What Peter Bart's Variety Replacement Means For Hollywood

05/09/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Amy Wallace Portfolio

Eight years ago, I wrote a lengthy profile of Peter Bart, the long-standing and powerful editor of the entertainment trade paper Variety, for Los Angeles Magazine. In it, I quoted the movie producer and former studio chief Peter Guber saying something that bears repeating today, as Bart's reign ends.

"Peter is riding in the general's car--Variety is the general's car. And you salute the general's car even when the general's not in it," Guber said of his friend Bart. "I say to him, 'Never let go of this job, because the wolves will attack. People are kept at bay by your power.'"

On Sunday, Variety's owners, Reed Business Information, quietly announced that Bart, 76, would no longer be riding in the general's car. Effective immediately, he is being replaced by his No. 2, Timothy M. Gray. But here's what occurred to me as I read that news: The end of Bart's tenure says more about the 104-year-old vehicle he piloted for two decades than it does about him.

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