'Living Room' Slated for Fall With Bonnie Fuller as Editor

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NEW YORK ( -- At a time when some magazines are coming to a full stop, at least one is getting a green light.

Meredith Corp. last week decided to proceed with the test issue this fall of Living Room, a younger-skewing shelter title that former Glamour editor Bonnie Fuller has helped develop and is expected to helm.

Ms. Fuller, who has been working as a consultant on the project since last summer, is said to be in negotiations with the company to formalize her involvement.

If the fall trial is a success, the magazine could ramp up to monthly frequency next year. Meredith followed a similar plan for the launch of More, a magazine for older women.

Shuttering 'HomeStyle'
The decision

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about Living Room came in the same week that Gruner & Jahr USA Publishing shuttered its own shelter magazine, HomeStyle, which underwent a redesign last year to pull in younger readers.

Living Room is expected to have a strong service tilt, and to be aimed at younger women who are renting or buying their first apartments and homes. Should it succeed, it will bring a new generation of readers to Meredith's database. The Des Moines, Iowa-based publisher's powerhouse is the 7.6 million-circulation Better Homes and Gardens. Meredith also publishes Ladies' Home Journal and Traditional Home.

First-time homebuyers are a lucrative market. They represent 42% of all homebuyers, according to the National Association of Realtors.

A spokeswoman acknowledged that Ms. Fuller is at work on a prototype of a lifestyle magazine aimed at younger women, but declined further comment. Jerry Kaplan, president of Meredith's magazine group, referred to an October conference call with analysts. During the call, Meredith Chairman-CEO Bill Kerr said, "We're encouraged about the potential of Living Room, a women's lifestyle and decorating magazine now in development that targets 20- and 30-somethings."

Ms. Fuller was unavailable for comment.

Before Ms. Fuller began work on the project from Meredith's New York offices, the publisher had conducted two newsstand tests of a magazine called Living Room that it produced in Des Moines.

Bonnie Fuller's rise and fall
Ms. Fuller blazed through the magazine world in the '90s, editing in rapid succession Hearst Magazines' Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan before jumping in 1998 to Conde Nast Publications' Glamour. There, her vaunted commercial touch seemed to desert her. The title's newsstand sales slipped a sharp 10.7% for the first half of 2001. A protracted flirtation with Hearst executives for the editorship of Harper's Bazaar did little to endear her to executives at either company. Last May, Conde Nast replaced Ms. Fuller.

The shelter category is crowded with offerings. They include: Conde Nast's Architectural Digest and House and Garden; Hearst's Town Country and House Beautiful and Hachette Filipacchi's Home and Metropolitan Home.

Younger-skewing titles include Time Inc.'s Wallpaper and independent Nest.

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