HARD SELL: Now that it’s a hit and moving to a new network, “Project Runway” has lots of magazines eager to partner up with the show for the sixth season. As reported exhaustively (in WWD and other outlets), “Project Runway” will continue its relationship with Elle through season five, which airs on Bravo this summer. The Weinstein Co. is still in negotiations for all of its partnership and sponsors for season six, when the show will be broadcast on Lifetime. According to sources close to the reality show, five magazines are said to be courting The Weinstein Co. for the show — Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar and In Style — and will hold out for “the highest bidder.” Of course, it perhaps is no coincidence that three of the magazines bidding are owned by Hearst Corp., which also owns Lifetime with The Walt Disney Co. (guess that’s what’s called “synergy”).
WWD reported on Tuesday that Marie Claire and In Style were both interested in the show (according to insiders, In Style was approached to partner with the program at its launch, but declined). A spokeswoman for Glamour said Wednesday that the magazine was “never vying for the show or even in active discussions” with “Project Runway.”
“Our magazines are often approached for potential television partnerships but all this speculation about ‘Project Runway’ is a bit premature,” said a spokeswoman at Hearst Magazines.
As for Elle, it’s focused on a new venture. CW unveiled its new show “Stylista” (not “Fashionista”, the working title thrown about during its filming) at its upfronts on Tuesday, which stars Elle fashion news director Anne Slowey and creative director Joe Zee. The network described the show as “‘The Devil Wears Prada’ reinvented as a reality series.” Eleven young contestants will compete for a junior editor position at the magazine. Viewers who watched early clips released on YouTube pointed out Slowey’s hyperstylized appearance akin to Meryl Streep’s character in the movie, and its campy take on fashion. Zee, however, was confident about the show’s appeal. “There definitely will be a lot of people watching the show to play along. That’s the great thing about reality shows — you want to make the audience want to have that participation, as in ‘I would have done that challenge like this.'”
— Stephanie D. Smith
DOWN BUT NOT OUT: As someone who knows the ins and (sometimes painful) outs of network news careers, Jane Pauley was reluctant to comment about Katie Couric’s slippery CBS post Tuesday night at Modern Bride’s 2008 Trendsetters awards. After giving it some thought, the former “Today” and “Dateline” host started out with a little schadenfreude. “I had a show that should have worked and didn’t,” she said. Pauley, the first woman to anchor the evening news in Chicago in 1975, implied Couric isn’t solely to blame. “The news business — nobody knows where the industry is or where it is going,” she said. “It was a brave experiment. I think her strengths were unique but she was not well used. She had too many strengths that had nothing to do with that patch-around role.
“I hope she finds something in TV where her strengths will be used as opposed to her current leading role,” Pauley, who is working on a live event that will include an Internet component, said. “I hope, like me, she feels proud she started something that was a challenge and the odds were long. I feel good about that.”
— Rosemary Feitelberg
LIFTING THE VEIL — SORT OF: On Wednesday, Rodale Inc. gave a glimpse into its performance so far this year, which included an increase in print advertising revenues of 8.8 percent, although ad pages declined slightly by 0.6 percent. There’s a limit to its openness, however — the company doesn’t actually provide profits and sales, or dollar figures of any kind.
Men’s Health recorded a 12.1 percent jump in revenues compared with the first quarter of last year; however, ad revenue decreased by 5.6 percent and ad pages were down 11.4 percent, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. The January/February issue of the magazine sold a record 750,560 copies on the newsstand, coinciding with a cover price increase to $4.99 from $4.50. Men’s Health editor in chief David Zinczenko’s book, “Eat This Not That!” has sold more than 400,000 copies since December and is currently the best-selling health and fitness title in the U.S., according to a spokeswoman.
Meanwhile, Women’s Health continues to build on its early success, up 50.8 percent in ad pages and 133 percent in ad revenue. On Tuesday night, the magazine held its first major event in New York, hosted by Chloë Sevigny, and Jessica Stam was one of the DJs. The event showcased a new partnership between the magazine and the Environmental Media Association.
Over at Best Life, ad revenues and pages were both up, at 25.6 percent and 8 percent, respectively. Runner’s World Media Group had mixed results, with a 6.1 percent revenue increase but Runner’s World magazine had a 2.3 percent dip in ad revenue and pages were down 6.7 percent. And Bicycling magazine’s ad revenue was up 2.4 percent, while pages fell 3.5 percent.
— Amy Wicks