The Hollywood Reporter 100: The Most Powerful People in Entertainment 2019

2:00 AM 10/16/2019

by Edited by Alison Brower

In a roller-coaster year of megamergers and megadeals, the ranking of showbiz’s top execs, makers and stars sees big moves and a more dynamic (and diverse) group of powerhouses as the Obamas join Netflix, Phoebe Waller-Bridge ignites the town's creatives and J.Lo hustles her way onto the ultimate industry A list.

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Hollywood, like the rest of America, is increasingly dividing itself into the haves and the have nots. Through mergers (Disney and Fox), buyouts (AT&T gobbling up Time Warner) and an arms race for talent ($250 million for J.J. Abrams?), the upper echelon of the content business has never been more influential or fabulously compensated. With that in mind, this is The Hollywood Reporter 100, the fourth annual ranked list of the most powerful people in entertainment.

While Disney CEO Bob Iger retains his status as No. 1 (acquiring the $71.3 billion Fox assets and generating a record $8 billion at the box office make that choice an easy one), moving up on the list are figures from Shari Redstone (No. 4), who'll see the Viacom-CBS merger she masterminded come to fruition this year, to Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige (No. 5), the most important Disney employee not named Iger, and Ava DuVernay (No.59), who jumps nearly 30 slots on the strength of her creative clout, Emmy nominations and leadership in Hollywood's gender parity and inclusion efforts.

Hitting the list for the first time are Barack and Michelle Obama (No. 50), whose Higher Ground shingle is making waves via deals with Netflix and Spotify, along with Aquaman helmer James Wan (No. 80) and Hustlers star-producer Jennifer Lopez (No. 92). They're all among the 32 new names shaking up the entertainment world — but perhaps no single figure has had more seismic impact than David Young (No. 93), executive director of the WGA West, who has led the guild's fight with the talent agencies over affiliate production and packaging fees (and caused the agency leaders to tumble a few spots on the list.) 

As the Streaming Wars further disrupt Hollywood hierarchies and upend conventional wisdom about audiences, creators and distributors, THR's annual list captures the dynamic landscape of entertainment power now. These are the haves. 

Methodology: During a months-long process, editors compiled the THR 100 based on the size and reach of a person's purview, the success of his or her work since 2018's list, the power to get a project made (company ownership helps) and the ineffables: heat, clout and intangible indicators of influence gleaned from conversations with dozens of top insiders (not to mention THR’s daily reporting).  

Profiles written by Seth Abramovitch, Paul Bond, Rebecca Ford, Mia Galuppo, Stephen Galloway, Lesley Goldberg, Marisa Guthrie, Jonathan Handel, Natalie Jarvey, Rebecca Keegan, Borys Kit, Pamela McClintock, Michael O’Connell, Bryn Elise Sandberg, Tatiana Siegel, Piya Sinha-Roy, Rebecca Sun and Benjamin Svetkey.

  1. 100
    100

    Taika Waititi

    Director-Actor

    Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

    After exceeding critical and commercial expectations with Thor: Ragnarok, the New Zealand filmmaker, 44, returned to his indie roots for Fox Searchlight's Jojo Rabbit. Before heading back for Thor No. 4, Hollywood's most versatile new helmer will squeeze in another Searchlight feature (Next Goal Wins), debut his episode of Star Wars series The Mandalorian and act in Shawn Levy's Free Guy and DC's Suicide Squad sequel. His 2020 plan: "Keep breathing. And don't screw up Thor: Love and Thunder."

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    The Bible

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    BBC's Desert Island Discs

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    "A house."

    YOU FIND BOB IGER'S IPHONE. WHICH CONTACT DO YOU CALL?

    "I'd call his business manager and get him to pay off that house I bought."

  2. 99
    100

    Margot Robbie

    Actor-Producer

    Franco Origlia/Getty Images

    She's a Fox News staffer in Jay Roach's Roger Ailes drama Bombshell and crazed vigilante Harley Quinn in DC Comics' Birds of Prey (February). The 29-year-old star, who channels Sharon Tate in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, has also become a prolific producer — on her DC film and Hulu comedy Dollface.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    Francisca Alegria and Emerald Fennell

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    The High Low

    THE LAST APP SOMEONE UNDER 13 HAD TO EXPLAIN TO YOU

    TikTok 

    YOU FIND BOB IGER'S IPHONE. WHICH CONTACT DO YOU CALL?

    "I'd probably just return it to him and see what Disney IP I could get my hands on."

  3. 98
    100

    Dan Lin

    CEO, Rideback

    Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

    The 46-year-old producer had his hand in a slew of big 2019 projects — Aladdin, It: Chapter Two, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, The Lego Movie 2 and Netflix awards contender The Two Popes. But his most lasting accomplishment this year might just be Rideback's incubator for TV writers from underrepresented backgrounds — launched in February with MRC (which shares a parent company with THR).

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    "Lulu Wang. She's an exciting new writer-director voice."

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    How I Built This

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD'S MERGER MANIA 

    "The best thing is the need for content for these new platforms. The worst thing is the culture of fear."

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    "Finally bought my wife the Jeep Wrangler she has always wanted since high school."

    YOU FIND BOB IGER'S IPHONE. WHICH CONTACT DO YOU CALL?

    "Santa Claus. If anyone has his number, it's Bob."

  4. 97
    100

    Tiffany Haddish

    Actor-Comedian

    Paul R. Giunta/Getty Images

    After signing on to a dizzying spate of projects post-Girls Trip, she saw stumbles at the box office (Nobody's Fool and The Kitchen). But the 39-year-old has a hit series (The Last O.G.'s debut in April 2018 was TBS' strongest ever for an original), a first-look deal with HBO and — as of Oct. 6 — she's producing and starring in ABC's reboot of Kids Say the Darndest Things.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    Aida Rodriguez

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    "I prefer audiobooks." 

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    "I went on a shopping spree on AliExpress."

    THE LAST APP SOMEONE UNDER 13 HAD TO EXPLAIN TO YOU

    Fortnite

    YOU FIND BOB IGER'S IPHONE. WHICH CONTACT DO YOU CALL?

    "Steven Spielberg or Ron Howard."

  5. 96
    100

    Josh Grode and Mary Parent

    CEO; Vice Chairman, Worldwide Production, Legendary Entertainment

    Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

    With Legendary's owner, Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda, looking to exit Hollywood, Grode, 54, restructured the company's balance sheet. Under a new deal with Warner Bros., Legendary released two films spearheaded by Parent, 51: Ryan Reynolds starrer Detective Pikachu ($432 million) and Godzilla: King of the Monsters ($386 million). Up next is an adaptation of Frank Herbert's iconic Dune (November 2020), with Legendary also developing a spinoff series for HBO Max.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    Parent: Diedrick Brackens

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    Parent: The Secret History of the Future

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD'S MERGER MANIA

    Grode: "Change creates opportunity. Sometimes it is harder to find and sometimes it requires a lot of trial and error."

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    Grode: "A new treadmill."

    Parent: "Some very beautiful, 100-year-old olive trees for my house."

    YOU FIND BOB IGER'S IPHONE. WHICH CONTACT DO YOU CALL?

    Grode: "George Lucas. I met him 25 years ago at a wedding in Napa Valley, and I was so starstruck that after he introduced himself to me, I just stood there with my mouth open. I would like him to know that he has had a profound impact on me personally and professionally and that I actually know how to talk."

  6. 95
    100

    Zendaya

    Actor-Producer

    Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

    The 23-year-old completed her metamorphosis this year from Disney Channel star to acclaimed actress, earning raves and early Emmy buzz for HBO's Euphoria, bringing her 62.6 million Instagram followers along for the ride. She'll next be seen on the big screen in Denis Villeneuve's Dune adaptation, and she'll reprise her Spider-Man role in a third Sony-Marvel film.

  7. 94
    100

    Megan Ellison

    Chair and CEO, Annapurna Pictures

    Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

    It's been a rough year for Annapurna, forced to fend off bankruptcy scares after misfires including The Sisters Brothers and Destroyer. But Ellison, 33, often praised for taking risks, inked a new distribution deal with MGM and is focusing on growth in the coming year with more homegrown fare.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    Greta Thunberg

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    "Game of Thrones so I could fix the ending."

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    Democracy Now

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD'S MERGER MANIA

    "The best thing? I'm pretty sure nothing. The worst thing? Less risk-taking on original stories, less humanity in every conceivable way."

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    "I don't buy a lot of things, but I spend a lot on travel and real estate."

    THE LAST APP SOMEONE UNDER 13 HAD TO EXPLAIN TO YOU

    "This literally has never happened."

    YOU FIND BOB IGER'S IPHONE. WHICH CONTACT DO YOU CALL?

    "I'd really have to see who is on there. Donald Trump?"

  8. 93
    100

    David Young

    Executive Director, Writers Guild of America West

    Toby Canham/Getty Images

    He's made powerful enemies with his battle against the major talent agencies. But even his critics acknowledge that Young, 61, has proved an effective organizer, persuading more than 7,000 writers to fire their agents and suing the agencies with headline-grabbing racketeering allegations. But which side will blink ahead of next spring's studio negotiations?

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE 

    "Rock or salsa music, no podcast."

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD'S MERGER MANIA 

    "To quote Edwin Starr: Absolutely nothing. The worst thing? Everything."

    LAST BIG SPLURGE 

    "Making payments on kid's college debt."

    THE LAST APP SOMEONE UNDER 13 HAD TO EXPLAIN TO YOU 

    "Smart TV remote control, but I don't learn."

  9. 92
    100

    Jennifer Lopez

    Actor-Producer

    Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images

    She had a sold-out tour in honor of her 50th birthday and released Billboard chart topper "Medicine." On TV, her NBC competition World of Dance is renewed for season four. But it's her turn in Hustlers, which wowed at the box office with $121.7 million, that catapulted Lopez into the awards race and onto THR's list for the first time.

  10. 91
    100

    Bob Simonds

    Chairman and CEO, STX Entertainment

    Rich Fury/Getty Images

    Insiders at STX breathed a sigh of relief with bona fide hits The Upside and Hustlers — though there were also flops (UglyDolls and Poms) and top-level exec departures (chief content officer Oren Aviv). Much depends on whether Simonds (and movie group chairman Adam Fogelson) can add to the $100 million the company raised in March. On deck for 2020: Guy Ritchie's The Gentlemen and comedy My Spy.

  11. 90
    100

    Issa Rae

    Actor-Producer

    Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

    Insecure star-creator Rae, 34, shepherded HBO's A Black Lady Sketch Show (renewed for a second season). She starred in YA feature The Hate U Give and Will Packer comedy Little, and has 2020 releases The Photograph and The Lovebirds — which she executive produced. Under her banner ColorCreative, Rae inked a pact with Sony label Columbia that will see her produce work with diverse screenwriters.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE 

    "Mark Phillips. His videos crack me up and I love how his friends appear in different roles in all of them. He's like Hood Adam Sandler."

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE 

    The Read

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD'S MERGER MANIA 

    "The best thing is more visibility, the worst thing is fewer voices."

    LAST BIG SPLURGE 

    "Buying another building in South L.A."

  12. 89
    100

    Lin-Manuel Miranda

    Actor-Writer-Producer-Director

    VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images

    FX's Fosse/Verdon, which Miranda exec produced, nabbed an Emmy series nom and a win for Michelle Williams. And studios and networks clamor to work with the Hamilton creator, 39: He's starring in BBC and HBO's His Dark Materials (Nov. 4); working with Alan Menken on songs for Disney's Little Mermaid; and producing the adaptation of his first Broadway hit, In the Heights, out via Warner Bros. in June. His focus for 2020, however, is directorial debut Tick, Tick … Boom! for Netflix.

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE 

    "The McElroy brothers' My Brother, My Brother and Me."

    LAST BIG SPLURGE 

    "An NBA Jam arcade game."

    THE LAST APP SOMEONE UNDER 13 HAD TO EXPLAIN TO YOU

    "I dunno if this counts as an app, but my 2-year-old somehow enabled Siri on my phone."

  13. 88
    100

    Charles D. King

    Producer

    Andrew Toth/Getty Images

    Under his MACRO banner (formed in 2015), King, 50, has backed awards contenders Dee Rees' Mudbound and Denzel Washington's Fences. His next projects are Michael B. Jordan's Just Mercy and Focus' Harriet Tubman biopic, with Master of None co-creator Alan Yang's feature directorial debut, Tigertail, and Netflix drama series Gentefied on deck.

