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COULDN’T CLOSE A DEAL: Though Entertainment Weekly got a vote of confidence from Time Inc. when it moved in Jess Cagle, a well-respected editor at People, to become managing editor in January, its publisher wasn’t given the same backing. Scott Donaton will exit the magazine May 8, after 17 months at the title. In that time, Donaton and then-managing editor Rick Tetzeli ushered in improvements to the magazine and its Web site, with a redesign, more bloggers and original content online. While EW’s editorial changes resulted in a 7 percent growth in newsstand sales in 2008’s second half, and sales have remained flat so far in 2009, advertising slumped. EW’s pages fell 20 percent last year, to 1,215 pages, according to Publishers Information Bureau. Pages fell 38 percent in the first quarter of 2009, and similar declines are estimated to continue through the second quarter. The dismal ad performance could in part be blamed on the economy, but sources close to the magazine have also said Donaton “didn’t go on sales calls” to rope in new business. According to a brief internal memo, Donaton “is starting a consulting firm that works with brands on the convergence of entertainment and marketing.” A replacement will be named shortly.
— Stephanie D. Smith