Entertainment Weekly

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Article

The 101 Most Powerful People in Entertainment

The 101 Most Powerful People in Entertainment — A who’s who list of 1991’s biggest players in movies, television, music, publishing, and video

Posted on

In the world of entertainment, power is a game: The board giveth, and the board taketh away. If you don’t believe it, consider the terminology. Those who have the right stuff — whether at studios, publishing houses, networks, or record labels — are major players. They roll the dice. They score. And their deals — $65 million record contracts, $90 million movies, multibillion-dollar mergers — often seem to be made with Monopoly money.

In 1991, there was a lot of giving and a lot of taking away. In this, our second annual report on the 101 most powerful men and women (and, for the first time, children) in entertainment, nearly half the entries — including several that reflect Japan’s increasing influence in show business — are newcomers to the list. That’s only fitting in an industry in which the scorecards — sales, ratings, grosses — change every week, and daily trade journals mark hirings, firings, risings, and fallings. The other half demonstrated that they could hold onto their power, and in many cases increase it. In the following article you’ll meet 1991’s power elite — the deal makers, meeting takers, and record breakers who make the entertainment business the most entertaining game in town.


1. Michael Ovitz
Rank in 1990: 2
Movies, Television, Video, Publishing, and Music
Mike the manipulator. Samurai economist. Pop-culture guru. Superbroker. Hollywood Shogun. Master of the Universe. International player. Superman. The fear and awe in those nicknames attest to what everyone in entertainment knows: Creative Artists Agency chairman Michael Ovitz, 44, has single-handedly redefined the meaning of agent — and power in Hollywood. His company, founded in 1975 by five ex-William Morris agents, has since built a roster of 700 clients, of whom about 70 are the top talents in town. Among them are Steven Spielberg, Robin Williams, and Dustin Hoffman, the major players in Hook, the perfect example of a CAA ”package.” The Oscar-winning Rain Man, directed by Barry Levinson and starring Hoffman and Tom Cruise, was another, and so is the upcoming A League of Their Own, starring Geena Davis, Madonna, and Tom Hanks, under the direction of Penny Marshall.

CAA’s list goes on and on; it also includes Aaron Spelling, John Hughes, Sydney Pollack, Barbra Streisand, Goldie Hawn, Danny DeVito, Prince, Eric Clapton, Tina Turner, Stephen King, Sean Connery, Cher, Robert De Niro, Warren Beatty, Whoopi Goldberg, Bette Midler, Kevin Costner, Oliver Stone, Jane Fonda, Sylvester Stallone, Michael Douglas, Martin Scorsese, Paul Newman, and recent recruits Meryl Streep and Francis Coppola. Ovitz is even powerful enough to have convinced a major-league studio (Warner Bros.) to try making his aikido instructor (Out for Justice‘s Steven Seagal) into a stone-faced star. It worked.

But Ovitz hasn’t settled for percentages of what individual clients can earn — he now represents entire international corporations for millions of dollars. He advised Sony in its $3.4 billion acquisition of Columbia Pictures Entertainment (for an $8 million fee) and reportedly nabbed some $40 million for his pivotal role in Matsushita’s $6.6 billion buyout of MCA. While a deal between Japanese and American corporate giants might seem the culmination of everything this student of Eastern philosophy has been striving for since he started out as a Universal tour guide, Ovitz is still moving. CAA not only represents Paramount Pictures but also engineered the 1989 merger of book agents Morton Janklow and Lynn Nesbit; this fall, CAA even landed the much-coveted Coca-Cola account.

CAA’s 65 agents follow Ovitz’s teamwork philosophy, which combines an Eastern ethic (Sun Tzu’s The Art of War has virtually become CAA’s corporate handbook) with a Western business concept: the art of war as the art of the deal. And those deals — one success upon another — have led many to believe that Ovitz will seek to formalize his power over moviemaking by overseeing a studio. It is well known that MCA’s legendary chairman, Lew Wasserman, who turned a talent agency into a major studio, is an Ovitz hero. Will Ovitz take CAA in the same direction? The superagencies are already moving into the film financing arena. But why should Michael Ovitz run one studio, insiders ask, when he already runs seven?

2. Barry Diller
Rank in 1990: 3
Movies, Television
Barry Diller probably could have spent 1991 sitting back, smiling, and watching Home Alone power its way into the record books: The Fox movie became the highest-grossing comedy in Hollywood history, taking in $500 million worldwide, and selling briskly on video.

But Diller, Fox’s 49-year-old chairman and CEO, knows that man cannot live by Home alone, and this year he didn’t have to — Fox’s movie, television, and video operations all filled the company’s coffers in many ways. Sleeping With the Enemy earned $100 million, Hot Shots! was a surprise summer hit, and high-profile projects ranging from Alien 3 to Home Alone II could allow Fox to sustain its current streak as filmdom’s highest-grossing studio.

Beyond that, there’s Fox Broadcasting — ”a genuine network,” Diller says, ”that extends its reach every day.” Even those who once derided that network as a pipe dream now believe that it’s here to stay. With ratings up and the balance sheet free of red ink, Fox, says Diller, will expand from five to seven nights by December 1992.

With that track record, the man his detractors call Killer Diller (”I’m obviously not the best person to ask why”) may become a kinder, gentler Barry. This fall he cofounded Hollywood Supports, a philanthropic group that will fight AIDS discrimination in the entertainment industry. But his attention will likely remain riveted to the company that has flourished under his seven-year leadership: ”We’re doing well. Say very well if you want. In an often unfriendly world, we’re making an impression.”

3. Michael Eisner
Rank in 1990: 1
Movies, Television, Video, Publishing, Kids, and Music
The Mickey-bashing has begun. After engineering a spectacular, six-year success story during which earnings skyrocketed from $98 million in 1984 to $824 million in 1990, Michael Eisner, Walt Disney’s 49-year-old chairman and CEO, struggled to maintain his chipper exuberance. Net income for 1991 may drop 20 percent. THe gulf war and recession hurt the theme parks that provide the bulk of Disney’s revenues. BOx office duds like The Marrying Man ($124 million) from Disney’s Hollywood Pictures have knocked the Mouseketeers from first to third place in the studio rankings, behind Fox and Warner Bros. And after Disney fought Jim Henson’s heirs over acquisition of his company, the Magic Kingdom looked more like an evil empire. ”It might all come crashing in tomorrow,” Eisner has joked.

Don’t bet on it . Disney has an all-but-certain Christmas hit with the animated Beauty and the Beast, a trove of classic kids’ films that make money at almost no expense (this summer’s 101 Dalmations rerelease grossed nearly $60 million), and a 1992 lineup that includes an Eddie Murphy comedy. Disney’s TV decision, which has the season’s biggest new hit in Home Improvement, is thriving too. And with the new trade publisher Hyperion and the French theme park Euro Disney, Eisner is expanding his realm. ”We’re down this year,” Eisner has admitted, but ”we’re not nuts. We are taking it a little slower than if there were no recession and we were nuts.”

4. Jeff Sagansky
Rank in 1990: 19
Television
Jeff Sagansky is not one of those TV executives versed in the self-protective, diplomatic, wait-and-see tones of networkspeak. Last spring the 39-year-old CBS Entertainment president bluntly predicted a first-place finish for his then third-place network. ”We’re in a position to take it all,” he said, ”and I’ll be disappointed if we don’t.” Industry watchers called him an optimist. With CBS winning this season’s first three weeks — and winning big — they’re calling him an oracle.

But good guessing had less to do with it than good programming. Since leaving TriStar Pictures to run CBS Entertainment in 1990, Sagansky has used shrewdness, instinct, and a gamesman’s love of scheduling maneuvers to lead CBS into first place. He built what he calls ”one kick-ass night” — Monday’s Murphy BrownDesigning WomenNorthern Exposure combo; he wooed favorite producers to long-term deals; he staged such high-rated coups as a ”Classic Weekend” of tributes to vintage shows; and he aggressively developed new series. ”It’s like mining for diamonds,” he says. ”You’ve just got to keep polishing and rubbing and shining.”

Though his imprint is deep, he’s dubious about certifying it: ”If I’m so powerful, why do I spend my day trying to get actors and producers to come to CBS?” But he doesn’t just try — he succeeds. Next fall CBS will boast new series from producers Diane English, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, and David Kelley, director Robert Zemeckis, and Bob Newhart. Not that that’s enough for Sagansky. ”Even if we finish No. 1, I think we can still grow. If you’ve got the shows, people will come.”

