The Oprah machine hums on, powerful and efficient, spinning off O At Home, with a 1.5 million initial press run. So I lunched at Michael's with three of the smarties who keep O itself and its offspring humming. Editor Amy Gross, one of the town's true pros; Publisher Jill Seelig (she's left-handed and a redhead, so watch out!) and a talk-show host herself; and Oprah confidant, Gayle King. The new "at home" Oprah is a handsome rascal carrying 53 ad pages and a dreamy rose garden of a bed (no, it's not Ms. Winfrey's) on the cover. On Oct. 5 they'll put out a second issue, once again, strictly newsstand. And then they'll decide whether all systems are go. Or rethink. But do we need another shelter book? "It's a shelter magazine with people in it," says Editor at Large King. "What [Oprah] stands for is unique. Who else will bring forth her ideas, a woman whose home in Mississippi literally had an outhouse and her job as a kid was to empty the slop bucket?" Jill says "anything between 600,000 and 1.5 million" will be considered a successful launch sale. The new book came about when the December `03 issue of O, with heavy home content, sold very well and Michael Clinton of partner Hearst Corp. said, "Hey, we may just have something here." And O itself? Its circ is up to 2.6 mil (second only to Cosmo) and year to date ad pages are ahead 10.5% with June its best June yet. Says Gayle King, "I try not to sound like a Moonie, but she's the real deal."
Hachette Filipacchi Media USA named Jill Davison senior director-corporate communications.
Weight Watchers says its May/June issue, with 80 ad pages, is its largest issue ever (36 years). Chuck Bradley's the ad director.
Longtime partner of Yves Saint Laurent, art connoisseur and zillionaire Pierre Berge flew in from Paris and lunched at the Four Seasons. I got kissed on both cheeks and we swapped gossip about John Fairchild.
Red hot In Touch boosts the rate base again in July to 650,000 from half a mil. Bauer Publishing, take a bow.
Clever Kate White's latest best-seller "`Til Death Do Us Part" was launched with a book party in Borders on Park Ave. with the Cosmo editor mobbed by young career woman who've elevated her to icon status. I asked Cathie Black if Hearst got a piece of the action? `"'The best," said quotable Cathie, "We get Kate."