1 Rupert Murdoch
Chairman, CEO, News Corp.*Last year: 5
In the year of Tonya & Nancy, Lyle & Erik, Lorena & John, and O.J. & Nicole, it’s only appropriate that the most powerful man in entertainment launched his empire with a string of Australian rags famous for headlines like ”Leper Rapes Virgin, Gives Birth to Monster Baby.” Who knew in 1953, when Rupert Murdoch took over his first newspaper Down Under, that 40 years later he would ride roughshod over a worldwide film and TV conglomerate? Or that his tabloidy taste would seep into nearly every corner of the media?
Skeptics who scoffed when Murdoch started the Fox tv networkback in 1987 are now playing catch-up as fifth and sixth broadcast networks are being launched. This year, the 63-year-old tycoon took a bite out of the Big Three by paying $1.56 billion to snatch television rights for NFL games away from CBS. And by investing half a billion dollars in New World Entertainment, he acquired 12 big-city affiliates, sending CBS and company scrambling to find new spaces on the dial. Murdoch also stretched his TV power across other continents with his controlling interests in Germany’s Vox network, British Sky Broadcasting, and the Asian satellite giant Star TV.
After adding Living Single and The X-Files to its stable of hits (which includes Beverly Hills, 90210 and The Simpsons) last season, Fox hit a snag with a weak crop of new fall shows. But Murdoch, in his customary fashion, acted quickly, replacing network president Sandy Grushow with former CBS TV-movie exec John Matoian in an attempt to broaden Fox’s appeal beyond young urbanites. Meanwhile, his Twentieth Century Fox turned out the Christmas season’s biggest big-screen hit (Mrs. Doubtfire), a summer blockbuster (Speed), and has a strong lineup ahead, from John Hughes’ Miracle on 34th Street remake to Die Hard 3.
David Letterman may chuckle every time he says ”the Fox network,” but it’s Rupert Murdoch who laughs loudest — all the way to the proverbial bank.
2 Sumner M. Redstone
Chairman, Viacom Inc.
*Last year: 4 * Age: 71 *Credits: Viacom (owner of MTV, Showtime, and Nickelodeon) bought up Paramount Communications for $9.8 billion; got Blockbuster Entertainment in a $7.6 billion stock swap. *Debits: Even after the $1.075 billion sale of Madison Square Garden, Viacom must juggle about $7 billion in long-term debt.
3 Gerald M. Levin
Chairman, CEO Time Warner Inc.
*Last year: 2 *Age: 55 *Credits: Orchestrated Time Warner’s $15 billion in revenues, rolling in from films, music, TV shows, books, magazines, and the management of 8.9 million cable subscribers; and if you believe news reports, he’s also angling to buy a piece of NBC. *Debits: Cable regulations depressed the company’s stock.
4 Steven Spielberg
*Last year: 13 *Age: 46 *Credits: Schindler’s List‘s seven Oscars; his personal projected $262 million take from Jurassic; his Amblin hit factory; his venture with Geffen and Katzenberg now gives him the studio he’s always wanted. *Debits: seaQuest DSV is submerging; if anyone but Spielberg were at the helm, it’d be sleeping with the fishes.
5 Michael Eisner
Chmn., CEO, The Walt Disney Co.
*Last year: 9 *Age: 52 *Credits: Disney can claim the summer’s No. 1 film, The Lion King; TV’s No. 1 series, Home Improvement; and video’s top label. *Debits: Altering plans to build Disney’s America near Manassas, Va., makes his troubled theme-park division shakier; Katzenberg’s exit shook up the studio and unleashed a major competitor.
6 Ted Turner
*Last year: 6 *Age: 55 *Credits: Six national cable networks, Castle Rock Entertainment, Turner Pictures, and New Line Cinema aren’t enough — he wants a broadcast network of his own. *Debits: CNN’s so-so ratings; that mouth — he griped to the press that he was being ”clitorized” by Time Warner in his NBC takeover bids.
7 Lew Wasserman and Sid Sheinberg
Chairman, CEO/Pres., COO, MCA Inc.
*Last year: -/ 22 *Ages: 81/59 *Credits: Their empire, including Universal Pictures, theme parks, and Jurassic Park; Matsushita’s $6.1 billion MCA purchase made them rich; with or without MCA, they could do business with Spielberg, Katzenberg, and Geffen. *Debits: Buying MCA back could be a costly and complicated risk.
