OK, OK, we didn't quite work out how you get an actual list of those invited to the White House Correspondents' Dinner. Apparently, it involves using a "phone" to "call" someone at the "Correspondents' Association." Whatever. As a great man once said, "I'm a critic/analyst, not a reporter." We did nose around about the next level of social Darwinism, however, and have some speculation about which are this year's hot tables: After all, once you've gotten in, you have to still be petty about something.

ABC's table is so hot it's practically glowing. Unanimous agreement from all sources. Says one, "ABC managed a triple play --with heavy-hitter hotties from Hollywood (Affleck), Sports (Tom Brady) and Washington (Powell, Rumsfeld, Rove ... OK, well Rove's not exactly 'hot' but you know what I mean)." Well, depends on who you ask. There is a cloud in ABC's silver lining, notes another tipster: "Pity the ABC executive or anchor sitting next to Ben, though. He or she won't get to eat a bite, let alone share witty banter with the bachelor star -- they'll be pestered all through dinner by handshake-, autograph- and photograph-seekers."

Bloomberg: Hottt but not on fire like ABC. (Says one operative: "Even though Bloomberg has the party tickets, I'd say ABC managed the most-impressive, most-enviable 'gets.'") Still, impressive: Candice Bergen, Minne Driver, Drew Carey, Anna Kournikova.

Financial Times is at least warm. We know, we know. We have nothing to back this up. But that's what people are saying.

Fox: Running hot and cold. "Fox usually goes for the flavor of the moment." We also hear that Fox's heat gets diluted by how many tables they tend to purchase.

People: "Spotty." We'll put that down as a warm.

National Journal/Atlantic: Respectably tepid, at the very least. [Resisting. Urge. To. Compare. To. Actual. Publi. . . Whew.] One source rates them as "solid."

Wonkette's social history operative would like us to remind you that "the whole 'hot table' concept owes its parentage to the late Michael Kelly, who as a humble reporter for the Baltimore Sun invited Fawn Hall [look it up, kids] in 1987 and practically created a riot." Countines our historian: "There's plenty of celebrity this year, but alas, not much by way of notoriety, which is really way more fun. Ah, where are the Paula Joneses of yesteryear?"


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