O'Donnell's Rosie magazine to fold

BY Advocate.com Editors

September 19 2002 12:00 AM ET

Rosie O'Donnell announced on Wednesday plans to shut down her namesake magazine, citing a deteriorating relationship with the magazine's publisher, Gruner + Jahr. The former talk-show host said Gruner + Jahr had been gradually taking control away from her in violation of their contract and that it is no longer feasible for the magazine to continue. The last issue of Rosie will be in December.

"I'm sorry to have to tell my readers and my staff that my involvement in the magazine is ending, but my integrity and name are at stake, and that price is too high," O'Donnell said at a news conference. "I cannot have my name on a magazine if I cannot be assured that it will represent my vision and ideas."

In shutting down Rosie, however, O'Donnell has not left the magazine's staff high and dry. According to Fox News, O'Donnell broke the news to staffers via personal letters to each individual. She also sent them checks--some as high as $10,000--to compensate them until they find new work.

A legal battle is possible, although no lawsuits have been filed yet. Both sides have hired lawyers, and in a memo sent to employees, Gruner + Jahr indicated that it blames O'Donnell for the reversal. "It is truly shocking and disappointing that Rosie would walk away from her obligations to her staff, her business partner, and her magazine audience. In doing so, she destroys the value of the business we created and violates the conditions of our binding contract," the memo read. "Rosie magazine was well on its way to being profitable in the very near future. To unilaterally declare that the magazine as published no longer has her backing creates a risk of substantial costs associated with a shutdown. Rosie cannot simply ignore that obligation."

The magazine debuted in April 2001 as part of a partnership to revive the struggling McCall's magazine.

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