Zap2It, LA Times to be combined

Tribune creating 'online entertainment bureau'

Tribune Co. is folding the operations of its Zap2It movie and TV listings website into the entertainment news side of the Los Angeles Times.

Tribune said the combo creates an “online entertainment bureau” that will feed showbiz and celeb news, blogs and listings to all of Tribune newspaper and TV holdings.

The bureau will be housed at the Times and headed by LATimes.com entertainment editor Richard Rushfield and Joseph Kapsch, executive producer of entertainment for LATimes.com. Zap2It will continue as a stand-alone website that will be beefed up and relaunched later this year.

Tribune said that Rushfield and Kapsch would work closely with entertainment writers and reporters from other Tribune outlets, but the centralization of entertainment operations is also expected to lead to some staff cuts. Tribune said the combined operation would have an online aud of 9 million unique visitors and 65 million page views per month.

In addition to his LATimes.com gig, Rushfield will serve as director of national entertainment programming for the bureau’s editorial content, or what Tribune is dubbing “the Syndicate.” Kapsch will serve as editorial director of Zap2It with a mandate to make the site an entertainment news hub that will carry all of the content produced by Rushfield’s team, plus a network of blogs and other enhancements.

Among the bureau’s first major endeavors will be a detailed look at a show that happens to be a magnet for Web traffic, Fox’s “American Idol.”

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