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Movieline.com debuts today

Familiar Hollywood name goes digital with a droll style provided by Defamer alums and a fan focus.

April 14, 2009|Yvonne Villarreal

Movie aficionados can add yet another website to their list of online sources of film news with the relaunch today of the entertainment magazine Movieline as an Internet publication.

Movieline.com, the digital descendant of the glossy periodical that chronicled the movie industry and evolved into Hollywood Life before ceasing publication last month, will feature "up-to-the-minute blogs, reviews, reader-driven features, comedic commentary and high-profile interviews," the company said.

Editors Seth Abramovitch, Kyle Buchanan and S.T. VanAirsdale, all formerly of the Defamer website, will polish the content with their signature drollness in hopes of making the site a cyberspace hub for all things Hollywood.

"We don't like to call it snark," Abramovitch said, distancing the online Movieline from a characteristic that defined Defamer, which was recently folded into its sister site Gawker. "We like to call it . . . maybe dry wit. It will be there."

"Movieline was probably one of the best magazines on the subject that ever existed," Abramovitch said. "It's a huge responsibility to do it justice."

The relaunch comes at a highly competitive time for Hollywood news that has seen the launch of several websites, including TheWrap.com and BigHollywood.Breitbart.com.

But Movieline.com, owned by Mail.com Media Corp.. of Los Angeles, aims to be more consumer-focused than those sites, which tend to attract an industry following.

"We don't really see ourselves as having a direct competitor, believe it or not, because we really feel like we're doing our own thing," Abramovitch said.

Movieline began as a free Los Angeles listings guide in the mid-1980s and by the 1990s had evolved into a national magazine known for its devotion to movies and its playful commentary about Hollywood. In 2003, it changed its name to Hollywood Life and extolled the celebrity lifestyle.

Charles Runnette, Movieline.com's general manager, says the site has already lined up Universal Pictures as an exclusive display advertising partner for its first week online. The studio's "State of Play," a crime drama opening Friday, will be the initial project promoted. For the following few weeks, Universal will continue to have a presence on the site.

"We see this as already something viable," said Runnette. "In four or five months, I think we'll start making a profit."

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yvonne.villarreal@latimes.com

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