Posted on | November 11, 2010 | 9 Comments
Newsweek and The Daily Beast will announce tomorrow morning that the two publications will merge, a source close to the deal tells The Observer.
It will be a 50-50 merger of the two companies. The editorial staffs will combine under the editorship of Tina Brown, who will again run a high-profile glossy.
Newsweek owner Sidney Harman, 92, and IAC chairman Barry Diller had for weeks disagreed over an operating structure for the hybrid publication. The deal reached today establishes a daily role for Mr. Harman and strong editorial independence for Ms. Brown.
It might be difficult for Newsweek’s down-the-middle, fair-and-balanced staff to cope with Peter Beinart screeching about wingnut McCarthyism or Kirsten Powers musing on “the GOP’s long, hot, racist summer.”
Looking through the history of Ms. Brown’s career — Tatler, Vanity Fair, New Yorker, Talk — it’s hard to resist the suspicion that Newsbeast (or whatever the resultant hybrid is called) will be mainly about celebrities, both as subjects and as writers.
The investors can expect to lose a crapload of cash in the process. The New Yorker reportedly lost $42 million in three years (1995-97) under Ms. Brown’s editorship. Talk lost an impressive $80 million during its two-year existence. Whatever else you might say about Tina Brown, she’s undeniably brilliant at convincing investors to lose money on her projects.
Alas, there’s only one Tina and probably lots of would-be media moguls out there with millions of dollars to throw away on glitzy media operations. Send me an e-mail and we’ll do lunch.
But if you decide instead to hit Vegas and blow your millions on blackjack and hookers, I’ll understand.