Talk about disruption in the industry: Nearly two dozen newcomers make their debut on the list as a director (Angelina Jolie) ascends, Netflix's top female exec accelerates and a brand-new bigwig is crowned atop the 23rd annual ranking
"Many times, very successful people wake up in the morning and say, ‘How do I preserve my success?’ I think Bonnie wakes up in the morning and says, ‘How do I create more success?’ and ‘How do I ensure success in the changing world by transforming elements of our business?'" NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke, on Hammer
No other female executive in Hollywood saw her profile rise more than Walden did in 2014.
Already head of the highly profitable 20th Century Fox Television studio, Walden added the Fox broadcasting network to her purview in July, when she and longtime 20th partner Gary Newman assumed dual oversight as CEOs and chairmen of the newly formed Fox TV Group.
Between the studio and network, Walden now oversees a media giant: Revenue exceeds $7 billion annually. With five companies, 700 employees, seven presidents and one COO, Walden's TV catalog includes 42 shows currently in production.
The portfolio and frenzied pace have prompted several changes in her workday — Walden and Newman have adopted a "divide and conquer" mantra and are spending less time together; she now keeps two offices in adjacent Fox buildings. "We don't want to corrupt the culture of independence that each organization enjoys right now," she says.
Walden's studio accomplishments also are especially impressive on their own. Her $1 billion off-net deal for The Simpsons' 550-plus episodes has proved a ratings success, putting cable sister network FXX on the map. Ryan Murphy's American Horror Story franchise remains an Emmy darling (four wins in 2014) and recently garnered a companion in American Crime Story.
20th's Showtime flagship Homeland is in the midst of a critical renaissance during its fourth season, and Sons of Anarchy just wrapped its seven-season run as the most successful series in FX history.
On the network side, Walden's quick education has made her a ratings junkie. (She says she pores over data daily for insights on her new audience.) Unfortunately, not all of that data has been easy to digest. Fox suffered an admittedly rough fall, with such inherited series as Mulaney and Red Band Society failing to register with viewers, but it has not been without bright spots. Freshman drama Gotham is the No. 2 new series of the 2014-15 season; the Sunday move for comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine has reinvigorated the critical darling's ratings; and Bones, long a lucrative series for 20th, hits episode 200 in December — one of Fox's most popular shows, even 10 seasons in.
Still, the Fox of right now is one largely shaped by predecessor Kevin Reilly, who left the post in June. For an idea of where Walden and Newman are taking the network, look at their cross-pollinating first series order: Murphy's horror-comedy Scream Queens.
"I already got my wish, and that was that Ryan Murphy would create a new show for FBC," says Walden. "That was priority number one: getting one of our most successful, most brilliant creators to come up with something original designed for our network." — MICHAEL O'CONNELL
Dubuc long has been known to act quickly and passionately, and both characteristics were on display in late August, when she announced A+E Networks would be paying $250 million for a 10 percent stake in Vice Media, a digital platform for those hard-to-reach millennials.
The forward-thinking move followed a series of others, including a collection of network rebrands — the most recent being Bio, which has transitioned to lifestyle-themed FYI — and a considerable push to own as much of the company's output as possible via its newly established A+E Studios. Up next, she hired Paul Buccieri away from ITV Studios to help her think strategically about different models and platforms for creating and distributing content. All of this comes as Dubuc herself makes sense of her own place atop the 1,200-employee company, with her mentor, Abbe Raven, set to retire as chairman in early 2015.
"It's been a year of tremendous change," notes Dubuc. "My team's resilience is inspiring." Vice joins a fast-evolving portfolio that reaches more than 330 million households in 180 territories with such programming as Duck Dynasty, Pawn Stars and newcomer Wahlburgers. Altogether, those efforts bring the value of Dubuc's domain to $26 billion, with projected annual revenue of $3.8 billion. Still, ratings for the reality-heavy network group, for which Dubuc was elevated to CEO in mid-2013, collectively have slid 16 percent this year, a commentary on a crowded landscape, evolving technology and the networks' lack of new breakout hits. — LACEY ROSE
No one will be surprised if Pascal is looking forward to a less stressful 2015. Working alongside Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton, she has spent the year retooling the studio, setting up new slate financing deals with LStar Capital (worth $200 million) and Village Roadshow (which is putting up 25 percent of the budget on four movies). And after bringing in former Fox chief Tom Rothman to run a revived TriStar label, she signed a deal to release up to six movies a year from former Warner Bros. exec Jeff Robinov's new Studio 8, saying, "I've been looking forward to working with Jeff for a long time."
But just as Sony, which began a $250 million cost-cutting campaign in 2013, appeared to be steering into calmer waters, it was struck by a tsunami Nov. 24, when the studio suffered a massive cyberattack. An anonymous group calling itself Guardians of Peace stole thousands of files — everything from salaries of top execs (Pascal and Lynton both receive $3 million annually before bonuses) to the Social Security numbers of more than 47,000 individuals employed by the studio as far back as 2000. The hack, which the FBI is investigating, overshadowed a decent year for Sony: It had hits (22 Jump Street, with $331 million worldwide ) and misses (The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which, though it reached $709 million, has forced a rethinking of the franchise). Pascal, who's married to former journalist Bernard Weinraub and has one son, has been heading Columbia Pictures since 1996. She oversees 800 employees at the motion picture group and, along with Lynton, another 6,500 across the company, and so she sought to rally the troops at the studio's Dec. 4 holiday party, saying, "If anybody wants to stop us, they're going to have to do a whole lot more than breach a firewall." — GREGG KILDAY
In January, Langley extended her contract through 2017, and with it came greater power. She added marketing and international production to her purview (she already oversaw all aspects of the studio's production strategy and specialty division Focus Features). This also marked her first full year as the studio's sole chairman (she had been co-chairman but was upped by Universal Filmed Entertainment chairman Jeff Shell when Adam Fogelson was ousted in September 2013).
But 2014 was anything but transitional: The studio hit in nearly every genre, including breakout comedies Neighbors ($268 million worldwide) and Ride Along ($154 million worldwide); the Navy SEALs action film Lone Survivor ($149 million worldwide); the thrillers Lucy ($459 million worldwide) and Non-Stop ($223 million worldwide); and a pair of low-budget horror offerings, The Purge: Anarchy and Ouija ($179 million worldwide combined). And though Dracula Untold drummed up little business stateside ($56 million), it found traction overseas ($157 million). Even the long-in-the-making sequel Dumb and Dumber To has been a pleasant surprise ($106 million worldwide).
"We started the year knowing we were a tentpole or two short as we'd moved out Fast & Furious and Minions and then Fifty Shades of Grey," says Langley. "So the fact that each 2014 movie has overperformed was really wonderful good fortune." 2015 looks to be a killer year for Universal: Angelina Jolie's Unbroken opens Dec. 25, and Furious 7 (April 3) will follow the hotly anticipated Fifty Shades (Feb. 14). Teases Langley about the adaptation, "It's very faithful to the book." — TATIANA SIEGEL
With the acquisition of Thursday Night Football, the coup of scoring Stephen Colbert as David Letterman's Late Show heir and continued dominance for broadcast's top-rated (The Big Bang Theory) and most watched (NCIS) series, 2014 was huge for Tassler, who was elevated to chairman in February, inking a new contract through 2017.
