Entertainment Weekly, the genesis

EW prototype cover

EW prototype cover

Even with the cringes induced with a few maddening memories, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Anne Helen Petersen’s history of Entertainment Weekly‘s life — and torture — at Time Inc. Others involved might quibble about this or that. A successor said in a subsequent Facebook discussion that synergy wasn’t the problem — well, it wasn’t for him; I remember a top Time Inc. executive calculating the grade-point averages our critics gave (he said we were being too mean to the industry Time Inc. was about to enter: entertainment). Memories will serve us differently. But Petersen’s history is well-researched and well-analyzed.

This has inspired me to scan and post the genesis documents for Entertainment Weekly. Here is my original 1984 memo proposing the magazine (with a few updates for resubmission in 1986). Here, too, is the rejection from on high. The magazine finally started six years after I first proposed it.

I teach EW as a case most terms at the start of my entrepreneurial journalism class at CUNY, so I keep the documents around (I specifically got permission to keep the launch documents when I stormed out of EW). There’s more where these came from.

EW proposal

  • joan

    I’ve got the dummy and first trial covers. Shall I?

    • Jeff Jarvis

      of course.

  • Jerry Knaus

    The thing that stuck me the most is it took 18 months to get a rejection letter. Was that typical?