Whether Judith Regan revives her career as editor and publisher, after getting fired by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation amid allegations of antisemitic comments in a phone call to a company lawyer, she won't be coming back to her imprint, ReganBooks. Yesterday, HarperCollins, the Murdoch publisher of which the imprint was a part, announced that ReganBooks will be dissolved and its titles moved to other lists.
Besides "If I Did It," the controversial book by O.J. Simpson which HarperCollins repudiated amid a national outcry, Harper is also dumping another Regan project, Peter Golenbock's "7: the Mickey Mantle Novel," which purportedly contains imagined sex scenes between the Yankee slugger, who died in 1995, and Marilyn Monroe. Mantle's family and friends have objected to the book.
Murdoch et al.'s indignation about Regan lost a little of its edge in the disclosure, cited in Hillel Italie's AP story, that the contract with Simpson was signed by Simpson, Regan, and Harper CEO Jane Friedman.
While Regan is a nonperson at the company that made her famous and strongly supported her books for years, I can't believe that she will not land on her feet, catlike. She is a proven moneymaker, and is bound to find investors to bankroll her own company -- publisher or TV production -- sooner or later. But she would probably be wise to drop the promised "wrongful dismissal" lawsuit against News Corporation. She might have a case, but my money is on Rupert.