News Corp. turns page on Regan imprint

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NEW YORK -- News Corp.'s book division, HarperCollins Publishers, said Wednesday it's shutting down its Regan imprint in the wake of last month's firing of founder Judith Regan ? whose attorney repeated a threat of imminent litigation in the matter.

"Effectively immediately, the Regan name will no longer be used and an interim logo, HC, will appear on all books published through summer," the company said.

In addition, the Regan office in Los Angeles will close as of March 1. Key operations had been moved there to allow the imprint to integrate book deals with film and TV productions.

Cal Morgan and several senior members of the Los Angeles office will return to the HarperCollins New York office, the unit said. Suzanne Wickham will stay on board as publicity director in Los Angeles.

In September, all books previously developed under the Regan umbrella will be assigned to appropriate HarperCollins imprints, the firm said.

"We feel our authors will be best served by being integrated into HarperCollins," said Michael Morrison, president and group publisher Harper/Morrow. "Our talented, dedicated staff will work hard to ensure a seamless transition."

Regan came under a cloud of controversy in November when a book scheduled by the imprint, "If I Did It" by O.J. Simpson, was canceled by HarperCollins, and the Fox broadcast network, also part of the News Corp. empire, canceled a related TV special. The projects had run into a wave of public criticism.

Meanwhile, Regan attorney Bert Fields reiterated that there is a "likelihood" his client will sue News Corp. over her dismissal.

"A complaint has been prepared, and my expectation is that we'll file it," the Los Angeles litigator said.

Fields said he wanted to wait for his New York co-counsel in the case, Stanley Arkin, to return from a trip abroad. So any suit filing is at least two weeks away, he estimated.

Regan is still mulling her next professional step, Fields said.

"We could be in court for two years, so I don't think she going to wait for the court proceedings," he said. "Right now, I think she's thinking about what she's going to do. I'm sure she will have many opportunities, but there's no doubt that her reputation has been damaged by what's been said about her, wrongly."

Specifically, he repeated previous denials that his client had made any anti-Semitic remarks prior to her dismissal.

Separately Wednesday, the family of murder victim Ron Goldman has added HarperCollins to its lawsuit over the abortive Simpson book-and-TV project. In December, the family sued in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, claiming Simpson conspired to deny paying the family project-related payments, thus violating a civil judgment delivered in a previous lawsuit over the deaths of Goldman and Simpson's ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson.

Carl DiOrio in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
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