Paul Fichtenbaum, who has been with Time Inc. since 1989, is stepping down as editor of the Sports Illustrated Group. His last day is June 30.
Fichtenbaum first joined SI as a senior editor. He served as managing editor/editor in chief from 2004 to 2012 then was promoted to editorial director of the SI Group. Fichtenbaum was named editor of the group in late 2012.
“I have been with Sports Illustrated since I was a kid and after more than a quarter century, I decided it was time to explore new challenges,” said Fichtenbaum, in a statement. “We have been talking about this for a while and now is the perfect time to make the change.”
Time Inc. is expected to announce Fichtenbaum’s successor soon.
Having binge-watched this season’s episodes of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing New York during my recent bout with the flu, I was more than a little excited about today’s lunch with two of the series’ stars, Ryan Serhant and Luis D. Ortiz. Now in it’s fifth season, the show had its best ever ratings last week with a record-setting 1.9 million viewers tuning in to watch Ryan, Luis and Fredrik Eklund negotiate the tricky — and oh-so-lucrative — world of Manhattan real estate. “In New York, buying a 5 to 7 million dollar apartment, is still technically considered middle class,” Ryan told me, fully aware of how completely bizarre that sounds. Alrighty then.
For me, one of the most fascinating aspects of watching Million Dollar Listing New York is when the guys sell a property at some head-spinning sum and their commissions (often in the six figures) flash on the screen. For some Bravolebrities, insta-fame is the big payoff but for these guys, it’s all about the business. “You couldn’t buy this kind of exposure,” said Luis before Ryan interjected, “Well you could, but it would cost you a billion dollars.” Worldwide fame helps, too. “The show is huge in Australia. Fredrik told me when he was there the people at the airport went crazy and [makes Fredrik’s signature sound — Schwee!]”
Clearly, being on the show has been a boon for business. Ryan’s team at Nest Seekers International has sold over $630 million — just in 2015 and were ranked the No. 1 sales team in New York by The Wall Street Journal. Luis has sold over $100 million in residential real estate in the past three years.
Not everyone thought signing on to do a reality show about selling real estate was a good idea — at least at first. “In the beginning, there were people who were upset about [the idea of a show,]” said Luis. Ryan agreed. “Everyone said, ‘Don’t do it. It will destroy your business.”
Fast forward five years. Now potential clients come to meetings armed with screen grabs from episodes to illustrate what they expect for their own deals. “The show has changed the way people think about real estate,” said Luis. And it’s not surprising clients want to cast themselves in the best possible light. “They also say, ‘I’m not going to be that guy,'” said Ryan, referring to the guys’ notoriously difficult clientele.
Television has clearly given these guys a huge career boost, but trust me, their hardcore work ethic, desire to succeed (more on that later) and crazy charisma would no doubt have landed them on the top of the city’s food chain eventually.
I first ‘Lunched’ with Luis in 2014 when he arrived a full half hour early (“My father always said if you’re on time, you’re late”) and talked about how he “escaped” his native Puerto Rico when he was 16 and wound up working as a janitor at a community college in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Somehow, he landed in Manhattan real estate. “I’ve always been a guy without a plan,” he told me then. Maybe, but on camera, at least, he’s always on a mission. In a recent episode, Luis stuck his neck out by schlepping out to Brooklyn to track down one of the city’s biggest developers, who was watching a Brooklyn Nets game in a swanky suite at the Barclays Center with Luis’ boss, Douglas Elliman honcho Howard Lorber. While both men were watching the game, Luis somehow got the developer to reinstate the initial lower Schedule A price of 13.8 million (It’s all relative, right?) which had been offered to a prospective (and very difficult) client before the developer decided to up the ante while Luis was still trying to reel in the deal. All that was missing was the theme from Rocky.
