Lisa Schwarzbaum, a leading film critic at Entertainment Weekly, is leaving after 22 years at the magazine, managing editor Jess Cagle announced Wednesday.
In a memo to the staff, Cagle said Schwarzbaum, who "quietly declared" her departure plans months ago, was moving on to "expand the kind of writing" she does, which may include a book or an online venture.
“Now’s my opportunity and I’m grabbing it,” Schwarzbaum said to Cagle, “grateful beyond measure for such a beautiful EW life among so many I love.”
She joined EW in 1991 as a senior writer and became a film critic three years later. She helped drive shows like "Seinfeld" and "90210" to fame with her early coverage and garnered the admiration of Kathryn Bigelow, John Lasseter, and Lena Dunham, Cagle said.
Cagle said Schwarzbaum's leaving will kick off "changes" for the magazine's movie coverage.
"Lisa’s departure will obviously mean changes for EW’s movie coverage, which will be expanding as we increase our digital footprint and develop other brand extensions," Cagle wrote in the memo, obtained by TheWrap. "There will be more exciting news on all that soon."
Here is the full memo from Cagle:
A few months ago, Lisa Schwarzbaum quietly declared that she planned to move on from EW. The news stayed fairly quiet (something of a miracle around here), probably because those of us who knew were left rather speechless. We can’t imagine EW without her; she’s such a crucial, opinionated, elegant, and eloquent strand of our DNA. But now the time has come to share the news: Lisa Schwarzbaum is, in fact, leaving EW to, in her words, “expand the kind of writing (and kind of living) that I do.” Please join me in thanking her for 22 years of beautiful words, elaborate and wonderfully realized sentences, her unbridled love of film, her sharp criticism, and the joy of having her as a colleague.
Lisa joined EW in 1991 as a senior writer, and became a film critic in 1994. But to get a good sense of the scope of her service at EW, consider this: She once attended a an off-site staff event where an unknown New York comic named Jon Stewart was hired as the entertainment; she wrote the first big major-magazine story on 'Seinfeld'; she also wrote the first (and the second) big major-magazine story on '90210'; and she has been to Cannes 17 times.
Among her many admirers: Kathryn Bigelow, John Lasseter, and Lena Dunham, who was spotted a year or so ago wandering the halls of EW in search of Lisa’s office; finding it empty she left a fan letter on Lisa’s chair. But Josh Brolin said it most succinctly when he emailed her to say, “You can fucking write!”
There will be more writing from Lisa. A book idea is brewing. So is an online venture, as well as other developing projects. And she does want to keep writing about movies when inspiration strikes. I will miss her, but look forward to becoming just another Lisa Schwarzbaum groupie. Lisa’s departure will obviously mean changes for EW’s movie coverage, which will be expanding as we increase our digital footprint and develop other brand extensions. There will be more exciting news on all that soon. In the meantime, let’s hear a round of applause for Lisa’s great contributions to this brand and its voice, and let's wish her great success on her new adventures. “Now’s my opportunity and I’m grabbing it,” she says, “grateful beyond measure for such a beautiful EW life among so many I love.”
Thank you, Lisa. May our paths cross over and over.