American Media taps Rogers for TV

Pecker looks from printed page to small screen

If American Media chief David Pecker has his way, the tabloid publisher will soon be a force in TV as well as the supermarket checkout counter.

To aid in his quest, Pecker on Tuesday engaged former Primedia CEO and NBC Cable exec Tom Rogers as senior advisor to AMI, where he’s been charged with developing TV spinoffs of the company’s top magazine titles.

AMI chairman and CEO Pecker is looking to Rogers to develop the company’s magazine stable into “all forms of television,” including cable, satellite and any other distribution means.

While AMI tabs National Enquirer and Star (where editorial director Bonnie Fuller is reshaping the paper into a glossier celeb mag) are considered the most likely brands to be TV fare, Rogers is going to be developing ideas for a health TV outlet to exploit AMI’s Active Lifestyle Group.

AMI publishes six of the 14 bestselling weekly mags, including the National Enquirer and Star. AMI also recently acquired Weider Publications and its stable of health and fitness titles, including Shape and Men’s Fitness. AMI also publishers Country Weekly, a country music mag and Latino entertainment magazine ¡Mira!.

“The public’s insatiable appetite for entertainment and celebrity news presents many platforms for Star magazine to drive new viewers to a channel such as E! Entertainment, VH1 and others we seek relationships with,” Pecker said.

Transitioning print brands into audiovisual outlets historically has been a treacherous exercise for even major publishers like USA Today (which failed in its efforts to kickstart a syndicated show) and Time Inc. (CNN Sports Illustrated).

Rogers’ efforts at Primedia were focused on developing targeted consumer niche interests — from fly-fishing to cooking — through its various magazines and the MagRack video-on-demand service.

Before joining Primedia, which has since undergone a major downsizing and restructuring initiative, Rogers was president of NBC Cable and exec VP of NBC.

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