Hollywood Job Envy: Entertainment's Most Powerful Reveal Who They'd Trade Places With for a Day

Bennett Raglin/WireImage; Gabe Ginsberg/WireImage; Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
From left: Oprah Winfrey, Chris Meledandri, Leslie Moonves

While multiple members of 2017's THR 100 said they'd like to switch seats with Bob Iger — "CEO of Happiness," according to Oprah Winfrey — and The Rock, admired in part for his "great calves," others are content to stay in their own powerful positions.

They're the 100 most powerful people in entertainment, but that doesn't mean they don't dream about trading places with someone else in Hollywood. Asked whose job they would want — just for one day — the execs, creators and stars who made the cut for this year's THR 100 offered a wide variety of answers, with a few notable repeats.

Bob Iger, himself No. 1 on the list, was the most popular pick, with five of the interviewees wanting to take his job as CEO of Disney for the day; Oprah Winfrey (No. 9) even called him the "CEO of Happiness." AMC’s Charlie Collier (No. 42) cited Iger’s “breadth of perspective,” with Simon Kinberg (No. 59) and Brian Grazer (No. 95) expressing similar sentiments. Mark Burnett (No. 54) summed it up more simply: “Bob Iger. This needs no explanation.”

Netflix’s Ted Sarandos (No. 2) was named by both Fox’s Dana Walden (No. 16) — “so that I could see Netflix’s ratings,” she said — and Ava DuVernay (No. 70), who mentioned the chief content officer’s disruptor role in Hollywood and “those deep pockets.” As for Sarandos, he’d switch places for a day with Lorne Michaels (No. 38); same goes for Michaels’ corporate boss, NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke (No. 3).

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (No. 34) also got a couple of mentions — from Brett Ratner (No. 9), who admires the star’s “great calves,” and Jordan Peele (No. 93). Wonder Woman helmer Patty Jenkins (No. 94) chose Clint Eastwood (No. 63) — “he has such a great and impressive body of work that now he really gets to do what he wants to do,” she said — as did one of her collaborators on the DC summer blockbuster, Warner Bros.’ Jon Berg (No. 64). “Who wouldn't want to be Clint for one day?” Berg told THR. “I'd just keep giving myself his patented ‘what you looking at’ stare.”

Also receiving multiple mentions were two powerhouses who didn’t appear on THR’s list: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was chosen by Illumination Entertainment’s Chris Meledandri (No. 29) and Starz’s Chris Albrecht (No. 60). And Jay-Z was the choice of both UTA’s Jeremy Zimmer and TBS/TNT president Kevin Reilly, who quipped of the hip-hop star and mogul, “We’re very similar.”

Read on for the full list of responses.

Ted Sarandos, chief creative officer, Netflix (No. 2)
"He is in New York, but I would switch jobs with Lorne Michaels (No. 38) for a day anytime."

Steve Burke, CEO, NBCUniversal, and senior executive vp, Comcast Corp. (No. 3)
"Lorne Michaels (No. 38)."

Leslie Moonves, president and CEO, CBS Corp. (No. 4)
“Charlie Rose.”

James Murdoch, CEO, 21st Century Fox (No. 5)
"Jason Momoa for the tomahawks and Guinness.”

Lachlan Murdoch, executive chairman, 21st Century Fox (No. 5)
“One of our National Geographic photographers or cinematographers, whose work I think is consistently awesome.”

Bob Bakish, president/CEO, Viacom (No. 6)
“[Universal Music Group CEO] Lucian Grainge. I always loved music and still do.”

Oprah Winfrey, CEO, OWN (No. 9)
“Bob Iger (No. 1), CEO of Happiness.”

Peter Rice, chairman/CEO, Fox Networks Group (No. 10)
“A National Geographic photographer — Paul Nicklen”

Emma Watts, vice chairman and president of production, 20th Century Fox Film (No. 12)
“Skip Brittenham”

Dana Walden, CEO/chairman, Fox TV Group (No. 16)
“Ted Sarandos (No. 2), so that I could see Netflix's ratings.”

