ALL ABOUT RALPH: Michael Gross has kept some vital information about his Ralph Lauren book under wraps — like its title and publication date. But sources have revealed that the book is called “Authentic Genuine” and will be published in January. In fact, its publisher, HarperCollins, releases its winter catalog on Wednesday and the book will be included there.
Gross, who declined comment, didn’t get cooperation from Lauren, but reportedly spoke to hundreds of people and turned in a 500-page manuscript, said sources. Meanwhile, the author isn’t wasting any time waiting for his book to come out. Gross has joined the Daily News as a columnist and will write a weekly Sunday column about media, publishing, fashion and politics. He started Thursday and his first column will be out in mid-August. It’s called “The Word.”
Colin McDowell also has a Ralph Lauren coffee-table book coming out soon and got full cooperation from the designer. According to the British Web site, amazonuk.com, it’s called “Ralph Lauren and the Spirit of America,” and the publication date is listed as October.
The Very Angry Queen of Nice: Two weeks ago, Rosie O’Donnell made headlines when she marched into the offices of her magazine and told staffers that she was in control. Now, WWD has learned, O’Donnell has hired top litigation lawyer Mary Jo White to work out her dispute with the magazine’s parent Gruner + Jahr, the publishing subsidiary of troubled media group Bertelsmann. Sources close to O’Donnell claim Dan Brewster, the president of Gruner + Jahr, misled O’Donnell by telling her that Susan Toepfer, a former deputy editor at People, was being brought on as an editorial consultant to the magazine, when in fact, he brought her in to replace editor Cathy Cavender. Cavender, sources claimed, was then fired without O’Donnell’s approval while O’Donnell was on vacation. Toepfer was named editor in chief and, a week later, art director Doug Turshen — a close confidante of O’Donnell’s — was escorted from the building by security guards. O’Donnell, meanwhile, has allegedly been telling Cavender and Turshen that she is attempting through her lawyer to have them reinstated. That could be difficult, though. A source familiar with terms of the arrangement between O’Donnell and Gruner + Jahr said that Brewster did have final say on personnel changes at the magazine.
A spokeswoman for Gruner + Jahr declined comment, except to say: “There are some stylistic and editorial differences that we are working through.”
But the mess with Rosie couldn’t come at a worse time for Brewster or Bertelsmann (G+J’s parent company), which two weeks ago ousted its chief executive officer. Many are now saying that the writing is on the wall for Brewster as well. Fast Company, a business publication that cost the company $360 million, is hemorrhaging money. Child Magazine was down 41 percent in newsstand sales for the last six months of 2001, according to the publisher’s statement filed with the Audit Bureau of Circulations. And then there is Rosie, which experienced a severe drop in newsstand sales after the celeb quit her talk show this spring.
UNIVERSAL MOVES: Just a month after Vivendi Universal ousted its ceo Jean Marie Messier and found out that it was being sued by disgruntled investors, the board agreed last week to sell off Universal Studios and the company’s theme parks, WWD has learned. The move comes at a time when Vivendi, the world’s third-largest media company, is deep in debt and looking for a $2.5 billion loan. Reports have swirled for weeks that Vivendi might sell Universal Studios. Late last week, the rumors actualized as investment bankers began calling potential buyers. Many observers speculate that John Malone, head of Liberty Media and a major shareholder in Vivendi, could swoop in to rescue the company by buying Universal Studios.
A spokeswoman for Vivendi said, “The board has announced no decision on the strategic direction of Vivendi Universal and as Mr. [Jean-Rene] Fourtou, our CEO, has said on a number of issues, the decision of the company, including the disposition of major strategic assets, will be discussed and announced by the board in the September time frame.”
FULL(OF)ER: Bonnie Fuller may be settling into her role as editor in chief of US Weekly but that doesn’t mean the place is getting calmer. Friday marked the last day for copy chief Anna Wahrman, who quit.
BAZAAR RUMORS: First it was rumored that Harper’s Bazaar publisher Cindy Lewis was getting the boot; then the prevailing buzz held that Hearst was pulling the plug on the magazine itself. But the rumor mill is in overdrive this week that creative director Stephen Gan was being pushed out by editor in chief Glenda Bailey. So far, none of the rumors have been confirmed, although the magazine was interviewing for a high level position in the art department. The magazine is bringing on Judith Schuster as deputy art director working under Gan. Schuster is currently the art director at Prada Beauty, prior to which she worked with Gan at Visionaire as a designer-associate art director. Gan meanwhile, has taken a vacation and will be back at the magazine in September.
TIMES GETS BIG BUMP: Fashions of the Times, which comes out Sunday, Aug. 18, is the largest issue since 1986, with 144 ad pages, up 9 percent from last year’s 132 ad pages. The section has seen consecutive increases in ad pages for the past five years. New advertisers include Bulgari, Bottega Veneta, Kate Spade, Club Monaco, Alfani of Federated and May Co. “We saw increases in 10 categories, led by strong growth in domestic fashion advertising,” said Alexis Buryk, group vice president of advertising for The New York Times. The section also carries a 12-page insert from Gap.
The theme of the fall issue, edited by Amy Spindler, style editor, is Pilgrimages.
ESSEX GETS PROMOTED: Andrew Essex, deputy editor of Details, has been promoted to executive editor. The post has been vacant since the departure last year of Phoebe Eaton.