Claudia Eller and Andrew Wallenstein are assuming expanded responsibilities as co-editors-in-chief of Variety as Cynthia Littleton transitions from her role as editor-in-chief, television, to the newly created post of managing editor, television.
Littleton’s new role coincides with her recent move to the East Coast and desire to focus on reporting and writing across all Variety platforms. She will report to Eller and Wallenstein.
Littleton will work in close partnership with Debra Birnbaum, executive editor, television, overseeing the publication’s comprehensive TV coverage. Littleton will concentrate on managing breaking TV news online while Birnbaum will focus on assigning and editing features for Variety’s weekly magazine. Birnbaum, formerly the editor-in-chief of the venerable TV Guide, relocated to Los Angeles from New York earlier this year.
Eighteen months ago, Brian Steinberg, who previously worked at Ad Age, came aboard in New York as senior TV editor. Variety will shortly announce a new hire of a Los Angeles-based TV reporter to further bolster coverage of the vital area of entertainment.
With Littleton’s transition, Eller and Wallenstein, who were formerly editor-in-chief, film, and editor-in-chief, digital, respectively, will share responsibility overseeing news operations as newly-named co-editors-in-chief.
“Claudia, Andy and Cynthia have done an incredible job in the last 18 months as we transformed from the daily print edition to an integrated digital news operation and weekly magazine,” said publisher Michelle Sobrino-Stearns. “Cynthia has helped build what we believe is the best television reporting team in the business, and Claudia and Andy have helped make Variety an indispensable tool for anyone in the entertainment industry, including a new generation of readers now able to read us online 24/7. Their superior journalism has led to the company’s financial success and popularity.”
Jay Penske, founder of parent company Penske Media Corporation, acquired Variety and Variety.com, and has managed the re-emergence of the iconic 109-year-old brand with a revamped website and weekly print magazine. Variety continues to be the leading provider of entertainment news around the world. This global reach was further extended when the publication became the sole entertainment news provider to Reuters, the international news agency, for both English and Spanish language content.
“I’m incredibly proud of the transformation that has occurred at Variety during the past two years since Jay Penske challenged us to reinvent the brand for a new era,” Littleton said. “We are laser-focused on serving readers with timely news, analysis and commentary, and to that end I’m eager to devote more time to reporting and writing as well as working with Debra Birnbaum and the rest of our growing TV team to deliver the most insightful coverage of a business in the midst of monumental change.”
Littleton was awarded Entertainment Journalist of the Year at the recent Los Angeles Press Club SoCal Journalism Awards, where Variety was honored with eight awards, more than any other news outlet in the region.
“We’re excited to build on the momentum here at Variety and the strategic expansion of our television coverage will certainly help us do that,” said Eller and Wallenstein, in a joint statement. “At a time when the television business is exploding, we’re thrilled to have Cynthia available to tell those stories, writing and reporting on this period of great change among media giants.”