5. Tommy Mottola
Rank in 1990: 97
Music
As president of Sony Music, Tommy Mottola, 42, makes big decisions. This year two of them made music-business history. In March, Michael Jackson re-signed with Sony in a complex deal reportedly worth more than $65 million. And in August, the aging hard-rock group Aerosmith — which still owes rival Geffen Records three more albums — also struck a deal with Sony expected to earn them a minimum of $30 million. Though the sheer dollar volume of both contracts raised eyebrows — can anyone be worth that much? — it convincingly demonstrated that Mottola and Sony have the wherewithal to clinch those big contracts whenever they see fit. ”At the end of the day, those deals made good business sense,” Mottola says, ”and I believe that anyone in our position would have made them.”

Sony Music’s position hasn’t exactly been shoddy since Mottola came on in 1988, when the company was still called CBS Records; according to industry sources, profits there have more than tripled since his arrival. September 1991, the company’s biggest month in history, brought over $100 million in revenues, thanks to best-selling artists like Mariah Carey, C+C Music Factory, Michael Bolton, Luther Vandross, Harry Connick Jr., Public Enemy, and Barbra Streisand.

Mottola says his main priority is to make Sony Music a company that heavily emphasizes the long-term development and promotion of its artists. ”If you take those two basics, which is what the whole foundation of the business was built on,” he says, ”it’s hard to miss.”

6. Steve Ross/Nicholas J. Nicholas Jr.
Rank in 1990: 4, —
Movies, Television, Video, Publishing, and Music
As co-CEOs of Time Warner, Steve Ross, 64, and Nick Nicholas, 52, are powers in any media arena they choose: movies, music, TV, video, cable, books, and magazines (including the one you’re reading). And as their company — formed by the 1989 merger of Time Inc. and Warner Communications — grows, Ross and Nicholas have two goals: to retain Time Warner’s multimedia dominance and to reduce a debt load currently at $8.8 billion.

This summer that debt gave them plenty of trouble. An imaginatively structured stock-rights proposal was withdrawn after a frosty reception from Wall Street, though subsequently a more conventional rights offering raised $2.6 billion. An expected venture with Japan’s C. Itoh and Toshiba could shrink the deficit by another billion or so.

Meanwhile, Time Warner’s divisions kept the cash flowing. Warner Bros.’ 1991 movies yielded one home run (Robin Hood) and several solid doubles (New Jack City, Doc Hollywood). The company’s two TV divisions — Lorimar and Warner Bros. TV — remain the preeminent suppliers of prime-time fare from Murphy Brown to Full House. Warner Music, with more than $500 million in 1990 profits, had two of the year’s most surprising No. 1 albums, R.E.M.’s Out of Time and Natalie Cole’s Unforgettable. Home Box Office and the magazine group remained strong. The hope that Time Warner’s divisions would benefit further from synergy came closer to reality: A projected deal with Madonna, for instance, could put her movies, music, and videos under one corporate umbrella. Time Warner is already larger than any media conglomerate in the world. Now Ross and Nicholas will concentrate on making it more than the sum of its parts.

7. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Rank in 1990: 8
Movies
Arnold Schwarzenegger is a walking allegory — he’s just plain Big. His movies, his career, his voice, his biceps, and, most important, his aspirations. Ever since his 1970 screen debut in Hercules in New York, he has been methodically and impressively shaping himself into a superhero of his own specifications. Somewhere between Conan and the Terminator, audiences stopped laughing at Schwarzenegger and began laughing with him. He made an estimated $30 million on 1988’s Twins — and got a $12.5 million Gulf Stream III jet as partial payment for this year’s Terminator 2, which, at $90 million, had one of the highest budgets ever and which has grossed nearly $200 million. Over the last decade, his movies have grossed more than $1 billion.

Schwarzenegger, 44, has gone from being a Mr. Olympia with an Austrian accent thicker than his neck, to marrying Maria Shriver, weekending at Camp David, and laying the groundwork for his political aspirations by heading the President’s Council on Physical Fitness. He is a real estate mogul who, at last count, was worth about $50 million. His is one of the most recognized names and physiques — 6’2” and 215 pounds — in the world. ”He’s always working,” says T2 costar Robert Patrick. ”Even in the makeup trailer, he’d be on the phone making deals.” The paradoxical transformation continues: With each blockbuster he makes, Schwarzenegger becomes smaller (he’s lost 40 pounds since Conan) and bigger than ever before.

8. Sumner Redstone
Rank in 1990: 7
Movies, Television
Last year Sumner Redstone brought MTV to Moscow; this year the billionaire Bostonian has his eye on Beijing. ”We signed an agreement [with STAR-TV, an Asian satellite communications company] in September,” says the 68-year-old chairman and 75 percent owner of MTV’s parent company, Viacom Inc., which also owns and operates VH-1, Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite, Showtime, the Movie Channel, Viacom Cable, five TV stations, 14 radio stations, and Viacom Productions. From MTV’s cutting-edge influence on music to Nick at Nite’s trove of boomer-appeal reruns, Viacom has remained, under Redstone, keenly attuned to the winds of pop culture.

”Within a year, MTV will be in China, Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan,” he says. ”That’s a theoretical audience of over 2 billion people. We’re seeing the birth of the first global television network. That’s incredible to contemplate. To see Benetton sweaters advertised on Russian MTV — I can’t tell you how that makes me feel.”

Redstone was busy in the U.S. last year as well: He added 25 movie theaters to his National Amusements Inc. chain (for a total of 675) and in April helped guide the creation of Comedy Central, a new basic-cable service formed by the merger of Viacom’s HA! and Time Warner’s Comedy Channel. The channel now claims 21 million subscribers. As of June, Viacom’s assets were estimated at $4 billion. Redstone’s personal fortune also grew-from an estimated $2.3 billion to $2.9 billion. ”It’s been a watershed year,” he says. ”I’m extremely pleased.”

9. Ted Turner
Rank in 1990: 17
Television, Video
Ted Turner likes putting his name on things. When he founded America’s first superstation in 1976, he called it Turner Broadcasting System. When he started a movie channel in 1987, it was Turner Network Television. The video arm of his empire is, of course, Turner Home Entertainment. And though modesty moved him to keep his name off of the Cable News Network, there’s no mistaking who’s behind it. What the 52-year-old mogul wants is what viewers get: Turnervision.

And it’s been some year for his David-turned-Goliath company. Even the White House — not to mention other world leaders — relied on CNN’s gulf war coverage, and record viewership ratified the 11-year-old channel’s preeminence on breaking news stories. TNT’s movies also won large audiences, and for 1992, the network has signed Arnold Schwarzenegger (to direct) and actors Holly Hunter, Julie Christie, and Kris Kristofferson. Is fortune smiling on Turner? Consider: Even the perennially hapless Atlanta Braves — TBS’ home team — had a great year.

No American media kingdom is run so completely according to its leader’s whims. While Turner’s schemes can be dunderheaded (remember his notion to colorize Citizen Kane?), they’re more often visionary. After hemorrhaging money in the ’80s, his empire will, in 1991, turn a profit. And the Mouth of the South is about to swallow the animation house Hanna-Barbera and has licked his chops over acquiring a network. He might overextend himself, but it’s unlikely. Turner has made his fortune on a single, simple principle: He wants more.

10. H. Wayne Huizenga
Rank in 1990: 9
Movies, Video
With more than twice the revenue of movie theaters in 1990, home video is where Hollywood makes its money these days. And with H. Wayne Huizenga’s company pulling in over $1 billion in revenues in 1990 — more than his next 99 competitors combined — Blockbuster Video is where home video makes its money.

The unstoppable Huizenga, 53, had already built the billion-dollar Waste Management Inc. when he ”retired” into the video business, buying a 19-store chain in 1987. He used McDonald’s as a model for how his videos would be marketed and rabbits as models for how many stores he should have: By year’s end, Blockbuster’s approximately 2,000-plus outlets worldwide will effectively make it the globe’s largest movie exhibitor. Stock was down this year, but with 30 million cardholders, Huizenga, as chairman and CEO, rules home video — last April he gobbled up the 200-store Erol’s chain with barely a burp — and he’s a quiet Hollywood power as well. The failure of the new NC-17 rating to find wide acceptance is due largely to Blockbuster’s decision to ban tapes with that rating.

What’s next? Just the rest of the planet. Already a presence in Canada, Australia, and Britain, Blockbuster has recently expanded into Venezuela, Chile, Mexico, and Japan. And if you doubt that Huizenga’s a gambler, consider that in 1990 he bought 50 percent of the Joe Robbie football stadium outside of Miami and rebuilt it for baseball — before new franchises had been awarded. It paid off: The Florida Marlins will play their first game in 1993. According to the ever-optimistic owner, that means ”we’ll be undefeated next year.”

