The Week

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Buyers weigh 'Today' post-Couric

media buyers predicted that the "Today" show might stumble initially following the departure of Katie Couric after 15 years to anchor "The CBS Evening News." But they said NBC's most profitable show is strong enough to stand the defection. Ms. Couric will also join the team of CBS documentary show "60 Minutes." Reports suggest NBC is close to signing a deal with Meredith Vieira to share the couch with Matt Lauer on "Today." Ms. Vieira hosts the syndicated show, "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," and also appears on ABC's "The View" with Barbara Walters. NBC said it had no official comment. QwikFIND aar58h

$2.6 billion deal between Regis, Alberto falls apart

alberto-culver co. last week withdrew its recommendation that shareholders approve a $2.6 billion deal to spin off its beauty-products-distribution business with Regis Corp., following Regis' announcement late last month that first-quarter earnings will disappoint. The move throws a wrench into Regis' plans to use newfound muscle produced by the deal to clamp down on rampant diversion of professional hair-care brands into mass outlets. In a statement, Alberto-Culver said its board decided unanimously to no longer support the deal in light of two consecutive quarterly earnings disappointments by Regis since the agreement was announced in January. Regis responded by terminating the merger agreement, triggering a $50 million breakup fee to be paid by Alberto-Culver. Spokespeople for Alberto-Culver and Regis could not immediately be reached for comment. QwikFIND aar58p

Time Inc. creates business, finance network

continuing a reorganization designed to boost revenue and cut costs, Time Inc. combined the sales and marketing operations of its business and finance titles - Fortune, Fortune Small Business, Money and Business 2.0. The new sales organization, which also includes, will be led by newly appointed group publishers Michael Dukmejian and Michael Federle. Mr. Dukmejian had been publisher of Money; Mr. Federle had been group publisher of Fortune. Three employees out of about 100 lost their jobs in the creation of the consolidated unit, called the Time Inc. Business and Finance Network. After that move, all eyes turned to Time Inc., which was expected to make even bigger staff-wracking changes by week's end. QwikFIND aar57x

Conde Nast will unite bridal titles online

conde nast publications said it planned to unite the Web sites of its bridal magazines-Brides, Modern Bride and Elegant Bride- under the address with new content and tools. Its local print products in 16 markets-Modern Bride Connection magazines with titles like Modern Bride Houston and Modern Bride Atlanta-will be renamed Brides Houston, Brides Atlanta and so on. They then will become companions to the Web site, which will offer localization on-screen as well. Magazines generally host Web sites of their own, whether built-out or skimpy, but Conde Nast most often directs people looking for its magazines' sites to larger destination portals like its QwikFIND aar57w

American Media shutters 'Celebrity Living Weekly'

american media shut down Celebrity Living Weekly, Shape en Espanol and car mag MPH amid a review of its businesses and a new financial conservatism at the company. David J. Pecker, chairman-CEO, also ordered The National Enquirer back to Florida, from which it relocated to New York only last year. Unless one counts Inside TV, the short-lived title from Gemstar-TV Guide, Celebrity Living became the first celebrity weekly to close since Us Weekly put the once-unstoppable category on the map. Still pending from American Media: the completion of an internal audit that will allow it to finally restate 18 months worth of financial reports. QwikFIND aar58b

Design firm for P&G to buy One80 Design

the merger of Procter & Gamble Co. with Gillette has helped spawn a merger of design firms serving the two companies. Cincinnati-based packaging and in-store design firm Laga has agreed to acquire New York-based One80 Design for undisclosed terms in a deal that creates a rare design firm spanning graphic and industrial design in the package, product and in-store fields. The combined firms also will have a Chicago office. Laga has long served P&G brands in the beauty area. One80 counts Gillette among its clients, which also include 3M, Coffee Mate and Frito-Lay. For H.J. Heinz, One80 was recently part of a task on NBC's "Apprentice" to design a ketchup bottle. For Gillette, One80 designed the Venus disposable razor.
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