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Move Ends Plan for New Replacement Title

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- A long-awaited meeting for Rosie staffers with Gruner & Jahr USA Publishing's human resources department resulted this morning in the layoffs of about 120.

No new title planned
The move shuts the door on any plans to launch a new title off Rosie's infrastructure and subscription list. G&J had trademarked a host of potential names to use for a new general-interest women's magazine -- not an unusual move for any major magazine company -- but thus far none have been appended to any new project.

A small core group of probably five staffers will remain to work on potential future projects.

At the meeting, which included G&J's chief financial officer, Larry Diamond, and human resources vice president, Geanie Villoman -- President-CEO Dan Brewster did not attend -- executives said initial notions of launching a new magazine in the early part of 2003 was simply not feasible, a person in attendance said.

"Rosie is saddened that they wouldn't transition the

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magazine to keep the staff employed," said a spokeswoman for the magazine's namesake, former talk-show host Rosie O'Donnell. "The magazine wasn't going in the direction that she envisioned. She just wanted to take her name back."

The December issue of Rosie, which hits newsstands Dec. 12, will be its last. G&J has filled a breach of contract suit against Ms. O'Donnell, who has promised a countersuit, but none has yet materialized.

Remains bitter
The company clearly remains bitter over the implosion of the deal it struck with Ms. O'Donnell to relaunch the flagging women's title McCall's as Rosie, saying in its statement it was "left with no choice" but to slash staff following Ms. O'Donnell's decision to "terminate her participation" in Rosie.

The matter continues to attract outsized media attention, with a major piece on the dust-up expected in the December issue of Vanity Fair.

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