Alexandra Kennedy works for Disney but not in Hollywood, serves as editorial director of a magazine company on Fifth Avenue, but lives two-plus hours away, and now she's tackling the heavyweights with a new magazine called Wondertime, challenging Time Inc.'s Parenting and Meredith's Child and Parents. How do you pull that off? I asked Alex and her boss, Group Publishing Director Glenn Rosenbloom, a 25-year vet of Hearst and Wenner, over lunch at Lever House. The Wondertime concept is simple, the execution complex. It all began at a Smith College laboratory school where Kennedy's two boys were enrolled, and she discerned a void in the category, the parents of preschoolers 0 to 6. "This is sacred time," Alex said. She proposed the new book five years ago, and they've been prepping the idea since. "I feel passionately this magazine should be about the joy of raising children, not the job of raising them. It's about helping parents nurture their children's love of learning, not about what kids wear but what they learn." Wondertime launches in February with a rate base of 300,000 (200,000 paid plus 100,000 "analyzed non-paid") and will have the enormous muscle, subscriber lists and cross-promotional marketing heft of Disney at its disposal. As an editor who was at New England Monthly when it won two General Excellence awards and who's run Family Fun since its launch in 1991 and through all its brand exten- sions, Alex blends the intensity of the zealot with a professional cool. But can she do all this from Northampton, Mass.? "I'll be traveling and spending more time with Glenn over the new few months, and we may even invest in a new car." How about the company getting you a Manhattan pied a terre? "My husband would love that," said tall, blond Alex, her eyes gleaming. Mr. Rosenbloom, as skilled executives do, changed the subject to how the ads were coming in and how Mad Ave was buying into the pitch, making no commitments about a flat for Ms. Kennedy.
Sirius threw a launch party last Wednesday in Manhattan to celebrate Martha Stewart Living Radio.
Smithsonian marked the 35th year since its founding by devoting the November issue to 35 people who "made a difference." Editor Carey Winfrey recalls that Smithsonian's circ department once solicited a subscription from NBC News, addressing the pitch to "Dear Mr. News," a gaffe John Chancellor promptly shared with viewers.
Former White House speechwriter Peggy Noonan tells me her new book, out soon, is a brief "hommage" to the late Pope. "Did you know him, Peggy?" "I once met him," she responded with admirable candor, then nipped off to the Four Seasons for lunch with Mort Zuckerman.
Norm Pearlstine hosts and Justice Scalia speaks Nov. 21 at Time Warner's occasional "Conversations on the (Columbus) Circle." At their screening room, by invitation only.
When The New York Times runs a lead editorial headlining what it calls Mr. Bush's "walkabout," you wonder, are they suggesting he's, well, you know, gone a little...funny in the head?