The most watched network's big NFL pact may have been the work of boss Leslie Moonves, but Tassler expertly capitalized on the exposure boost to launch a slew of new hits: Scorpion, NCIS: New Orleans and Madam Secretary, among them. "It gave us the most extraordinary promotional platform," she says. "It brought the energy of live viewing, and that gave our audience a great opportunity to sample our shows and see all of the promos."
Tassler also has ushered in profitable summers. This year, she added Extant (and its accompanying Amazon streaming deal) after Under the Dome's success, and next summer will see the addition of the thriller Zoo. "We design these productions and business models in a way that supports the launch and scheduling," says Tassler. And the model only is getting more profitable: For Zoo, CBS already inked a streaming deal with Netflix — said to be considerably richer than the nearly $1 million Amazon pays for the previous series.
But Tassler admits she might be most excited for 2015's impending change of guard in late night. James Corden takes over The Late Late Show in March, before Letterman gets a high-profile farewell after 21 years at the network. Says Tassler, "For me, personally, it's an opportunity to be part of television history in a way I never imagined." — MICHAEL O'CONNELL
Rupert Murdoch personally lobbied Snider to join his film studio, 20th Century Fox, as co-chairman under chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos. It took months for Snider to extricate herself from running DreamWorks — Steven Spielberg was loath to let her out of her contract, which wasn't up until Jan. 1, 2015 -- but she finally arrived on the Fox lot in November, heralding her return to the major studio fold. "Saying goodbye to colleagues and mentors is never easy," says Snider. "The decision [to leave] was with me all through the year."
She'd been chairman of Universal for seven years before going to DreamWorks after the company moved to Paramount then Disney. Gianopulos and Murdoch are banking on Snider's experience running a studio and, in particular, her production acumen to further Fox's standing. Fox now is enjoying an unprecedented winning streak -- global box-office revenue has crossed $5 billion for the year, a rare feat — so Snider, considered a consummate diplomat, will have to tread carefully.
Still, she's been vested with enormous power at Fox. Production president Emma Watts, animation president Vanessa Morrison and Searchlight presidents Nancy Utley and Steve Gilula now report to Snider. (The exception is Fox 2000's Elizabeth Gabler, who continues to report to Gianopulos.) Snider, a UCLA Law grad, also will run marketing and distribution with Gianopulos. "I was ready for a new challenge, and the opportunity to work for Jim and the incredible team of executives assembled here was unbelievably enticing," says Snider, a married mother of two teenage girls. "I couldn't resist the chance to make high-impact movies at every price point." — PAMELA MCCLINTOCK
"We went through a rocky period," admits Winfrey of her cable network. "I'm just grateful to be hitting a stride." With OWN thriving, Winfrey took her brand of self-betterment on the road in 2014 — partnering with William Morris Endeavor to pack arenas in eight U.S. cities for Oprah's The Life You Want Weekend tour. It put the former talk show host back where she says she always has pictured herself: in front of an audience. "It feels like deja vu, but it's really not," says Winfrey. "The most satisfying part is knowing that my intention of lifting people up, bringing some light and helping them see their lives differently really did manifest. The response has been the best thing."
Publishing the September New York Times best-seller What I Know for Sure, a compilation of her columns from O, The Oprah Magazine, Winfrey also saw her own net worth rise to $3 billion (according to Forbes) in 2014.
And she hopes to keep acting after her SAG Award-nominated appearance in Lee Daniels' The Butler last year. The next phase for OWN is "developing more scripted programming and eventually projects that I could appear in," says Winfrey. (Her suite of Tyler Perry originals continues to bring double-digit ratings gains on the network.) She also is relishing her latest film endeavor as producer on director Ava DuVernay's forthcoming Selma, starring Butler actor David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr. The Paramount release, out Dec. 25, already is courting awards buzz — and has Winfrey playing civil rights activist Annie Lee Cooper nearly 30 years after earning an Oscar nomination for The Color Purple. — MICHAEL O'CONNELL
Jolie is the rare woman who can get a movie made as both an actress and a director: Her formidable showing at the box office with Maleficent and her role as director on Universal's Oscar contender Unbroken have landed the actress in this year's top 10. Adapted from Laura Hillenbrand's biography of Olympian war hero Louis Zamperini, Unbroken opens Christmas Day -- powerful territory for a female director at a time when studios are failing to employ women in that role (in the past five years, women directed less than 5 percent of studio films). Only four women have been nominated for the directing Oscar -- and only one, Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), has won.
"I choose to be blissfully ignorant to that kind of small-mindedness. I don't see the world that way," says Jolie, rejecting these realities. "Men and women are different. I have sons and daughters, and they're different in beautiful ways. But there's nothing that one can do that the other cannot."
There seems to be little Jolie can't do. As an actor, she cast a potent spell with Disney's Maleficent, her passion-project live-action fairy tale that grossed $758 million worldwide and became the No. 3 title of 2014 behind Transformers: Age of Extinction ($1.09 billion) and Guardians of the Galaxy ($772 million). Aside from the first two installments of The Hunger Games, it's the most successful film with a female lead to date. While Jolie wants to focus on directing — Maleficent was her first acting role in three years — she may find it hard to turn down a paycheck of $25 million or more for a Maleficent sequel or other studio gig. More than any other star, Jolie knows how to use her celebrity to focus attention on causes that include her United Nations work advocating for refugees and for the prevention of sexual violence in war zones. And she certainly knows how to juggle. In August, after she and Brad Pitt got married and celebrated with their six children, they traveled to Malta for Jolie's next directorial effort, By the Sea, a romantic drama she wrote that stars the couple, marking the first time they've appeared in a feature together since 2005's Mr. & Mrs. Smith. — PAMELA MCCLINTOCK
Kroll began the year entrenched in the Oscar campaign for the global blockbuster Gravity (it won seven statuettes) as well as the marketing plan for the animated film The Lego Movie, another surprise that took in $468 million worldwide after braving a February opening. (The film cost just $60 million to make and already has launched a franchise.) "I marvel every day at Lego's success," says Kroll, widely regarded as a titan among movie marketers, who shares equal power with New Line's Toby Emmerich and Warners president of worldwide production Greg Silverman under CEO Kevin Tsujihara.
Still, it has been a tough year. A slew of Warners' films disappointed at the North American box office, including Johnny Depp's Transcendence ($23 million) and the Clint Eastwood-directed Jersey Boys ($47 million). Edge of Tomorrow, a Tom Cruise summer sci-fi epic, also was a disappointment because of a pricey production budget of $178 million. Warners ranks No. 3 in market share in 2014 ($1.3 billion) behind 20th Century Fox ($1.6 billion) and Disney ($1.5 billion), while last year the studio cleared a record-breaking $1.8 billion. "I wish we could be out in front every year, but I'm practical," admits Kroll. "There are so many options for consumers in the U.S., we have to be realistic. But it inspires me to work harder."
There were notable highlights, though: New Line's Annabelle earned north of $252 million globally on a $6.5 million budget, and Godzilla did $525 million in global grosses. Warners partnered with Paramount to handle Interstellar overseas, and it has grossed more than $550 million globally — with more than $120 million in China alone. The continued strength of Warners' overseas operation saw many of the studio's movies make up ground abroad, where revenue already has cleared $2.56 billion. Kroll should ring out the year on a high note with Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (Dec. 17) and Eastwood's American Sniper (Dec. 25). — PAMELA MCCLINTOCK
Salke warrants major kudos for the broadcast net's big turnaround. NBC rounded out the most recent broadcast season as the No.1 network for the first time in a decade, thanks to Sunday Night Football, The Voice and The Blacklist, which has remained a strong player in season two with more than 16 million weekly viewers. Salke, a married mother of three, hopes to reinvigorate NBC's troubled Thursday in 2015 when Blacklist moves to the night after its Super Bowl episode.
