Janice Is Out! Bonnie Is In!
Or so one imagines a tabloid headline would read chronicling the latest moves of two editors who helped define the celebrity weekly category over the past decade. Bonnie Fuller just landed as editorial director of website HollywoodLife.com, after a stint out on her own trying to launch a media company that would reach young women, the primary audience she edited for at titles such as Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Us Weekly and Star. Jay Penske's Mail.com Media Corp., whose portfolio of sites now includes Nikki Finke's DeadlineHollywoodDaily.com and Movieline.com, nabbed Bonnie to do for HollywoodLife.com what she did for those other glossies, draw in desirable 18- to 34-year-old female eyeballs.
Janice Min, the editor of Wenner Media's Us Weekly for the past six years, famously followed in Bonnie Fuller's footsteps when she took over the weekly. Bonnie jumped to rival The Star after failed salary talks with Jann Wenner. Now Janice is moving on from her $2 million perch for a similar reason, she and Jann reportedly could not agree on a new salary. Her replacement is Mike Steele, a five-year vet of Us Weekly.
In the past five years, celeb-weekly circulation grew fairly steadily while other categories languished. But lately, it's hurting, like everybody else. Ad pages for People and Us Weekly both fell 10% this year through the July 21 issue, according to Media Industry newsletter. Star lost 9% of its pages, while In Touch was off 30%. Us Weekly averaged newsstand sales of 847,491 in the first 15 weeks of the year, the most recent information available, down about 7% from those 15 weeks in 2008.
Janice is credited with realizing early on what a great cover story the Jon and Kate saga could be, and she did not shy away from promoting other former "nobodies," such as Heidi and Spencer of "The Hills." Faced with declines at his company's cash cow, it's not surprising Jann would balk at renewing a $2 million salary.
Janice was quoted last week as saying she doesn't think her next job will be at a magazine. In this digital age, where celebrity "news" can Twitter across a thousand screens instantly, only to be forgotten nearly as fast, an editor able to capture attention amid all that noise should be a worthwhile investment. The question is: What kind of companies are willing to do that?