ESQUIRE EVERYWHERE: Faced with rivals that are either skewing younger every issue or expanding into as many U.N. member nations as they can, Esquire is hatching an experiment to fight back on both fronts: Esquire One, a global edition planned for fall 2004 that will launch with 300,000 copies in seven countries, and with contents translated into the native tongue of each.
The brainchild of fashion creative director Stefano Tonchi, Esquire One will be aimed at men age 25 to 34 (which happens to be Details’ sweet spot) and will focus on style and pop-culture phenomena big enough to break on multiple continents (like the final “The Matrix” installment, which will open globally within a matter of days). The sun won’t set on the newsstands selling it — Russia, China, Japan, Italy, the U.K., Hong Kong and the U.S. are currently slated as the charter markets, with a few others, like South Korea, still under discussion.
The project neatly addresses both of the competitive needs to go younger — where Details is, where Cargo likely will be and where GQ is heading — and to go everywhere, which is what Men’s Health, Maxim and FHM are doing with their proliferating international editions. It’s clearly an experiment, but these kinds of line extensions are in right now — GQ had been planning a product-oriented one-shot called Fahrenheit until Cargo came along.
Esquire publisher Kevin O’Malley said he won’t start presenting the project to advertisers until next month, but, considering the demo, he thinks Adidas or Nike might be a better fit for it than some of the flagship regulars (like Canali or Brioni). And because it will appear on newsstands in several countries that have never seen Esquire before, plans for additional issues are tentative. “We’ll decide based on how we’re doing,” said O’Malley. “Right now, we’re projected to go with two issues the year after next. But in the international arena, plans are often more accelerated” compared with U.S. launches because of the immediate response (or lack thereof) from newsstand sales.
Historically, it’s been the latter; the last multinational style magazine launched by one of the majors on newsstand — Time Inc.’s Wallpaper spin-off, Spruce — lasted all of three issues.
— Greg Lindsay
NOT BANKERS’ HOURS: GQ editor Jim Nelson already has shaved 10 years off the editorial sensibility of his magazine after just two issues, but his staff’s labor hours increased exponentially as a result.
According to sources inside the magazine and out, the magazine’s senior editors slaved away on the September issue until 9 or 10 p.m. most nights and often took work home on weekends. Bonnie Fuller alumni will roll their eyes at this, but at GQ — where the late Art Cooper habitually invited his inner circle into his office for a drink at 5 p.m. — the hours are a new world of hurt.
“There are late nights now, but they were in the other era, also,” insisted a magazine spokeswoman. But a confluence of events made this last close an exceptional one. The editorial brain trust decamped to Milan for the men’s shows in the middle of the cycle, and then there was the unscheduled event of publisher Ron Galotti getting the heave-ho on July 17.
But the staff is apparently responding. For Nelson’s new additions — editors Jason Gay, John Gillies and Brian Raftery, among others — such hours are old hat, and one source described them all as “rejuvenated.” Lead times on stories have been cut way down, and September’s cover subject is “Jackass” star Johnny Knoxville, according to a source close to the magazine a decidedly younger-skewing and un-Cooper choice.
— Greg Lindsay
HEAD COUNT: Don’t accuse Atoosa Rubenstein of being indecisive. Less than two weeks after coming into her new job as the editor in chief of Seventeen magazine, the teen queen (and her HR department) is cleaning house.
Fashion director Susannah Cahn was given the axe last week, and will be replaced by Gina Kelly Maher, the fashion news editor of Lucky. That move comes as Rubenstein prepares to return the magazine to its fashion and style roots.
Former editor Sabrina Weill’s assistant was also let go, as was a public relations manager for the magazine.
Others just seem to be getting shoved into the shadows. Carissa Rosenberg, the former deputy editor (entertainment) from CosmoGirl, was brought in to do the same job at Seventeen, effectively demoting the magazine’s current entertainment editor, Laura Morgan.
Consulting editor Valorie Weaver is also leaving, sources said, but that’s on her own volition.
It’s all fairly routine for this to happen when a new editor comes in, but it isn’t exactly coming as a relief to the staff.
“She’s been saying everyone’s fine, but she’s been saying that since day one,” said one source.
Redbook, meanwhile, is getting a replacement for former publisher Jayne Jamison, who was moved over to Seventeen with Rubenstein. The new publisher is Mary Morgan, who comes from Time Inc.’s Health.
A p.r. person for Seventeen — i.e., one who didn’t get sacked — had no comment.
— Jacob Bernstein
FINDING A STAR: Another candidate is surfacing for the Star editorship, but the job is still open and a decision probably won’t be reached for a couple more weeks, sources say.
The latest name to make the rounds is Mark Golin, the former editor in chief of Maxim who is currently ensconced in an invisible job bringing Time Inc.’s magazine content to AOL.
But being invisible isn’t necessarily undesirable for an editor who made his name putting half-naked women on the covers of magazines directed at amovitated men. Some say he’s not interested.
And then there are the ones that new editorial director Bonnie Fuller is not feeling. Peter Castro, an assistant managing editor at People, was called by Steve Coz when he was still conducting the search. When Fuller rolled in, his name got deleted. Larry Hackett, another a.m.e. at People, is also off the list. That one’s mutual and some indicate he was never interested to begin with.
Still on the list, according to sources, is Steve Garbarino, the Details and Vanity Fair contributor. He met with Coz and with Fuller and wants the position, sources said. Ditto with Joe Dolce, who is working in the New York offices with Fuller.
Dolce came on board under Coz, but actually has a history with Fuller as the editor of the Us Daily fashion supplement.
As for Michael Caruso and Maer Roshan, who knows when they’ll surface as candidates?
— Jacob Bernstein