New Variety managing editor*

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Michael Speier has been promoted to managing editor of Variety and Daily Variety, editor Peter Bart announces. Just last August, we had Speier being named M.E. for special reports.

Incidentally, the New York Times' Jacques Steinberg is said to be making calls for a piece about whether Bart lets prominent Hollywood figures such as Michael Eisner see items in Variety before they are in print. Eisner said in the explosive letters released last week about Michael Ovitz that Bart showed him columns; Bart told the LAT a day later that it was only one column and only after Variety had gone to the printer.

*Update: Steinberg's story runs in Monday's NYT, and quotes Bart denying that Ovitz ever had the chance to alter a column or story before its publication: "There is no way I would submit anything to Ovitz to solicit his advice on tone or content."

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