Gary Newman, CEO/chairman, Fox TV Group (No. 16)
“I would like to work as an executive producer of one of our series to understand the pressures of that job and see whether studio and network input is helping or hurting.”

John Lasseter, chief creative officer, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios (No. 17)
“I think I have the best job in Hollywood, so I would switch with a ride operator at the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland ... which is the best job in the world.”

Jon Feltheimer, CEO, Lionsgate Entertainment (No. 20)
“I wouldn’t."

Bonnie Hammer, chairman, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment (No. 21)
“Maitre d' at one of the top industry restaurants. Imagine the relationships you'd forge, the stories you'd hear, your control over the pecking order! Talk about power!”

Ben Sherwood, co-chairman, Disney Media Networks and President, Disney/ABC TV Group (No. 22)
“Dave Roberts, manager of the Dodgers. Go Blue!”

Richard Plepler, CEO, HBO (No. 23)
“Jimmy Iovine. Nobody's living better than Jimmy.”

John Landgraf, CEO, FX Networks (No. 24)
“My present self in this same job 10 years ago — now that I know how easy the job used to be...”

Tony Vinciquerra, chairman/CEO, Sony Pictures Entertainment (No. 26)
“I just did that!”

Tom Rothman, chairman, Motion Picture Group, Sony Pictures Entertainment (No. 26)
“Is this a trick question? Hello, Leo [DiCaprio] (No. 39).”

Robert Greenblatt, chairman, NBC (No. 27)
“John Lasseter (No. 17).”

Jennifer Salke, president, NBC (No. 27)
“To be working in the writers room on This is Us. I just love it so much and everyone involved.”

Paul Telegdy, president, alternative & reality, NBC Entertainment (No. 27)
“Chris Meledandri (No. 29) — I think I could learn a lot from him in a day.”

Ryan Murphy, writer/producer (No. 28)
“The person who does the topiaries on the Fox lot. That’s a great gig, and my kids would be so impressed. They are obsessed with those topiaries. And I used to be a gardening designer.”

Chris Meledandri, CEO, Illumination Entertainment (No. 29)
“Jeff Bezos — just to see the world through his eyes.”

David Kramer, managing director, United Talent Agency (No. 33)
“Samantha Bee. I’d be brilliant, hilarious and my teenage daughters would worship me.”

Jeremy Zimmer, CEO, United Talent Agency (No. 33)
"Jay-Z. I would enjoy having his perspective and impact on pop culture."

David Nevins, CEO, Showtime Networks (No. 36)
“Terry Gross or Howard Stern. I’d like to ask them questions.”

Jason Blum, founder/CEO, Blumhouse Productions (No. 40)
“Richard Plepler (No. 23)."

Josh Sapan, president/CEO, AMC Networks (No. 42)
“Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould. I would pray that some of their talent and generosity found its way to me.”

Charlie Collier, president/GM, AMC (No. 42)
“Bob Iger (No. 1). What breadth of perspective.”

Ellen DeGeneres, talk show host/producer (No. 43)
“Whoever has to wake up The Bachelor contestants every morning. I bet that’d be a real sight to see.”

Scott Stuber, vp original film, Netflix (No. 45)
“John Williams. I lack musical talent and I would love to be inside the head of someone who has elevated so many films with his brilliance.”

Greg Berlanti, writer/producer (No. 52)
“A young staff writer on any show. I loved being a baby writer when all I had to worry about was the script I was working on.”

Mary Parent, vice chair, worldwide productions, Legendary Entertainment (No. 53)
“Anything related to reality TV, which I love. Casting director or editor ideally.”

David Zaslav, president/CEO, Discovery Communications (No. 56)
“Ron Meyer (No. 11), because I’d know what it feels like to be loved by everyone.”

Gary Barber, chairman/CEO (No. 54)
“Sports agent."

Mark Burnett, president, TV and digital group, MGM (No. 54)
“Bob Iger (No. 1). This needs no explanation.”

Kevin Reilly, president, TNT/TBS, and chief creative officer, Turner (No. 58)
“Jay-Z (we’re very similar).”

