Tina Brown Is Wrong About PortfolioWe’re never happy to see a magazine die, just like we’re never happy to see a person die. But even though he appears random and cruel, you have to admit that God, by which we mean Si Newhouse, does things for a reason.
The Media Says Au Revoir to All ThatHarperCollins is laying off staffers, the Toronto ‘Metro’ is written by interns, and approximately 41,000 media jobs have been slashed since the start of the recession. But things are looking up in France!
‘Portfolio’ Down to Ten Issues a YearIn further Condé Nast belt-tightening, the December and January issues of the fledgling business magazine will be combined, as will the June and July issues, and the edit budget will be cut by 5 percent.
Stevie Cohen Could End Up in a PickleNo, not in the Damian Hirst sense, though that would be amazing: The art-loving SAC Capital Management CEO could have some problems with the SEC if he’s not careful. Plus! An ex–Bear CEO jumps ship at JPMorgan, Natalie Portman’s apartment goes on the block, and Condé Nast has a green issue, in our daily rundown of industry news.
New York Public Library Lions to Become Schwarzman’s KittensFINANCE
• As Blackstone’s profit sinks 89 percent, Stephen Schwartzman gets the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street named after him. The naming rights came with a very generous $100 million donation, but we’re not sure we’re ready to go have lunch on the lovely steps of “Schwarzman.” It’ll feel like we’re an undergrad at Penn or something. [NYT]
• Wall Street says “There is a God” as its longtime persecutor, Eliot Spitzer, falls from grace. [NYT]
• Lehman Brothers, the largest underwriter of U.S. mortgage bonds, plans to lay off 5 percent of its workforce, which is about 1,400 people. Meanwhile, Bear Sterns, the second-biggest underwriter of mortgage bonds, lost more than $1.3 billion in market value yesterday as investors worried about the firm’s liquidity. [NYP, NYP]
The Gray Lady Lets Jim Impoco Come Crawling BackMEDIA
• Fired Portfolio editor Jim Impoco makes his comeback at The New York Times Magazine, where he’ll be a consulting editor. [NYO]
• NBC puts its traditional glitzy advertising on the back burner. That’s really too bad for the girl who was hoping to be assigned to keep tabs on John Krasinski during the day of the presentations. [NYP]
• Nielsen CEO David Calhoun charts a new course for his media-measuring company. [Fortune]
in other news
Jason F. Is Called ‘Douche’ by His FriendsWe admit it. We read Portfolio’s story on Outsourcing Valentine’s Day twice before we realized it was written by the comedian Andy Borowitz and therefore, totally fake. Yes, we’re gullible. But aren’t magazines supposed to put disclaimers on this stuff nowadays? Especially when they have paragraphs such as this?
Jason F., a risk arbitrageur whose friends call him “Douche” relates a cautionary tale. “My assistant spent weeks researching the perfect gift for my girlfriend and chose a Givenchy handbag that matched her eye color. But as soon as my girlfriend unwrapped it, she smelled a rat — so much thought had gone into it, she knew that I couldn’t have been involved.”
Okay, a Givenchy handbag that matched her eye color — that, we don’t buy. But a hedge-fund guy named Jason F. whose friends call him “Douche”? That sounds completely plausible. In fact, we bet that some of you readers know guys named Jason F that are — or should be — called “Douche.” Submit their names in comments below.
Outsource Valentine’s Day [Portfolio]
Jeff Bewkes Starts Cleaning House at Time WarnerMEDIA
• At least 75 Time Warner layoffs are expected to be announced today. The layoffs are among CEO Jeff Bewkes’s first public tasks since taking the helm of the company from Dick Parsons last month. Earlier today, Time Warner announced a 41 percent decline in fourth-quarter earnings. [MSNBC & AdAge]
• Maybe some of those Time Warner folks can hang their hats over at Condé Nast. The Observer evaluates Portfolio’s recent spending spree, during which it recruited top talent from The New Yorker, the Post, and the Times. [NYO]
• (Product)Red, the love child of Bono, iPod, and the Gap, has raised more than $22 million for fighting HIV and AIDS in Africa. But considering the big advertising bucks spent during the Super Bowl and elsewhere, some are arguing that it’s not enough. [NYT]
‘Portfolio’ Still Looking Elsewhere for InspirationHave you noticed that all of the news about the Great Condé Nast Reshuffling of 2008 has emerged from Women’s Wear Daily? It’s becoming the mouthpiece of the company’s HR department. (Or maybe the news is all a little too boring for anyone else to care about.) After a week of updates about shifts and firings on the business side at Condé titles Vogue, Golf Digest, Lucky, Teen Vogue, and The New Yorker, WWD today tells us about Portfolio (this month’s cover pictured here). Apparently the business mag’s editor, Joanne Lipman, tapped recently departed Post metro editor, Dan Colarusso, to run its growing Website. Also, to fill new Portfolio publisher William Li’s absence at Men’s Vogue, Condé looked within its walls to Details associate publisher, Marc Berger. We’d walk you through all of the changes that came last week, but the most telling detail is already above: While the rest of Condé Nast continues to recruit talent only from inside the company, Portfolio continues to look outside for fresh ideas!
