Trump bumps? The new normal for players like Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper, Alec Baldwin and Megyn Kelly on THR's annual list: setting the news agenda, sparking Twitter tirades and creating great TV (and magazines … and Snapchat video).
WHY HE MATTERS Under the stewardship of Angelo, 43, Rupert Murdoch's U.S. tabloid is the country's fifth largest newspaper (227,657 circulation) despite declines — and online readership is booming. In November, the Post Digital Network — which includes NYPost.com, PageSix.com and Decider.com — recorded an all-time-high multiplatform audience of 76 million. Angelo, who in 2016 oversaw Stephen Lynch's transition to editor-in-chief following Col Allan' retirement, will expand the paper's footprint with the fall premiere of a syndicated daily show based on the Page Six column. On April 6, the married dad of one son picked up one more News Corp. title: chief of digital advertising solutions, which will have him overseeing a new advertising platform for the company.
HAS TRUMP EVER CALLED? "I've been a reporter, editor and publisher in NYC for 20 years. What do you think?"
MOST NEW YORK MOMENT IN THE PAST YEAR "Every day at the New York Post is a 'most New York moment.'"
WHY HE MATTERS No pop culture figure has benefited more from Donald Trump's ascent. In an era where the absurd reigns, Baldwin, 59 — who has a daughter, Ireland, with ex Kim Basinger, and three kids under 4 with wife Hilaria — is blurring the lines of stardom and satire with a memoir (Nevertheless) and a parody memoir (You Can't Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year as President Donald J. Trump) coming in November. In addition to emceeing ABC's Match Game revival, the two-time Emmy winner has hosted Saturday Night Live a record 17 times, and his Trump portrayal (he also did double duty as Fox News' Bill O'Reilly interviewing Trump on the April 8 broadcast) has been a key factor in this season's spike: It's averaging 11 million viewers in its most watched season in 23 years.
DREAM INTERVIEW "Obama"
HILLARY'S NEXT ACT SHOULD BE … "After Trump is gone, secretary-general of the United Nations."
MOST NEW YORK MOMENT IN THE PAST YEAR "When Kate McKinnon and I, as Hillary and Trump, ventured out into Times Square on SNL. And my daughter Carmen shouts at people on the street: 'I don't like you!' She is a true New Yorker."
PREFERRED NEWS DETOX "Surfing YouTube."
WHEN HIS ALARM GOES OFF "[Our daughter] Carmen is up at 5:30 a.m."
HIS ALARM RINGTONE "The Blagovesti Chimes"
FAVORITE NYC DISH "The eggplant parmigiana at Brothers Pizza in Fresh Meadows. Or, the mushroom-onion omelette at Barney Greengrass."
WHO TO FOLLOW ON SOCIAL MEDIA "My wife and Sarah Silverman."
THE SECRET LIFE OF HIS PETS "Our two dogs are two New Yorkers dreaming of retiring to East Hampton"
WHY HE MATTERS Trump has tweeted nearly 20 times since the election that the paper is "failing" and on April 5 met with the Times' Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush, piling on the critiques and accusations of bias. But speaking truth to power has been good for business: The company's stock price is up 30 percent since early November, with net digital subscriptions surging 276,000 to 1.6 million total by the end of 2016. The Times also won three Pulitzers on April 10. Says Baquet, 60, a married father of one adult son, "Not only is the president wrong, but people think it is a necessary read."
MOST NEW YORK MOMENT IN THE PAST YEAR "Riding the new subway on the East Side. Love the murals."
WHY SHE MATTERS As the only female in the linear late-night landscape, the 47-year-old mother of three has transformed her TBS weekly show into appointment TV. Full Frontal lures more than 4 million viewers across platforms and generates viral segments about everyone from Matt Lauer to Trump. On April 29, Bee will buzz in D.C. with the Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner, a satirical event airing on TBS the night of the Trump-free WHCA dinner.
WHY HE MATTERS Since transitioning from programmer to pop culture personality, Cohen has become the biggest star at Bravo, the cable network he originally joined as a creative exec. He hosts his boozy talker, Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, from an upgraded and expanded studio in the West Village. And a young but modest nightly audience of 820,000 laps up his frank Q&As with Real Housewives and real Oscar winners alike. The 48-year-old boasts his own SiriusXM channel and four best-sellers (2016's Superficial being the latest). He also recently booked his first big broadcast host gig: He fills the Chuck Woolery void in an updated Love Connection, premiering May 25 on Fox.
DREAM INTERVIEW "Michelle Obama, who's done every show but mine."
WHO TO FOLLOW ON SOCIAL MEDIA Amy Sedaris on Instagram.
FIRST QUESTION FOR TRUMP "What is it about gold?"
FAVORITE NYC DISH "Cheeseburger from Corner Bistro."
MOST NEW YORK MOMENT IN THE PAST YEAR "Anderson [Cooper] and I bringing our tour to the Beacon Theater. We sold out and it was an amazing night for both of us."
In February 2016, several days after a huge post-Super Bowl audience watched an awkward and rambling Late Show, CBS chief Leslie Moonves invited Colbert to dinner at the 21 Club. The host was ushered into a private room where Moonves and Glenn Geller, the network's entertainment chief, were waiting for him at a small, round table. "It looked like I was going to be assassinated," recalls Colbert. "I said, 'This really feels like a scene from Goodfellas. There's no plastic on the floor, is there?' "
Moonves came prepared with specific notes, and one that still stands out for Colbert was a critique that a bit with Will Ferrell was too long. "He goes, 'Two-thirds would've been enough.' And I said, 'You're two-thirds of a genius.' " Moonves also insisted that Colbert hire a showrunner to help manage the enormous workload of a five-day-a-week broadcast program, and a few weeks later, Chris Licht, then executive producer of CBS This Morning, was brought in.