8 Oprah Winfrey
*Last year: 17 *Age: 40 *Credits: Signed a deal to keep her chat show (which has brought her more than $100 million since 1992) on the air through the year 2000; she can make even a low-fat cookbook a best-seller. *Debits: Her campaign to tone down the show’s sensationalism has led to backstage shake-ups and a slight dip in ratings.
9 Jeffrey Katzenberg
Partner, Unnamed Entertainment Company
*Last year: 25 *Age: 43 *Credits: Just two weeks after leaving Disney, he dramatically shook the movie industry by forming a major studio with powerhouse pals Spielberg and Geffen. *Debits: Without a distribution system, a film library, or even a building for the staff, the triumvirate won’t yield product for at least a year.
10 David Geffen
Chairman, The David Geffen Co.
*Last year: 14 *Age: 51 *Credits: New film studio with hit makers Spielberg and Katzenberg increases mogul clout; record company had its strongest year, with $475 million in revenues from such acts as Nirvana, Counting Crows, and Aerosmith. *Debits: His music instincts seem sounder than his movie taste — M. Butterfly is no Crying Game.
11 Michael Ovitz
Chairman, Creative Artists Agency
*Last year: 3 *Age: 47 *Credits: From Spielberg to Streisand, he runs the town’s top talent stable; eyeing the info highway, he hired AT&T’s Robert Kavner; he can help get Bill Clinton to come for cocktails. *Debits: Hollywood’s legendary power broker was left out of the biggest deal to go down in 70 years (see entries No. 4, 9, and 10).
12 Michael P. Schulhof and Jeff Sagansky
Pres., CEO/Exec. VP, Sony Corp. Of America
*Last year: 12/8 *Ages: 51/42 *Credits: With a projected $13 billion in 1994 sales, Sony is plugged into hardware, music, and movies; new hire Sagansky led CBS to ratings victory. *Debits: TriStar and Columbia need hits, and Mark Canton, now running both, has a spotty record.
13 Bob Daly & Terry Semel
Chairmen, Co-CEOs, Warner Bros.
*Last year: 11 *Ages: 57/51 *Credits: While exec churnovers rock Hollywood, they continue to lead its most consistently successful studio; upcoming Batman Forever can’t hurt; Warner will be the first American studio to distribute films in China. Debits: Attempts to create a fifth TV network could be a financial sinkhole.
14 Peter Tortorici and Howard Stringer
Pres., CBS Ent./Pres., CBS Broadcast Grp.
*Last year: -/8 *Ages: 45/52 *Credits: CBS won a third straight prime-time crown last season; rules daytime and late night (with Letterman). *Debits: Lost the NFL and affiliates to Fox; this season’s weak start; shows like 60 Minutes draw demographically undesirable (older) audiences.
15 Tom Freston and Judy McGrath
Chmn., CEO, MTV Networks/President, MTV
*Last year: 10/ – *Ages: 48/42 *Credits: MTV still dictates the pop charts; Viacom’s merger with Paramount enabled MTV to expand more into syndication (The Jon Stewart Show) and video games (Beavis & Butt-head). *Debits: Stab at duplicating Beavis‘ TV success, The Brothers Grunt, has met with apathy.
16 Tom Hanks
*Last year: 73 *Age: 38 *Credits: An Oscar for Philadelphia; Forrest Gump (which could bring Hanks another Oscar); role as all-American astronaut Jim Lovell in the upcoming Apollo 13 can only strengthen his standing as our best-loved actor. *Debits: We’ve heard there are one or two people who didn’t like Gump.
17 Bob Iger and Ted Harbert
Pres., COO, Cap. Cities ABC/Pres., ABC. Ent
*Last year: 16 *Ages: 43/39 *Credits: Powered by stand-up sitcoms (Home Improvement, Roseanne, Ellen), ABC seems poised to become the No. 1 prime-time network. *Debits: They scheduled the outdoor drama McKenna opposite Seinfeld. (It lasted three weeks.)
18 David Letterman
*Last year: 28 *Age: 47 *Credits: Hosts the only absolute must-see show on TV; single-handedly revitalized Tom Snyder’s career by insisting he get the post-Late Show slot on CBS. *Debits: Single-handedly revitalized Madonna’s career by making nice with her at the MTV Video Music Awards after her profanity-rich appearance on his show.
