Memo Pad: You're Either In, Or You're Out Or You're Not...

Take Nina Garcia, Elle, "Project Runway," Lifetime Television and Bravo and what do you get?

Also up in the air is whether the magazine and other partners will be involved in the show's season six. The magazine is said to have been exploring partnerships with "America's Next Top Model" — whose producers Ken Mok and Tyra Banks are also producing "Fashionista" — and ABC's "Ugly Betty."

As of Monday afternoon, Garcia was still mulling over whether to accept the Elle offer and executives at Hachette Filipacchi Media remained mum on the situation as of Monday afternoon. Since neither Hachette nor Garcia herself would speak about the departure or her future plans, Garcia has hired Rubenstein Associates Inc. to spread word about her accomplishments at Elle during her seven years at the title (since no one at Elle seems to speaking about them). The spokeswoman would not, however, confirm or deny the reports of Garcia's departure from Elle.

A source close to "Project Runway" said the program "is in negotiations with her and hopes to have her back." The program has already signed Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum for the sixth season, and also is in negotiations with the fourth judge, Michael Kors. Meanwhile, several magazines have already shown interest in signing up for "Project Runway" if Elle opts out.

Speculation also has begun as to who will replace Garcia as Elle's fashion director, with rumors that Roopal Patel, Bergdorf Goodman's senior women's fashion director, was heading to the magazine reaching fever pitch. Patel firmly denied it.

— Stephanie D. Smith

AT LEAST WE STILL EAT: Magazine publishers have lately been insisting that any given ad category — usually one they rely on — is "recession proof," though their theories about the strength of say, mass beauty, luxury automotive or high-end fashion often contradict each other. The recently released Publishers Information Bureau's report on first-quarter ad spending provides some hard numbers on sector-by-sector magazine ad spending, and the picture is mostly bleak. Overall ad pages during the first quarter were down 6.4 percent over the same period in 2007, and total revenue (a largely nominal figure, since it's based on often-discounted rate cards) was down 1.2 percent.

One bright spot is food and food products, which showed a 19.4 percent gain in paging and a 29.1 percent change in revenue — a development that some publishers in the health and fitness magazine category have said benefited them as well as the endemic food titles. But apparel and accessories paging was down 5.8 percent, with a revenue drop of 2.2 percent, while toiletries and cosmetics pages were down 8.9 percent, with revenue down 2.2 percent. Unsurprising to anyone following the twinned fates of the housing market and shelter magazines is the 15.5 percent drop in paging in the home furnishings and supplies category. Technology advertising showed the biggest percentage drop, with 16.3 percent down, to 1,965 pages, but it comprises a comparatively small share of magazine ad pages.


— Irin Carmon

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