Tina Brown Is Talk of the Town

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Media Mission Impossible: Fill Tina Brown's throne at the New Yorker. And if you're editing Vanity Fair, the fact that she's heading to Miramax to start up a highbrow monthly magazine should make you afraid. Very afraid. "No other magazine's editorial success has been as closely tied to its editor as the New Yorker," says TIME correspondent Bruce Handy. "It's hard to imagine it carrying on in quite the same way without her, but her impact has been so great that it's as hard to imagine the New Yorker reverting to what it was before she took over."

FORTUNE's Joe Nocera reports that Brown's move stunned media mavens because she recently won the battle for the removal of publisher Tom Florio. But not even Brown's acclaimed stewardship had managed to turn around a magazine that has lost $175 million in the 13 years since it was acquired by S.I. Newhouse -- last year's hemorrhaging amounted to $11 million. The greatest challenge facing publisher Carey will be to raise flagging ad revenues, and "Tina's departure won't make that any easier," says Nocera. Direct wreaths -- not shouts and murmurs -- to Condé Nast.