Lisa Schwarzbaum, who has been with Entertainment Weekly since 1991, is one of the biggest names to emerge from the list of Time Inc. cuts. Schwarzbaum decided to take a buyout and move on to “expand the kind of writing (and kind of living) that I do,” according to an internal memo.
Schwarzbaum became EW’s film critic in 1994 and is responsible for some of the magazine’s most impressive pieces, including a massive feature on a TV show that no one was paying much attention to at the time. It was called Seinfeld.
“There will be more writing from Lisa,” wrote Jess Cagle, managing editor EW, in the note. “A book idea is brewing. So is an online venture, as well as other developing projects. And she does want to keep writing about movies when inspiration strikes. I will miss her, but look forward to becoming just another Lisa Schwarzbaum groupie.”
The full note from Cagle is below.
A few months ago, Lisa Schwarzbaum quietly declared that she planned to move on from EW. The news stayed fairly quiet (something of a miracle around here), probably because those of us who knew were left rather speechless. We can’t imagine EW without her; she’s such a crucial, opinionated, elegant, and eloquent strand of our DNA. But now the time has come to share the news: Lisa Schwarzbaum is, in fact, leaving EW to, in her words, “expand the kind of writing (and kind of living) that I do.” Please join me in thanking her for 22 years of beautiful words, elaborate and wonderfully realized sentences, her unbridled love of film, her sharp criticism, and the joy of having her as a colleague.
Lisa joined EW in 1991 as a senior writer, and became a film critic in 1994. But to get a good sense of the scope of her service at EW, consider this: She once attended a an off-site staff event where an unknown New York comic named Jon Stewart was hired as the entertainment; she wrote the first big major-magazine story on ‘Seinfeld’; she also wrote the first (and the second) big major-magazine story on ‘90210’; and she has been to Cannes 17 times.
Among her many admirers: Kathryn Bigelow, John Lasseter, and Lena Dunham, who was spotted a year or so ago wandering the halls of EW in search of Lisa’s office; finding it empty she left a fan letter on Lisa’s chair. But Josh Brolin said it most succinctly when he emailed her to say, “You can fucking write!”
There will be more writing from Lisa. A book idea is brewing. So is an online venture, as well as other developing projects. And she does want to keep writing about movies when inspiration strikes. I will miss her, but look forward to becoming just another Lisa Schwarzbaum groupie. Lisa’s departure will obviously mean changes for EW’s movie coverage, which will be expanding as we increase our digital footprint and develop other brand extensions. There will be more exciting news on all that soon. In the meantime, let’s hear a round of applause for Lisa’s great contributions to this brand and its voice, and let’s wish her great success on her new adventures. “Now’s my opportunity and I’m grabbing it,” she says, “grateful beyond measure for such a beautiful EW life among so many I love.”
Thank you, Lisa. May our paths cross over and over.