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Posts Tagged ‘Bonnie Fuller’

David Pecker Holds Court; David Zaslav Jumps the Shark

1003_mockup.gifIt’s been a head-spinning summer of celebrity sightings and media maven mashups at 55th and Fifth, but today at Michael’s the mogul quotient was completely off the charts. I knew it was going to be one of those days when Discovery Communications honcho David Zaslav sauntered into the dining room sporting shades and carrying a stuffed shark. Oh, hadn’t you heard? The net’s Shark Week kicks off August 4. Funny enough, David was lunching with William Morris Endeavor’s co-CEO Ari Emanuel. I’ll let you insert your own joke here.

I was sitting squarely in the center of gravity with David Pecker and David Zinczenko and the experience was akin to being a fly on the wall to the lunchtime version of ‘This is your life, David Pecker,” as friends (too many to mention), former colleagues (ditto) and well-wishers (everyone else in the room), stopped by to pay their respects and get some face time with AMI’s chairman and CEO. (“I’m definitely going to call you about that, thanks!”) It was something akin to The Godfather without the tuxes, mumbling and cannolis (David opted for the ‘Michael’s burger and ‘Zinc’ had the Korean tacos).

Zinc (in the interest of clarity, I’ll refer to David Zinczenko by the catchy moniker of his book imprint) has garnered plenty of headlines this year with his highly publicized alliance with AMI, his Random House contract and a new deal with ABC (he’s got his first segment on “20/20″ airing this Friday). David has maintained, by comparison, a somewhat low profile — except for the fact that he was a contender for the top spot at Time Inc. this spring. AMI’s affable chairman (I discovered this man knows everyone — and I mean everyone) has opted to mostly let his game-changing decision of hiring Zinc and the success at the newsstand with his myriad of titles do the talking.

David Pecker, Diane Clehane and David Zinczenko

Fresh off the quarterly AMI board meeting in Connecticut this weekend, there was plenty to dish about over lunch. As you undoubtedly know, AMI publishes, National Enquirer, Star, Globe, OK!, the newly revitalized Men’s Fitness, Muscle and Fitness, Flex, Fit Pregnancy and Shape and several other titles which reach a combined audience of more than 60 million readers every month.  With the birth of the royal baby and the can’t-make-this-stuff-up New York City mayor’s race, I just had to ask David what his tabloid titles have in store. Plenty, as you might expect, but each title addresses a very different constituency. When it comes to news about the royal baby, the ubiquity of the coverage poses a challenges says David.

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Dishing With Countess LuAnn de Lesseps; Willie Geist and Lawrence O’Donnell Hold Court

lunch logoThe oppressive heat couldn’t keep the faithful away  from Michael’s today. I haven’t seen the place this crowded in ages as most tables were set for four (or more). In fact, the place was so jam packed that TV Guide magazine acting CEO and Wednesday regular Jack Kliger was seated in the Garden Room. Unlike a few people I could mention, Jack is far too cool to care  about something as petty as seating arrangements. Just like the rest of the crowd — not.

Carole Radziwill, one of the more recent additions to the cast of  The Real Housewives of New York City was first to arrive in the dining room today. The alarmingly thin socialite was sporting a curious furry accessory that was neither pet nor purse, sky-high platforms and a sweet flowered dress. Carole passed the time waiting for the rest of her party to arrive by taking pictures of the life-size sculptures of sheep that stand in the restaurant’s lounge. Alrighty then.

Speaking of Housewives, I was joined today by one of my favorite members of the franchise, LuAnn de Lesseps, who drove in from the Hamptons for our tete a tete. The statuesque former model (she’s 5’10″!) has always seemed like one of the more down to earth — and dare we say normal — Bravolebrities. She was all that and more. PR princess extraordinaire Catherine Saxton, who knows everyone who is anyone and is off to the south of France in a few days for the first of the big St. Tropez parties aboard Denise Rich‘s yacht, then go off to join Ivana Trump for her party in St. Tropez  before finally landing in Monte Carlo for a whirlwind of swanky dinners (Can we carry your luggage?), arranged for today’s ladies’ lunch. Between bites of crab cakes and salmon tartare, we chatted about LuAnn’s sixth season on RHNYC, her various projects and, of course, her love life. It’s no secret that LuAnn was one of the last ladies to sign on to the new season of the show. “I waited until I was happy with their offer,” she told me, dismissing rumors that the cast was banding together for salary increases. “Things were handled individually.” While she’s too polite to talk about such gauche topics as money — she did write the manners manual Class with the Countess: How to Live With Elegance and Flair, after all!  But she is upfront about her reasons for sticking with the show. “It’s a great platform.” All the better to ride the wave as long as you can, no? Mais oui! ”We didn’t expect it to last this long,” said LuAnn.