Simon Kinberg, writer/producer (No. 59)
“Bob Iger (No. 1). ESPN, Star Wars and Disneyland in a day.”

Mark Pedowitz, president, The CW (No. 60)
“I wouldn't switch jobs with anyone, I have the best job around.”

Chris Albrecht, CEO, Starz (No. 61)
“Jeff Bezos.”

Diane Nelson, president, DC Entertainment (No. 64) 
“Patty Jenkins (No. 94). To feel demand for your talent, regardless of gender, and knowing you are creating films that are going to leave lifetime imprints.”

Jon Berg, co-president, production and development, Warner Bros. Pictures (No. 64)
“Clint Eastwood (No. 63). Who wouldn't want to be Clint for one day? I'd just keep giving myself his patented ‘what you looking at’ stare.”

Geoff Johns, president/chief creative officer, DC Entertainment (No. 64)
“Working on bringing DC's heroes and villains to the screen is the greatest job I could've dreamed of. But if it was one day ... I would pull a Freaky Friday with Stephen Spielberg (No. 32) so I could read the new Indiana Jones script, get the new Gremlins movie greenlit and have lunch with Harrison Ford.”

Adam Fogelson, chairman, STXFilms Motion Picture Group (No. 66)
“Chris Pratt (No. 89).”

Tyler Perry, actor/producer and CEO, Tyler Perry Studios (No. 67)
“Kathy Griffin, on the day she took the photo with Trump’s head, so I could have talked her out of it.”

Zack Van Amburg, president, U.S. programming and production, Sony Pictures TV (No. 69)
“Ari Emmanuel (No. 13). He says what he means, is fearless, hard-charging and is a voracious reader. Plus, I'd get to tell agents what to do instead of the other way around!”

Ava DuVernay, director/producer (No. 70)
“Ted Sarandos (No. 2). I'd like to know how it feels to be the industry's biggest disruptor and have those deep pockets, too. I'd make it a shopping day."

Kelly Kahl, entertainment president, CBS (No. 71)
“Stephen Colbert or James Corden.”

Thom Sherman, senior executive vp programming, CBS (No. 71)
"Jim Nantz.”

Noah Hawley, writer/producer (No. 76)
“Wes Anderson. He just looks like he has so much fun. There’s something to the level of playfulness and just really chasing something that’s in his head that seems disconnected from any kind of note process. Plus, doesn’t he live in Paris? It’s like a whole thing.”

Kevin Hart, actor/comedian (No. 80)
“If I could take anybody’s job, I’d take my job. I love what I do. I don’t want to do anything else.”

Shawn Levy, director/producer (No. 81)
“Literally no one. I love my job.”

Brett Ratner, CEO, RatPac Entertainment (No. 82)
“Dwayne Johnson (No. 34). He has great calves.”

Jeff Skoll, founder, Participant Media (No. 83)
“The fellow who welcomes people onto the Universal studio lot.”

David Linde, CEO, Participant Media (No. 83)
“My assistant.”

Steve Harvey, talk show host/producer (No. 84)
“I’d choose Peter Roth (No. 72), the head of Warner Bros., and then I’d greenlight every show I ever took to him.”

Dan Fogelman, writer/producer (No. 88)
“Milo Ventimiglia. It’d be nice to have that ass for a day.”

Jordan Peele, filmmaker/producer/actor (No. 93)
“The Rock (No.34).”

Patty Jenkins, director (No. 94)
“Clint Eastwood (No. 63). Seems like he has such a great and impressive body of work that now he really gets to do what he wants to do, and is supported in it. What an ultimate dream and goal.”

Brian Grazer, partner, Imagine Entertainment (No. 95)
“Bob Iger (No. 1), for sure. I don't think I'm the guy to do it on a full-time basis, but it would be really really interesting to just see, feel and/or touch all the different businesses that he has expertise on.”

Barry Jenkins, writer/director (No. 97)
“My lawyer, Jamie Feldman. He just seems like he's always having fun.”

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