WOMEN’S WORLD: Media and political power players gathered Tuesday at the Women’s Conference in Long Beach, Calif. By noon, Robin Roberts had moderated a talk between California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sir Richard Branson and FDIC chairman Sheila Blair; Eve Ensler performed part of her latest play, “Emotional Creature”; activist Somaly Mam thanked Glamour editor in chief Cindi Leive for helping her raise awareness in the U.S., and Katie Couric chatted with Annie Leibovitz about her financial situation. “I always let other people handle the finances. Those days are over. It was a good lesson. We are pulling ourselves out [of it],” the photographer said. When asked to dish about some of her famous portraits, Leibovitz laughed, “I still have a few more years I have to work,” but she did reveal she’s about to photograph Justice Sonia Sotomayor for Vogue. During lunch, “Meet The Press” host David Gregory moderated a talk between Madeleine Albright, Amy Holmes, Valerie B. Jarrett and Claire Shipman about women choosing between work and family. Couric, who called herself “an annoyingly upbeat” person, discussed resilience in the face of her husband’s death and her rocky “CBS Evening News” debut (the audience’s applause prompted her to say, “If only a third of you watched the ‘CBS Evening News’….Where are you people when I need you?). Maria Shriver, who founded the conference when Schwarzenegger, her husband, was elected governor of California, spoke about grief before moderating a panel between Elizabeth Edwards and Susan Saint James, who have both lost sons, and Lisa Niemi, Patrick Swayze’s widow. Afternoon speakers included Leive, Linda Ellerbee, Arianna Huffington, Hon. Hilda L. Solis and Caroline Kennedy. — Marcy Medina
HIGH-LEVEL CUTS: The layoffs at Condé Nast are winding down, although several high-level editors continue to exit. At Details, executive editor Greg Williams and fashion director Michael Macko were let go from the magazine Tuesday. Williams had been with Details for two years, while Macko left behind a decade-long tenure at Saks Fifth Avenue to join Details in spring of 2008. At Lucky, special projects director Allyson Waterman was let go, as the magazine has cut back on its events and uses other staffers for its television appearances.
Details cut ad sales positions last week, while Teen Vogue eliminated several staff positions on the sales side on Tuesday. But there were no cuts to the editorial staff since that department will meet its budget targets by eliminating previously unfilled positions and trimming other expenses. Teen Vogue is also working on additional projects, said to include another television show and a special prom insert that will come packaged with the March edition. — Stephanie D. Smith and Amy Wicks
EVEN TV FEELS THE PINCH: It was a tougher than expected third quarter for prime-time television. According to a report from media agency TargetCast tcm, the cost of a prime-time spot dropped 16 percent during the period, to $84,000. Fox had the highest unit cost, at around $121,000, while NBC, CBS and ABC were in the $70,000 to $80,000 range. Gary Carr, senior vice president, executive director of national broadcast, said average pricing was affected by lower ratings and the economy. “No new broadcast network programs caught on with audiences this summer,” said Carr.
Ad-supported cable programming showed ratings growth, thanks to original scripted series, new reality shows and newsworthy events, such as the Michael Jackson tributes, and TLC scored big with “Jon & Kate Plus 8.” ESPN topped the list, with an average unit cost in prime-time of $27,000 and TNT garnered $17,000; for the top 15 rated cable networks, age 25-54, a prime-time spot rose five percent to more than $10,000. — Amy Wicks
KARL IN ARGENTINA: Hosted by Argentine model Iván de Pineda, Karl Lagerfeld, Claudia Schiffer, Freja Beha Erichsen and Baptiste Giacobini were in Buenos Aires last week to shoot the new Chanel ad campaign and an editorial for German Vogue. What did Lagerfeld look for in Buenos Aires? “Tango, elegance, antiques, and good sunlight,” de Pineda told WWD. “They’re amazed about the size of Buenos Aires, the beauty, the cuisine, the great cultural offer and especially the buildings and architecture.”
The photo shoot was meant to be last Wednesday but because of rain the group had to head to the countryside for the old and picturesque district of San Telmo, where they shot some pictures of Schiffer — with a gaucho hat — in Casa de los Ezeiza, a traditional Argentine house built around 1850 and remodeled in 1980. The sun finally shone Thursday morning, so Lagerfeld and his team made the short trip to Campo & Polo in the Cañuelas countryside to continue the shoot. The designer and his entourage were in Argentina until Sunday. — Moira Malandra
MORE SECRETS: Following on from the best-selling book “Secrets of Style,” InStyle has released “The New Secrets of Style: Your Complete Guide to Dressing Your Best Every Day.” “We believe that a closet full of flattering clothes you love means facing every day with the confidence that comes from knowing you look your best,” said editor Ariel Foxman. The book, inspired by Hollywood celebrities, acts as a style adviser to help women edit their closets and analyze their wardrobe. It’s available in bookstores nationwide. — A.W.