11. Norio Ohga
Rank in 1990: 12
Movies, Television, Music
Some in Hollywood whisper that Sony is being taken to the cleaners in the movie business. But in Tokyo, no one thinks Sony president Ohga, 61, is anyone’s dupe. Brilliant but short-tempered, Ohga signs off on everything from Walkman designs to the lineup at Sony (formerly Columbia) Pictures Entertainment. He oversaw the ”retiring” of Walter Yetnikoff at CBS Records (now Sony Music) and of Jon Peters and Frank Price at Columbia. Ohga is putting big money on the MD, which plays a tiny CD and can record as well.

12. Robert Morgado
Rank in 1990: 24
Music
Overseeing Time Warner’s vast music holdings, Morgado, chairman of the Warner Music Group, heads up the world’s biggest record company. In his six years at Warner, sales at the music group — which includes the labels Warner Bros., Atlantic, and Elektra — doubled to $2.9 billion; profits tripled to $558 million. Morgado, 48, isn’t just relying on sales of Natalie Cole, R.E.M., and Metallica; he’s also stepped up the company’s investment in manufacturing plants, foreign record labels, publishing companies, and other music-related companies.

13. Warren Littlefield
Rank in 1990: —
Television
Freed from the shadow of boss Brandon Tartikoff, NBC Entertainment president Littlefield, 39, is now center stage at the network. The spotlight isn’t entirely welcome; this season, NBC may lose its ratings crown and profit margin ($250 million in 1990), and Littlefield may take heat for slippage begun under Tartikoff. But he is considered a smart, innovative programmer (he’s credited with building much of NBC’s powerhouse ’80s lineup) who can lead NBC into the ’90s. ”We’re learning more each day,” he says, ”about what people want.”

14. Jim Fifield
Rank in 1990: —
Music
Given his two decades as an executive at the cereal king General Mills, it’s no surprise that EMI Music president and CEO Fifield, 49, gives ”power breakfast” a new meaning. Since his arrival at EMI in 1988, Fifield has upped its profits for three straight years and nudged it toward its status as the world’s fourth-largest record company, with 1990 sales of $1.9 billion. By buying into SBK Records and Chrysalis, he extended that streak with platinum albums by Capitol-EMI acts M.C. Hammer, Bonnie Raitt, Garth Brooks, and EMF.

15. Sid Sheinberg/Thomas Pollock
Rank in 1990: –, 6
Movies, Television, Music
Unlike Sony, whose acquisition of Columbia Pictures Entertainment caused turmoil, Matsushita gave MCA’s executive roster a vote of confidence when it took over this year. MCA Inc. president Sheinberg, 56, who got a $21 million bonus in the process, still drives a hard bargain: He took a tough stance over Motown Records’ distribution deal. Pollock, 48, MCA Motion Picture Group chairman and a consummate deal maker, deftly underwrites filmmakers as divergent as Ivan Reitman (Kindergarten Cop) and Martin Scorsese (Cape Fear).

16. Madonna
Rank in 1990: 15
Movies, Music
Her biggest album remains 1984’s 7 million-seller Like a Virgin, and except for Dick Tracy, none of her films has been a blockbuster. Still, there’s no doubting Madonna’s clout in the music business. Her combined 1990 and 1991 earnings, according to Forbes, were $63 million (placing her fourth on its list of the highest-paid entertainers). The 33-year-old’s stock could rise even higher if her contract renegotiation with Time Warner results in the formation of her own entertainment company, as has been reported.

17. Kevin Costner
Rank in 1990: —
Movies
Seven Oscars for his directorial debut, Dances With Wolves, and a turn in the blockbuster Robin Hood ($163 million) have elevated him to the peaks of stardom. Costner, 36, who commands a $7 million acting fee, is taking advantage of his position. When he quietly sided with Robin Hood‘s producers in an editing battle with director Kevin Reynolds, Reynolds was vanquished. By lending his earnest credibility to Oliver Stone’s conspiracy-minded JFK, Costner guaranteed that the movie would trigger an impassioned debate.

18. Joe Roth
Rank in 1990: —
Movies
As head of Twentieth Century Fox, Roth, 43, runs Hollywood’s No. 1 studio, with box office totals of $671 million from 1990 films. About 285 million of those dollars came from a little picture called Home Alone. But Fox has had other hits as well: Die Hard 2 ($115 million) and Sleeping With the Enemy ($100 million). Future projects: Bette Midler’s For the Boys and a seven-picture deal with John Hughes. The secret of Roth’s success: ”I try not to make films I wouldn’t want to see.”

19. Bob Daly/Terry Semel
Rank in 1990: 16
Movies, Television
What they lack in flash, they make up for in longevity. Daly, chairman and CEO of Warner Bros., and Semel, president and COO (chief operating officer), have been together since 1981 — a rarity in the movie biz. This year wasn’t great, but it had its high points: Robin Hood (which Warner distributed but did not produce) and Doc Hollywood (box office: $52 million). And 1992’s lineup, which includes JFK and sequels to Batman and Beetlejuice, ought to provide Daly, 54, and Semel, 48, with some real box office punch.

20. Tom Freston
Rank in 1990: —
Television, Music
As chairman and CEO of MTV Networks, Freston, 45, has the whole world in his hands. Ten years after its launch, the network has 253 million subscribers in 71 countries and plays an enormous role in determining what is and is not a hit record. Sources estimate the company’s 1991 revenues will hit $425 million. In July, Freston announced plans to expand MTV into three distinct channels by mid-1993. The secret of MTV’s success? ”We strive very consciously to be an alternative to normal television,” he says.

21. Robert Iger
Rank in 1990: 18
Television
”It takes courage in this job to say I’m going to make decisions based on what I think,” says ABC Entertainment president Iger. It also takes a thick skin; last spring, ABC’s 40-year-old head drew fire for canceling high-quality dramas (thirtysomething, China Beach, Twin Peaks), and this fall, ABC dropped to third. But Iger isn’t worried; he can claim this season’s two highest-rated new series (Home Improvement and Step by Step), and ABC is winning in a category that may matter more: ’91 earnings, which may total $220 million.

22. Julia Roberts
Rank in 1990: —
Movies
The only woman who commands the kind of $7 million fees usually reserved for men, Roberts, 24, can’t escape the spotlight. Her February thriller, Sleeping With the Enemy, grossed $100 million, and though her summer weepie, Dying Young, was a disappointment, its $9.7 million opening weekend testified to her star power. After the cancellation of her wedding to Kiefer Sutherland, her ability to reclaim her innocent charm on-screen is unknown: Spielberg’s Christmas fantasy, Hook, in which she plays Tinkerbell, will tell the tale.

23. Charles Koppelman
Rank in 1990: 30
Music
Koppelman, 51, is the Midas of the music world; almost everything he touches turns to gold — or, more often, multiplatinum. As chairman and CEO of SBK Records, the cigar-smoking executive has given us the slick pop trio Wilson Phillips, rap pretty boy Vanilla Ice, and the hip alternative act Jesus Jones. This April, Koppelman and president and COO Martin Bandier sold their 50 percent interest in SBK to Thorn EMI for an initial payment of $31 million — and deferred payments that could total $100 million to $400 million.

24. S.I. Newhouse Jr.
Rank in 1990: 26
Publishing
Along with brother Donald, Newhouse, 63, oversees a $12 billion media fiefdom that includes Random House, Condé Nast magazines (GQ, Vogue), The New Yorker, Parade, and 31 newspapers. Though he doesn’t meddle with the profitable papers, he’s hands — on with books and magazines. This year, Vanity Fair, Condé Nast Traveler, and Random House (with the best-sellers Katharine Hepburn’s Me and Anne Tyler’s Saint Maybe) are thriving, in part because not much gets past Newhouse — who arrives at work at 4:30 a.m. to plot his next move.

25. Michael Schulhof
Rank in 1990: —
Movies, Television, Music
As Sony’s man in America, Schulhof, 48, has the ear of boss Norio Ohga, who calls him ”my translator.” Schulhof, known as Mickey, helped East meet West when Sony bought CBS Records and Columbia Pictures. Now he oversees Sony Software, a $5 billion empire that includes Columbia, TriStar, and Sony Music. His mission: to provide software (movies, TV, music) to keep Sony’s hardware (stereos, TVs, VCRs) humming. And though he delegates most decisions, the biggest — like a deal with Michael Jackson — carry Mickey’s mantle.

