Bill O'Reilly is celebrating his 60th today; we're counting on you, Keith Olbermann, to make sure O'Reilly's big day is a very special one. Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld is turning 76. Just in time for Fashion Week, model Coco Rocha is turning 21. Movie director (and Madonna ex) Guy Ritchie turns 41. Ryan Phillippe is turning 35. Actor Colin Firth is 49. Golfing legend Arnold Palmer is 80. Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry is 59. The Post's Keith Kelly is 55. And NYC nightlife veteran Tracy Westmoreland celebrates his 53rd birthday today.
These are difficult times for Condé Nast. AdAge reported yesterday the publishing giant is planning to slash the ad sales group managed by Richard Beckman; today, Keith Kelly of the Post reports some of the company's flagship titles have seen a 30 to 40 percent decline in revenues, and the company has "taken a dagger to its corporate pension plan" in order to reduce costs. Meanwhile, the Observer's John Koblin reports chairman Si Newhouse and CEO Chuck Townsend have asked editors to trim their discretionary budgets (which includes items like messengers, first-class airfare, and car services), and says a broader round of job cuts is inevitable. Of course, it's hard for any editor to trim his or her own staff—and it can be difficult for top execs to take a step back and see the absurd spending when they're so close to it.
What with the economy and all, Christmas is totally going to blow this year. Especially for those of you (us?) in the media industry. The precious holiday was already partially ruined when the Hearst Company cancelled their historically awesome annual Xmas bash, and now Condé Nast is following suit. A tipster tells us that their annual Holiday Luncheon has been shut the heck down. Probably because every company everywhere is hemorrhaging money. Why Condé itself axed dozens of employees just yesterday. The real shame in all of this, though, is now we won't get the valuable "who sat where" insight into the magazine giant's power structure. You see, whoever sits closest to head honcho S.I. Newhouse at the Luncheon is deemed to be the boy or girl du jour. No coal in their stockings! Because we would never be invited to such an event we've had to rely on the Post's Keith Kelly's annual kremlinology. Now how will we know where everyone stands?? (Though we can make a guess: everyone stands to get laid off). In lieu of the shindig, we imagine that Vogue editrix and Big Table mainstay Anna Wintour will quietly drink spiked eggnog in her office, thinking back on better days. When Christmas still meant something. Even to those on the brink of catastrophic financial collapse.
A few years ago, Vanity Fair columnist and author Michael Wolff announced that he would never dine at the media hotspot Michael's ever again. Did he suffer a horrible case of food poisoning? Get attacked by an elderly socialite with her Hermès handbag? Actually, his outrage stemmed from the fact that he'd been denied his customary table at the restaurant. Now we get to hear the other side of the story: Steve Millington, the general manager of the restaurant, describes the Wolff brouhaha on the Fortune website. And it turns out that quite a few Michael's regulars were pretty psyched to hear they'd no longer have to see him during their lunch hours:
Hope a Fox News production assistant has been dispatched to pick up a big box of cupcakes: right-wing cable blowhard Bill O'Reilly is celebrating his 59th birthday today. Fellow News Corp. employee (and Irishman) Keith Kelly is turning 54. Guy Ritchie is celebrating his 40th. Manorexic fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld is 75 (although he tells people he's only 70). Ryan Phillippe is 34. Nightlife vet Tracy Westmoreland is 52. British actor Colin Firth is 48. Golfing great Arnold Palmer is 79. Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry is 58. And Sanjaya Malakar, the former American Idol contestant best known for his hair styling talents, is turning 19.
The New York Post's Keith Kelly confirms the Feds are investigating an editor at In Touch magazine for taking kickbacks from photo agencies. Not that much new in the piece that wasn't already aired on Gawker on Wednesday. But the allegation is that the celebrity weekly editor assigned lucrative assignments to favored agencies, in exchange for cash payments.
