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.