Big break "When Dana Walden hired me to come over to 20th after 10 years working at Spelling Television. She believed that I could both be a mother of three toddlers and run a Fox division."
Worst entertainment job ever "I worked in New York for a club promoter for one day. I was lucky to get out alive!"
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "A pediatrician."
Colligan now has sole dominion over Paramount's worldwide marketing and distribution, a job she landed in September when Josh Greenstein left the post for Sony. There was no time to contemplate the promotion as her team geared up for Christopher Nolan's Interstellar, which has grossed north of $550 million. Earlier this year, she also sold Darren Aronofsky's Noah to religious audiences in the U.S. (it earned $363 million globally), launched a franchise with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ($477 million) and helped Transformers: Age of Extinction become the year's only movie to hit $1 billion globally, including more than $300 million in China. Colligan also played a key role in acquiring the Chris Rock comedy Top Five (out Dec. 12) and is prepping that film for an awards run, alongside the Martin Luther King Jr. biopic Selma (Dec. 25).
Worst entertainment job ever "P.A. on VH1 Storytellers."
Most offensive thing done to me at work "An agent called my husband [Fox production exec Mark Roybal] to complain I wasn't getting back to him."
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "A coach."
Best advice " 'Don't make decisions from an emotional place.' "
Favorite weekend activity "My three sons' soccer games."
The Lucas empire strikes back in 2015, and all eyes are on Kennedy, who is shepherding Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens. With creator George Lucas largely on the sidelines, Kennedy is calling the shots on the rebirth of the $4.5 billion-grossing franchise, also a licensing boon, spawning everything from toys to lunchboxes. Episode VII, the first Star Wars installment in a decade, will be followed by four more films through 2019. Kennedy, who's married to producer Frank Marshall, manages a 1,500-employee company that includes VFX house Industrial Light & Magic, which worked on Angelina Jolie's Unbroken and Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014, as well as Skywalker Sound; Lucasfilm Animation; and the LucasArts game division.
There are few more potent demonstrations of power than owning an entire night of primetime, and Rhimes' trio of ABC dramas rule Thursdays: Grey's is still a top-rated show in its 11th season, Scandal is red-hot in its fourth and freshman Murder is the fall's biggest new drama, averaging more than 16 million weekly viewers. Rhimes has made her series into "events," thanks to a cast-wide routine of live-tweeting episodes. Up next: The single mom of three (and key Obama fundraiser) will release a memoir in 2015.
Best advice " 'If you're not loving your job, you're doing the wrong job or doing your job wrong.' "
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "Some kind of writer."
Favorite drink "Fruit-infused water. I spend a lot of time putting fruit in water bottles."
Boss Bonnie Hammer doubled Berwick's cable portfolio earlier this fall, making the London-born executive president of the cable group's Lifestyle Networks. She added pop-culture-focused E! and male-skewing Esquire to a purview that includes Bravo, a top 10 cable net with lucrative franchises led by the Real Housewives and Top Chef, and recently rebranded Oxygen.
If there were a 25th hour in the day "I'd get a mani, a blowout and watch anime with my son."
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "Writing bad chick-lit."
The Oscar winner (Silver Linings Playbook) placed No. 12 on Forbes' 2014 Celebrity 100 power list, making her the highest-ranked female performer in Hollywood, with estimated earnings of $34 million between June 2013 and June 2014. And she's got box-office cred, too: The three Hunger Games films have grossed north of $1.5 billion, with the newest installment, Mockingjay — Part 1, already taking in $505 million worldwide since its Nov. 21 release.
Kwan Vandenberg accompanied Christopher Nolan to China to promote Interstellar (Warners handled the Paramount tentpole overseas). She also toured with Tom Cruise for Edge of Tomorrow, which topped out at $100.2 million domestically, but earned $269 million overseas. Warners has raced past $2.5 billion in foreign box office revenues and could hit $3 billion, thanks to Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (Dec. 17).
Worst job ever "At a fast-food takeout window in college."
Industry role model "Every woman who juggles family and a career."
Favorite weekend activity "Bicycling with my family."
The low-key Utley saw her studio's 12 Years a Slave win best picture and earn nearly $188 million worldwide. Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel dazzled with $173 million in global ticket sales. Searchlight (co-run with Steve Gilula) has a foothold in this year's Oscar race too with Birdman and Wild.
Big break "When Tom Sherak moved me up the ladder in the Fox marketing department."
Industry role model "Peter Chernin"
If there were a 25th hour in the day "I would needlepoint."
Favorite drink "Old Fashioned"
The Oracle heiress' Annapurna Pictures is Hollywood's most powerful independent financier of projects too risky — financially and creatively — to be made by a studio. Last year's American Hustle and Her nabbed 15 total Oscar nominations, and Ellison is back in the race this year with Foxcatcher. She also backed Page 1, the movie and TV banner of Mark Boal (Zero Dark Thirty).
Fox has had its best year ever at the box office — revenue just passed $5 billion — thanks to Watts' varied slate. X-Men: Days of Future Past hit a franchise-best $746 million, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes grossed $708 million and Gone Girl is David Fincher's biggest film of all time, earning $327 million globally so far.
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "Pouring cement. I love a good foundation."
If there were a 25th hour in the day "I would spend time with my three kids."
Gabler's passion project, the adaptation of John Green's book The Fault in Our Stars, cost $12 million and earned a whopping $304 million worldwide. She's back in the Green business, filming Paper Towns, and also scored Jennifer Lawrence and David O. Russell's latest pairing — Joy — set to film in February.
Proudest 2014 moment "When the credits rolled at the New York Fault premiere."
Three things always on my desk "A clock, pictures of my husband and daughter, and a rock from Forest Whitaker that says 'Hope.' "
With oversight of Netflix's $3 billion programming budget, the 12-year veteran has cemented the company's image as a creative haven. The home to Emmy nominee House of Cards also has seen Orange Is the New Black become the most-watched original program among Netflix's 53 million global users.
Worst job ever "Night shift at a medical collections call center."
I knew I wanted to work in entertainment "When I saw Dangerous Liaisons."
Favorite weekend activity "Riding a bike up big hills."
Worst career advice " 'Don't work at Netflix. What is that, anyway?' "
In her new position, O'Neill oversees all creative and in-house production units while also sitting on the board of All3Media (Undercover Boss) after Discovery and Liberty Global's $930 million acquisition. She kick-started the "naked" reality trend with Discovery's Naked and Afraid, and expanded its live-events space with Nik Wallenda stunts and the man-versus-snake spectacle Eaten Alive.
Worst job ever "Working as a Florida teen at McDonald's."
Being a feminist in Hollywood means "Not taking crap."
Favorite weekend activity "Nine holes with my son."
Lee has transformed BET into an original content competitor with two of cable's top-rated comedies — the soon-to-end The Game and Kevin Hart's Real Husbands of Hollywood. The mother of two grown children also helped BET score its first hourlong hit, Being Mary Jane, and the BET Awards attracted a record 7.9 million viewers.
Proudest 2014 moment "Earning an honorary doctorate from [alma mater] Brown."
Three things always on my desk "Stacked paper, a memento from President Obama's inauguration and a computer."
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "A fashion designer."