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    "I'm currently listening to The New York Times1619. However, if on a long drive I'm either rolling calls or switching between my hip-hop playlist curated by my sons and/or my favorite gospel songs."

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD'S MERGER MANIA

    "Best thing: All of this disruption shakes up industry norms and it's creating opportunity to forge new partnerships and innovative ways of doing business. Worst thing: Fewer players in the marketplace doesn't help any of us."

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    "Additions to my sons' sneaker collection and our family summer vacation to Turks & Caicos."

    THE LAST APP SOMEONE UNDER 13 HAD TO EXPLAIN TO YOU

    "My two sons, Noah and Julian, hipped me to TikTok many months ago." 

    WHO WOULD YOU WANT TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED WITH ON DAVID GEFFEN'S INSTAGRAM?

    "Why not David Geffen? He's a living legend and trailblazer in our industry."

    YOU FIND BOB IGER'S IPHONE. WHICH CONTACT DO YOU CALL?

    "His key strategist and his therapist! ; )"

  14. 87
    100

    Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson

    Producers

    Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

    They've had a disappointing film run with The Goldfinch and Where'd You Go, Bernadette. But Simpson, 46, and Jacobson, 54, are on board for a Hunger Games prequel at Lionsgate. They've inked a four-year deal to keep their banner, Color Force, at FX Prods., its partner on American Crime Story and Pose, as well as on graphic novel adaptation Y: The Last Man.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    Jacobson: "Aldous Harding, a musician my son introduced me to."

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    Jacobson: "I have to believe that the next thing I read could be that piece of IP, that I'm always one step away from finding something new to love."

    Simpson: "The Alien franchise. The first two movies were seminal for me as a kid."

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    Jacobson: "My daughter got me into Stuff You Should Know when we dropped her off at college."

    Simpson: "Karina Longworth — You Must Remember This. Her series on Hollywood and the Manson murders is a brilliant piece of narrative nonfiction, connecting the collapse of the studio system and the rise of new Hollywood to the most famous murderer of the 20th century."

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD'S MERGER MANIA

    Simpson: "In the short term, a lot of shows are getting made — and some rich folks are getting richer. In the long term, there is never anything good about consolidation. And the bubble of production will burst."

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    Jacobson: "Down payment on a trip to Japan over winter break."

    Simpson: "Art! I bought a painting by John Dowd, a Provincetown artist, to celebrate our new deal with FX."

    YOU FIND BOB IGER'S IPHONE. WHICH CONTACT DO YOU CALL?

    Simpson: "1. Would call in a day pass with a guide for my family at Disney, with a dinner res at Club 33. 2. Followed by a prank call to Ike Perlmutter. 3. Ending with a fanboy call to Kevin Feige."

  15. 86
    100

    David Benioff and D.B. Weiss

    Writer-Producers

    Taylor Hill/Getty Images

    A divisive series finale didn't stop the Game of Thrones showrunners from cleaning up at the Emmys with 12 trophies — including best drama. The 48-year-olds will move from HBO to Netflix, where they signed a $200 million overall deal. First, though, they're headed to a galaxy far, far away to write and produce a new Star Wars trilogy for Lucasfilm.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    Both: "Thomasin McKenzie from JoJo Rabbit. What a talent." 

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    Both: "Hardcore History by Dan Carlin. If only every history teacher were like this."

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    Weiss: "I bought the Game of Thrones guitars that Fender made. I had no choice in the matter once I saw them.

    THE LAST APP SOMEONE UNDER 13 HAD TO EXPLAIN TO YOU

    Both: "Houseparty. Apparently it has nothing to do with the Kid 'n Play movie."

  16. 85
    100

    Adam McKay

    Director-Writer-Producer

    Tobias SCHWARZ/AFP/ Getty Images

    In a year bookended by triumphs — Vice, nominated for three Oscars, and HBO's Emmy-winning Succession — Will Ferrell's former wingman has become Hollywood's chronicler of civilization in decline. His 2020 is about founding his production company and prepping Showtime, an HBO pilot about the '80s heyday of the L.A. Lakers.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE 

    Jennifer Kent

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    "Kleenex. They've been keeping our noses dry and clean for years. It's time there was a Kleenex movie."

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD'S MERGER MANIA

    "Now I don't have to be rejected by Fox and Disney. I just get one no."

  17. 84
    100

    David Ellison

    CEO, Skydance Media

    Rachel Murray/Getty Images

    He's behind three 2019 action films — Gemini Man (which fizzled over the Oct. 11 weekend with $20.6 million), Terminator: Dark Fate and Netflix's 6 Underground — and his slate is ramping up with Top Gun: Maverick in 2020 and more Mission: Impossible movies. In TV, there's Grace and Frankie and Altered Carbon on Netflix, Jack Ryan on Amazon and Foundation for Apple TV+. But by hiring ousted Pixar/Disney Animation chief John Lasseter to head Skydance animation, the 36-year-old drew backlash, with Emma Thompson dropping out of a project.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    "I think Taika [Waititi] is absolutely brilliant and I truly can't wait to see Jojo Rabbit. I think he's just a phenomenal, phenomenal voice." 

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    "It'd be really hard not to say Star Wars. Empire Strikes Back is one of my favorite movies of all time and personally, as a fan, I can't wait to see what J.J. [Abrams] does with Episode IX. I think I'll leave the rest up to [Lucasfilm's] Kathy [Kennedy] and her team."

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    "I'm much more of a music person, so usually I'm either listening to country music or on the phone. At the moment, I think Ashley McBryde is just an absolutely brilliant singer-songwriter."

  18. 83
    100

    Donald Glover

    Actor-Writer-Director

    Frederic J. BROWN/AFP/ Getty Images

    It's been a quiet year for the elusive star, 36, who unveiled Guava Island at Coachella ahead of his headlining slot at the fest, then debuted the music movie exclusively on Amazon Prime. He also toplined Disney's $1.6 billion hit The Lion King with Beyoncé. Next up: two more seasons of FX's Emmy-winning Atlanta.

  19. 82
    100

    Jon Glickman and Mark Burnett

    President, Worldwide Motion Picture Group; Chairman, Worldwide TV, MGM

    Paul Morigi/Getty Images; Steve Granitz/WireImage

    With Daniel Craig back in his Bond tux for April's No Time to Die, Bill and Ted returning for a new adventure and a first-look scripted TV deal with Renée Zellweger, MGM film head Glickman, 50, and TV kingpin Burnett, 59, are focused on growth across all platforms.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE 

    Glickman: "My favorite is Lizzo and I'm going to get her on our roster if it's the last thing I do."

    Burnett: "Nick Cannon. He's a force. Unscripted, sitcom, drama, features, that guy can do it all."

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    Glickman: "We already have the best IP — we already have Mr. Bond on active duty — so I'm not coveting any other IP."

    Burnett: The Bible

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE 

    Glickman: "I listen to podcasts all the time, but one specific one is WTF With Marc Maron and specifically the episode with Jim Brooks, which I've listened to 20 times or so."

    Burnett: Super Soul Sunday

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    Glickman: "It was an Irene Neuwirth ring I bought for my wife on our 20th anniversary in August. It was an emerald flower — emerald is for 20th anniversary, which in Hollywood is like your 100th anniversary."

    WHO WOULD YOU WANT TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED WITH ON DAVID GEFFEN'S INSTAGRAM?

    Glickman: Michael Kives

    THE LAST APP SOMEONE UNDER 13 HAD TO EXPLAIN TO YOU

    Glickman: "I don't talk to anybody under 13, but my daughter is 14 and she showed me TikTok. I swore to her as part of the agreement that I would never post on it."

    YOU FIND BOB IGER'S IPHONE. WHICH CONTACT DO YOU CALL?

    Glickman: "Yoda — because he would give me sage wisdom on how to get Bob Iger to call me back sometime, probably."

  20. 81
    100

    Will Smith

    Actor-Producer

    Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

    Despite the dismal $20.6 million domestic opening of Gemini Man over the Oct. 11-13 weekend, Smith, 51, has renewed his clout. His fortunes began to turn with Bright, for which he received a reported $27 million payday from Netflix. Aladdin earned a career-best $1.13 billion globally this summer. And he and wife Jada Pinkett Smith launched Westbrook, a holding company for production banner Overbrook — whose slate includes 2020's King Richard, with Smith as Serena and Venus Williams' father.

  21. 80
    100

    James Wan

    Director-Producer

    Kevin Winter/Getty Images

    In the past year, Wan, 42, and his Atomic Monster label cranked out hits The Nun, Annabelle Comes Home and The Curse of La Llorona for Warner Bros., where he has a rich first-look deal, with The Conjuring 3 in post. A financing pact with Starlight Media allows him to make edgier fare; once he wraps indie Malignant, he'll focus on Aquaman, working on the sequel to his $1.1 billion DC hit.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    Naomi Osaka

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    "Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken. I've always harbored a secret desire to start my own, small eatery business/chain."

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    "Actually, I listen to period music while driving. Preferably from the 40s and 50s. And sometimes, music in that period from around the world in different languages."

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD'S MERGER MANIA

    "The fun thing is seeing different worlds and characters cross into each other's stories, and the possibilities of IPs getting integrated into other mediums and platforms. But of course one or two people controlling everything is never a good thing. It limits individualism and creativity."

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    "Vintage furniture."

    YOU FIND BOB IGER'S IPHONE. WHICH CONTACT DO YOU CALL?

    "Mickey Mouse. And thank him for my childhood."

  22. 79
    100

    Mark Pedowitz

    President, The CW

    Brent N. Clarke/FilmMagic

    Immune from the ratings scrutiny suffered by his broadcast peers, Pedowitz, 66, has found a fruitful path to launching long-running series. His unique platform has built a strong reputation with advertisers for youth-skewing originals (Riverdale, The Flash, newcomer Nancy Drew). And since each series is owned by co-parent Warner Bros. or CBS Corp., those that don't land well linearly or on the ad-supported streamer can find an audience on the current output deal with Netflix. But for how long?

  23. 78
    100

    Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg

    Directors

    Goldberg (left) and Rogen.
    Goldberg (left) and Rogen.
    George Pimentel/Getty Images

    The 420-friendly Canucks launched an acclaimed Amazon series (The Boys) and an R-rated kid comedy (Good Boys grossed $109 million worldwide). Rogen, 37, also voiced Pumbaa in Disney's megahit The Lion King. Looking ahead, Rogen sets a goal of "obtaining more power," while Goldberg, 37, is focused on "obtaining more power than Seth."

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    Goldberg: Nick Hoult

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    Rogen: "The song 'I Got the Power' by SNAP."

    Goldberg: "The Bible. Big pre-existing fanbase."

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD'S MERGER MANIA

    Rogen: "The consolidation of power …"

    Goldberg: "… that it will quicken the inevitable reality wherein we all work for Disney forevermore."

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    Rogen: The Power Hour

    Goldberg: IQ2 US Debates

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    Rogen: "A Power Bar."

    Goldberg: "Lulu Lemon underwear. They make me feel powerful."

    WHO WOULD YOU WANT TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED WITH ON DAVID GEFFEN'S INSTAGRAM?

    Rogen: "Power!!!"

    Goldberg: Bob Iger

    YOU FIND BOB IGER'S IPHONE. WHICH CONTACT DO YOU CALL?

    Goldberg: David Geffen

  24. 77
    100

    Charlie Collier

    CEO, Fox Entertainment

    FOX Entertainment

    The former AMC president spent his first year at Fox building up studios. Collier, 50, teamed with Gail Berman for scripted incubator SideCar and launched Fox Alternative Entertainment to monetize hits like The Masked Singer. He's also prepping for a future without pricey hits The Simpsons and Family Guy, teaming with Bento Box for an in-house animation studio. Fox now has an ownership stake in all new programming even as it focuses on live sports. (He's benefitted from an uptick in NFL ratings and launched WWE on Friday nights.)

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    "I. No, wait: P."

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD'S MERGER MANIA

    "I'm now sort of FX's landlord."

  25. 76
    100

    Karey Burke

    President, ABC Entertainment

    Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images

    The former Freeform head of originals has made big strides in her year at ABC, weathering the Oscars' host fiasco to a ratings uptick. Looking ahead, Burke, 53, is making live programming a top priority, working with Jimmy Kimmel (who signed to a new long-term contract) and Norman Lear on comedy events following his Emmy winner Live in Front of a Studio Audience.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    Phoebe Waller-Bridge

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE? 

