Ron Howard, Will Smith, and Julia Roberts all make the list
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26 JOHN C. MALONE
LAST YEAR —
Chairman-CEO, Telecommunications, Inc.

AGE 57 Credits Merging his cable empire with AT&T for $48 billion will make him its biggest individual shareholder. Programming arm Liberty Media, which owns chunks of Time Warner, Fox Sports, USA Networks, and Discovery Communications, will have $5.5 billion to spend; could a network be next? Debits Satellite deal with Murdoch’s News Corp. is history, costing Malone $10 million of his personal investments.

27 ROBERT SHAYE, MICHAEL LYNNE, AND MIKE DE LUCA
LAST YEAR 39/39/—
Chairman-CEO; President-COO; President of Production, New Line Cinema

AGES 59/57/33 Credits Rakish behavior among top studio execs (De Luca at Arnold Rifkin’s Oscar-weekend bash) aside, it’s a hot shop thanks to Rush Hour ($110 million plus) and The Wedding Singer ($80 million). Debits Squabbles with Tony Kaye over American History X are a sore spot. Did an acid flashback trigger totally trippy decision to spend $130 mil on ”Hobbit” trilogy?

28 RON HOWARD AND BRIAN GRAZER
LAST YEAR no. 33
Partners, Imagine Entertainment

AGES 44/46 Credits They have the clout to take risks (a Psycho remake), star power (Jim Carrey in live-action Grinch), and the brains to make unique choices (Woody Harrelson costars in Truman-esque Ed TV). Felicity‘s their first TV series success; Earth to the Moon brought an Emmy. Debit Reliance on audience testing doesn’t bode well for art-minded directors.

29 DAVID HILL AND PETER ROTH
LAST YEAR no. 30
Chairman-CEO, Fox Broadcasting Co.; President, Fox Entertainment Group

AGES 52/47 Credits Had one of last season’s few hits in Ally McBeal; picked up on the gross trend (Guinness World Records: Primetime); midseason ‘toons (Futurama, Family Guy) could reverse current Nielsen slide. Debits Dumb idea to move King of the Hill from Sundays: it’s fallen from No. 15 to No. 82; Fox goes down the tube with trad sitcoms (Costello).

30 DOUG MORRIS
LAST YEAR no. 49
Chairman-CEO, Universal Music Group

AGE 59 Credits Once the expected Universal/PolyGram restructuring falls into place in early 1999, Morris (who established Universal as a force last year) will be sitting on top of the world’s largest music conglomerate, overseeing, among other labels, Geffen, Universal, Def Jam, A&M, MCA, Motown, and Interscope. Debits The stakes (and pressure) will soon be much higher; can this ex-songwriter orchestrate a symphony this complex?

31 KEVIN WILLIAMSON
LAST YEAR —
Director-Writer-Producer

AGE 33 Credits Practically a genre unto himself, thanks to Scream, Halloween: H20, and Dawson’s Creek, he’s broadening his wonder-boy status by directing the dark comedy Killing Mrs. Tingle (which he also wrote), producing the romantic comedy Her Leading Man, and exec-producing Wasteland, a soapy twentysomething drama, for ABC’s mid-season lineup. Debits Has been accused of pulling a Kelley (see Power Lingo).

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