American Pie 17.01.02


The first major casualty of 2002 is HomeStyle, one of the so-called "shelter magazines" owned by Gruner+Jahr. Launched in 1986, HomeStyle was originally a spin-off of Family Circle, when it was owned by the New York Times. Last year G+J appointed a new editor, Suzanne Slesin, who initiated a redesign, but the magazine failed to attract enough advertising. Steve Cohn, editor of Media Industry Newsletter, said: "It’s a big defeat. It was not a title that was neglected and languishing. They made a major investment – and it failed." Another victim of the recession is likely to be the Paris office of Hearst Magazines although a spokesman for the company insisted a complete shutdown was not on the cards.


The first issue of Harper’s Bazaar fully under the editorship of Glenda Bailey hits the news-stands here this week – and it’s an eye-catcher. On the front cover is supermodel Gisele Bundchen, wearing a bosom-revealing pink dress. On the back cover is Bundchen showing, in reverse, the bare-back version of the same dress. Sacrificing the ad that normally goes on the back cover of magazines does not seem to faze the Derbyshire-born editor of Bazaar. She believes that what’s wrong with fashion magazines these days is not enough fashion. "A woman reads Bazaar because she wants to shop," she declared.


After just 38 issues, the US version of The Week has passed the 100,000 circulation mark. Regarded as the "serious side" of Dennis Publishing, the news weekly has exceeded expectations. "We are never going to overtake Time or US News and World Report," admits publisher Justin Smith, but claims that 90 per cent of sales go to long-term subscribers.


The death of Igor Cassini, aged 86, the Russian-born journalist who for more than 20 years wrote a gossip column for the Hearst newspapers under the name of Cholly Knickerbocker, severs the last link with the days when gossip writers were the newspaper stars of New York. At his height Cassini was syndicated in at least 150 newspapers around the world, with a readership of more than 20 million. He coined the term "jet-set" and was probably the first gossip columnist ever to be really tarred and feathered. It was after he wrote a snide item about two prominent Virginia families. Subsequently, visiting a country club in Virginia, he was kidnapped from the parking lot, driven to a remote spot, stripped and then covered with pitch and feathers. His abductors, identified as members of the families he had written about, were charged, fined and put on probation. After his column was dropped in the Sixties because of a political scandal involving Porfirio Rubirosa, the well-known international playboy, he was briefly editor of the New York Express.


As the NY Post put it, it’s Brown v Brown.   Former Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown, in Women’s Wear Daily, cattily said of Tina Brown, founder editor of Talk: "Tina’s very talented, but the fact is she is a profligate spender, and she’s lost money for every company she’s worked for. Me, I treated Hearst money like it was my own." While she was at Cosmo, Gurley Brown was known for taking buses instead of taxis. Just a day after her comment, it was reported that Talk, since its launch three years ago, has lost more than $50m (£35m).

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