    Friends

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE 

    The Daily

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    "A home gym. Otherwise I'll never exercise again."

  26. 75
    100

    Kelly Kahl and Thom Sherman

    President; Senior Executive VP Programming, CBS Entertainment

    Michael Kovac/Getty Images; Leon Bennett/Getty Images

    The biggest challenge for Kahl, 53, and Sherman, 54 — tasked with leading CBS out of the Leslie Moonves era — is the loss of ratings behemoth The Big Bang Theory. But they have seen four solid fall launches: drama Evil and sitcoms Unicorn, Chuck Lorre's Bob Hearts Abishola and Carol's Second Act.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    Kahl: "Ryan Speedo Green. Amazing story. Exceptional talent."

    Sherman: "Billie Eilish. Singular talent. Unique musical perspective. And my 10-year-old daughter got me into her."

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    Kahl: Anchorman

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    Kahl: "Phil Keoghan's BUCKiT. Great guests. Refreshing, honest conversation."

    Sherman: "The Joe Rogan Experience. Always thought-provoking. Usually funny."

     LAST BIG SPLURGE

    Kahl: "Green Bay Packers tickets."

    Sherman: "Fall 2019 University of Maryland tuition for my son."

    THE LAST APP SOMEONE UNDER 13 HAD TO EXPLAIN TO YOU

    Sherman: "They weren't under 13, but during casting many Love Island contestants explained Hinge to Kelly and me."

    YOU FIND BOB IGER'S IPHONE. WHICH CONTACT DO YOU CALL?

    Sherman: "His financial advisor."

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    Chris Silbermann

    Managing Director, ICM Partners

    Michael Kovac/Getty Images

    Thanks to the multihyphenate loophole (by which clients who also direct, act or produce can retain representation while still "firing" their writing agent), ICM Partners under Silbermann, 51, has held on to the likes of Shonda Rhimes and Vince Gilligan amid agencies' battle with the Writers Guild, alongside longtime marquee clients from Ellen DeGeneres to Samuel L. Jackson. Silbermann recently reorganized ICM's senior management team to free him up to focus on the agency's growth strategy, indicating that ICM may be making more aggressive moves in the near future.

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    Kevin Hart

    Actor-Comedian

    James Gourley/Getty Images

    The past year has had its upsides (The Upside's $108 million) and its downsides (the Oscars host debacle, a September car crash, a $60 million sex video lawsuit in October). But the future is bright for the 40-year-old comedy powerhouse, with Jumanji: The Next Level coming out Dec. 13 and a Paul Weitz film, Fatherhood, due in April.

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    Paul Telegdy

    Chairman, NBC Entertainment

    Rachel Luna/Getty Images

    As of Oct. 7, Telegdy, 49, is solely in charge of the network that has sat at No. 1 for five of the past six years — thanks to scripted hits like This Is Us and unscripted ones like America's Got Talent, not to mention Sunday Night Football, TV's top-rated primetime broadcast. But there are challenges including ratings fatigue — particularly in comedy, with The Good Place and Will & Grace due to end this year.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    "I've enjoyed Sarah Snook's performance as Shiv in Succession."

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    The Bible

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    "That would be nice, but I have my own podcast in the car. Verizon lets me talk to people all the time."

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD'S MERGER MANIA

    "Change is good — yay! Change is bad — boo!"

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    "A kitchen."

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    Phoebe Waller-Bridge

    Actor-Writer-Producer

    Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

    After a breakout first season of Fleabag, Waller-Bridge topped expectations with the second. The creator-star of the BBC-Amazon show — who polished the Bond 25 script on top of exec producing duties on BBC America's Killing Eve and upcoming HBO comedy Run — was the toast of the Emmys, nabbing six trophies, including for comedy series and best actress. With everyone in town dying to be in business with the 34-year-old Brit, Amazon locked her down in a $60 million overall deal.

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    Paul Buccieri

    President, A+E Networks Group

    Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

    Since Buccieri, 53, took the reins in 2018, he's doubled down on his portfolio's biggest hit, A&E's Live PD, renewing it for 450 new hours and launching spinoff Live Rescue. History remains a powerhouse outlet with male viewers, and Lifetime flexed its prestige muscles with Surviving R. Kelly.

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    "Without a doubt Game of Thrones. I am a huge fan of the show and would have paired the final season with the last two seasons of Vikings."

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    "I would have to say Malcolm Gladwell's Revisionist History. I have been a fan of his since The Tipping Point, and with his podcast, I really appreciate reflecting back on what we think was true and re-examining it. I also am a big fan of The Daily." 

    THE LAST APP SOMEONE UNDER 13 HAD TO EXPLAIN TO YOU

    "I had to watch a TikTok explainer video created by a 12-year-old TikTok user on TikTok and I still don't get it."

    WHO WOULD YOU WANT TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED WITH ON DAVID GEFFEN'S INSTAGRAM?

    "In my office I have a huge 4-foot print photograph of Bruce Springsteen hanging next to my conference table. It's an action shot that a friend took at his concert and it's really fantastic, so I would have to say Bruce Springsteen."

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    David Fenkel and Daniel Katz

    Founders, A24

    John Sciulli/Getty Images

    The indie behind 2017 Oscar winner Moonlight is making waves on the small screen with HBO's Euphoria and Hulu's Ramy. But Fenkel, 41, and Katz, 40, aren't done fishing for Oscars; they've cast into this year's awards waters with Lulu Wang's The Farewell, the Safdies' Uncut Gems starring Adam Sandler and Trey Edward Shults' Waves.

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    Kenya Barris

    Writer-Actor-Producer

    Rich Polk/Getty Images

    Barris, 45, left ABC Studios in 2018 after signing a three-year, eight-figure deal with Netflix, and his first two projects for the streamer are well underway: sketch comedy series Astronomy Club and Black Excellence, a comedy in which he'll star (still under his purview: broadcast shows Black-ish, Grown-ish and Mixed-ish). In film, he's writing sequels to Coming to America with Eddie Murphy and Uptown Saturday Nights with Kevin Hart.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    Storm Reid

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    "I'm split down the middle between The Matrix— which is prime for a reboot with a prequel, sequel and spinoff — and Tesla, the company story (as long as it included Elon Musk's life rights)."

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE 

    Revisionist History

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD'S MERGER MANIA 

    "The best thing is more work. The worst thing is more work! It's impossible to find people. The days of a murderers' row of writers is over."

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    "A piece of art by one of my favorite artists who shall remain unnamed because I don't want their prices to skyrocket."

    THE LAST APP SOMEONE UNDER 13 HAD TO EXPLAIN TO YOU

    "How IGTV worked."

    WHO WOULD YOU WANT TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED WITH ON DAVID GEFFEN'S INSTAGRAM?

    Scooter Braun

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    Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman

    Founder/Chairman; CEO, Quibi

    John Sciulli/Getty Images; Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

    Is there a huge demand for 10-minute movies and shows that can be viewed only on a phone? Hey, it's Katzenberg, and the town is littered with the bodies of those who've bet against him. The former DreamWorks Animation head, 68, and former eBay CEO Whitman, 63, have amassed $1 billion in startup money and lured some of the biggest names in the biz (Steven Spielberg, Chrissy Teigen and Kevin Hart) to make content for the service launching in April.

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    Michael B. Jordan

    Actor-Producer

    Leon Bennett/FilmMagic

    Actors can sometimes convince studios to take on bold new projects. But Jordan, 32, persuaded WarnerMedia to launch an entirely new policy — centered on inclusion — and the first film made under it, Just Mercy (Jordan produced and stars), is a likely awards contender. He signed first-look deals this year for his Outlier Society banner with Warner Bros. (film) and Amazon (TV) and started shooting 2020's Without Remorse for Paramount.

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    Scarlett Johansson

    Actor

    VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images

    She's the top-grossing female star of all time thanks to her Avengers films. But Johansson, 34, is also a prestige player in two awards contenders: Noah Baumbach's Marriage Story (Netflix) and Taika Waititi's Jojo Rabbit (Fox Searchlight). In 2020, she'll be back to superheroes, exec producing and starring in Black Widow, the first female-fronted action movie to open the summer box office season.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    Ming Peiffer 

    LAST BIG SPLURGE 

    "A Milton Avery painting."

    THE LAST APP SOMEONE UNDER 13 HAD TO EXPLAIN TO YOU

    "My friend's 10-year-old son is supposed to show me how to update my iOS software but I'm scared to give him my phone."

    WHO WOULD YOU WANT TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED WITH ON DAVID GEFFEN'S INSTAGRAM?

    "I don't want to be on anyone's Instagram."

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    Phil Lord and Chris Miller

    Directors

    Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage

    Getting booted off Solo: A Star Wars Story led Lord and Miller, both 44, to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which grossed $375 million and won the animated feature Oscar. They're now developing a web of sequels and spinoffs for Sony TV, as well as Sony feature The Mitchells vs. the Machines, and in August signed a first-look deal with Universal.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    Both: "Ana Fabrega (Los Espookys), Nicholas Braun (Cousin Greg), Zack Gottsagen (Peanut Butter Falcon)." 

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    Both: "The Bible. Who has the rights? Or the Fleabag Cinematic Universe (FCU)."

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    Both: "Welcome to Night Vale, Moonrise, The Daily, Ear Hustle, The Lowe Post, or anything with a group of liberals agreeing with one another." 

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD'S MERGER MANIA

    Both: "Creators with something new to say have never been more valuable. With the stakes so high at the box office, playing it safe has never been more tempting or more dangerous."

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    Lord: "A long series of doctor's appointments for my mysterious back pain!"

    Miller: "My family got me a Japanese robot toilet for my birthday."

    THE LAST APP SOMEONE UNDER 13 HAD TO EXPLAIN TO YOU

    Both: "All of them. Especially Neko Astume: Kitty Collector, an app where you collect pretend cats." 

    WHO WOULD YOU WANT TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED WITH ON DAVID GEFFEN'S INSTAGRAM?

    Both: "The Public Beach Access sign next to his house."

    YOU FIND BOB IGER'S IPHONE. WHICH CONTACT DO YOU CALL?

    Both: "His biggest shareholder, Rupert Murdoch! Or Mickey Mouse."

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    Jeff Skoll and David Linde

    Founder/Chairman; CEO, Participant

    Getty Images (2)

    Nobody has a better eye for Oscar material. In 2018 they backed not only the winner (Green Book) but its biggest rival (Roma), as well as doc contender RBG. In fact, Participant (it dropped "Media" this year as part of a rebrand) scored 17 noms in 2019, a company record. For Skoll, 54, and Linde, 59, the coming awards race looks promising too, with Michael B. Jordan legal drama Just Mercy, the Mark Ruffalo-Anne Hathaway starrer Dark Waters (about a lawyer who took on DuPont Chemical) and the doc American Factory.

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    Linde: "Anything news oriented is vital, starting with The Daily."

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    Joe and Anthony Russo

    Directors

    Anthony (left) and Joe Russo
    Anthony (left) and Joe Russo
    Jesse Grant/Getty Images

    What do you do after directing the biggest hit of all time? For the Russos, both 49, whose Avengers: Endgame grossed $2.8 billion, the answer is: run as far as you can from superheroes. Next up: Cherry, an indie about heroin addiction starring Spider-Man's Tom Holland, as they work to grow fledgling film collective AGBO into a major player.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    Stephan James

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    "The Bible (just the Old Testament)."

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    Fantasy Focus with Matthew Berry

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    "A Crunch bar."

    WHO WOULD YOU WANT TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED WITH ON DAVID GEFFEN'S INSTAGRAM?

    "All the prophets."

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    Chris Meledandri

    CEO, Illumination

    Todd Williamson/Getty Images

    The Secret Life of Pets 2 was a furball, grossing $429 million, less than half the original's haul. But Meledandri, 60, still has some magic up his sleeve with Minions: The Rise of Gru (2020) and Sing 2 (2021). He also oversees the Shrek franchise, one of the most valuable properties at corporate sibling DreamWorks Animation.

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    "Multiple episodes of Wait Wait … Don't Tell Me."

