Last year, longtime Men's Health editor Dave Zinczenko was let go, reportedly because bosses tired of his "relentless self-promotion." Zinczenko was hired by AMI to revamp its smaller Men's Health rival, Men's Fitness. And now, former colleagues are grumbling that Zinczenko is doing little more than ripping off Men's Health for his new venture.
That would not be totally out of character, considering the fact that Zinczenko was outed a couple of years ago for plagiarizing his own writers, and Men's Health routinely repurposed cover lines while he was at the helm. He clearly has a flexible sense of journalistic ethics, as they apply to glossy guy magazines. The current issue of Men's Fitness is the first with Zinczenko at the helm. In a note in the front of the magazine, AMI boss David Pecker writes that MF "has a fresh, new attitude we think you'll find both very exciting and totally familiar." Well... familiar, definitely.
A former Men's Health staffer says that Zinczenko's former colleagues are irked, and calls Zinczenko "shameless" for the way he's appropriating MH features for his new magazine. "Kudos to Dave for building Men's Health into a powerhouse; nobody can deny his success there," says the former staffer. "But how embarrassing for him that, given the chance to reinvent another magazine, all he could do is copy what he's done before."
Is this just a figment of the collective Men's Health imagination? Let's go to the evidence!
1. Men's Health's advice column, "Jimmy the Bartender," has become Men's Fitness's advice column, "Lenny the Barber." (The names of these two blue collar advice-givers even rhyme.)
2. The Men's Health section "Ask MH," which answers reader questions, has become the Men's Fitness section "Ask Men's Fitness," which answers reader questions.
3. The Men's Health section "Metrogrades," which ranks cities based on some vapid criteria ("It's a play for local press, basically," says the former staffer) has become the Men's Fitness section "Live Well," which ranks cities based on some vapid criteria.
4. The Men's Health section "Bulletins," which rounds up the latest dude-centric scientific findings into bite-sized nuggets, is identical to the Men's Fitness "Breakthroughs" section, which rounds up the latest dude-centric scientific findings into bite-sized nuggets.
5. The Men's Health Grooming Awards have become the Men's Fitness Look Great Awards: both glorified product shot sections.
6. They even both answer questions in the current issue about whether it's okay to hit on women in the gym, for fuck's sake. (Men's Fitness says yes, which is another strike against them.)
7. They are basically the exact same stupid magazine.
The world doesn't even need one magazine that sprung from the ab-obsessed brain of Dave Zinczenko. Much less two.