Brady's Bunch

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If you have the impression Smithsonian magazine is edited by long-bearded museum fuddy-duddies, meet Editor in Chief Carey Winfrey. It is true he has a beard, neatly trimmed, but he also is the son of a jockey and thoroughbred horse trainer, went to school near Pimlico with racetrack kids, and after graduating from Columbia's "J" School, spent three years as a Marine officer. Since taking over the monthly in mid-2001, he's been putting out a livelier, edgier product that delights Publisher Amy Wilkins, herself a rather nifty blonde mother of a 3-year-old. Amy is crowing over a new survey by EquiTrends, which finds Smithsonian is the "No. 1 World Brand." Circulation, she tells me, tops 2 million, with yummy demos. Ad pages are still off about 5% YTD, but with pharmaceuticals booming and auto picking up. Getting to the bottom line, the mag actually makes money for parent Smithsonian Institution, which has everyone happy, especially Congress, which appropriates the dough.

Why are they wringing their hands at GE over what to do with Barry Diller after the Vivendi acquisition? Throw money and authority at clever Mr. Diller, let him run Universal and make everyone rich! Or richer!

Please inform me when the first computer virus vandal does actual hard time. This latest creep's on house arrest.

Mary Beth Wright tells me Family Fun, the Disney mag, boosts its rate base by 100,000 in February to a whopping 1.85 million.

What MPA used to call its "smaller magazine advisory council" is now the "Independent Magazine Advisory Group," and it holds its annual meeting Oct. 19 as part of the American Magazine conference, which runs through Oct. 22 at Rancho Mirage, Calif. Lots of big shots will be there.

If you're a devotee of neighborhood papers, have I got a unique entry for you: The Battery Park City Broadsheet, published by Robert Simko on classy white stock like that of the original W. It's 6 years old and booming. Simko tells me Clay Felker started him off with one word of counsel: "Classifieds!"

Country Living celebrates 25 years of publication with an Oct. 2 evening at ABC Carpet & Home in Manhattan.

Madison Ave. and other "Friends of Pat Ford," who's battling cancer, gather Oct. 8 at the theatre of St. Peter's Church for a benefit performance of Louis Mustillo's "Bartender." Tix are $100 at Wollensky's Grill or by phone, 212-935-5820, Ext. 11.

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