Is Playboy hot again? Never mind the stories about hot young film stars partying with Hef at the Playboy Mansion; I'm talking about the magazine itself. The latest issue includes a big article on Google, which nearly derailed the highest-profile IPO in years; it also features US high-jumper Amy Acuff on the cover. The New York Times has a laudatory article on the Olympian photo-spread today, praising Playboy for its "elegant, full-page photographs of female Olympians who are decidedly more athletic than they are sexy," and contrasting it with FHM, whose similar spread, we are told, is stronger on "that annoying runway pose that says, 'Come take me, bad boy.'"
Interestingly, all this positive publicity comes in the wake of the defenestration of high-profile hire James Kaminsky, who was brought on as editor in September 2002, charged with repeating the success he had at Maxim. He was replaced with an internal promotion: the unknown Chris Napolitano took over in April this year, and immediately set to work on the September issue – the one now hitting newstands. It remains to be seen, of course, whether Napolitano can maintain this level of buzz going forwards: a high-profile first issue doesn't always spell success.