The network has seen a ratings uptick, winning four consecutive months among kids. And the revival of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles grossed $477 million at the global box office, making it Nickelodeon Movies' biggest hit.
Worst job ever "I worked as a chambermaid. I told them I broke my wrist to get out of it."
Most offensive thing said to me at work " 'Hey, cutie.' "
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "An educator [or] a stay-at-home mom."
Rio 2 earned just shy of $500 million worldwide, and this fall the studios saw a critical, if smaller, hit in The Book of Life. The studio is in production on an adaptation of Charles M. Schulz's Peanuts — and is nearing a deal to adapt Roger Hargreaves' Mr. Men books.
I knew I wanted to work in entertainment "When I saw Star Wars as a kid."
Worst job ever "A two-day stint in telemarketing."
Proudest 2014 moments "Watching Rio 2 and Book of Life with my son."
In her third year at the studio, Universal racked up 12 series orders — up 70 percent from the previous year and tying with giant Warner Bros. While most sales were at sibling NBC, Bajaria's team has business at other networks and streaming services, including Fox's Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Bajaria facilitated a straight-to-series order for NBC's Jennifer Lopez cop drama Shades of Blue and helped Jason Katims land a comedy at Showtime.
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "In a country of my Indian-African heritage doing good."
If there were a 25th hour in the day "I would meditate."
Losing its marquee star (and Ganeless' college pal) Stephen Colbert to CBS isn't deterring the network, which will launch The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore in January. Comedy Central this year logged its highest overall ratings since 2008, thanks to breakouts including Inside Amy Schumer and Broad City, and saw its digital content hit a record 1.8 billion views.
Industry role model "My boss, Doug Herzog. He has a very strict 'no assholes' policy."
Favorite drink "Big tequila fan."
Her celeb-packed Oscar selfie was seen by 37 million people online and helped the awards show attract 44 million viewers, the most since 2000. In its 12th season, Ellen has the third-highest ratings in syndication among talk shows, attracting 3.6 million viewers daily.
I knew I wanted to work in entertainment "When I was a teen shucking oysters in New Orleans. There had to be a better way to make money. And Hooters hadn't been invented."
Favorite restaurant "Now that [wife] Portia cooks, I love eating at home. Whatever she makes is delicious. And sometimes burnt."
Despite a challenging year, Daly was promoted this summer from COO. She tried to bounce back from such 2013 misfires as Turbo with Mr. Peabody & Sherman, but the latter ended up causing the company to take a $57 million write-down. Her team fared better with How to Train Your Dragon 2, which grossed $618.9 million worldwide. But the fall was rough, as DWA merger talks with Japan's SoftBank and Hasbro ran aground.
Nelson's brand can boast four TV series on the air — Arrow, The Flash, Gotham and Constantine — and a fifth, iZombie, bows next year. CBS also has made a series commitment to Supergirl, while Lucifer and Titans are in development. And Warners' The Lego Movie success set in motion The Lego Batman Movie for 2017. More ambitious is the 10 megamovie slate stretching to 2020.
Worst job ever "I folded a lot of T-shirts growing up in a suburban resort town."
Most offensive thing said to me at work "A male senior exec said: 'You should try to be a bit nicer. It's not becoming.' He wouldn't say that to a man."
Being a feminist in Hollywood means "Getting a Wonder Woman movie made!"
The Veep star won a third-straight Emmy for the comedy, which she also produces, making her the only comedy performer to score wins for three series. Margulies, also an Emmy winner this year, has seen The Good Wife (which she also produces) soar in its sixth season. Both women have big endorsement deals: Margulies is the voice of Chase Freedom; Louis-Dreyfus is Old Navy's new pitchwoman.
Worst job ever (Margulies) "Stuffing envelopes."
Best advice (Louis-Dreyfus) " 'Have fun at all costs,' from Mr. Coyne, my physics teacher."
Proudest 2014 moment (Margulies) "The New York Times interviewed me and [New York] Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand about getting the state to pass [the child sex abuse prevention legislation] Erin's Law. Three days later, [activist] Erin Merryn told me the Senator was moving things forward."
Most offensive thing said to me at work (Louis-Dreyfus) " 'When your hair is straight, there are five network executives who want to f— you.' "
Overseeing 1 billion monthly views, Wojcicki is leading the charge of YouTube's Hollywood invasion. The longtime Google exec took the helm in February and is shaking up the 9-year-old company, starting with an ad campaign designed to boost YouTube's homegrown stars. Wojcicki also is striking deals with indie labels for its long-awaited music subscription service. The Bay Area-based married mother of four is currently expecting her fifth child.
Proudest 2014 moment "Deciding to leave the ad business to join YouTube."
Favorite drink "Coconut water"
Best advice "[Former Google CEO] Eric Schmidt told me not to be defensive after he corrected me on something."
Her portfolio — NBC News, MSNBC, CNBC, The Weather Channel — reaches nearly 150 million viewers each month.
It's also highly profitable since its 2012 formation, thanks to the high advertising rates on CNBC and flagship Today. Despite stumbles — MSNBC recently lost ratings ground to CNN — some of Fili-Krushel's properties are on the rise: Today's ratings have stabilized, and Meet the Press is striving for a turnaround with new host Chuck Todd.
Hurd oversees TV's top-rated show, which returned for a fifth season with 17.3 million total viewers and 11 million among the advertiser-coveted adults 18-to-49 demo. Hurd also serves as an EP on AMC's planned Walking Dead companion series and, after her alien drama pilot was passed over at USA, landed a series order at Syfy to adapt Whitley Strieber's Alien Hunter.
Worst entertainment job ever "Emptying chemical toilets in motor homes while working on Humanoids From the Deep."
Most offensive thing said to me at work "A vile threat involving excrement and beheading."
Proudest 2014 moment "Watching my daughter graduate from college."
Rebounding from a dismal 2013, Sony was back on track thanks to a slate largely guided by Minghella. (Fellow production president Michael De Luca's handiwork wasn't apparent until October's Fury.) Among her hits: 22 Jump Street ($331 million worldwide), The Equalizer ($191 million worldwide), The Monuments Men ($155 million worldwide) and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (though off the franchise mark, it did earn $709 million worldwide). Female-friendly projects in the works: an adaptation of Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In and a Barbie movie.
I knew I wanted to work in entertainment "When I stayed up all night when I was 15 to watch the Academy Awards."
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "A novelist."
She presides over one of the biz's most successful franchises: Its latest installment, Mockingjay — Part 1, scored the top opening of 2014 ($122 million domestic), besting the likes of Transformers: Age of Extinction.
Being a feminist in Hollywood means "Refusing to accept the status quo."
Most offensive thing said to me at work " 'You can't be a kick-ass mom and executive.' "
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "A veterinarian."
Arnold delivered DreamWorks Animation a much-needed win this year with HTTYD2, which earned $124 million more than the first Dragon, also produced by Arnold. All told, the films she has worked on have earned north of $2 billion at the worldwide box office.
I knew I wanted to work in entertainment "When I was at Boston University and got an internship at WGBH."
Industry role model "Laura Ziskin"
Favorite restaurant "Chick-fil-A"
They logged another killer showing as Golden Globe hosts as ratings soared (again) to nearly 21 million viewers — the highest in 10 years — and will return Jan. 11. They also are set to reunite on the big screen in December 2015 in the Universal Baby Mama follow-up, The Nest.
