Candace Trunzo, the editor-in-chief of American Media Inc.’s Star magazine since 2007, was given the boot on Monday night. CEO David Pecker will replace her with Radar Online editor David Perel, an AMI veteran who spent most of his 25-year tenure with the company at the National Enquirer.
To take over the vacant spot at Radar, AMI hired Palm Beach Post gossip column editor Jose Lambiet, who will run the website as its executive editor from Hollywood. There were also nine staff cuts made at AMI—including Star’s L.A. bureau chief Neil Blincow—although three of the people let go will be replaced.
Perel, who will take charge over the remaining thirty-eight editorial employees at Star along with the eleven still at Radar, said that the staffs will be integrated.
In addition, Starmagazine.com’s traffic will be redirected to Radar in the coming weeks, said Kevin Hyson, CMO of AMI. Hyson said Star gets about 700,000 monthly uniques to Radar’s 4 million. (Another source, Compete.com, puts the figures at 210,000 for Star to 1.8 million for Radar.) “Because of the huge traffic Radar gets, we thought it was a good thing to do,” Hyson said.
According to a source within the company, WWD reported, Pecker wants to make Star meaner and more anti-celebrity. "All staff who are reputable or proper have left. Staff are really worried. They don't want to work somewhere so negative," the source wrote in an email. But, according to the New York Post, Perel claims that Radar has been "very celebrity friendly" and said, "We're going to bring a little of that over here."
The shake-up follows AMI's filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year, which led to former bondholders Avenue Capital Partners, Angelo Gordon, and Capital Research taking control of the majority of the company's stock. No doubt the investors are hoping that the recent editorial changes will revive Star magazine, which, according to a Post source, is experiencing the "worst newsstand sales in the history of the weekly," with its circulation having fallen to between 400,000 and 450,000 copies.