Licht's stabilizing influence was felt by the staff immediately, but it wasn't until the conventions that the audience started to perceive it. "The live shows forced all of us, every part of this operation, to start firing on all cylinders because there's no room for error, and they gave the show a certain sense of urgency," says Licht, who encouraged Colbert to be his genuine self onstage.
Since then, Colbert's monologue has become a nightly deconstruction of the existential angst his audience is feeling about Trump's presidency. The comedy bits, too, have become much more topical and biting; several have featured cameos from pal and executive producer Jon Stewart.
By the first week in February, shortly after Trump's inauguration, Colbert had edged out the apolitical Jimmy Fallon (who wasn't helped by his widely mocked tousling of Trump's hair during the campaign) by 20,000 viewers, the first time The Late Show topped The Tonight Show since Colbert's massively hyped premiere in September 2015. Though Fallon retains a narrow edge among viewers 18-to-49, Colbert's streak now stands at 10 weeks. In the first quarter, Late Show averaged 3.29 million viewers a night compared with The Tonight Show's 3.02 million, a 17 percent year-over-year jump for Colbert and a 17 percent sag for Fallon. "All those naysayers who were writing him off — not fair," says Moonves. "I knew there were growing pains. Was I concerned? Of course. Was I worried? No."
Read Colbert's full cover story here.
WHY HE MATTERS Cooper has been the face of CNN for 15 years and his hourlong broadcast ranks as the network's most watched (1.4 million viewers) and demo-friendly (470,000 in 25-to-54). The past year saw the 49-year-old moderate a presidential debate alongside ABC's Martha Raddatz and produce a successful HBO doc (Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper) with Liz Garbus. (There's also a tie-in New York Times best-seller, The Rainbow Comes and Goes.) With 9.25 million Twitter followers and another 1 million checking Instagram for his silver fox selfies, the 60 Minutes contributor by far has the biggest social following of any TV journalist.
WHO TO FOLLOW ON SOCIAL MEDIA "My favorite Instagram account is lgbt_history. It reminds me of all those who came before, upon whose shoulders I stand."
PREFERRED NEWS DETOX "I binge-watch drama series — Narcos, Billions, The Fall. I like shows that take me out of my own life."
WHY HE MATTERS Under the leadership of Fager, 62, the Sunday stalwart continues to get the "gets": This year alone, correspondents — Lesley Stahl, Steve Kroft, Anderson Cooper, Scott Pelley and Bill Whitaker, the newest member of the corps — landed an exclusive with President-elect Trump, President Obama's exit interview and sit-downs with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Turkey's authoritarian president, Recep Erdogan. Fager also hammered out a deal to bring Oprah Winfrey to the program as a contributor beginning this fall. Pulling in more than 13 million viewers a week, 60 Minutes will mark its 50th anniversary next season — for which Fager, a married father of three, is at work on a book about the program's impact.
HAS TRUMP EVER CALLED? "He called me after the interview to ask if he had broken any ratings records."
WHY HE MATTERS He may be losing some edge to Stephen Colbert's more political Late Show, but Fallon, 42, remains the undisputed king of late night among the young. He has won the 18-to-49 demo every week this season, even when his show was in repeats and his rivals aired originals. A-list bookings and creative bits have guaranteed the married father of two a spot on NBC's schedule through 2021.
FIRST QUESTION FOR TRUMP "What's your Twitter password?"
HILLARY'S NEXT ACT SHOULD BE … “I don't know. Host The Apprentice? Park Ranger?”
PREFERRED NEWS DETOX “The Headspace meditation app. I'm on level 3.”
WHAT TIME HIS ALARM GOES OFF "Whenever someone says, 'We're out of gin.'"
MOST NEW YORK MOMENT IN THE PAST YEAR “I took some selfies with some fans and talked to them for almost 20 minutes one morning — as I turned around to continue my walk I heard them scream. ‘OMG! Jimmy Kimmel!’”
FAVORITE NYC COCKTAIL “Anything at Eleven Madison Park and the Jazmine at Raines Law Room. Any cocktail that has the same name as a Disney princess — I'm in.”
THE SECRET LIFE OF HIS PET “I have a Golden Retriever named Gary who is actually the head writer of The Tonight Show. Which is probably why 90 percent of my monologue is jokes about cats.”
WHY HE MATTERS In his two years atop the news operation, British 46-year-old Goldston (a father of three sons with wife Laura Trevelyan, a BBC anchor) has kept Good Morning America the most watched morning newscast for the fifth year running, despite the demo advantage for NBC's Today. GMA averages 4.6 million viewers, while primetime's World News Tonight generates an audience 8.9 million strong — separated from perennial leader NBC Nightly News by an incremental 33,000 viewers. Smaller properties are proving just as mighty, with 18-year highs for the George Stephanopoulos-hosted This Week and a turnaround for previously free-falling The View. Since moving under Goldston's purview, the panel show has reclaimed its No. 1 status over CBS rival The Talk.
PREFERRED NEWS DETOX "Riding a Citi Bike home after World News — pleasing ideas usually come to me when I'm huffing and puffing my way over the Brooklyn Bridge, sweating in a suit."
WHO TO FOLLOW ON SOCIAL MEDIA "Various members of the Chelsea Football team — and I do enjoy Piers Morgan's tortured tweets on Arsenal's demise."
