Burberry Touch’s new fall ad.

Burberry Touch’s new fall ad.

WWD Staff

GOING FOR THE GOLD: When Todd Gold announced in April that he would be leaving his post as the West Coast bureau chief of US Weekly for People magazine, media columnists wasted no time calling it a huge blow to new editor in chief Bonnie Fuller. Gold had great access to celebrities and Martha Nelson, the new managing editor of People, was happy to bring him on board.

This story first appeared in the September 13, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

But now, rumors are circulating that Gold may have been using his post at People as a launching pad for potentially lucrative book deals.

According to sources, Gold was negotiating a deal with Tatum O’ Neil’s publicist Jason Weinberg to ghost write her memoirs at the same time he was doing a cover story on the former child star for People. An e-mail sent June 12 by the publicist to Gold and his agent said “if this piece comes out well, I’m sure she’ll do the book with you guys.” That was followed up with another e-mail, sent June 19, in which Weinberg said “looks like we’re in business.”

During the summer, Gold also penned a People cover story on Sharon Osbourne even though he had been given a contract to ghost write her authorized biography. The article made no mention that the writer had a contract working for the celebrity.

A spokeswoman for People had a different story with regard to O’Neil, though. “Although Tatum O’Neal’s camp did approach Todd about doing a book, he turned down the offer. Todd Gold has written more than 20 books. He is a very respected and well-known journalist in Hollywood, and many celebrities would like to work with him,” she said. She acknowledged the book deal with Osbourne, though, saying, “We knew Todd had a book deal when he was hired. We were, and are, totally comfortable with the story he wrote for People.”

Neither Gold nor Weinberg could be reached for comment.

IN TOUCH: Burberry Touch is playing off its name in its fall campaign. New fragrance ads, which break in November magazines, show intimate portraits of then-seven-months-pregnant British model Stella Tennant and her husband, photographer David Lasnet. (Tennant, incidentally, gave birth last week.)

The campaign was photographed by Mario Testino, who Lasnet assisted before launching his own career, and Burberry’s ad agencies, Baron & Baron and Lipman. Ads will break in November issues of Vogue, W, Vanity Fair, Allure, the New York Times Magazine and Elle, as well as in French Elle, French Cosmopolitan, L’Officiel, British Vogue and British Elle. Burberry Touch, launched in fall 2000 by Inter Parfums, spent about $13 million on advertising and marketing in its first year. A Burberry official declined to divulge its 2002 ad and marketing budget, but said it’s slightly higher than the launch year.

J.LO TIMES TWO: How do you avoid redundancy in the highly competitive — and derivative — world of music magazines? Don’t ask Rolling Stone and Blender. The warring magazines have pulled something akin to those identical headlines that The New York Post and Daily News occasionally run. The new issue of Blender, hitting stands Sept. 17, blares the cover line “Jennifer Love Hewitt: The New J.Lo!” Meanwhile, the new Rolling Stone — featuring Hewitt as its cover girl — opted for the header “Jennifer Love Hewitt: The Original J.Lo Returns.” Whoops. Since readers don’t need to read about Hewitt twice, newsstand purchasing decisions may in this case be guided by whether you consider Jennifer Love Hewitt or Jennifer Lopez to be the original J.Lo: a thorny and still unresolved issue in celebrity-music circles. A representative for Blender didn’t return a call seeking comment, and a spokesman for Rolling Stone shrugged off the near-identical cover line glitch. “How many ways are there to play with J.Lo?” he said. “I’d like to find out for myself, but that’s another story.”

MAXIM MOVES: In the wake of executive editor James Kaminsky’s defection to Playboy, Maxim magazine announced the appointments of Steve Russell and Mike Hammer as co-executive editors. Russell was promoted from his deputy editor post, while Hammer previously held the title of group projects director for Dennis Publishing. Maxim has also appointed Laura Kelly Silverman as its new managing editor, succeeding Lisa Cindolo Grace, who left. Silverman had held the same post at Vibe magazine since June 2001.