I’d never met Ryan before (he didn’t make it to our earlier ‘Lunch,’) but I was intrigued by the always impeccably dressed (today he was sporting his off-duty casual look and some uncharacteristic stubble) fast on his feet broker, whose deft touch with extremely high maintenance clients has saved plenty of Million Dollar Listings from real estate oblivion. Born in Texas and raised in Massachusetts, Ryan came to New York in search of an acting career. He did some hand modeling (“I held phones for AT&T”) and logged four months on As the World Turns before the writers’ strike stymied the show and he wound up as the in-house rental agent for 99 John Street. In March 2010, his boss encouraged him to go to an open casting call for Million Dollar Listing and that, as they say, was that. “I don’t remember doing real estate before this show,” he told me.
This season, viewers have seen Ryan negotiate with unrealistic clients whose certainty that their properties are worth more than the markets says they are (One guess on who usually walks away the victor) and lock horns with Amy, a prickly co-listing agent who lambasted him in one episode for taking a call from a seller without bringing her into the conversation. She now works for Ryan. “I told her I don’t ever want to be on the other side of a deal opposite her again. I want to be able to sic her on other people.” Smart, huh?
I’ve interviewed my fair share of television ‘personalities’ and suffice to say reel life and real life personas rarely match up. I knew the Luis I met was the same laser-focused, sincere guy viewers love to root for on the show. I’m happy to report Ryan is as smart, quick and funny as you’d expect. And today, there was no bickering between brokers. The guys explained when it happens on the show “it’s business.” To hear Ryan tell it the three of them are bonded for life. “We’ve become a family. The three of us understand what this is in a way that no one else does.”
While the show has certainly helped their businesses, I was more interested in how it has affected their personal lives — which it certainly has.
Two weeks ago, the cameras followed Luis, who was in a celebratory mood after his victory at the Barclays Center, home to his empty apartment. His loneliness in the scene was palpable. Luis broke down in tears during his ‘confessional’ explaining that he often talks to an empty chair in anticipation of the woman he’s in love with — but hasn’t yet met. “My mother called me and asked,’ Why did you cry on television?'” recalled Luis blushing at the memory. “She said, ‘You have to protect your image.’ I said, ‘I’m human.'” A human now in receipt of over 600 letters and emails “from mothers who say their daughters would kill them if they knew they were writing to me to tell me they have the girl for me.” I’m guessing Luis won’t be talking to an empty chair for much longer.
For Ryan, his upcoming wedding on July 7 in Corfu, Greece to fiancée Emilia Bechrakis has given viewers a glimpse into his life beyond real estate. He told me it took a while for him to convince Emilia to be part of the show, but “now she’s okay with it.” Coincidentally, the wedding will take place the same night of the season finale, which I’m told, will have “a lot of drama.” You expected otherwise? “We’ll be huddled together somewhere in the village looking for wifi so we can watch it.” They’re planning to have 150 of their family and friends and have two wedding planners — one in New York and one in Greece — “We talk to both of them and then they fight with each other.” The church where the ceremony will take place is on a separate island. Before I could anything else, Bravo’s Imani Ellis stepped in said we couldn’t talk more about it because my former colleagues at People magazine have the exclusive.
Perhaps there’s a reality show about the newlyweds in the future? Ryan’s eyes lit up at the idea. “Put that in there!” he joked as we said our good-byes. I’m betting there are plenty of fans who’d tune in.
Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:
1.Producer Freddie Gershon and pals
2. Cosmopolitan editrix Joanna Coles and Donna Lagani
3. Accessories maven Mickey Ateyeh with the fabulous Francisco Costa. I was thrilled to stop and chat with the former designer Calvin Klein designer, who told me he’s off to Brazil and the Amazon and “working on his next big move.” Bon Voyage!
4. Author Jay McInerney
5. Politico Ed Rollins and his wife, Shari Rollins, who was celebrating her birthday. Cheers!
6. Dr. Gerald Imber, Jerry Della Femina, Jeff Greenfield, Andy Bergman and Michael Kramer
7. Book seller Glenn Horowitz
11. Bisila Bokoko with a well-dressed gent I didn’t get to meet
12. Producer Joan Gelman (we’re ‘Lunching’ later this month), PR maven Judy Twersky (who has been responsible for some of my dishiest ‘Lunches’) and their pal, Cynthia Tian
14. Star Jones
15. A&E’s Nancy Dubuc
16. United Stations Radio’s Nick Verbitsky
17. Peter Price
18. LAK PR CEO Lisa Linden with Katherine Lemire, president of Lemire LLC, a compliance and risk management firm specializing in investigative due diligence and “complex” investigations for the public and private sectors. A little birdie told me Katherine was a formal federal prosecutor and assistant Manhattan DA. Impressive, no?