Nothing heated up Marinelli's divisions more this year than Frozen, on track to become the best-selling home video title in a decade and Disney's best-selling animated movie since Finding Nemo. She also helped engineer the launch of Disney Movies Anywhere with iTunes and is selling a Tyra Banks lifestyle show set to anchor on ABC-owned stations.
Menendez brokered SVOD deals with Netflix in Germany, France and Belgium and oversaw the launch of TVBox, which allows the PictureBox service to offer boxed sets of series on-demand. She also launched the Syfy channel on Foxtel in Australia and expanded distribution in China and Latin America. Manfredi closed a multiyear licensing deal with Amazon and an exclusive multiyear SVOD licensing deal with Hulu Plus.
Best advice (Menendez) "From Barry Diller: 'Chance favors the prepared mind.' "
Proudest moment of 2014 (Manfredi) "My daughter, who has special needs, made honor roll in middle school."
Three things always on my desk (Menendez) "A picture of my family, my cellphone and my iPad with the digital edition of The Hollywood Reporter!"
PBS remains one of TV's most powerful players as the stateside home to Downton Abbey, which it now co-produces and airs to an average of 13.2 million viewers a week. Documentaries also drive numbers: 33 million viewers watched at least one portion of Ken Burns' The Roosevelts, making its debut week the highest-rated for PBS in 20 years. Roosevelts also got a substantial boost from Kerger's enviable streaming operation.
Industry role model "[Sesame Street creator] Joan Ganz Cooney. She changed how we think about children's media."
Best advice " 'Never wait for something to be handed to you.' "
Favorite getaway "My home in the Blue Ridge Mountains."
Her adaptation of Piper Kerman's prison memoir scored heaps of critical praise, the most 2014 Emmy noms for any comedy and the enviable position as the streamer's most-watched original series. Kohan, a married mother of three, also has projects in the works at HBO and Amazon.
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "A Realtor — or a doctor, and finally make my mother's dreams come true."
Most offensive thing said to me at work " 'If it had been God's plan to have women in a writers room, he wouldn't have made tits so distracting.' "
Miles remains the only woman to preside over a mega-theater circuit, Regal, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2014 and is contemplating a sale. (Philip Anschutz retains a 47.2 percent stake in North America's largest circuit, operator of 7,000 screens at 574 locations.) The domestic box-office downturn has hurt Regal, with revenue falling 15 percent during the third quarter. Still, the chain appeared on Forbes' 2014 list of America's 100 Most Trustworthy Companies.
I knew I wanted to work in entertainment when "My alternative was a long career with an accounting firm."
Being a feminist in Hollywood means "Embracing and trying to advance the goal of equality."
Favorite activity "Drinking wine on summer weekends with our family at our lake home."
Lionsgate saw the rise of another popular prestige program, Orange Is the New Black — softening the blow of the company's flagship, Mad Men, signing off in 2015. Stern also launched WGN America's Manhattan and Syfy's space-opera miniseries Ascension.
Most offensive thing said to me at work " 'Can I get some more coffee, honey?' "
Three things always on my desk "A picture of my grandmother, a candle and a plaque from Jay Mohr that says: 'Employee of the F—ing Century.' "
In July, Leslie Moonves appointed Press sole president of CBS Films following the exit of Wolfgang Hammer. The unit has struggled, but going forward, Lionsgate will distribute and help pay to market wide releases from CBS Films, reducing the financial risk.
Worst entertainment job ever "I was an assistant to a former AMPAS president the year of El Nino. She demanded I defy the evacuation to protect her film prints. I wouldn't do it."
Proudest moments of 2014 "When my daughter made the varsity basketball team, and celebrating my son's GPA."
Witherspoon bought rights to Gillian Flynn's thriller Gone Girl in 2012 for a reported $1.5 million and ushered the David Fincher-helmed drama to his best box office to date. Hers and Papandrea's adaptation of Cheryl Strayed's Wild has all but locked up an Oscar nom for Witherspoon. Up next: the 2015 comedy Don't Mess With Texas, starring Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara.
Worst job ever (Papandrea) "Working at the mall making hot dogs and getting burns on my arms from the hot spikes."
Best advice (Papandrea) " 'Never make money a motivation for your decisions.' "
Yaccarino scored a 15 per-cent increase during the May upfront sales period as NBCU reportedly pulled in about $6 billion, compared with $5.4 billion in 2013. CBS drew the most viewers during the 2013-14 season, and Ross pushed hard to get advertisers to pay for DVR and VOD viewing and sold Thursday night football ads for as much as $500,000 for a 30-second spot. Wang played defense as ABC was third in primetime viewership in 2013-14 but scored ad-sales increases of 4 percent to 5 percent as estimated post-upfronts.
I knew I wanted to work in entertainment when (Yaccarino) "When I was an intern, Jane Pauley told me she loved my shoes!"
Favorite weekend activities (Yaccarino) "Drinking red wine with my family in Italy."
Favorite weekend activities (Ross) "My house in Sag Harbor."
Favorite weekend activities (Wang) "Cooking, skiing and being with my family."
Daniels has doubled the youth-skewing cabler's originals, including adding a new take on Wes Craven's Scream for 2015. She also reinvigorated The Real World, with new twists ahead for its 30th season.
Being a feminist in Hollywood means "Making a proactive effort to hire women."
She has the highest-grossing animated movie of all time with $1.3 billion globally. Frozen also spawned more than $1 billion in retail revenue this year.
Proudest 2014 accomplishment "Bringing the Oscar to Walt Disney Animation Studios."
Big break "Filmmaker Phil Johnston asked me to co-write Wreck-It Ralph with him."
Most offensive thing said to me at work "After pitching a studio when I was starting out, the executive said: 'Great idea. But if we were going to make a movie that ambitious, we'd get a real writer to do it.' "
She drove her division to its highest revenue ever by selling The Simpsons worldwide and made a multimillion-dollar deal with Rogers Media to expand FX into Canada.
I knew I wanted to work in entertainment "When movies were my window to the world."
Worst job ever "Selling water beds in Denver."
Most offensive thing said to me at work " 'I don't shake hands with women.' "
The U.S. version of The X Factor got the ax from Fox, but the show still dominates in many of the 45 territories airing their own iterations. Fremantle's global footprint continues to grow: 25 formats recently were sold to seven Asian markets.
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "Working in fashion and coveting a large wardrobe allowance."
Three things always on my desk "Three glass monkeys representing hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil."
Favorite getaway "A weekend in the French Alps for total escape and fresh air."
Adelson has increased development 35 percent for the American arm of the big Brit broadcaster (2014 revenue is more than $377 million). The producer of Hell's Kitchen (close to 200 episodes) and The First 48, in its 10th year, helped the American studio produce 750 hours this year.
Three things always on my desk "A script, cellphone and a large jar of pretzel M&Ms."
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "A criminal lawyer."
Savitt turned Yahoo into a significant content competitor with the wave-making decision to resurrect the canceled Community for a sixth season. Yahoo, which for many years focused on video clips and web shorts, outbid several players, including Hulu, for the project. One of CEO Marissa Mayer's trusted deputies, Savitt also has seen Yahoo News introduce digital magazines.
Worst job ever "Working as an Easter bunny at the local mall."
Proudest 2014 moment "Our partnership with Live Nation."
Favorite restaurant "La Colombe d'Or, France"
Her purview includes business affairs and development, gaming and business partnerships. She launched the Nate Silver blog FiveThirtyEight and oversaw the consolidation of ESPN Films and Grantland. Her focus: increase the footprint of the brand, as ESPN saw its valuation top $50 billion.