26. Jack Eugster
Rank in 1990: —
Music
As chairman, CEO, and president of Musicland — the nation’s largest record chain, with 1,000 stores and 1990 sales of $836 million — Eugster, 46, wields enormous influence over what Americans see, hear, and buy. When the Minnesota attorney general advised Eugster not to sell N.W.A’s corrosive album Niggaz4Life, the industry anxiously awaited his decision; he kept selling it, and the album went to No. 1. His knowledge of computerized inventories has also made him a power with SoundScan, now used by Billboard to tabulate record sales.

27. Mo Ostin/Lenny Waronker
Rank in 1990: —
Music
Warner Bros. Records has long been known for combining a prestigious roster with big-league sales. Thanks to chairman Ostin, 64, and president Waronker, 50, that tradition continues; the label’s stars include Madonna, Prince, R.E.M., Van Halen, Chris Isaak, Paul Simon, and Jane’s Addiction. Ostin, known for his business sense, is a perfect match for the aesthetically minded Waronker, who made his name producing ’70s singer-songwriters. During 1991’s first half, Warner Bros. had the second-biggest share of albums on the pop chart.

28. Rupert Murdoch
Rank in 1990: 32
Movies, Television, Video, Publishing
There were fewer pieces on Murdoch’s media chessboard this year; faced with $8 billion in debt, the 60-year-old Australian-born mogul raised cash by selling most of his U.S. magazine holdings. But he remains a master of the game: His assets include Fox Broadcasting (now solidly profitable), Twentieth Century Fox, TV Guide, and British Sky Broadcasting — plus assorted newspapers, an airline, and TV stations. ”Power is overrated,” he insists. ”But I think you can achieve a lot. You can get people to think about issues.”

29. Jeffrey Berg
Rank in 1990: 34
Movies, Television, Publishing
Though still relegated to playing Avis to CAA’s starrier Hertz, the International Creative Management agency now handles twice as many clients as CAA, and its own roster (including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Eddie Murphy, and Mel Gibson) is shining brightly. In 1991, Berg, 44, ICM’s intellectual chairman, played a crucial role in assembling the $90 million Terminator 2, cajoled financier Frans Afman into joining his team, and lured a half-dozen agents, representing such stars as Julia Roberts, away from William Morris.

30. Peter Chernin
Rank in 1990: —
Television
So what if The New York Times recently called him Jeff? By any name, Chernin, 40, president of the five-year-old Fox network, has rattled formerly derisive competitors at CBS, NBC, and ABC. ”I’m looking up,” he says, ”while they do nothing but manage their own inevitable declines.” That’s not all bluster. Helped by The Simpsons and Beverly Hills, 90210, Fox’s ratings have jumped 42 percent since 1990, and Chernin is laughing all the way into the black: Fox’s demographics are excellent, and the network may add two nights of shows in 1992.

31. Martin S. Davis/Stanley Jaffe
Rank in 1990: —
Movies, Television, Video, Publishing
Davis, 64, chairman and CEO of Paramount Communications Inc., playing the role of the New York money man, reached across the continent in March and toppled Paramount Pictures chairman Frank Mancuso. Fatal Attraction producer Jaffe, 51, became his new right hand and COO. Davis and Jaffe, who also oversee publishing giant Simon & Schuster and Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden, are now sitting on top of $1.1 billion worth of ready cash, which makes them a formidable force should they decide to go acquisitions-shopping.

32. Jeffrey Katzenberg
Rank in 1990: 20
Movies, Television, Kids
In a rough year for Disney Studios (profits, hits, and prestige were down), Katzenberg, 40, the company’s workaholic chairman, was still one of Hollywood’s most listened-to men and the force behind three filmmaking entities (Touchstone, Hollywood, and Disney’s kids’ division). In January, his memo preaching against budget-busting films was widely read as heralding a change in the Hollywood ethic. Another change: As if to apologize for Disney’s imperious treatment of writers, Katzenberg visited agents to pitch a kinder, gentler stance.

33. Michael Fuchs
Rank in 1990: 59
Movies, Television
”We’re going to make $200 million this year,” says HBO chairman and CEO Fuchs, 45, of the pay-cable network he has run since 1984. ”I’m not sure the networks combined can make that claim.” In 1991, Fuchs kept HBO healthy, but he lost rights to Mike Tyson’s boxing matches, and overall pay-cable subscriptions sank to a four-year low. Now he’ll try to regain viewers with a half-billion-dollar slate of theatrical films, ambitious made-for-cable movies, and series. He’s also diversifying: HBO now produces Fox’s sitcom Roc.

34. Peter Guber
Rank in 1990: —
Movies
With a $2.8 million-plus-stock annual salary, Guber, 49, chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, spends as freely as he gets, and, with the departure this year of former partner Jon Peters, now runs the show single- handedly. He has lured directors like James L. Brooks, Francis Coppola, and the Zucker brothers to SPE’s two film divisions, Columbia and TriStar, with some of the priciest deals around. And upcoming films include such big-ticket items as the $70 million Hook, the $40 million Bugsy, and the $35 million Radio Flyer.

35. Len Riggio
Rank in 1990: 14
Publishing
As CEO of Barnes & Noble, Riggio, 50, heads the world’s biggest book- selling company, encompassing B. Dalton, Doubleday, Scribner’s, and B&N shops, as well as 45 B&N and Bookstop ”superstores,” each with 10,000 square feet and 100,000 titles. But Riggio knows his business is about more than blockbusters. He recently started a program at Dalton called ”DISCOVER: Great New Writers,” and he has also created a popular section at more than 700 stores called ”Children with Special Needs,” for and about disabled kids.

35. Bloom/Dekom/Hergott
Rank in 1990: —
Movies
This trio heads one of Hollywood’s most influential law firms: Jake Bloom, 49, reps such power players as Schwarzenegger and Stallone, and orchestrated producer John Hughes’ Fox deal and the Simpson-Bruckheimer move to Disney. Peter Dekom, 44, has become a conduit for Japanese investors, brokering JVC’s $100 million investment in Largo Entertainment. And Alan Hergott, 41, this year organized Hollywood’s first big-ticket fund-raiser on behalf of a gay civil rights organization, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

37. Michael and Janet Jackson
Rank in 1990: 82, —
Music, Movie, Video
His ”billion-dollar” record contract was inflated by the media (actually, it’s more like $65 million), and his new album, Dangerous, has been delayed. But Michael Jackson, 33, is still the world’s biggest pop icon, and his historic deal with Sony — the most lucrative in the music business — gives the Gloved One his own label and an active role in movies and video projects. And kid sister Janet, 25, signed with Virgin Records for a startling $40 million, although she’ll have to find her own movies to star in.

38. Mort Janklow/Lynn Nesbit
Rank in 1990: 31
Publishing
Superagent Janklow, 61, who represents Danielle Steel and Judith Krantz, is so powerful he could turn a real dog into a best-seller. This year, he did: Millie, the First Pooch, spent 29 weeks on the list for Millie’s Book: As Dictated to Barbara Bush. Meanwhile, Janklow’s partner, Nesbit, 53, whose clients include Robert Caro and Tom Wolfe, was signing CNN’s Desert Storm journalist Peter Arnett, who reportedly sought a seven-figure book deal. His choice of Nesbit to secure it was only natural: She and Janklow are literary agentry’s biggest guns.

39. Barry Levinson
Rank in 1990: 51
Movies
Though obviously a labor of love, last year’s Avalon, his autobiographical immigrant saga, failed to sing at the box office (topping out at $15 million). But that hardly slowed down Levinson, 49, whose past hits (Good Morning, Vietnam; Rain Man) assure his place near the top of the directors’ A list. He was hired to lend both his knowing touch and a hands-on rewrite to Bugsy, a lavish $40 million biopic about visionary Vegas gambler Bugsy Siegel, with the equally legendary Warren Beatty in the title role.

40. Richard Snyder
Rank in 1990: —
Publishing
Snyder, CEO at Simon & Schuster, the world’s largest publisher, emerged unbowed and only slightly bloodied from the cancellation of Bret Easton Ellis’ gruesome American Psycho. Though the episode refueled rumors that he was under fire from Martin Davis — the head of Paramount, S&S’ parent company — Snyder, 58, appears to have reconsolidated his power. S&S’ 1990 profits hit a record $155.5 million, and 1991 has been lucrative too, thanks to Kitty Kelley’s Nancy Reagan and Bob Woodward’s The Commanders.

