READYING FOR A CLOSE UP: Elle is back in the television game after the cancellation of the short-lived and much-derided “Stylista” on CW and divorcing from “Project Runway” following the show’s fifth season. Now the magazine is set to play a supporting role in the MTV scripted reality drama, “The City.” As the New York Post reported last week, “The City” cast member Olivia Palermo has taken a job at Elle in its publicity department. An Elle spokeswoman could not comment on the hire; neither the producer of “The City” Adam Divello nor an MTV spokesperson responded to a request for comment. But sources close to the reality show say season two has already started filming about town, and that camera crews will infiltrate Elle’s offices next week. “They even repainted the reception area,” said one source, presumably so the offices look as sleek as possible on camera.
Elle has been eager to pursue more brand extensions in television and film — it hired Creative Artists Agency and has made cameos in “Ugly Betty.” Let’s hope it has better luck with “The City” than it did with “Stylista.”
This story first appeared in the May 22, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
— Stephanie D. Smith
KATE’S TURN: Speaking of reality TV, Cosmopolitan editor in chief Kate White will soon make her debut in the genre on Bravo’s “Make Me A Supermodel.” The show, which is hosted by Tyson Beckford and has judges such as Catherine Malandrino, will have a guest appearance from White on its season finale on June 3. The episode will include a Cosmopolitan cover test challenge and the winner will receive an eight-page fashion pictorial in the August issue of Cosmopolitan, $100,000 prize and contract with New York Model Management.
— Amy Wicks
CUTTING BACK: New York magazine said Thursday it would cut its rate base and increase its subscription price for new readers that will hopefully bring in more circulation revenue to the weekly city title. The magazine said it would trim its rate base by 6 percent to 400,000 and increase the introductory subscription price to $24.97 from $19.97. The $5 increase for new subscribers is a 25 percent increase. New York charges more for returning customers, topping its subscription rate at $59.97. Additionally, New York has also reduced the number of issues it sends to newsstands and cut the number of public-place copies it sends to locations such as doctor’s offices, salons and spas. “We believe that our magazine is valuable and worth paying for, and history has shown that our readers feel the same way,” said publisher Larry Burstein of the moves. “By reducing our circulation slightly and lowering our newsstand draw, we’ll be able to better target our magazine to the readers who will be most engaged with the product.”
According to figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, New York sold 21,973 single copies a week on average in the second half of 2008, and its total paid and verified circulation has remained flat at 431,626. But advertising revenue for the magazine has taken a dive (as it has at most magazines) and the title has trimmed its circulation schedule by three issues this year — one fewer in January, two fewer will be published this summer. It also decided not to publish its fashion semiannual special Look. Through May 18, ad pages for New York have declined 39 percent, to 732, according to Media Industry Newsletter. The figure includes one extra issue in 2008.
THIRD TIME’S A CHARM? In the span of less than a year, LA, Los Angeles Times Magazine, has lost two publishers and now the magazine is in the midst of an aggressive search for a new one. The founding publisher, back in September, was Valarie Anderson. She was replaced in November by Penn Jones, who worked for many years at Time Inc., with stints at InStyle and as a corporate sales director on the West Coast. “I believe Penn is pursuing other opportunities,” said a spokeswoman.
— Amy Wicks
IN AND OUT: Russell Labosky, former creative director of Men’s Vogue and longtime art director at Vogue, has left his position as Interview’s art director after only about a month. Reached at his SoHo home, Labosky said he had stayed on through mid-April to consult on the Brant Publications Inc. art titles and would be working on several book projects, including “Floral Decadences,” with his partner, floral designer Lewis Miller (“So if you can’t forget flowers for your weekly orders, you buy the book,” Labosky explained). Labosky is moving his business base to Sag Harbor, though LMD Floral will stay in Manhattan. Their apartment was recently shot by Don Freeman for World of Interiors, Labosky said.
A spokeswoman for Interview said Labosky “left Interview in early April for personal reasons.” (Sources close to the magazine indicated friction between Labosky and Interview editorial director Glenn O’Brien.) Stella Bugbee, formerly design director at Domino, is Interview’s new art director.
— Irin Carmon
HIT THE ROAD, JACK: Vogue isn’t the only magazine jumping in to pump up consumer spending in its sector: Travel + Leisure is launching an initiative under the tagline, “Please Go Away,” to encourage travel. Starting next week, 500 New York City taxi tops will be cobranded with the magazine and a range of advertisers, including JetBlue, Amtrak Vacations and Starwood Hotels & Resorts, accompanied by four pages in the magazine and a microsite.
Publisher J.P. Kyrillos acknowledged the travel industry is bloodied on several fronts: by the recession, by the new stigmatization of corporate meetings and retreats — crucial in the hotel business but notorious in the wake of the AIG scandals — and, most recently, fears of swine flu.
Editor in chief Nancy Novogrod did her part in her May editor’s letter: “It’s a great time to travel — uniquely appealing and well-priced opportunities abound. If you can travel now, please do. It will help the world,” she wrote.