19 Robert Morgado
Chmn., CEO, Warner Music Group
*Last year: 21 *Age: 51 *Credits: Morgado kept Warner No. 1 in the U.S., with such A-list acts as Madonna, Green Day, R.E.M., Eric Clapton, and The 3 Tenors helping to bring in $5.4 billion in worldwide revenues. *Debits: Metallica, a mainstay for Elektra, blames Morgado for its lawsuit against the label.
20 Thomas D. Mottola
Pres., COO, Sony Music Ent., Inc.
*Last year: 19 *Age: 44 *Credits: Mottola’s team revived Sony’s fortunes with a roster of young acts (Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains), old acts (Pink Floyd, Billy Joel), and soundtracks (Forrest Gump), capturing 15.45 percent of the U.S. market. *Debits: Sony beat George Michael in court, but the jury’s still out on Michael Jackson’s image rehab.
21 Jonathan Dolgen and Sherry Lansing
Chmn., Viacom Ent. Group/Chmn., Motion Pictures, Paramount
*Last year: -/ 27 *Ages: 49/50 *Credits: On a roll thanks to Forrest Gump, Lansing can continue to woo top talent as Dolgen pinches pennies. *Debits: Her politesse and his financial ruthlessness could mix like oil and water.
22 Tom Cruise
*Last year: 18 *Age: 32 *Credits: With his next assignment, Mission: Impossible, he’s branching into producing; his reported $12 million turn as Lestat in Interview With the Vampire has even won over naysaying Anne Rice. *Debits: Soon he’ll have to cast his spell over moviegoers, many of whom have jeered at Interview‘s trailer.
23 John Malone
Pres., CEO, Tele-Communications Inc.
*Last year: 1 *Age: 53 *Credits: Runs U.S.’ largest cable company, which means new channels must court him for cable clearance; has shares in channels like CNN, BET, the Discovery Channel, Court TV, and QVC. *Debits: TCI’s proposed $33 billion merger with Bell Atlantic went bust; FCC’s antitrust division could checkmate him.
24 Don Ohlmeyer and Warren Littlefield
Pres., NBC W. Coast/Pres., NBC Ent.
*Last year: 24/ In flux *Ages: 49/42 *Credits: With the hottest new show of the season (ER) and a bevy of strong sitcoms (Seinfeld, Frasier), NBC may finally be breaking out of its long period of also-ran-dom. *Debits: Which of these sadists renewed Mommies?
25 Tom Pollock
Chmn., MCA Motion Picture Group
*Last year: 22 *Age: 51 *Credits: With Jurassic Park‘s worldwide returns ($912 million-plus) rolling in, he extended his contract and increased his influence — he now also sits on the board of the Cineplex Odeon theater chain. *Debits: A Jurassic sequel probably won’t arrive before ’96; till then, Waterworld could be either sink or swim.
26 Leslie Moonves
Pres., Warner Bros. Television
*Last year: 23 *Age: 45 *Credits: The top supplier of programs to the Big Four, Warner Bros. has added ER to its roster of prime-time hits (Full House, Murphy Brown). *Debits: Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman still hasn’t taken flight; the female detective drama Under Suspicion can’t get arrested on Friday nights.
27 Robert Shaye
Chmn, CEO, New Line Cinema Corp.
*Last year: 54 *Age: 55 *Credits: After The Mask took off, he went on a buying spree: a reported $7 million to Jim Carrey for Dumb and Dumber, $12 million to Julia Roberts for The Women, and $4 million for Shane Black’s Long Kiss Goodnight script. *Debits: Its cash-and-Carrey policy means just one flop could be real painful.
28 Alain Levy President
*Last year: 41 *Age: 47 *Credits: His conglomerate boasts hit records (by such acts as Soundgarden and Salt ‘N’ Pepa), a hit movie (Four Weddings and a Funeral), and a hit mudbath (Woodstock ’94, which PolyGram funded). *Debits: With only a partial distribution system, he often has to rely on other companies to release his films.
29 Peter Chernin and Bill Mechanic
Chmn./Pres., Twentieth Century Fox
*Last year: 44/ – *Ages: 43/44 *Credits: Scored with two summer blockbusters, Speed and True Lies. *Debits: Couldn’t prevent Crisis in the Hot Zone from falling apart when Jodie Foster and Robert Redford bolted a shaky script; and they’d like to forget Baby’s Day Out and The Scout.