41. Ron Meyer
Rank in 1990: —
Movies, Music
While CAA head agent Michael Ovitz operates like a secretive kingmaker, his No. 2 man, Meyer, 47, moves about Hollywood like a reigning prince. While he has made big deals — he got Michael Douglas $15 million to star in and produce Basic Instinct — Meyer is just as well known for attending to details. How else could one man guide the careers of divas like Barbra Streisand, Cher, Madonna, Whoopi Goldberg, and Goldie Hawn without shortchanging any? This year, he even added Meryl Streep to his stable, luring her from ICM’s Sam Cohn.

42. Bob Krasnow
Rank in 1990: —
Music
In the eight years since Krasnow, 55, took over Elektra Records, the once-faltering label has become a powerhouse. Its deliberately small roster boasts topflight artists of every genre — from the Cure and Mötley Crüe to Keith Sweat, the Kronos Quartet, and Linda Ronstadt. When Natalie Cole wanted to record a tribute to her father, EMI said no. But Krasnow said yes, resulting in Cole’s double-platinum Unforgettable album. His faith in Metallica has also paid off; their latest was one of the fall’s biggest rock albums.

43. Leslie Moonves
Rank in 1990: —
Television
Moonves, 41, president of Lorimar TV, doesn’t have time for power lunches: With 12 series, Lorimar is TV’s biggest supplier of prime-time fare, from the established hits Full House, Family Matters, and Knots Landing to the newcomers I’ll Fly Away and Homefront. That makes for interesting conversation in Moonves’ home Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ”My 6-year-old kills for Full House,” he says. ”That pays the bills. But I’m proud to be able to put I’ll Fly Away on.” Whoever wins, Lorimar’s cash register keeps ringing.

44. Sonny Mehta
Rank in 1990: 75
Publishing
Knopf has been called the BMW of publishers, and the man at the wheel is Mehta, 48. A skilled marketer who has bolstered the sales of literary giants Anne Tyler and John Updike, Mehta has also steered Knopf toward more commercial works. His endorsement fueled sales of Josephine Hart’s steamy Damage. And after Simon & Schuster ditched American Psycho, Mehta grabbed it, selling 225,000 paperbacks. He has also launched Everyman’s Library, which reissues classics in sewn, cloth-bound, acid-free editions.

45. John C. Malone
Rank in 1990: 29
Television
Tele-Communications Inc., run by the 50-year-old Malone, is already America’s largest cable-system operator, with $3.6 million in revenues. Now Malone wants more: more channels (over the next few years, TCI’s carrying capacity will increase by up to 100 channels), more properties (he’s bidding hard for United Artists Entertainment, the country’s third-largest cable system), and more diversity (he’s experimenting with pay per view, video on demand, and high-definition TV).

46. Roone Arledge
Rank in 1990: 40
Television
After decades without respectability, ABC News is now the industry leader in ratings, profits, and prestige. Division president Arledge, 60, is the reason. Under his leadership, ABC’s World News Tonight has become TV’s most popular nightly newscast. Nightline, 20/20, and This Week With David Brinkley are respected in broadcast circles and highly rated in their time slots. Even PrimeTime Live, after a rough start, is getting solid numbers. What’s next? Expansion, of course: ABC will launch an overnight news service in January.

47. Tony Brown
Rank in 1990: 58
Music
Producer, executive vice president, and head of A&R (Artists & Repertoire) at country music’s hippest label, MCA’s Brown, 44, knows a good thing when he hears it. His ear has helped MCA Nashville land a whopping 78 albums and singles on the country charts, including Reba McEntire’s Rumor Has It, George Strait’s Chill of an Early Fall, and Vince Gill’s Pocket Full of Gold. The former pianist for Elvis Presley and Emmylou Harris brings a musician’s knowledge to his work — yes, he’s an actual musician in the record business. Imagine that.

48. Robert Shaye
Rank in 1990: 23
Movies
While major studios like Orion struggle to stay afloat, Shaye, 52, chairman and CEO of New Line Cinema, has turned his independent distribution company into the little studio that could. Buoyed by the Nightmare on Elm Street and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, and combining fiscal conservatism with guerrilla marketing, he releases about 20 pictures a year. Last month, New Line commanded over 3,000 screens with an eclectic mix of films, from the arty My Own Private Idaho to the lowbrow Suburban Commando.

49. Siskel & Ebert
Rank in 1990: 10
Movies
They had no ratings controversy to stake out this year, but Gene Siskel, 45, and Roger Ebert, 49, remain TV’s most popular opposable thumbs. As critics who have clashed since 1976 (Siskel & Ebert is seen on 180 stations), they wield more power in their fingers than most reviewers do in their entire bodies of work. Unlike their sloganeering contemporaries, the duo avoids hyping assembly-line features; a struggling art-house film is likelier to turn their two thumbs up. That endorsement — still the most desired in the business — has made them millionaires.

50. The Weinsteins
Rank in 1990: —
Movies
Cochairmen of the independent film distributor Miramax Films (estimated 1991 revenues: $80 million), ebullient schmooze Harvey, 39, and his more formal brother, Bob, 36, met their perfect match this year in Madonna, whose documentary Truth or Dare became the most successful since 1970’s Woodstock. Adept at turning art-house films into attention grabbers, the Weinsteins garnered eight 1990 Oscar nominations for such classy entries as The Grifters, Mr. & Mrs. Bridge, Journey of Hope, The Nasty Girl, and Ju Dou.

51. Steven Spielberg
Rank in 1990: 21
Movies, Television, Kids
Since signing with the preeminent Creative Artists Agency last year, Spielberg, 43, has embarked on a new round of blockbuster moviemaking. Whatever properties he wants, he gets. Expectations are huge for the $70 million Hook. Then it’s on to Jurassic Park, a dinosaurs-run-amok adventure, and a high-rent retelling of the Zorro tale. Meanwhile, through his Amblin Entertainment, he also produces an array of projects, including daytime TV’s hit Tiny Toon Adventures.

52. Herbert A. Allen Jr.
Rank in 1990: 96
Movies
For helping Creative Artists Agency chairman Michael Ovitz broker Matsushita’s $6.6 billion buyout of MCA, Allen pocketed a cool $8 million for his investment banking firm, Allen & Co. At 51, he’s possibly the savviest investor in entertainment, having netted $40 million for the 1982 sale of Columbia Pictures to Coca-Cola and then $106 million for its 1989 resale to Sony. Linked to power brokers from producer Ray Stark to mogul Rupert Murdoch, Allen, whose family fortune reportedly tops $1 billion, has no trouble getting calls returned.

53. Phyllis Grann
Rank in 1990: —
Publishing
Grann, 54, runs Putnam Berkley more like a ’40s movie studio than a ’90s publishing house — with lots of long-term contracts, and pampering of her stars: Bill Cosby, George Burns, Amy Tan, Kurt Vonnegut, Tom Clancy, Robert Parker, Dick Francis. Grann’s methods have paid off; since she took over in 1976, Putnam Berkley’s annual revenues have soared from $23 million to $190 million, and its authors have had an extraordinary string of No. 1 best-sellers-including Tan’s The Kitchen God’s Wife and Clancy’s The Sum of All Fears in 1991.

54. Akio Tanii
Rank in 1990: —
Movies, Television, Video, Music
When Konosuke Matsushita died in 1989, Japan wondered whether his cash-rich but stodgy company could change. Tanii changed it. The Matsushita president, 63, bought MCA for $6.6 billion, saying software and hardware are ”two wheels of the same car.” Tanii now heads a vast electronics company and a vast film studio; he triggered a furor when he wouldn’t vow to keep his hands off the content of Universal movies but later relented. Rumors abound of more Matsushita purchases. Certainly the company has deep pockets: ’90 earnings were $1.5 billion.

55. David Geffen
Rank in 1990: 13
Music, Movies
After Geffen sold his eponymous record company to MCA for $545 million in stock in 1990, his bankbook ballooned by another $165 million when Matsushita bought out MCA. Now Geffen, 48, whose label boasts Guns N’ Roses, Cher, and Nelson, is both a behind-the-scenes power broker and a flush financial speculator. (Witness his bid for troubled Executive Life Insurance.) But not everything has been upbeat: Aerosmith left his fold, and his sole movie offering this year, Albert Brooks’ Defending Your Life, grossed just $16 million.

56. Marcy Carsey/Tom Werner
Rank in 1990: 53
Television
Their 8-year-old cash cow The Cosby Show departs next May, but Carsey, 46, and Werner, 41, need never worry about their next paycheck. The low-key producers co-own ABC’s top-rated Roseanne, NBC’s still-strong A Different World, and ABC’s shaky Davis Rules, which, thanks to the duo’s clout, returns later this season. Not that they’ll lose Cosby completely; Carsey-Werner will produce his syndicated You Bet Your Life in 1992. If that fails, the team can coast on The Cosby Show‘s rerun sales-so far, they total over half a billion dollars.

