26 LESLIE MOONVES
President, Lorimar Television
Rank last year: 43 Age: 43 Why he’s up: With more than 20 series airing in prime time or ready for midseason, Lorimar constitutes a virtual fifth network; its hits include Full House, Family Matters, and Step by Step. High point: The studio’s stable of year-old dramas (Homefront, I’ll Fly Away, Reasonable Doubts) returned despite shaky ratings. Low point: All three shows are getting killed in the Nielsens. New deal: Moonves signed writers-producers Joshua Brand and John Falsey to an exclusive contract.
27 MO OSTIN/LENNY WARONKER
Chairman/President, Warner Records
Rank last year: 27 Ages: 65 (Ostin); 51 (Waronker) High points: In two headline deals, Time Warner wooed Prince and Madonna to long-term contracts. But they didn’t come cheap ($60 million for her, $30 million to $100 million for him). Next big moves: After a year in which Warner was less than dominant on Billboard‘s charts, Ostin and Waronker have three potential sizzlers for fall: Madonna’s Erotica, Prince’s latest, and Automatic for the People from R.E.M., whose previous album, Out of Time, sold 4 million copies.
28 JEFFREY KATZENBERG
Chairman, Walt Disney Studios
Rank last year: 32 Age: 41 High points: His ’91 memo attacking Hollywood excess won vindication as other studios began to preach the same gospel. Buoyed by cut-rate blockbusters (The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Sister Act), Disney has claimed a larger ’92 box office share than any other studio. And 1992 gave the company its first animated Best Picture nominee — Beauty and the Beast. Last big move: Trawling for class, Katzenberg signed Howards End filmmakers James Ivory and Ismail Merchant to a production deal.
29 THOMAS D. MOTTOLA
President, Sony Music
Rank last year: 5 Age: 43 High points: Michael Bolton looks to have a huge hit with Timeless (The Classics); Mottola’s girlfriend, Mariah Carey, had a hit with her MTV Unplugged EP; and Sony’s Epic division scored with Pearl Jam and an offering from its new Soundtrax division, the songs from Singles. Low points: Though Michael Jackson’s Dangerous has sold 4 million copies, it’s no Thriller. And Bruce Springsteen’s Human Touch and Lucky Town, selling barely a million copies each, were big disappointments.
30 WARREN LITTLEFIELD
President, NBC Entertainment
Rank last year: 13 Age: 40 Why he’s down: Littlefield might like to erase 1992 from the history books — NBC has lost Cosby, Carson, and the Golden Girls; fallen from second to third in the ratings; endured a publicity nightmare at Tonight; and seen its daytime schedule erode badly. High point: Cheers, beginning its second decade, remains a top 10 hit. Low point: Littlefield’s old boss Brandon Tartikoff publicly second-guessed him on replacing Carson with Leno. Next big move: Some programming miracles — or else.
31 MICHAEL FUCHS
Chairman, CEO, HBO
Rank last year: 33 Age: 46 High points: The pay-cable channel is still growing, especially overseas, and an old friend has moved to a high place — former HBO man Gerald Levin became co-CEO of parent company Time Warner in February. Low point: HBO paid an estimated $20 million to broadcast one concert by fading pop star Michael Jackson. New deal: In a move that reportedly angered sister company Warner Bros., Fuchs’ HBO agreed to supply $500 million in production money to the fledgling studio Savoy Pictures.