WHY THEY MATTER Smith, 40, leads a team of 275 reporters across 14 countries and has taken on an expanded role overseeing the online publisher's health team and video news operations. The married father of three set media tongues wagging in January when he gave the go-ahead for BuzzFeed to publish an unverified 35-page dossier on Trump's alleged connections to Russian spies. It drew critics and a defamation lawsuit, but has been read by more than 6 million (BuzzFeed garners 240 million monthly page views). More than 22 million people watched the first season of Hamby's Snapchat show, which featured interview subjects Bernie Sanders and Sen. Cory Booker. The 35-year-old, a rare newsman reaching young consumers, says he left CNN for the digital platform in 2015 because he saw the opportunity to present news "in a totally refreshing and dynamic way for young audiences." It's working: The show's second season debut episode had 6 million unique viewers.
DREAM INTERVIEW Hamby: "I've interviewed Joe Biden, but I want to interview Joe in character as Diamond Joe Biden. Or Joan Didion about our political state of being." Smith: Rupert Murdoch
PREFERRED NEWS DETOX Hamby: "Cooking a Sunday night feast while listening to records." Smith: Fishing
FAVORITE NYC DISH Hamby: "Vodka sauce pizza at Rubirosa." Smith: "Goat curry at Purple Yam."
WHY HE MATTERS Holt's unflappable persona was on display last fall while he moderated the first presidential debate amid a firestorm over Trump's penchant for alternative facts. He turned in an understated performance, respectfully pushing back ("The record shows otherwise," he said when Trump re-stated a false claim about not supporting the Iraq War). While it wasn't forceful enough for many armchair pundits, Trump criticized Holt for "very unfair questions." Which means Holt, 58, must have done something right. The married father of two grown sons, with NBC since 2003, has brought the same steady leadership to Nightly News. Since he took over in June 2015 after the Brian Williams debacle, the broadcast has won every quarter in the 25-to-54 demographic, averaging 8.8 million viewers a night for the first three months of this year.
WHO TO FOLLOW ON SOCIAL MEDIA "Dateline NBC's Josh Mankiewicz. He always makes me smile."
THE SECRET LIFE OF HIS PET “I have a pet Labradoodle puppy named Lucy. Her secret life is as a quality inspector at a shoe factory, which explains why she is systematically absconding with our footwear and putting them to the puppy-teeth check.”
WHY SHE MATTERS When Kelly made her free agency known in 2016, she received an eye-popping four-year, $100 million offer from Fox News parent 21st Century Fox. She passed it up, leaving the network where the former lawyer forged her reputation as a tenacious interviewer for a multishow deal at NBC News reportedly worth between $15 million and $18 million annually. Her portfolio will include a daytime show, a Sunday evening newsmagazine and event coverage. Along the way, Kelly, 46 and a married mother of three, became a symbol of female empowerment, taking on her onetime boss Roger Ailes as well as the president in her best-selling memoir, Settle for More. Her debut this year as host of a morning show (taking over an hour of Today) is sure to be the most closely watched in the industry.
HAS TRUMP EVER CALLED? "He and I have been in touch since his victory — I called him — and had a great talk. He was quite gracious."
ALARM RINGTONE "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!!!!!"
WHO TO FOLLOW ON SOCIAL MEDIA "Kat Timpf — she's hysterical and well worth the follow."
WHY THEY MATTER Entering his third year on the job, Lack now presides over a slate of No. 1's. Nightly News, Today, Meet the Press and Dateline all are besting their competition in the 25-to-54 demo, and Today, which brings in about $500 million a year in advertising, has been No. 1 in the demo for 19 straight months. Lack, 69 and a self-described "Southern Jew from Mississippi" whose career in TV news began at 60 Minutes, also lured Megyn Kelly from Fox News, acquired a $30 million, 25 percent stake in the Euronews network and forged partnerships with digital players like BuzzFeed. In February, he elevated Oppenheim to president, replacing Deborah Turness, who relocated to Euronews in France. Oppenheim, 38, a married dad of three, back-burnered a screen-writing career (Jackie) to return to NBC News, where he got his start as a producer on Hardball With Chris Matthews. He's not only stabilized Today after a ratings downturn several years ago, but he's also weathered the exits of Billy Bush and Tamron Hall. Longtime MSNBC chief Griffin, 60, the married father of two grown children, saw 2016 become the network's most-watched year. And MSNBC averaged 1.46 million viewers in primetime in the recent first quarter, beating CNN.
HAS TRUMP EVER CALLED? Griffin: "He started calling me all the time in 2011 to say Lawrence O'Donnell was a 'third-rate' anchor."
FAVORITE NYC DISH Oppenheim: “Sturgeon & eggs at Barney Greengrass. Doesn’t get more New York than that.”
MOST NEW YORK MOMENT IN THE PAST YEAR Griffin: “My front-row seat to misery, again, at the Mets-Giants wildcard game.”
WHY THEY MATTER After two decades in the Today anchor chair, Lauer, 59, remains a source of stability at the NBC mainstay. In November, the married father of three extended his contract through 2018 for a reported $20 million a year. With co-host Guthrie, 45, he has returned Today to ratings superiority among adults 25-to-54, edging out ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning. In a standout moment, Lauer snagged the first Olympic interview with Ryan Lochte in which the swimmer apologized for lying to officials about an alleged gas station robbery in Rio. Guthrie, for her part, signed a new long-term deal at the end of 2016, just as she departed for maternity leave. On her first day back (days earlier than expected), she and Lauer scored an exclusive two-hour interview with George W. Bush that saw the former president dish on the Trump administration.
