Vogue Cuts, The NYT Changes Course & The WSJ Wins

cityfile · 10/14/09 02:40PM

• The Condé Nast job cuts have made their way to Anna's domain on the 12th floor of 4 Times Square: Vogue laid off six staffers today. [AllThingsD]
• More bad news for Condé: some advertisers are reportedly "jumping ship" after the recent shake-up at Brides. On the plus side, The New Yorker appears to be hiring, so you can take that as good news if you'd like. [NYP, NYO]
• Remember how the New York Times Co. was planning to sell the Boston Globe? Yea, well, NYT publisher Artie Sulz has changed his mind. [AP, BG]
• Mike Bloomberg totally approves of Bloomberg LP's decision to buy BusinessWeek. Translation: The mayor backs the decisions he, himself, makes even if he contends that he wasn't actually responsible for making them. [NYT]
• Is Bloomberg LP's acquisition of BusinessWeek part of a big, new plan to compete with the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones? Sure seems like it. [NYT]
• Meanwhile, WSJ staffers gathered today to toast the news that the Journal has surpassed USA Today as the top-selling paper in the U.S. [Politico, E&P]
• CBS News is now "investigating" the David Letterman saga (and his employer CBS!) as part of a future story. That must be a bit awkward, huh? [NYO]

Happy Birthday

cityfile · 09/18/09 06:36AM

James Gandolfini turns 48 today. Lance Armstrong is turning 38. Jada Pinkett Smith is 38 today, too. Designer Karim Rashid is 49. Comic actor Fred Willard is turning 70. Actor James Marsden is 36. The Brazilian soccer star Ronaldo is turning 33. The rapper Xzibit is turning 35. Senator Bob Bennett of Utah is 75. Actress and former Talk Soup host Aisha Tyler is 39. Singer Frankie Avalon is turning 69. Actress Holly Robinson Peete is 45 today. And Robert Blake, the former Baretta star who was acquitted of murder in 2005, turns 76 today. You'll find weekend birthdays listed below.

Olbermann's Folly, Cuts at Condé, BusinessWeek Bids

cityfile · 08/04/09 01:27PM

Keith Olbermann took Times reporter Brian Stelter to task last night for reporting that News Corp. and GE had worked out a deal to tone down the rhetoric between MSNBC and Fox News. But he didn't disagree with everything Stelter reported. Conveniently, only the bad stuff about him was wrong. [NYM]
• More bad news for Olbermann: MSNBC now admits it made a mistake by not disclosing that Countdown fixture Richard Wolffe is a paid lobbyist. Naturally, Olbermann had absolutely no idea about any of this. [Politico, Salon]
• Condé Nast is shedding more staff. This time around it appears the media giant's receptionists will be paying the ultimate price. [Gawker, NYM]
• Reps for Bruce Wasserstein met with BusinessWeek execs yesterday to discuss a bid for the magazine. Joe Mansueto, the founder of Morningstar and owner of Fast Company, may be a potential bidder as well. [BW]

The Friday Party Report

cityfile · 03/06/09 01:28PM

Valentino and Vogue co-hosted a cocktail party to benefit New Yorkers For Children at Valentino's Madison Avenue store last night. Guests included Fabiola Beracasa and Erin Fetherston (left), Fern Mallis, Tinsley Mortimer, Valesca Guerrand-Hermès, Maggie Betts, Paul Sevigny, Bebe Neuwirth, Jennifer Creel, Selita Ebanks, Alina Cho, Kate Schelter, Antony Todd, Tatiana Platt, Kevin Liles, Denise Wohl, Di Petroff, Felicia Taylor, Erica and Geraldo Rivera, Sylvester and Gillian Miniter, Dori Cooperman, Maggie Rizer, Allison Sarofim, Lydia Fenet, Vanessa von Bismarck, Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos, Susan Shin, Tracy Stern, Melissa Berkelhammer, Stephanie LaCava, and, yes, "Real Housewife" Alex McCord and her husband Simon van Kempen. [PMc, Wireimage, VF, SF]

The Monday Party Report

cityfile · 02/02/09 02:01PM

Peggy Siegal invited a media-heavy crowd to the Oak Room last night to watch the Super Bowl. Sports Illustrated editor Terry McDonell was in attendance (apparently, budget cuts prevented him from flying to Tampa in person); and some folks, such as former HarperCollins chief Jane Friedman, left, even donned 3-D glasses to fully appreciate the commercials. Others on hand for the festivities: Richard Johnson, Ron Perelman, Dan Abrams, Dave Zinczenko, Joanne Lipman, Charlie Rose, George Rush, Richard Meier, Cece Cord, Kate Betts, Gay Talese, Rocco DiSpirito, Chuck Scarborough, Francine LeFrak, Andrew and Nancy Jarecki, Ron Delsener, Ken Auletta, Larry Gagosian, Lewis Lapham, Steve Kroft, Lloyd Grove, Morgan Entrekin, Ann Dexter-Jones, Harry Smith, Liz Smith, Cynthia McFadden, and Felicia Taylor. [PMc, NYO, GoaG, Fox 411]