Catherine Saxton, Diane Clehane and LuAnn de Lesseps

Like most of the industrious Housewives set, LuAnn has managed to turn in her 15 minutes into a fledgling empire that includes her book, the record “Money Can’t Buy You Class” and several product lines like tabletop that includes melamine dinnerware and elegant bone china which is currently being sold on QVC and Amazon.com (“Inspired by my love of entertaining and my travels”). Next up is a collection of turquoise jewelry with Gem Stone King. “I love costume jewelry!” she said as she flashed a Wilma Flinstone-inspired pearl bracelet by Twisted. Clearly, the serious bling encased in gold on her finger today was the real thing. “Yes, it’s a star sapphire. This ring was designed by the same man who has done jewelry for Queen Elizabeth.” And not, I’m guessing, available on QVC.

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Bonnie Fuller Talks Kim-Kanye Baby Pics

From the moment Kanye West revealed from a stage that Kim Kardashian was pregnant, the race has likely been on among magazines like People and OK! for rights to the exclusive first photos of the famous couple’s child. Now that the baby girl has officially arrived, we thought we’d check in with a New York publishing figure who used to be in the thick of such cutthroat competition for the photo scoop.

“There’s a good chance the baby pictures will not be sold,” Bonnie Fuller, editor-in-chief of hollywoodlife.com, tells FishbowlNY. “Since Kanye has been very vocal about his baby being kept private.”

Fuller suggests three likely scenarios through which the couple may choose to bypass a paid magazine exclusive and possible donation of proceeds to charity. One would be to follow the Tumblr lead of Jay-Z and Beyonce; another would involve setting up a cover story in a prestige magazine like Vanity Fair or Vogue, tying in a photographer of the couple’s choice. The third possibility connects to Monday July 15.

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Crunching Quantcast’s Latest Mobile Traffic Numbers

When it comes to the Top 50 mobile content destinations in the U.S., a pair of killer “B’s” crown the latest Quantcast ratings (next to comScore, these are generally agreed to be the most accurate publicly available metrics). Coming in at #7 with 4,373,802 monthly visitors is BuzzFeed, while 3,919,244 measured Smartphone/tablet visitors places The Bleacher Report at #9.

A number of listed sites have chosen to keep their profile names “hidden.” For example, if our cross-referencing is correct, #41 is Gawker.

Looking at the rest of the Top 50 group, FishbowlLA is intrigued by the listing’s reminder of the ageless value of the “Hollywood” word-brand. PMC’s hollywoodlife.com ranks 32nd and Guggenheim Digital Media’s  hollywoodreporter.com comes in 48th.

“Hollywood Life’s audience of millennial women wants to get the latest news no matter where they are or what time it is,” Fuller tells FishbowlLA via email. “That’s why they are flocking to Hollywood Life’s well optimized mobile site in rapidly increasing numbers.”

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Star‘s James Heidenry: ‘Us Weekly is the biggest culprit of hypocrisy’

In Mediabistro’s latest So What Do You Do? interview, Star editor-in-chief James Heidenry tackles his newsstand nemeses head-on, calling People and Us Weekly “the mouthpiece of celebrity publicists” – and he didn’t mean that in a positive way.

Some of his other beefs with the mags? They pay celebrities for stories but don’t admit it, and they get most of their biggest “scoops” right from the pages of Star.

“Even Bonnie Fuller, who used to run Star magazine, doesn’t give us credit at HollywoodlLife.com. But Us Weekly, I think, is the biggest culprit of hypocrisy,” Heidenry said. “Us Weekly has Kim [Kardashian] on the cover saying ‘Don’t Call Me Fat,’ and when you open up the issue, it points out our cover and says ‘Look how these tabloids are making fun of her’ when they are doing it on the cover themselves — not making fun of her, but using Kim’s pregnancy to sell magazines and trying to take a holier-than-thou attitude. To me, it was just a lack of respect for their readers.”

