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Who’s Looking at Whom?

NEW YORK -- Is Us Weekly editor in chief Bonnie Fuller taking a page from the lesser-known but highly successful business model of Bauer Publishing USA? You be the judge. These near-identical beauty spreads are taken from the May 28 issue of Bauer's...

NEW YORK — Is Us Weekly editor in chief Bonnie Fuller taking a page from the lesser-known but highly successful business model of Bauer Publishing USA? You be the judge. These near-identical beauty spreads are taken from the May 28 issue of Bauer’s supermarket tabloid Women’s World and the May 27 issue of Us Weekly. And Us’ uncanny resemblance to Women’s World isn’t just about design. Fuller’s consistent editorial focus on celebrity kids and family matters has been a Women’s World staple for time immemorial. One senior editor at a major fashion magazine mused on Us’ evolving brand image as the non-FDA-approved happy pill of downmarket weeklies: “Us Weekly is a guilty pleasure — it’s one niche above tabloid.”

According to an Us spokesman, Bonnie Fuller is unacquainted with Women’s World (doesn’t Bonnie ever go to Food Emporium?), while Women’s World editor in chief Stephanie Saible said: “I don’t see the similarity, but if Bonnie Fuller is taking inspiration from us that’s flattering.”

Particularly in today’s publishing market, one could choose a worse business model than Women’s World. The seemingly recession-proof weekly boasts a paid circulation of 1.66 million (95 percent of which comes from single-copy sales) and an ad/edit ratio of 13 to 87 percent, which adds up to $2.35 million weekly in single-copy sales revenue. Despite Fuller’s disavowal, if Us Weekly starts running miracle diet featurettes adjacent to blow-out custard pie recipes, the Us Weekly/Women’s World meeting of the tabloid minds will be all but undeniable.”