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'Rachael Ray' Mag to Lose Publisher Paul Jowdy in Sale

Meredith deal seen closing as early as this week
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Meredith Corp. hasn’t yet completed its deal to buy Every Day With Rachael Ray, but when it does, Paul Jowdy, the magazine's publisher, won't be coming along, Adweek has learned.

Meredith announced Oct. 12 that it had reached an agreement in principle to buy the magazine from Reader’s Digest Association, which is selling off properties to focus on its key brands, like Reader’s Digest, Taste of Home, and The Family Handyman. Sources close to the deal said they expected it to be finalized this week.

Neither side would comment on Jowdy, saying the deal wasn’t finished yet. RDA has already announced that it was keeping Ray’s editor, Liz Vaccariello, in its fold. She's moving into a newly created role of chief content officer of Reader’s Digest Community. Linda Fears, who oversees food content at Meredith, will be responsible for finding a new editor for the magazine, assuming the sale goes through. 

On the sales side, Ray's magazine will be overseen by Tom Witschi, president of Women’s Lifestyle for Meredith, who came to the company as part of Meredith’s recent acquisition of EatingWell.

One important detail of the Rachael Ray deal to be ironed out will be control of the Web properties associated with the TV personality. One of RDA’s frustrations with its publishing deal with Ray was that her Web footprint was split among three sites and that RDA was limited to controlling the magazine-related site, RachaelRayMag.com.