Rosie O’Donnell’s happy, dysfunction-free talk show stole her hype and viewers. Moviegoers dissed her turn as a leading lady in Mrs. Winterbourne (it earned a paltry $10 million). For the newly trim star, 28, the good news this year was mighty slim: Ricki Lake ratings have dropped 23 percent since last year.
MICHAEL SCHULHOF, MARK CANTON, ALAN LEVINE:
After losing billions in Hollywood thanks to such megaflops as I’ll Do Anything, Last Action Hero, and Radio Flyer, the Japanese-owned Sony woke up and smelled the red ink, firing free-spending American unit president Schulhof, 53 (the genius behind the $500-million deal with money-pit maestros Peter Guber and Jon Peters). Canton, 47, the head of Columbia and TriStar Pictures, the guy who gave Jim Carrey $20 million for The Cable Guy, and the man the press had dubbed ”the luckiest man in Hollywood,” soon followed. This month Canton’s boss also said sayonara: Levine, 49, president of Sony Pictures Entertainment, resigned after weeks of speculation.
MICHAEL FUCHS: Never Mr. Popularity, Fuchs, 50, finally burned one too many bridges. The brilliant but Napoleonic head of HBO and, more recently, Warner Music Group got the ax after years of cold relations with other top Time Warner lieutenants, including the movie division’s Robert Daly and Terry Semel. More recently, he was accused of planting the rumors that Sony wants to hire him. Things can only get better, Mike.
DEMI MOORE: Despite Striptease‘s triple-D-size hype, America coughed up a mere $32 million to see Moore, 33, take off her top (again). This, in the wake of two other flops (The Juror and The Scarlet Letter), means the star had better hit it big with the upcoming Navy Cross, or watch her $12.5 million salary drop faster than a garter belt at Scores.
DARREN STAR: Under mentor Aaron Spelling, wonder-boy producer Star, 34, heated up the screen with Fox sudsers Melrose Place and Beverly Hills, 90210. But when he struck out on his own, he struck out. Last season’s much-hyped, New York-based Central Park West was the Showgirls of television, sliding down the CBS drain after nine low-rated episodes and a failed summer revamping.