TheWrap.com, the entertainment news site founded by former NYT Hollywood correspondent Sharon Waxman, is now live. The launch is backed by an undisclosed amount of funding from Seattle-based Maveron; Waxman picked up $500,000 in seed funding last August from private investors.
The site aims to take on established publications like The Hollywood Reporter and Variety with news and commentary; it also aims to take on the other high profile indie journalist Nikki Finke, whose DeadlineHollywoodDaily has remained solo till now, though works loosely with LA Weekly. Entertainment trade pub vets make up the masthead: interim COO Kevin Davis held the same title at Hollywood.com, Managing Editor Tim Doyle is formerly of Variety, and Deputy Editor Maria Russo joins from the LAT.
TheWrap.com is also following HuffPo’s lead by bringing in both journalists and industry vets as contributors; there’s even a prominent call-to-action for guest bloggers via a “Tell Us Something” link on the homepage. And while this may not be the most opportune time to launch an ad-supported operation, Waxman told MarketWatch that TheWrap.com will profit from filling the gaps in entertainment coverage left by larger publications (particularly newspapers) as they cut back across the board. The site secured British Airways and the Four Seasons Hotel Beverly Hills as launch sponsors. Release.