THE NINE LIVES OF MAER ROSHAN: When The New York Post reported on Thursday that American Media’s David Pecker backed out of Maer Roshan’s Radar, many wondered whether it was curtains for the magazine — even if Michael Fuchs was signing on as a partner. But it may not be. According to sources familiar with the situation, the distribution end of the magazine is likely to be handled by Curtis Circulation Co., the publishing behemoth that handles Dennis Publications, Gruner + Jahr, and Hachette Filappacchi’s distribution. Roshan, meanwhile, has maintained in private that he dumped American Media after Pecker insisted on too high of an equity stake.

Regardless, he has his work cut out for him. A call to Curtis went unreturned and Radar is not commenting, but sources familiar with the terms of the financial agreement said that while Curtis will provide distribution, it will not invest in the magazine, as Pecker was doing. Instead, it will distribute the magazine for a cut of the newsstand price, which means Roshan still has the task of raising more money.

But he is continuing to staff up. Coming on as the magazine’s art director will be Shawn Young, who most recently worked as a creative consultant at Seventeen, where he redesigned the magazine with ousted editor in chief Annemarie Iverson. Young was also the art director at Allure during much of the Nineties.

— Jacob Bernstein

RECOVERING: Condé Nast ceo Steve Florio was involved in what his spokeswoman called a "mild fender bender in a parking lot" while at his house in Florida during Christmas break. While he was supposed to be back in the office Monday, the spokeswoman said he would be taking the rest of the week off and that he would be back next Monday. "He’s been working from there, he’s absolutely fine," she said.

— J.B.

WEDDINGS & CELEBRATIONS: After a whirlwind first 17 months on the job as the executive editor of The New York Times, Howell Raines is tying the knot. Raines was unavailable for comment, but a Times spokeswoman e-mailed confirmation from Raines that he is engaged to public relations executive Krystyna Stachowiak, with whom he lives in Greenwich Village. "I’m happy to confirm that Krystyna accepted my proposal of marriage in Paris on Dec. 20. We are planning a small family wedding in the early spring. We are ecstatically happy and I feel blessed by fortune."The two met in 1996 when Stachowiak was doing p.r. for the President of Poland, whom she brought to The Times to meet with its editorial board, of which Raines was the editor. Last spring, the two bought a second home together in Pennsylvania and she took up fly-fishing lessons, a longtime passion of Raines’. While in Europe for the holidays, Raines also went with Stachowiak to Poland, where he met her family.

The marriage will be the second for Raines. His first ended in divorce.

— J.B.

FT THE MAG: Readers of the Financial Times in America may find a glossy surprise tucked in its pink pages this year. Pleased with the results of a special five-year anniversary magazine included with the paper in November, FT executives are developing plans to publish a similar magazine regularly in 2003, despite a terrible outlook for parent Pearson PLC. "The U.S. is the growth market," said FT U.S. managing editor Lionel Barber, "and a magazine may help to continue raising our profile."

A source close to the project said the frequency has yet to be decided — everything from publishing a weekly to an annual is up for discussion. The FT already publishes its luxe U.K. glossy How To Spend It here in the US four times a year, and Barber says the new magazine could borrow elements from that supplement. He also rejects the idea of doing a weekly; the paper killed just such a magazine in the U.K., The Business, last fall.

— Greg Lindsay

LIFE INSIDE AT INSTYLE: "The Devil Wears Prada" is to Vogue what HBO’s Oz is to prison, and the very latest of the "mag-lackey" novels gives InStyle a similar treatment.

"Fashionistas" is a view of the celeb-obsessed title from the very bottom by freelance copy editor Lynn Messina, who in time-honored fashion embellished overheard conversations into a roman-a-clef book deal. But unlike "TDWP" author Lauren Weisberger, who presumably sought entre to Vogue before spilling its secrets, "I have no interest in the magazine industry at all," Messina said. "I wound up at InStyle by answering an ad on Mediabistro."The book itself, which will arrive in March from Red Dress Ink, is fairly typical chick-lit fare in terms of plot, featuring a plucky and clever heroine planning a coup against her editor. Messina’s next novel, already complete, features a clever young furniture designer, which should raise the eyebrows of her current colleagues: She’s now working as a freelancer at Metropolitan Home.

— G.L.

WOMEN WHO ROCK (BUT DON’T): It probably wasn’t in the business plan, but playing off the fondness of Rolling Stone readers for rock chicks may not be the worst way to grow a magazine. That appears to be the lesson of Women Who Rock, a fledgling entertainment magazine with an X-chromosome bent that hopes to ride its confusion with RS’ "Women of Rock" issue to the big time. WWR is the first mass-market creation of the Cherry Lane Music Group, a music publisher that also owns GuitarOne, a niche title aimed at learners. After soft launching with four issues last year, the magazine claimed it has amassed an unaudited circulation of 100,000. Last week, Cherry Lane named company veteran Diane Shattuck editor of the magazine and put her in charge of producing six issues this year with a staff due to grow by a third to 50 employees. Circulation is supposed to rise to 200,000 by the time it goes monthly in 2004. But catering to the Lilith Fair crowd only takes you so far. The magazine’s next order of business is to stop focusing on women who rock, literally, and who rock, figuratively. "We want to be a bit more like Entertainment Weekly," says editorial director Abigail Tuller, "but I don’t think anything like this has ever been done before." Probably because including both genders makes for a bigger audience.

— G.L.

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