I knew I wanted to work in entertainment "When I interned at Days of Our Lives."
Proudest 2014 moment "Our Emmy for 30 for 30."
Favorite weekend activity "Hiking upstate."
CBS fully owns its new late-night shows thanks to Barak. She helped launch Jane the Virgin on The CW and managed high-profile license renewals and cast negotiations for The Big Bang Theory and more. Winograde over-sees ABC's budget of more than $1 billion with a staff of 93. Roberts leads business and legal for 10 cable networks and two studios.
Worst job ever (Winograde) "Selling hot dogs out of a hot dog cart during high school."
I knew I wanted to work in entertainment (Roberts) "I was a real estate lawyer in New York and took a screenwriting course at the Learning Annex."
Favorite weekend activity (Barak) "Hiking the L.A. hills."
Hudson oversees a staff of 300 and won a vote of confidence when AMPAS' board of governors voted in April to extend her contract for another three years. Much of her energy now is focused on the $300 million, Renzo Piano-designed Academy Museum. Boone Isaacs was re-elected to a second one-year term and asked producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron to oversee the Oscars for a third year after ratings rose to a 10-year high.
If I weren't in the business, I'd be (Boone Isaacs) "A veterinarian."
If there were a 25th hour in the day (Hudson) "I'd be with my son, Sam — that's easy."
She oversaw Wes Anderson's hit The Grand Budapest Hotel ($173 million worldwide) and Oscar bait Birdman and Wild. Up next: The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, out March 6, the studio's first sequel.
Worst job ever "Working at a store in Berkeley that combined Xeroxing and selling Indian clothing."
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "A veterinarian or zoologist."
Favorite weekend activity "Sipping a glass of crisp Italian white wine overlooking the ocean in Tulum or Big Sur."
She has legacy clients — Tim Burton, Scott Rudin, Keanu Reeves — and fresh talent including Get On Up's Chadwick Boseman, recently cast in Marvel's Black Panther.
Big break "I was hired as the lawyer for The Terminator."
Most memorable thing said to me at work "Bob Dylan's lawyer said I had balls of steel."
The company suffered at the box office, but How to Train Your Dragon 2 ($618.8 million) was a bright spot. Taubin has dominion over film, TV and global initiatives, including marketing DWA's growing stable of original Netflix series.
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "Teaching."
Best advice " 'Don't do the job like the person before you. Make it your own.' "
Favorite getaway "With my husband in La Quinta."
Tuzon and Harris helped shaped the future of TV, preparing their companies to battle (and beat) Aereo in the Supreme Court. Prentice tasted a big victory when a judge ruled in Paramount's favor at trial in a six-year war with investors in the studio's Melrose slate. Weil spent the year reorganizing departments (and is now dealing with the massive Sony hack), while Marcus ushered "friend of the court" briefs from her company in support of marriage equality. And Christensen's sage advice helped her studio to a strong year at the box office despite the delay of Fast & Furious 7 due to the death of Paul Walker.
Most offensive thing said to me at work (Tuzon) "In an interview: 'We seem to be connecting. Is it sexual attraction?' "
Best advice (Harris) "A senior woman partner said when I was pregnant, 'There's no need to rush through a career.' "
Worst advice (Marcus) " 'Stay closeted at work.' "
She oversees marketing for 80-plus TV series as well as digital content and helped create the studio's first DC Entertainment programming panel at Comic-Con with Arrow, The Flash, Gotham and Constantine, a three-hour block that rivaled Marvel's feature film session. Elsewhere, Gregorian helped usher in Friends' 20th anniversary with a New York re-creation of the show's Central Perk cafe that drew fans (and press coverage) from across the globe.
I knew I wanted to work in entertainment when "Growing up in Manhattan, I saw the second half of almost every Broadway show. You could sneak in the back during intermission."
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "A travel writer."
Best advice " 'Pick your boss, not your job.' "
She led the charge in branding Shonda Rhimes' Thursday night dramas, giving ABC the biggest hit of the season in How to Get Away With Murder.
Proudest 2014 moment "Successful launches of Black-ish and TGIT."
If there were a 25th hour in the day "I'd be on Pinterest."
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "A fiction writer or book editor."
Queally has a near-monopoly on A-list female talent — she reps reigning Oscar actress winners Cate Blanchett and Lupita Nyong'o as well as Jessica Chastain, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard and Penelope Cruz, and she just signed Star Wars star Daisy Ridley.
Industry role model "Every working mother."
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "A National Geographic photographer."
Being a feminist in Hollywood means " 'Don't think about making women fit the world — think about making the world fit women.' — Gloria Steinem"
Her campaigns have led to giant numbers for original series like American Horror Story: Freak Show, whose October bow netted FX's largest audience ever — more than 13 million. She also helped FX to five Emmy wins, its most ever.
Worst job ever "Waitressing at Perkins Pancake House."
Proudest and toughest 2014 moments "A tie between pimping out my new iPad and letting go of someone I loved."
Role model "Jane Goodall"
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "Married to an altruistic wealthy woman over 100 who wants to leave me her fortune."
Pritzker expanded her Hollywood empire by becoming one of three investors (TPG and China's Hony Capital are the other two) in the new studio STX Entertainment. The trio will plunk down more than $1 billion over five years for a slate of films for the U.S. and China markets, each with a budget in the $40 million range. STX made two quick, splashy hires: Oren Aviv and Adam Fogelson.
Worst job ever "Working as a P.A. for the host of a really bad TV show. I opened mail and hid letters that criticized him."
Most offensive thing said to me at work "I was a P.A., and the manager said, 'Don't even fart without getting my permission.' "
If there were a 25th hour in the day "I'd be with my girls and husband."
After 27 years at Telepictures/Warner Bros., she moved to CBS and oversaw a reorganization of Entertainment Tonight, which got its first new executive producer in 19 years, and an anchor shift on The Insider. She also repositioned Rachael Ray and The Doctors, complete with station upgrades.
Industry role model "Nina Tassler"
If there were a 25th hour in the day "I'd take a literature course at UCLA."
Favorite drink "Provencal rosé wine"
Jacobs steered Johnny Depp into the Whitey Bulger crime biopic Black Mass and also reps Oscar winner Alfonso Cuaron, Benedict Cumberbatch and Kristen Wiig.
Proudest 2014 accomplishment "Saving Black Mass."
Being a feminist in Hollywood means "Equal or better pay."
She helped sell Amy Adams' Story of Your Life to Paramount for a Cannes-record $20 million and expanded Steve Carell's brand with Foxcatcher.
Proudest 2014 moment "Watching my son read his first chapter book."
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "A stay-at-home mom, driving my family crazy!"
Nevins has shepherded more than 1,000 documentaries that have earned 23 Oscars and she has won 28 Primetime Emmys. She served as executive producer on the Edward Snowden film Citizenfour and The Case Against 8, about the battle for same-sex marriage equality. Up next: Alex Gibney's Scientology exposé Going Clear and Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck.
Most offensive thing said to me at work "I was going away and someone said, 'Have a good weekend and make sure you do a lot of f--ing.' "
Favorite weekend activity "Work. I'm really boring."
After two years at FX, the former ICM lit agent launched Howard Gordon's Israel-set Tyrant, Guillermo del Toro and Carlton Cuse's adaptation of The Strain and the comedies Married and You're the Worst. The Strain broke out to become the No. 1 new basic cable series among adults 18-to-49, while Stephen Falk's Worst became a critical favorite. All four series have been renewed.