WHAT TIME THE ALARM GOES OFF Lauer: "4:10 a.m. Same time each weekday for the past 25 years." Guthrie: "Slacking off at 4 a.m."
DREAM INTERVIEW Guthrie: "FBI Director James Comey. And a distant second, the guy who messed up the Oscars."
FAVORITE COCKTAIL Lauer: "Tito's Vodka, very cold, straight up, with a twist of lemon."
PREFERRED NEWS DETOX Guthrie: "The Net-a-Porter shopping app."
WHY THEY MATTER Cord-cutting continues to bedevil the industry, but as McManus says, sports "remains the best must-carry weapon to motivate people to watch programming live on television." And these three leaders are all in. At CBS, McManus, 62, a married father of two, recently renewed Thursday Night Football (almost 15 million viewers) and extended rights for the NCAA Tournament (about 10 million, with the April 3 final game up 21 percent from last year) through 2032. Skipper, 61, a married father of two, has been cutting back on expensive on-air talent at ESPN but has been willing to pay $8 billion for programming including NBA games and such award-winning fare as O.J.: Made in America. NBC's Lazarus, 53, a married father of three, is one of the biggest evangelists for the Olympics — and 2016's Rio edition scored mightily, with 27.5 million viewers across platforms.
DREAM INTERVIEW Lazarus: "The Pope — about the Olympics and the World Cup." McManus: "Jack Nicholson talking about his love of sports, golf and other aspects of his remarkable life."
MOST NEW YORK MOMENT IN THE PAST YEAR Lazarus: "Napping next to Angela Lansbury in a Broadway show." McManus: "Anytime I can enjoy a Mister Softee."
PREFERRED NEWS DETOX Lazarus: "Billions, Homeland, Ray Donovan." Skipper: "Reading. I spent several hours without anxiety recently reading Lincoln in the Bardo."
WHY HE MATTERS Scoring several ratings victories in the run-up to the election, Lemon continues to enjoy growth in the wake of the presidential race. The first three months of 2017 were the 51-year-old anchor's best on record, beating MSNBC time-slot rival Lawrence O'Donnell in the news demo and growing his total audience 52 percent from 2016 with an average of 1.1 million viewers. His colorful demeanor has made him a pop-culture darling. In the past two years, he's booked gigs (playing and often parodying himself) in Black-ish, Zoolander 2, Empire and The Jim Gaffigan Show. But it's the seriousness with which he takes his job that has raised his profile: In February, he took conservative panelists to task when they couldn't back up claims that negative stories about Trump were "fake news."
DREAM INTERVIEW "Obama. Then Trump. In that order."
HAS TRUMP EVER CALLED? "Several times. He called me after some of my interviews to thank me for being fair. He said he'd like to do more interviews with me. He said Melania not only liked the interviews but thought I was handsome. He seemed pleasantly surprised by both."
MOST NEW YORK MOMENT IN THE PAST YEAR "Having someone ask me for a selfie on the subway right before a random person yelled at me to get out of the f—ing way. I love New York."
FAVORITE NYC DISH "Lobster roll from Mary's Fishcamp."
Rachel Maddow, marker in hand, is contemplating a whiteboard on the wall of her show's newsroom. It's 2:20 p.m. on April 5, and on the board is a long list of topics: the removal of Steve Bannon from the National Security Council; sexual-harassment allegations encircling Fox News' Bill O'Reilly; an investigation into possible ethics violations by President Trump's EPA chief, Scott Pruitt.
The discussion among Maddow and her 20-some producers, including executive producer Cory Gnazzo, turns to Trump's evolving flexibility on military intervention into Syria after a chemical attack in a rebel-held town killed nearly 100 civilians. A producer suggests collating Trump's tweets on Syria that came when he was a private citizen: "We should stay the hell out of Syria"; "What will we get for bombing Syria besides more debt and a possible long term conflict?"; "Stay away and fix broken U.S."
Read Maddow's full Q&A h ere.
WHY HE MATTERS Meyers has parlayed a famously acrimonious Trump relationship that dates to the 2011 White House Correspondents' Dinner into must-see commentary. His NBC show beats CBS rival James Corden's The Late Late Show each week in the 18-to-49 demo and is nearly even with ABC's 11:30 p.m. entry Jimmy Kimmel Live! with the 18-to-34 set. Meyers' YouTube clips are performing, too, with his Kellyanne Conway interview racking up nearly 4 million views. Asked how he would have handled the Oscar snafu, the ever-gracious father of a 1-year-old boy offers, "I can only say I'm in awe of how Kimmel handled that moment and the whole night in general."
DREAM INTERVIEW "Merrick Garland after six drinks. He just goes off."
HAS TRUMP EVER CALLED? "It was a long voicemail on election night. Pretty rambly, but the takeaway was, 'I'm freaking out, man!' "
HILLARY'S NEXT ACT SHOULD BE … "Getting excellent at one thing, say archery — then upload tons of YouTube videos of her doing kickass archery tricks with the hopes that every day Donald Trump would overhear at least one person saying, 'Did you see that Hillary video? It was amazing!'"
WHY HE MATTERS Forty-two seasons in, Michaels' Saturday Night Live once again is must-see-TV, having its most watched season since 1993-94. Enlisting Alec Baldwin and Melissa McCarthy to play Trump and White House press secretary Sean Spicer, respectively, proved brilliant; the move has yielded rave reviews, a year-over-year uptick of more than 20 percent in the 18-to-49 demo and a growing library of viral hits for the married father of three, whose touch extends well beyond SNL: The 72-year-old also serves an as executive producer on the top-rated entries The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night With Seth Meyers.
