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Next on 'Oprah': Leno, Fergie & Their Books

September 26, 1996|PAUL D. COLFORD | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Next among the Big Books of fall: Jay Leno's "Leading With My Chin."

The "Tonight Show" host writes about growing up, working as a mechanic and then taking to the nomadic road of stand-up comedy, which led him from strip clubs to Carnegie Hall to Johnny Carson's old job. Look for tales of running into other hopefuls, such as Jerry Seinfeld and David Letterman, along the way.

TV Guide is scheduled to introduce Leno's book with an excerpt in the issue out on Saturday. As a result, HarperCollins has put a lid on the contents of the book. Go figure. Copies of the book go on sale Wednesday, when Leno also will visit Oprah Winfrey's show.

HarperCollins plans a first printing of 1 million copies.

Another high-profile life story being prepared for release this season is the autobiography of the Duchess of York, better known on these shores as Sarah Ferguson. Simon & Schuster confirmed the other day that the book will go on sale Nov. 13, the same day that the red-haired royal will appear in a prime-time interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer and the day before she, too, turns up on Winfrey's program.

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Masthead Maze: One of the liveliest guessing games in New York media circles is figuring out who will succeed Kurt Andersen as editor in chief of New York, a magazine with a weekly circulation of 434,000 and a long-standing reputation as a bellwether of Gotham smarts.

Andersen was ousted by K-III Magazine Corp. in August, apparently because of the owner's concern that New York's edgier direction was turning off the core audience--a suggestion Andersen has disputed to any reporter who will listen. Chicago magazine's Richard Babcock, listed on the New York masthead as editor in chief, has no wish to make his stay permanent.

In other masthead developments, Edward Kosner, the veteran editor who preceded Andersen at New York and is now at the helm of Esquire, has received a very public signal of confidence from his new boss, Hearst Magazines President Cathleen P. Black. Quoted last week in James Brady's popular Advertising Age column, Black said of Kosner: "We feel very confident he can get Esquire right. Let the younger books like Details fight it out with GQ. I think Ed understands that Esquire is for the more educated, more sophisticated 30- to 40-year-olds and he's started reaching out."

Black's declaration of support comes amid dips in Esquire's circulation and ad-page count, which is down 17.6% for the year through the October issue compared to the first 10 months of 1995. The business had been buzzing that, on Black's watch, Kosner's job might be in jeopardy.

Also: The October issue of Marie Claire marks the first under Glenda Bailey, the new editor in chief from Britain, who touts it as the "thinking woman's fashion magazine." Among the sections she's added are "Style & Gossip" and "Working Life."

Bailey succeeds Bonnie Fuller, who has become editor-in-waiting at another Hearst Magazines property, Cosmopolitan, until Helen Gurley Brown, its editor in chief for more than 30 years, puts out her last issue in February. That farewell is expected to exceed 400 pages.

Also: Lori Berger, editor in chief of Sassy magazine since mid-1995, was hired this week by Weider Publications to be editor in chief of Jump. The new magazine for preteen and teenage girls, based at company headquarters in Woodland Hills, is scheduled to launch next fall.

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Afterwords: Two of the fresher names in comedy, Ben Stiller and Janeane Garofalo, have signed with the Ballantine Publishing Group to coauthor a guide to relationships in the '90s. Scheduled for release next fall, the book is being done because, Garofalo says in a prepared statement, "I feel it's important to have a homework assignment hanging over your head for six months to a year" . . .

The Web Magazine, billing itself as the first consumer, entertainment-oriented mag offering a map to the World Wide Web, has been launched by International Data Group in San Francisco. Think pop culture in cyberspace. Cover girl Cindy Crawford (so what else is new?) is tied to a piece about "Webstock '96," a celebrity-powered "cyberbenefit" for charity . . .

* Paul D. Colford is a columnist for Newsday. His column is published Thursdays.

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