A HAVEN FOR BETTS?: Kate Betts has found a new gig. The fashion journalist and former editor of Harper’s Bazaar is working for Time Inc. on an undisclosed project that has been a big source of confusion and a lot of chirping this week over at the magazine arm of AOL Time Warner.

One rumor going around had her working on the Time Magazine fashion supplement, though sources indicated that’s not the case. Rather, they said, Betts is working on a prototype, with the prevailing wisdom centering around an upscale publication that fuses style and interiors (read: an upmarket shelter rag that may or may not be called Haven).

This story first appeared in the January 10, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

A Time Inc. spokesman confirmed Betts was working for the company on a “development project,” but declined to provide specifics. Betts’ job is not expected to change her relationship to The New York Times, where she writes frequently for the Sunday Styles section.

That places Betts in good company. Former People editor Carol Wallace is working on some sort of celebrity magazine prototype, while James Seymore, the former managing editor of Entertainment Weekly, is working on another, the content of which is being guarded like a CIA secret. In his case, of course, the project may just be getting the payout on his contract while he waits to hear from TV Guide, where he’s reportedly up for the job of editor in chief.

— Jacob Bernstein

SABRINA’S TEAM AT SEVENTEEN: Seventeen editor Sabrina Weill has finally started plugging the holes left by staffers departing since the day she was hired, and she has — big surprise — asked a few to leave, too. Special projects editor (a.k.a. celebrity wrangler) Geri Campbell was let go Tuesday, her duties having been absorbed by entertainment editor Laura Morgan. Art director Katharine Van Itallie has been replaced by Marcos Gago, who will “evolve” the book’s look. Jennifer Braunschweiger has signed on as features editor, replacing Darcy Jacobs, who decamped for Lifetime. Holly Crawford fills the vacant beauty editor slot, and Susannah Cahn is the magazine’s new fashion director, replacing Regina Teplitsky, who was pushed out the door along with Annemarie Iverson this September.

Do the new recruits know what they’re getting into? “I don’t think it’s been easy for some of the younger staffers over there,” said a source close to the magazine. “It’s been a real baptism by fire. I think [Weill is] as hard on people as she is on herself. I don’t think it’s going to be nurturing.”

Weill is under the impression they like it that way. “We’re pushing the staff to be their most creative selves. And this was a staff waiting to be pushed.”

Just don’t tell that to the staffers at her former stomping ground, Cosmogirl, where a string of managing editors tended to respond to being pushed by simply jumping ship.

— Greg Lindsay

THE ESQUIRE PAD: Esquire’s throwing a party at Donald Trump’s place this fall, and all the advertisers are invited. In an over-the-top bid to one-up the GQ Lounge, Esquire convinced Trump to lend it the keys to a 4,000-square-foot-plus, $14 million apartment in his Trump Park Avenue building, which Esquire will furnish from top to bottom in sponsors’ wares. To avoid assembling a schizophrenic series of showrooms for usual suspects like Armani and Ralph Lauren, Esquire hired former Homestyle editor Suzanne Slesin to pair interior designers with sponsors in hopes of injecting personality. Jamie Drake and John Barman are already on board, and Esquire is trying to get architect David Rockwell involved. The business plan is to push the apartment as a giant party pad/value add for advertisers in October and November, and associate publisher Stephen Jacoby said he’s already planning “HBO nights” on Sundays, and Sony screenings throughout the month. “We have one liquor brand who wants to own the entire month because there will be so much entertaining there,” Jacoby said. “And they want to ante up the 40 pages to do it.”

— G.L.

SEARCH WIDENS: Investigators looking into the year-old murder of fashion writer and former WWD staffer Christa Worthington have set up a confidential tip line to speak with people who saw her on the days before her death. Her stabbed body was found on Jan. 6, 2002, in her Cape Cod home, with her then-2 1/2-year-old daughter, Ava, clinging to her. Police hope to get information about the man who had sexual relations with Worthington “prior to or relatively contemporarily to her death,” said Cape and Islands Assistant District Attorney Michael Trudeau, during a telephone interview Thursday. Worthington’s friends and family have posted a $25,000 reward for anyone providing information leading to the killer’s arrest and conviction. The murder was the subject of a cover story in New York magazine.

— Rosemary Feitelberg

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