I knew I wanted to work in entertainment "When I first saw thirtysomething."
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "A real estate agent."
If there were a 25th hour in the day "I'd consider doing cardio but would watch TV."
One year after client Steve McQueen's triumph at the Academy Awards, Swofford could have another very good Oscar night, with both Alejandro G. Inarritu's Birdman and Richard Linklater's Boyhood considered frontrunners. Clients J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Sam Mendes' new James Bond film Spectre and Francis Lawrence's Hunger Games finale are set for 2015.
Proudest 2014 moment "Oscar night this year was pretty tough to beat."
Role model "Elizabeth I of England"
Most offensive thing said to me at work " 'You read the whole thing?' "
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "Writing historical biographies or a museum curator."
Jackson's client Jonah Hill is a two-time Oscar nominee who can jump back into lucrative comedy franchises like Jump Street; Amy Poehler is succeeding as an actress (Parks and Recreation, upcoming movie Sisters), host (the Golden Globes) and now author (Yes Please); and Elisabeth Moss picked up a Golden Globe for Top of the Lake between filming Mad Men seasons. As well as adding Orange Is the New Black's Natasha Lyonne, this year the agent signed models Kate Upton and Cara Delevingne, whom she installed as the lead in Fox 2000's adaptation of John Green's Paper Towns and as a member of Warners' Suicide Squad.
Being a feminist in Hollywood means "Celebrating strength and ambition in women rather than rejecting those attributes because they violate our traditional cultural stereotypes."
Most offensive thing said to me at work " 'The kitchen is out of Coke Zero.' "
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "I love problem-solving. I wish I'd been born with enough IQ points to tackle reimagining our country's education system."
She founded the company with Brad Pitt in 2002, and their refined tastes paid off earlier this year when Gardner was among the producers awarded the Oscar for 12 Years a Slave. Plan B also produced the Emmy-winning The Normal Heart. She and Plan B, along with Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Productions, hope to be back in the Oscar game this year with Selma.
The agency's most senior female agent, Rosenfeld with her department staffed more writers on series and directors on pilots than any other agency in 2014. She reps Melissa McCarthy and was a chief packager of series like client Matthew Perry's upcoming return to network comedy, The Odd Couple on CBS. Rosenfeld also has enjoyed ongoing success this year with such longtime lit clients as Graham Yost (Justified, The Americans) and Sarah Timberman (Masters of Sex, Unforgettable) and such acting talent as Felicity Huffman (ABC's upcoming American Crime) and Lisa Kudrow (HBO's The Comeback).
Worst job ever "In college, I made cold calls for a sleazy oil futures salesman. The worst!"
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "Running a department store company like Barneys or Neimans. I love shopping."
Three things always on my desk "My 49ers cup filled with water, a picture of my family and lots of papers."
She ensured a smooth post-Late Late Show transition for Craig Ferguson, who will host two shows in syndication. She negotiated Rosie O'Donnell's return to The View, Marta Kauffman's Grace and Frankie (Netflix) and a new talk show for Tyra Banks slated for ABC-owned stations next fall. After a brief flirtation at another agency, newly minted Fashion Police host Kathy Griffin returned to Josephson's fold.
I knew I wanted to work in entertainment "When I was working as a DJ in college."
If there were a 25th hour in the day "I'd do more yoga."
The 15-year veteran manages operations of her department, including the hiring and promoting of nearly 30 agents in CAA's trainee program. In the past year, Gertner negotiated deals for client Simon Kinberg— whose $746 million-grossing X-Men: Days of Future Past became the highest-earning film in the franchise — to write and produce The Fantastic Four and X-Men: Apocalypse at Fox.
I knew I wanted to work in entertainment "When I saw The Godfather."
Favorite weekend activity "Watching my kids play sports."
Being a feminist in Hollywood means "Being able to be yourself and still get ahead."
Klein helped to deliver the only breakout broadcast comedy of the fall, ABC's Black-ish, with Paradigm client and star Laurence Fishburne and creator Kenya Barris. The agency also sold two other packages to two different networks — CBS' NCIS: New Orleans and NBC's The Mysteries of Laura — and longtime client Neal Baer scored a third season of his hit summer series Under the Dome while prepping two new medical dramas for CBS.
I knew I wanted to work in entertainment "When I was around 12 and started looking at the credits that came up after my favorite shows."
Proudest 2014 moment "Black-ish. Five networks bid on it, but our gut told us that ABC was the best home."
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "A sports agent."
Clients Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg had one of the biggest comedy hits of the year in the $270 million-grossing Neighbors and return with The Interview on Dec. 25; Paul Rudd landed Marvel's hot Ant-Man; and Jill Soloway had a critical hit in Amazon's Transparent.
Worst job ever "P.A. on ALF."
Toughest decision this year "Deciding what elementary school to send my kid to."
Being a feminist in Hollywood means "Not using 'woman' or 'female' as prefixes."
With clients Anderson Cooper, Bill O'Reilly and Robin Roberts, Cooper's roster reads like a who's who of TV news. The value of N.S. Bienstock's entire stable, shared with co-president and husband Richard Leibner, has been long-noticed by Hollywood's big agencies — one reason it was acquired by UTA in January.
I knew I wanted to work in entertainment when "My father was a studio musician and played for many television shows when I was a kid. I used to go to the live tapings, and I was enthralled."
McCreary was named president (with Gary Lucchesi) of the Producers Guild of America — the second woman ever voted into the position. She has a busy producing slate at Revelations Entertainment, the company she runs with Morgan Freeman, which produces CBS' new hit Madam Secretary, starring Tea Leoni.
I knew I wanted to work in entertainment "When Nelson Mandela saw the first film I produced, Bopha!, and said it was 'very important and would affect many people's lives.' "
Industry role model "Clint Eastwood, for 10-hour days!"
Favorite weekend activity "Riding my Harley or Triumph Speed Triple."
Woodley proved she could carry a YA franchise (Divergent) and a weepy drama (The Fault in Our Stars). Divergent earned $289 million worldwide, with a sequel headed to theaters March 20. Her performance in Fault (which earned $304 million worldwide) also is generating Oscar buzz.
Since she launched GIT in 2011, the company has kept a tight focus on getting scripted fare on the air and bypassing the traditional development cycle. She helped usher NBC's critical darling Hannibal as well as Netflix's Hemlock Grove and Narcos, with a Barbarella reboot in the works at Amazon.
Proudest 2014 moment "Bringing home our newborn son, Leo, in March."
Industry role model "Katharine Hepburn: 'If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.' "
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "Teaching American studies at a small liberal arts college."
Bymel's Oscar-winning client Anne Hathaway appeared in Christopher Nolan's hit Interstellar, and will next be seen with Robert De Niro in The Intern and with Johnny Depp in 2016's Alice in Wonderland sequel. Pett's client of 25 years, Brad Pitt, earned his first Oscar for producing 12 Years a Slave, and also produced current awards contender Selma.
I knew I wanted to work in entertainment when (Bymel) "I played Maria in West Side Story at age 15."
If I weren't in the business, I'd be (Pett) "A photographer."
If I weren't in the business, I'd be (Bymel) "Working in philanthropy or interior design."
Favorite weekend activity (Pett) "Going to my farm in Malibu and hanging with my animal rescues and sons while wearing sweats."