Caroline Kennedy: Let the Blame Game Begin

cityfile · 01/22/09 08:38AM

Caroline Kennedy ran a disastrous quasi-campaign for Hillary Clinton's Senate seat before deciding to bow out last night. Initially she refused to answer reporters' questions; when she eventually changed her approach and opened up, she demonstrated such little skill for dealing with the press that even some of her supporters started to wonder if she was up to the job. Kennedy now says she abandoned her bid for the Senate because of "personal reasons," which one Kennedy insider suggested was due to Caroline's concerns about Ted Kennedy's declining health. The much more plausible theory, of course, is that she bowed out when she heard she wasn't going to get the nod from Gov. David Paterson: making the decision herself provided her with a much more graceful exit. It was one of the only wise moves Kennedy and her team have made in the last few weeks. All of the blunders that have embarrassed her since she kicked off her campaign? Here are two people you can already start blaming: Kevin Sheekey and Stefan Friedman.

Happy Birthday

cityfile · 09/19/08 06:13AM

It will probably be a fun weekend for Lydia Hearst: the heiress turns 24 today. Others blowing out candles today: Jimmy Fallon is 34. Soledad O'Brien of CNN is 42. Richie Akiva is 32, although the invite to his birthday party said it was his 30th. James Lipton is 82. Former HarperCollins chief Jane Friedman is 63. Defense attorney Barry Scheck is turning 59. And model Victoria Silvstedt is 34. On Saturday: Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein (pictured here with Lydia, a first we imagine) will be 54. Financier Joseph Perella will be 67. Sophia Loren will turn 74. Ad exec Scott Goodson will celebrate his 45th. Interior designer Geoffrey Bradfield will be 62. And Jossip's David Hauslaib will turn 25. On Sunday: Jane Rosenthal will be 52. Stephen King will be 61. Bill Murray will celebrate his 58th. Jerry Bruckheimer will be 63. Book publisher Geoff Kloske will turn 39. Natural History museum president Ellen Futter will be 59. Nicole Richie will be 27. Cheryl Hines will turn 43. Luke Wilson will be 37. And filmmaker Ethan Coen will be celebrating his 51st.

Jews, Arabs Cleared In Firing Of HarperCollins CEO

Ryan Tate · 06/16/08 04:16AM

The exit of HarperCollins CEO Jane Friedman continues to baffle everyone, including New York magazine, which tried to figure out why Friedman was let go but could only figure out two non-reasons. Some people thought she was maybe ousted because, at the London Book Fair in April, she decided Egyptian novelist Alaa Al Aswany was too anti-Israel and so moved his cocktail party away from the official HarperCollins booth. But "a source close to Friedman" said she just doesn't ever like having book parties in the booth. This source also shot down the idea, floated by at least one former News Corp. insider, that Friedman was fired because in 2006 she pushed out profitable publisher Judith Regan after she was charged with making anti-semitic statements, a charge News Corp. called false when settling a Regan lawsuit. If rumormongering, journalism, guessing and scapegoating didn't revel the truth about Jane Friedman's departure, what on heaven's Earth will? Someone award this woman a tell-all book contract or something before everyone dies of suspense (or, more likely, stops caring). [New York]

Ousted HarperCollins Chief Had Been Improving Numbers

Ryan Tate · 06/11/08 06:57AM

At the time she was fired, HarperCollins CEO Jane Friedman was expected to post "strong fourth-quarter results... at the end of the month," according to the Observer. That only deepens the mystery as to why Friedman was fired — if not over bad numbers, then why? It does look like the book executive was pushed. She reportedly did not look distressed at an 11 am Wednesday meeting, just before News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch told her she would be replaced by her deputy Brian Murray. She supposedly had no clue as to the purpose of her meeting with Murdoch, the sort of blindsiding one would expect in a firing. And Friedman's replacement, Murray, started acting tense when he got the news of his promotion two days prior, according to the Observer's sources — hardly the behavior expected of someone replacing a voluntarily-departing executive. The weekend prior, Friedman had been in high spirits at a HarperCollins party. So many things don't add up:

Jane Friedman: The Hand Wringing Continues

cityfile · 06/11/08 05:45AM

The truth about HarperCollins CEO Jane Friedman's abrupt departure from her job has now been established, sort of. While it's obvious that News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch fired her—not least because heir-in-waiting Brian Murray was offered Friedman's job two days before she knew anything about it—no one who's willing to speak knows why the unscrupulous Aussie cut loose a woman who, by all accounts, had done extremely well for the company and was widely admired by her publishing cohorts. And so the normally dry old book industry is consumed with soap opera-ish emotion and intrigue: Agent Robert Gottlieb calls the decision "a dreadful mistake...What can be in the minds of these people, losing somebody that valuable, is simply beyond my comprehension," while a HarperCollins exec says that they'd "all be helped emotionally if we had a better sense of why this happened." Bring in the trauma counselors!

