Redesigned ‘TV Guide’ Eclipses Fledgling Title

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NEW YORK ( -- Gemstar-TV Guide International has pulled the plug on Inside TV, the celebrity-centric weekly that made its debut just last April.

“We are now pursuing a more focused strategy of building upon our company’s considerable core assets, including the TV Guide brand, to achieve the goal of being the leading consumer brand for video guidance and enabling transactions across multiple platforms,” said Rich Battista, CEO, Gemstar-TV Guide. “Inside TV is not central to this strategy, and it has not been performing as well as we had initially expected.”

Inside TV’s last issue will be dated Nov. 21 and appear on newsstands Nov. 17. Steve LeGrice, editor-in-chief, and Christine Petrillo, publisher, are leaving the company. Gemstar-TV Guide said it anticipated shutdown costs to range from $2 million to $5 million.

Lowered expectations
The decision to shutter the magazine comes just four weeks after Gemstar-TV Guide introduced a wholly revamped TV Guide that closely resembles Inside TV in approach and look. The relaunched TV Guide also reduced its guarantee of paid circulation to 3.2 million from an eye-popping but mixed-quality 9 million.

Inside TV had guaranteed paid circulation of 400,000, but never seemed to deliver on the newsstands. It never got a chance to file circulation figures with the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

One of the magazine’s greatest hopes had been unusual advertising opportunities, including the chance for advertisers to sponsor editorial-section polls and pay for other “integrated” advertising --programs that violated the guidelines of the American Society of Magazine Editors governing the separation of advertising from editorial. That program never seemed to take off.

While the fall of Inside TV would seem to have a lot to do with its similarity to the new TV Guide, it also offers the first concrete suggestion that the celebrity-weekly category is finding its limits.

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