THR's Women in Entertainment 2011: Power 100
Frot-Coutaz has spent the better part of the past 18 months auditioning, contemplating and replacing TV judges -- first for the No. 1 Fox series American Idol, which saw Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez step into the shoes of Simon Cowell and Ellen DeGeneres, then for Cowell's new show The X Factor, which was mired in controversy over the summer following an unexpected exit by Cheryl Cole, and now for NBC's America's Got Talent as it looks to fill a seat vacated by Piers Morgan (Howard Stern, anyone?).
Yet she's not immune to judgment herself. "My boss, my peers, the people who work for me, they're tough on me sometimes," says the 45-year-old French expatriate and married mother of two. "And they tell me what I'm doing wrong."
But on the whole Frot-Coutaz is doing a lot of things right. Tasked with overseeing Fremantle's North American operations, which also includes game show properties like The Price is Right, Let's Make a Deal and Family Feud, scripted fare such as TBS' forthcoming The Wedding Band and recently acquired rights to the UFC franchise and cartoon character Sonic the Hedgehog, she has more than doubled the company's revenues since being promoted to CEO in 2005.
The admitted perfectionist credits, among other things, having a "commercial brain" and the conviction to make decisions fast -- even hard ones. "I'm not particularly warm and fuzzy," she says matter-of-factly. "Some of that is personality and it's also cultural. I think the French are fairly abrasive in our communications style, compared to the Brits and Americans. I've worked on that over the years; I've tried to be a little less blunt." Or maybe she just needs to spend a little less time with Simon Cowell.
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