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After the unceremonious closure of Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World Sunday tabloid last year, in the wake of the phone hacking scandal at the title, News International is preparing to launch a Sunday edition of its daily tabloid The Sun this weekend.
The inaugural issue will have a cover price of 50 pence, or about 78 cents. Over the past week, The Sun has been teasing details of the celebrity columnists that it’s signed to the paper. They include Toby Young, who will write a political column; socialite Nancy Dell’Olio, who will be a style columnist, and Roy Keane, a former captain of soccer team Manchester United, who will write a sports column. In a double page advertising spread in The Sun Friday, the paper trumpeted the Sunday paper’s low price, and said its Saturday edition will now also be priced at 50 pence. The Sunday Mirror, a rival tabloid, is priced at 1 pound, or $1.57. The Sun also said an additional columnist for the Sunday paper will be unveiled Saturday.
In a statement revealing Keane’s appointment, News International said: “The Sunday edition [of The Sun] will continue to offer readers the content that makes The Sun Britain’s most popular newspaper, with the best coverage of the latest news, sport and entertainment.”
According to a report in London’s Guardian newspaper earlier this week, the Sunday edition of the Sun will be a more family-oriented paper than the News of the World, whose pages were filled with lurid celebrity scandals and crime stories. Fabulous Magazine, the glossy supplement that was part of The News of the World and then transferred to the Saturday edition of The Sun, will now be part of a Sunday edition, a spokeswoman for News International said.
According to British press reports, the paper is expected to have an initial print run of 3 million copies, and it will be edited by The Sun’s editor Dominic Mohan. The spokeswoman said that the staff of the Sunday and weekday editions of The Sun will be substantially the same, and noted that The Sun has now become a seven-day operation, rather than the Sunday edition being a standalone title.
Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch, News Corporation’s chairman and chief executive, has taken to Twitter to offer his perspective on the paper’s launch. On Thursday he exuberantly tweeted that the paper is “completely sold out for advertising!” and on Friday he tweeted about the paper’s sales figures, proclaiming, “I will be very happy at anything substantially over two million!”