Add TV Guide to the long list of publications undergoing massive downsizing. It's yet another sign of the shifting fortunes of TV in general along with the downsizing in network pilots and upfronts etc.
An insider tells me that editor Ian Birch and the two managing editors Lois Draegin and Steve Sonksy and several others, including the marketing department, got the word this morning they'd be exiting.
I heard that Birch, the British editor of Heat (that hot tabloid in the UK) didn't even come in to the building today, while publisher Scott Crystal and a Human Resources henchwoman were "running around handing out the news that TV Guide is getting gutted today." The timing couldn't be worse: TV Guide is holding its annual high-profile "Sexiest Stars" party in LA on Thursday.
Crystal just told the staff they will have a new editor in place by end of next week. (Rumors are it may be Debra Birnbaum...)
News Corp dumped TV Guide last fall and the mag moved out of the NewsCorp building in December. I hear some stockholder meeting by current owner Macrovision is happening today. Word is Macrovision is looking for a new owner for the magazine and, if none is found, the print version could shutter. Supposedly, Macrovision only bought Gemstar-TV Guide for the digital technology. Word is the company will keep the technology and the on-line version of TV Guide and sell the print version which does retain 3.5 million subscribers. But I'm told the print edition had been losing millions every year.