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TINA’S NIGHT: On Tuesday night Tina Brown hosted a welcome-to-New York party at her East-50s apartment for her compatriot, Piers Morgan, who is taking over Larry King’s low-rated CNN 9 p.m. hour on Monday. Brown has a resuscitation of her own coming up: what to do with Newsweek? “Mostly it’s about assembling the team at the moment…and lots of brainstorming,” she said, standing in the parlor, as her guests were arriving. Behind her, bound volumes of Talk and Vanity Fair were arranged in rows on the bookshelf, her name and the years embossed on their spines. Some of the old Vanity Fair volumes were flagged with yellow Post-its.
Much like when S.I. Newhouse Jr. and Steve Florio hired her to take over The New Yorker from Robert Gottlieb in 1992, there will be several months between Brown’s appointment as editor and when she takes control of the day-to-day of the magazine. She has hired two Time magazine veterans, Steve Koepp and Arthur Hochstein, to oversee production until April.
In the meantime she said she has been working closely with her new creative director, Dirk Barnett, to plot the new Newsweek. “I mean, I’ve always been in great collaboration with the art director actually,” she said. “I think it very often is the single most important relationship with the editor.”
Brown found Barnett after interviewing five people. “Then it was all about personality because they were all very talented actually,” she said. “So, sitting with Dirk I thought this is a guy I could really collaborate with.” Brown stepped away to greet Morgan, who had just arrived. Twenty minutes later, he addressed the party, thanking Brown and Sir Harry Evans for playing host. “They have been here so long and prospered so well,” Morgan said. He turned to Brown and continued: “It’s about time you were back running a great magazine. You’re one of the best editors I’ve seen. And you’ve shown us all that New York can be taken over by the Brits.” Brown jumped in — “This is where you start winding down!” — and after a few more words, Morgan obeyed and turned off the microphone. — Zeke Turner