Brady's Bunch

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I'm told after Rosie O'Donnell leaves her talk show next year, she already is thinking-and seriously so-about hosting a new game show.

Until I was mugged (well, approached politely) during a blacktie dinner last autumn aboard the Intrepid by Susan Hart Quinn, Northeast manager for the magazine, I'd never heard of Veranda, which is all about elegant, comfortable and welcoming houses. Eager to inform me, Ms. Quinn and Atlanta-based publisher Sims Bray Jr., bought lunch at the Palm and revealed that: since its launch as a regional quarterly in 1987 with an initial circ of 20,000, Veranda has gone national, increased frequency to every-other-month, boosted circulation to 395,000 (up 16% in the last year), and this year, at higher rates, its ad pages are 4% ahead. How do they do it? A $5.50 cover price, $24 a year for a sub, no gimmicks, no free issues, no contests. From being a local Southeast book, its biggest market is now California. Bray and Quinn know Architectural Digest is out there and winning pennants every year. They're respectful, but not daunted.

Chris Meigher's had his troubles, having to sell off two class magazines, Saveur and Garden Design to consolidate efforts on Quest. Is it starting to pay off? Quest was up 10 ad pages in June. Says longtime Time Inc. exec Chris, "In the worst of ad markets, thank God for luxury goods and residential real estate ad power."

American Express Publishing Corp.'s Travel & Leisure came out with its annual "best" awards. Ritz-Carlton has three hotels in the world's top 10, Chicago, Naples, Fla., and Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii. Best hotel of all, says Editor Nancy Novogrod, is Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay. London's Savoy comes in 89th, New York's Carlyle at 94. But where is my fave, The Connaught?

United Stations Radio Networks teams up with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland in a joint promotion. N.Y.-based United Stations was created in 1994 by Dick Clark and Nick Verbitsky.

Does Chris Madden miss the magazine biz? I'd think not. Her latest 70-piece collection for Bassett Furniture drove raves and big bucks at the Spring High Point (N.C.) furniture market. She used to be with Time Inc. and is married to former mag publisher (New York, etc.) Kevin Madden, and has two sons.

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