Memo Pad: Nina, Chapter Three Of?... Voluntary, or Not...

The Nina Garcia story is turning into the Energizer bunny of reality TV - it just won’t quit.

NINA, CHAPTER THREE OF…?: The Nina Garcia story is turning into the Energizer bunny of reality TV — it just won’t quit. On Tuesday, more details emerged of the behind-the-scenes wrangling between the former Elle fashion director, “Project Runway” and the magazine as Garcia continued to mull over whether to accept a contributing editor’s role at the title after being pushed out on Friday. But even if she does, it’s only a temporary gig — sources said her time at Elle would end by the sixth season of “Project Runway,” whether or not the magazine remains a partner. That means she’d no longer be involved with Elle as of mid-October.

Sources said Garcia was offered the option to stay on in an at-large capacity on Friday, when word initially broke of her dismissal. Management supposedly offered Garcia the role for a period of around six months, long enough for her to appear on season five of “Project Runway” (she would also continue writing her column for the magazine). Elle is contracted as a partner on the show through that season, the last before it moves from Bravo to the Lifetime Network. The season finale is due to air around the first or second week of October.

Meanwhile, The Weinstein Co., the show’s producer, is hedging its bets, as sources say it remains in talks to bring back Garcia; the fourth judge, Michael Kors; Elle, and other partners and sponsors for the sixth season. Whether the show would rehire Garcia if Elle remains involved and she isn’t associated with the publication still isn’t clear (as if so much else is?).

Sources close to Elle also said Garcia never had a contract at the magazine, as previously reported in some media outlets on Friday. And still, as of Tuesday, there was no official comment on Garcia’s departure by either Elle, parent company Hachette Filipacchi Media or Garcia. A new day brings new hope. — Stephanie D. Smith

VOLUNTARY, OR NOT: The New York Times management has informed the newsroom that it will probably resort to layoffs to reduce head count by about 100 positions, as the deadline for voluntary buyouts looms. Executive editor Bill Keller had announced in mid-February that the grim economic picture for the paper — and newspapers in general — would necessitate the newsroom cuts across the board, and news of buyouts accepted by name-brand writers such as Amanda Hesser and Linda Greenhouse has been trickling out since. But the deadline to accept the buyout expires early next week, and a memo from assistant managing editor Bill Schmidt made it clear that, so far, volunteers won’t be enough to meet the numbers. “While we will not know the hard count until [next week], every effort to handicap the outcome suggests that we are almost certain to fall short of the number of volunteers we will need,” he wrote in the memo, first posted online by the New York Observer late Tuesday. “If that is indeed the case, as we expect it will be, we will — regrettably — be forced to resort to some limited number of layoffs within the core newsroom….I wish I could offer some clearer sense of scale.” Schmidt urged employees who might be mulling the buyout to give it “serious consideration, if you believe there is some financial advantage in it for you and your family. Each buyout we record before next Tuesday reduces the number of layoffs we will have to seek.”
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