There is one story and one conversation these days, and though it didn't hit magazine covers until late last month, even Cover Story recognizes it. World Trade Center-related covers, correctly, dominated the weeklies in September, aptly reflecting the pause, the sudden stillness, that descended over this typically celeb-crazed culture. Meanwhile, the second- and third-place winners-significantly trailing the World Trade Center's nine Cover Story points-go to the trio of longhaired lovelies who, until Sept. 11, had looked likely to compete for this year's crown. In second place with seven points, glamour gal and wronged wife Nicole Kidman. Just behind the former Mrs. Tom Cruise in third place: a tie, between glamour gals Julia Roberts and Jennifer Lopez. (While it didn't take news to get two of 'em on mags, the coverage of J. Lo's just-inked nuptials was mercifully muted, an approach Cover Story fervently hopes-against-hope will persist.) Another sign of the times: Just out of the running in fourth place, with 5 1/2 Cover Story points, is returning-to-obscurity California Congressman Gary Condit. Remember him?
Cover Story is Ad Age's monthly rankings of celebrities' popularity as reflected by their appearances on the covers of more than 30 of the nation's leading publications.