RIP Amusement Weekly (1990-2022): An Appreciation

There was a time, eons back, when one particular uncomplicated declarative sentence could prick up ears all about Hollywood, and sometimes mail shivers of dread and loathing down the total town’s spine. It typically started a thing like, “Entertainment Weekly is carrying out a story on…”

It is really hard to envision in 2022, in a environment where by print magazines look about as applicable as ladies’ hats and men’s spats, but back again in the 1990s and nicely into the 2000s, EW was the most impressive voice in entertainment journalism.

Most people in Hollywood go through it, from stagehands to studio chiefs, and regardless of what was on its covers — “Melrose Position,” “The X-Documents,” “Seinfeld,” “Melrose Place” all over again (I think at a person stage the journal did 5 “Melrose” addresses in six months) — became the subject every person talked about for the following 7 days. And not just in Hollywood, but in what were being then referred to as the “flyover states,” the regions amongst L.A. and New York where hundreds of thousands of EW subscribers waited impatiently by their mailboxes for the most recent problem to arrive. (Editors made use of to get bombarded with letters, and later on e-mails, when an challenge arrived late.)

Back then, EW did not basically direct the cultural discussion, it all but invented the complete idea of conversing about the culture. 

But now, right after more than 30 decades on newsstands, the magazine’s print version is becoming killed by EW’s new proprietor, Barry Diller’s IAC Dotdash media group, which previous calendar year picked up EW and a couple of other former Time Inc. titles — like the once-excellent In Design and style, which is also heading electronic-only — when it purchased Meredith Corporation in a $2.7 billion deal that does not make a whole great deal of sense right after this news. Why get some thing only to murder it? It’s a little bit like acquiring a motor vehicle and throwing away its motor since you only want the radio.

Certainly, Diller will continue to keep the magazine’s internet site,, up and humming, and that has some benefit. But it was the print version that created the title special and gave it leverage when negotiating with the studios and networks. It was the assure of a shiny deal with, an progressively scarce enticement these times, that was EW’s biggest asset when battling its primarily online level of competition for entry to the stars and key initiatives. Even nowadays, actors nevertheless love magazine addresses. So do their publicists.

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I expended 22 yrs at EW, beginning there as a personnel writer a month or so just after its start in 1990. The talent I observed move by way of its halls around those two decades was staggering. And I’m not just speaking about the writers who would go on to fame right after leaving EW — like biographer Mark Harris, Emmy-successful impresario Ryan Murphy and novelist Gillian Flynn — but an army of sharp-witted, pop culturally obsessed scribes who’ve due to the fact fanned out in an EW diaspora across the whole media landscape. There are EW alums doing work at The New York Situations, The Los Angeles Instances, Vanity Reasonable, The Hollywood Reporter and Assortment, not to mention additional than a few in this article at TheWrap, as well some who’ve prepared Tv set demonstrates, movies and Broadway productions.

It could be argued (in simple fact, I’m heading to right now) that the way entertainment news is lined today, in just about just about every outlet that addresses it, from Gawker to Vulture, borrows intensely from EW. Not only did the magazine mainstream the dialogue of topics like weekend box business office final results that experienced previously been restricted to the Hollywood trades, it did not shy away from critical can take on the business. That tremendous savvy, good-ass-y attitude — a voice that was compulsively earnest about pop tradition but by no means took Hollywood also very seriously — was the secret sauce that produced the journal fantastic and that nevertheless echoes in EW’s many imitators.

Ironically, EW alone misplaced that voice someplace together the line, stumbling via a decade of editorial misfires (like likely regular in 2019), brain-draining layoffs and, most recently, office scandals. But I like to feel it could have recovered its internal snark and been a good magazine once more. Mainly because the enjoyment universe we are living in currently, with a million apps and a zillion several hours of on-demand material, could positive use a clever, snarky, authoritative pop tradition bible that could be browse, address to address, in 15 minutes in the rest room.

EW’s final quality? That’d be an A.

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