This was lunchtime during our latest nor'easter, and two tall, imposing women came into Michael's, one blonde and Nordic, the other younger but elegantly sinister with cheekbones and black, almost lacquered hair. They run what they call "the No. 1 book in advertising and readership" in the fiercely competitive category of teen magazines. Atoosa Rubenstein is Iranian-born, 33, and the editor; Jayne Jamison is the publisher and mother of two (one, conveniently, a 17-year-old girl). And it was Cathie Black of Hearst who brought them both in two and a half years ago to resuscitate a grand old magazine on the slide. It seems to be working. Last month with Atoosa helming, Seventeen teamed up with MTV for a Monday night reality show called "Miss Seventeen," designed to extend the brand. Its debut doubled the usual prime time MTV audience. Says Atoosa, "I'm doing the show, writing a syndicated newspaper column for King Features, doing a blog and editing a magazine. We're about to produce our first CD with Sony BMG based on Billy Mann's page about music, spotlighting new indie artists. And since I'm on camera, I can't look stressed. When I go on `Today' I'm introduced as `the editor of Seventeen' and they ask me about things I know. On a reality show, you have these unpredictable moments and people who will say anything." And when those "people" are teenaged girls, just imagine the chaos. And what does the boss think? "Cathie loves it. She was in Puerto Rico at the MPA and threw her own pajama party to watch the first show." Says Jayne: "Our newsstand is up. At $2.95 we're outselling ElleGirl and Teen Vogue (at $1.99). Our Internet ad revenues are up 50%. And ad pages are ahead about 20 pages to 975, while the category is down. Next year looks good, a better year." "Can I tell him?" asks Atoosa. "Why not?" says Jayne. "We've created this really groovy magazine that will not be called `Seventeen.' It will be a 24-page `outsert,' 90,000 copies in March or April, repeated in the fall, and we'll go on from there. It's called Orchid and it's elegant and sexy. The Seventeen girl is a `carnation;' the Orchid girl is in college or thinking college and she wears a dress like this and maybe a little black eyeliner." Adds Jayne, "you're getting this information before Cathie." Thanks, but I doubt that.
Thursday evening Golf Digest takes over Manhattan's Grant Gallery for a show of photos of "golf's icons." Publisher Tom Bair hosts.
Ran into the indomitable Kurt Vonnegut (he'll be 83 this week) on Second Avenue who tells me that on his recent "Daily Show with Jon Stewart" appearance to plug his latest, "Man Without a Country," he was "scared spitless." Which I doubt.
Producer Matt Singerman, who just jumped from "Fox & Friends" to run the TV Guide Channel, is the son of circulation maven Marty Singerman, who was publisher of the New York Post and one of Rupert Murdoch's key early hires in America.
My pals from Le Cirque say the great restaurant's latest version (in the Bloomberg building) slated for December, now looks like March.
Jock Elliott of Ogilvy was as classy an agency guy as I ever met.