By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood June 1, 2010 at 3:24AM
When Kim Masters covered the TV up-fronts for The Hollywood Reporter last week, it was a sign that THR was on the move. Sure enough, new THR editorial director Janice Min has hired Masters--a veteran of NPR, Premiere, The Washington Post, Time, Esquire and Vanity Fair--to be editor-at-large at the venerable trade. She starts July 1, reporting to Min.
Masters leaves Tina Brown's online news site The Daily Beast, where she was under contract to file two or so features a week, covering everything from TV and studio politics to Scientology and the career of Tom Cruise. Now Masters is back on staff at an 80-year-old established publication; she has a six-figure salary and a mandate from Min to "do what I do best," says Masters, "everything from breaking news to features."
THR editor Elizabeth Guider had been pursuing Masters for some months to join the paper, but suddenly when Min's hire was announced last week, "a long conversation became an incredibly short conversation," says Masters. "Janice came in and stitched it up. Once she was in the chair things moved lightning fast."
Hiring Masters sends a counter-message to ex-Weekly editor-in-chief Min's own hiring by e5 Global Media. Min is bringing in an established entertainment journalist who is respected--even feared--for her ability to do objective, investigative, analytic journalism as well as swift news reporting. Moving fast, Min is expected to transition the THR print edition to a weekly by summer's end, moving the daily online. Her stated goal is to broaden THR's coverage with consumer-friendly content, while still hanging onto the mandate to cover the entertainment business for the trade. "Kim's knowledge of the entertainment industry and her experience covering it across all media platforms will make her an invaluable asset to The Hollywood Reporter," Min stated.
It is also worth noting that while The Hollywood Reporter and Jay Penske's Mail.com are hiring key talent (Variety's Michael Fleming and THR's Nellie Andreeva at Deadline, Salon's Stephanie Zacharek at Movieline), Variety has been letting go of established stars such as Todd McCarthy, Derek Elley, David Rooney and Sharon Swart.
Masters will continue to host KCRW's weekly radio show "The Business," about the business of entertainment. She is the author of two books: "The Keys to the Kingdom: The Rise of Michael Eisner and the Fall of Everybody Else" and "Hit & Run: How Jon Peters and Peter Guber Took Sony for a Ride in Hollywood," with Nancy Griffin.