20. Beauty Fashion-Cosmetic World’s George Ledes and wife Christine Schott-Ledes.
21. Cablevision’s Charlie Schueler
23. David Blum
24. British Heritage Travel’s publisher Jack Kliger
26. Carl Peterson
27. Ryan Serhant, Luis Ortiz, Imani Ellis and yours truly
28. Gwen Norton
Diane Clehane is a FishbowlNY contributor. Follow her on Twitter @DianeClehane. Send comments and corrections on this column to LUNCH at MEDIABISTRO dot COM.
But what if the speculative buy-in price was just $175? Per an item by Boston Globe digital reporter Steve Annear, that’s what Ross Connelly, the owner of the Hardwick Gazette, has very ingeniously come up with:
The [400-word essay writing] contest runs from June 11, through Aug. 11, or until the maximum number of entries are received. Connelly hopes to draw enough interest from the public that he and a panel of judges will need to sift through 1,889 essays – a number that reflects the year the newspaper was first published.
Entrants will need to cough up $175 – if 1,889 people step up, Connelly stands to make $330,575 – and craft an essay detailing how they plan to keep afloat a print publication in the age of the internet.
The minimum number of entries required for the contest to proceed is 700 (which works out to the aforementioned total of $122,500). Millennials, start your dream-career-change engines!
It ranks these days as one of the most enviable job titles in the Bay Area: digital initiatives lead, Golden State Warriors. And the guy who owns it, Daniel Brusilovsky, is just two NBA games away from making his LinkedIn photo (pictured) ring true for a second straight year.
For a piece in the Summer issue of CNET magazine by Terry Collins, Brusilovsky teased some of the latest gadgets he’s looking into to make the team better. Watch out, rest of the NBA:
Brusilovsky sometimes takes a personal role in that testing. Case in point: the Neuroon, a sensor-equipped sleep mask to help combat jet lag.
“I sleep with it every single night,” says Brusilovsky. “We’re talking with the company each day to provide feedback on what’s working, not working and what features they could possibly add.”
Players on the Warriors’ minor league team in Santa Cruz, California, also serve as the guinea pigs in many tests.
We look forward during the 2016-17 regular season to Doris Roberts or some other NBA courtside reporter asking a Warriors player how they stayed so fresh for a back-to-back second night game, and then grappling with the word Neuroon.
Photo via: LinkedIn
Time Inc. has named Leslie Dukker Doty executive vp, consumer marketing and revenue. Doty most recently served as Trusted Media Brands’ CMO.
Prior to her time with Trusted Media, Doty worked for CVS Health, MasterCard and SunTrust Bank.
“Leslie’s expertise in direct marketing optimization as well as her ability to leverage consumer data and analytics to effectively market and grow new customer acquisition and retention will be strong assets for Time Inc.,” said Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp, in a statement. “I am confident that Leslie will help facilitate the acceleration of consumer revenue growth and energize our brand franchises as we continue to transition our business.”
Doty will report to Ripp.
There are a number of standout quotes in this week’s cover story by Lacey Rose for our sister publication The Hollywood Reporter.
Looking back at the way ESPN handled things this time last spring, Bill Simmons suggests that “you would think I played grab-ass with some makeup assistant or something.” Then there’s this astute framing of Simmons’ weekly half-hour HBO talk show Any Given Wednesday, which premieres June 22, by former network programming president Michael Lombardo, who remains involved with the Simmons program:
“We have a lot more latitude than ESPN has in what’s too provocative, and we present ourselves differently in that we’re point-of-view television. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it,” he says, noting that Simmons wouldn’t be the first firebrand on HBO’s payroll. “We’ve had 13 years of Bill Maher,” Lombardo adds with a laugh. “Trust me, we have gotten plenty of letters over the years.”
