Architectural Digest Publisher Amy Churgin was prepping for her flight to the Academy Awards when we lunched at Lever House. Once again, AD was sponsoring the backstage "green room" where the stars chill out waiting for their turn onstage as presenters. The Academy's own people actually design the room but "they use all of our clients as resources," in decorating the opulent-looking space, from which Oprah will do one of her shows. And, said Amy, there was even the possibility of an Oscar mention. "We did the set design for `The Aviator.' " How's business? "Last year was good, up a percent or two in ad pages. But this year will be terrific. Our fiscal year began in February and for the first quarter we'll be 13% ahead in revenue and 7% or 8% in pages. Our advertising is about half & half between luxury goods (including automotive) and home furnishings. Luxury is doing better, home furnishings is consolidating behind the leader in each category." Her staff of about 40 includes dedicated people in L.A., N.Y. and Detroit, plus 12 in promotion. "That's such an integral part of ad sales now." The rate base is 800,000, but she says they'll be delivering a bonus this year of about 840,000. "And every one of our subs is $30 or higher. Who else can say that?" Previously Amy was publisher of New York magazine, then group publisher for Primedia ("an executive job that just wasn't me"). She and her music biz exec husband of 26 years live in Manhattan and Denville, N.J. with their two school-age kids. How does Amy get along with her editor, the great Paige Rense? "To work with Paige and on a magazine that's true to itself?" she asked rhetorically.
I wasn't on that list of potential defense witnesses for the Michael Jackson trial and am understandably miffed.
The Economist will make some sort of announcement at Michael's March 2.
The perhaps immortal Helen Gurley Brown celebrated her birthday over lunch at the Four Seasons in Manhattan. Ellen Levine of Good House seemed to be organizing things along with Tony Hoyt. Vernon Jordan, at a neighboring table, goggled. Also on hand, the French Consul General and a priest. When the question of age arose, Helen nuzzled my shell-like ear and whispered seductively, "This year I think I'll be 32 ..."
Teen People hosts its 7th annual lunch tomorrow, celebrating 20 teens "who will change the world."
Turnaround artists Cindi Leive, editor of Glamour, and Publisher Bill Wackermann are maintaining momentum. The big and recently struggling Conde Nast monthly enjoyed a strong second half and now starts `05 ahead 20% in ad pages (their March fashion issue, always a biggie, closed up 30%). Newsstand and sub gains as well with a new ABC filing of 2,397,507 copies.
McDonald's now sponsors the WCBS-AM radio traffic chopper reports. They've even renamed the bird after the fast-food chain.