Group Publisher Diane Newman Out at American Media

Group publisher oversaw 'Shape,' other fitness mags

Diane Newman, who had people buzzing over her weeks-long absence from tabloid and fitness publisher American Media, has now left the company.

As group publishing director over Shape, Fit Pregnancy and Natural Health, Newman was one of AMI’s top advertising salespeople, and chief executive David Pecker called it a “major coup” when he hired her away from Meredith Corp. in 2010.

Last month, AMI said Newman was on a personal leave. Today, it said she left the company “for personal reasons.” Newman hasn’t replied to an email seeking comment.

Her direct reports, Shape publisher Brian Gruseke, whom Newman brought with her from Meredith; and Kristin Elliott, publisher of Fit Pregnancy and Natural Health, now report directly to Pecker.

Meanwhile, on the celebrity weekly side of the business, Richard Spencer, the editor-in-chief of American Media’s OK! and Reality Weekly, has reportedly gone missing for several weeks.

The celeb magazine category has been struggling from soft newsstand sales, and AMI’s experience has been no different. OK!, which had lost $25 million one year before AMI took it off Richard Desmond’s hands in 2011, shed 24 percent of its circulation in the second half of last year.

An AMI rep said OK! is in fact doing well, going from a $200,000 a week loss to a $200,000 gain since AMI bought it. As for Spencer, the rep said he was visiting his mother in Pennsylvania and that Pecker was in “constant touch” with him.

Reality Weekly, Spencer’s other responsibility and AMI’s newest venture, has missed its short-term circ goals, though, despite its low cover price ($1.79).