It should have been perfect fodder for the magazine; in fact, Kenneth Starr's September 1998 report revealed that Lewinsky had tried to get a job at George after her time at the White House. Fold out cover with a Saturn car ad on the back.

After all, who would want to step into a role established by a favorite son of America?”, But Kliger says he had plenty of interest, including from Al Franken, the comedian who would later become a senator. President." “I went to Detroit to talk to people at General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford. It was President Clinton’s successful 1992 campaign, including his saxophone performance on The Arsenio Hall Show, that inspired Kennedy to create a political magazine focused more on personalities than on policy.

Kennedy was becoming frustrated with Hachette, but when he met with the new president and CEO, Jack Kliger, in June 1999, he was open to discussing plans to make the magazine profitable.

Ritts proposed supermodel Cindy Crawford, who at the time was also appearing regularly on TV in Pepsi ads and as the host of MTV’s popular House of Style.

Kennedy had no interest in becoming an on-air personality, yet according to two staffers, Pecker was moving forward on a deal for a Kennedy-hosted series with potential partners. But as soon as he finished boarding school, the tabloids descended. Since when does someone need to apologize on television for getting divorced?”, “I’ve learned a lot about temptation recently. An irreverent play on politics and pop culture with a dash of Kennedy intrigue, the Barrymore/Monroe cover accurately sums up George, the magazine Kennedy launched in September 1995. Back then, the photo garnered most of the attention and the letter was largely interpreted as a rebuke of his relatives. “I really respected Eric. ), Kliger, who'd only been on the job for a little more than a month, instructed the team to move forward with their work and assured them the magazine would continue without Kennedy. ", At one point during the meeting, Mitchell recalls, a staff member from the headhunting firm asked what they wanted to drink.

When hundreds of reporters and dozens of TV cameras showed up at Federal Hall—where George Washington took his presidential oath—on September 7, 1995, for the first George press conference, they may have been hoping for titillating details about Kennedy’s love life.

“Look, there’s plenty of times where I’ve been in the, you know, quota on any panel. “My feeling was always that George was a way of testing the waters for him, to kind of turn the tables on the people who would be asking questions about him if he ran for office and sort of get a perspective on it,” Bradley says. Before the magazine launched, Kennedy went to Detroit to lure the auto companies—traditionally among the most desired of advertisers, both for their deep pockets and for their blue-chip cachet—into buying space. His frequent question was “Why would people care about this?” Then senior editor Richard Bradley remembers filing a profile on presidential candidate Pat Buchanan to Kennedy, who remarked, “It feels like you’re missing the point on this.” Kennedy thought the story focused too much on policy and Washington intrigue and not enough on personal details, which he believed George’s readers were always more interested in.

To whom much is given, much is expected, right? I don't think he had the staff to fulfill it. The bodies of Kennedy, Bessette, and her sister were found six days after their disappearance. (This was not necessarily unusual for a new magazine in that era; patient and/or profligate publishers—notably Condé Nast—sometimes waited quite a bit longer to see titles make it into the black.) Maybe in the last two decades the culture caught up to George, but then a proudly provocative reality TV star president gave new meaning to the tagline “Not just politics as usual.”. But Kennedy and Berman insisted on George—a mildly irreverent nod to the first president—and when an anonymous source leaked to Page Six that Kennedy was starting a magazine called George, the name was set. The Los Angeles Times asked: "Is John Kennedy Jr.’s George making American politics sexy? If anything, to be reminded of the possible perils of succumbing to what's forbidden only makes it more alluring.” Kennedy continued: “Two members of my family chased an idealized alternative to their life. Hours passed without any news. After the success of the first three issues, Hachette increased the magazine’s frequency to monthly and doubled the staff.

But that doesn't make me desire any less. . Not long after that issue came out, one of the biggest political stories of the decade broke: President Clinton's relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky. At the same time, Kennedy’s second-in-command, Eric Etheridge, resigned. I began to provide more and more advice when the newsstand began to decline . But the magazine chose to cover the controversy by having Kennedy interview Gary Hart, another politician brought down by a sex scandal, along with a profile of Clinton confidant Vernon Jordan (who was linked to the Lewinsky story) and a column on workplace sexual harassment. The tactics worked, and Bessette and Kennedy wed on Georgia’s Cumberland Island on September 21, 1996, with no press in sight.