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    Stephen King

    Director-Producer

    Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

    The 72-year-old author is Hollywood's most potent source of IP, thanks to the $1.13 billion the It movies raked in. Warner Bros.' Doctor Sleep — a sequel to The Shining — arrives Nov. 8, and the studio has two other King projects (Salem's Lot and The Long Walk), while over at Paramount, Pet Sematary grossed $112 million off of a $21 million budget. He has series at Amazon (The Dark Tower), HBO (The Outsider), CBS All Access (The Stand) and Hulu (Castle Rock), and is writing all eight hours of Apple's Lisey's Story, based on his novel (J.J. Abrams is exec producing).

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    Ava DuVernay

    Director-Producer

    Michael Kovac/Getty Images

    Her Netflix limited series When They See Us collected 16 Emmy nominations — the most for any of the streamer's shows — and rewrote the story of the Central Park jogger case in the public consciousness. Other 2019 wins for DuVernay, 47, who has a major voice on Hollywood issues of gender parity and inclusion: Signing on to produce and direct DC's DMZ for HBO Max (part of her $100 million deal with Warner Bros. TV), scoring a fifth season of OWN's Queen Sugar and opening a theater in her headquarters in L.A.'s Echo Park.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    Garrett Bradley

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    "Hear to Slay with Roxane Gay and Tressie McMillan Cottom."

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    "A three-building campus in Echo Park."

    THE LAST APP SOMEONE UNDER 13 HAD TO EXPLAIN TO YOU

    TikTok

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    Pete Docter and Jennifer Lee

    Chief Creative Officer, Pixar Animation Studios; Chief Creative Officer, Walt Disney Animation Studios

    Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images (2)

    Since stepping into their roles more than a year ago, Docter, 51, shepherded and released Toy Story 4 in June, grossing $1 billion, and Lee, 47, is gearing up for the November debut of Frozen 2 (which she wrote and directed). Pixar has two releases in 2020 (the first is Docter-directed Soul), while Disney has Raya and the Last Dragon and a slew of content for Disney+, including short film series Short Circuit.

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    Docter: "I'd want sole rights to the song 'Happy Birthday.' Then I'd donate all proceeds toward developing a better song."

    Lee: "The one we create here tomorrow."

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    Docter: "Dan Carlin's Hardcore History, or Karina Longworth's You Must Remember This."

    Lee: "Radiolab or This American Life."

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD'S MERGER MANIA 

    Docter: "Best thing: the name 'merger mania.' Worst thing: Red lights feel longer than they used to, and that's probably the merger mania's fault."

    Lee: "Best: The opportunity to tell new kinds of stories on new platforms. Worst: The parking lot is fuller."

    LAST BIG SPLURGE 

    Docter: "A Roomba robot vacuum cleaner. If robots want to take over the world and clean our rug, I'm good."

    Lee: "Shoes. Always shoes."

    THE LAST APP SOMEONE UNDER 13 HAD TO EXPLAIN TO YOU 

    Docter: "Seek. It's amazing — you can point it at any living thing, and it'll identify it down to the genus and species."

    Lee: TikTok

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    James Cameron

    Writer-Director

    DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

    "My life right now is 85 percent Avatar, 15 percent other things," says Cameron, 65, whose game-changing Fox franchise is now a Disney property. "Disney has an enormous investment in Avatar — in a funny way, more than Fox did," he notes, "because they've spent more on the [Avatar] land in Florida than Fox did on the original movie." He's a producer on Terminator: Dark Fate (Nov. 1) and Mission: Ocean X for Nat Geo, but his focus is on those long-delayed sequels — one scheduled for release in 2021, one in 2023.

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    "I generate my own stuff, so I'm not really interested in IP."

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD’S MERGER MANIA 

    "As long as people pay the bills and when I show up to work on a Monday morning, they haven't closed down my production, I could give a shit."

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    "Building a sub."

    YOU FIND BOB IGER'S IPHONE. WHICH CONTACT DO YOU CALL?

    "I can call anybody I want. I don't need Bob Iger's cell phone."

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    David Zaslav

    President/CEO, Discovery Inc.

    Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

    With its $15 billion acquisition of Scripps Networks, Discovery surpassed NBCU as the No. 1 media company for female viewers. In all, its portfolio, from Animal Planet to HGTV, reaches 3 billion viewers worldwide and comprises nearly 20 percent of ad-supported pay TV viewership in the U.S. While other media companies shell out billions on content, Zaslav, 59, is building a more efficient direct-to-consumer business (powered by a new tech hub in Bellevue, Washington) based on its unscripted assets, including the soon-to-launch Food Network Kitchen app, a global natural history service with BBC, and a joint venture with lifestyle superstars Chip and Joanna Gaines.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE 

    "Phoebe Waller-Bridge. (Fleabag is from our production company all3media — very proud!)"

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    "NFL: the strongest piece of IP on Earth."

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE 

    Fresh Air

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD'S MERGER MANIA 

    "Best thing is our competitors are all distracted. Worst is there is not enough great IP left standing."

    LAST BIG SPLURGE 

    "A Brunello Cucinelli vest."

    WHO WOULD YOU WANT TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED WITH ON DAVID GEFFEN'S INSTAGRAM? 

    "David Geffen, maybe the most generous person in the biz."

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    Quentin Tarantino

    Writer-Director

    Christopher Jue/Getty Images

    His ninth film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, grossed $364 million worldwide off a $90 million budget, and once again planted Tarantino, 56, in the center of the cultural (and awards) conversation. In a creative power play, he also negotiated to eventually own the film's copyright.

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    Brad Pitt, Jeremy Kleiner and Dede Gardner

    Managing Partners, Plan B

    Getty Images (3)

    Last Oscar season, Plan B had two contenders, Vice and If Beale Street Could Talk, and this season it's got hopes for The Last Black Man in San Francisco and Ad Astra (which stars Pitt, 55). Plus, one of the team — hint: It wasn't Gardner, 51, or Kleiner, 43 — stars opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in Quentin Tarantino's summer hit Once Upon a Time in Hollywood ($364 million).

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    Steve Gilula and Nancy Utley

    Chairmen, Fox Searchlight

    Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

    "The message we received from Disney is that they liked the fact that we were making movies they don't make," says Gilula — i.e., Taika Waititi's Hitler satire Jojo Rabbit and horror hit Ready or Not. With new TV and shorts divisions, Gilula and Utley, 64, have films from Guillermo del Toro and Wes Anderson on deck.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE 

    Utley: "Zendaya is immensely talented and interesting."

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    Utley: "I continue to be obsessed with NPR's How I Built This. Even though the episodes are all kind of similar, I love to hear about the part when the company almost went out of business and couldn't make payroll but bravely found a way to forge ahead."

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD'S MERGER MANIA

    Gilula: "Best: Shaking people and organizations out of complacency and challenging 'conventional wisdom.' Worst: Some terrific talented people are having their careers disrupted, and in some cases ended."

    Utley: "The best and worst things are the same: upheaval and temporary chaos. The trick is to find opportunities that weren't there before and make them serve the work."

    LAST BIG SPLURGE 

    Gilula: "A couple of weeks in Namibia with almost no cell or Wi-Fi service."

    WHO WOULD YOU WANT TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED WITH ON DAVID GEFFEN'S INSTAGRAM? 

    Gilula: RBG

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    Jon Favreau

    Director-Actor-Producer

    Michael Kovac/Getty Images

    His Lion King grossed $1.64 billion (2019's second biggest haul), with boundary-pushing tech that Favreau, 52, also is using for The Mandalorian, his Star Wars live-action series for Disney+. Having launched new shingle Golem in August, he has kept his hands in the Marvel Universe, exec producing Avengers: Endgame and acting in Spider-Man: Far From Home. In June he bowed Netflix's The Chef Show.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    "[New York Giants] quarterback Daniel Jones."

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    "For the last 10 years, I've had access to everything I could have hoped for."

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    Hardcore History

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD'S MERGER MANIA

    "Best: the excitement and investment that allows great stories to be told. Worst: maintaining creative rights for artists in times of rapid change."

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    Peter Chernin

    CEO, The Chernin Group

    Kevin Winter/Getty Images

    Last summer, Chernin, 68, sold his company's interest in Otter Media to AT&T for $1 billion, and although Chernin Entertainment has a stake in such tech and media companies as Barstool Sports and Headspace, his main focus is on producing, with two Fox films on the way: James Mangold's Ford v Ferrari and the animated Spies in Disguise. Chernin also is in production on Fear Street, Fox's adaptation of R.L. Stine's best-selling teen horror books. He remains busy on the small screen with upcoming Apple series See and Octavia Spencer-led Truth Be Told as well as P-Valley for Starz.

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    Barack and Michelle Obama

    Producers

    Chris Jackson/Getty Images

    Who wouldn't take their call? The former president, 58, and first lady, 55, kicked off 2019 with a Sundance acquisition — doc American Factory, which premiered to strong reviews on Netflix in August en route to an awards-season run. Tonia Davis and Priya Swaminathan, co-heads of Obama banner Higher Ground, are steering projects under the couple's deal with the streamer — including adaptations of David W. Blight's Frederick Douglass bio and Michael Lewis' Fifth Risk, and Bloom, a post-World War II-era show about fashion — plus podcasts under a new deal with Spotify.

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    Kathleen Kennedy

    President, Lucasfilm

    Steve Granitz/WireImage

    As Luke and Leia's family saga concludes in The Rise of Skywalker, Kennedy, 66, says she's focused on "launching the next phase of Star Wars." The Mandalorian, the franchise's first live-action TV series, will premiere on Disney+ on Nov. 12, and Kennedy struck deals with Diego Luna and Ewan McGregor to reprise their roles for their own Disney+ shows — but ceded a share of her domain to Disney colleague Kevin Feige, set to develop his own Star Wars film. She’s also teaming with Fox to adapt YA fantasy Children of Blood and Bone.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    Phoebe Waller-Bridge 

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    Star Wars

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    The Daily

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD'S MERGER MANIA

    "Best thing about the mergers are the opportunities you have to make anything across multiple platforms."

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    Dick Wolf

    Producer

    Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

    NBCUniversal's most powerful producer expands his fiefdom to a third franchise come midseason when FBI: Most Wanted gives Wolf a second show on CBS. Those join NBC's Chicago trio as well as Law & Order: SVU, which kicked off its 21st season — a drama record. Next up for Wolf, 72, will be a multimillion-dollar deal for the Law & Order and Chicago libraries as well as potential SVU spinoff Hate Crimes, which could go to Peacock or NBC.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    Billie Eilish

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    Star Wars

    THE LAST APP SOMEONE UNDER 13 HAD TO EXPLAIN TO YOU

    "Fortnite, by my 9-year-old son."

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    Leonardo DiCaprio

    Actor-Producer

    Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

    Along with DiCaprio's return in Quentin Tarantino hit Once Upon a Time in Hollywood — his first film since 2015's The Revenant — the 44-year-old is a prolific producer. He helped Clint Eastwood get Richard Jewell off the ground and is working on multiple TV projects: an adaptation of Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff and a docudrama about President Ulysses S. Grant. He'll star opposite Robert De Niro in Martin Scorsese's Killers of the Flower Moon, about the slaughter of Native Americans in the 1920s.

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    Chuck Lorre

    Writer-Producer

    Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

    Five months after saying farewell to megahit The Big Bang Theory, Lorre — who cashed in with an epic $600 million WarnerMedia streaming and syndication deal — is doing fine. CBS prequel Young Sheldon stumbled without the flagship but still is in the first of a two-season renewal. Critical darling Mom is in the first of a three-season renewal, and Netflix's The Kominsky Method scored two Golden Globes and three Emmy noms. Chances are strong that Lorre will see another nine-figure payday before summer 2020, when his Warner Bros. TV overall deal expires.

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    "I bought a nice sweater."

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    Dwayne Johnson

    Actor-Producer

    Kevin Winter/Getty Images

    His latest movie, the Fast & Furious-adjacent Hobbs & Shaw, grossed $758 million — and now that he's patched things up with Vin Diesel, more Fast films are inevitable. His HBO hit Ballers (Elizabeth Warren is a fan) wrapped its five-season run, but Johnson, 47, has more than 20 other projects in the pipeline, including Sony's Jumanji sequel in December, a second-season order for NBC's Titan Games, and two 2020 films: a family adventure based on Disney's Jungle Cruise ride and Interpol thriller Red Notice with Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot.

