Christie Hefner is moving the editorial critical mass of Playboy magazine from Chicago to Manhattan. The CEO-chairman was in town looking yummy in an Armani suit, lunching with the nobs at the Four Seasons, and shopping around for a new editor (Arthur Kretchmer retires next year and James Kaminsky of Maxim will replace him). But why bail out on Chi after half a century? "New York is where the writers are, the media and the advertisers." Christie said after an operating loss of $9.7 million in last year's first half, this year's first six months showed a gain of $4.4 million. She said though ad sales account for less than 15% of the company's total sales, the ad biz is ahead this year over last and circ holds steady at 3.1 million. She's got a new president/chief operating officer in harness, David Zucker, a Harvard MBA with scads of international experience, which is increasingly crucial to operations. PPV TV and licensing are an increasing share of the company's total biz and as for the competition, she says. "If the `lad books' are getting young men to read magazines, we'll see some benefit." Among those chatting up Ms. Hefner: Barry Diller, Mort Zuckerman, Gerry Levin, Myrna Blyth, Vernon Jordan, Tina Brown, Steve Florio, Norm Pearlstine, Carlo Vittorini, John Veronis.
George Peper, editor in chief of Time4Media's Golf Magazine, canned after 17 years.
That clever fellow Don Welsh was gearing up for the Oct. 8 launch of his latest "great magazine idea," bimonthly Budget Living, and griping over lunch about 43 airplane rides since April 15 selling ads. But it's paying off. Dan Rather's "CBS Evening News" featured Editor Sarah Gray Miller the other night with her appearance promo-ed on "60 Minutes." It'll run 70 pages of paid ads and claim 200,000 subs already in house. Rate base of 300,000 may be raised even before launch. Advertiser JetBlue Airways will hand out 10,000 copies the first day and Chairman-CEO Don says of his new book, "We ARE JetBlue." Helping out with this: Scott Willett on the ad side, and Eric Rayman, former chief counsel to The New Yorker, with the president's title.
Ronald Woods will launch an upscale slick mag called Tampa Bay Illustrated in January.
Looking for a top editor? Call Betsy Carter. AARP folded her My Generation mag.