New Titles All Around [WWD]
in other news
CNBC Asks: Fox Business Network Anchors, Hot or Not?Last week Portfolio’s Jeff Bercovici reported that CNBC says they’re not worried about Fox Business Network anymore. Crowed a CNBC press release:
During November when the stock market has swung wildly, viewers tuned to CNBC, First in Business Worldwide, for fast, accurate, actionable and unbiased business news. In measured ratings, CNBC had its best November in total viewers since 2000 in Business Day and its best November in the key adults 25-54 year-old demographic since 2003. It was also CNBC’s best month in Business Day programming in total viewers since August 2002.
Yet this week we find out they’re still clearly worried about something. On a routine viewer poll, the seven-year-old finance network asked respondents to rate how they feel about CNBC anchors and also FBN anchors. An FBN spokesman was quick to snap, “example number 252 of CNBC not being ‘worried’ about FBN,” reports Inside Cable News. Hm. We didn’t see the whole survey, but we think this is nothing out of the ordinary. Have you seen the hottie FBN anchors? If you had to monitor them as your competition all day, you’d want to play Chuck, Fuck or Marry too!
CNBC Wants to Know What You Think of FBN Talent [Inside Cable News via TVNewser/Mediabistro]
CNBC: Fox Business? What Fox Business? [Mixed Media/Portfolio]
Earlier: Fox Business Networl: Full of Foxes!
in other news
Ian Schrager Is Kind of ‘Meh’ on the New Royalton LobbyWe’re kind of falling in love with Lloyd Grove’s rambling, sprawled interviews with business celebrities on Portfolio.com. This week, he sits down with Ian Schrager, who is two years into his massive partnership with Bill Marriot, the hospitality king, to build 100 chic hotels worldwide. Below, we’ve selected some of our favorite moments with the man who brought you the Delano, the Hudson, the Royalton, the Shore Club, the new Gramercy Park Hotel, 40 Bond Street, and that little club he used to run in the late seventies
• On the destruction of his legendary Philippe Starck lobby in the Royalton Hotel by his Morgans successors, who replaced it with a dark-amber jewel box this year: Uh, you know, I think it’s nice. Um, I can’t second-guess what those guys had in mind. I had no emotional attachment to it, quite frankly. But I think from a business point of view, I would’ve done something different. But I don’t know what criteria they were using and why they did it. And I think it was a very risky move But basically we liked to think that what we did was classic and timeless and would stay, even though it was incredibly provocative. I mean, I’ve never changed any of my other lobbies.
Is Kate Beckinsale Too Hot to Play Judy Miller?MEDIA
• Matt Drudge cracked open The New Republic’s Iraq fabulist controversy once again. Did the mag’s Baghdad diarist really make up details about mass graves and troops ridiculing a disfigured female soldier? Franklin Foer complains that Drudge’s docs could only have come from the Army. [Slate, NYO]
• Chris Jones, the managing editor of Portfolio.com, announced his departure from the mag after giving notice over a month ago. High-level rumors also indicate Joanne Lipman may soon be relieved from command — but only for the Website. [WWD]
• The Judith Miller movie is now filming in Memphis, and let’s just say that Kate Beckinsale is way too hot to be a reporter. On the other hand, the Valerie Plame CIA character, played by Vera Farmiga, looks just about right. [WP]
When Journalists Attack … Other JournalistsRemember Alive? The book/early–Ethan Hawke movie where the plane crashes and everyone’s starving so they become cannibals? Okay, whatever we are old. The point is, we’re kind of reminded of that whenever a journalist covers another journalist’s missteps in that over-the-top holier-than-thou tone. Times are tough, and so they’re eating their own in order to save themselves. We thought about this last week when Katie Couric clamped down on Dan Rather’s “sloppy reporting” with her little white teeth, and today, the smell of media blood is in the air again. Over at the New York Press, Matt Elzweig feasted on the flesh of the Times Magazine’s Deborah Solomon in a deeply self-serious “examination of the questionable ethical choices one very prominent reporter made on behalf of the nation’s top newspaper” blah blah blah blah Jayson Blair blah blah.
