Careful readers of our masthead will have noticed a small change recently that marks a seismic shift here at ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY. Michael J. Klingensmith, one of the two men who conceived the idea for this magazine and who has led its business operations from the beginning, has left to become president of our sister Time Inc. publication SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. Mike’s departure truly marks the end of an era for EW — the end of the beginning, perhaps — and those who create the magazine each week, as well as those who enjoy reading it, will always be in his debt.
Count me among them. I had never met ”Klinger,” to use his nickname, when I arrived a few months after EW’s launch. But I quickly found ”church” (that’s editorial) had a formidable ally in the head of ”state” (that’s business). Abubble with enthusiasm, aboil with ideas, Klingensmith poured his energy into his baby publication, and his example inspired the whole staff. Through all the late nights, the uncertainties, the thousand meetings, the million decisions that go into a magazine start-up, Klinger never wearied.
And let me pay him the highest compliment an editor can give a publisher: His commitment to EW’s editorial integrity was total. Never once did Mike question our sometimes acerbic coverage, seek to muffle a critic, or ask the editors to please an advertiser. Such praise will embarrass him, but, hey, there’s nothing he can do about it now!
So, nine years and 400-plus issues down the road, Mike is moving on, and we’ll miss him — but at least he’s having a good time at SI. Klingensmith says he could hardly believe the ”sheer glamour factor” when, accompanied by SI cover model Heidi Klum, he opened a session of the New York Stock Exchange last month to promote the magazine’s annual swimsuit issue. Still, he hasn’t forgotten EW. ”I will miss the magazine’s incredibly focused, dedicated group of creators immensely,” he says. ”I must also admit it was a comedown having to watch the Grammys at home on TV for the first time in almost a decade. I went to the kitchen for a minute and missed Soy Bomb.”
Luckily, we’ve been fortunate enough to find someone cut from the same cloth — as Klingensmith, not Soy Bomb — to become our new president. John Squires, in fact, is an old EW hand. Consumer marketing director for the magazine from 1990 to 1993, John was directly responsible for boosting our circulation from a struggling 400,000 to over a million, which put us firmly on the road to success. He then was lured away to become vice president of consumer marketing for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, after which he served as senior vice president of consumer marketing for all Time Inc. publications. But he is as delighted as we are about his return. ”It’s tough leaving a child you’ve just seen learn to walk,” says Squires. ”But the fun part is, now I get to take the magazine into a healthy adolescence.”
You might think John himself a mere teenager (he’s 40) because he’s fit enough to pedal the 35 miles between our midtown Manhattan offices and his Croton-on-Hudson home, which he shares with his anthropologist wife, Rita. But his fanaticism for bicycling has begun to fade a bit lately. ”I’m spending a lot more time in dark theaters these days than out on the road,” he says. So take your seats, ladies and gentlemen: The curtain’s going up on another act of EW, and with John aboard, we’re sure it’s going to feature more than its share of showstoppers.
James W. Seymore Jr. Managing Editor