FAST START: Take note, Lucky: That object in your rear-view mirror may be closer than it appears. The first issue of the new Hearst title Shop Etc. sold a projected 280,000 copies in its two months on the newsstand, according to publisher Cynthia Lewis. Lucky, which launched in December 2000, didn’t sell that many single copies until September of last year. The good news for Condé Nast (which, like WWD, is a unit of Advance Publications Inc.) is that the newcomer’s sales didn’t come at the expense of Lucky, which sold 320,000 copies on newsstand in September, its second-best total ever. Moreover, that issue of Lucky (which had Milla Jovovich on the cover) was on sale for only four weeks versus eight for its rival. Beyond creating a niche of its own, the shopping genre is influencing other fashion magazines, said Lewis: “It has proven that they have to think differently about how they service their readers.”
— Jeff Bercovici
FATHERS OF INVENTION: Sir Harold Evans grilled five panelists — including two of the subjects from his new book, “They Made America: From the Steam Engine to the Search Engine, Two Centuries of Innovators” — Thursday night at the Broadhurst Theater. But Ted Turner and FedEx’s Fred Smith proved they were up to the task, as did fellow panelists Martin Scorcese, Oscar de la Renta and Olympus’ Mark Gumz.
Scorcese described how his terrible childhood asthma made moviegoing a primary pastime as early as the age of three. Smith admitted a $27,000 Las Vegas windfall helped FedEx in its infancy, but that didn’t cover the payroll.
De la Renta said his $650 million business would be a shocker to his own family. “My father had a small insurance company,” he said. “If anyone had told my father I would become a fashion designer, he would have dropped dead on the spot.”
But it was the ever irascible Turner who stole the show. Though he appeared distracted while others were speaking, at one point bending down to hitch up his socks, the CNN founder lit up when his turn came to talk. Asked how he could sell out to a big corporation, Turner said, “Excuse me, I’m hard of hearing,” cupping his ear for effect, before adding, “It was a big mistake.”
When Tina Brown asked her husband, Evans, to have the panelists elaborate about their mistakes, Turner blurted out, “How ’bout marrying one?”
He was more guarded about his career choices. The former billboard salesman, who ran up $250 million in losses in CNN’s early years, said, “In business, I didn’t fail, but I was right on the edge all the way.”
— Rosemary Feitelberg
AWARD AND PUNISHMENT: For those who worried that GQ’s decision not to televise its Man of the Year awards this time would leave them with a gaping hole in their TV schedules, fear not: Glamour is stepping into the breach by airing its Women of the Year awards for the first time. “It’s something we always thought about and toyed with, and it just seemed like the right time,” editor in chief Cindi Leive said. The ceremony, sponsored by L’Oréal Paris, will take place Nov. 8 at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan. It will be broadcast in syndication beginning Nov. 13, but New Yorkers won’t see it until Dec. 11, when it airs on WNBC. Unlike some of her counterparts, Leive, who will be among the presenters, said she enjoys being in front of the cameras: “I always feel like you’re supposed to say, ‘It’s so terrible, it’s so superficial,’ but actually, I like it.”