L.A. FAMILIAR: When Jason Binn’s first issue of Los Angeles Confidential, his fourth city magazine (after Ocean Drive, Hamptons and Gotham) launches in an unusual manner on March 15, it will have a lot in common with Talk Magazine’s special Oscar issue: it is Talk Magazine’s special Oscar issue. Roger Friedman, who was editing the third annual Talk Oscar section — which was distributed at Miramax’s Oscar events and parties, as well as L.A. hotels and restaurants — found out Talk folded, he immediately pitched the section to the ever-enterprising Binn. And it’s not coincidental that Harvey Weinstein, who owns Miramax and part of Talk, is also one of Binn’s more famous investors. Binn, who planned to launch the L.A. city mag in early 2003, decided the Oscar-going crowd was exactly who he wanted to target. “It’s a great opportunity for us,” says Binn. “We’ll be distributed to car services, to nominees, which is the target audience for our advertisers.” Binn managed to get both national and L.A ads in just three weeks, “since this is what I’ve been doing for 10 years. We’re using the same formula as Ocean Drive and Hamptons.”
The magazine has 60 pages of ads, from companies such as Prada, Gucci and Michael Kors.
Los Angeles Confidential will publish another pre-issue in September 2002, then go monthly sometime in 2003. But Friedman, who’s a reporter for Fox News.com, won’t be its editor, but will be a contributor.
Meanwhile, the first issue’s cover is Nicole Kidman, from interviews Friedman conducted in October and January, before Kidman even got an Oscar nomination. “Nicole told me she tried to get out of starring in ‘The Others,”‘ reports Friedman. “She said she wanted Julianne Moore to step into the role because she was so exhausted from ‘Moulin Rouge.’ But Tom Cruise wouldn’t let her out of her deal.’ There is also an interview with Oscar nominee Robert Altman, a profile of the late Julia Phillips by the New York Times’ Bernard Weinraub, and profiles of Ben Kingsley, Halle Berry and Judi Dench. “All Harvey said when I told him about going with Jason was, ‘Good luck.’ We returned the money we’d been paid by Talk and then the writers, art people and I were paid by Los Angeles Confidential,” Friedman said.
PUMPING UP REEBOK: Reebok International is expanding its deal with the Arnell Group. Last fall, the sneaker giant lined up Arnell for its men’s and Classic businesses. Now, all aspects of the brand, including women’s and licensing deals with the NFL and NBA, fall under Arnell’s domain. Berlin Cameron & Partners, New York had previously handled the women’s portion of the business. Mediacom will continue to handle media placement. Reebok reportedly spends $260 million annually on its marketing programs. With Arnell’s input, Reebok aims to cash in on this digital age with multitiered campaigns that address the melding of sports, music and entertainment. Arnell’s business partner is Steve Stoute, president of Interscope Records. The first women’s campaign under the new regime is expected to bow in the early summer, a Reebok spokeswoman said.
SUIT DISMISSED: Linda Evangelista and Wilhelmina Models Inc. have dropped their lawsuits against each other, but it’s a toss-up on who actually paid what to whom.
Wilhelmina claims that Evangelista paid $80,000 in fees owed the modeling agency from her photo shoots with Blackglama and Estee Lauder. However, Evangelista’s attorney, Bruce Ewing, said the model never paid Wilhelmina any money, and that the clients paid the money last September and October.
“On her instructions,” countered Dieter Esch, president of Wilhelmina.
Meantime, Evangelista appears happy to put this behind her. “I have said from the beginning of this lawsuit that I was innocent of all the charges brought against me, and I believe that Wilhelmina’s decision to dismiss its case fully vindicates my position,” said Evangelista, in a statement.
In the lawsuit filed last August, Wilhelmina claimed that Evangelista and her booker, Didier Fernandez, who was then working at Wilhelmina, had worked together to divert away from Wilhelmina fees for modeling engagements that Fernandez had arranged for Evangelista.
While the claims against Evangelista were dropped, Wilhelmina said it is continuing its lawsuit about Fernandez. Hernandez’s attorney, Ronald Mysliwiec, said Wilhelmina and Fernandez are suing each other, and the case is expected to come to trial in mid-April. He said Fernandez had a two-year contact with Wilhelmina, and they fired him after the first year — the same day they commenced this lawsuit against Evangelista. He is suing for the $250,000 he claims Wilhelmina owes him,” said Mysliwiec.
ELLE GROUP TAPS FRIEDMANN: Barbara Friedmann has been named vice president, Elle group marketing director. She will be responsible for marketing communications for Elle, Elle Decor and Ellegirl. Previously she was vice president, corporate marketing for Hachette Filipacchi Magazines U.S. since 2000.
– Lisa Lockwood with contributions by Merle Ginsberg, Los Angeles; Peter Braunstein, Rosemary Feitelberg and Jacob Bernstein, New York