WHY HE MATTERS Morrison, 67, successfully navigated his weekly show's most eventful year in recent memory when host Charles Osgood stepped down after 22 years. Diverging from the drama of many other morning shows' rounds of musical chairs (see: Today, Live With Kelly!), the executive producer — a 35-year veteran of CBS News who got his start in journalism as a print reporter — orchestrated a seamless transition to new host (and respected news vet) Jane Pauley in October. This season, CBS Sunday Morning continues its reign as No. 1 in its slot with an average of 6.1 million viewers. The telecast also continues to make headlines, most recently with broadcast veteran Ted Koppel's "bad for America" comments about Fox News star Sean Hannity.
DREAM INTERVIEW "Still holding out for a satisfying, lengthy chat with Woody Allen."
TIME HIS ALARM GOES OFF "Always at the last possible second."
HIS ALARM RINGTONE "There is no such thing as a good alarm ringtone."
HOW HE WOULD YOU HAVE HANDLED THE OSCAR SNAFU "There is no right way to recover from this sort of thing. Act fast — and don’t look back. The audience is enormously forgiving."
WHY THEY MATTER The reigning royalty of New York magazines, these three continue to redefine an industry in transition, turning inflamed consumer interest in politics into pay dirt. Wintour, 67, is guiding a restructuring of Conde Nast and has oversight of the ascendant Teen Vogue, which has unexpectedly gained a resonant political and cultural voice in the era of Trump. "The magazine has become not only the voice of a generation but for a generation," she says. Moss, 59, meanwhile, who says he's "never been more engaged as a journalist," has led New York's digital brands to enjoy a healthy Trump bump — traffic at news site Daily Intelligencer has more than doubled — and cranked up the magazine's entertainment and culture coverage. And while Remnick, 58, admits the present administration has forced him and his wife to institute (and regularly break) a "no-mention-of-Trump-for-at-least-15-minutes-after-waking rule," The New Yorker has found renewed political urgency with a drumbeat of influential thought pieces — and subscriptions up 220 percent since the election.
PREFERRED NEWS DETOX Moss: "I've become a kind of crazed draw-er. Something a little more committed than doodling, but not quite art. Does a good job of transporting me to a faraway place." Remnick: "Music. Bach, Haydn, Coltrane, a thousand things. My detox this morning is Dylan's jumbo collection of standards, Triplicate. Who knew Bob would end up crooning [1929's] 'Why Was I Born?' "
FAVORITE PLACE TO EAT IN NEW YORK Wintour: "Home."
WHY HE MATTERS The last time ABC held the top spot in the evening news wars was 21 years ago, when Peter Jennings was anchor and Oprah Winfrey was the lead-in. But Muir's World News is the most-watched evening newscast thanks to a series of big gets (Trump in his first post-inauguration interview, Hillary Clinton in an exclusive one-on-one right after she clinched the presidential nomination and Pope Francis — in Spanish). Since taking the anchor chair in 2014, Muir has closed a more than 1 million viewer gap with NBC. In addition to moderating Republican and Democratic primary debates, Muir, 43, impressed by fact-checking Trump on the latter's claims of widespread voter fraud. He's logged 14 international reporting trips since taking over for anchor Diane Sawyer, including one to Havana for an exclusive interview with President Obama that marked the first trip by a U.S. president to the island nation in 88 years.
HILLARY'S NEXT ACT SHOULD BE … "That’s entirely up to her, but I would love for her to reveal it across from me."
PREFERRED NEWS DETOX "Listening to Spotify's Global Top 50 and running to Drake's 'Passionfruit.' "
FAVORITE NYC DISH "The burger at Union Square Cafe. It’s the best burger. It’s really good after a workout."
MOST NEW YORK MOMENT IN THE PAST YEAR "Telling Naomi Watts that I loved her in that Woody Allen movie. My friends were horrified and told me she wasn't in a Woody Allen movie. Then I googled it in the bathroom, and she was. It was You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.
WHY THEY MATTER Eight months ago, Murdoch, the 86-year-old patriarch of Fox News parent 21st Century Fox, elevated Shine and Abernethy, veterans of the network, as co-presidents of the top-rated cable news channel and its offshoot Fox Business Network — with Shine, 53, handling programming and Abernethy, 60, focusing on business operations. The unprecedented 2016 presidential election helped them hit the ground running. Fox News closed out the year as the fifth-most-watched network in primetime on all of television — behind only the broadcast Big Four (NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox). Meanwhile, the first quarter of the year — encompassing the inauguration and early tumultuous days of the Trump administration — was the highest-rated quarter in network history, averaging 2.8 million viewers in primetime and 1.7 million in total day and marking 61 quarters as the top news network on television. And with profit approaching $1.7 billion in 2016, according to SNL Kagan, Fox News is still the largest profit driver in Murdoch's portfolio. All this helped to put the scandalous ouster last summer of founding CEO Roger Ailes amid myriad sexual-harassment accusations in Murdoch's rearview mirror — until recent revelations of similar accusations against network ratings star and brand standard bearer Bill O'Reilly and settlement payments totaling $13 million (some of which were previously known). O'Reilly has denied the accusations, and the network renewed his deal while it recently launched an investigation into one of the claims. But two of the settlements occurred after Ailes' ouster, spurring advertiser flight, if not viewer defection. For Shine, a married father of two, and Abernethy, married with two grown children, the stakes couldn't be higher as they work to bolster morale and maintain the network's ratings and financial momentum.
