AT THE TABLE: Though contract negotiations for Us Weekly editor in chief Janice Min will likely go down to the wire, as these types of big-money employee negotiations tend to do when they involve Wenner Media chief Jann Wenner, sources say that talks have at least begun. Min reportedly signed a two-year deal for more than $1 million annually in 2005, and her current contract is set to expire June 30. Min has been pivotal in growing Us Weekly into an institution of celebrity news. Under her watch, the title’s paid circulation has grown from just over a million in 2003, with newsstand sales comprising about half, to 1.8 million, with newsstand sales topping 970,000, according to figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations.
And the editor has recently set out to raise her profile even further, launching a crusade against competing titles for their lack of credible reporting.
However, sources close to the company characterize Wenner as being in a less-than-generous mood these days and the sources believe he is trying to offer Min less than her previous contract. He recently attempted to slash the commissions of Us Weekly publisher Vicci Lasdon Rose and associate publisher Charlie McNiff, according to sources familiar with the situation. Rose eventually reupped at Wenner; McNiff left the company in April. A spokesman for Wenner Media had no comment. — Stephanie D. Smith
ANOTHER ROLE: Glamour’s June issue has Sarah Jessica Parker modeling a few looks from her new clothing line, Bitten, but O, The Oprah Magazine is claiming bragging rights on the former “Sex and the City” star. Parker is the guest fashion editor for the July issue of O and was given eight pages to show off 50 pieces from the Bitten line. And that’s in addition to Parker’s mini fashion show on last Friday’s “Oprah” show. As guest fashion editor, Parker chose “real women” of all ages and sizes (her clothes come in sizes 2 to 22) and she styled them for the shoot. “Sarah Jessica was involved in every aspect of the shoot, from the casting to developing the looks and styling the women,” said creative director Adam Glassman. The July issue hits newsstands June 19. — Amy Wicks
GROWING AND CHANGING: After nearly two years in publication, Women’s Health is increasing its presence among the women’s fitness titles with two franchises coming up this summer. The Rodale title is launching its first-ever Beauty All-Star Awards to highlight the best hair and makeup products in its July-August issue. Of course, the concept is far from a new one, as just about every fashion and lifestyle title has some sort of annual beauty prizes. But instead of having its editors choose which products stand out, Women’s Health relied on the expertise of doctors, makeup artists and hairdressers to dictate its picks, including colorist Rita Hazan and hairstylist Kevin Mancuso.
The Beauty Awards package comes as Women’s Health will hold its first “Are You Game?” event July 14 to 15, a two-day athletic challenge where readers can partake in off-the-beaten-path classes and activities, such as riding a mechanical bull, taking kickboxing classes and rock climbing. The launch of both programs follows the title upping its rate base to 850,000 from 750,000 with the July-August issue, a 13 percent bump.
Meanwhile, editor in chief Tina Johnson has appointed an executive editor to replace Beth Fenner, who left in March to tend to an ailing relative. Alison Gwinn will join June 11 from In Style, where she worked for eight years, most recently as deputy editor. Gwinn also worked at Entertainment Weekly prior to her stint at In Style. — S.D.S.
NEW LIFE: At least one staff member at the shuttered Life has found a spot to land: Susan Pocharski has been named entertainment director at Ladies’ Home Journal. Before overseeing celebrity interviews at the short-lived Life revival, she was a senior editor at People and the executive editor of George. — Irin Carmon
LENDING A HAND: In front of an audience that could only be described as rapt, Ina Garten, also known as the “Barefoot Contessa,” held court with House Beautiful editor in chief Stephen Drucker, who occasionally appears on her Food Network show. Garten, a longtime friend of Drucker, writes a column for the magazine, and her apartment is in the May issue. As guests on the top floor of the Hearst Tower gulped down selections from Garten’s cookbooks, Drucker remarked that getting Garten on board represented a key element of his vision to turn around the magazine with a spirit of “easy luxury.” House Beautiful struggled with four editors in six years; Drucker redesigned the magazine just over a year ago, after joining in October 2005. House Beautiful’s ad pages are up 12.2 percent for the first half of this year, according to Media Industry Newsletter, though circulation last year was flat. — I.C.