EYE ON JANN: It looks like Jann Wenner will get his shot at reality TV stardom. According to two Wenner Media sources, the Rolling Stone founder has signed a deal with MTV to star in an “Apprentice”-type reality show about aspiring music journalists. The New York Post reported in July that Wenner was in early talks with the network, but the long silence since then made it seem as if the project was stalled. One source said the show will begin production in the spring, with plans to air it next fall. A Wenner Media spokesman declined to comment Thursday, and an MTV spokesman did not return calls.
— Jeff Bercovici
LIVING ON: Budget Living is on the block. OK, so that’s not exactly news. (To date, Meredith, Hachette Filipacchi, American Media, Rodale, Hearst and Newsweek — which previously bought Budget Travel from Budget Living founder Don Welsh — are said to have all looked at the title and passed.) But now Welsh seems to be becoming a more motivated seller, according to sources with ties to Budget Living. The magazine did not return calls for comment. Meanwhile, staff turnover continues to be an issue for the title, which just went monthly this fall. Photo director Greg Garry is leaving for a job at Weekend, and Real Simple has hired away Budget Living’s art director Sung Choi and its deputy editor, Alexa Yablonski, a Time Inc. spokeswoman confirmed.
— Sara James
NO SIGNAL: If the news that Radar magazine was folding after just three issues came as a surprise, it was largely because it had been widely reported that Mort Zuckerman had pledged $25 million in funding. How, media watchers wondered, could a small start-up have burned through so much money so fast?
Easy: They never had it to begin with. “The agreement specifically limited the financing to $10 million,” said Zuckerman Thursday, a day after Radar’s staff found out about the shutdown. “I don’t know where that [$25 million figure] came from.”
This story first appeared in the December 16, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
In fact, Zuckerman said he will have spent a total of $12 million by the time he is through with Radar, and would have been prepared to spend more had the prospects seemed brighter, particularly on the ad front. “The issue was we could not foresee the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel,” Zuckerman said.
Of course, some might say he wasn’t looking hard enough. “Mort always gets cold feet,” said one longtime associate. “He should have gotten New York magazine, but he’s so obsessed with reducing his downside risk that he lost it.” (The source was referring to the 2003 auction in which Bruce Wasserstein ended up outbidding a consortium led by Zuckerman.)
The New York Daily News owner is apparently less averse in his recreational pursuits. As Radar’s staff collects severance and starts looking for other jobs, Zuckerman is heading off on a ski vacation — despite having broken his collarbone twice in falls. He blamed the spills on whiteout conditions, saying, “I am a good skier.”