Leo Wolinsky Out as Editor of Daily Variety

Former Los Angeles Times managing editor is forced out after less than a year on the job

Leo Wolinsky, the Los Angeles Times veteran hired as editor of Daily Variety last December, was forced out Monday after less than a year hobbled by trying circumstances and little support from above, TheWrap has learned.

Though Wolinsky was well-liked, the former Times managing editor had almost no experience in the entertainment industry and struggled to fit in. 

He never found support for the direction he wanted to take the paper and wasn't given much of an opportunity to succeed, people close to the situation tell TheWrap.

With no direct reports and no freedom to make hires, Wolinsky had little room or leverage to pursue a more analysis-heavy focus he wanted. Instead, he encountered pushback and was told to retrench to what Daily Variety had been doing, with the idea being that "we'll be Variety, and let The Hollywood Reporter and others reinvent themselves," people close to the paper said.

Reached by TheWrap, Variety editor Tim Gray declined to comment on Wolinsky's exit.

Wolinsky, whose departure was first reported by The New York Times blog Media Decoder, had served as executive editor and managing editor at the LA Times, which let him go in October 2008 after he clashed with chief editor Russ Stanton. 

While he brought hard news credibility to the trade, his hiring showed no sense of urgency in transforming the flagging print product.

"It wasn’t so much about presenting a vision," Wolinsky told TheWrap immediately after his hire. "They hired me on the strength of my background."

Sharon Waxman contributed reporting to this story.