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    Ellen DeGeneres

    Host-Producer

    Andrew Chin/Getty Images

    In her first stand-up special in 15 years — Netflix's Relatable —DeGeneres, 61, opened up about battling depression after she came out and ABC canceled her sitcom. There was speculation she might quit her top-rated daytime talker when her contract came up in 2020, but in May she re-signed for three more years. And she sealed a deal with HBO Max in September for Ellen's Home Design Challenge, First Dates Hotel, animated kids series Little Ellen and a fourth show she's still developing.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    "Oh, I'm sorry. Am I not talented enough for you? You're using my interview to find out who else you should interview? Doesn't seem very professional. With that said, I love Nicholas Braun."

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    "I don't know what that stands for, but I'm down with IP. You know me."

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    "When I was at Taco Bell last week, I got extra salsa. YOLO!"

    THE LAST APP SOMEONE UNDER 13 HAD TO EXPLAIN TO YOU

    "Hmm… just trying to think of the apps I use. There's Ellentube, HeadsUp!, Game of Games, Ellen's Emoji Exploji, Hot Hands and more available for download now in the App Store and on Google Play! (Wink.)"

    YOU FIND BOB IGER'S IPHONE. WHICH CONTACT DO YOU CALL?

    "Is this a trick question? Because I just found Bob Iger's iPhone. He knows I have it, doesn't he?"

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    Josh Sapan and Sarah Barnett

    President and CEO; President of Entertainment Networks and AMC Studios, AMC Networks

    Andrew Toth/Getty Images

    After assuming the top creative post at AMC Networks' entertainment portfolio, Barnett, 54, made the shrewd move of cross-pollinating critical darling Killing Eve on multiple networks. On BBC America and AMC, viewership skyrocketed 87 percent, and the assassin drama's Emmy nomination count (nine) more than tripled — scoring a coup win for star Jodie Comer in the process. Sapan, 68, remains focused on a unique and sprawling streaming strategy (Acorn TV, Sundance Now, UMC and Shudder) expected to start turning a profit in 2020.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    Sapan: "Comedian-writer Maeve Higgins, comedian-actor-writer Helen Hong, director Lynn Shelton."

    Barnett: Sarah Snook

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    Sapan: "Everything Roald Dahl wrote. Everything John le Carré wrote. Everything William Shakespeare wrote."

    Barnett: "Star Trek is pretty epic."

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    Sapan: "On Being with Krista Tippett, How I Built This with Guy Raz, Mobituaries, Pop Culture Happy Hour, All Songs Considered."

    Barnett: "The Remainiacs, a Guardian podcast about Brexit, because somehow U.K. politics, while a mirror image of here, don't seem as close or painful."

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD'S MERGER MANIA

    Barnett: "Best thing is it's easier for AMC — a truly bespoke service — to stand out as specific and focused compared to the massive scale of everyone else. Worst thing is everyone seems to be planning to do similar things."

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    Sapan: "Equipment for night scuba diving and a big ice fishing trip."

    Barnett: "Architect fees — ouch!"

    WHO WOULD YOU WANT TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED WITH ON DAVID GEFFEN'S INSTAGRAM?

    Barnett: "Bruce!"

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    Jordan Peele

    Director-Writer-Producer

    Courtesy of LISA O'CONNOR/AFP/Getty Images

    The Get Out phenom's star keeps rising. Shortly after he celebrated Spike Lee's Oscar screenplay win for BlacKkKlansman (produced by Peele's Monkeypaw), the 40-year-old's sophomore feature, Us, grossed $255 million — and he recently inked a rich five-year exclusive deal with Universal. Until he steps back behind the camera, he is busy producing, with the second season of CBS All Access' Twilight Zone, HBO's Lovecraft Country and a Candyman remake with MGM.

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    Lorne Michaels

    Producer

    Jim Spellman/WireImage

    At 74, Michaels still has it — "it" being the most influential variety show on TV, 45 seasons running. But ratings are soft so far this season (the opener was its lowest-rated since 2014) and his hiring of comic Shane Gillis backfired after Gillis' racist and homophobic material resurfaced online. Still, his Tonight Show remains the late-night leader in the key 18-to-49 demo, and his imprimatur can be found on comedies from every platform (Comedy Central's The Other Two, NBC's A.P. Bio, Hulu's Shrill and HBO's Los Espookys).

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    Steven Spielberg

    Director-Producer

    Kevin Winter/Getty Images

    He may have had to retreat on his battle to exclude Netflix from Oscar contention, but Spielberg, 72, remains an industry giant with massive influence, as he proved earlier this year when Green Book (Amblin's co-production with Participant) was named best picture. His ability to capture the zeitgeist will be tested anew with Amblin's 1917 (from American Beauty helmer Sam Mendes) and Spielberg's own much-hyped West Side Story, set for December 2020.

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    Bonnie Hammer

    Chairman, NBCU Content Studios

    Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

    Hammer has spent 2019 stocking NBCUniversal's streamer (Peacock, arriving in April) with library content like The Office and originals including a new Battlestar Galactica. But on Oct. 9, CEO Steve Burke announced that Hammer, 69, would head studios Universal TV and Universal Content Productions, making her a key content supplier for all platforms.

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE 

    "Canine Nation. It's an intelligent, always fascinating look at canine behavior — and believe me, humans can learn a thing or two from our four-legged friends."

    YOU FIND BOB IGER'S IPHONE. WHICH CONTACT DO YOU CALL?

    "His personal trainer, nutritionist and financial advisor — not necessarily in that order!"

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    Tyler Perry

    Actor-Writer-Producer

    Paras Griffin/Getty Images

    Oprah, Beyoncé and Jay-Z and the Clintons were just a few of the A-listers who graced the opening of Perry's namesake studio in Atlanta on Oct. 5, as he became the first black filmmaker to own a studio with no corporate backing or partners. Perry, 50, also has set up his first project, BET's The Oval (part of his megadeal with Viacom), and formed a production company with former Lionsgate exec Tim Palen.

    GO-TO MUSIC FOR A LONG DRIVE

    "Anything by Nina Simone."

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    "Young Dylan, whom I just cast in an upcoming Nickelodeon series I'm doing."

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    Reese Witherspoon

    Actor-Producer

    Vera Anderson/WireImage

    Growing media company Hello Sunshine (led by CEO Sarah Harden), Witherspoon is both her own industrial complex (TV, films, podcasts, audio and digital series) and a brand (19.4 million Instagram followers and lifestyle label Draper James). The 43-year-old Oscar winner also is developing a prestige TV addiction. She toplined and executive produced a second season of Big Little Lies in 2019 before doing the same for Apple TV+ big swing The Morning Show and Hulu's Little Fires Everywhere (2020).

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    Jeremy Zimmer, David Kramer and Jay Sures

    CEO; Co-Presidents, UTA

    Getty Images (3)

    In July, the agency added a major pillar via a partnership with Klutch Sports Group and also bolstered its strength in the online talent space by acquiring Digital Brand Architects. And it's one year into Civic Center Media, a joint venture with MRC (which shares a parent company with THR) to develop, produce and finance premium TV. Although the move did not endear the agency to the writers who exited en masse this year, Sures, 52, who leads alongside Zimmer, 61, and Kramer, 51, says "solving the WGA dispute" is a key priority.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    Zimmer: "Billie Eilish feels like a transcendent star."

    Kramer: "My daughter and I both love Millie Bobby Brown. She's fantastic."

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    Zimmer: "The remake rights to Cabin Boy."

    Sures: "The rights to Bob Iger's book."

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    Zimmer: "I still prefer listening to music, but the Wondery folks tell amazing stories."

    Sures: 10% Happier with Dan Harris

    Kramer: "Revisionist History or Gangster Capitalism."

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD'S MERGER MANIA

    Zimmer: "The best thing is the competitive environment being driven by well-financed platforms, the worst thing is the uncertainty that sometimes comes with change."

    Kramer: "It is forcing all of us to rethink our traditional ecosystem and be creative and strategic about what the future is going to look like. Same answer."

    THE LAST APP SOMEONE UNDER 13 HAD TO EXPLAIN TO YOU

    Kramer: TikTok

    WHO WOULD YOU WANT TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED WITH ON DAVID GEFFEN'S INSTAGRAM?

    Zimmer: "On his yacht, yes, but at his dentist, no."

    Sures: "The pope."

    Kramer: David Geffen

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    Sean Bailey and Emma Watts

    President of Production, Walt Disney Studios; President, 20th Century Fox

    Kevin Winter/Getty Images; Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

    Bailey is having his best year ever. The Lion King grossed $1.64 billion, followed by Aladdin with $1.1 billion. Upcoming titles include Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Mulan (March) and Jungle Cruise (July). On top of his theatrical slate, Bailey has been quietly making movies for Disney+ (he's in production on his eighth). "We feel like we have been working in a secret lab," he says. Watts, 49, is one of the few top Fox execs to make the jump to Disney. She saw a big win with Bohemian Rhapsody's $904 million (and four Academy Awards), but Dark Phoenix and smaller titles flamed out, prompting Iger to reassure Wall Street his team would get Fox on track. Ford v Ferrari has box office and Oscar hopes, and The King's Man rolls out in February. Watts also is in charge of James Cameron's Avatar series.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    Bailey: Phoebe Waller-Bridge 

    Watts: Phoebe Waller-Bridge 

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    Bailey: "To stretch the question a little bit — personally? The L.A. Lakers."

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    Bailey: Pod Save America

    Watts: How I Built This

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    Bailey: "New electric guitar."

    Watts: "A Theragun."

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    Jon Feltheimer, Michael Burns, Joe Drake and Kevin Beggs

    CEO; Vice Chairman; Motion Picture Group Chairman; Television Group Chair, Lionsgate

    Getty Images (4)

    In January, Feltheimer, 68, and Burns, 61, will mark their 20th anniversary running the studio, which has been the subject of persistent sale rumors. The 2016 acquisition of Starz has shown positive signs, with subscribers jumping from 23.5 million to 24.7 million in 2019. But recent reports of a possible Starz spinoff or sale sent Lionsgate's stock to a nearly eight-year low (though the company likely would turn a profit on a Starz sale given that it bought it for $4.4 billion and already turned down a $5 billion offer from CBS in the spring). Buoyed by $323 million worldwide for John Wick: Chapter 3Parabellum (the first greenlight for Drake, 58), the film slate earned 93 percent more in the first six months of 2019 than it did in 2018's first half, with Rambo: Last Blood showing that the series still has legs ($81.9 million). Under Beggs, 53, TV continued the success of its best development year in the studio's history, with more than 70 projects set up with network partners from Apple to Quibi.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    Feltheimer: "My 19-year-old daughter said that she'd have a heart attack if she met Timothee Chalamet, and I think he's pretty talented, too."

    Beggs: "I am obsessed with the Hulu series Pen15 and its creators, Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle. Maya did a great turn on Casual for us, but playing a middle schooler with such total commitment in the Pen15 series is masterful. And watching it is a reminder of how awful middle school was for everyone!"

    Burns: "I like the Rob Pattinson resurgence."

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    Feltheimer: "There's a great piece of IP I'm looking at right now, but if I told you I'd have to … well, you know the rest."

    Burns: "The entire Marvel universe."

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    Feltheimer: "Malcolm Gladwell's Revisionist History, How I Built This with Guy Raz, Pod Save America."

    Drake: "As a Clippers fan, I thought The Sterling Affairs was riveting."

    Beggs: "I roll phone calls on my daily drive to and from work, but when I walk for exercise I enjoy Malcolm Gladwell's Revisionist History, the Crimetown franchise and most recently a true crime piece called Bear Brook."

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD'S MERGER MANIA

    Feltheimer: "Best thing: Disruption creates opportunity. Worst thing: conglomerates behaving in monopolistic and self-dealing ways."

    Beggs: "Merger mania has injected massive programming spend into the TV ecosystem, which is great for content suppliers like us. The downside is the pressure from vertically integrated media companies to only source product from their owned and operated content verticals."

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    Feltheimer: "We had my son's bar mitzvah in Paris followed by a family trip to Lake Como."

    Burns: "I changed the oil on my Lexus SUV."

    Drake: "Surfing at Kelly Slater's Surf Ranch. Day of a lifetime."

    Beggs: "I broke down and bought an Apple Watch. After the demise of at least four Fitbits, I succumbed to the ecosystem. It is very beautiful, although I don't really know how to use it."

    WHO WOULD YOU WANT TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED WITH ON DAVID GEFFEN'S INSTAGRAM?