Keith Kelly remembers the Lewinsky story as the beginning of the magazine's decline. In fact, it's difficult to name a title aiming for an audience broader than Cat Fancy's which doesn't touch on politics. George was undoubtedly a major success—one editor says MTV was eager to partner with the magazine early on—but the political-media elite scoffed. We all just do the best job we can and what we do is important but journalism is ephemeral and it's the people we cover that matter, not us.”, There is also a big difference between George's relatively bipartisan point of view and today's polarization, especially now that Trump has raised the political stakes and soft, glossy coverage of the president and his administration would draw accusations that the indefensible was being normalized.
ABOUT GEORGE MAGAZINE. The Essential Ingersoll Lockwood Collection: 3 Book Collection | Includes Both Baron Trump Novels, Plus 1900, Or the Last President. Maybe. “Figuring out how to make it work well for both of us was a priority,” Kliger says. According to Kliger, he had the backing of Hachette's owner, Jean-Luc Lagardère: “His first comment after I confirmed to him that John had passed away is 'Well, we're not going to close the magazine. We were very much overshadowed by the presence of John Kennedy.”, Kennedy’s salesmanship worked, with GM becoming George’s largest advertiser. It was the summer of 1996; he was the editor of a magazine named George, which was less than a year old and still finding its way; and an idea for the September cover had just occurred to him: Madonna dressed as his mother, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. I wish we would have been able to stick with it because I think it would be a very relevant and needed product today. The New York Times wrote, “The position of editor-in-chief at George has probably been the most difficult job to fill in the magazine industry this year, if not this decade. . Sure enough, there was a deluge of coverage about her statement. Kennedy's relationship with Pecker was becoming increasingly strained as well. “I saw that and I was like, 'Oh my God, John is spinning in his grave like a top,' ” says Bradley. But the event was focused squarely on the magazine. And we did some really good journalism.”.

I was in a daze by then.

Saved by Christina Christy Schaffer. Please try again. One night over dinner at the downtown Manhattan hot spot Balthazar, Matt Berman was approached by a Vanity Fair editor who asked what covers George had in the works. The early nineties were a golden age for glossy magazines. It was Kennedy’s first time addressing reporters since his mother’s death the year before, and he’d worked with an image consultant who prepped him on personal or potentially embarrassing questions that might be asked.

George’s new colleagues would conveniently find excuses to use the photocopier right outside Kennedy’s office to catch a glimpse of the handsome, famous editor. October 1996, Publication Date: In a 1995 interview with New York magazine, Pecker accidentally called George a “living, breathing orgasm,” which, the writer posits, “doesn’t, in fact, seem too far from his hopes for it. Drew Barrymore was posed in a nude-colored cocktail dress and platinum wig, with a mole perfectly placed on her left cheek.

The picture had to accompany the letter because the picture exposed me to judgment,” he told Brill's Content in 1999. Berman switched his flight to 11:00 a.m. and left to meet Terenzio at Kennedy's loft. More photos on request. I think Beto O'Rourke and Elizabeth Warren would have been on the cover.

George Magazine Inaugral Issue - Cindy Crawford Cover October / November 1996 [Caleb Carr, Patrick J. Kiger, Mim Udovitch, Paul Alexander, Adam Platt, Robert Draper, Stephen Rodrick, Chris Matthews, John Perry, Frank Lalli, David Kennerly] on He called the reporter and said he was granting him the first interview about George. After People named him its Sexiest Man Alive in 1988, his relationships with celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker and Daryl Hannah were covered breathlessly. She was staying at his TriBeCa apartment because her air-conditioner was broken. September 1996, Publication Date: That he thought to praise his colleagues in his wedding announcement was classic Kennedy. Beyond the personal tragedy was a professional one: Kennedy had worked hard to build a fiercely loyal team; an exciting, buzzy brand; and a new way to think about politics. Other standing features included a pop-culture-figure column called “If I Were President.” In the first issue, Madonna proclaimed, “Howard Stern would get kicked out of the country and Roman Polanski would be allowed back in.” There were interviews with up-and-coming political personalities—the young conservative pollster Kellyanne Fitzpatrick, now known by her married name, Kellyanne Conway, was interviewed about “why female and Generation X voters are ripe prospects for the GOP.” Her response: “To younger voters, the lack of hope and optimism is the most glaring absence in politics today.” Fitzpatrick did polling for the magazine and is quoted in a few subsequent issues offering a conservative voice. Back then, however, George was revolutionary; there had never been anything quite like it.

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