These actors, performers, producers and writers are on the up and up

By Bruce Fretts
Updated October 22, 1993 at 04:00 AM EDT

* Cheery news for David Angell, Peter Casey, and David Lee: Their airport sitcom Wings was picked up through the 1994-95 season by NBC, with reruns sold to the USA Network. And their latest project, the Cheers spin-off Frasier, has become this season’s biggest new hit.

* Gerard Cosloy founded the influential indie label Matador Records four years ago. Now financed in part by Atlantic, Matador has signed breaking alternative bands like Pavement, Superchunk, and the Dustdevils (for whom Cosloy had been a stand-in bass player until recently).

* After more than a decade of doing B movies for Chuck Norris and Steven Seagal, Andrew Davis raced to the front ranks of action directors with the runaway Harrison Ford hit The Fugitive. Next he’ll make the comedy Steal Big, Steal Little as part of a three-picture deal with Savoy Pictures.

* Ex-N.W.A member Dr. Dre put out The Chronic, the biggest-selling gangsta-rap record in history. With the release of protege Snoop Doggy Dogg’s first album, Dre could continue to rule the rap charts—if he can stay out of jail (his run-ins with the law are, well, chronic).

* Nora Ephron had written hit comedies (When Harry Met Sally…) before, but this summer’s $120 million smash Sleepless in Seattle put her on the map as a director. She’ll be sticking with TriStar for her next film, a Steve Martin comedy tentatively titled The Night Before Christmas.

* At 32, Andre Harrell has already proven himself an astute music mogul with his Uptown Entertainment label (Jodeci, Mary J. Blige). Now MCA has signed him to a seven-year, $50 million multimedia deal that will allow him to develop TV and film projects.

* Brother-and-sister Muppet heirs Brian and Lisa Henson are pulling some strings of their own: Brian has taken over the family business with TV series (CityKids, Dinosaurs) and movies (The Muppet Christmas Carol), while Lisa is the new head of production at post-Heidi Fleiss Columbia Pictures.

* Michael Jacobs may have created Charles in Charge and My Two Dads, but Hollywood didn’t hold it against him: He’s the creative force behind three new Disney sitcoms—Where I Live, Boy Meets World, and The Sinbad Show—and the returning Dinosaurs.

* After a failed first go-round in Hollywood (High Spirits, We’re No Angels), Neil Jordan is hot again thanks to The Crying Game. He’s been entrusted with the task of making a believable bloodsucker out of Tom Cruise in Interview With the Vampire.

* A few years ago, David Koepp was writing little-seen thrillers like Apartment Zero and Bad Influence. Then he cowrote the Jurassic Park screenplay for Steven Spielberg. Now his scripts are being snapped up by big-name directors like Ron Howard (The Paper) and Brian De Palma (Carlito’s Way).

* Robert Miller has turned Disney’s Hyperion Books from an industry joke into a major player. In addition to the lucrative line of Saturday Night Live books, Hyperion has autobiographies of scandal magnets Robert Evans and Michael Milken in the works.

* As the head of EastWest Records, Sylvia Rhone is the first woman to run a major music label—one that’s home to such hot acts as En Vogue and Snow.

* Richard Soames, president of Film Finances Inc., bought the company (which he once owned, then sold) with three other executives in 1991. The firm, which guarantees investors that films get finished on time and on budget, cornered the market when its biggest rival, Completion Bond, went out of business earlier this year.

* Quentin Tarantino went from video-store clerk to acclaimed auteur with 1992’s blood-drenched gangster movie Reservoir Dogs. His twisted vision continues to seduce Hollywood with his scripts for True Romance, Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers, and Pulp Fiction, which Tarantino will direct.