    Feltheimer: Oprah  

    Burns: "Reed Hastings and Bob Iger."

    Drake: "My wife and kids on his boat."

    Beggs: "President Obama. He seemseven more remarkable after the absurdity we've witnessed in the Oval Office the last three years."

    YOU FIND BOB IGER'S IPHONE. WHICH CONTACT DO YOU CALL?

    Feltheimer: Han Solo

    Burns: "The direct line to Apple Support."

    Beggs: "Tim Cook. To ask how I can operate my new Apple Watch."

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    Shonda Rhimes

    Writer-Producer

    Daniele Venturelli/WireImage

    Two years after stunning the studio landscape with Netflix's first nine-figure overall deal, Rhimes has her sights set on 2020, when the leadoff of her nine (and counting) projects — the London-set period drama Bridgerton — debuts. She's also casting the first show she'll personally write since Scandal days: Inventing Anna, based on the viral New York magazine story of fraudster Anna Delvey. Over at ABC, Krista Vernoff continues to reinvigorate Grey's Anatomy (renewed through 2021) and has taken on reinventing snoozer spinoff Station 19 as the network looks to keep Rhimes involved as long as possible after wrapping the Viola Davis vehicle How to Get Away With Murder.

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    "I'm either donating to causes I care about or buying interesting art."

    YOU FIND BOB IGER'S IPHONE. WHICH CONTACT DO YOU CALL?

    "His contacts? Who cares? I want to find out what shows he's watching on Netflix."

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    Jason Blum

    Producer

    Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

    Universal's cancellation of The Hunt's release amid controversy over its depiction of gun violence barely slowed the prolific producer's roll: Blum, who earned a best picture Oscar nom for BlacKkKlansman, saw the unspooling of M. Night Shyamalan's Glass, Jordan Peele's Us, the Octavia Spencer starrer Ma and Happy Death Day 2U — and has Black Christmas still to come. Next year, the 50-year-old, whose Blumhouse TV was behind HBO's Sharp Objects and Showtime's The Loudest Voice, takes on Universal's monsters with an Invisible Man remake. Another priority: "I'd love to see The Hunt get back on the release schedule."

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    Sebastian Lelio

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    "Business Wars by Wondery."

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD'S MERGER MANIA

    "The best thing is that there's more capital to make more shows and movies. The worst thing is that the backend is going away."

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    "A watch."

    YOU FIND BOB IGER'S IPHONE. WHICH CONTACT DO YOU CALL?

    "Aladdin."

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    John Landgraf

    Chairman, FX Networks and FX Productions

    Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

    In the wake of the Disney-Fox merger, Landgraf, 57 — rumored to have turned down a job running Hulu — continues to be deeply involved in creative decisions at FX, delivering critical hits like Pose and Fosse/Verdon, which helped FX rack up five primetime Emmys. Atlanta and Fargo both return in 2020, along with the hotly anticipated new installment of American Crime Story, centered on the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    Phoebe Waller-Bridge

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    "I'd control the U.S. Constitution and make it mandatory reading and study for all U.S. citizens."

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    Revisionist History

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD'S MERGER MANIA

    "Best thing: It allows us to compete with Silicon Valley. Worst thing: We have to compete with Silicon Valley."

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    David Nevins

    Chief Creative Officer, CBS

    Angela Weiss/AFP/ Getty Images

    Since rising to CCO in October 2018, Nevins, 53, no longer oversees just Showtime but also CBS TV Studios, streamer All Access and CBS' interest in The CW. CBS Studios produces 70 series across platforms, including its own streamer that will see originals climb to 12 in 2020. Showtime saw originals output (see Escape at Dannemora and The Loudest Voice) jump 30 percent in 2019, with further expansion ahead as subscriber count outpaces industry trends with growth to 27 million.

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE
    Dak Sheppard’s Armchair Expert

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE
    "You can’t really argue with Ben Platt."

    THE LAST APP SOMEONE UNDER 13 HAD TO EXPLAIN TO YOU 
    "I needed my son to set up all my scooter and bike apps. I understood how they worked, but I was too impatient to actually register Bird, Lime and Tier. Plus, my son is 14."

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    Greg Berlanti

    Writer-Producer

    Angela Weiss/ AFP/ Getty Images

    Setting a new industry record for a third year in a row, the 47-year-old scribe remains the most prolific producer in TV history with 19 series airing across seven outlets. It almost makes that $400 million overall deal with Warner Bros., which keeps him at the studio through at least 2024, seem like a bargain. On top of film efforts — see his preemptive grab at rights to best-seller Red, White and Royal Blue — Berlanti's big moves include adding a ninth series at The CW and securing fall's first full-season pickup with Fox's Prodigal Son.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    "Ryan O'Connell, who did the show Special. Been a fan for a while. I wish we had worked on his first show."

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE? 

    "Easy one — Muppets."

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD’S MERGER MANIA 

    "Best thing: more opportunities for everyone to create their own stories. Worst: many people are already working and not available."

    THE LAST APP SOMEONE UNDER 13 HAD TO EXPLAIN TO YOU  

    "TikTok — still don't understand it and not sure I want to."

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    Rupert Murdoch and Lachlan Murdoch

    Chairman; Executive Chairman/CEO, Fox Corp.

    George Pimentel/Getty Images; Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

    Fox News grabs all the headlines (and most of the bottom line, generating about $1 billion a year in profit), but the slimmed-down Fox Corp. under executive chairman and CEO Lachlan Murdoch, 48, and his chairman father, Rupert, 88, is no one-trick pony. Since the Disney sale closed in March, Fox has diversified its broadcast net and sports operation with acquisitions of an online finance brokerage (Credible Labs), a sports gambling venture (Fox Bets) and a fledgling studio. On a recent morning, Lachlan invited THR to his office on the West L.A. lot to talk the news- and sports-heavy strategy and why Fox News talent can't seem to get along. Read more here.

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    Eddy Cue, Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg

    Senior VP, Internet Software and Services; Heads of Worldwide Video, Apple

    Michael Kovac/WireImage; Charley Gallay/Getty Images (2)

    A $5-a-month price point gives 54-year-old Cue's Apple TV+ a leg up among the rash of soon-to-launch streaming options. When the service debuts Nov. 1, 1.4 billion users worldwide will have access to programs that Erlicht, 50, and Van Amburg, 48, have been developing for the better part of two years, including The Morning Show with Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston and See, starring Jason Momoa. Apple's deep pockets — its content budget is said to be well above $1 billion — have helped the Sony alums attract everyone from Oprah to J.J. Abrams, but there's uncertainty about how customers will respond to a service that lacks a catalog of film and TV classics.

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    Van Amburg: "Mission Impossible. Great movies, and I have a few ideas for a return to series."

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    Van Amburg: "PhoneSheet, starring the voices of the most talented old and new friends in entertainment."

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD’S MERGER MANIA

    Van Amburg: "I think everyone now has a discount to Disneyland!"

    THE LAST APP SOMEONE UNDER 13 HAD TO EXPLAIN TO YOU

    Van Amburg: "I could never admit that. I work for Apple. We have an app to explain apps."

    WHO WOULD YOU WANT TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED WITH ON DAVID GEFFEN'S INSTAGRAM?

    Van Amburg: "Anyone. That boat looks amazing."

    YOU FIND BOB IGER'S IPHONE. WHICH CONTACT DO YOU CALL?

    Van Amburg: "Bob Iger's house to return it."

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    Jim Gianopulos

    Chairman, Paramount Pictures

    Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic

    When he visited the set of Eddie Murphy's Coming to America sequel, Gianopulos laughed so hard that he was asked by a production staffer to keep it down. "Eddie is back and on fire," Gianopulos says of the reboot, one of many high-profile titles on his slate, including Terminator: Dark Fate, the A Quiet Place sequel (March) and Top Gun: Maverick (June). Gianopulos, 68, is at a disadvantage with fewer franchises than his rivals. And Ang Lee's Gemini Man, made in tandem with Skydance (also a partner on Terminator and Top Gun), looks like a pricey flop. But with the film studio on track for its first profitable year since 2014, led by Rocketman ($195 million), he also oversees TV (Jack Ryan and 13 Reasons Why). And he's making movies for Netflix.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    "I think Josh and Benny Safdie are really original, brilliant young filmmakers."

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    "Depending on mood, You Must Remember This or Dan Carlin's Hardcore History."

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD’S MERGER MANIA

    "Fewer awards parties? Actually that's in the best thing category."

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    "Nothing. My daughter's getting married next year …"

    WHO WOULD YOU WANT TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED WITH ON DAVID GEFFEN'S INSTAGRAM?

    Bruce Springsteen

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    Casey Bloys

    President of Programming, HBO

    Amy Sussman/Getty Images

    Amid a game of executive musical chairs following AT&T's $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner that saw HBO CEO Richard Plepler exit and Bob Greenblatt take the top content job at WarnerMedia, Bloys, 47, has stood firm. Despite the threat of Netflix, HBO remained on top at the Emmys, taking home 34 primetime trophies (12 for Game of Thrones). With GoT and Veep bidding farewell, the cabler is ushering in a new era led by breakouts Succession, Euphoria and, it hopes, Watchmen.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    "I love Beanie Feldstein. Very much looking forward to her as Monica Lewinsky."

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    "I usually toggle between MSNBC and Howard Stern, sometimes Pod Save America."

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD’S MERGER MANIA

    "Best thing is there is so much content needed, lots of talent are working at all levels. The worst thing is job eliminations across the industry."

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    "We don't spend a whole lot. I'd rather have mason jars full of money buried in my yard."

    THE LAST APP SOMEONE UNDER 13 HAD TO EXPLAIN TO YOU

    "My daughter really wants TikTok. So far I have said no."

    WHO WOULD YOU WANT TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED WITH ON DAVID GEFFEN'S INSTAGRAM?

    "How about … David Geffen?"

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    Ariel Emanuel, Patrick Whitesell and Ari Greenburg

    CEO, Endeavor; Executive Chairman, Endeavor; President, WME

    Getty Images

    The ambitious media firm abruptly pulled the plug on its IPO on Sept. 26, a day before it was poised to go public with a valuation it estimated as high as $8 billion. It's an undeniable loss of face for Emanuel, 58, and Whitesell, 54, but Endeavor remains formidably diversified: It extended the UFC's five-year, $1.5 billion deal with ESPN by two years. And despite serving as the biggest offender in the WGA's eyes in the battle over affiliate production and packaging fees, the company — which elevated Greenburg, 47, in December — continues to package (half of HBO's current originals and half of 2018's new broadcast series orders), produce (via Endeavor Content, which has awards contender Just Mercy) and lure top talent (Alfonso Cuarón, Kristen Stewart, Matthew McConaughey).

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    Richard Lovett, Kevin Huvane and Bryan Lourd

    President and Managing Partner; Managing Partners, CAA

    Getty Images (3)

    The agency lost a large chunk of writing business from top clients (David Simon and J.J. Abrams among them) amid the Association of Talent Agents' dispute with the WGA. But in the past year, CAA represented the most winners at the Oscars, Golden Globes, SAG Awards and Grammys of any agency, and its movie star clients accounted for 81 percent of the worldwide box office. Rival Endeavor's aborted IPO sheds a flattering light on CAA's more conservative strategy, and Lovett, 59, who leads the agency alongside Huvane, 60, and Lourd, 58, says his focus for the upcoming year is a culture "in which colleagues support one another as their first priority." CAA was the first agency to build a sports business, which this year along with its investment bank Evolution Media Capital advised on more than $6.75 billion in media rights deals, while CAA's Media Finance division worked on client James Gray's Ad Astra, Rian Johnson's upcoming Knives Out and Sam Mendes' 1917.

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    Mark Lazarus

    Chairman, Broadcast, Cable, Sports and News, NBCUniversal

    Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

    Since joining NBCUniversal in 2008 from Turner, Lazarus, 56, has seen his portfolio expand from cable sports to the company's entire East Coast content business including entertainment brands (USA, Bravo and E!, which he relocated to New York), news assets (NBC News, MSNBC, CNBC) and owned stations. His January promotion to his current title put him right under CEO Steve Burke on the org chart, setting up succession bake-off speculation with Universal's Jeff Shell. Lazarus continues to hammer out sports rights megadeals, including $7.7 billion for the Olympics through 2032 (the company projects $1.2 billion in ad revenue for the 2020 Games), and has taken a hands-off approach to his profitable news assets. That may change as Ronan Farrow's new book has news execs mired in questions about their handling of claims against fired Today host Matt Lauer.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    Charles Barkley

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    How I Built This

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD’S MERGER MANIA

    "Best thing is Comcast's gaining scale; worst is our competitors gaining scale."