Favorite weekend activity (Bymel) "Fly-fishing"
Newman helped Top Chef producers Magical Elves seal the sale of their company to U.K.'s Tinopolis Group. She also made a deal for acclaimed documentary director R.J. Cutler to move into features with If I Stay and Hart Hanson to move pilot Backstrom from CBS to a midseason Fox series.
Most offensive thing said to me at work "After an intensive signing meeting, a prospective client told my partner I seemed really smart for an assistant."
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "A butcher. I served my own prosciutto at Thanksgiving."
Since her 2011 arrival, her team scored a best miniseries Emmy for FX's hit Fargo and recently acquired a majority stake — reportedly $400 million for 55 percent — in Mark Burnett's TV empire to form United Artists Media Group in 2014. That banner now includes unscripted flagships on three networks with The Voice (NBC), Survivor (CBS) and Shark Tank (ABC). Syndication moves also have been fruitful, with 2013 upstart Paternity Court seeing ratings jump 83 percent in its second season.
Worst job ever "I spent a summer as a telemarketer. I convinced little old ladies and men to set up credit cards over the phone. It was horrible."
If there were a 25th hour in the day "I'd be on Skype."
Favorite drink "Whisky, neat."
Jamie Foxx famously signed with Shaw when he was a bit player on Fox's In Living Color, and Nick Cannon signed with the attorney at age 16. Her roster includes Selma director Ava DuVernay, Laurence Fishburne and Arsenio Hall.
I knew I wanted to work in entertainment "When I watched my uncle work in advertising in the '60s and '70s — a real Mad Man — doing groundbreaking work for people like Aretha Franklin."
Walsh launched the agency's events division and populated the calendar with Arianna Huffington and Mika Brzezinski's Thrive and Cosmopolitan's Fun Fearless Life. Most notably, she assembled WME client Oprah Winfrey's The Life You Want tour this fall. Her division launches more than 200 books a year, including Cameron Diaz's The Body Book and Rob Lowe's Love Life in 2014.
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "Running a leadership academy for girls."
If there were a 25th hour in the day "I'd be in bed eating, watching Bravo or HBO."
Best advice " 'It's not what happens. It's what happens next.' "
Client Michael Keaton has the town buzzing with his renaissance in Birdman. The former casting director had the vision to suggest Christopher Walken as Captain Hook for NBC's Peter Pan Live! and convinced Spike Lee to bring his business back to ICM.
Worst job ever "I worked for a big TV producer. My husband got sick, and my boss said, 'If you go home, I'm going to fire you.' When I came back, he said, 'You're fired. But first you have to finish this dictation.' "
Best advice " 'Return calls on time.' "
Client Zoe Saldana has three action franchises (Guardians of the Galaxy, Avatar and Star Trek). Bartlett also helped Carmen Ejogo land the role of Coretta Scott King in Selma.
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "Bored."
If there were a 25th hour in the day "I'd spend more time with my awesome niece and goddaughter."
Downey's Christian production shingle with husband Mark Burnett is a growing player because of History's giant miniseries The Bible (13 million-plus viewers) and the theatrical release Son of God ($59.7 million domestic). Next up: NBC's Bible follow-up A.D., CBS' The Dovekeepers, a big-screen remake of Ben-Hur with MGM/Paramount and a religion-themed Lifetime reality show.
Big break "Director Larry Peerce cast me to play Jackie Kennedy in the miniseries A Woman Named Jackie."
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "An archaeologist."
Three things always on my desk "A lit candle, a picture of my family and a statuette of Joan of Arc."
The studio is in production on Hotel Transylvania 2 and is re-launching The Smurfs as a fully animated movie for 2016. Kouyate's team also has set sail on a Popeye film directed by Genndy Tartakovsky and put into development a revisionist take on the myth of Medusa.
Worst job ever "In my late teens, I worked at Toys R Us during the Cabbage Patch craze."
Being a feminist in Hollywood means "Being the totality of who I am."
Favorite drink "Extra-dirty martini with three olives."
The network recently jumped another 18 percent among black women 25-to-54. Tuesday and Wednesday are destinations for Tyler Perry's dramas and comedies, including the newest addition If Loving You Is Wrong (nearly 2 million viewers watched the premiere live).
I knew I wanted to work in entertainment "When I produced my first musical starring me and my cousins on snowy Christmas Eve in the Chicago suburbs."
Proudest moment of 2014 "Watching our team accomplish Oprah's The Life You Want Weekend tour. It surpassed my dream of how impactful it could be."
Siebert saw client Allison Janney win two Emmys in the same year and scored Netflix's upcoming Bloodline for Kyle Chandler. She also helped The Good Wife's Archie Panjabi land a deal with 20th Century Fox Television and put Catherine Keener in the HBO miniseries Show Me a Hero.
Worst job ever "I don't have one since this is the only job I have ever had."
Proudest 2014 moment "Telling Jeffrey Tambor he'd be wearing a dress for his next job [Transparent]."
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "Happy."
Dakhil's roster is director-heavy (Steve McQueen, Steven Spielberg) but also filled with A-list actors from Tom Cruise to Reese Witherspoon.
I knew I wanted to work in entertainment "When I interned at Cannes in 1997."
Worst job ever "After-school job at a bakery, which is no place for a sugar addict."
Being a feminist in Hollywood means "Inspiring young people to support women leaders."
Three things always on my desk "Green juice, gummy bears and trusted notebook."
The New York-based agent reps a mix of talent, from Modern Family Emmy winner Ty Burrell to Idina Menzel, a Tony winner who morphed into the year's most recognized voice as Elsa in Disney's Frozen.
Worst job ever "An assistant. To all of you, it gets better."
Biggest 2014 accomplishment "Paleo diet: No gluten. No dairy. No sugar. No fun."
Role models "Working moms. How the hell do we do it?"
Peters lined up starring roles for Aaron Paul and Fifty Shades' Jamie Dornan in Miramax's The 9th Life of Louis Drax, and her latest success might be steering the career of in-demand Swedish actress Alicia Vikander, who recently landed three hot projects.
Worst job ever "De-tasseling corn."
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "A life coach."
Late-night's highest-ranking woman has helped Kimmel rise to No. 2 in the 18-to-49 demo behind The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. A recent installment of the "Mean Tweets" segment drew about 15 million YouTube views in only five days.
Big break "Producer Diane Whiteley hired me in Chicago when I was 12 to co-host a weekly variety show for kids."
Proudest moment of 2014 "Traveling in August with the OneKid OneWorld organization and telling teen girls in Kenya about my job. They were stunned to learn a woman was allowed to have a professional leadership role like mine."
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "A psychologist."
Flynn is the rare author given an opportunity to adapt her own novel, the best-seller Gone Girl, which is netting her Oscar buzz. Her 2006 debut novel Sharp Objects is being developed for TV, and 2009's Dark Places, a film starring Charlize Theron, is set for 2015.
Worst job ever "In high school I worked at a yogurt shop. I wandered around the mall giving out samples."
Being a feminist in Hollywood means "Creating interesting characters for women."
Worst career advice " 'Write to the marketplace.' That's a very dangerous thing."
Dunham's debut book, the memoir Not That Kind of Girl, has sold 130,000-plus copies, and Girls has garnered 12 Emmy noms since its 2012 debut.
Industry role model "Nora Ephron, always and forever."
Most offensive thing said to me at work " 'You don't have to act so happy all the time.' Um, hey jerk, I am happy. I love my job."
If I weren't in the business, I'd be "A crazy dog lady."