Us Weekly is a weekly celebrity and entertainment magazine, founded in 1977 by The New York Times Company, who sold it in 1980. It was acquired by Wenner Media in 1986. The publication covers topics ranging from celebrity relationships to the latest trends in fashion, beauty, and entertainment. Along with Jan Wenner, the individuals currently in charge of Us Weekly are editor-in-chief Michael Steele and publisher Victoria Lasdon Rose. As of 2013, its circulation averaged over two million.
The magazine currently features a sharply different style from its original 1977–2000 format. Originally a monthly industry news and review magazine along the lines of Premiere or Entertainment Weekly, it switched format in 2000 to its current themes of celebrity news and style.
The web site Usmagazine.com was launched in fall 2006. In addition to features from the magazine, the site has a breaking celebrity news blog, exclusive photos, red carpet galleries from premieres and events, plus games, videos, quizzes and polls.
Us Weekly has several signature issues each year, including the Hot Hollywood special issues, in the spring and the fall celebrating young Hollywood; the Best Bodies issue and the Best Makeovers issue. Janet Jackson’s Us Weekly cover currently holds the record for the publication’s biggest selling issue in history.
Launched as a fortnightly publication in 1977, Us by The New York Times Company. The magazine lost money before turning its first profit in 1980. It was sold later that year by Macfadden Media. It was acquired by Jan Wenner in 1985 and is a part of Wenner Media LLC, which also publishes Rolling Stone and Men’s Journal. In 1991, Us became a monthly publication. In 1999, the company announced plans to shift the Us publication schedule from monthly to weekly. The shift coincided with a change in style from industry news and reviews to a celebrity-focused news magazine. The move was a response to several market forces, including the success of Time, Inc.’s Entertainment Weekly and People magazines.
The magazine changed from a monthly to a weekly format in March 2000. In February 2001, Wenner partnered with The Walt Disney Company. But, in August 2006, Wenner Media re-acquired Disney’s 50 percent stake, making the publication once again fully owned and operated by Wenner Media. In July 2003, Janice Min took over as Editor in Chief with Victoria Lasdon Rose as Publisher, and Michael Steele as Executive Editor. Steele took over for Min in 2009. Melanie Bromley served as the magazine’s West Coast bureau chief from 2007-2012.
Sections of the magazine:
- Just Like Us: photos of celebrities doing things everyday people do. Inspired by a regular Sesame Street feature about animals.
- Who Wore It Best? : reader polls of which celebrity wore an outfit better
- Hot Stuff: the latest gossip from inside Hollywood
- The Red Carpet: the looks and styles from Hollywood’s hottest parties and premieres
- Hot Pics: celebrity sightings of stars around the globe
- Fashion Police: famous comedians cite the fashion disasters of the stars, and the best “look of the week”
- The Record: a roster of changes in the lives of stars — births, marriages, divorces, etc.
- Loose Talk: quotes from the stars
- Us Musts: according to Us Weekly, the must-see films, TV shows and DVDs
The magazine was criticized for allegedly biased coverage of the 2008 Republican National Convention. The September 5, 2008, issue featured Alaska Governor Sarah Palin on the cover with the headline “Babies, Lies & Scandal”, while the June 19, 2008, issue featured U.S. Senator from Illinois Barack Obama and wife Michelle Obama with the headline “Why Barack Loves Her”. Senior Editor Bradley Jacobs claimed that the “lies” on the cover referred to unspecified “liberal bloggers” who had speculated on the parentage of Governor Palin’s child, not to the governor herself. However, nothing on the cover indicated “liberal bloggers” were the alleged liars. It was reported that the magazine had lost over 10,000 subscribers. Since then it was reported that Us Weekly sent e-mails to each of those subscribers, apologizing for the cover, and promised to send them five free copies of the magazine.
In 2009, Us Weekly partnered with Involver to become the first media company to sell sponsorships on their Facebook Page.