Brady's Bunch

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Alternative newspapers your thing? Get hold of the New York Press, a free weekly broadsheet put out by 44-year-old Russ Smith (he owns 51%) and other inspired media maniacs. For 12 years it's been battling such relative giants as the Village Voice and the rich Arthur Carter New York Observer. How're you doing? I asked Russ, the editor-CEO who writes the "Mugger" column. "Circulation is 115,000, all in Manhattan and ABC-audited. We average 120-124 pages a week, 55% of it ad pages. We've invested (lost?) $4.5 million over 12 years while the Observer lost $50 million. We're close to breaking even and could sell the paper for many times the multiple, but we're in it for the long run." He describes the editorial approach as "a real stew of opinion from the extreme left to me" (Russ is pretty far-right except on social issues such as gay rights and pro-choice). He also writes like a dream and is invariably wrong on political predictions. Most exotic of his team? Taki, the wealthy Greek man-about-town dedicated to dueling, having fun and restoring select European monarchies. Taki and "Mugger" cut a deal where "We don't pay him, he doesn't pay us and Taki pays his own writers" to fill several columns of ferocious opinion every issue, with the Press keeping the ad revenue. All clear?

Publisher Anne Kallin Zehren reports Teen People already nailed its millionth sub, boosted its rate base 200% since launch (two years ago) and is 30% ahead in ad pages this year to date.

Janet T. Serluco named senior VP-head of a new healthcare division at Gilbert & Manjura Marketing, a Longwood, Fla.- based agency.

Susan Blank moved from publisher of Mirabella to publisher of W, the hot Fairchild book. Colleen Wyse becomes associate publisher.

GQ making lots of noise about the current issue with Tom Cruise and Harrison Ford on the cover. But the 228 ad pages inside have Tom Florio even more excited. First quarter ad pages are up 11% over 1999.

"Seussical The Musical" will open on Broadway (the Richard Rodgers) in October, based natch! on the Dr. Seuss books. Book & score by Tony winners Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty.

March issue of Men's Journal (Wenner Media) up 11.8% in ad pages.

It was inevitable! Now there's an L.L. Bean catalog parody, by Larry Bleidner & Peter Scott, a career survival kit for "L&L Beancounters," $12.95 in trade paperback.

New Publisher Steven B. Grune reports in from Midwest Living (Meredith Corp.) to say the March/April will be the biggest ad page/ad dollar issue in 14 years. It carries 160 ad pages.

Please tell me Star Jones of ABC-TV's popular "The View" show, was putting us on with that Feb. 27 profile in The New York Times by Bob Morris. She was kidding, wasn't she? Barbara, someone! please tell me she was kidding.

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