Goldman Defies Credit CrunchFINANCE
• Credit crunch, what credit crunch? Goldman’s record profits, which involved somehow shorting the mortgage market, have left a bonus pool of $17 billion, even larger than last year’s record. [WSJ, DealBreaker]
• The surge in the markets aside, the Fed rate-cut had one immediate bad effect: The Canadian dollar, a.k.a. the Loonie, pulled even with U.S. greenbacks for the first time since 1976. The euro also pushed past $1.40, another record. [NYP]
• It’s tough out there for a billionaire: While sixty-four New Yorkers made Forbes’s list of the 400 richest Americans, eighty-two Americans failed to make it with their paltry billion dollars. [AP]
Murdoch Mulls the Liberation of WSJ.comMEDIA
• Murdoch is hinting heavily that he’ll take WSJ.com free, but Dow Jones CEO Richard Zannino doesn’t think it’s such a great idea. [WSJ]
• Well, we’ll be — Portfolio pulling down pretty good ad pages. [NYP]
• Roger Ailes, former CNBC president now with Fox Business Network, making many CNBCers interested in switching teams. It may be many things, but it won’t be boring! [NYO]
Breaking: Lohans Not Best ParentsLindsay Lohan’s bodyguard claims Dina and Michael weren’t the best parents. Maria Bartiromo pissed off PETA by posing in a Michael Kors coat with fox-fur cuffs. The Box smelled like burnt hair for two hours after a patron’s hair caught on fire. Jay McCarroll’s friend says he has an Upper West Side apartment, contrary to what the designer told New York. Katie Couric belted out “Sweet Caroline” at a piano bar in Nantucket. Harvey Weinstein picked Clint Eastwood to compose the score for John Cusack’s new movie. City comptroller Bill Thompson says he was able to buy an apartment in Brooklyn shortly after graduating college in 1974, but his daughter couldn’t even afford to rent one. Chris Noth will be in the Sex and the City movie.
First You Save the Company, Then You Play GolfFINANCE
• Bear Stearns CEO Jim Cayne rewarded himself for firing the firm’s second-in-command by playing his first round of golf in almost three weeks. [NYP]
• Fidelity CEO Edward Johnson’s uncertain succession plan claimed another victim as Ellyn McColgan, a longtime exec and onetime heir apparent, got fed up and stepped down. [NYT]
• Were the threats against Goldman Sachs “Hundreds will die. We are inside. You cannot stop us.” just a prank by three teenage kids? [Newsday]
The ‘Portfolio’-ing: When You Premiere the PremierIt was no mere typo. There must have been a conscious decision to use “premier” to describe the first issue of Condé Nast Portfolio, which nearly all copy editors, this reporter included, would have called a “premiere.” You don’t make a mistake like that across the board — on the cover flap (“premier issue”), in the table of contents (“premier issue”), and, most telling, in the promotional letter (“premier issue debuts” [itals added to nauseate]). No, this one seems to be intentional, a style statement by the new publication. Perhaps the someday-to-be- monthly business magazine is indicating that what you hold in your hands is indeed the top of the line, that this is as good as it gets, it’s the premier one, the most important, the preeminent, the top, the Colosseum, the best! For a premier issue to debut — well, it’s spelled out right there. If they intended the correct “premiere” (which means first, debut), they wouldn’t have coupled it with “debut.” So they must mean what they say. This is the premier, not the premiere; the best issue you’re gonna get. Take it as it is. —Carl Rosen
Is Naked Brooklyn Law Student a Natural Blonde?LAW
• The Brooklyn Law School student who appeared naked in a Playboy video is neither blonde nor brainy. Discuss. [Above the Law]
• Is David Lat at Above the Law siding with Aaron Charney over Sullivan & Cromwell? Disclosures aside, the site’s commenters are suspicious. [Above the Law]
• Claims from victims of one fraudulent attorney could put the New York Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection in fiscal jeopardy. [New York Law Journal]
Rudy No Longer Thanking God George Bush Is Our President?A high-level Republican official says that Rudy Giuliani, should he decide to run, won’t have the blessing of Bush or Rove. Recently fired Citigroup exec Todd Thomson, who got himself in trouble for flying Maria Bartiromo around, has flown his wife to Montana, on vacation. Diddy has been partying a lot with “friend” Sienna Miller while his wife Kim Porter stays home with the twins. Martha Stewart is a Hillary supporter, and the launch of high-profile Condé Nast business mag Portfolio may not be going as smoothly as planned.
Decadence With Marc Jacobs; Elegance With ‘Portfolio’
Those who know about such things will tell you that the annual Marc Jacobs holiday party — a themed masquerade ball — is the premier event of the season. It was held last night, and we can tell you that they are correct. Tons of food, free-flowing booze, elaborate costumes, lots of exposed flesh: It’s good to be a fashion designer. Party-hopping Julia Allison stopped by to check it out, and she also went to the quiet, refined party for still-to-launch Condé Nast Portfolio. You’ll never guess which was more fun.