COX IN THE HEN HOUSE: Former Wonkette Ana Maria Cox‘s transformation from blogger cover girl to Old Media’s new hope is almost complete. Cox on Thursday was named Washington editor of Time.com, where she will coordinate political coverage and continue to contribute articles. “I’ve been trying to sell out for a very long time,” Cox wrote in an e-mail to WWD. “I’m proud to say I finally have.”
Cox will succeed Matt Cooper, who jumped ship for Condé Nast’s upcoming business magazine Portfolio, and who often served as blog fodder in Cox’s Wonkette days. Said Cox, “Matt asked me to inscribe his copy of my book with, ‘Thanks for all the material.'” She expects to write more often than Cooper did in the role, as well as amp up the magazine’s quotient of “satirical, biting D.C. commentary.”
Time, suffering like all newsweeklies to maintain its relevance in a 24-hour news cycle, is evidently pinning its hopes on Cox to bring buzz to its Web site. For those who remember her mostly for her bawdiness and outing of Capitol Hill indiscretions and who doubt her prowess on subjects such as the midterm elections, Cox cited her years as a serious journalist for publications like Mother Jones and The Chronicle of Higher Education. But that doesn’t mean the new gig signals a new, soberer Cox. “I won’t change much about what I write about or the way I write it,” she said, “because that’s how I got here.”
— Irin Carmon
ARE YOU BEING SERVED?: Federated Department Stores might want to get its hands on a British DVD before the Sept. 30 premiere of the new reality series “Macy’s Unwrapped,” on the Women’s Entertainment Network. Selfridges allowed camera crews in from the British Broadcasting Corp. eight years ago for an ultrasuccessful series called “The Shop,” which had British audiences mesmerized and appalled at the antics of the staff at the retailer’s Oxford Street flagship. The prime-time series, which first aired in September 1998, was eventually syndicated across Europe. “I watched a lot of it with my hands over my eyes!” said Selfridges’ former chief executive Peter Williams. “On one hand, it was fantastic publicity, but on the other it didn’t always show the business in the best possible light,” added Williams, who left the store after Galen Weston purchased Selfridges in 2003.
Indeed, with no editorial control from Selfridges, the BBC created an entertaining and often shocking insight into the retail world. Its cameras caught employees shoplifting; filmed out-of-breath security guards hopelessly chasing after thieves; interviewed a color-blind tie salesman, and an assistant who freely admitted to disliking customers. Whether that kind of behavior will be on the Macy’s show remains to be seen: Federated reportedly exercised more control over the camera crews from New York TV production company True Entertainment.
But Williams warns, “Department stores are like theater stage sets. Everything is designed to be beautiful and smooth running on-set, but behind the scenes there’s a furious amount of work making that happen. And, of course, it’s always more entertaining when this goes wrong.”
— Lucie Greene
HOTEL STORIES: New York hotelier Jason Pomeranc swarmed the Hollywood scene last year managing the rejuvenated Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and mingling with starlets at its poolside Tropicana Bar. But it’s a miracle he found anything to talk about since he lacked a critical L.A. conversation starter: a movie to promote. No longer. Pomeranc is executive producer of a 12-minute film called “L.A. Suite” starring Olivia Wilde, “The O.C.’s” switch-hitting Mischa Barton bait, and shot exclusively at the Roosevelt. The movie, which debuted this week, is being circulated to film festivals and on the Web. “We are fascinated by hotels because they blend reality and fantasy,” Pomeranc said. “[The movie] is another example of the blend of art and commerce.”
It’s also another example of Pomeranc polishing a lifestyle brand encompassing hotels, restaurants, bars, publishing and the arts. In addition to operating the Roosevelt, Pomeranc’s Thompson Hotels owns trendy boutique properties 60 Thompson; 6 Columbus, slated to receive guests in October, and the Thompson Beverly Hills, being renovated for a January opening. “Hotels today are really lifestyle projects. They are vehicles for other things,” he said.
Pomeranc’s upstart media business includes Room 100, a lifestyle magazine published by BlackBook. Adrien Brody will be on the biannual magazine’s first fall-winter cover. So what’s the Pomeranc lifestyle all about? Judging by the movie, it involves dim lighting, tempting flirtation, a few martinis and a tawdry affair with a Frenchman. Not bad for a night’s stay.
— Rachel Brown