Monday, April 02, 2001

Rosie comes up with a magazine


Talk show personality O'Donnell joins the celebrity-mag lineup

By Shauna Scott Rhone
The Cincinnati Enquirer

and Enquirer news services

        Make way on the newsstands for another celebrity magazine. Actor/comedian/author/talk show host Rosie O'Donnell's new mag Rosie hits stands today.

        The title is a partnership between G+J USA and Ms. O'Donnell's KidRo Productions. It originally was called Rosie's McCall's, and it will be sent to the 3.6 million subscribers of McCall's, which G+J is folding after 125 years of publication and mounting losses in recent times. McCall's March issue was its last.

        “We set out to make a magazine with personality,” Ms. O'Donnell, the editorial director, writes in her first “From Rosie” letter. She wants a magazine that “celebrates humanity with humor and heart.”

        Those getting a first peek are struck by how much Rosie's cover design resembles that of O: The Oprah Magazine, which has soared from 1.5 million copies at launch in 2000 to a circulation of more than 2.1 million within its first year.

        Both magazines anchor their logos inside a box in the upper left-hand corner. And Rosie's May premiere, which runs 268 pages(138 of which are ads), features a blue pastel close to the color on O's April issue.

        The Rosie cover shows Ms. O'Donnell with her arms around comedian Fran Drescher, whose “Triumph over cancer” gets top billing among the stories, followed by “At home with Rosie: Her craft-room hideaway,” “Delicious dinners, $12 and up: plus pull-out dessert recipe cards” and “Hope for last-chance kids.”

        By design, Rosie is shorter on celebrities than most women's magazines.

        In Cincinnati, Rosie was selling quickly Friday at Fountain News, downtown, in advance of its official Tuesday release date. The newsstand price for Rosie is $3 or $18 a year to subscribe (www.rosiemagazine.com).

        In a Newsweek article last week, Ms. O'Donnell commented, “I want to do a new kind of magazine here. I think it will either be a big hit or a bomb.”

Star mag mania

               Rosie and O aren't the only name-worth magazines. Here's a look at other titles in publishing's “battle of the network stars”:

        mary-kateandashley magazine is another new celebrity-based magazine. The former Full House small screen darlings are teen-agers, and their magazine speaks to their peer group. Topics in the inaugural issue include “the first female president,” “cool job central,” “body talk” and “so there's this boy.” $5.99 newsstand, $27.95 subscription (6 issues); www.mary-kateandashleymagazine.com.

        Martha Stewart Living, now in its 11th year, continues to lead the pack of celeb mags. In 1999, Martha's average circulation rose to 2.3 million, according to the Magazine Publishers of America. The domestic goddess instructs other domicile devotees on a variety of how-to projects to admire or consume. There is no real age range for the Martha reader; the only commonality is the presence of time to re-create some of Martha's magical musings. $4.75 newsstand, $27 subscription; www.marthastewart.com.

        The 4-year-old Jane magazine was named for and by its founding editor-in-chief, Jane Pratt. Ms. Pratt, who also founded the now-defunct mag Sassy in the 1980s, targets the satirically irreverent magazine for “a new generation of confident, media-savvy 18-to-34-year-old women,” according to parent company Fairchild Publications. $2.95 newsstand, $9.98 subscription (10 issues); www.janemag.com.

       



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