Not that many months ago Rob Gregory bailed on Jann Wenner (he had been publisher of Rolling Stone and earlier, Men's Journal) to join Stephen Colvin and the Brits at Maxim (his title is group publisher) and over lunch at Bryant Park Grill it seemed he had no regrets. For one thing, he is now reunited with Ed Needham, the new Maxim editor, formerly M.E. at Rolling Stone. For another, the upstart "lad" book, with a circulation of 2.5 million (one in four readers is a woman, they like to point out) and a cover price of $4.99, looks as if it's here to stay. And they're selling some ads ("our pages cost 200 grand or so")-in what YTD has been a lousy year, down 26%. September is up 5% in pages, perhaps signaling a turnaround with October and November also ahead. Newsstand and subs used to be 50-50, now subscriptions represent 70% of the total. "This is a crucial time for us. We're expanding not vertically," says Rob, "but horizontally." Part of that growth, a deal with Sirius Satellite Radio for a Maxim 24/7 presence. The format? "Girls, sports, humor. We're looking now for the `voice or voices of Maxim.' " How do you show "girls" on radio? "We're working on that," says Gregory. There's also a one-shot TV deal with ESPN, a coffee table book about the "Maxim nation," a "first look" deal with New Line Cinema, plus haircare, furniture and music partnerships. And a new line of Maxim-labeled soft-goods, quality sheets and pillowcases and such, over which they've just cut an exclusive deal with giant retailer May Co. "We don't think of competition with Playboy as head to head. We don't run nudes, no dirty words." He seems to admire what Esquire is doing. "I think of Esquire as a grownup version of Maxim."
Joseph Parsons joined Travel & Leisure Golf as account manager.
Top PR person Susan Magrino and fiance, James D. Dunning Jr. set the date, Thursday October 7, at the Four Seasons in Manhattan.
Suzanne Grimes is back! Good for Richard "Mad Dog" Beckman of Conde Nast, rehiring the ex-publisher of Glamour to work on group sales.
Jim Taylor says through October Town & Country is enjoying its highest revenue producing year ever.
Kerry may have overlooked a good omen that weekend he was in the Hamptons, passing up a quickie appearance at the annual Artists & Writers softball game with all those media types. A dozen years ago Bill Clinton, between jobs, stopped by, umpired a few innings, and when next heard from was winning the Presidency.