Broadway.com, the projected theatre-related arm of film news, listing and gossip venue Hollywood.com, is still planning an April launch of its website. Broadway.com has been touted in press releases as boasting comprehensive theatre news and listings, as well as interviews with actors and playwrights, theatre reviews and coverage of opening nights.
Last January, a launch date of April 2000 was announced. Hollywood.com Chairman and CEO Mitchell Rubenstein told Playbill On-Line on April 5 that that timetable was still on track and that the site would bow on an as yet-unspecified date later in the month. Rubenstein said that the company planned to spend $5 million in advertising support of Broadway.com in the short period just following the debut.
Like many internet companies, Hollywood.com has its many employees work on several different projects at once. As a result, Broadway.com does not have a dedicated staff, per se. "Everyone works on everything," said Rubenstein. Variety reported on March 13 that former InTheater editor Kathy Henderson had been named editor of the new venture. According to Rubenstein, Henderson was hired on a trial basis; when the arrangement did not work out, she was let go. However, Henderson told Playbill On-Line that she was engaged on a permanent basis and it was her decision to resign on March 7, after working on the site for a month. "No one asked me to leave -- it wasn't the right situation for me," said Henderson.
Rubenstein said the site was ultimately run by him and that no replacement editor had been engaged. Henderson reported that Paul Wontorek, whom she had hired as managing editor, is now preparing the website for launch.
John Forgetta was recently appointed the new editor-in-chief of Hollywood.com. In addition to the aborning Broadway.com, Hollywood.com owns Baseline, a movie information database, and CinemaSource, a movie listings site. According to Variety, Hollywood.com lost more than $20 million during the last year.
-- By Robert Simonson