TIMELY EXITS: Time Inc. is less than halfway toward its target number of Guild-protected employees it needs to take buyouts, according to a representative from the Newspaper Guild. As of Thursday, 43 packages for both voluntary and nonvoluntary layoffs had been signed by the Guild, though the company set a target of up to 109 Guild employees to take packages, according to the representative. The representative characterized the process as slow, since negotiations for package specifics such as benefits and calculating time served by employees can be tedious. Time, Life, Fortune, Sports Illustrated, Fortune Small Business, Money and People are the Time Inc. titles that fall under Guild protection. Time, People and Sports Illustrated were hardest hit by the layoffs, which will affect 289 employees. Time is said to have met its target for the number of people it needed to lay off, but it was unclear if People and Sports Illustrated have made their targets.
The Guild is still in negotiations with Time Inc. to finalize a new contract. Time Inc. submitted a proposal that would make several changes to the current contract, which expires March 22. Among them are eliminating sabbaticals for employees who have worked for the company for more than 15 years, lengthening the standard work week to 40 hours up from 35 hours and recalculating the buyout package for employees who are laid off, according to the representative. — Stephanie D. Smith
CLOSING THE DIARY: Dominick Dunne may be ending his Diary column in Vanity Fair, or at least considering it, according to his comments in the new Bergdorf Goodman magazine. In a conversation with Dunne and writer Taki Theodoracopulos, moderated by Michael Gross, Dunne says he is “thinking of ending it,” referring to his column in the general interest monthly.
In the Bergdorf article, Theodoracopulos spoke about his involvement with British news magazine The Spectator and his plan to make a graceful exit after 30 years at the weekly. “Like Gore Vidal, I hope I go before they push me,” he said. Dunne responded, “I’m in the same dilemma, quite honestly. Thinking about maybe ending it.” Theodoracopulos replied he’d write a letter if Dunne gave up the column. “But don’t do it until I do,” Dunne said, “or else they’ll push me out.”
WWD reported Monday that speculation was swirling as to whether Dunne would renew his contract with Vanity Fair. Insiders believe his role at the magazine would change amid rumors that the relationship between Dunne and editor in chief Graydon Carter had become strained. Dunne declined to comment for this story. A spokeswoman for Vanity Fair had no comment on the piece. — S.D.S.
SHRINKING WORLD: Culture & Travel, the LTB Media title from which editorial director James Truman and editor in chief Michael Boodro have departed since its launch last September, has suffered more setbacks. The distribution deal with Barnes & Noble, which the company had earlier said would distribute 5,000 copies, has been terminated. “Since the book is controlled circulation, it was felt that the newsstand distribution would dilute the audience,” said Timothy John Robson, the magazine’s publisher. “Our decision further enhances the quality of our readers from an advertiser point of view.”
Then there was the timing. Though it was initially promised to contributors on Jan. 26, the third issue began appearing last week at art events, where the magazine distributes a one-fifth of its 75,000 circulation. “On this occasion we were a little later than usual,” admitted Robson, citing “demands for advertising.” (The launch issue had 56 ad pages, but the third edition is down to 33.) As WWD reported, an extended advertising deadline caused some of the delay. But several sources said they believed it was further delayed by LTB Media owner Louise MacBain‘s failing to pay the printers on time. Cadmus Communications, a printer in Virginia, would only confirm LTB Media was a client. Robson would only say that “our relationship with Cadmus Communications remains confidential.” — Irin Carmon
SHRINKING NUMBERS: Though “Dirt,” the FX drama starring Courteney Cox as editor in chief of a celebrity tabloid, is midway into its first season, the numbers have fallen by more than half since its Jan. 2 debut. About 1.3 million viewers tuned in for the most recent episode on Tuesday, compared with the 3.7 million viewers who watched the premier, according to Nielsen Media research. That’s still better than numbers for MTV reality contest “I’m From Rolling Stone.” The biggest audience of its first four original episodes drew 454,000 viewers. “Dirt” total viewers have steadily declined as the show has continued, but upcoming guest stars Lucas Haas, Perez Hilton and Jennifer Aniston, who is scripted to kiss co-star Cox in the season finale, could lure more viewers. No word yet on whether “Dirt” will be picked up for a second season. — S.D.S.