    LAST BIG SPLURGE 

    "Family vacation to Africa."

    THE LAST APP SOMEONE UNDER 13 HAD TO EXPLAIN TO YOU 

    GrubHub

    YOU FIND BOB IGER'S IPHONE. WHICH CONTACT DO YOU CALL?

    Steve Burke

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    Tony Vinciquerra, Tom Rothman and Mike Hopkins

    Chairman/CEO, Sony Pictures Entertainment; Chairman, Motion Picture Group; Chairman, Sony Pictures TV

    Getty Images (3)

    While Vinciquerra, 65, continues to focus on restoring fiscal responsibility across the company, Rothman made gains with Spider-Man: Far From Home, the studio's top-grossing film of all time ($1.13 billion), and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood ($364 million). He and Vinciquerra also are back in business with Marvel after a very public standoff with Disney. "It's a win-win," says Rothman, 64. The TV side still struggles to attract top-tier showrunners since it isn't vertically integrated and doesn't have its own channels, but Hopkins, 50, shepherded two key Seinfeld deals; one with Netflix for SVOD rights, one with Viacom for domestic cable. He also renewed pacts with the likes of Phil Lord and Chris Miller as well as Norman Lear.

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    Hopkins: "My Favorite Murder. Georgia and Karen are incredibly funny." 

    Rothman: "I listen to sports radio."

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    Rothman: "I bought a first edition of The Great Gatsby.

    Vinciquerra: "Soccer gear and equipment for my kids. Endless!"

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD’S MERGER MANIA

    Vinciquerra: "Lots of new opportunity."

    THE LAST APP SOMEONE UNDER 13 HAD TO EXPLAIN TO YOU 

    Hopkins: "TikTok. It's super-fun — but I'm still trying to get TikTok famous."

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    Ryan Murphy

    Writer-Producer

    Kevin Winter/Getty Images

    The prolific Murphy — who taps more quickly and viscerally into the zeitgeist than any other Hollywood creator — is already at work on his $300 million deal with Netflix. He launched his first series, The Politician, in September, with Sarah Paulson starrer Ratched up next — both holdouts from his prior pact at 20th TV. His first all-Netflix show will be the Darren Criss-led limited drama Hollywood. With his move to Netflix, Murphy, 53, also expands into film, adapting Broadway's Boys in the Band and The Prom.

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    J.J. Abrams

    Chairman and Co-CEO, Bad Robot

    Bill Watters/WireImage

    Streamers and studios breathlessly courted Abrams, 53, and his wife and Bad Robot partner, co-CEO Katie McGrath, for months before the duo decided to stay at WarnerMedia in a five-year pact worth over $250 million. Amid the massive trove of content coming from Bad Robot — which rose to the top of Hollywood's creative hierarchy on the strength of blockbusters like Mission: Impossible plus prestige fare à la Westworld — are series Lovecraft Country (HBO) and Little Voice (Apple+) as Abrams unleashes Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in December.

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    "Is there ever anything better than This American Life? I also became addicted to the Rachel Maddow podcast when we were shooting in London."

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    "An AKS Synthi synthesizer from 1973. A thing of beauty. That whole electronic music gear world is a rabbit hole from which, I fear, I will never escape."

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    Bob Greenblatt and Kevin Reilly

    Chairman, Entertainment & Direct-to-Consumer; Chief Content Officer, WarnerMedia

    Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

    Onetime broadcast rivals Greenblatt, 59, and Reilly, 57, are together charged with populating streamer HBO Max — AT&T's crucial play at making good on its $85 billion investment in the former Time Warner. Early buys for the service include sitcom heavyweights Friends and The Big Bang Theory and a reboot of Gossip Girl. Meanwhile, Reilly retains programming oversight of Turner's cable entertainment portfolio (TBS, TNT and now truTV) and Greenblatt has crown jewel HBO under his purview.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    Greenblatt: Ted Sarandos

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    Greenblatt: "Friends. Oh wait!"

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    Greenblatt: The Moth

    Reilly: Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD’S MERGER MANIA 

    Greenblatt: "Having AT&T, and their 170 million consumer touchpoints, behind us as we launch HBO Max next year."

    Reilly: "Change equals opportunity."

    LAST BIG SPLURGE 

    Greenblatt: "A 1969 Mercedes 280SL convertible."

    THE LAST APP SOMEONE UNDER 13 HAD TO EXPLAIN TO YOU 

    Greenblatt: "Instagram!"

    WHO WOULD YOU WANT TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED WITH ON DAVID GEFFEN'S INSTAGRAM? 

    Reilly: "I don't care, as long as it's on his boat."

    YOU FIND BOB IGER'S IPHONE. WHICH CONTACT DO YOU CALL?

    Greenblatt: "Prince Charming."

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    Jennifer Salke

    Head, Amazon Studios

    Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

    Salke, 55, has shown her buying power in 2019, shelling out $47 million for Sundance darlings like The Report. But she's struggled to define a film strategy, and after dim box office for Mindy Kaling's Late Night ($15.5 million domestic) and The Goldfinch, which Amazon co-financed ($5.3 million in the U.S.), she's shifting the windowing of films to favor Prime's 100 million-plus subscribers. TV remains a bright spot as Amazon scored 15 Emmys, including four for Fleabag. But perhaps Salke's biggest coup came two days after the kudos, when she landed an overall deal with the show's in-demand creator, Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

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    Ann Sarnoff, Toby Emmerich and Peter Roth

    Chairman/CEO, Warner Bros.; Chairman, Warner Bros. Pictures Group; President/Chief Content Officer, Warner Bros. TV Group

    Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images; Kevin Winter/Getty Images; Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

    Sarnoff's hire to succeed Kevin Tsujihara caught many in Hollywood by surprise, but her decades of experience in media and entertainment — most recently at streamer Britbox and BBC Studio Americas — impressed WarnerMedia chief John Stankey and his AT&T bosses. The first woman ever to run the storied studio has a mandate to make Warner Bros. more cohesive. "It's no secret it was a very siloed company before," says Sarnoff, 57, who stepped up in August following a tough summer for film. But It: Chapter Two ($445.8 million) and Joker ($548.3 million) have been wins for Emmerich, 56; Warners is second in theatrical market share after Disney. Roth, who helped corral J.J. Abrams for his $250 million overall deal, has HBO's Watchmen, The CW's Batwoman and Sandman for Netflix.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    Emmerich: Sturgill Simpson

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    Sarnoff: Freakonomics

    Emmerich: Revisionist History

    Roth: Fresh Air

    THE LAST APP SOMEONE UNDER 13 HAD TO EXPLAIN TO YOU

    Emmerich: Toca Hair Salon 3

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    Oprah Winfrey

    CEO, OWN

    Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

    Few Hollywood luminaries manage to juggle like Winfrey. The 65-year-old mogul with a slew of powerful names on speed dial continues to cement her singular status as America's most trusted star while overseeing thriving cable network OWN, churning out best-sellers on a nearly annual basis (2019's The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life's Direction and Purpose) and forging new pacts in the changing entertainment landscape. Her multiyear deal with Apple kicked off with the September launch of the new Apple-fied version of commerce-driving Oprah's Book Club.

    WHO WOULD YOU WANT TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED WITH ON DAVID GEFFEN'S INSTAGRAM? 

    "Anyone on the boat is ALLLLL good."

    YOU FIND BOB IGER'S IPHONE. WHICH CONTACT DO YOU CALL?

    "I'd call Bob and say, 'Bobby you lost your phone. Aren't you glad I found it?'"

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    Donna Langley

    Chairman, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group

    Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

    With her promotion in January, Langley, 51, took on new oversight — global distribution and home entertainment — while continuing to lead the film studio, home of three 2019 originals that have opened at No. 1 at the box office (UsGood Boys and DreamWorks Animation's Abominable), a notable feat in a year of Disney dominance. "Originality and a twist" is the formula, says Langley, who successfully spun off Fast & Furious with Hobbs & Shaw and has purview over Focus Features, home of recent hit Downton Abbey. Big 2019 swings include Cats (Dec. 20) and Sam Mendes' 1917 (Dec. 25).

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    Zendaya

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    Pod Save America

    THE LAST APP SOMEONE UNDER 13 HAD TO EXPLAIN TO YOU

    "I can't even figure out how to use Alexa but my 10-year-old can!"

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    Dana Walden

    Chairman, Disney Television Studios and ABC Entertainment

    Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images

    The Disney era has given Walden, 55, one of the biggest reaches in TV. Not only does she oversee the acquired 20th Century Fox TV, which she built into a powerhouse over two decades, she's got ABC Studios, ABC Entertainment, Freeform and, as of August, Hulu. So while many others at the company focus on Disney+, Walden must keep her studios competitive while improving the broadcast flagship's showing; it again ranked No. 4 for the 2018-19 season.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    "Jesse Armstrong. Everyone in our office is obsessed with Succession."

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    "So much of the best IP is already housed at The Walt Disney Co. The question becomes how can we extend it creatively into the television space in a way which is additive and meaningful?"

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    "I loved ABC News' The Dropout. Wondery, run by my old colleague Hernan Lopez, has had some addictive true crime yarns."

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    "We rescued a dog several years ago who's had both medical issues and went missing for three weeks in the hills of Malibu, and we spent a crazy amount on the search-and-rescue operation. But that's the kind of money you never regret spending."

    THE LAST APP SOMEONE UNDER 13 HAD TO EXPLAIN TO YOU

    TikTok

    YOU FIND BOB IGER'S IPHONE. WHICH CONTACT DO YOU CALL?

    Willow Bay

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    Bob Bakish and Joe Ianniello

    President and CEO, ViacomCBS; Chairman and CEO, CBS

    Michael Tullberg/Getty Images; Courtesy of John Paul Filo/CBS

    Bakish, 55, and Ianniello, 51, are tasked with unifying disparate cultures at the merged entity that spans from Paramount (home of Mission: Impossible) to 60 Minutes. For Bakish, that also means making good on his promise to generate synergy value and bring forth $500 million in postmerger cost savings. Ianniello took on the CEO job at CBS after Leslie Moonves resigned in September 2018 following sexual misconduct allegations — but the interim CEO was poised to leave postmerger (the board and ViacomCBS chairman Shari Redstone persuaded him to stay). Now overseeing CBS Entertainment, News and Sports and all of the branded assets including CBS All Access, which he championed when it launched five years ago, he has shuffled executives all throughout the company — elevating Showtime head David Nevins to CBS chief creative officer and Susan Zirinsky to the top of the news division.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    Ianniello: "I thought Kaitlyn Dever's work in Unbelievable was outstanding."

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    Ianniello: "I would love to be able to broadcast the Super Bowl every year and not have to wait our turn."

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    Bakish: Finding Mastery

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    Ianniello: "I personally commissioned artwork that depicts the CBS eye using 9,980 jellybeans made up of 17 flavors."

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    Jeff Shell and Ron Meyer

    Chairman, NBCUniversal Film and Entertainment; Vice Chairman, Comcast/NBCUniversal

    Kevin Winter/Getty Images; Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

    Shell, 54, had much to celebrate as 2019 rang in: The former Filmed Entertainment Group chair's duties were expanded to include dominion over NBC Entertainment, Telemundo and NBC's international operations. His promotion cemented his favored-nation status with NBCU CEO Steve Burke (Shell arrived at Universal from Comcast) and set him up as a potential successor. Revenue is down slightly year-over-year at the film studio, but profitability is another matter. Us earned $255 million globally against a $21 million budget. On the franchise side, Fast & Furious spinoff Hobbs & Shaw ($758 million) exceeded expectations. Meyer, 75, serves as key consigliere to Shell and Donna Langley, who reigns over Shell's former domain.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    Shell: Phoebe Waller-Bridge

    Meyer: Margaret Qualley

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    Shell: "Fantasy football."

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    Shell: Morning Joe

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD'S MERGER MANIA

    Shell: "The best thing is we are creating the scale to counter our much bigger tech competitors. The worst thing is it's difficult to maintain the entrepreneurial and creative spirit essential to our business."

    Meyer: "Keeps us on our A game."

