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WowOwow leaves us less than wowed

By Carol Eisenberg

March 10, 2008 at 4:20pm

They were pioneers in the worlds of media, publishing and entertainment who made it to the top - and who became pals along the way.

Now this group of high-powered women is hoping to leverage their collective muckety for a new venture about which they admit they know little. On Saturday, they debuted a new website, WowOwow, geared to older women like themselves, who are smart, successful and looking for sparkling conversation (but who also expect such staples of women’s magazines as horoscopes).

“WowOwow is a party - disguised as a website - where we meet for coffee (in our robes) and for cocktails (without any makeup) and even in the middle of the night (someone’s always up!),” wrote CEO Joni Evans in her welcome column.

If connections predict success, this site will be golden. Evans, a former top-level executive at the William Morris Agency, Simon & Schuster and Random House, represented and published a long list of celebrity authors whom she will presumably be able to call on for her latest creation.

Her partners are no slouches either - Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes, Peggy Noonan, the Wall Street Journal columnist and former speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan, gossip columnist Liz Smith and former advertising executive Mary Wells. Evans had represented both Noonan and Smith.

Echoing the strategy used by Arianna Huffington at The Huffington Post, the group has used its gal-power connections to bring in celebrity “conversationalists,” such as actresses Candice Bergen and Lily Tomlin, manners doyenne Judith Martin, documentary filmmaker Sheila Nevins, comedian Whoopi Goldberg and playwright Jane Wagner.

Okay, so maybe we’re a little jealous (especially of the $1 million investment they’ve made and their five, full-time employees). But while some of the features were sassy and thought-provoking – “which four women would you like to see on Mt. Rushmore” - a couple of others rankled.

For one thing, the site’s name, which at least to this reader conjures tongue-tied teenagers rather than savvy, sophisticated older women,

And while the conversations with Candice Bergen and Judith Martin, for instance, were smart, other items seemed a tad grumpy.

A column by Mary Wells on “shoes to die for” turned out to be a diatribe against ’skyscraper high wedgies.’ Yes, we’re also women of a certain age who have long since given up heels of any kind. But do you really want to read a screed that channels your mother’s disapproving rants when you were 18?

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