According to two sources who spoke to Rose, HBO is paying Simmons between $7 million and $9 million a year. That’s a sizable increase from the $5 million he was making at ESPN and, ultimately, the best way in Hollywood to run into old foes.
Simmons tells Rose the HBO program will be “conversations about sports, culture and technology, and then me being a snarky asshole.” Although some in the sports media believe the former Grantland boss does not have what it takes to become a bonafide TV personality, the 46-year-old Simmons tells THR that kind of criticism only motivates him more.
Much later in the piece, Simmons reflects honestly on his 14 years at ESPN: “”I’m not blameless. I acted like a brat a couple times, and there are things I could have handled better.”
Read the rest here.
Previously on FishbowlNY:
Bill Simmons Takes Issue With Variety Mention
Your FishbowlNY editors are old (yet handsome) men, so we don’t understand why there has to be so many damn emojis, but clearly we’re in the minority because they just keep on coming.
The latest additions come from Cosmopolitan, who has launched a “Cosmojis” keyboard for iPhone and Android users.
The Cosmoji emojis include rosé, “Netflix and Chill” (kids these days!), a mermaid, iced coffee and more.
Politico has ramped up its search for a successor to editor Susan Glasser, who said she would be taking a new role after the upcoming presidential election.
According to The Huffington Post, candidates for the job include Politico national editor and Europe managing editor Kristin Roberts and Carrie Budoff Brown, respectively; Bloomberg News’ Washington managing editor Craig Gordon; and Daily Beast executive editor Noah Shachtman.
A Politico spokesperson wouldn’t offer HuffPost any clues into who has the inside track, only stating that the search “continues with many tremendous candidates, both internally and externally.” Tremendous!
Hearst has acquired a minority stake in Spartan Race, an obstacle course that was founded in 2010.
Much like veganism, you’ll never have to ask someone if they’ve run a Spartan Race, because they’ve definitely already told you. Over and over again.
Spartan Races are currently held in more than 25 countries. A series about the race—Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge—is coming to NBC this month. The company behind the race, Spartan Race Inc., also offers branded training programs, apparel, nutritional content and more.
As part of the deal, Scott English, managing director of Hearst Ventures, is joining Spartan Race’s board of directors.
Lew Serviss, assistant news editor for The New York Times Print News Hub, offers a detailed look for Times Insider at how he and his colleagues, heading into this past weekend, planned for the possible death of Muhammad Ali and then monitored the internet for the latest developments. Evidently, there are a few movie buffs in the mix.
At the end of a Friday planning meeting called by Print News Hub director Denise Fuhs with night sports editor Carl Nelson, deputy sports editor Jay Schreiber, weekend sports editor Tom Coffey and sports copy desk head Pete Blair, Coffey – in his best Lloyd Bridges Airplane! imitation – jokingly stated, “Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop smoking!”
And here’s how Serviss frames the moment he realized the momentous triggering event the group had planned for might be coming to pass:
At 12:20 I refreshed the trending hashtag I had been monitoring on Twitter: #MuhammadAli. My eyes immediately fell on a post in the middle of the screen, by a Times political reporter, Yamiche Alcindor: ‘Wow. NBC News is reporting #MuhammadAli has died.’ I felt like the Roy Scheider character in Jaws, watching a shark attack swimmers as a camera on a dolly pushed toward him, Hitchcock-style.
I told [night News Hub chief] Mr. [Steve] Kenny, whose eyes widened as he reached for the phone to call Mr. Nelson in Sports. “NBC reporting he’s dead,” I texted to Mr.[Michael] Connors, [managing director for production at The Times printing plant in College Point, Queens]. “Hang on.” In minutes, [national correspondent] Mr. [John] Eligon had confirmed with the family spokesman that Ali had died, and we were off to the races. Justin Porter on the digital desk sent out a news alert at 12:44. The digital news team, led by Mr. Kenny and Dave Renard, a news editor, quickly published to the web a banquet of news: the obituary, the two columns, a 20-minute video, a slide show, a timeline and a compilation of Ali quotations.
