Variety (magazine)

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Variety 2013 logo.svg
Co- Editors-in-Chief Claudia Eller and Andrew Wallenstein
Categories Trade, entertainment
Frequency Weekly
First issue Weekly:
1905 (New York City)
1933 (Los Angeles)
1998 (New York)
Company Penske Business Media
Country United States
Based in Los Angeles, California
Language English
ISSN 0042-2738
OCLC number 810134503

Variety is the leading news source on entertainment and the business of motion pictures, television, music, fashion and technology, reaching a global audience through print, online and social media. It was founded by Sime Silverman in New York in 1905 as a weekly. The news outlet transitioned from a daily newspaper to weekly magazine in April 2013. is a free portal which contains news, reviews, archives, box office results, credits database, production charts and calendars, as well as film, television and theater reviews, with content dating back as far as 1906. Since 1905, the most influential leaders in the industry have turned to Variety for timely, credible and straightforward news and analysis — information vital to their professions.


Variety has been published since December 16, 1905, when it was launched by Sime Silverman as a weekly periodical covering vaudeville and the stage with its headquarters in New York City. In 1933, Sime Silverman launched Daily Variety, based in Hollywood. Sime Silverman passed on the editorship of the Weekly Variety to Abel Green as his replacement in 1931; he remained as publisher until his death in 1933 soon after launching the Daily edition. His son Sidne Silverman (1901–1950), known as "Skigie", succeeded him as publisher of both publications. Both Sidne and his wife, stage actress Marie Saxon (1905–1942), died of tuberculosis. Their only son Syd Silverman, born 1932, was the sole heir to what was then Variety Inc. Young Syd's legal guardian Harold Erichs oversaw Variety Inc. until 1956. After that date Syd Silverman was publisher of both the Weekly Variety in New York and the Daily Variety in Hollywood, until both papers were sold in 1987 to the Cahners Corp. In L.A. the Daily was edited by Tom Pryor from 1959 until 1988. For twenty years, Peter Bart, originally out of the weekly New York Edition ran the Daily in Hollywood with Michael Silverman (Syd's son). Bart had worked previously at Paramount Pictures and The New York Times. Bart’s title was vice president and editorial director until 1995, when he was named editor in chief. In April 2009, Bart resumed the title of vice president and editorial director when he was succeeded as by Timothy M. Gray, editor-in-chief. When the daily newspaper transitioned to a weekly magazine in April 2013, Gray was succeeded by a trio of editors including Claudia Eller, editor-in-chief, film; Cynthia Littleton, editor-in-chief, television; and Andrew Wallenstein, editor-in-chief, digital. In September 2014, Claudia Eller and Andrew Wallenstein assumed expanded responsibilities as co-editors-in-chief of Variety as Cynthia Littleton transitioned to the newly created post of managing editor, television.

Cahner's Publishing purchased Variety from the Silverman family in 1987. In October 2012, Reed Business Information, the periodical's owner (formerly known as Reed-Elsevier, which had been parent to Cahner's Corp. in the United States) sold the publication to Penske Media Corporation. PMC is also the owner of, which after the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike was considered Variety's largest competitor in the online showbiz news. On October 10, 2012, Jay Penske told the staff at a townhall meeting that the online paywall would come down, the print would stay and that he would invest more into Variety's digital platform.


Paid circulation for the weekly Variety magazine in 2013 was 40,000 (Source: BPA Audit Statement, 2013). Each issue of Variety is read by an average of three people, with an estimated total readership of 120,000 (Source: Ipsos Subscriber Study, 2013). has 16.5 unique monthly visitors (Source: Google Analytics, August 2014).[10]


  • Variety (started in 1905) is a weekly glossy tabloid edition with a broad coverage of movies, television, theater, music and technology, written for entertainment executives. It is published weekly and delivered internationally.
  • Daily Variety (started in 1933 and ended in 2013) was the name of the Los Angeles-based Hollywood and Broadway daily edition.
  • Daily Variety Gotham, (started in 1998) was the name of the New York City-based edition which gives a priority focus to East Coast show-business news and was produced earlier in the evening than the Los Angeles edition so it could be delivered to New York the following morning.
  • (launched in 1998) is the internet version of Variety. It was one of the first online newspapers to charge for access when it launched. While the publication did briefly provide free access, it brought back its paywall in December 2009. At the same time, Variety introduced a subscription where subscribers received, Digital Variety, Daily Variety and Weekly Variety for one price.
  • Variety On-The-Go Variety is also available as an app on the iPad, iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows phone. This app is an interactive content-driven platform providing entertainment industry updates on the go.