57. Pat Kingsley
Rank in 1990: 57
Movies, Television, Publishing
Hollywood’s most powerful press agent, Kingsley, 59, had just signed Julia Roberts when she was forced to announce that Roberts’ wedding was off. Her agency, PMK, controls access to more than 90 press-shy talents, from Woody Allen to Michelle Pfeiffer, and she rejects journalists’ requests more often than not, explaining, ”It’s not our job to give the press everything they want.” She’d rather encourage her stars to work for politicians such as Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bob Kerrey, an old friend of Kingsley client Debra Winger.

58. Marvin Josephson
Rank in 1990: —
Publishing
As head of Josephson International, parent of the powerful talent agency International Creative Management, Josephson, 64, commands the talents of 135 agents. But there are a select few clients — including Jimmy Carter, Henry Kissinger, and Barbara Walters — he doesn’t entrust to anyone but himself. And Josephson’s personal attention can work wonders: This year he signed H. Norman Schwarzkopf (getting a $6 million contract with Bantam for the general’s memoirs) and ex-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

59. Miller/Boyett
Rank in 1990: —
Television
The executive producers of ABC’s kidcoms Full House, Family Matters, and Step by Step know most critics hate their shows. Not that they care: In 1991, Tom Miller, 47, and Bob Boyett, 47, had the kind of success that sweeps criticism aside. Family Matters became a smash, Full House went into syndication with huge success, and Step by Step started strong. With their shows anchoring ABC’s two biggest nights (Tuesday and Friday), Miller admits they’ve made ”a dime or two.” Actually, about a billion dimes — but who’s counting?

Shalett/Fine
Rank in 1990: —
Music
The all-important Billboard charts used to be determined unscientifically — by verbal reports from store managers. SoundScan — the brainchild of Michael Shalett, 39, and Michael Fine, 48 — changed all that this year. By electronically tallying actual sales, the system has reinvented the Billboard charts. SoundScan has infuriated many record executives, but thanks to its computerized data, several artists once considered fringe — including metalmen Skid Row, gangsta rappers N.W.A, and country crooner Garth Brooks — became No. 1 stars virtually overnight.

61. Rebecca Sinkler
Rank in 1990: 50
Publishing
As editor of the Sunday New York Times Book Review, the country’s largest (circulation: 1.7 million) and most prestigious literary supplement, Sinkler, 54, wields unparalleled clout in the book world. Since reviews sell books, her decisions about what to review seal the fate of hundreds of new works each year. Recent page-one reviews of Norman Mailer’s Harlot’s Ghost and James Stewart’s Den of Thieves have touched off some literary cat fights — but Sinkler, backed by the venerable Times, will stay well above the fray.

62. James L. Brooks
Rank in 1990: 28
Movies, Television
His statuary collection — three Oscars, 12 Emmys — is impressive enough. Add writing and producing credits for Terms of Endearment, Taxi, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and The Simpsons, and it’s clear how Brooks, 51, got Sibs on ABC this fall without making a pilot. So far, ratings are unimpressive, but ABC’s patience with Sibs attests to the network’s faith — and $30 million investment — in the producer with the magic touch. Even if Sibs flops, Brooks’ pen won’t be idle; he’s already working on his next film, tentatively called It’s Only a Movie.

63. Stephen King
Rank in 1990: 79
Movies, Television, Publishing
Gore maestro King, 44, does anything he pleases — and not just because people are scared of him. This year he wrote the CBS series Stephen King’s Golden Years and brought out Needful Things, the third book in his eye-popping $35 million contract with Viking. While Needful Things catapulted onto the hardcover list, Four Past Midnight hit No. 1 on the paperback list. And two movies, The Dark Half and Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers, began production. King has the kind of power that puts his name in titles — and in lights.

64. Alberto Vitale
Rank in 1990: —
Publishing
Random House chairman Vitale, 57, was hired in 1989 to restore fiscal order to America’s most prestigious publishing empire — and he did. Its 1991 revenues may not match the nearly $1 billion amassed in 1990. Still, the company did well this year with such best-sellers as Julia Phillips’ You’ll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again, Anne Tyler’s Saint Maybe, John le Carré’s The Secret Pilgrim, Katharine Hepburn’s Me, and Norman Mailer’s massive Harlot’s Ghost. Says Vitale: ”Good publishing doesn’t have to be about a bunch of money losers.”

65. Witt/Thomas/Harris
Rank in 1990: —
Television
Paul Junger Witt, 50, his wife, Susan Harris, 49, and Tony Thomas, 42, head a 15-year-old production company responsible for such long-popular sitcoms as The Golden Girls and Empty Nest as well as the new Good & Evil and Nurses. Separately, Witt and Thomas produce Blossom and Herman’s Head. Witt says the marriage and friendship survive because ”we have a staff that can handle anything.” In any event, Witt and Thomas have found strength in numbers: They’ll soon add a seventh show, NBC’s Walter and Emily, to their roster.

66. John C. Holt
Rank in 1990: 11
Television
1991 was a fairly rough year for the A.C. Nielsen Co., whose accuracy as a quantifier of the TV audience was assailed by networks and advertisers; many accuse Nielsen of failing to count children, channel flippers, and out-of-home viewers. But with the decline of chief competitor Arbitron, networks and advertisers are more dependent than ever on Nielsen — and on Holt, the company’s 51-year-old chairman and CEO. Nielsen is working on technology that will allow greater accuracy, but there’s no rush: The TV industry already lives by its numbers.

67. Roger King
Rank in 1990: —
Television
King, 47, and brother Michael, 42, head King World, TV’s top syndication empire, with three of syndication’s top four shows: Oprah Winfrey, Jeopardy!, and Wheel of Fortune. The other top-four show, Star Trek: The Next Generation, is not theirs. ”We screwed up,” Roger jokes. ”What can I say?” They don’t screw up much. ”We took nothing and built one of the major companies in the business,” says King, chairman of the firm. ”Even when we watch TV, we’re enjoying it, but we’re working.”

68. Tim Burton
Rank in 1990: —
Movies, Television
Burton, only 32, is Hollywood’s hottest boy wonder. After directing 1989’s Batman (box office: $250 million), the former Disney animator followed up with 1990’s Edward Scissorhands ($55 million). Now he’s directing what could be his biggest hit yet — Batman Returns, due next summer. Also in the works: an animated feature for Disney, Nightmare Before Christmas; an animated show for CBS, Family Dog (coproduced by Steven Spielberg); and a documentary on his childhood idol, Vincent Price.

69. John Hughes
Rank in 1990: —
Movies
The guy’s got range. Last year, Hughes, 41, wrote and produced Home Alone, the third-highest-grossing movie ($500 million worldwide) ever — and produced one of the, well, quietest, Only the Lonely. Hughes is legendarily prolific as writer, director, and producer — he has had 18 movies in theaters in the past 10 years; recently, he signed a contract with Fox for a reported $200 million. In the pipeline: Home Alone II, Bartholomew vs. Neff with Sylvester Stallone, and a feature version of Dennis the Menace.

70. Rob Reiner
Rank in 1990: 80
Movies, Television
Although he affects an aura of congenital melancholia, director Reiner, 44, has little to complain about: His film Misery scared up $62 million and an Oscar for Kathy Bates, and his newest project, the $40 million military drama A Few Good Men, has attracted a powerhouse cast including Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, and Demi Moore. As a founder of Castle Rock Entertainment, Reiner also lent his imprimatur to Billy Crystal’s City Slickers ($120 million) and two cutting-edge TV series, NBC’s Seinfeld and HBO’s Sessions.

71. Amanda Urban/Esther Newberg
Rank in 1990: 45
Publishing
Urban, 45, and Newberg, 49, heads of ICM’s literary department, reigned through 1991’s literary storms. Newberg’s client Kitty Kelley riled the Reagans with Nancy Reagan. And when Simon & Schuster dumped Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho, Urban resold the lurid novel to Knopf, netting her author a double-whammy advance. This year Newberg signed Time‘s Jonathan Beaty and S.C. Gwynne — and got them a $500,000 deal from Random House for their BCCI book — and Urban snagged writers Toni Morrison, Joseph Heller, and Sam Fussell.

