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BACK IN THE NAKED CITY: For his next trick, Richard Johnson will write another gossip column for the New York Post, this time under his own name.
Johnson edited the Post’s Page Six column for nearly 25 years before giving up his powerful perch two years ago to edit the gossip section of Rupert Murdoch’s attempt at a tablet publication, The Daily, which was shuttered last year. About a hundred people lost their jobs, but Johnson survived and was absorbed into the Post. Based in Los Angeles, where he moved for the Daily job with his wife, Sessa von Richthofen, he played the part of roving correspondent, pitching in the occasional items to Page Six under his byline.
Last week, the Web site Capital New York reported Johnson was back in New York in some new, unspecified capacity at the Post. According to sources, Johnson is coming back to New York to helm a new column at the urging of Jesse Angelo, the publisher of the Post and its acting editor in chief — Col Allan has been temporarily dispatched to News Corp.’s Australian papers. Before the Post, Angelo was the editor in chief of The Daily. Angelo recently relaunched a revamped nypost.com, where Page Six, now with its own URL, is featured prominently, and he was looking for another established voice like Johnson’s to add to the mix.
While Page Six, which in recent years has focused more on celebrities, will continue in that vein, Angelo is grooming Johnson to be another Post personality, like Andrea Peyser, to take on New York’s power players the way “The Page,” as the Page Six column is sometimes called internally, had when Johnson first came on board in 1985.
After being asked to comment on Johnson’s new column, Angelo sent out a memo to staff addressing Johnson’s new role. “The column will be a mix of gossip from both coasts, society news, business and politics in the legendary style of Neal Travis,” he said.