ANOTHER ONE: Add House & Garden to the barrage of relaunched magazine Web sites. By early April, the redesigned site will include blogs, videos and Web-exclusive content. Wine columnist Jay McInerney will blog and offer daily wine recommendations, Eco editor Zem Joaquin will blog and Eco and Design Sponge, aka freelance writer and popular design blogger Grace Bonney, will host video shopping tours. Readers can also submit photos of their homes for advice from editors. Let’s hope they don’t say simply tear it all out and start over. — I.C.
FASHION FOCUS: Bergdorf Goodman will distribute 1,500 copies of a 25-page spring mailer devoted to its third-floor designers at the Chloé show in Paris Saturday. Another 40,000 are being distributed this week, primarily in the New York tristate area. One big fashion shot fills each page, and the backgrounds are always blank. It’s also oversized, at 10 inches by 13 inches, close in size to the Bergdorf Goodman magazine. The photographers for the project were Sofia Sanchez and Mauro Mongiello, a Paris-based team. The same photos are also displayed on the store’s third floor.
The strategy reflects ongoing efforts by BG to sharpen the individual identities of its selling floors, and showcase the kind of advanced, avant-garde product from Yohji Yamamoto, Junya Watanabe, Jil Sander or Chloé, among other houses, that generally doesn’t find its way into the Bergdorf Goodman magazine, a catalogue that concentrates on the prevailing trends of the season. — David Moin
WIDE LENS: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders might not be the first photographer one thinks of when the American Red Cross is mentioned, given that he has shot everyone from naked porn stars to designers and presidents. But the organization turned to him to inject some glamour into its marketing efforts, so he has shot a new ad campaign pairing celebrities such as Jamie Lee Curtis, Marcia Gay Harden, Sara Evans, Niki Taylor and Vivica A. Fox with everyday Red Cross volunteers, such as Mary Ciriec, a disaster volunteer, or Sue Carswell, a disaster action team member. The ads break today in Time and will be carried in April issues of Shape, Real Simple and Redbook. A three-page gatefold will appear in Condé Nast Traveller in May.
The images have Greenfield-Sanders’ trademark elegance with subjects posed in front of mottled gray backgrounds. Small gestures convey empathy, such as Aisha Tyler’s hand gently holding that of Ciriec’s, or Elisabeth Rohm hugging Carswell.
And what about his porn-star work, the book “XXX: 30 Porn-Star Portraits” and an HBO documentary, “Thinking XXX”? “They were well aware of it,” he said. “I think they figured that since I photograph presidents and porn stars, I’m egalitarian.”
Speaking of egalitarian, Greenfield-Sanders documented another tribe of entertainers — go-go boys for the April issue of Flaunt, which will be on newsstands next week. “GoGo Gods” depicts hunky dancers recruited from bars and clubs in Manhattan, New Jersey and Philadelphia.
“Most of the go-go boys dance for men,” Greenfield-Sanders said. “Only a few perform for women. They all have their own stories. Just like those who have achieved widespread notoriety, these men are passionate, determined, narcissistic and intelligent in their own way.”
— Sharon Edelson
SIGNING UP: Lisa Ryan Howard will become publisher of Style.com and Men.style.com, responsible for all ad sales on both sites, effective March 12. Howard was previously executive director, corporate sales, for Condé Nast Media Group. She replaces Marcia Kline, who moved to Hearst to become associate publisher of Esquire. Prior to joining Condé Nast in 2000, Howard was director of sales at Ultigo, an e-commerce company, and ad director at Jane and W. Howard will report to Dee Salomon, senior vice president, sales and marketing for Condé Net. — S.D.S.