There I was, lunching in that sleek new Conde Nast cafeteria overlooking Times Square as the guest of House & Garden Editor Dominique Browning and Publisher Brenda Saget, when suddenly I panicked: Do they serve wine? Ms. Saget, cool under pressure, swiftly had a Chardonnay '98 fetched to accompany the mesclun salad and the red snapper. As you know, the original House & Garden, then working under an alias as HG, was put to sleep and then brought back in September 1996, and according to my luncheon hosts, is doing very nicely, thank you. Through April ad pages are running 17% ahead of last year (Hearst's House Beautiful is up 13% and Architectural Digest up 4%). The rate base is 700,000 (it was only 550,000 when shut down) and will go to 750,000 next February. Editor Browning, who earlier worked for Mirabella and before that ran Newsweek's back of the book, was handpicked by James Truman to revive the grand old title (the mag turns 100 in 2001). "We want a House & Garden for today," he told me. "It was a beloved magazine that taught American women how to be upper middle class women. And it celebrated American design. It had such a strong DNA genetic code, and the trick to me was, what is that code and how do we make it meaningful to a new generation? Seventy-five percent of our ads duplicate with Architectural Digest but only 12% of our readership. Designers are the key to the magazine. Also part of the DNA is superb writing, including a National Magazine Award nomination for essay writing by Verlyn Klinkenborg." And the design news? "The mix of styles. A stainless steel kitchen is OK in an 18th century house or apartment."
Debuting officially on Father's Day (June 18), the new dads magazine hits newsstands tomorrow (D Day, by the way). Seth Kean's publisher and Eric Garland editor-CEO.
IDG Communications (it publishes CIO for info officers) is launching Darwin, aimed at execs generally to help them grasp high-tech stuff.
Family and friends of the great Joe Heller will remember him June 12 at the N.Y. Society for Ethical Culture at West 64th Street in Manhattan, 6:30 P.M.
They moved the offices (even the city room) of the International Herald Trib to 6 bis, rue des Graviers in the Paris suburb of Neuilly, "facing the graveyard," I'm told.
Premiere promoted Craig Kaplan to ad director.
Onward and upward at Mademoiselle, Brett Hill named exec editor and Dale Hrabi new exec creative editor.
Myrna Blyth's More is doing so well they're hiring: Susan Crandall as editor, Anna Demchick as creative director, Lois Joy Johnson as beauty and fashion director.
Boating has a new ad director, Lori Jacoby.
Hired by Golf Digest Woman as a contributing editor, Dina Ruiz Eastwood, Clint's wife.
Al Roker's latest book, about fatherhood, is titled, "Don't Make Me Stop This Car!" We all know the feeling.