Older Variety logo.

For much of its existence, Variety's writers and columnists have used a jargon called slanguage or varietyese (a form of headlinese) that refers especially to the movie industry, and has largely been adopted and imitated by other writers in the industry and often in the common, popular vernacular. Such terms as "boffo box-office biz", "sitcom", "sex appeal", "payola", and even "striptease" are attributed to the influence of the magazine,[2] although its attempt to popularize "infobahn" as a synonym for "information superhighway" never caught on. Its most famous headline was from October 1929, when the stock market crashed: "Wall St. Lays An Egg". Another favorite, "Sticks nix hick pix",[3][4] was made popular—although the movie-prop version renders it as "Stix nix hix pix!" in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), Michael Curtiz's musical-biographical film about George M. Cohan starring James Cagney; translated, it means that rural audiences were not attending rural-themed films. Television series are referred to as "skeins", and heads of companies or corporate teams are called "toppers". In addition, more-common English words and phrases are shortened; "audience members" becomes simply "auds", "performance" becomes "perf", and "network" becomes "net", for example.

Facts and figures[edit]

  • On January 19, 1907, Variety published what is considered the first film review in history.
  • On December 7, 1988, Bart's predecessor, Roger Watkins, proposed and oversaw the transition to four-color print. Upon its launch, the new-look Variety measured one inch shorter with a washed-out color on the front. The old front-page box advertisement was replaced by a strip advertisement, along with the first photos published in Variety since Sime gave up using them in the old format in 1920: they depicted Sime, Abel and Syd. (, 7th paragraph).

A significant portion of the publication's advertising revenue comes during the movie-award season leading up to the Academy Awards. During this "Awards Season," large numbers of colorful, full-page "For Your Consideration" advertisements inflate the size of Variety to double or triple its usual page count. These advertisements are the studios' attempt to reach other Hollywood professionals who will be voting on the many awards given out in the early part of the year, including the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes and various guild award honors.


The Variety Building in December 2008.

In late 2008, Variety moved its Los Angeles offices to 5900 Wilshire, a 31-story office building on Wilshire Boulevard in the heart of the Miracle Mile area. The building was dubbed the Variety Building because a red, illuminated "Variety" sign graced the top north and south sides of the building. In early 2014, the sign and offices moved west to 11175 Santa Monica Blvd. in Westwood, where "Variety" shares the 9-story building with parent company PMC and it's other editorial properties, including and the West Coast offices of Women's Wear Daily.

Reprints of film reviews[edit]

This is the short list of English-language periodicals with 10,000 or more film reviews reprinted in book form:

Film reviews in Variety continued after the dates of the last reprints.

Reprints of obituaries[edit]

The complete text of approximately 100,000 entertainment-related obituaries (1905–1986) were reprinted as Variety Obituaries, an 11-volume set, including alphabetical index. Four additional bi-annual reprints were published (for 1987–1994) before the reprint series was discontinued.

Film trailer charts[edit]

In 2009, Variety launched a chart showcasing the top performing film trailers ahead of theatrical release in partnership with media measurement firm Visible Measures.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nakashima, Ryan (December 9, 2009). "Variety to begin charging for Web access Thursday". The Associated Press/Google News. Retrieved December 11, 2009. 
  2. ^ Hillard, Gloria (June 18, 2005). "A Century of 'Variety'-Speak". National Public Radio.  Accessed March 15, 2008.
  3. ^ McCall, George (July 17, 1935). "Sticks nix hick pix". Variety.  Accessed July 30, 2009.
  4. ^ Guider, Elizabeth (May 8, 2005). "1935 exhibitor perspective 'Sticks' in memory". Variety.  Accessed July 30, 2009.
  5. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]


  • Peter Besas, Inside Variety (Madrid: Ars Millenii, 2000) The 563-page book gives a detailed history of the newspaper (it was never called a "magazine" under the Silvermans) from its birth in 1905 to its sale in 1987.
  • SimesSite (web page run by pre-corporate (Silverman era) employees of Variety

External links[edit]