Pop Culture

Angry readers dump Us Magazine over Palin

Three celebrity weeklies — OK!, People and Us Weekly — featured Sarah Palin on their cover, but one of those magazines is reportedly losing subscribers because of it.

Us Weekly, which unlike People and OK!, chose a rather caustic cover line (“Babies, Lies and Scandal”) is said to have lost thousands of subscribers in just the first 24 hours following the printing of the issue.

“I’m hearing it’s 5,000, maybe more,” says one well-placed source in the industry. Another source claimed that as many as 10,000 readers have already cancelled their subscriptions. A spokesperson for Wenner Media, which publishes Us, says “it is completely false that we are losing 10,000 subscribers.”  As for the 5,000 estimate, the spokesperson only said “that is false, too,” but wouldn’t comment further.

Five thousand might not seem like a large number at first glance, but it’s significant in the context of Us’s printing schedule. The magazine goes to press Monday night, which means subscribers don’t receive their issues until Friday or Saturday. In other words, the cancellations are coming from subscribers who, in many cases, haven’t even gotten their hands on the actual issue.

“When Us went to print Monday night, it looked like the ticket was falling apart," says one magazine editor. “They went to print thinking Palin was dead in the water, and their mistake was thinking everyone who reads Us is a Democrat, when they’re not. Readers are loyal, but the base of a political party is more loyal. They don’t need to read the magazine when there’s so much press around it to know to be upset.”

Upset might be an understatement: One Us advertiser has admitted that they’ve received calls from angry former subscribers threatening to boycott their products.  “(Us publisher) Jann Wenner supports Obama, Wenner media decided to follow the buzz around Palin before her speech, and now subscribers feel like a vote has been cast on their behalf," says another magazine editor. “It’s going to be tough to bounce back from this one. Especially if the advertisers get involved. If they get nervous, that can hurt all of us.”

Meanwhile, Oprah Winfrey has issued a statement responding to a report that she'll have Palin on her show. “The item in today's Drudge Report is categorically untrue,” Winfrey's statement read. “There has been absolutely no discussion about having Sarah Palin on my show. At the beginning of this presidential campaign when I decided that I was going to take my first public stance in support of a candidate, I made the decision not to use my show as a platform for any of the candidates. I agree that Sarah Palin would be a fantastic interview, and I would love to have her on after the campaign is over.”

Spears memoir paints picture of motherhood
Lynne Spears’ memoir, “Through the Storm: A Real Story of Fame and Family in the Tabloid World” is just weeks from hitting bookstores, and new details about what to expect are trickling out.

Among them: Spears defends herself against criticism of her parenting skills. Earlier, according to a post that’s since been removed from the publisher’s Web site, the book was said to include Spears’ “regret in abdicating parental authority to managers, agents and record companies.”

A source close to Spears says, “Lynne, of course, has learned from her experience. But to paint a big picture of regret? That would be hurtful to her daughters. She wouldn’t do that.”

Confusion over the book's contents shouldn’t come as a surprise though, says the source. “Lynne’s had a lot on her plate over the last year. There’s been some miscommunications over the months. But the book will be wonderful.”

A dearth of celebs in St. Paul
Breaking news: Denver and the DNC had a better celebrity turnout than St. Paul and the RNC.

Sick of hearing about it? Me too, which is why I offer the following piece of information. I conducted an informal poll among celebrity publicists, and the overwhelming majority admitted that McCain’s Paris Hilton/Britney Spears ad caused a tweak in strategy when it came to handling their clients’ presence at the conventions.

“I’m not sure how much it helps the candidate, to be honest, but no one wants to hurt the candidate," said one publicist who represents an A-lister. "We scaled back a bit after the ad.”

So there might have been an even larger celebrity presence, at least collectively? “Without a doubt,” says another publicist. “I think those people supporting Obama might have really taken note, maybe looked more carefully at how big their presence might be at the the DNC, but the Republican celebrities definitely took a hit, too. I mean, the ad was Republican, after all.”

Weekend box office: 'Thunder' is going down
Here’s the thing: I refuse to believe that “Tropic Thunder” can have a fourth consecutive week at number one. I won’t even entertain the thought. So I go with the only other viable option for this first weekend in the fall movie season, “Bangkok Dangerous” from Lionsgate.

Nicolas Cage headlines this action flick, and while movies haven’t really been the talk of the week, the film opens in 2,650 theaters. That’s a solid number, and really, there can’t be that many people who want to see “Thunder” and haven’t yet done so.

Courtney Hazlett delivers the Scoop Monday through Friday on msnbc.com.

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