Madonna starts a media company -- The pop icon branches out by creating Maverick

By inking a deal with Time Warner Inc. worth $60 million, Madonna, 33, has become more than the highest-paid woman in the music biz. With the creation of Maverick, her music/movie/TV/video/book company, she’s on her way to pop- cultural moguldom, and here are some likely beneficiaries of her entrepreneurship:

* Freddy DeMann, 52, her longtime manager, now gets to head up Maverick with Madonna herself.
* Alek Keshishian, 27, who captured the offstage Madonna in Truth or Dare, seems almost certain to direct a feature film for her. Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights and James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room have already been discussed.
* Steven Meisel, the high-fashion lensman whose photos of Madonna form the core of a book of erotica scheduled to be published by Warner Books.
* Niki Harris, backup singer on the Blond Ambition tour, reportedly will be one of the first artists on the Maverick label.
* Jose Gutierrez and Luis Camacho, Blond Ambition tour dancers, are rumored to be ready to sing for Maverick.
* Frida Kahlo, the Mexican artist who died in 1954, whose paintings seem likely to grow in value if Madonna’s pet project, an HBO movie on Kahlo’s life, hits the tiny screen.