PREFERRED NEWS DETOX Shine: "Watching sports and playing golf." Abernethy: "Guided meditation."
MOST NEW YORK MOMENT IN THE PAST YEAR Shine: "Going to London to watch the New York Giants beat the Rams." Abernethy: "The Mets in a one-game playoff vs. the San Francisco Giants."
EVER HAD A "BBC DAD" MOMENT? Abernethy: “Are you sure that was real? It looked staged.”
WHY HE MATTERS Noah is beginning to emerge from the shadow of Jon Stewart with his own brand of political satire and biting commentary on race relations in America filtered through his upbringing as the biracial son of a black mother and white Swiss father in apartheid South Africa. It's resonating with millennials; in addition to being the top talk show among adults 18-to-34, The Daily Show had its most watched month ever in February averaging 1.5 million viewers, up 6 percent from 2016. Add in VOD, digital and mobile platforms, and The Daily Show reaches a weekly audience of 7.5 million. Noah, 33, also earned raves for his November memoir, Born a Crime, which has spent 18 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list.
DREAM INTERVIEW "Donald Trump, but I don't know what he would give us. I think it'd be a fun interview to get, just to see if we could approach it differently."
FIRST QUESTION FOR TRUMP "Knowing now how hard it is to be president of the United States of America, would he go back and maybe undo some of the criticisms he threw at President Barack Obama? Playing golf is a good example. He was so adamant that he would never play golf if he were president — and now we see him playing golf. He goes, 'I need the time, I need to rest.' Is it possible that you didn't know how hard this was?"
WHO TO FOLLOW ON SOCIAL MEDIA "On Instagram, Tank.Sinatra — some of the funniest memes. Twitter is Donald Trump because his Twitter feed is where you get the real views of the presidency."
FAVORITE NYC DISH "Sweetgreens salads."
WHY HE MATTERS In its fourth season, Oliver's Sunday night half-hour has become a reliable destination for some of TV's most biting Trump takedowns. The Daily Show alum, 39, scored big at 2016's Emmys, taking home three trophies, including the top prize for variety talk series. Tackling timely topics such as Donald Trump's taxes, federal budget cuts and Vladimir Putin, the show is enjoying its largest audience to date with nearly 6 million viewers on all platforms, up 6 percent from season three.
DREAM INTERVIEW "Probably the queen. In order of preference, it would actually be Helen Mirren dressed as the queen and then the queen herself. I find Helen Mirren to be a more likable version of the queen than the real one."
MOST NEW YORK MOMENT IN THE PAST YEAR "I saw a man in a bodega tell a cat to go f— itself. Does that count?"
WHY HE MATTERS At press time, O'Reilly still had a job. But he continues to be dogged by accusations of sexual harassment, first detailed in an April 1 New York Times exposé revealing that Fox News parent company 21st Century Fox and O'Reilly, 67, had paid out approximately $13 million to settle such claims. Then former O'Reilly Factor guest Wendy Walsh came forward about her past encounter with the host and called for an independent investigation. Despite it all, O'Reilly's ratings remain strong — total viewership is up 17 percent to 4 million viewers, marking The O'Reilly Factor's highest-rated quarter in cable news history — and the divorced father of two has a new book, Old School (about "traditional values") debuting at No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list April 16. But nearly 50 advertisers have fled the show. And on April 8, Fox confirmed it was opening an investigation into the allegations. O'Reilly spoke to THR for this article before April 1.
HILLARY'S NEXT ACT SHOULD BE ... "If I were advising Hillary Clinton, I would suggest that she redefine the Clinton Foundation and then travel the world doing visible charitable work. I would point to Jimmy Carter as a role model."
TIME HIS ALARM GOES OFF "Never have I needed an alarm clock. I set a wake up time in my head when I go to sleep and, presto, my eyes open. It's a zen thing. Usually I'm up around 7:30."
MOST NEW YORK MOMENT IN THE PAST YEAR "As a born and bred New Yorker, I get Big Apple moments all the time. Because everybody knows me, I get to talk to the cops and city workers about life on a regular basis. Most of them believe the city is in decline due to chaotic governance."
WHY HE MATTERS Hannity's Fox News show delivered its highest-rated quarter ever at 10 p.m. with 2.5 million viewers — and the host's close relationship with the president has its benefits: He scored one of the first interviews with Trump after the inauguration. Hannity, 55, a married father of two, clearly connects with Trump's ardent working class supporters; he spent a decade working as a contractor before forging a profile as a conservative radio host. And he notes that a highlight of his year was “getting to see Trump kick Hillary’s ass.” But he has also diverged with the president, if rarely. About the failed health care bill, Hannity noted on his program it “was flawed from the beginning” and “that made it a disaster.”
DREAM INTERVIEW “To debate Obama one-on-one for an hour.”
HILLARY'S NEXT ACT SHOULD BE ... "To disappear."
TIME HIS ALARM GOES OFF “Never. I don’t sleep.”
PREFERRED NEWS DETOX "Watching Homeland."
WHY HE MATTERS Under Pelley, 59, Evening News is nabbing its best ratings in a decade, with audience gains for six consecutive seasons, though it still trails ABC and NBC. As the broadcast's managing editor and the longest-tenured anchor among his nightly rivals, he has reported on such stories as the Orlando nightclub shootings, the Dallas cop killings, and both the Democratic and Republican national conventions. In 2016, Pelley, a married father of two who also serves as a full-time correspondent on 60 Minutes, received the Cronkite Award for excellence in journalism.
