FULLER LIFE: After a year on the sidelines of celebrity journalism, Bonnie Fuller is back in the gossip business. She will become the new president and editor in chief of Hollywood Life, a small Web site owned by Mail.com Media Corporation. The company also owns Movieline.com and Oncars.com, and last month made a surprising purchase of Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood Daily.
Fuller is most known for her magazine leadership, having been editor in chief of YM, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Glamour and Us Weekly. Until a year ago, she was executive vice president and chief editorial director of American Media Inc., working most closely with its celebrity weekly, Star. After departing AMI last year, she planned to launch her own brand, Bonnie Fuller Media, with “significant backing,” but that never came to fruition. Instead, she commented on celebrity news regularly for Huffingtonpost.com, and on Twitter, opining and occasionally offering newsy tidbits.
This story first appeared in the July 17, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Fuller told WWD that Hollywood Life will be “very focused on female consumers 18 to 35, very much looking at the celebrities they care about.” Unlike news-driven competitors such as TMZ.com, People.com, Usmagazine.com, Wonderwall.com and others, Fuller’s vision for the site is to be more commentary-driven. “I found that’s what worked online is that people really want a take on news. They want an opinion on the news as well as the news itself.”
And though the celebrity online world is well-populated, Fuller’s not afraid of competition and likens her new job to launching magazines into crowded fields. “I’ve always believed that you can make a product that [readers] absolutely have to have. And it’s worked,” she said. “I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t feel like I could compete.” First task: Fuller will oversee a redesign of the site in midfall. She will split her time between Hollywoodlife.com’s New York and Los Angeles offices, and expand its East Coast staff in the coming months.
The company is run by 30-year-old chief executive officer Jay Penske, who said hiring Fuller “radically enhances Hollywood Life’s market opportunity and further fortifies the company’s position as a leading participant in the entertainment space.”
— Stephanie D. Smith and Irin Carmon
MOVING ON: Forbes.com president and CEO Jim Spanfeller is out after nine years, reportedly due to pressure from Elevation Partners, the private equity firm that bought a sizable minority stake in the company from the Forbes family. The news was first reported by Dailyfinance.com Wednesday evening. In a memo to staff Thursday, Steve Forbes wrote, “In the entrepreneurial spirit that Forbes has always championed, Jim will be setting up his own media management company.”