Watch! An Early Glimpse

Dec 5, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Coming soon to a newsstand near you, dear readers, is a new entry in the celebrity magazine category.

It’s titled Watch! It’s from CBS. It’s all (and only) about CBS personalities. It’s going to be given away for free at CBS affiliates and CBS-owned stations, at CBS show tapings and at CBS gift shops (both brick and mortar and online).

The Insider considers herself a connoisseur of the celeb-driven magazine genre. She drops $40 or more per week on everything from US Weekly and Star to TV Guide’s recently deceased Inside TV.

So she recently had fun browsing through the editorial pages of Watch!, an ad-supported quarterly that will be published by CBS and McMurry, the leading custom publisher in the country, and will launch in January with a maiden press run of 400,000.

“We hope we can get up to 1 million circulation,” said Gil Schwartz, the editor in chief of Watch! and executive VP of the CBS Communications Group. “It’s got to stand on its own and be a good read.”

On the first cover: Jon Cryer and Charlie Sheen, the grown men of the network’s “Two and a Half Men.”

Inside, four CBS daytime stars dish about their crying times in a package that includes (complete with symbols indicating who’s been twinned or cloned) who’s been kidnapped or presumed dead and who’s been married to their “true love’s father.”

CBS Sports anchor Jim Nantz talks to “Criminal Minds” cast member Thomas Gibson about the actor’s long-ago dream of a pro golf career.

There’s a tongue-in-chic package about how the women of “NCIS,” “Without a Trace” and the “CSI” franchise get their killer looks. One “tip” suggests that the higher the heel, the less likely “whatever you’re stepping in” will get on you.

Jeff Probst talks about the must-carry items he takes everywhere he goes as host of “Survivor.” Ask The Insider no questions about where “Survivor” goes next, and she’ll tell you no lies.

Other fun reads include a little background on the aptly named cats Tripod and Cyclops on “Cold Case,” a centerspread photo of a sopping wet Neil Patrick Harris (“How I Met Your Mother”) and a reporter’s-eye view of Air Force One, courtesy of White House correspondent John Roberts.

Rich Calacci at CBS is heading up ad sales-full-page color positions are listed at $30,000 on the rate cards and there is space still available in the first issue, which is shooting for 60 pages and an editorial-ad split of 60/40.

The editor of Watch! is Jeremy Murphy, director of editorial services in the CBS Communications Group. Mr. Murphy is a former trade reporter.

More relevant here is that this is not Mr. Murphy’s first experience in the celebrity-journalism world. For most of his teen years in Coral Springs, Fla., he interviewed musicians and soap stars for a magazine entitled Entertainment 2000. He also was its editor, publisher, ad salesman and circulation department.

Distribution peaked at 10,000 copies per issue-which were published only when he had accumulated enough money to pay his printer.