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Critic Maslin ankling Times

Plans, replacement unknown

NEW YORK — Chief film critic Janet Maslin is ankling the New York Times at the end of the year, though she and the paper are keeping mum about her plans.

According to a memo from culture editor John Darnton that was sent to the Times culture staff, Maslin will stay with the paper through December. She will be part of the team seeking her successor.

Times executive editor Joseph Lelyveld said the search committee will likely include himself, Maslin, Darnton and managing editor Bill Keller.

“We will cast our net widely and look both inside and outside the company for the best possible candidates,” Lelyveld told Daily Variety.

Darnton’s memo did not detail what Maslin would do except “try life without deadlines.” Neither Maslin nor Darnton could be reached for comment.

Maslin, who started at the Times 22 years ago as the second critic behind Vincent Canby, was named chief critic in 1993 when Canby moved over to theater. At that time, Maslin’s No. 2 was Caryn James, who after well-known clashes with Maslin, became the paper’s chief TV critic. Maslin’s current No. 2 is Stephen Holden.

Before joining the Times, Maslin was a critic at Newsweek and film editor of the Boston Phoenix.