The Print Hub gang was able to get a full slate of articles about Ali into just one national print edition, Los Angeles, finalizing those efforts by 1:51 a.m. The front page of the second New York edition was also able to showcase the Ali news, thanks in part to the fact that the Saturday edition has a larger press run than any edition except Sunday.
Previously on FishbowlNY:
From Rome to Vegas and Beyond, a Sportswriter Remembers Muhammad Ali
A Miami Beach Portrait of Muhammad Ali
Photo of separate, successive Saturday New York editions via: Twitter
This might surprise you, but the Associated Press’ early (correct!) call that Hillary Clinton had enough delegates to become the Democratic nominee has made Bernie Sanders supporters quite upset.
New York Times reporter Amy Chozick, who has been covering Clinton’s campaign for the paper, had to screen her phone calls because of Bernie Bros:
I won't be answering calls from unknown numbers today, after third call from Bernie supporters telling me they'd hunt me down in the streets
— Amy Chozick (@amychozick) June 7, 2016
WNYC’s Andrea Bernstein, NPR White House Correspondent Tamara Keith, BuzzFeed reporter Ruby Cramer and Politico’s Gabriel Debenedetti all told Politico that they had been harassed by moronic Sanders supporters.
The AP even sent out a memo warning staffers that Bernie voters are hyped up on stubbornness and stupidity.
“Some AP staff have received angry communications in the form of emails, social media messages and phone calls,” read a memo obtained by Poynter. “We have not received any specific security threats. If you need to respond to complaints, feel free to point the public to the statements on our blog as appropriate… It is always good to practice situational awareness around AP bureaus and offices.”
Well done, Sanders supporters. You’ve really represented yourself—and Bernie—well. Of course, when the candidate himself is angry, bitter and full of dangerous rhetoric, what did we expect?
Depressingly for Democrats, that last sentence does not refer to Donald Trump.
In an effort to combat Donald Trump’s racist views, The Huffington Post has partnered with Mexico media outlet Grupo Imagen Multimedia to launch HuffPost Mexico.
The Spanish language site will debut in September with a team of reporters based in Mexico City.
“At a time when Trump is running on a platform that includes putting up a wall between the U.S. and Mexico while calling Mexicans ‘killers and rapists’ and challenging the integrity of an American judge because of his Mexican descent, it’s more important than ever to open up the conversation, nurture the longstanding ties between our two countries and counter this false and dangerous narrative,” said HuffPost co-founder and editor Arianna Huffington, in an announcement. “We’ll do this by not only reporting on Mexico’s challenges, but also focusing on all the ways Mexicans are responding to them, overcoming great odds, and working toward solutions with ingenuity and compassion.”
Hearst Newspapers Digital has named Fegal Carr senior vp of consumer product and Esfand Pourmand senior vp of revenue.
Carr most recently as senior director of technology, T Brand Studio for The New York Times. He is taking on a newly-created role at Hearst Newspapers.
Pourmand previously served as vice president of product management, consumer revenue for Tribune Publishing.
Both Carr and Pourmand will report to Hearst Newspapers Digital president Robertson Barrett.
Patti Sonntag (pictured) is currently one of several managing editors who helps oversee The New York Times news services division, or syndicate. And this fall, thanks to her recent selection as one of two recipients of a 2016 Michener-Deacon Fellowship in her native Canada, she will be teaching an intriguing class at Montreal’s Concordia University.
From a recent report in The Free Press, a newspaper in her hometown of Fernie, British Columbia:
“It’s an academic project called the Corporate Mapping Project, which explores the influence of fossil fuels on Canadian political life,” Sonntag explained. “I’m going to be teaching students to use that database and our investigation will certainly be in that area.”
Sonntag, a Concordia alumnus, parlayed internships at The New Yorker and the Times into her full-time current career. She will teach the endowed course during the upcoming fall semester.
