Publishing vet Jack Kliger is returning to the industry as acting CEO of troubled TV Guide, filling the role vacated in May by Scott Crystal, who accused the magazine’s private-equity bosses of raiding the title and hastening its downfall.
Kliger was president and CEO of Elle and Car & Driver publisher Hachette Filipacchi Media until September 2008, when he was replaced by Hachette parent Lagardère Active exec Alain Lemarchand.
In addition to serving as acting CEO of TV Guide, Kliger also will be senior advisor to TV Guide’s private equity owner, Los Angeles-based OpenGate Capital.
Insiders were encouraged by the appointment of Kliger, who said his first assignment would be to figure out a strategy for TV Guide.
“The challenge that TV Guide faces is the same almost all magazines of a certain maturity as well as all media face: a difficult ad market, a changing consumer model,” said Kliger, who will be working on a part-time, open-ended basis. “Nevertheless, I like the idea of having a strong brand that we can figure out how to make relevant to its audience. There are a lot of strengths and assets here, but it’s had a lot of zigs and zags in the past few years.”
TV Guide has been rocked by two ownership changes in the past year and staff and circulation cuts as the iconic magazine has struggled to return to profitability in one of the worst advertising climates in history.
In a parting email to staff, Crystal accused TV Guide’s owners from using the magazine to enrich themselves at the publication’s expense.
OpenGate responded that his statements were inaccurate and said it has run the company appropriately since buying it in December 2008. OpenGate paid Macrovision a token $1 for TV Guide but assumed $9 million in a loan from the seller.