France said the changes to the magazine are done, but don't expect that to last for too long. "We'll keep changing and continue to evolve. We all get a little restless around here." — Amy Wicks
PARTY POOPER: As his co-workers prepped for a four o'clock Thursday celebration of the regime change at Alpha Media Group (formerly Dennis Publishing), Maxim editor in chief Jimmy Jellinek got word that his services would no longer be needed. Though Jellinek had planned to attend the party as of Thursday morning, he instead wished the staff bon voyage and walked out of the offices less than an hour before the festivities at the Bryant Park Hotel began. Jellinek was replaced by Men's Journal editor James Kaminsky, who will take the title of editorial director at the magazine as of Sept. 17.
Many Alpha staffers did not find out about his departure until new chief executive Kent Brownridge unveiled the change to about 100 party attendees. "What a blow, dude!" said one partier upon hearing the news. Silence hung over the party as Brownridge announced Kaminsky's appointment, many not sure whether or not to applaud the news. But the appointment shouldn't come as a shock — he was executive editor at Maxim from 1999 to 2002 and worked with Brownridge at Wenner Media while serving as deputy managing editor at Rolling Stone. Kaminsky was also editorial director at Playboy.
The poaching from Brownridge's former stomping grounds was also seen by some as a blow to Jann Wenner, Brownridge's former boss and now publishing competitor. As one said, Wenner must be "pulling up the drawbridge and gathering the troops" to prevent Brownridge from plucking others from the Wenner ranks.
As if the editor switch wasn't unsettling enough, the mood overall was uncertain among the staffers from Maxim, Blender and the remnants of Stuff, who sipped cocktails in the Cellar Bar of the hotel. But Brownridge tried to ease some of that confusion: "I first became interested in this company in the past 16 months, when I thought it was a jewel," he said. "I appreciate you being here today, and you won't be sorry." Said one staffer, who shrugged his shoulders in summation of the day's events: "It's the Kent show." — Stephanie D. Smith