30 Jim Fifield
President and CEO EMI Music
*Last year: 37 *Age: 52 *Credits: Virgin Music Group — for which Fifield paid $960 million in 1992 — tripled U.S. market share thanks to Janet Jackson and the Rolling Stones; EMI sold more than 9 million CDs at McDonald’s and ignited a Gregorian-chant revival. *Debits: EMI’s other labels (SBK, Capitol, Chrysalis) have had a tepid year.
31 Barbara Streisand
*Last year: 40 *Age: 52 *Credits: That Voice prompted $350 tickets for her first tour in 27 years, which made $50 million; she’s renewed interest in film projects — including The Normal Heart — and has the deep pockets to buy any script she wants. *Debits: Gave Blockbuster an exclusive concert clip, irking the home-video industry.
32 Robert Zemeckis
*Last year: – *Age: 43 *Credits: Forrest, Forrest Gump. Despite Zemeckis’ technical facility and comic flair (the Back to the Future series, Who Killed Roger Rabbit), no one expected Gump‘s dash toward the $300 million mark. *Debits: Don’t bet on an Oscar — the Academy often treats commercial success as its own reward. Just ask E.T.
33 Jeffrey Berg
Chairman, CEO, ICM
*Last year: 26 *Age: 47 *Credits: Berg’s agency reps such high-profile charges as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Julia Roberts; meanwhile, this year ICM swallowed Britain’s Wasted Talent, thereby creating the world’s largest music-booking agency. *Debits: The recent departure of headliner clients James Cameron and Sharon Stone.
34 Joe Roth
Chmn., Walt Disney Motion Pictures
*Last year: 51 *Age: 46 *Credits: He’s already run a studio (Fox) and has vowed to steer Disney away from its recent high-volume, lower-budget era to one of fewer, more mainstream movies; he’s also loved by supertalents Robin Williams and Julia Roberts. *Debits: A staff of Katzenberg loyalists who may be hired away.
35 Michael Fuchs
Chairman, CEO, HBO
*Last year: 30 *Age: 48 *Credits: Ratings, profits, and subscribers are up, but the real coup is that he turned HBO into a home for projects that others nixed — And the Band Played On, The Burning Season, and the upcoming tale of the Letterman-Leno rivalry, The Late Shift. *Debits: Competition expected from satellite delivery services.
36. James Cameron
Last year: In flux Age: 40 Credits: The $100-million True Lies went over schedule, over budget and over-the-top — but it grossed $124 million, revived Arnold Schwarzenegger’s clout after his last action dud, and put Cameron’s Digital Domain computer effects company on the map with its state-of-the-art work. Debits: A notoriously tough boss, he’s alienated the unions by blaming them for the rising costs of film production.
37. Clint Eastwood
Last year: 32 Age: 64 Credits: The somber A Perfect World was an uncharacteristic misstep, but did nothing to tarnish his time-tested image; by agreeing to both star in and direct The Bridges of Madison County, he insured the project a green light — and won Meryl Streep for a costar. Debits: When you leave Dirty Harry-style violence to the younger guys, a good script can be hard to find.
38 John Grisham
*Last year: 43 *Age: 39 *Credits: The Chamber topped the New York Times chart for eight weeks; The Client was No. 1 in paperback for 14; his $6 million film deal for A Time to Kill gives him coveted control over the script. *Debits: The Client failed to hit the nine-figure box office mark of The Firm and The Pelican Brief. Okay, kind of a debit.
39. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Last year: 36 Age: 47 Credits: True Lies rebuffed his box-office muscle, and the upcoming Junior, which finds him in the family way, is expected to retone his comic strengths. *Debits: The market can’t always bear his $15 million asking price; financially strapped Carolco had to ditch The Crusades when its budget inflated over $100 million.
40 Clive Davis
Founder, President, Arista Records
*Last year: 38 *Age: 61 *Credits: Multiplatinum albums from Ace of Base and Crash Test Dummies, plus success in country (Brooks & Dunn), R&B (Toni Braxton), and rap (Craig Mack) render his reported demand for a $100 million, five-year contract extension less ludicrous. *Debits: Arista’s thin roster remains heavy on middlebrow fluff.
41 Mel Gibson
*Last year: 33 *Age: 38 *Credits: Maverick drew $100 million at the box office, thanks in large part to his effortless charm; his 1993 directorial debut, The Man Without a Face, helped land his producer-director job on the upcoming Scottish epic Braveheart, in which he also stars. *Debits: For a reported $50 million, he’d better look good in a kilt.
42 Michael Crichton
*Last year: 46 *Age: 52 *Credits: Disclosure was No. 1 in hardcover and paperback and earned him $3.5 million for rights to the film, which he coproduced; ER, the top 10 NBC drama he created and executive produces, is proving fatal to its competition, Chicago Hope. *Debits: Gee, well, at 6 foot 9, he could find small doorways a problem.
43 Kevin Costner
*Last year: 20 *Age: 39 *Credits: His willingness to play a supporting role in The War restored his likable good-guy image. *Debits: Wyatt Earp earned less than half of its $60 million budget; his $20 million production Rapa Nui stiffed; his latest starring and producing project, Waterworld, may become the most expensive film ever made.
44 Michael Douglas
*Last year: 59 *Age: 50 *Credits: A 12-picture deal with Paramount to produce, act, and possibly direct; his zeitgeist genius, seen in his unerring choice of roles — such as the sexually harassed exec of this December’s Disclosure. *Debits: Douglas’ last company, Stonebridge, faltered because he tires of producing.
45 Sonny Mehta
Pres., Editor In Chief, Alfred A. Knopf
*Last year: In flux *Age: 51 *Credits: Thanks to his savvy marketing (and Oprah Winfrey), In the Kitchen With Rosie has become the fastest-selling book of all time; Anne Rice’s Taltos is a best-seller. *Debits: Backed Bret Easton Ellis, whose new novel, The Informers, was generally savaged by critics and ignored by the public.
46 Harvey And Bob Weinstein
Co-Chairmen, Miramax Films
*Last year: 50 *Ages: 42/39 *Credits: Their $60 million Disney deal means the indie studio behind The Piano and Pulp Fiction can outmarket and outspend rivals. *Debits: The brothers’ constant ratings-board challenges could irk Disney, which frowns upon NC-17 films — and Roth may not go to the mat for them as Katzenberg did.
47 Stephen King
*Last year: 66 *Age: 47 *Credits: Insomnia woke up at No. 1 on Publishers Weekly‘s chart; The Stand (he exec-produced) was the year’s highest-rated miniseries; The Shawshank Redemption is the smartest King adaptation since Misery. *Debits: The best-selling author of the ’80s now has stiff competition from John Grisham.
48. Robert Redford
*Last year: 57 Age: 57 Credits: He’s still in demand as a leading man (though, famously indecisive, he just bailed out of both Crisis in the Hot Zone and An American President); his directorial talent is even more golden — Quiz Show has earned him his best-ever reviews. Debits: For all those great notices, Quiz Show has so far made only $16 million.
49 Harrison Ford
*Last year: 49 *Age: 52 *Credits: He’s starred in seven of the 25 all-time top-grossing films; Clear and Present Danger‘s take passed Patriot Games‘, keeping the Jack Ryan franchise viable; next up: Bogart’s part in the remake of Sabrina, and possibly a fourth Indiana Jones. *Debits: A few curmudgeons think he’s too old to play Jack Ryan.
50 Aaron Spelling
*Last year: – *Age: 66 *Credits: And the Band Played On won him an Emmy, but he hasn’t forsaken glitzy trash; with 90210 and Melrose Place Fox mainstays, he’s sinking a reported $50 million into new series Robin’s Hoods and Heaven Help Us. *Debits: The struggling Models Inc. is no Melrose; 90210ers’ contracts are up soon.
51 Jimmy Iovine and Ted Field
Heads of Interscope
*Last year: – *Ages: 41/42 *Credits: Artistic daring and deep pockets built a lineup of rap and alternative acts like Dr. Dre, Snoop Doggy Dogg, and Nine Inch Nails, making the four-year-old company (now worth more than $300 million) the hottest in the biz. *Debits: The long arm of the law could trip up Dre and Snoop.
52 Tim Allen
*Last year: 90 *Age: 41 *Credits: Home Improvement, last season’s No.1 series, may well repeat the feat this year; his book, Don’t Stand Too Close to a Naked Man, is a best-seller; he’ll star as an ersatz Kris Kringle in Disney’s holiday release The Santa Clause. *Debits: His staff, which forgot to submit his name for Emmy consideration.
53 Julia Roberts
*Last year: 35 *Age: 27 *Credits: The highest-paid actress in Hollywood, and one of a handful who can open a film; for The Women, she’ll reportedly earn a record-breaking $12 million. *Debits: Her wacky tabloid image may be eroding her more pristine screen image, which could help explain I Love Trouble‘s dismal box office.
54 Marcy Carsey/Tom Werner
*Last year: 58 *Ages: 49/44 *Credits: While often at the receiving end of Roseanne’s tirades, Carsey and Werner still signed her to three more years of her sitcom; nurtured Brett Butler, another stand-up, into the top 10 with Grace Under Fire. *Debits: She TV, their distaff Laugh-In, was herstory after five episodes.
55 Jodie Foster
*Last year: 53 *Age: 31 *Credits: With Maverick, she successfully dropped her serious-actress guard, embellishing her leading-lady credentials; her performance in the upcoming Nell is already being called Oscar-caliber; will direct Holly Hunter in Home for the Holidays. *Debits: Still hasn’t found a cure for cancer.
56 Oliver Stone
*Last year: 45 *Age: 48 *Credits: Natural Born Killers earned $46 million, putting Stone back on the map as a social commentator, which is where his power lies. *Debits: Heaven and Earth was a critical and financial flop; the on-again, off-again Evita is off again, and his high-profile Noriega is permanently detained.
57 Danny Goldberg
President, Atlantic Records
*Last year: – *Age: 44 *Credits: Boasts impeccable credentials among artists; after breaking Stone Temple Pilots and the Lemonheads, and bringing in hot indie labels Matador and Mammoth, he’s expected to take over the entire Atlantic Group by year’s end. *Debits: Shameless self-promotion + others’ envy = backlash.
58 Robin Williams
*Last year: 87 *Age: 42 *Credits: Grossing $400 million worldwide, Mrs. Doubtfire has made him even more beloved — especially by kids; he’ll earn a reported $15 million for the kiddie fantasy Jumanji. *Debits: Being Human, a critical and financial bust; passed on Riddler role in Batman Forever, which went to upstart Jim Carrey.
59 Lenny Waronker
President, Warner Bros. Records
*Last year: – *Age: 52 *Credits: The former producer boasts creative savvy and close ties to artists; young acts (Green Day, Candlebox) and fall releases from veterans (Madonna, R.E.M., Tom Petty) bode well. *Debits: Doubt lingers over Waronker’s business skills; label still lacks young talent on a par with that of Atlantic and Interscope.
*Last year: 67 *Age: 41 *Credits: Despite ABC’s moving her time slot to avoid competition with Frasier, Roseanne’s new season — minus executive producer Tom Arnold — proves she’s as funny as ever; the show’s still in the Top 5. *Debits: Her book My Lives was dead on arrival — America seems weary of her offscreen acting out.
61 Tony Brown
President, MCA Nashville
*Last year: – *Age: 47 *Credits: Already a hot producer (Lyle Lovett), Brown has made a No. 1 label out of one of Nashville’s smallest rosters, with 50 charting singles and albums this year from the likes of Reba McEntire, Vince Gill, Wynonna, and Trisha Yearwood. *Debits: MCA resists new blood, but it could use the infusion.
62 Jerry Seinfeld
*Last year: 81 *Age: 40 *Credits: His sitcom sits near the top of the ratings every week, and the big syndication dollars are already starting to roll in; penned a book as improbably successful as his show — the No. 1 best-seller Seinlanguage. *Debits: Grumbling that Seinfeld isn’t as funny as it used to be.
63 Rick Berman
*Last year: – *Age: 47 *Credits: Gene Roddenberry’s successor made Star Trek a billion-dollar-plus baby; he’s producing the Next Generation cast in the upcoming $25 million Generations film. *Debits: Star Trek: Voyager lost captain Genevieve Bujold. Can the show be saved by Kate Mulgrew, Bujold’s replacement?
64 Bernie Brillstein and Brad Grey
*Last year: 70 *Ages: 63/36 *Credits: Management for Garry Shandling, Mike Myers, and Dana Carvey; producers of the hot Larry Sanders Show; entered a $100 million co-venture with ABC. *Debits: Fox pilots with comic Bernie Mac and rappers Kid ‘N Play didn’t play.
65 Frank Mancuso
Chairman and CEO, MGM
*Last year: – *Age: 61 *Credits: If anyone can restore the faltering MGM/UA, it’s industry favorite Mancuso and his associates, MGM pic chief Michael Marcus and United Artists head Jim Calley (with a $350 million line of credit). *Debits: Still last choice among top filmmakers, the studio reportedly could be sold again in ’96.
66 Tim Burton
*Last year: 62 *Age: 35 *Credits: Nightmare Before Christmas proved that he can turn even stop-motion ghouls into $50 million box office; his strong track record gets films about marginal characters like Ed Wood made. *Debits: Ed Wood is so-so box office; Burton needs another Batman-like hit, but he’s bowed out of directing that franchise.
67 Jim Carrey
*Last year: – *Age: 32 *Credits: The former In Living Color mainstay scored a one-two punch with Ace Ventura and The Mask, catapulted to the $7 million club for Dumb and Dumber, and for $5 million more will face Batman as the Riddler. *Debits: He’s moving so fast he risks exhausting himself — not to mention his fans.
68 David Hill
President, Fox Sports
*Last year: – *Age: 48 *Credits: Gave Fox’s fledgling sports department instant credibility by luring NFL announcers John Madden, Pat Summerall, and Terry Bradshaw from CBS. *Debits: Murdoch’s $2 billion NFL gamble is one long bomb that Hill — who has confessed he’s a ”financial illiterate” — had better not drop.
69 Demi Moore
*Last year: 60 *Age: 31 *Credits: A New Line production deal; her box office track record (she’s starred in three of the 100 most successful movies ever) means plummy parts for seven figures in movies such as Disclosure and The Scarlet Letter. *Debits: Solo appeal is dubious; her biggest hits had big-name male stars.
70 Johnnie L. Cochran Jr.
*Last year: – *Age: 57 *Credits: Helping to orchestrate Michael Jackson’s out-of-court settlement for alleged child molestation, then defending longtime pal O.J. Simpson, makes this Hollywood favorite one of America’s most elite lawyers. *Debits: He’s got to share time with fellow counsel and media hound Robert Shapiro.
71 Diane Sawyer
*Last year: – *Age: 48 *Credits: Reportedly turned down $10 million from Fox for an estimated $6 million from ABC, plus the power perk of an in-house agency to do the humiliating job of wooing and booking guests. *Debits: Appearing on three magazine shows (PrimeTime Live, Day One, Turning Point) could mean overexposure.
72 Tom Clancy
*Last year: – *Age: 47 *Credits: Debt of Honor took top honors, as did Without Remorse, for which he netted a $5 million movie deal; the film version of Clear and Present Danger has grossed nearly $120 million to date; has an upcoming NBC miniseries, Op Center. *Debits: Griping over film adaptations gives producers big headaches.
73 Tim Dubois
*Last year: – *Age: 46 *Credits: Former songwriter built the five-year-old country division into the No. 2 country label, with 47 charting albums and singles (at last count) from young lions like Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, Diamond Rio, and Pam Tillis. *Debits: Adding Texas and Christian music labels may spread DuBois too thin.
74 Steven Bochco
*Last year: 77 *Age: 50 *Credits: NYPD Blue overcame boycotts to become a critical and popular smash (even if it was robbed at the Emmys). *Debits: Bochco’s attempt at a wholesome family drama, The Byrds of Paradise, got washed away; ironically, Byrds‘ Timothy Busfield was charged with sexual harassment (which he denies).
75 David Angell, Peter Casey and David Lee
*Last year: Rising *Ages: 47/44/44 *Credits: The Cheers trio spun off Frasier; in its debut season, the show that gave us Eddie matched Cheers‘ five Emmys. *Debits: Time-slot rival Tim Allen — once you’re a top comedy dog, there’s nowhere to go but down.
76 Al Teller
Chmn., CEO, MCA Music Ent. Group
*Last year: 83 *Age: 50 *Credits: Multiplatinum left-field hits (Meat Loaf’s comeback; Rhythm, Country & Blues) and a dominant Nashville division added to $450 million sales record. *Debits: MCA’s distributor is still last in U.S. market share among the Big Six; even with the acts on Geffen Records, MCA has an aging roster.