Poor Keith Kelly. The New York Post media reporter's mission in life is to bash rival tabloid, the Daily News. (Kelly landed a good punch on the Daily Snooze, yesterday, when he reported on a blowup between two sports writers at the News, one of them a survivor of locker-room harassment.) But Kelly, before he took Murdoch's dollar at the Post, used to work at its despised competitor. And the veteran reporter, even ten years later, still gets confused. As this voicemail, being passed round the News, demonstrates. Marvel, child journalists, at the media world's most feared investigator at work. (Oh, and, yes, it is indeed petty for a News staffer to pass on Kelly's inarticulate message; nearly as petty as the Post's endless rubbishing of its competitor. Petty, and endlessly entertaining.) Listen here to Keith Kelly's request for a callback on the News "stuff".
Every year at the American Magazine Conference, Jason Binn, the chief of Niche Media, hosts a dinner party for those who he deems "important." And every year the AMC planners try to stop him because, well, it's a dumb idea. This year Jason Binn and New York Times star David Carr invited a select group for a night of club hopping. It was all harmless fun until they ended up at a club B.E.D.
Nary a kind word for Time Inc. CEO Ann Moore in Keith Kelly's 1,200-word Sunday New York Post profile. Well, she has overseen the elimination of 1,000 jobs at the magazine in the last year, so you'd expect bits like this: "I think she's a one-trick pony," one 'former executive' told the Post. Moore aims to make Time Inc. a leader of the digital age—so, her groundbreaking vision for the future? "Page views plus minutes spent will be the new gold standard." Eureka! Time Inc. editor-in-chief John Huey's take? "I wouldn't be the best judge of morale today, [Ed. You don't say!] but I sense that we're on the comeback trail." Here's a better judge of morale: "Remember, the layoffs may not be over," warns Keith.
New York Post media columnist Keith Kelly called the New York Sun "unwanted and unread" last year, but apparently his bosses don't agree. The Post extended offers within the last two weeks to four top Sun editors and at least one reporter. Sun flack Michael Moi confirmed that all five turned down the tabloid, which boasts a mostly-paid daily circulation of more than 720,000, in favor of the Sun, whose combined circulation was 106,000 in June, according to the Certified Audit of Circulations. "We're flattered that the Post is interested in our talented staff," Moi told us. "We're even more flattered and honored that each of them chose to remain a part of the New York Sun family." When even daily exposure to Ira Stoll's neoconiacal (Not a word! But so fitting!) cackle isn't enough to bring people over to your side, you know you've got a serious recruiting issue.
Realizing that there's no way they can really compete with Time and Newsweek, perennial bronze medalist U.S. News & World Report has decided to go with the gimmick of running one "best of" issue per month. The Post's Keith Kelly reports that the magazine—which can only sell copies with coverlines like "America's Best Colleges," or "America's Best Hospitals"—is hemorrhaging money that owner Mort Zuckerman would rather spend on glossy, embroidered pink slips that he's handing out like candy to Daily News employees. Asked to confirm the changes, U.S. News editor Brian Kelly tells Keith that, yeah, it's true, but offers the wan assurance that the magazine is "still in the news business," and then provides a handy list of the ten best reasons anyone should believe such obvious bullshit. We're actually kind of excited for the change: We hear February will have the long-awaited "America's Hottest Snatches" issue.
A gleeful Keith Kelly reports that the Daily News will let the contract of TV critic David Bianculli, a fourteen-year veteran of the paper, expire this fall. "'Everyone is horrified,' said a source familiar with the situation. 'I assume it is a money thing. They'll probably replace him with some blogger who sits around in his pajamas.'" Hey, Mort, we watch T.V. and sit around in our pajamas! Drop us a line! [NYP]
The story of any company's demise is a mess of allegations, innuendo, slights, and wrongs: Employees treated badly, employers indignant, clients left holding the bag. The story behind the swift downfall of Drew Kerr's publicity firm, Four Corners, is no different. To pull out every last cliche, it's a cautionary tale of one man's twisted vision—a tale of how ego and greed should not be mistaken for ambition. Yes! So, how did Kerr's firm, which handled accounts like Radar and Maxim, go to hell so fast?