys only.

If you're wondering how Seinfeld got to be friends with Spader — who generally plays creeps without a sense of humor in his films — I'll tell you. They are each sports car collectors, Porsches to be exact, and share garage space in a hangar at the Santa Monica airport for their extensive sets of autos. Seinfeld is such a car nut that he's been renovating a garage on New York's Upper West Side for almost two years so his Porsches will have a really nice place to live.

Is TNT Full of Bull? Drama Series Disappears

What happened to Bull? The dramatic hour-long series got great reviews and decent ratings as the first series made by TNT for the syndicated network.

But now, it's vanished. Not cancelled. Just sent to purgatory. Bull taped 22 episodes, and so far 11 of them have aired. But the remaining 11 — some guest starring Emmy-winning Picket Fences actress Kathy Baker — have just been shelved without explanation.

When I called programming executive Brad Siegel's office at TNT to find out what was what, a public-relations flack returned my call. Walter Ward said, "We have no plans to air the episodes at this time." Why? "We don't have a platform for them."

Apparently, they need a platform. How wide or high, I don't know.

Won't the shows age on the shelf? "No," said Walter Ward.

Bull concerned a bunch of young, hungry Wall Street traders and consultants as they tried to turn dross into silk and become billionaires in the process. Stanley Tucci and Donald Moffat, two terrific actors, were the stars of a talented ensemble cast.

There's been talk that with the roller-coaster stock market, Bull was suddenly too difficult to show to viewers. But as someone remarked yesterday, "The crime rate is way down and they don't cancel NYPD Blue." Indeed, as this column mentioned last week, there are three Law & Order series for next fall, all about crime in New York, and the crime rate has never been lower.

The big question now is whether or not TNT will even enter Bull into Emmy competition. I'd say they're on the horns of a dilemma.

Death Takes a Holiday for Book Bash

There were so many broadcasters at Jill Brooke's book party Tuesday night at Eugene's we wondered who was actually doing the news.

Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly was front and center congratulating Jill, a former CNN correspondent and now editor of Avenue Magazine, on publication of her fine and extensively researched Don't Let Death Ruin Your Life, published by Dutton Books/Penguin.

In the same room: local New York Fox TV personalities John Roland and Rosanna Scotto, plus WPIX/Channel 11 rivals Lynn White and Jim Watkins. Then we had Channel 2's Dana Tyler, Channel 4's Jane Hanson, best-selling mystery writer Carol Higgins Clark, Time magazine's Richard Zoglin, In Style's Charla Krupp, radio personalities Jo Maeder and Mark Simone, New York Post gossip Richard Johnson and columnist Linda Stasi, the Daily News' Mitchell Fink, and former New York mayor — and People's Court judge — Ed Koch.

My favorite guest: David Letterman bandleader Paul Schaffer. Every single person who stopped by told Schaffer: "I see you every night." Ever the gentleman, he just grinned and took it.