Let me just preface everything here by saying that, as someone who is dumb enough to still subscribe to Entertainment Weekly, I deserve pretty much everything I get. In the age of affordable tablets and comprehensive pop culture sites like the AV Club and Vulture, anyone still paying $50 a year for Entertainment Weekly just so they have something to read at the gym is a moron. I get all that. Your scorn is accepted and understood.
That said, this magazine has gone to complete shit under current editor-in-chief Jess Cagle. Media types are so focused on Tina Brown ruining magazines that they barely notice when someone else ruins them, and under Cagle's watch the magazine has become little more than a glorified press release for whatever dogshit Hollywood is serving up to you this week.
Having Cagle run your magazine is like having Larry King run your magazine, without the old corpse smell. Cagle has used his Editor's Note column to opine that the Walking Dead—a show that takes an entire season just to get off a fucking farm— might be the greatest thriller to ever air on television. (Please visit Gabe at Videogum for evidence to the contrary). He defended the finale to The Killing. He went to Sundance and said "I was smitten with every movie I saw." He cedes half the editorial copy to the guy who hosts The Bachelor. And in last week's editor's note, he basically toed the line of Tom Cruise's legal team and offered this stance on Cruise's recent divorce:
I don't believe the absurd rumors that Holmes "auditioned" to be Mrs. Cruise, or that their marriage was nothing more than a contract. I've interviewed Cruise many times over the past decade, and he strikes me as a guy who loves being in love.
Oh, what a load of shit. This guy is a hopeless starfucker. There's nothing "absurd" about thinking the worst about Cruise's intentions, or the ability of Scientology to mask bizarre realities. Cagle, who has used his position to score judging gigs on Top Chef and sideline reporting duties at the Oscars, is a shiteater. And his magazine, which used to have a decent handle on pop culture, now basically exists to endorse shit that's already popular, or to cram bland fare down your throat for inexplicable reasons (they went to great lengths to demand you go watch Crazy Stupid Love, which is a shitty movie). I don't even think of it as a magazine anymore. Instead, I think of it as an indictment of my own taste, and a constant reminder that I'm too much of a cheap asshole to buy a Kindle Fire.
It's a shame, because there's still some decent stuff to the magazine, like Chris Nashawaty's writing, and some of the exclusive pictures they get (which you can usually see online for free anyway). It could still be a good magazine. It could offer things that other places don't. Instead, it's a nutrag for Hollywood PR firms and YA publishers, and I'm sure Cagle is more than happy to keep it that way.