Tichi Wilkerson Kassel is spinning in her grave.
With the appointment of former Us Weekly editor-in-chief Janice Min as the editorial director of The Hollywood Reporter, the new owners of the venerable 80-year-old trade, e5 Global Media, are sending a clear message about the publication's new direction. Min joins ex-OK! publisher Lori Burgess, also a practitioner of celebrity journalism, who replaced publisher Eric Mika, who came from Variety. e5 CEO Richard Beckman told The Wrap that while celebrity coverage will be part of their mandate, he wants THR to be "the leading vehicle covering the entertainment industry." THR editor Elizabeth Guider will report to Min, who will oversee the former Nielsen trade empire's print, digital, TV and event platforms. Min is moving from Manhattan to Los Angeles.
The other message? E5 made a serious hire. Min is a pricey piece of talent. You don't hire someone as sharp, canny and experienced in the art of building readers for celebrity news and gossip (also at In Style, Life and People) without letting her run with the ball. With a brand like The Hollywood Reporter, why not go with party coverage, red carpet fashion and interviews and breaking casting, diet and romance news? Lindsay Lohan, Brittany Murphy and JLo build traffic for the likes of Perez Hilton, TMZ and ex-Us-editor Bonnie Fuller's Hollywood Life. That's where the numbers are. By the way, I've met Min and respect her for what she knows better than anyone how to do. She is a brilliant editor who should not be underestimated. Ideally, she'd bring her consumer magazine expertise to THR and somehow balance both worlds: serious business coverage for the trade and populist global entertainment news online.
But that's an unlikely scenario. Sadly, this inevitably means one less serious entertainment business trade, and more of what we really do not need: celebrity journalism.