NEW YORK — Bonnie Fuller, the editor who revived Us Weekly from a moribund, money-losing mag to a profitable celebration of celebrity, resigned Thursday to become editorial director of American Media, publisher of the National Enquirer and the Star.
The hiring is a coup for David Pecker, chief of American Media. He has been in the hunt for someone who could add glitz (and mainstream acceptance) to his tabloid brands.
Jann Wenner, chief of Wenner Media, publisher of Us, Rolling Stone and Men’s Journal, broke the news to the Us Weekly staff Thursday afternoon after a two-hour meeting with Fuller.
A Wenner spokesman said, “She did a great job at the magazine, but we are also confident that Us magazine will continue to do well. We’re confident we’re not going to miss a beat.”
Fuller did not immediately return calls. Earlier this year, she signed a three-year contract with Wenner that raised her base salary above $1 million per year plus performance incentives. Those numbers are unprecedented for print editorial jobs. Her American Media gig is thought to pay even better.
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Fuller’s Us, for which no celebrity detail was too mundane, was a success on newsstands: Single-copy sales rose from 325,000 to 505,000 in the 16 months she held the top job.
Part of that achievement was due to her perfectionism, keeping the magazine’s staff up late at nights rewriting stories.
A Wenner rep said the top job at Us would be filled soon. The inhouse favorite for the job is Janice Min, Fuller’s No. 2.
Min, who is traveling in Italy, was unreachable.
An Us source said Fuller’s departure was partly spurred by new friction between Fuller and Jann Wenner. Initially Wenner interfered little with Fuller and Us. But in recent months, the mercurial magazine publisher had begun to get involved in details like the production schedule, the budget and even story ideas for the magazine, the source said. “With everyone, eventually Jann starts to meddle.”