FIRST QUESTION FOR TRUMP "What adversity has changed your life?"
PREFERRED METHOD OF NEWS DETOX Sailing
MOST NEW YORK MOMENT IN THE PAST YEAR “Blowing a tire on an Amsterdam Avenue pothole. New York is the largest city in the world without paved roads.”
FAVORITE NEW YORK DISH “Gigantes at Ousia on West 57th Street.”
WHY HE MATTERS Rhodes' brand proposition — "real news" — for his division has become a prescient mantra in the era of "fake news." 60 Minutes and Sunday Morning continue to dominate the newsmagazine field — in tune-in and quality. Now Rhodes, 43, is busy extending the brand to digital with CBSN, which set a viewership record of more than 90 million streams during the fourth quarter of 2016. Rhodes in February abruptly fired CBSN anchor Josh Elliott — the platform's biggest name (though Elaine Quijano's profile jumped when she was chosen to moderate October's vice presidential debate). But other personnel moves have been seamless: Ryan Kadro's promotion to executive producer of CBS This Morning (replacing Chris Licht, who was tapped for Late Show) and naming Jane Pauley to replace Charles Osgood on Sunday Morning. With about 3.7 million viewers a day, CBS This Morning is delivering CBS' best numbers in the time slot in 29 years.
FIRST QUESTION FOR TRUMP "Will the first president from Queens be the one who fixes the L.I.E. [Long Island Expressway]?"
HAS TRUMP EVER CALLED? “No. And I’m good with that.”
WHY SHE MATTERS After her savvy handling of being blindsided by former co-host Michael Strahan's Good Morning America move in May, which she parlayed into an executive producer credit and a larger say in choosing his Live replacement, Ripa is expected to announce her new co-host in the coming months — not that she needs one, with ratings thriving during her solo season. With an average daily audience of 3.3 million, she is outperformed among syndicated talkers only by Dr. Phil. The married mom of three, 46, who welcomed both Trump and Clinton as guests during the campaign, remains a busy producer. The next project for her SoHo-based Milojo Productions (with her husband and occasional co-host, Mark Consuelos), Fire Island, premieres April 27 on Logo.
HILLARY'S NEXT ACT SHOULD BE ... "My co-host."
HER ALARM RINGTONE "Ain't Nobody" by Chaka Khan
FAVORITE NYC DISH "Hen-of-the-woods mushrooms from the Polo Bar."
FAVORITE NYC COCKTAIL "Dirty martini from the Polo Bar."
WHO TO FOLLOW ON SOCIAL MEDIA "@PassengerShaming on Instagram. It's the greatest account and everyone should be following it."
WHY THEY MATTER Despite losing longtime showrunner Chris Licht to Stephen Colbert a year ago, CBS This Morning continues to make strides against Today and GMA. Up 2 percent in total viewers (3.7 million), the show in March came within 144,000 viewers of Today — its smallest margin ever. Recent big interview gets for the host trio (Rose, 75; married mother of three O'Donnell, 43; and King, 62, who has two adult children) include the Clintons (Rose), Trump and Paul Ryan (O'Donnell), and Ivanka Trump on April 4 (King).
DREAM INTERVIEW O'Donnell (for three years running): "Kim Jong-un in North Korea. I lived in South Korea as a kid." Rose: "Two polar opposites: Pope Francis and ISIS leader Al-Baghdadi."
PREFERRED NEWS DETOX King: "I have no desire for news detox."
FIRST QUESTION FOR TRUMP King: "What about this job has: 1. Humbled 2. Shocked 3. Scared 4. Delighted you?" Rose: "Why?"
MOST NEW YORK MOMENT IN THE PAST YEAR O’Donnell: "Getting a small dog."
WHY THEY MATTER With one of the wealthiest, most educated audiences in morning news (and the president often a viewer), their show remains MSNBC's crown jewel. And on the ratings front, it's delivering big in the Trump era: For the first quarter of 2017, Morning Joe averaged 793,000 total viewers (ahead of CNN's 584,000, but still trailing Fox & Friends) — 182,000 in the coveted 25-to-54 demo — and posted the biggest total audience in the 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. period in MSNBC history. Joe capped off March by beating CNN for the 25th straight month and posting a gain of 43 percent in total viewers. Divorced mother of two Brzezinski, 49, made headlines in March with her Kellyanne Conway ban, while the right-leaning Scarborough, 54 — twice divorced and a father of four — attended Trump's speech to Congress in February (though he increasingly is critical of the president). "We could either have a president who rebounds if he follows the advice of many of his allies, who are saying, 'Reach out to Democrats and be a unifying figure,' or we could be headed toward what Mika fears, a possible constitutional crisis," says Scarborough. "The fact that we have no idea which path Donald Trump is going to lead this country down is what makes our job so challenging."
FIRST QUESTION FOR TRUMP Scarborough: "I always ask, 'How are you doing? How's your family? How are you holding up?' After that, we'll ask, 'What the hell are you doing surrounding yourself with people in the White House who have never run anything in Washington before?' " Brzezinski: "He has the capacity to do so much better. I want to know, 'Why?' "
DREAM INTERVIEW Scarborough: "Even with the specter of nuclear war with North Korea, it would be Paul McCartney." Brzezinski: Vladimir Putin
HILLARY’S NEXT ACT SHOULD BE … Scarborough: “She ought to run for mayor of New York. I think that would be a good opportunity for her.” Brzezinski: “New York Mayor. Great for New York. Great for women.”
