CATCHING UP: Looks like Kent Brownridge will be sitting in a corner office of Dennis Publishing before the end of the summer — although by then its name will surely be different. Brownridge, along with private equity firm Quadrangle Group, agreed in June to acquire Dennis from founder Felix Dennis for around $250 million. Sources close to Dennis say the deal is expected to close the week of Aug. 13. But before then, Brownridge was invited by existing Dennis top executives to meet and greet the staffers of Maxim, Stuff and Blender over the next two weeks to give them an opportunity to ask questions regarding his plans. As for a name for the new company, sources say many have been tossed around, but nothing has been agreed upon just yet. Meanwhile, Brownridge is said to be taking meetings with a number of potential employees from other men’s titles. Rumor has it that he’s shopping around Maxim editor Jimmy Jellinek‘s job, but sources say he’s meeting with people for many top-ranking positions across business and edit at the company. — Stephanie D. Smith
PERSONAL SPACE: If the August issue of Elle looks like it’s channeling Bonnie Fuller‘s now-deceased blog-a-zine, don’t worry, it’s not permanent. Fuller’s short-lived redesign of Star last November was, she told WWD, intended to play up each editor’s “strong personality” by borrowing the first-person voices typical of blogs. That experiment of running editors’ photos and comments came and went unmourned. Now, Elle is running small “editor’s pick” boxes on nearly every page, featuring thumbnail photos of staffers, from fashion director Nina Garcia down to the assistants, each musing on how they plan to wear a Derek Lam sweatshirt or the Velcro snaps of Lanvin satin boots. Departed style director Isabel Dupre, despite wearing a doleful expression in her photo, gushes over a Fendi bag: “It reminds me of a teddy bear, and I can hug it all day long!”
Major changes by creative director Joe Zee and design director Paul Ritter won’t appear until September, sources indicate, and editor in chief Roberta Myers said the editor’s picks were “a one-time thing,” meant to reflect the informality of August. She said she was unfamiliar with Star’s blog-a-zine. “In a sense, every month is an editor’s pick month — this is what the editors are culling from far and wide. But we get very nice response to our contributors’ notes from readers,” she said.
This story first appeared in the July 23, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
No first-person turn would be complete without some introspection, found in the issue when senior features editor Ben Dickinson second-guesses his own book coverage. “Why on earth did I pass over the million-dollar marvel ‘Everything Is Illuminated’?” he wonders, concluding, “That’s easy…hated it. And I was a Russian major!” In inimitable blog style, he laments that he cast aside “Little Children,” a book one reviewer later compared with Chekhov. Dickinson’s reaction? “Sob.” Current mood: regretful. — Irin Carmon
REUNITED: Newly-minted Tango editor in chief Carrie Sloan has tapped Maureen Dempsey to be her executive editor. Dempsey was formerly the Web editor at Vogue, but the two met when both worked at Marie Claire, before Dempsey left for the now-deceased Shop Etc. Sloan has also pulled from her employment history to draft author and New York Times book review columnist Dave Itzkoff to write a column called “The Male Brain.” (Years ago, Itzkoff succeeded Sloan at Details). “He has a witty, sardonic take on male and female relationships — but not so much as to be world-weary,” Sloan said. Former BlackBook publisher Jyl Elias has also landed at the magazine on the business side, as executive vice president for sales and marketing. — I.C.
CRUISING GAWKER: Is New York magazine getting its third Gawker alum? WWD reported in early July that current online editor Jesse Oxfeld would take on more responsibilities at the print magazine after the departure of Ben Wasserstein to The New Republic, and the magazine is believed to be staffing up on its online efforts. Sources said New York had made an offer to Oxfeld’s former Gawker co-editor, Jessica Coen, who has been serving as Vanity Fair’s deputy online editor, but a spokeswoman for New York declined to comment. (Elizabeth Spiers, the first-ever editor of Gawker, also had a stint at New York.) The spokeswoman did confirm a report on the blog Jossip that Chris Rovzar would be joining nymag.com from the New York Daily News, but said he would work with another editor yet to be hired. — I.C.