For more of Heidenry’s thoughts on the competition plus what he looks for L.A. reporters, read So What Do You Do, James Heidenry, Editor-in-Chief of Star?

Star‘s James Heidenry: ‘Us Weekly is the biggest culprit of hypocrisy’

In Mediabistro’s latest So What Do You Do? interview, Star editor-in-chief James Heidenry tackles his newsstand nemeses head-on, calling People and Us Weekly “the mouthpiece of celebrity publicists” – and he didn’t mean that in a positive way.

Some of his other beefs with the mags? They pay celebrities for stories but don’t admit it, and they get most of their biggest “scoops” right from the pages of Star.

“Even Bonnie Fuller, who used to run Star magazine, doesn’t give us credit at HollywoodlLife.com. But Us Weekly, I think, is the biggest culprit of hypocrisy,” Heidenry said. “Us Weekly has Kim [Kardashian] on the cover saying ‘Don’t Call Me Fat,’ and when you open up the issue, it points out our cover and says ‘Look how these tabloids are making fun of her’ when they are doing it on the cover themselves — not making fun of her, but using Kim’s pregnancy to sell magazines and trying to take a holier-than-thou attitude. To me, it was just a lack of respect for their readers.”

For more of Heidenry’s thoughts on the competition plus what he looks for L.A. reporters, read So What Do You Do, James Heidenry, Editor-in-Chief of Star?

HollywoodLife Enjoys Its Best Month Ever

March was very good to Bonnie Fuller’s PMC website HollywoodLife. The celebrity news destination, launched in November 2009, attracted a new high of 13.9 million unique visitors. To top it off, Monday (April 1) was HL’s best single day yet, with unique visitors cresting past the one-million mark.

The March 2013 numbers represent a 60% increase over the same period last year. Also intriguing is the fact there was no “major” celebrity news event last month around which traffic coalesced. Rather, HollywoodLife editors tell us the site was stealthily visited by young readers on the hunt for famous-people and famous-fashions tidbits.

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Gossip Cop Takes Another Shot at Jay Penske’s HollywoodLife

It’s not usually a good thing when an outlet gets the “zero” rating on gossipcop.com’s rumor-to-truth left-margin thermometer graph. That was the case this morning with Bonnie Fuller‘s HollywoodLife or, as Gossip Cop deems the outlet, “Jay Penske‘s Webloid.”

Chief cop Michael Lewittes has been all over this particular news trail since Day One. He links to a head-spinning number of HollywoodLife items about an alleged Down Under “trial separation” between Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. Lewittes claims the entire coverage block was erroneous:

It was sad, really, watching HollywoodLies — er, HollywoodLife — try to cover up its previous misrepresentations with increasingly desperate “reports” that bore no resemblance to reality.

Through it all, Gossip Cop correctly said that nothing had changed between Pattinson and Stewart, and predicted that when Pattinson returned to California, he and Stewart would make HollywoodLife look foolish. Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened.

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The Truth About Rachel Uchitel’s Tweet and a Birthday Party for Ed Rollins

1003_mockup.gifWhen it comes to Wednesdays at Michael’s, the early bird might not always get the best table, but today it did land me something of a timely scoop. Some time before noon, I spotted Rachel Uchitel, the woman whose texts to Tiger Woods helped bring down the golf legend and launched a thousand tabloid headlines in 2009. I half expected her to bolt when I identified myself as a reporter, but she was gracious and downright chatty when I asked about the countless reports that her recent “Everyone deserves a second chance” tweet was a thinly veiled reference to Tiger and Lindsey Vonn‘s joint announcement on Facebook that they were dating.

“Everyone in the media immediately thought it was about Tiger,” she told me exclusively. “I still have not talked about him and never will. I haven’t told anyone about this, but the tweet was about my 94-year-old grandfather, Sam Lionel, who is getting married. His fiancee is 52 and there has been some family drama about it, so that’s what I was referring to. I’m even throwing her a bachelorette party.” Rachel, who just moved back to New York from San Francisco, told me that The New York Post approached her about writing an article about the recent turn of events but she turned them down flat. “First of all, check your facts, thank you very much,” she said referring to their reporting about her tweet. “And also I’d never write anything about that.”

