This story first appeared in the April 5 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
George Clooney and Ben Affleck are going to be no-shows, but Kevin Spacey and Elizabeth Banks have sent in their RSVPs. And late-night star Conan O'Brien is all set to host.
Although the White House Correspondents' Dinner doesn't take place until April 27 at the Washington Hilton, news organizations already are competing ferociously to snare the biggest Hollywood executives and stars to sit at their tables.
Celebrities might view the bash -- which has swelled to 2,500 and earned the Twitter hashtag #nerdprom -- warily, especially when it comes to dealing with the starstruck spouses in attendance. (One year, a correspondent's date eager to grab Affleck's attention simply bared her breasts.) "Your clients are pawed by the other attendees' drunken wives and girlfriends," complains one protective publicist. But with President Obama heading up the main dais, the spring fling has become a major stop on the entertainment industry's social circuit.
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Affleck, after a hectic awards season, is not planning to attend this year's edition. Nor is Clooney, who usually is considered the evening's biggest catch. Last year, he sat at Time's table, where he was swarmed for autographs and mobile phone photos, but this year he is busy filming The Monuments Men in Berlin.
Banks, the Hunger Games star who was active on the campaign trail for Obama in 2012, will be sitting at the CNN table. NBC's Go On star Matthew Perry will show his loyalty to his network by sitting with its news correspondents, while Eric Stonestreet of ABC's Modern Family is confirmed for ABC News' table. Spacey and other castmembers from Netflix's D.C.-set House of Cards -- along with Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos -- are planning to break bread with Bloomberg writers while soaking up atmosphere for their second season.
On the executive front, DreamWorks CEO and co-chairman Stacey Snider and Chip Sullivan, the studio's vp publicity, are booked to join the Time group at what's shaping up as an executive power table. The Wall Street Journal reporters are keeping their fingers crossed that Democratic super-donor Jeffrey Katzenberg will be their star guest, though true to his negotiating style, he's still keeping them guessing, says one WSJ editor. Steven Spielberg, who sat with Time last year, also is uncommitted at the moment.
Kim Kardashian, who was a guest of Fox News last year, is considering attending again, says her rep. If she does make an appearance, beau Kanye West is not expected.
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