Everything is not coming up Rosie for Gruner + Jahr USA, publisher of the embattled Rosie magazine.
Company officials say they have decided to shut down the monthly magazine and axe approximately 120 staffers as a result of the recent defection of and subsequent legal battles with its namesake Rosie O'Donnell.
"Gruner + Jahr deeply regrets the need to take these actions, particularly in light of the magazine's imminent success," said a company statement Tuesday. "However, Rosie O'Donnell's actions, in breach of her contract, have left us with no choice in the matter."
Gruner + Jahr had kicked around the idea of turning the monthly into another, O'Donnell-less women's lifestyle mag, but this morning's announcement debunks those plans.
O'Donnell's rep Cindi Berger quickly fired the blame back in Gruner + Jahr's court, telling Reuters, "Rosie is saddened that they wouldn't transition the magazine to keep the staff employed," she said. "Because the magazine wasn't going in the direction she envisioned, she just wanted to take her name back."
The farewell December issue of Rosie hits newsstands November 12. But its demise has been a long time coming.
The battles between the publisher and the former Queen of Nice have been anything but pleasant since the magazine's inception in 2001 when it replaced the ailing McCall's.
O'Donnell repeatedly butted heads with editors and publishers over issues of staffing and content, and her continuing beefs eventually culminated in a much-publicized exit from the publication last month.
Before O'Donnell's departure, Rosie did seem to be on its way to success. Since its launch, ad pages grew 73 percent, according to the Mediaweek Monitor. As the magazine revolves around the former talk-show queen, her desertion likely spelled the end of a potential profit-maker.
So, Gruner + Jahr quickly slapped O'Donnell with a $100-million breach-of-contract lawsuit. Rosie made promises to countersue and quickly made her rounds on the talk-show circuit, saying she was leaving the publication to "protect my integrity." Since then, subscribers (and presumably staff members) have been waiting to see how the drama played out.
In spite of her hardball tactics, Rosie didn't shun her Koosh ball-loving, TV-friendly persona entirely in the face of this legal brouhaha. Before exiting, she doled out $10,000 checks to most of the staff members.
"They were gifts," explained Berger, "not severance."