UPDATE: *I understand that Hollywood Reporter honchos are telling staff they’re looking outside for “a big, big, name” to take over as editor.*
I just heard… It was announced in the Variety newsroom this morning that Cynthia Littleton (photo, left) and Anne Thompson (photo, below) have jumped from the Hollywood Reporter to Variety. This is very surprising news even with the turmoil that has engulfed the HR in recent months (firings, layoffs, etc.). Littleton was the respected and recently promoted editor of HR. Finally, this afternoon, Variety announced their new jobs: Littleton assumes the title of deputy editor for news development and Thompson, deputy editor of Variety.com (below Dana Harris). “They will contribute both as editors and columnists, with their work appearing online and in print across the spectrum of Variety media products.” I hear Littleton is taking the marquee role as a new Variety columnist and will be expected to break news. Thompson is switching her re-branded movie column and online blog — mostly profiles and pick-ups notoriously soft on the industry — from HR to Variety. These latest personnel moves announce to the entertainment industry what is the death rattle of the Hollywood Reporter despite a long and legendary history. (I also just heard that, last Thursday, the Reporter‘s online editor there resigned. I’m trying to confirm.) The Hollywood Reporter is published by VNU Business Media Inc. Last March, VNU was bought by a consortium of six private equity groups — including Blackstone Group and Carlyle Group — for about $9 billion in cash. Since then cuts have come at some of the company’s other publications, including Billboard magazine. Since March 2006, Littleton, 37, had been HR‘s top-ranking editorial employee, overseeing all daily newsgathering and coverage. She joined the Reporter in October 1999 as broadcast television editor and was was promoted to deputy editor in October 2001, serving as No. 2 in the newsroom under Howard Burns. For six years, she penned the weekly “TV Reporter” column profiling top industry personalities and chronicling trends. Before coming to the Reporter, Littleton spent 2 1/2 years as a television reporter and editor at Daily Variety and Variety. She also worked as a reporter for Broadcasting & Cable and as a correspondent in the Los Angeles bureau of United Press International. Thompson over the years has had a roller-coaster career, reporting and editing about movies for Entertainment Weekly and then Premiere, then passing through New York magazine, and finally landing at the Reporter as deputy film editor and columnist in part because of her good friend there, film editor Gregg Kilday, who is still at HR.