72. Jodie Foster
Rank in 1990: —
Movies
Her asking price has skyrocketed since the spring hit The Silence of the Lambs grossed $131 million. Positive notices for her directing debut, Little Man Tate, in which she plays the mother of a child prodigy, earned her Time‘s cover. She may be the youngest woman ever to use her clout as an actress to win a major directing assignment. The Oscar-winning Foster, 28, personifies self-assurance: When the Today show refused to guarantee that John Hinckley not be mentioned in an interview with her, she simply walked.

73. Linda Bloodworth-Thomason
Rank in 1990: —
Television
Bloodworth-Thomason, 44, doesn’t just create series, she nurtures them — and her attention has yielded record ratings for Designing Women and Evening Shade. No wonder CBS has given the tenacious writer-producer and her husband, director Harry Thomason, 50, the richest producing deal in its history: $50 million for five more comedies. ”I don’t want to give Jeff (Sagansky) a heart attack,” she says, ”but before the deal hits its last show, I’ll be rafting in retirement on the Arkansas River.” Don’t bet on it — Bloodworth-Thomason is enjoying life as CBS’ official funny lady.

74. Diane English
Rank in 1990: —
Television
Talk about carefully planned parenthood: Murphy Brown’s pregnancy made headlines on this TV season’s first night, and she’ll give birth during next May’s ratings sweeps. That kind of savvy plotting has made Murphy a ratings hit and creator English, 43, one of CBS’ most valuable assets. But Murphy isn’t the only show English will run. In September, she and husband Joel Shukovsky won an extraordinary eight-figure contract: CBS will finance their next four series, but, in a rare concession, the shows will be owned by the couple.

75. Alice Mayhew
Rank in 1990: —
Publishing
Mayhew, 53, first made her mark in 1974 as editor of All the President’s Men. Today, as Simon & Schuster’s editorial director, she has a stable of authors who provide both intellectual ballast and headline-making best-sellers (including Bob Woodward’s The Commanders and James B. Stewart’s Den of Thieves). Her reward is loyalty: This summer, when The New Republic skewered her editing skills, 27 authors came to her defense. In the works: books from Washington Post vice president Ben Bradlee and Pulitzer Prize- winner J. Anthony Lukas.

76. Don Hewitt
Rank in 1990: 70
Television
”I never hire anyone who’s not smarter than I am,” says Hewitt, creator and executive producer of 60 Minutes. ”But if they get too big, I smack them down.” That combination of deference and an iron hand has kept Hewitt’s program a top-five hit in its 24th season. And at 68, he still runs the show. When he dropped Meredith Vieira in March, CBS, undoubtedly tallying 60 Minutes‘ $1 billion-plus in cumulative profits, didn’t interfere. No wonder he’s confident. ”I’ll probably be here another 24 years. I’ll be, what, 92? Yeah, I’ll be here.”

77. Penny Marshall
Rank in 1990: —
Movies
To call her Hollywood’s top woman director is faint praise, since her last two movies, Big and Awakenings, not only scored big at ticket windows ($110 million and $51 million, respectively) but won five Oscar nominations between them. Having risen through the sitcom ranks, Marshall, 49, knows how to connect with an audience, and her movies’ commercial shrewdness and warmth have made her one of Hollywood’s top directors, period. Next up: A League of Their Own, a $40 million baseball comedy with Geena Davis and Madonna.

78. James Cameron
Rank in 1990: —
Movies
Even before Terminator 2 exploded at the box office, director Cameron, 37, had developed his own sci-fi subgenre with The Terminator, Aliens, and The Abyss: ”tech noir,” a moody-blue blend of machinery and macho bravado. At over $90 million, T2 was the most expensive movie ever, but it has paid off, earning $330 million worldwide. Carolco Pictures has given Cameron a production deal — and a Spider-Man epic may be in his future. But first, he’ll tackle The Crowded Room, a drama about a multiple personality, for Fox.

79. Ron Howard
Rank in 1990: 27
Movies
Knowing his Imagine Entertainment has a smoothly humming 20-picture distribution deal with Universal, Howard, 37, is secure enough to live in Greenwich, Conn., a continent away from the Hollywood he grew up in. This year he scored with Backdraft (box office: $76 million), which certified him as a director who could bring in a big-budget, big-cast, big-effects film. Imagine can also take credit for the smash Kindergarten Cop (and the dud Problem Child 2). Next for Howard: Far and Away, a $30 million historical romance with Tom Cruise.

80. Roseanne Arnold
Rank in 1990: —
Television
Forget her tabloid drubbings, Vanity Fair mudbaths, and occasionally off-key vocalizing. Arnold, 38, is the Teflon star, and no amount of bad press or personal revelation seems to hurt her ABC sitcom Roseanne, currently America’s most popular series. ”Power,” she says, ”is that I can ask for what I want-that’s all.” Usually, she gets it: a promotion (she’s now Roseanne‘s co-executive producer) and a meaty contract with ABC to produce another series and a special. Her only major 1991 losses: 60 pounds (and counting).

81. Allen Grubman
Rank in 1990: —
Music
What do Madonna, Michael Jackson, Luther Van-dross, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Bon Jovi, and David Geffen have in common? Not much except for one lawyer — Grubman, 48, who represents them all. The Mike Ovitz of the tune trade, Grubman worked on Michael Jackson’s multilevel big-bucks contract with Sony and is currently handling Madonna’s label talks with Time Warner, which could set new standards for corporate perks. Grubman’s take for his hard work: an estimated $10 million a year.

82. Peter Jennings
Rank in 1990: —
Television
As World News Tonight ends its second year as America’s top newscast, ABC’s $2 million-a-year anchor seems more of a bargain than ever. After eight years, Jennings, 53, is on a roll. His thoughtful, unruffled gulf war coverage drove ratings up, he scooped rivals by hosting a ”town meeting” with Gorbachev and Yeltsin, and his January Line in the Sand report was ABC’s most-watched documentary in a decade. Jennings also holds increasing sway over his show’s content — credit him for strengthening ABC’s AIDS reporting.

83. Lorne Michaels
Rank in 1990: —
Movies, Television
When Michaels laughs, people listen. Since the 46-year-old producer created Saturday Night Live in 1975, his knack for spotting comic talent from Dan Aykroyd to Mike Myers has shaped an entire era of movie comedy starring SNL alumni. At 16, SNL remains Michaels’ baby, and its emblematic cool is undiminished-actors are still fighting for job openings on the show. Michaels just produced a Wayne’s World movie for Paramount, and this fall’s SNL opener, with Michael Jordan, had the show’s largest season-premiere audience ever.

84. Martin Scorsese
Rank in 1990: —
Movies
Critics have long hailed three-time Oscar nominee Scorsese, 48, as America’s most electrifying director, singling out Raging Bull as the best film of the ’80s. Now a new, six-year deal with Universal Pictures guarantees him a secure base for his highly personal, often violent vision. His newest film, a remake of 1962’s Cape Fear, starring Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, and Jessica Lange, has all the earmarks of commercial success. He’ll next tackle a period drama, The Age of Innocence, set to star Daniel Day-Lewis and Michelle Pfeiffer.

85. Hammer
Rank in 1990: 71
Music
Hammer — a.k.a. Stanley Kirk Burrell, 28 — has always seen himself as both businessman and rapper, and this year he showed why. His 1990 Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em has sold 10 million copies; his new album, Too Legit to Quit, will very likely continue that streak. He has his own Saturday-morning cartoon, Hammerman; his own record label, Bust It; a commercial deal with Pepsi; and even his own action figure, the M.C. Hammer Doll, via Mattel. You can’t touch him — and neither can most other acts in the record business.

86. Danielle Steel
Rank in 1990: 77
Publishing, Television
Steel, 44, divides her day this way: 10 hours caring for her nine kids, 4 hours sleeping, and 10 pounding out what one critic called ”mind candy for the masses” on her 1947 Olympia. The payoff? Her 27 novels — including 12 No. 1 best-sellers — have sold more than 150 million copies. Recently she landed one of publishing’s richest contracts: a reported $60 million for five books. And after a TV version of Changes almost out-rated April’s NCAA basketball finals, NBC ordered adaptations of Palomino and Daddy to air against football and baseball.

87. Axl Rose
Rank in 1990: —
Music
At 29, Guns N’ Roses lead singer Rose heads the most powerful rock & roll group (total album sales: $22 million) in the world-and he knows it. Though his bratty onstage behavior can spark riots (in St. Louis in July, for instance), plenty of fans think he can do no wrong — indeed, they bought 1.5 million copies of GN’R’s two long-awaited Use Your Illusion albums in their first week of release in September. That kind of stature will ensure that Rose will be welcome in the music-business jungle anytime.