    THE LAST APP SOMEONE UNDER 13 HAD TO EXPLAIN TO YOU

    Shell: Peloton

    Meyer: "Any app a 13-year-old can understand is over my head."

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    Alan Horn and Alan Bergman

    Chief Creative Officer and Co-Chairman; Co-Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios

    Kevin Winter/Getty Images

    Meet Hollywood's billion-dollar work buddies: Horn, the creative brain, and Bergman, the guy who makes sure the trains run. Their partnership was cemented in May when Bergman, 53, was upped to co-chairman. They've had a dizzying year, absorbing 20th Century Fox and breaking records at the box office, where their films have collected $8 billion-plus, with Frozen 2 and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker still to come. Another first: Five 2019 releases have earned $1 billion or more worldwide, led by the top-grossing pic of all time, Marvel's Avengers: Endgame. Fox has endured a rough year, but upcoming titles Ford v Ferrari and Searchlight's JoJo Rabbit put Disney — which now commands more than 40 percent of theatrical market share — back in the awards race. "No one could have contemplated the idea that we would acquire ... one of the original majors," says Horn, 76. "This is a game-changer." Adds Bergman, "We've tried to be as respectful as possible, and are making good strides."

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    Horn: "All DC comics. It would be really fun to have DC."

    Bergman: "Jurassic Park. I love the imagination of the property."

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD'S MERGER MANIA

    Horn: "Best: We now have Fox as part of our overall company. The worst thing is that jobs were lost. I'm very mindful of their fact that through no fault of their own, people found themselves out of a job."

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    Horn: "My Tesla, 2018. It's so great. A little-known fact — it makes toast. Just kidding"

    Bergman: "Wine."

    THE LAST APP SOMEONE UNDER 13 HAD TO EXPLAIN TO YOU

    Horn: "I don't know anyone under 13."

    Bergman: TikTok

    YOU FIND BOB IGER'S IPHONE. WHICH CONTACT DO YOU CALL?

    Bergman: Paul McCartney

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    Kevin Mayer

    Chairman, Direct-to-Consumer and International, The Walt Disney Co.

    Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images

    With a Nov. 12 Disney+ launch looming (see story, page 58), it's up to strategy chief Mayer, 57, to ensure that the service reaches profitability (and its 60 million to 90 million subscriber goal) by 2024. Mayer also oversees ESPN+ and Hulu and plans to bundle the three services for $13 a month in a bid to hit as many as 160 million total subscribers worldwide within the next five years. Of rumors that he's a candidate to succeed Bob Iger, he says, "I'm doing my job, and that's all I'm focused on doing." Read more here.

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    Peter Rice

    Chairman, Walt Disney TV

    John Sciulli/Getty Images

    Since Disney swallowed up most of 21st Century Fox's assets, the 52-year-old former Fox exec's portfolio has ballooned to include four studios (20th TV, ABC Studios, Fox 21, FX Productions) and 11 networks (including ABC, FX, National Geographic and Disney Channel), plus eight owned stations and ABC News. Rice, a Murdoch confidant and possible successor to Disney CEO Bob Iger, has a clear mandate in the streaming arms race: to seed Disney+ with "high-quality, impactful" content, he says.

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    The Bonfire of the Vanities

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    Against the Rules With Michael Lewis

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    Leslye Headland

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    "A new pair of Levi's 501s."

  94. 7
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    Cindy Holland, Scott Stuber and Bela Bajaria

    VP of Original Content; Head of Film; VP of International Originals, Netflix

    Taylor Hill/FilmMagic; Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images; Jesse Grant/Getty Images

    Holland, 49, has led Netflix's TV rise, shepherding such acclaimed offerings as When They See Us and Russian Doll along with populist hits like Stranger Things. Bajaria, 48, who ushered in unscripted wins like Queer Eye and Nailed It in her former position, moved into a new role in March as the international head, overseeing all non-English-language originals and content teams in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India and Latin America as the company's focus becomes increasingly global. Stuber, 50, spearheads film efforts by supervising four divisions (big budget, indie, documentary and international) that churn out up to 60 movies a year. Despite an ongoing standoff with theater chains over theatrical windows, in two years he's managed to lure A-list filmmakers including Martin Scorsese (The Irishman) and Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story), whose films are likely to give the streamer another swing at a best picture Oscar one year after Roma nabbed best director.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    Stuber: "Melina Matsoukas and Lulu Wang."

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    Holland: Star Wars

    Stuber: Spider-Man

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    Holland: Guilty Feminist

    Stuber: "With three kids under 10, a long drive with a podcast is not in my immediate future."

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    Stuber: "Family summer vacation to Europe."

    Bajaria: "A house to flip."

    BEST OR WORST THING ABOUT HOLLYWOOD'S MERGER MANIA

    Stuber: "The best thing is that there's a renewed vitality and energy right now that is presenting more opportunities for the creative community."

    THE LAST APP SOMEONE UNDER 13 HAD TO EXPLAIN TO YOU

    Holland: TikTok

    Stuber: TikTok

    Bajaria: Fortnite

    WHO WOULD YOU WANT TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED WITH ON DAVID GEFFEN'S INSTAGRAM?

    Holland: David Geffen

    Stuber: David Geffen

    Bajaria: Megan Rapinoe

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    John Stankey

    CEO, WarnerMedia

    Mike Coppola/Getty Images

    It's been a rocky start for WarnerMedia — the name AT&T gave its $85 billion Time Warner acquisition in June 2018 — with a shake-up headlined by Warner Bros.' Kevin Tsujihara departing amid scandal and HBO CEO Richard Plepler stepping down. The record-breaking $247 million launch of Joker and HBO's dominant Emmy haul (137) go a long way to soothing any ills — one of which is that activist investor Elliott Management is demanding that AT&T lay out a clearer direction for its media business and jettison assets like DirecTV. Stankey, 57, has been CEO since the acquisition and added the title COO of AT&T on Oct. 1, making him a candidate to succeed AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. A major test will be the 2020 launch of WarnerMedia's streamer, HBO Max.

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    "We have an amazing collection of IP already, but I suspect James Bond might be enough to pull me out of my hands-off approach to the greenlight process!" 

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    "If not a book on tape, The Bill Simmons Podcast."

    THE LAST APP SOMEONE UNDER 13 HAD TO EXPLAIN TO YOU

    "If it has to be explained, I probably shouldn't be using it."

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    Kevin Feige

    President and Chief Creative Officer, Marvel Studios

    Chris Delmas/AFP/Getty Images

    It's Feige's cinematic universe, we just live in it. The most important Disney employee not named Iger and arguably the most successful film producer of all time, Feige began 2019 at the Oscars with the first superhero movie (Black Panther) to be nominated for best picture. The $1.1 billion launch of Marvel's first female-headlining movie, Captain Marvel, was a prelude to Avengers: Endgame, which with $2.8 billion overtook Avatar to become the biggest movie of all time. Feige, 46, was at the center of a studio fight over a sequel to yet another one of his 2019 billion-dollar babies, Spider-Man: Far From Home (the outcome: Marvel will complete the Sony trilogy). Now he's plotting the integration of Marvel properties acquired via the Fox acquisition and a trip to the Star Wars universe.

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    Shari Redstone

    Chairman, ViacomCBS

    Todd Williamson/Getty Images

    After an epic battle worthy of an HBO drama to unite Viacom and CBS, Redstone, 65, emerged unscathed and in control of the soon-to-be-combined media behemoth. But over the past year, Viacom's stock has dropped from $32.78 to $22.50, while CBS' has fallen more precipitously, from $57.44 to $37.64 (still, ViacomCBS will enjoy a huge slice of the U.S. TV audience, at about 22 percent compared with Comcast's 18 percent). And with the new company valued at about $31 billion (compared with AT&T-WarnerMedia's $255 billion or Netflix's $125 billion), expect Redstone to embark on a media assets shopping spree.

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    Brian Roberts and Steve Burke

    CEO, Comcast Corp.; CEO, NBCUniversal

    Larry Busacca/Getty Images; Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

    Roberts, 60, couldn't outbid Disney for 21st Century Fox, but he did manage to wrest European entertainment giant Sky from Rupert Murdoch, paying $38.8 billion for a majority stake and prompting Murdoch to unload his share for $15 billion. With Sky making up the third leg of Roberts' empire — joining Comcast Cable and NBCU — the company now has 184,000 employees and brings in more than $110 billion annually. Second-quarter revenue missed estimates, but it also was the fourth consecutive quarter for which Comcast beat earnings-per-share estimates; the stock has spiked more than 30 percent this year. Burke's NBCUniversal, with $8.2 billion in revenue for the second quarter, saw broadcast and cable edge up, while film declined 15 percent primarily due to a 53 percent drop in theatrical compared with the strength of 2018 hits like Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. The company enters the streaming arms race in April with Peacock, its ad-supported product. And Burke, 61, having recently shuffled Peacock's team (bringing in longtime Comcast exec Matt Strauss), has been writing big checks for content including licensing deals for Parks and Recreation, Battlestar Galactica and The Office, for which it shelled out $500 million for five years (beginning in 2021), depriving Netflix of one of its most popular programs.

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    Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos

    CEO; Chief Content Officer, Netflix

    Ted Sarandos and Reed Hastings
    Ted Sarandos and Reed Hastings
    Han Myung-Gu/WireImage

    Even as Disney, WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal enter the streaming fray, the original disrupter — with nearly 152 million global subscribers and a 2019 content budget estimated at up to $15 billion — enjoys a massive head start. And Hastings, 59, and Sarandos, 55, now have an army of top creatives (among them Game of Thrones duo David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Ryan Murphy, Beyoncé and the Obamas). But with more than $10 billion in debt and a maturing market, the duo who revolutionized viewing may need to put sustainability over spending as the company's market capitalization — $125 billion at press time — has been battered by a subscriber miss (in the U.S., Netflix lost 130,000 subs in the second quarter). A new test will come with a second Oscar best picture campaign (The IrishmanMarriage Story and The Two Popes are favorites) after the top prize eluded Roma.

    A TOP TALENT (NOT ON YOUR PLATFORM) WHOM YOU ADMIRE

    Hastings: Amy Sherman-Palladino

    Sarandos: "Billie Eilish is fascinating." 

    IF YOU COULD CONTROL ONE PIECE OF IP, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

    Hastings: "Too tough to pick just one."

    Sarandos: "Already excited about creating in the worlds of Roald Dahl and C.S. Lewis and expanding the Stranger Things universe."

    GO-TO PODCAST FOR A LONG DRIVE

    Hastings: Masters of Scale

    Sarandos: Hardcore History and Present Company

    LAST BIG SPLURGE

    Sarandos: "A Rocket Appartamento espresso machine and grinder"

    WHO WOULD YOU WANT TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED WITH ON DAVID GEFFEN'S INSTAGRAM?

    Sarandos: "Already shot with the dream team: David Geffen and my wife, Nicole."

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    Bob Iger

    CEO, The Walt Disney Co.

    Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images

    Not unlike Simba in The Lion King, nearly everything the light touches is Iger’s kingdom. The most powerful person in Hollywood (for the fourth year in a row) presides over the industry’s largest and most influential entertainment business, with a market cap of around $234 billion and an unrivaled collection of IP and brands. And in 2019, Disney got a lot bigger. The March addition of $71.3 billion worth of 21st Century Fox assets positions the Mouse House as a content behemoth for the Streaming Wars, which may begin in earnest with the Nov. 12 launch of Disney+, Iger’s bold bet on the future of the 96-year-old company. Iger, 68, has convinced Disney investors that forgoing billions in TV licensing dollars will pay off with a global direct-to-consumer business featuring Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar and Disney Animation films, plus original series like The Mandalorian and all 30 seasons of The Simpsons for $7 per month. Disney+, he says, "is going to be a priority for the foreseeable future for the company." In the meantime, Iger’s film studio has executed an unprecedented run at the box office: Disney has five of the year's top 10 films and has brought in $8 billion in box office revenue, a new record, with Frozen 2 and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker still to come. But the year hasn't been without challenges, including layoffs that resulted from the integration of Fox assets, soft initial attendance at Disneyland's Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge attraction, and a $353 million write-down on the company's Vice investment. Still, in modern Hollywood, there's no one who mixes business vision with creative chops quite like Iger. Oh, and last month he became a best-selling author with his memoir, The Ride of a Lifetime. Indeed. Read more here.