IT'S THE END OF A PR ERA: Old School Publicist Pat Kingsley Exiting PMK/HBH

Funny, Pat was just talking to a friend of mine about how tired of the whole PR scene she was. “She’s worn down. The travelling. The handholding. The awards season. [Tom] Cruise recently called her to apologize for the comment he made about her,” said my pal. And that’s exactly what she told PMK/HBH when she came to the people who now run her flackery at the end of last year and asked for a buy-out. She told them she was winding it down. That she just didn’t want to come into the office anymore. That she’s just done. So, after stepping down as chairman and CEO and becoming a consultant for PMK/HBH, Pat took the money for the two years left on her contract and will run. Insiders at PMK/HBH sound laid back about which clients she might take with her and which may stick around. “It’s Pat. We’re not going to fight with her about anything. She started the company.” Still, I hear PMK/HBH will be hanging on to Jody Foster, Sally Field and Candace Bergen as well as to Will Smith and his production company Overbrook Entertainment. Kingsley isn’t leaving the biz altogether: she wants to get involved in what she calls “social work” which to her means repping clients on charities and causes.

Who can blame Kingsley for wanting to exit at the end of the month? Once upon a time, all she had to worry about was having her clients outed by the National Enquirer and which glossy deserved her clients to grace its cover. But Pat more and more complained about the “totally different landscape” of today’s PR when she lost control of managing the news about her stars to the hundreds of celebrity-centric blogs which exist just to skewer them. “But make no mistake: she was navigating the landscape as well as any of PMK/HBH’s young hip publicists. Not a single thing gets past her. Not a thing,” one of the PR firm’s insiders praised her to me tonight.  She was tough. She was controlling. But she always was exceedingly polite and respectful to me.

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