Peter Bart’s legendary 20-year tenure as editor in chief of Variety is ending today, when Bart will be replaced by his deputy Tim Gray.
Bart, an ex-Hollywood film exec, is credited with professionalizing the trade mag, known in the industry as the “Bible of Show Business.” For years it dominated its competitor The Hollywood Reporter. For years, the magazine was reaping profits of 30 to 40 percent—those margins are much reduced this year.
The WSJ’s reporting that it sounds as if the move was planned. This from Tad Smith, CEO of Reed Business Information, which owns Variety:
“Bart has managed Variety’s staff and news operations for 20 years, and we have long had an agreement in place that, at the 20-year mark, he would move on to new responsibilities.” Speculation’s that at age 76, Bart is regarded as being from the “wrong generation to transform Variety for the digital age,” TheWrap reports. On the other hand, Gray’s not known for his online savvy either: “Gray is considered an experienced and well-liked editor who has run both daily and weekly publications but has not been intimately involved in Variety.com.”
Bart will continue to contribute his weekly column, blog, and more, and will report to Smith.