Brady's Bunch

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House Beautiful, the Hearst Corp. monthly edited by Marian McEvoy, must have Cathie Black smiling and rivals grimacing and demanding, how does she do it? I lunched at Michael's the other day with Ms. McEvoy and Publisher David Arnold and was told their magazine is 6% ahead in ad pages through July, a period during which Arnold claims the category was down "about 18%." And, mind you, that category includes such biggies as Architectural Digest, House & Garden, and Elle Decor. David says circ is about even with Traditional Home and larger than the others: "We're all very close demographically." Marian, who was fashion editor in Paris for Women's Wear Daily and later worked for The New York Times, Elle and Elle Decor (as its editor), is slim, dark, elegant. House Beautiful uses its Web site to test covers and overlines, getting an average 1,000-2,000 hits a day. "It's been very good for our newsstand," she says. And the editor receives 60 to 120 e-mails daily, and "I answer them all or pass them on to be handled. Our whole staff knows they have to answer them." That ad page count? Says suntanned, British Mr. Arnold, in the job nearly three years (Marian's second anniversary is in August), says with a delighted modesty, "It's a miracle."

Lunching together at the Four Seasons in Manhattan: Sandy Weill with Ron Perelman et al; Barry Diller with Felix Rohatyn.

Pawing over the entrails for good omens? Publisher Peter Bauer of powerhouse People writes to say the ad sales outlook "is much brighter (June up 10%) and from the look of the third quarter, there's every reason to believe this will continue."

Ed Kelly of American Express Publishing tells me it's going to be "a hot summer." Food & Wine up 14% in July ad pages, Travel & Leisure up 5%.

It ran an extra issue in May, but it's still pretty stunning that Entertainment Weekly was up 80% in ad pages for the month. This comes from Publisher David Morris.

Time Inc. publishes some of the most powerful & profitable magazines in America, but with stock at a 52-week low of 16 bucks, that AOL merger may rank among media's worst.

My question for that Mets pitcher: How can you miss Roger Clemens' rear end?

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