Last week FishbowlNY reported that Town & Country editor-in-chief Stephen Drucker is leaving at the end of February and will be replaced by Jay Fielden. At that time it appeared that Drucker was simply leaving on his own terms, however in today’s Media Ink column Keith Kelly cites a Gawker article that claimed Drucker ran into some problems due to his preference to feature the Barefoot Contessa, Ira Garten, in his magazines. Garten’s frequent appearances in Town & Country posed a conflict-of-interest as Drucker’s partner, Frank Newbold, works with her on merchandising and sponsorship projects.
Garten has served as a contributor for House Beautiful and appeared on cover of Town & Country alongside writer Nora Ephron this past December. Gawker’s speculation has been shot down by Hearst as a company spokesperson said that Drucker and Garten’s relationship had no effect on his exit from T&C.
Stephen and Ina have had a professional and personal relationship for many years. She and Nora Ephron had just published new books at the time — plus they are personal friends — so it made sense to put them on the cover together. Stephen felt they made great T&C subjects, and he was right as evidenced by how well that issue sold.
While his ties to Garten may not have put him on the hot seat, Drucker’s issues with publisher Jim Taylor and the title’s advertising and circulation struggles may be the real reasons behind his departure from T&C next month.