Slip-sliding away?

Al Cafaro Once Polygram’s golden boy (Blues Traveler, Sheryl Crow), the A&M chair, 48, must now put up with Danny Goldberg, head of Polygram’s Mercury group, who hit with Hanson and won custody of Motown. ”Suddenly, Danny’s given more power,” says an ex-Polygram exec. ”Everyone’s waiting to see how Al plays this hand.” A&M can claim the fastest-selling single ever — ”Candle in the Wind 1997” — but the sluggish label isn’t making a dime on the benefit disc.

Frank Mancuso and Kirk Kerkorian Led by MGM’s chairman, Mancuso, 64, the Lion roared back with The Birdcage and Pierce Brosnan as Bond. But Kerkorian, 80, seems intent on replaying the late ’80s, when he sold and rebought MGM. He’s planning a November IPO that has Hollywood jittery about the company’s long-term prospects.

Demi Moore She gave it her all in G.I. Jane but got discharged with a $47 million box office (to date). While her Moving Pictures produced Austin Powers, she needs a hit to recoup. Could a Coco Chanel biopic be it? Mais non!

Mo Ostin and Lenny Waronker If you’re only as good as your last hit, then things are grim for DreamWorks label heads Ostin, 70, and Waronker, 56. Their two-year-old label has yet to make a sound, despite releasing comeback albums (George Michael) and alt-rock (Henry Rollins). The only real feather in the company’s cap is the Rent CD, which just went platinum. Very mundane stuff when you consider that at Warner Bros., Ostin and Waronker helped shape the careers of artists like Joni Mitchell. Says one music exec, ”They still need a runaway hit to put them center stage.”

Joel Schumacher After Batman & Robin, Schumacher laid low. But the longtime Warner director, 58, just announced he’ll be moving across town to Sony to direct 8 Millimeter. ”I’d like to get out of this summer blockbuster corridor where the box office is more important than the movie,” says Schumacher, ”at least for a little while.”