'TV GUIDE' EDITOR IN CHIEF RESIGNS

Michael Lafavore Leaves After 15 Months

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The editor in chief of TV Guide, one of the publishing industry's biggest magazines, resigned his position April 29 after a little more than a year on the job.

"You're right, it's kind of quick," Michael Lafavore said about his decision. Mr. Lafavore said he does not yet have a date of departure, and that he'd told the company he would stay through the transition to a new editor. An insider, though, said this transition could come as soon as three or four weeks. The company just began searching for Mr. Lafavore's replacement.

Mr. Lafavore came on to rework the magazine, with a circulation of 9 million, February 2003. Despite significant circulation erosion, TV Guide remains one of the industry's top consumer titles, with circulation topped only by Reader's Digest.

He said he was brought in to rework and redesign the title -- which he has -- and added, "I'm not into living the world of reality television for another year. Who wins on The Bachelor and who doesn't is not, to be perfectly honest, something I can get very excited about."

Mr. Lafavore said he was not sure what his next move would be, only that he wasn't interested in becoming the next editor of Playboy, which moved its high-profile editorial director, James Kaminsky, into a new developmental role in late April.

For the last half of 2003, TV Guide's newsstand sales were 652,212, down 20.8% from the previous year. In the first three months of 2003, its ad pages were down 4.5% to 623.3.

TV Guide's been challenged by changing circulation dynamics. For the last half of 2003, it's "sponsored sales" subscriptions, which are sometimes called "bulk" and account for copies sent to hotel rooms and cable systems subscribers, totaled 2.8 million, a figure that more than doubled the "sponsored sales" total for the last half of 2001.

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