Colin Kennedy: My Life In Media

'I've been snubbed by Schwarzenegger, turned down by Tarantino and called a "pen-arse" in print by Guy Ritchie'

Colin Kennedy, 33, is editor of 'Empire' magazine. As a teenager, Colin dreamed of combining the wit of Morrissey with the finishing of Kenny Dalglish. Years later he left college with an idea for the "great American novel" - surprisingly none of these ambitions has been fulfilled. He will, however, be at the Sony Ericsson Empire Awards on 13 March. He lives in north London with his girlfriend Nicola.

So what inspired you to embark on a career in the media?

"Inspired" is a strong word. I wanted to write; I loved movies, music and magazines; I needed a job; I got lucky. The word I use is "fell". I fell into a media career.

When you were 15, which newspaper did your family get, and did you read it?

The Guardian - avidly. At 15 I was as precocious and pretentious as my poor spelling would allow - the Grauniad seemed the natural choice.

What were your favourite TV and radio programmes?

I always scoured schedules for quality American shows and in the late 1980s that meant Cheers, Moonlighting and Hill Street Blues. Am pretty sure I was one of millions quoting from Blackadder also. As for radio - comedy from daytime Radio 4, music from evening Radio 1.

Describe your job

In my seventh year at Empire I am editor-in-chief and acting publisher, a dual position that gives me a frightening amount of responsibility. I therefore spend my day worrying about the very small ("Is that caption funny?") and the very large ("What digital platform should Empire colonise next?") and trying not to get the too confused.

What media do you turn to first thing in the morning?

Would love to say the Today programme but actually it's Just Shoot Me and Will & Grace on C4.

Do you consult any media sources during the working day?

Although my team is the most invaluable media source I scan all the trades for movies and magazines from Variety to Press Gazette. Also, although I find Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone to be rather shabby consumer propositions these days, they are still invaluable sources.

What is the best thing about your job?

Dreaming up covers that are both truly innovative and very commercial.

And the worst?

Somehow ending up with a tame cover that performs like a dog.

How do you feel you influence the media?

Personally I have zero influence, but occasionally when Empire gets behind a movie that until then is flying under the radar I think we can alert the media and even set the tone for the campaign that follows.

What's the proudest achievement in your working life?

A happy team.

And what's your most embarrassing moment?

Well, I've been snubbed by Schwarzenegger, turned down by Tarantino and called a "pen-arse" in print by Guy Ritchie. But the most embarrassing moment was being forced to sing excerpts from the Grease 2 soundtrack by Michelle Pfeiffer in front of a half dozen bemused foreign journalists.

At home, what do you tune in to?

"Tune in to?" How quaint. I Sky+. At the moment 24, Lost, The West Wing, The Wire, House, Deadwood, Peep Show, The IT Crowd and America's Next Top Model.

What is your Sunday paper? And do you have a favourite magazine?

The Observer, always. Often complemented by the News of the World, sometimes supplemented with The Sunday Times/Independent on Sunday. Magazines are both my job and my passion so I read everything from Trail to Vanity Fair. If I had to pick one favourite it would probably be The New Yorker. And Wired.

Name the one career ambition you want to realise before you retire

To sit beside Jack Nicholson at the Oscars. Wearing sunglasses.

If you didn't work in the media what would you do?

Previous jobs have included propagandist, band manager, medical trial guinea pig, failed novelist and pet food factory oven operator. Of those I'd probably trudge back to failed novelist.

Who in the media do you most admire and why?

Fred Dellar, and he is the nicest gent you could hope to meet. You'd never guess he spent a quarter century at the NME and hung out with The Beatles. Aged 70 he is still answering obscure music questions for Mojo and compiling the Empire crossword, among others.

The CV

1996 Begins career as freelance entertainment journalist with 50-word video review for Smash Hits. Will eventually contribute to Melody Maker, Total Film, NME and FHM among others.

1997 Appointed TV and films editor of Smash Hits. By late 1999 he is commissioning editor.

2000 Joins Empire as features editor.

2002 Appointed editor of Empire. Adds almost 25 per cent to the ABC figure in less than three years, establishing Empire as the biggest entertainment monthly in the UK. Wins the BSME award for Best Entertainment Editor in 2004.

2005 Promoted to editor-in-chief of Empire with a brief to investigate new opportunities for the brand, beginning with overhaul of Empire Online that immediately doubles page impressions. Darth Vader "breathing" cover wins BSME Innovation of the Year.

2006 Made acting publisher, alongside other duties.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
health
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Arts and Entertainment
books
Sport
Nemanja Matic holds the Capital One Cup with Branislav Ivanovic on Sunday
football
News
people
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th-century cartographer created the atlas
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger & Credit Control Assistant

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Ledger & Credit Control...

Recruitment Genius: Junior PHP Web Developer

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Guru Careers: Front End Web Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: Our client help leading creative agencies ...

Christine McCleave: FP&A Analyst

£36,000 - £40,000: Christine McCleave: Are you looking for a new opportunity a...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot