Powers in Flux

By Jess Cagle
Updated October 28, 1994 at 04:00 AM EDT

*With the merger between Viacom and H. Wayne Huizenga‘s Blockbuster completed, the former trash collector, 56, is preparing to step down from his more than $2 billion video empire to concentrate on other things, like the profit-making potential of his Florida-based sports teams.

*A Sony-size power struggle knocked TriStar Pictures’ Mike Medavoy, 53, out of his chairman’s seat last January. The man responsible for such hits as Cliffhanger, Sleepless in Seattle, and the Oscar-winning Philadelphia departed quietly and his star looks to be rising again: Medavoy’s starting up a new production and distribution company, Phoenix Pictures.

*From the helm of his QVC home-shopping empire, Barry Diller — one of our top 10 power brokers last year — failed at megadeals with Paramount and CBS. Now the mercurial mogul, 52, who invented the fourth network, is planning to depart QVC and focus on his next big move. Reportedly, renewed talks with chairman Larry Tisch may mean a new position as CEO at CBS.

*Basic Instinct was two years ago. Can Sharon Stone overcome two subsequent duds (Sliver and Intersection) and a mountain of unsavory tabloid press? Judging by the impressive opening box office take of her new film, The Specialist, the answer is … probably.

*From the lofty towers of Paramount and Fox television, Lucie Salhany, 48, has leaped into the unknown — to the top of the new United Paramount network. Because of her savvy rep (and despite Fox’s The Chevy Chase Show — a disaster that occurred on her watch), she has a shot at putting her network in the running with the four majors.

*After 33 years at Simon & Schuster, the publishing giant’s bare-knuckled ruler, Richard Snyder, 61, was fired last summer by his new boss, Viacom’s Sumner Redstone. He received a reported $10 million to walk, and said, ”I look forward to the next chapter.”

*Former NBC and Paramount boss Brandon Tartikoff, 45, is trying to get back into the Hollywood stream, floating on a lucrative Warner Books deal to turn literary properties into movies. The jury’s still out, though, on the fate of his late-night roundtable, Last Call.

*A Best Picture Oscar nomination and a total gross of $141 million for Rob Reiner‘s 1992 A Few Good Men made the paltry returns and scathing reviews for last summer’s North even more startling. And now that star Robert Redford has made an 11th-hour exit from Reiner’s current project, The American President, the 49-year-old ex-Meathead has learned that nothing is a sure thing.

*No longer content to help the rich and famous get more so via autobiographies, former Simon & Schuster editor Judith Regan, 41, is now eyeing projects that can be translated into TV, film, and other media under her eponymous HarperCollins imprint. She’s also entering the celebrity zone, having recently coanchored a pilot for a new Fox newsmagazine, Full Disclosure. Regan’s own story continues to be a page-turner.