Magazines don’t get IMDb pages, so consider this our chance to brag about our onscreen résumé.

By EW Staff
September 02, 2020 at 03:51 PM EDT
EW in Pop Culture
Credit: Universal; FOX; TV Land; HBO (2)

EW has covered pop culture for 30 years now — most of the time we do so as consumers, critics, and fans, but every once in awhile it gets a little meta. Like, an episode about a fake set visit by a fake EW reporter that then becomes a very real recap in EW. Ahead, a few of best moments we inadvertently became part of the onscreen story. And no, they're not all overly flattering.

Sex and the City

EW in pop culture
Credit: HBO

Over the course of six seasons, two movies, countless cosmos, and one Big romance, the ladies of Sex and the City were on the cover of EW five times — and the HBO dramedy blew a kiss back at the mag with a cameo in the series’ big-screen debut in 2008. After all, what kind of publicist would Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall) be if she didn’t score an EW feature for her star client/lover Smith Jerrod (Jason Lewis)? Living in Los Angeles at the beginning of the movie, the boldest member of the show’s central quartet decorates her sunny office with a poster of Smith’s smoldering (fake) cover, promising “all you need to know about television’s newest hunk.” Sadly, Smith and Samantha’s relationship gets canceled like an underperforming network drama; as Carrie’s (Sarah Jessica Parker) earnest voice-over observes, some love stories are short stories. Not unlike a diamond-encrusted flower ring, though, a magazine cover lasts forever. —Mary Sollosi

The Larry Sanders Show

EW in pop culture
Credit: HBO

In a season 2 episode of Garry Shandling’s groundbreaking HBO comedy about a (fictional) late-night talk show, a (fictional) EW reporter goes behind the scenes for a story. The set visit does not go well — and the resulting (fictional) cover says it all. That enterprising reporter was played by The West Wing alum Joshua Malina, but he was modeled after (the very real) former EW critic/reporter Bruce Fretts. The good-natured Fretts — who passed away in July at the age of 54 — was an indispensable member of the staff from 1991 to 2003. He helped shape EW’s TV coverage in its formative years and was known for championing high-quality (and often underserved) series, as well as his in-depth reporting, discerning analysis, incisive wit, and an impressive collection of Pez dispensers. He particularly impressed NewsRadio creator Paul Simms, who first got to know Fretts during his tenure on Larry Sanders. “Bruce Fretts was really there through my career,” says Simms. “He did one of the first big pieces on Larry Sanders, he did one of the first big pieces on NewsRadio. Talk about a guy who just loved TV, loved pop culture, and was really funny about it.” We’ll never stop talking about him. R.I.P., Bruce. —Dan Snierson

Family Guy

EW in pop culture
Credit: FOX

It is a great understatement to say that former EW critic Ken Tucker wasn’t a Family Guy fanatic: He graded it a D on arrival, then named it the worst show of 1999, calling it “vile swill.” Creator Seth MacFarlane took notice — and action. In a 2000 episode, Peter uses EW as toilet paper. In a 2005 direct-to-DVD Family Guy movie, Stewie breaks the neck of an unnamed EW writer, who MacFarlane later admitted was Tucker. (He and EW repaired relations in subsequent years.) “Seth and I have a decades-long love-hate connection,” says Tucker. “Family Guy loves to hate me as much as I love to hate Family Guy.”—DS 


EW in pop culture
Credit: TV Land

EW’s professional partnerships usually start in a conference room, but in the world of Younger, a collaboration kicks off in a rooftop pool. In the TV Land comedy’s third season, Kelsey (Hilary Duff) finds herself floating alongside an EW assistant who practically falls off her noodle at the chance to introduce the book editor to her boss, former EW and PEOPLE editorial director Jess Cagle. When she arrives at the brands’ New York office, Kelsey gets what she calls “EW-itis,” excitedly pitching her new imprint, Millennial. Luckily, Cagle (who plays himself, center) kept his cool. “He nailed it,” Sutton Foster told (real) EW at the time. “He’s putting us all to shame.” We should be taking more pool meetings. —Ruth Kinane

Josie and the Pussycats

EW in pop culture
Credit: Universal

Nary a frame of Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont’s 2003 Archie Comics adaptation — about a local rock band-turned-deadly government apparatus — passes without flashing a prominently placed brand logo. (Never mind the capitalist brainwashing! Pink is the new red, by the way!) EW gets in on the fun too, when the kitty-eared girlband hits it big. Of course Rachael Leigh Cook’s frontwoman lands our (fictional) cover. And of course bandmate Valerie (Rosario Dawson) bristles when she sees yet another Pussycats product featuring only Josie. It’s a tale as old as rock & roll — Josie and the Pussycats are, after all, just the new Du Jour. —MS

For more celebrations of EW's 30th anniversary, order the September issue of Entertainment Weekly now. Don't forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

Related content: