TOLDJA! Debra Birnbaum Tops TV Guide

TV Guide announced today it promoted two executives to top editorial roles. Debra Birnbaum (whom I tipped last week) was indeed named editor-in-chief, replacing Ian Birch who was forced to exit. Birnbaum had overseen the magazine’s efforts to combine content from across media platforms. Craig Tomashoff, the West coast bureau chief, was named executive editor. The moves and layoffs follow the acquisition of the mag’s parent company Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc by Macrovision Corp, the video technology provider. The name of the combined company is now Macrovision Solutions Corp. Macrovision has said it intends to sell the print version of TV Guide and its TV Guide-branded cable channel but hold on to the popular TV Guide Web site and Gemstar’s technologies that drive electronic TV programming guides. The once venerable TV Guide magazine has flailed in recent years, going through an overhaul in 2005 after losing millions of dollars because of plummeting newsstand sales. The TV Guide layoffs led to exits of the two managing editors Lois Draegin and Steve Sonksy and several others, including the marketing department, on the eve of its annual high-profile “Sexiest Stars” party in LA. News Corp dumped TV Guide last fall. (See my previous, “TV Guide Getting Gutted Today”.)

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