Evidence Friedman Was Pushed Over Money

Ryan Tate · 06/06/08 06:28AM

Everyone seems nearly as confused in the aftermath of Jane Friedman's departure from atop HarperCollins as they were in the frantic hours before the official confirmation. But it looks increasingly like the CEO was elbowed aside. Friedman's deputy and successor, Brian Murray, has disclosed he was summoned to a meeting with Rupert Murdoch Wednesday and unexpectedly offered her job. But Friedman didn't discuss her departure with Murdoch until two days later, on Wednesday, according to a Times source "familiar with her situation." If true, that would signal Murdoch wanted her out. Perhaps the HarperCollins pipeline looked weak; Leon Neyfakh at the Observer raised the possibility of "a terrible fourth quarter." Still, there are all sorts of conflicting signals.

Keith Olbermann's Rupert Murdoch Imitation Involves Gawker, Pirates

Ryan Tate · 06/05/08 10:16PM

Looking for a decent excuse to advance his long-simmering feud with Rupert Murdoch and to do a weird Australian/pirate accent, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann seized upon the words of a former News Corp. insider, who claimed in one of our posts this morning that Murdoch fired Jane Friedman from HarperCollins because she canned powerhouse publisher Judith Regan in late 2006, and also because she squashed Regan's OJ Simpson book project. The source also claimed, tangentially and outlandishly, that Fox News chief Roger Ailes will soon be fired as well for his own role in the Simpson book fiasco. Predictably, this amused Olbermann to no end. For the crime of going to bat for the OJ book, Olbermann named Murdoch today's "worst person in the world," an honor previously bestowed to Fox News screamer Bill O'Reilly. He then did a killer Murdoch imitation that will surely put to rest those allegations that he's totally crazy. Clip after the jump.

Regime Change at HarperCollins

cityfile · 06/05/08 07:40AM

The news that Harper Collins' CEO of ten years, Jane Friedman, is stepping down—just days after announcing at Book Expo America that she "loves" her job—has been met with surprise from both industry watchers and colleagues, and has triggered speculation that she was ruthlessly cut loose by her boss, News Corp. overlord Rupert Murdoch, due to disappointing company performance. The official line is that she resigned, of course, and the House of Rupe has since announced that Brian Murray, Friedman's No. 2, will take over as CEO effective immediately. No doubt the real story will emerge in the next few days.

HarperCollins Chief Was Aggressive, Awkward

Ryan Tate · 06/05/08 06:55AM

Jane Friedman's departure as HarperCollins CEO, first reported by Gawker, has been officially confirmed by the book publisher. Her replacement by Brian Murray, 21 years her junior, comes less than a month after a similar generational shift at Bertelsmann AG's Random House, where unsentimental German engineer Markus Dohle, 39, replaced book-loving lawyer Peter Olson, 58. The young book executives hope to fix slowing growth and to better exploit the explosion in online digital media. But it's not clear whether broad technology trends had much to do with the departure of Friedman, who got her start as a Knopf dictaphone typist four decades ago, went on to become a pioneer in audio books and online marketing and who led a unique and ambitious push to digitize HaperCollins' collection. As a surprised fellow executives groped for answers about the change last night, some speculated it might even have its roots in late 2006, when Friedman, with the backing of Roger Ailes, squelched the a high-profile book overseen by HarperCollins executive Judith Regan by alleged killer OJ Simpson, then pushed Regan out of the company in the wake of Regan's remarks about Jews. As one former News Corp. insider put it:

HarperCollins CEO Fired?

Ryan Tate · 06/04/08 06:10PM

We're hearing a wild rumor that Jane Friedman was just fired from her perch atop News Corp.'s HarperCollins. If true, this would sure lend a hefty dose of irony to the publishing executive's quote in the Observer today, gleaned from an industry party on the Twentieth Century Fox lot Saturday: "I love being CEO of HarperCollins!" Anyone hearing anything? UPDATE: The Observer quotes a source confirming Friedman's departure, and the Wall Street Journal is reporting the exit as fact. Two strange things about these reports:

Jane Friedman

cityfile · 02/03/08 09:36PM

Friedman served as the CEO of HarperCollins, the book publishing arm of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, for more than a decade before stepping down in 2008. She's since founded Open Road Integrated Media, a digital publishing company.

Honorees Will Actually Attend Mediabistro's 10th Anniversary Party!

Maggie · 10/04/07 02:40PM

Mediabistro, the little $23-million media company that could, is turning 10! So they're throwing themselves a party tonight, with a special extra: The Golden Boa Awards, which recognizes 10 media stars from "from within the 10 verticals that mediabistro.com serves," according to the press release. Mmm, verticals. Each lucky honoree will go home tonight with an actual bronzed feather boa—provided, that is, that they show up—in honor of nutty genius and former owner and for-now senior vice president Laurel Touby. But which of these 10 "media stars" might you see if you crash?

Was Judith Regan Fired Because of Her Valuable Vag?

abalk2 · 12/18/06 01:30PM

Since it's been at least forty minutes since we mentioned Judith Regan, we thought we'd take this time to advance a little irresponsible speculation concerning the reason for her departure. In a January 2005 profile of Regan from Vanity Fair (which is chock full of delicious quotey goodness), we noted the following: