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PEOPLE : Premiere Magazine's Lyne Hired by Walt Disney Co.

January 03, 1996|JAMES BATES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Premiere magazine Editor in Chief Susan Lyne has been hired as a top executive at Walt Disney Co.'s Motion Pictures Group, where she will acquire and develop material for films.

Lyne, who will be based in New York, plans to buy books, screenplays and stage plays for Disney. Her formal title in the newly created job will be executive vice president in charge of acquisition and development of intellectual material and new opportunities. Joe Roth, chairman of the Disney group, said Lyne will "be an invaluable asset to our growing presence in New York."

In an interview, Lyne said she will be succeeded at the movie industry magazine by Christopher Connelly, a Premiere executive editor.

Lyne's departure comes six months after French publisher Hachette Filipacchi Magazines Inc., in partnership with New World Communications, agreed to buy Premiere for about $20 million from K-III Communications. Lyne said she has considered leaving the magazine several times in the past, but wanted to wait until things had settled down after the sale before considering offers.

Lyne previously was managing editor of the Village Voice, managing editor of New Times and an editor at Francis Ford Coppola's City magazine. She also worked in the film industry for three years as a vice president at Jane Fonda and Bruce Gilbert's IPC Films.

Under Lyne, Premiere, which has a circulation of about 600,000, grew from a start-up that many in the industry predicted would fail to one of the most closely read publications about Hollywood, although it only recently began turning a profit.

The magazine's annual "Power List" ranking Hollywood's most powerful executives, producers, directors and stars has become one of the more bizarre annual rites of Hollywood, with executives launching full-scale lobbying campaigns and hiring publicists to try to get on it.

In an interview, Lyne joked that one of the best things about the new job is not having to field another call from angry executives upset about not being included on the list or about being ranked lower than they felt they deserved.

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