Kenneth ”BABYFACE” Edmonds 51 LAST YEAR 66
AGE 39 CREDITS Cooked up the $35 million-grossing (so far) sleeper Soul Food on his first try at film production; his sitcom Schoolin‘ is now in development at Fox; his 1996 album The Day has gone double platinum. DEBITS His recipe doesn’t work for everyone. The Rolling Stones left his track for Bridges to Babylon on the editing-room floor.
Kerry MCCLUGGAGE 52 LAST YEAR —
chairman, paramount television group
AGE 42 CREDITS Paramount TV is Viacom’s bright spot; Frasier, the Star Trek franchise, Entertainment Tonight, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, are all strong; George & Leo could click for CBS. DEBITS Fired Up and Jenny have a lot to prove for NBC, or they’ll be history. Syndicated shows like Viper and Hard Copy fading.
Jodie FOSTER 53 LAST YEAR 85
AGE 34 CREDITS Propelled Contact, a space movie sans gooey aliens, to $100 million; may direct and produce Flora Plum for Disney; her Egg Pictures won bidding war for Margaret Atwood’s best-seller Alias Grace; reputation unsmudged by brother’s tell-all. DEBITS Needs to make contact more often — almost three years between movies keeps her profile lower than it should be.
Sandy GRUSHOW 54 LAST YEAR —
president, twentieth century fox television
AGE 37 CREDITS Ex-Fox Broadcasting chief wooed back to oversee a roster of hits, including The X-Files and King of the Hill, and two of the fall’s only smashes, Dharma & Greg and Ally McBeal. DEBITS Finally, on the right (laugh) track after spending $60 mil on comedy writers over last few years. Real drama is whether Nothing Sacred, The Visitor, and The Practice can survive.
Robin WILLIAMS 55 LAST YEAR 33
AGE 46 CREDITS The ’90s Fred MacMurray, thanks to a string of kid hits (Mrs. Doubtfire, Jumanji, and Jack) — and another on the way, if Flubber‘s got bounce. DEBITS The aftermath of his big-ticket flop Fathers’ Day: Williams must show more character than caricature in Deconstructing Harry and Good Will Hunting, or he’ll wind up playing pixie forever.
Tony JONAS 56 LAST YEAR 55
president, warner bros. television
AGE 45 CREDITS His TV studio boasts the most shows on network air, including ER, Friends, and Drew Carey; for third straight year, landed NBC’s prized Thursday-at-9:30 slot, this time with promising Veronica’s Closet; beat competitors to nab Tom Selleck for mid-season series. DEBITS Of its new shows, Built to Last wasn’t, Rewind was D.O.A., and a third, Meego, may go soon.
Tim ALLEN 57 LAST YEAR 60
AGE 44 CREDITS Home economics. Agreed to an eighth season of Home Improvement, ABC’s top-rated show, for a record-breaking $1.25 million per episode. DEBITS The Tuesday-night show has lost more than 30 percent of its viewers over the last two seasons; Mr. ”Tool Time” should take a chain saw to movie scripts like Jungle2Jungle.