BEST LAUNCH EVER: Bauer Publishing always seems to have two or three new magazine concepts in the hopper, although rare is the one that makes it onto newsstands. The newest project, according to insiders, is a proposed weekly title that would recap and comment on the week’s news in a manner similar to VH1’s “Best Week Ever.” This week, Bauer hired a writer from the show’s blog to work on the project, which is headed by Carol Brooks, editor in chief of First for Women. Another source said the concept was also inspired by Dennis Publishing’s The Week. Previously, Brooks was overseeing work on a title described as a weekly version of a Cosmopolitan-like women’s magazine; it’s unclear whether that project is still active. A spokesman for the company said, “Bauer is always developing new projects, but we don’t comment on those projects until anything is ready for newsstand.”
— Jeff Bercovici
ROSE RETURNS: As a rule, heart patients aren’t ideal candidates for surprise parties. Nevertheless, about two dozen of the media giants who subbed for PBS talk show host Charlie Rose during his two-month recovery from heart surgery this spring tested his ticker on Monday night with a surprise party to celebrate his return to the show.
Ken Auletta of The New Yorker; Bill Blakemore, Mark Halperin and Brian Ross of ABC News; the Council on Foreign Relations’ Leslie Gelb; political strategist Mary Matalin; Fox News analyst (and husband of NBC anchor Campbell Brown) Dan Senor; film critics Ken Tucker and A.O. Scott; married New York Times veterans Frank Rich and Alex Witchell; the Times’ Book Review editor Sam Tanenhaus; former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke and his wife, author Kati Marton, and CNN’s Jane Arraf showed up to toast a shocked Rose as he exited the studio.
“He had no clue,” said his executive producer of 15 years, Yvette Vega, who appeared on Monday night’s broadcast with Rose and his mentor Bill Moyers to discuss the emergency surgery in Paris and Rose’s subsequent stay in intensive care.
“Moyers had a great line on the show. He said, ‘Everybody in this town has been praying for your recovery. Except the 10,000 people who wanted your job,'” Rose said later that night at a party for Dealbreaker.com. That wasn’t Moyers’ only zinger on air. After Rose said there was never a moment when he thought the heart valve problem would kill him, Moyers quipped, “With all of your reruns, Charlie, you will never die.”
Hardly one to ease back into his work, Rose is scheduled this week to interview author John Updike, chairman and chief executive officer of General Motors Rick Wagoner and Al Gore.
— Sara James
RATING THE MAGS: Fashion magazines weren’t exactly no-shows, but they were weak performers in the 2005 Publication Reader Satisfaction Survey. In fact, just two fashion titles, W and Lucky, were named among the most noteworthy in three of 16 categories rated. The ratings came by way of a poll of 16,000 men and women, ages 18 and older, taken last summer by Monroe Mendelsohn Research. Most of the results, including reader responses to the 10 or so fashion magazines among 190 magazines considered, are expected to be released today.
W was ranked top for “uniqueness” and placed second for being “cutting-edge,” behind Departures, while Lucky was named number one for having “useful ads.” (Like WWD, W and Lucky are published by Condé Nast Publications.) “W looks different, feels different — there’s a wow factor,” said magazine expert Samir Husni, a journalism professor at the University of Mississippi, when told of the survey’s results. “In the psyche of readers, W goes way beyond fashion.”
It was not surprising Lucky’s ads were deemed most useful, Husni contended, because people associate ads in the shopping magazine with a call to action. “People look at the ads in Lucky as showing things I can walk down from my apartment and have it right there,” he said. In contrast, Husni noted, “A lot of people look at ads in Vogue as a fantasy.” Husni was surprised, though, that fashion publications didn’t make a stronger showing in the categories of overall excellence (led by National Geographic), reader engagement (topped by Veranda), entertaining (won by Jet), authoritative (capped by Departures) and eye-catching covers (led by Vibe).
One possible explanation, he said, is that it’s generally the “oddballs,” like new titles, and magazines that “deliver what’s expected, but in a surprising way,” like The New Yorker, that achieve the greatest recognition. “Magazines in the middle often are overlooked,” added Husni. In the fashion category, W was ranked number one in the Reader Satisfaction Survey, followed by Lucky and Vogue.
— Valerie Seckler