Brady's Bunch

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"The big news for us is that Allure just reached the million mark (in circ)," said Publisher Nancy Berger Cardone over lunch, as Editor Linda Wells who's been there from the beginning, chimed in, "Our goals then were so modest. We started off at 200,000 copies, ran no ads, did no market research. We were rubbing two sticks together to make a fire. It was maybe five years before we first figured out just what our potential might be." In addition to the growing circulation, Nancy said ad pages this year were up 7% to 1,378 on top of a 2003 page increase of 10% over the previous year. And despite her admission, "there isn't any advertiser out there who plans for the year," Nancy said, "we are placed to have a good '05." Two new wrinkles (can I say that about Allure?): an Allure Bride spinoff for newsstands only at a $3.95 cover price (if it clicks, they'll put this one out every spring and every fall) and a first-ever single sponsor edit insert (this one about skin myths) for subscribers-only paid for by Neutrogena. On other fronts, Linda and Nancy say Allure is now No.1 in beauty advertising and is expanding fashion coverage. But doesn't that put you in competition with Vogue, Glamour and other Conde Nast books? "Anything wrong with that?" responded feisty Wells.

Can anybody save Serena Williams from her own fashion designs? Consider the orange tutu she sported versus Sharapova in L.A. pro tour finals broadcast by ESPN2.

Better Homes & Gardens Publisher Dan Lagani admits, "2004 has been a battle each and every month but it closes another extraordinary year and best two-year run in the magazine's history." Each year, he says, broke 2,000 ad page mark.

The Eisner/Disney/Ovitz lawsuit in Delaware has not been going on longer than Jarndyce v. Jarndyce in "Bleak House."

Just what is going on at Men's Fitness? Yet another shakeup, new editor, new publisher. Over at Men's Health Dave Zinczenko must be enjoying a chuckle.

Madonna's phony English accent is getting better, if Pat O'Brien's "Insider" interview was any indication.

Showbiz power Bernie Brillstein's second book, "The Little Stuff Matters Most," is out in hardcover and selling.

Rushing the season? First Xmas gift to hit my desk, from Susan Ungaro of Family Circle (Gruner & Jahr), a picture frame. Says Editor Ungaro, they're encouraging the American woman "to accomplish her dreams by giving her the ideas and means on every page."

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