HAS TRUMP CALLED? Scarborough: “Yeah, we talk to him. We haven’t in a couple weeks, but Mika and I went to lunch at the White House [in January]. And I went there before his address [to Congress]. There’s obviously a strain because we’ve been very critical of his first two months in the White House.”
PREFERRED NEWS DETOX Scarborough: “I put my phone in the drawer and I’ve been doing it more and more lately. It kind of drives Mika crazy, but I will now go 5-6 hours at a time.” Brzezinski: “I don’t. I am always on. Always with the news.”
EVER HAD A “BBC DAD” MOMENT? Scarborough: “Mika did. As a kid, she created two international incidents [her father is diplomat Zbigniew Brzezinski], the first being when she was at Camp David for the most historic peace accords in recent American history, and she was driving the golf cart with Amy Carter and actually hit Menachem Begin, who was negotiating with Anwar Sadat, and almost ran him over and killed him. The second one for Mika was when America opened relations with China in 1978. They were at Mika’s father’s house. And Mika was serving. And she actually dropped caviar on the leader of China’s crotch. Deng Xiaoping. And then made matters worse as a 9-year-old girl by immediately trying to wipe it off. Cyrus Vance, the secretary of state, was sitting next to him and was horrified.”
WHAT TIME THE ALARM GOES OFF Scarborough: “4:30 a.m.” Brzezinski: “3:30 a.m.”
FAVORITE NYC DISH Scarborough: “The chicken paillard at the Polo Bar.” Brzezinski: “Shun Lee takeout.”
MOST NEW YORK MOMENT IN THE PAST YEAR Brzezinski: “We were at Trump Tower the Sunday after the election. I looked down from Trump’s living room to the Plaza Hotel and the park. I was awestruck by how beautiful the city was. And I could just feel the political tectonic shift our world was taking in that moment. I took a picture. I have it in my phone, and I will keep it forever.”
WHO TO FOLLOW ON SOCIAL MEDIA Scarborough: “John Podhoretz.” Brzezinski: “Laura Brown of InStyle. She’s hilarious.”
WHY THEY MATTER Though it's lost the demo stronghold that it famously secured six years ago, GMA remains No. 1 over NBC's Today in total viewers. Married father of two Stephanopoulos, 56, is the face of ABC News, anchoring GMA, Sunday program This Week and serving as ABC's most authoritative voice for political coverage. And Roberts, who's 56 and has a partner of 12 years, also has been keeping busy outside the morning hours, producing the 2016 ABC News special Game Changers through her production banner, Rock'n Robin Productions. Likewise, Strahan, 45, has added to his résumé by hosting ABC's primetime revival of $100,000 Pyramid. The divorced father of four also is executive producing a sports docuseries for Audience Network with Tom Brady.
PREFERRED NEWS DETOX Roberts: "I meditate twice a day, every day — 40 minutes of pure detox. Other than that, you can catch me in Key West." Stephanopoulos: "Bikram Yoga." Strahan: "Golf or a drive."
ALARM RINGTONE Roberts: "It's the song I wrote with India Arie, 'Beautiful Day.' " Stephanopoulos: "Harp." Strahan: "Lovely Day" by Bill Withers.
TIME THE ALARM GOES OFF Roberts: "3 a.m., again at 3:30 a.m., five days a week." Stephanopoulos: "2:30 a.m." Strahan: "5 a.m."
FAVORITE NEW YORK COCKTAIL Stephanopoulos: "Beefeater Martini — Bemelman's Bar." Strahan: "Moscow Mule — the Polo Bar."
Guest writer: Jimmy Kimmel
At 6-foot-12 and 104 pounds, Stern is the most powerful man in New York. In a city bursting at the streams with podcasts and pundits, Maddows and Mirandas, Stewarts and Stephanopouli — Howard is lord of an extraterrestrial radio oasis, an FCC-free forum on which major celebrities and slow adults (some are both) are given equal time and consideration.
The scope of the show is staggering. An hour in-studio with Paul McCartney might be (and was) followed by an hourlong phone call with "Jeff the Drunk" — a dead-armed alcoholic calling from a trailer in upstate New York.
Howard is probably most famous for his early work popularizing lesbianism and repurposing butts as bongos, but those who followed him to satellite radio know he is far more than just a "shock jock." He is the rare broadcaster with integrity. Howard's rules will not bend just to get a booking. When you sit on his couch, you know that no subject is off-limits.
The foundation that has been laid by years of refusing to compromise is strong, and as a result, Howard's interviews with movie stars, comedians, musicians and politicians go deeper and further than any in broadcasting.
Read Kimmel's full column on Stern here.
WHY HE MATTERS How does CNN follow the biggest year in its history, one that brought nearly $1 billion in profit? By going wall-to-wall on the new administration (when the White House banned several news organizations from a February press conference, CNN was first to respond, calling out the administration for retaliating against the reporting of "facts [they] don't like"). The network is also doubling down on its digital investment (online efforts have added 250 new staffers in the past year). The 52-year-old father of four settles into his fifth year with overall U.S. viewership up 13 percent from CNN's record-breaking 2016 as he continues to push toward prestige doc programming from the likes of Anthony Bourdain and W. Kamau Bell.
DREAM INTERVIEW Queen Elizabeth
FIRST QUESTION FOR TRUMP "Who's your favorite anchor on CNN?"
HILLARY'S NEXT ACT SHOULD BE … "Whatever makes her happy."
FAVORITE NYC DISH "Chicken parm at Elio's."