OK! Weekly’s five-year existence in the U.S. has been dogged by management changes, wobbly finances and circulation ups and downs (the first half of 2010 showing a 14 percent slide).
But its newest editor Richard Spencer is undaunted, saying he plans to take on no less than the king of the celebrity weeklies, People.
In an exclusive interview, Spencer, past editor of Bauer’s 810,189-circ In Touch, said he would bring an American sensibility to Britain’s Northern & Shell-owned OK!.
OK!’s original strategy involved negotiating exclusives in exchange for star-friendly treatment. Spencer said he wouldn’t abandon that approach, but that he would augment it with news about celebrity and everyday people.
The emphasis is already evident in his first two issues, which ran stories about the Rutgers student suicide and the Pennsylvania mine collapse survivors.
If this sounds remarkably similar to People’s formula, Spencer said his approach would be more gossipy.
“You can have access and great fashion but still wet their appetite with stories people are talking about,” said the Pittsburgh-area native. “People traditionally covers when a wedding or divorce is confirmed. If you’re passionate about these people, don’t you want to read about it while it is still in the process of happening?”
At 3.5 million circulation, five times that of OK!, People may not have to worry just yet.