26 JEFFREY BERG
Chairman, CEO, ICM
Rank last year: 16 Age: 46 Last big move: ICM signed Spike Lee, Steve Martin, and Jay Leno. Why he’s down: Lost face by backing investor William Koch in an unsuccessful attempt to purchase MGM—which would have wrested the studio from the control of archrival Michael Ovitz. And when James Cameron’s groundbreaking Twentieth Century Fox deal wobbled, Berg had to renegotiate on less favorable terms. Bottom line: An off year for the superagent whose mighty ICM is still seen as Hollywood’s ”we try harder” agency.
27 SHERRY LANSING
Chairman, Paramount Pictures
Rank last year: — Age: 49 Why she’s up: The respected producer of The Accused, Fatal Attraction, and 1993’s $105 million-grosser Indecent Proposal took her second studio chief job in 12 years. High point: Besides Proposal‘s success, The Firm passed $154 million. Low point: Feminists attacked her movies for misogyny. Sliver, anyone? Bottom line: Hollywood credits Lansing with class, story sense, and being a lot nicer than Paramount’s Stanley Jaffe. X factor: Word is that Addams Family Values will score big this Christmas.
28 DAVID LETTERMAN
Rank last year: — Age: 46 New deal: In January, he announced a three-year, $42 million contract to move his late-night talk show from NBC to CBS; so far he’s beating Jay Leno in the ratings and publicity wars and attracting exactly the baby-boomer audience that advertisers love. Low point: The Building, a prime- time vehicle for frequent guest Bonnie Hunt and Dave’s first project as a sitcom producer, became a ratings cellar-dweller for CBS by early fall. Bottom line: He’s still the No. 1 reason to stay up late watching television.
29 LUCIE SALHANY/SANDY GRUSHOW
Chmn., Fox Broadcasting/Pres., Fox Ent. Grp.
Rank last year: Rising; — Ages: 47 (Salhany); 33 (Grushow) High points: They assumed control of the Fox network when Peter Chernin moved over to Fox’s movie studio; The Simpsons and Beverly Hills, 90210 are still going strong, while Martin and Melrose Place added new blood to a schedule filled with past-their-prime programs like Married…With Children and In Living Color. Low point: Two words: Chevy Chase. X factor: Will Fox ever finish higher than fourth place?
30 MICHAEL FUCHS
Chairman, CEO, HBO
Rank last year: 31 Age: 47 High point: His pay-cable channel is seen in only 20 percent of U.S. homes, but last month HBO walked off with the year’s biggest haul of Emmy trophies—17, including nods to Stalin, The Larry Sanders Show, and Dream On. Low point: That public feud when HBO wrested control of And the Band Played On from director Roger Spottiswoode. Next big move: This month’s launch of HBO En Español, a Spanish-dubbed channel aimed at the huge, virtually untapped Latino market.