THE NEXT ‘NEXT TOP MODEL’: Does the fashion world really need another modeling competition to rescue young women from the ranks of gangly teenage obscurity? The editors of Visionaire magazine think so, expressing disappointment with all those reality TV model searches they claim only produce commercial talent. So the editors are holding their own contest, called “V A Model! Supreme Management Model Search 2007.” The winner will be revealed in January and is expected to walk in many “big-name shows” one month later, during fashion week, said executive editor Julie Anne Quay. She is a judge for the contest, along with V editor in chief (and Harper’s Bazaar creative director) Stephen Gan, Calvin Klein’s Francisco Costa and international casting director Russell Marsh. Happily, V won’t put its readers through yet another televised walk-off. Instead, they’ll use the Internet to keep readers informed of developments. Already the field has been narrowed from roughly 500 to five, who went through intensive go-sees. The winner will receive a wardrobe from Calvin Klein Collection, a three-year contract with Supreme Management and a fashion story in V’s spring issue, out in March. Quay expects the contest to become an annual affair, and she added that V Man already is planning a male model search for spring, partnering with Wilhelmina Models. — Amy Wicks
DOMINIQUE’S DOMAIN: Adam Moss is calling in some reinforcements for New York magazine’s second annual wellness issue: former House & Garden editor in chief Dominique Browning. “The theme is to explore pockets of silence and peace around the city,” said Browning, who was about to leave for Paris for a Departures story. “It is really fun to be in that kind of energetic news environment,” she added. The issue goes on sale the third week of January, so a newsroom pace will be in order. The lineup hasn’t been finalized, but Browning said it would include both regular New York writers and staff and a few House & Garden vets. — Irin Carmon
NEW LIFE: Lifetime television has long been synonymous with melodramatic, made-for-TV movies featuring has-been stars. But things are about to change, if Andrea Wong has anything to do with it. “There was a stigma. Lifetime has long been associated with women in peril. But we want to empower and embrace women,” said the entertainment group’s new president and chief executive officer, who was featured Monday at a Le Cirque luncheon hosted by La Mer.
Wong, an ABC alum who was named to her current post in April, was toasted by a klatch of high-flying women. Susan Lyne, Janice Min and Estée Lauder’s Maureen Case joined a roll call of friends from Wong’s ABC days, including Willow Bay, Holly Peterson, Cynthia McFadden, Lee Woodruff and Carole Radziwell.
At ABC, Wong was responsible for successful franchises such as “The Bachelor,” “Dancing With the Stars,” “Extreme Makeover” and “Wife Swap.” And at Lifetime, she’s not shying away from reality programming, though the channel’s most-watched series is a scripted drama, “Army Wives.” On the slate for next year are three new reality shows: “Matched in Manhattan,” “Top This Party” and “How to Look Good Naked,” a show hosted by former “Queer Eye” guy Carson Kressley that ends every episode with a life-size billboard image of a woman in the buff. “It teaches them their bodies are beautiful,” said Wong, who views TNT, TBS and USA as her main competitors. Also coming are a new breed of Lifetime movies: “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter” starring Dermot Mulroney, Emily Watson and Gretchen Mol; “Queen Sized,” with Nikki Blonsky of “Hairspray” fame, and “The Tenth Circle,” starring Kelly Preston.
But TV is certainly not the only thing on Wong’s agenda. “There is not a moment when I am not thinking [about] how we are going to bring Lifetime into the digital space,” she said. “I want Lifetime to be a destination on every platform.” — Elisa Lipsky-Karasz
DIFFERENT FACES: Despite the writer’s strike, new TV pilot shows are still in production and Michael Clinton, executive vice president, chief marketing officer and publishing director of Hearst Magazines, has scored a cameo in one. Clinton, who is working on his next book, “American Portraits,” was filmed while shooting “ugly models” for a show that will air on TLC. Apparently the models are not technically ugly, just “different looking,” but the show will chronicle the opening of the New York outpost of the Ugly Models agency, which is based in London. Calls were not returned from TLC or from the agency.
Clinton may include the photographs in his new book, featuring American whose ethnic backgrounds hail from 100 countries. His last book, “Global Faces,” was recently ranked as the number 11 best-selling title in pictorial books on Amazon.com. — A.W.
TRAVELS WITH FORBES: Add Forbes to the growing list of magazines heading to India. Forbes reportedly agreed to a content licensing partnership with a media firm, Television Eighteen India. The deal comes a few months after Fortune revealed it also would launch a local edition in India. Forbes representatives did not comment by press time. — A.W.