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Food Fight at Condé Nast: The Sketchy Future of Bon Appétit and Gourmet

Readers of food magazines often like to pit Condé Nast's two culinary powerhouses, Gourmet and Bon Appétit, against each other. Like Letterman and Leno, one is based in New York (Gourmet), the other here in Los Angeles (Bon Appétit). Gourmet has historically been worldly and a touch academic, Bon Appétit more hands-on and accessible. One could compare the magazines' editors, Ruth Reichl and Barbara Fairchild, too: their monologues and deliveries, their side-kicks and orchestras, their art directors, their double-breasted suits. But these days, the two magazines aren't fighting each other; they're fighting for survival.

At Condé Nast, where McKinsey consultants will submit their final recommendations in the coming weeks, both food magazines have been mentioned as candidates for reduced publishing schedules, according to last week's New York Observer. Staffs of the two publications could also be "streamlined". Last month The Wall Street Journal reported an advertising page decline of 46% in the first half of this year (compared to last year) for Gourmet and 34.5% for Bon Appétit.

In a completely unrelated note (unless you want to untangle this whole analogy), Jay Leno's new show debuts tonight.


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