POWELL POWWOW: When Barbara Walters was spotted having lunch last Wednesday with Colin Powell at The Four Seasons in New York, talk circulated about her persistent attempts to finagle the first post-White House interview with the former secretary of state. According to someone at the State Department in Washington, D.C., Walters began calling Powell on the very day he announced he was resigning from the cabinet.
Now it seems the veteran interviewer’s tenacity has again paid off. A source inside ABC said an on-air sitdown with Powell is set for September, though an ABC spokesman declined to comment and Powell’s spokeswoman said only, “Ms. Walters has had a long-standing request in for an interview. They’ve known each other for years. This is something he’s definitely considering and may do at a later date.”
Powell, meanwhile, appears to be making the media rounds in New York now that he’s no longer at the beck and call of the White House. On April 28, he was spotted in The New York Times’ offices by children touring the newsroom during the 13th annual “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.” A Times spokeswoman said his visit with publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. on that day was purely social. No word, though, on whether any of the enterprising 11- to 15-year-olds pulled a Walters and asked him any questions.
— Sara James
GIANT STEPS: Working on a start-up is a recipe for burnout, but even by that standard, Giant seems to have a turnover problem. Editor in chief Mark Remy recently left the new men’s entertainment title; executive editor Scott Lyle Cohen preceded him out the door several weeks earlier. Now comes word that Kevin Beard, the magazine’s founding art director, has given notice. In Beard’s case, at least, the reason for leaving is fairly clear: Giant president Jamie Hooper has hired Ash Gibson, a veteran of British GQ and Maxim Fashion, to serve as creative director — meaning Beard will no longer be in charge of Giant’s design. “Giant has been a magazine that reads really smart, but it could probably look a little smarter,” Hooper said by way of explaining the hire. As for Beard’s exit, he would only say, “That’s still under discussion. Nothing has been decided.”
What is clear is that some Giant insiders feel the magazine has drifted away from its original course of appealing to film geeks and into territory already inhabited by the lad magazines. One sign of this: While the first three issues had men on the cover, the last two issues have featured women, with a third, Mischa Barton, scheduled for the August/September cover. Hooper acknowledged women will continue to outnumber men on Giant’s covers, but said the real model for Giant is not lad magazines but British entertainment titles such as Uncut and Mojo, as well as British GQ.
At any rate, it’s not yet clear that Giant’s shift to girlie covers (which, to be fair, have been much more restrained than those of Maxim and FHM) will have much impact on its sales. A source at a competing publication claimed Giant’s sell-through percentage had fallen into the single digits for the last two issues. Hooper, while declining to disclose the actual figure, disputed that estimate, saying, “We’re getting indications that it’s much better.” He added that Giant’s circulation will be audited beginning with the December/January issue.
Hooper also said he had no plans to replace Remy, noting that editorial creative director Greg Williams and new executive editor Rob Hill are perfectly capable of running things. “We’re going to go with this team for now.”
— Jeff Bercovici