NEW YORK—Describing it as a "discerning and literary companion" to their flagship entertainment-news magazine, Us Weekly editor-in-chief Janice Min announced on Tuesday the creation of Us Quarterly, a scholarly, four-times-yearly journal dedicated to sizzling-hot celebrity gossip.

The quarterly will feature in-depth essays, investigative pieces, and expert commentary on Hollywood's hottest megastars.

"Due to the demands of weekly publication, [Us Weekly] was only able to scratch the surface," said Min, who is helming the offshoot publication. "The quarterly is a dream come true for the more serious-minded star-watcher, who enjoys pictorials showcasing Mary-Kate Olsen's club-hopping wardrobe, but craves a more critical examination of her hottest boots."

Min estimated that the first issue of Us Quarterly, slated to debut in August, will be 300 pages long. It will feature a thoughtful analysis of Lindsay Lohan's troubles on the set of Herbie: Fully Loaded, a Michael Cunningham short story inspired by the TV season's nastiest celebrity feuds, and a 20-page treatise from Oxford literary critic John Bayley mapping Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner's romantic, midnight Malibu beach stroll.

The quarterly will be a radical departure from the magazine's largely visual format.

"The new Us editorial direction moves away from splashy paparazzi photos with brief captions toward food-for-thought essays, in-depth investigative pieces, and transcribed roundtable discussions," said Adweek media reporter Donna Boorstin. "They'll cover everything from Nikki Hilton's Vegas weekend blowup to Sandra Bullock's surprise summer wedding with bad-boy Jesse James."

While small pointillist illustrations will accompany the pieces, the majority of the publication will be textual.

Said Boorstin: "For regular Us readers who may have trouble picturing this new format, try to think of how, in a romance paperback, the words build into continuous paragraphs, and you have to read them all in order to know what is happening. That's what Us Quarterly will look like."

Noted scholar Albert C. Wittingham joined Paris Hilton at an <I>Us Quarterly</I> panel discussion held at a Middlebury Writers' Seminar Sunday to discuss celebrity panty lines.

Us Quarterly will expand some of Us Weekly's most popular features, such as the back-page "Fashion Police," but Min will assign some new cops to the beat.

"We've reworked the section into a 'fashion roundtable,'" Min said. "In the new format, our stalwart regulars—fashion experts, professional gossips, and drag queens—will match wits with some of our nation's most prominent intellectual commentators."

"The results are quite lively," Min added.

In the first quarterly "Fashion Police," an unflattering dress worn by Brittany Murphy united panel members, earning catcalls ranging from Fagatha Christie's "Sin City had more color than this frumpy frock" to Lewis Lapham's "This is the jejune raiment of imperial excess." However, celebrity stylist Margo Fischer and writer Joyce Carol Oates were divided over Kirsten Dunst's gown at a recent charity benefit for autism. Fischer said "this nightmare in distressed pink muslin would make me withdraw," but Oates defended Dunst, describing the starlet as "a lovely Miss Haversham on her wedding day, the groom's absence as yet unremarked, her heart untouched by the impotent rage of love lost."

Us Quarterly will be available on newsstands Aug. 15th for the cover price of $12.95.