88. Spike Lee
Rank in 1990: 52
Movies
Lee, 34, is already the elder statesman of young black filmmakers. Although his latest, Jungle Fever, was snubbed at Cannes, it quickly became his highest-grossing film to date ($32 million). The Brooklyn-based maverick, who turns every movie into a political debate, is guaranteed another firestorm with his currently shooting Malcolm X, a biography of the Black Muslim leader starring Denzel Washington and, at $25 million, one of the most expensive movies Hollywood has ever entrusted to a black director.

89. David Lynch
Rank in 1990: —
Movies, Television
With Twin Peaks, Lynch created a mass appetite for the bizarre — and now he’s feeding it. Lynch, 45, landed a $70 million deal with French construction tycoon Francis Bouygues, whose subsidiary CIBY 2000 will finance three films, including Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. His new TV comedy On the Air may debut on ABC next year, and his 1977 cult classic Eraserhead will be rereleased. Should things go sour in Hollywood, he’s got a backup career. Lynch-designed espresso tables go for $600 each in L.A.

90. Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker
Rank in 1990: —
Movies
Surely, no gag is beneath them — but just don’t call them Shirley. Though they no longer operate as a threesome, Zucker brothers David, 44, and Jerry, 41, and Jim Abrahams, 47, are Hollywood’s reigning comedy troika. While Jerry’s Ghost ($218 million) revealed unexpected heart, David’s Naked Gun 2 1/2 ($85 million) and Jim’s Hot Shots! ($65 million) were pure ZAZ. The studios fell all over themselves rushing these madcaps from Madison, Wis.: The Zuckers signed a long-term deal with TriStar, while Abrahams opted for Fox.

91. Jack Nicholson
Rank in 1990: 81
Movies
Despite the failure of 1990’s The Two Jakes (box office: $10 million), Nicholson, 54, is still the prestige actor whose name instantly makes a picture Big. In 1992, he’ll star in Man Trouble, which reunites the creative team behind 1970’s Five Easy Pieces; Rob Reiner’s A Few Good Men (Jack will collect $5 million for two weeks’ work); and Danny DeVito’s Hoffa. And, having made more than $50 million from Batman, he could take home $15 million for merchandising rights to its sequel, Batman Returns — even though he won’t appear in it.

92. Eddie Murphy
Rank in 1990: —
Movies
His box office heat may have cooled — the critically lambasted Harlem Nights ($61 million) and Another 48 HRS. ($81 million) didn’t measure up to his earlier blockbusters — but Murphy, 30, is still Paramount Pictures’ favorite son, and a lucrative new four-picture deal guarantees him more than $12 million per film. Though plans for Beverly Hills Cop III are on hold, Murphy is set to star in Boomerang, directed by House Party‘s Reginald Hudlin, and he has won permission to do an outside film for Disney, The Distinguished Gentleman.

93. Jonathan Demme
Rank in 1990: —
Movies
In the ’80s, Demme’s quirky films (Stop Making Sense, Married to the Mob) pleased critics more than audiences. But in the ’90s, the 47-year-old director is poised to become that rarity-a blockbuster auteur. Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs earned rapturous reviews and $131 million, and ratified the director as a hit-maker. Though he dabbles in other media-music videos (Suzanne Vega, UB40) and TV documentaries — his next project may be the film Fatal Voyage, about the sinking of a World War II ship.

94. Oprah Winfrey
Rank in 1990: 55
Movies, Television
If nobody discusses the Phil vs. Oprah contest anymore, here’s why: There isn’t one. The Oprah Winfrey Show is now TV’s highest-rated talk show ever, and Winfrey, 37, who earned $42 million in 1991, is entertainment’s wealthiest woman. Sometimes she falters: Viewers rejected Brewster Place, and at her Chicago studio, such high-profile projects as Toni Morrison’s Beloved still await production. But in June, America’s 10 largest TV markets gave her show a renewal usually reserved for presidents: four more years.

95. Danny DeVito
Rank in 1990: —
Movies
A compact blend of hilarious vulgarity and razor-sharp wit, DeVito, 45, stands tall in front of and behind the cameras, and demand for him just keeps growing: He’s currently on view as Larry the Liquidator in Norman Jewison’s comedy Other People’s Money, while he will strike a more poignant note in Marshall Herskovitz’s Jack the Bear, due next spring. As the Napoleonic Penguin, he also appears in next summer’s Batman Returns, while, as if to prove his ambidexterity, he’s preparing to direct Hoffa, starring longtime pal Jack Nicholson.

96. Billy Crystal
Rank in 1990: —
Movies, Television
The mightiest mensch in show biz, Crystal, 44, muscled his way to the top of this summer’s box office heap, right next to Schwarzenegger and Costner, when his City Slickers corralled $120 million. His outings as emcee of the usually staid Academy Awards have been the best thing about the ceremonies. As cowriter and producer of HBO’s Sessions, he’s drawing big ratings. And next month he begins filming Mr. Saturday Night, a mock biography of failed comic Buddy Young Jr., which he’s producing, writing, directing, and starring in.

97. Cameron Mackintosh
Rank in 1990: —
Stage, Movies
A master of theatrical marketing, Mackintosh, 45, built Cats, Les Misérables, Phantom of the Opera, and Miss Saigon into events grossing hundreds of millions of dollars. The London-born impresario has clout and knows it. Last fall, when Actors’ Equity barred Jonathan Pryce from re-creating his London role on Broadway in Miss Saigon, Mackintosh simply canceled the production. Eventually Equity surrendered, and Saigon — with a record $35 million in advance sales, went on. Next for Mackintosh: Les Miz — the movie.

98. Tom Clancy
Rank in 1990: 83
Publishing, Movies
Techno-thriller scribe Clancy, 44, can sell books like nobody else (except maybe Scarlett O’Hara). Royalties from all his books add up to about $45 million. This was an especially big year for him: His best-selling The Sum of All Fears will earn him $15 million. Harrison Ford signed a three-movie deal to play Clancy hero Jack Ryan, starting with 1992’s Patriot Games. And while Clancy’s other Cold War thrillers didn’t quite cause communism’s fall, NBC nonetheless used him for commentary — not as a novelist, but as a news analyst.

99. John Branca
Rank in 1990: —
Music
This year lawyer Branca, 40, made his mark on pop music — he brokered Janet Jackson’s $40 million pact with Virgin and Aerosmith’s $30 million-plus Sony Music re-signing. No surprise there: As Michael Jackson’s attorney between 1980 and 1990, Branca upped the Gloved One’s net worth from $1 million to an astounding $300 million. Today his clients include Prince and the Rolling Stones, a group whose next record-company contract will most certainly be another big-money deal.

100. Kay Koplowitz
Rank in 1990: —
Television
Last year, USA became America’s third-largest cable network, with $270 million in revenues. Credit the shrewd Koplovitz: The 46-year-old chairman and CEO has gotten USA into 58 million homes, budgeted $250 million on made-for-cable movies, and taken gambles. Some fail (her telecasts of WLAF football games drew yawns), but don’t second-guess her: People scoffed at USA’s decision to air U.S. Open tennis until one of this summer’s telecasts outrated prime-time competition on ABC and CBS.

101. Oliver Stone
Rank in 1990: 49
Movies
He’s as likely to show up on Nightline as he is at the Oscars, because director Stone, 45, specializes in the Big Picture. The passionate arguments that greeted his last film, The Doors (a relative disappointment, grossing $34 million), should be a mere skirmish in comparison to the controversy already raging around his investigation of the Kennedy assassination in JFK, which opens Dec. 20. Only Stone, audaciously pursuing his personal obsessions, could convince an establishment studio like Warner Bros. to fund such a daring project.

101.5 Macaulay Culkin
Rank in 1990: —
Movies
Culkin, 11, may become the first kid ever to earn his age in millions. He got a mere $250,000 for Home Alone — which to date has earned Fox $285 million in the United States alone — but he’s making up for it on the sequel, Home Alone II, with a rumored salary of $4.5 million plus profits. And he received $1 million for My Girl, a comedy starring Dan Aykroyd and Jamie Lee Curtis that is due by Christmas. But don’t confuse money with maturity — Culkin still likes to wrap his tutor’s toilet seat with double-stick tape.

Written and reported by: Janice Arkatov, Giselle Benatar, Corie Brown, David Browne, Ty Burr, Alan Carter, David DiMartino, Margot Dougherty, Tina Jordan, Jim Oberman, Kelli Pryor, Tim Purtell, Jeffrey Ressner, Lisa Schwarzbaum, Frank Spotnitz, Benjamin Svetkey, Anne Thompson, and Jeffrey Wells