|Bonnie Fuller bails from Wenner.
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According to an executive close to the companies, Ms. Fuller, who is widely regarded as the superstar in the field of American celebrity journalism, left her $1 million-plus editing position at Wenner for a salary well in excess of that at American Media.
Ms. Fuller, who rose to national prominence as editor of a succession of magazines, including Hearst Magazine's Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan and Conde Nast's Glamour, became the editor of Us Weekly in February 2002. She revived the title to such a degree that one insider said, "The perceived success of Us Weekly has been all about Bonnie Fuller."
No successor named
A successor was not immediately named, but a spokesman promised one would be named "shortly." It's expected Ms. Fuller's No. 2, Janice Min, will take over her slot in the near-term. Wenner Media General Manager Kent Brownridge said the company was finalizing arrangements with Ms. Min, who he said was vacationing in Italy.
"It was a surprise," Mr. Brownridge said. "I think it was weekly burnout."
He compared the top editorial position she has been offered at American Media to Norman Pearlstine's lofty editor in chief perch at Time Inc. American Media officials did not immediately return calls, and Ms. Fuller could not be reached.
Soaring newsstand sales
What this means for the surging Us Weekly, which has seen newsstand sales soar since Ms. Fuller took over the title in March 2002, remains to be seen. Ms. Fuller's ultra-frothy take on celebrity essentially created the latest iteration of celebrity journalism, and her reign was decidedly hands-on.
Mr. Brownridge, though, did not express alarm. "We have a pretty consistent format," he said. "We build on what we know."
Tabloids seeking respectability
American Media Chairman-CEO David Pecker, since acquiring the company in 1999 with backing from Evercore Partners, has aggressively fought to move the tabloids up in respectability. Snagging Ms. Fuller, an editor known for having a magic touch when it comes to the newsstand, can only help him in that quest.
At the end of 2002, American Media acquired Weider Publications for $350 million, and added mainstream consumer titles such as Shape, Men's Fitness and Fit Pregnancy to its stable.