Rachel told me these days she is “totally obsessed” with her 10-month-old daughter Wyatt Lilly who took her first steps yesterday. (Dad is husband Matt Hahn.) “I love that she wants a big kiss just from me sometimes. It’s the first time that I really have come to understand just what unconditional love is. You think you can get it from a man, but this is so different. She is my whole existence.” Being a mother, says Rachel, has given her a sense of peace and satisfaction that had previously eluded her, but she still is sorting out where she wants to go from here. ”I don’t want to be away from her and miss anything.” Still, though, she’d like to find “meaningful work.” Says Rachel, “For the past three years I have struggled with my identity. I used to be a journalist, but since 2009 it has been difficult to find a job because of the baggage attached to me.” She’s been offered several reality shows and did a stint on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, but has turned them all down. “It’s hard, but now that I’ve moved back to New York, I’d like to find something interesting to do.” For the woman whose tear-stained face made the cover of The New York Post when she first lost her then fiancé on 9/11 (a tearsheet hangs in the Smithsonian) and then went on to become the poster girl for one of the biggest celebrity scandals of the decade, life in recent years has been a series of headlines. That’s a pretty attractive quality in an employee in certain circles is this town, isn’t it?

Emilio Romano and Diane Clehane

I had a fascinating and enjoyable lunch with Emilio Romano, (pictured, right) president of Telemundo Media and the network’s vice president of corporate communications and public affairs, Michelle Alban. The charming and dynamic Emilio joined the company in 2011 and in his current position runs Telemundo’s broadcast network, its 15 owned stations, as well as the company’s entertainment division and Telemundo Studios, which is the No. 1 producer of original Spanish language primetime content for Hispanics in the United States. He also oversees the news and sports divisions, Telemundo’s digital media group and the company’s sales and marketing arms. I’ve talked to plenty of media titans in this dining room over the years, and I can say without question I found Emilio to be one of the most engaging, genuine and interesting executives I’ve ever met. While telling me about all the exciting things happening at Telemundo these days, he chatted easily with the wait staff about where they were from and asking them in Spanish what they watched on television and why.

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Mika Brzezinski, Miss USA and a Mysterious Stephen Baldwin Sighting

1003_mockup.gifMaybe it was today’s dreadful weather (Will this winter from hell ever end?) or perhaps some boldface names can’t bring themselves to leave the sunny West Coast after the Oscars, but the scene at Michael’s today was pretty much a celebrity-free zone unless you count the random sighting of Stephen Baldwin. The more low-key Baldwin made a curiously brief appearance in the dining room (he didn’t even sit down) before leaving, so we never got the chance to ask him what he thinks about brother Alec Baldwin‘s war with The New York Post, but we did try. There was, however, an interesting mix of bold faced names including police commissioner Ray Kelly and the newly crowed Miss USA Nana Meriwether who, despite leaving her sash and crown at home, looked every inch the pageant winner. Being almost six feet tall certainly helps stand out in a crowd.

I was joined today by Woman’s Day editor-in-chief Susan Spencer and Hearst executive director of public relations Mimi Crume Sterling. Having never met these smart, savvy gals before, we bonded over a talk about our daughters. Susan, like me, is mother to an elementary-school-aged daughter adopted from China; Mimi has a little girl and is about to give birth to her first son any minute (we had our fingers crossed she’d make it through lunch!). We all agreed parenthood is an unending source of material.

Susan Spencer and Diane Clehane

Since joining the magazine in February of last year from Time Inc.’s All You, Susan has made some interesting changes to the magazine. “I’ve fallen in love with the reader,” she says. This is not your mother’s Woman’s Day, although Susan is mindful of the generational connection between readers of the 75-year-old Hearst title. “Some readers have been reading the magazine for 60 years, and now their daughters and their daughters’ daughters are reading it,” she explained. When asked just who is the Woman’s Day reader, Susan told me: “She’s the ‘Average Josephine’ — the receptionist, the administrative assistant, the teacher, the nurse. These are the women who I consider to be the backbone of America.” That doesn’t mean, however, these women (more than half work outside the home) are not interested in fashion and the good things in life. Just the opposite. “These women have a lot of joy in their life. They embrace positivity,” says Susan. “That’s why the title of the magazine is so perfect for them. It’s about her day and the joy she gets out of it.” To tap into that, Susan retooled the fashion pages focusing more on value in all its iterations. “Our reader doesn’t want to see a great shoe and then find out it’s $300 or even $150. It has to make sense for her life.” In fact, “Value Tags” appear throughout the magazine to highlight steals, deals and all-around great ideas.

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