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Bait and Switch

Bonnie Fuller is fishing for talent—and she’s loaded! S. I. Newhouse, watch your back.

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Not content with raiding Jared Paul Stern of “Page Six” for $300,000, and Us Weekly fashion editor Kelli Delaney for the same, Bonnie Fuller is now planning to take the supermarket Star even further upmarket by looting more salubrious titles. “She’s offering boatloads of money to people at Vanity Fair!” cries one well-placed source. “And she wants names.”

VF contributors chary of the Star’s traditional culture (rifle through Roseanne’s garbage, anyone?) may be reassured by the increasing presence of former Condé Nasties (Details editor Joe Dolce, Glamour’s Amy Spencer, and Allure’s Emiliano Neri). Then, of course, there’s the small fact that Fuller’s checkbook, courtesy of David Pecker’s American Media, now surpasses even that of S. I. Newhouse (at least for now).

Bonnie's Career Moves

Bait and Switch: Why Did Bonnie Fuller jump from Us to American media? Can she work her newsstand miracles at the tabloids? Will She tire of David Pecker the way she did of Newhouse and Wenner? Are the office horror stories true? Is She Really Just Like Us? Or Not? (July 14, 2003)

Bait and Switch: His Rolling Stone is in trouble, but at least he's got Bonnie Fuller working her black magic at Us Weekly. Now all Jann Wenner has to do is find a rock-and-roll Bonnie to save his flagship. (May 20, 2002)

Bait and Switch: Fashion flash: the front row has been rearranged. Bonnie Fuller? Out at Glamour. Kate Betts? Out at Harper's Bazaar. Will it be Fuller at Bazaar? No, it's Glenda Bailey, of Marie Claire, in an upset. is no one safe in the sanctums of style? (July 16, 2001)

“People have been enthusiastic about joining us,” insists Fuller. “They know that weekly celebrity magazines can sell a hell of a lot of copies.”

Dominick Dunne, surely one object of Fuller’s lust, notes, sounding momentarily rueful, that he’s under contract at VF. “But do I think she can get good writers? Yeah, if she’s going to dangle some bucks.”

According to some who have been approached, part of Fuller’s tantalizing pitch is not simply wads of cash but the prospect of equity (even an IPO!) in American Media, which, she’s telling people, aims to expand quickly. “You have to have a lot of faith,” counsels Janice Min, who resisted the call to follow Fuller to the Star and was promptly rewarded with Fuller’s old job as editor-in-chief of Us Weekly. “It’s like going to an Internet site in 1998. Some people reaped enormous rewards, but most ended up out in the cold.”

As for Stern, he’s already spending his salary, on two Ralph Lauren made-to-measure suits. “An important part of this relaunch is the image we’re remaking,” he explains solemnly. “So you’ll see me on TV in these three-piece suits.”

But some, at least, are finding the cash resistible. “You couldn’t pay me enough to do it,” sniffs VF contributor Michael Shnayerson.

“No one grows up saying, ‘I want to work at Star,’ ” adds a Fuller fan who has also refused her charms. “The money is insane, but there’s also a reason you’re paid a lot to be a porn star.”


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