Photo via: LinkedIn
Born in Switzerland and now based in New York, Olaf Breuning works in a variety of media including photography, video, installation, drawing, and painting. Testing the limits of humor and contemporary aesthetics, Breuning’s photo-collages, sculptures, paintings, and comics are simultaneously funny and provocative, absurd and eerie, tragic and fragile.
The View fires co-host Michelle Collins. The comedian started last year and will appear through the summer with an end date that remains TBD. “Michelle is smart, opinionated and funny,” an ABC spokesperson told Variety. “She’s been a great addition to the panel this year. When we are ready to make an announcement about next season, we will.” There’s some speculation that Good Morning America Weekend lifestyle anchor Sara Haines will land the coveted (and lucrative) job, but we’ll see how it shakes out…
Vanity Fair hires Sloane Crosley as contributing editor. She’ll handle the magazine’s book column, Hot Type, taking over for Elissa Schappell… Real Simple grabs former XO Group and Nylon executive Carrie Reynolds to be vp, integrated sales… The American Prospect gets Amy Lynn Marshall Lambrecht as publisher. She had been director of development at the Scholars Strategy Network but worked as vice president of development at TAP until 2002… Nikki Ekstein joins Bloomberg Pursuits as travel editor. She had been travel news editor at Travel + Leisure… And there are changes at Mic, Remedy Health Media and more…
Time has made several changes to its team. Five promotions and six hires are below.Susanna Schrobsdorff has been promoted to chief strategic partnerships editor. She previously served as assistant managing editor. Dan Stewart has been promoted to Europe editor. He previously served as deputy continuous news editor. Julie Shapiro, most recently a news editor for Time.com, succeeds Stewart as continuous news editor. Charlie Campbell has been promoted to Beijing correspondent. He previously served as associate editor in Time’s Hong Kong bureau. Joyce Lee has been promoted from a freelancer for the breaking news team to associate producer. Nate Hopper joins as an opinions editor for Time Ideas. He most recently worked for Esquire. Chris Grasinger joins as a video producer overseeing breaking news. He previously worked for Mashable. Spencer Bakalar, most recently with the Los Angeles Times, joins as a video producer/editor. Brittany Robins joins as an associate editor, audience engagement. She previously worked for The New York Daily News. Cady Lang joins as a newsfeed writer. She previously worked for StyleCaster.com. Raisa Bruner also joins as a newsfeed writer. She most recently worked for Business Insider.
The Washingtonian’s Andrew Beaujon recently paid a visit to the D.C. offices of AARP The Magazine.
The circulation of the bi-monthly print magazine is incredible enough; around 22 million copies, spread over three editions targeting ages 50-59, 60-69 and 70+. But the ad numbers are even more impossibly impressive:
The published rate for a full-page ad across AARP’s editions is $667,800 — more than at either People or Better Homes and Gardens, the only U.S. magazines that reach more readers. Over the past five years, advertising revenues are up by 18 percent.
Beaujon credits a lot of the magazine’s continuing success to editor in chief Robert Love, who came over from Rolling Stone in 2013. In fact, he writes that ‘AARP [magazine] often has had the feel of a Rolling Stone that decided to age naturally.’ Read the rest of the article here.
Previously on FishbowlNY:
Bob Dylan Gifts AARP With 50,000 Free CDs
Pictured: June/July issue
Condé Nast is expanding its branded licensing with new products carrying the Self, GQ and Epicurious names. Hey, if a brand has legs, you might as well use them to make some extra cash.
Self has partnered with Argento SC for a line of yoga and fitness equipment and accessories. The products will be available in stores later this year.
GQ joined forces with swimwear brand Orlebar Brown for a line of limited-edition men’s swim shorts. The collection is available at Orlebar Brown stores and on orlebarbrown.com.
And finally, Epicurious has added to its cookware collection with new pots, pans and kitchen gadgets. The cookware is available at JCPenny, Bed Bath & Beyond and be bedbathandbeyond.com.