Ference Guccione BRADY'S BUNCH

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OK, so the Serbs won the damned war. I just hope people in Washington remember that photo of Serbs mocking Muslim prisoners of war and forcing them to wear the fez, the first time someone suggests we send the Serbs a little foreign aid to help them rebuild the old homeland.

Like the new Amstel commercial of the boy and girl after their first date, each confiding in pals how badly things went.

If Tom Florio is, as reported, planning a big 70th anniversary bash for The New Yorker in February, wouldn't it be tremendous if the table favors include copies of James Thurber's "The Years With Ross," best book ever about The New Yorker and one of the finest (and funniest) books about journalism ever. It's been out of print for decades and is tough to find. But surely Alberto Vitale and Harry Evans have their ways. And means.

John Miller reports Metropolitan Home ad pages this year rose from 275 (in '93) to 470; Elle's were up from 920 to 1,000; and Elle Decor jumped from 383 pages last year to 597 this time.

Edelman PR got the Bacardi account. I'll drink to that!

Laurie Sue Brockway, who's a terrific journalist with writing credits from all the major mags and top newspapers, is the new editor in chief of Playgirl, a Crescent Publishing magazine.

Valerie Valente will be working on new business for American Health.

Ski magazine went online this month, with lots of info on road conditions, ride-sharing, bargains, etc. It's all a long way from the early days when assistance was limited to, "Bend ze knees, five dollars, please."

Great expectations for Roger Mudd's brand new history channel, launching Jan. 1.

Boston mag named Louise Palmer a new staff writer. She's a former homicide investigator.

Graydon Carter and John Richardson scored a big one for Vanity Fair by getting the Russians to let them run a big advance color section on those incredible paintings the Hermitage in St. Petersburg is about to unveil next spring.

Lou Hammond in New York got the PR account for the U.S. and Canada of the Australian Tourist Commission.

Southwest Passages magazine named Christina Pascale an account exec.

Oh, dear! Mort Downey Jr. will be back on TV with a new show being launched by Chicago's WCIU next month. Susan Malone's the exec in charge and promises, "this time, he's listening!"

Sunset has a new account manager in NY, Will Schenck. He'd been with Discover.

I think with all the pre-release hype and controversy that they're nuts to change the title of Bob Altman's "Pret-A-Porter" to "Ready-to-Wear" but what do I know? Incidentally, Nino Cerruti, who did some of the clothes, was due to fly into NY from Paris for the opening frolic.

Marvin Shanken never rests! The Cigar Aficionado publisher now offers two spin-off books, a guide to restaurants that welcome cigar smokers and a new buying guide to premium cigars, priced at $9.95 each. Nice stocking stuffer idea. Info from Marvin at (800) 992-2442.

Ogilvy Adams & Rinehart promoted Henry Miller to managing director of the NY office's PR group.

House Beautiful closed the year up 8% in ad pages over 1993. All hail, Carole Ference!

USA Today has a new director of sports sales and marketing, Jeff Urban, promoted from manager. Before joining the newspaper in 1991 he worked for Y&R.

Wow! National Geographic starts the year with January ad pages up 92% over January a year ago.

Spin magazine will be 10 years old next April. Only seems like yesterday Bob Guccione Jr. was hustling his obviously silly idea. They end 1994 with ad pages up 15% over a year earlier.

The great Alex Liberman, fit and elegant as ever, seen lunching at Michael's on West 55th in NY with John Brunelle.

Success is enjoying same. The magazine increases its rate base from 400,000 to 440,000 next March and closes 1994 up 21% in ad pages.

Robert Mondavi now has a toll-free line direct to the winery for info and orders, (800) Mondavi. Which makes sense.

How Dickensian can you get? I'm off to London for the pre-Christmas revels at Mr. Pickwick's and will be reporting back in my first column after the hols. And a hearty Wassail to you all for a happy Christmas and splendid '95!

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