From the "Print is Dead" Files: Variety Goes Web-Only
It's time to mourn the death of another "legit" source of print theater news.
Daily Variety, the read-with-morning-coffee source for entertainment industry insiders, is ceasing its print publication after almost 80 years. Today's edition, which features a "B'way" story on its cover, is its last. In its place, a redesigned Variety.com will drop its pay wall, and a revamped version of the magazine Variety Weekly will make its debut.
Unlike the all-web Hollywood Reporter, which has some content geared to the general public, Variety.com will continue to focus on the inner workings of the entertainment industry, for readers on the inside. Fittingly, the publication is often referenced in television shows and movies, including in this year's Academy Award winner, Argo.
But the magazine credited with publishing the first film review (in 1907), was best loved by theater folk for its business features and theater reviews targeting the Broadway beat. It was on the pub's stage pages that Variety's creative industry-speak jargon (known as "varietyese") got the most mileage, in a time before you could hashtag #Broadway itself. "Boffo" (a big box-office hit), the self-explanatory "legit," and "tuner" (a "legit" musical), among others, will always be used, but they originated on the printed pages of Variety. Those pages also included the bylines of famed gossip columnist Army Archard, equally famed gossip columnist Liz Smith, critic David Rooney, critic (and opening night reporter) Hobe Morrison, and The New York Times critic Charles Isherwood.
The trade publication also gave insiders their daily box office, ratings, and casting news across the entertainment industry. A mention in Daily Variety meant you had really made it here.
One thing is certain: The journo auds here on the Rialto are bummed.