Women in Entertainment Power 100: The Chiefs

8:00 AM 12/9/2015

by THR staff

They don’t all have a capital C in their title (though one has a big O), yet these 11 are the top operators of their big-time businesses, from the nation's largest movie theater chain to the millennial magnet YouTube.

Oprah Winfrey and Sheri Salata - H 2015
Courtesy of OWN
  • Frances Berwick

    Having doubled her cable portfolio in October 2014, Berwick now oversees all NBCU lifestyle networks. The London-born, New York-based exec, a married mother of one, pushed No. 9 cable net Bravo into scripted with Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce and Odd Mom Out and was behind cable's most watched unscripted launch of the year with E!'s Caitlyn Jenner series I Am Cait.

    MOST HOLLYWOOD THING ABOUT MY LIFE "My curbside check-in status at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills."

    WHAT PEOPLE DON'T KNOW ABOUT ME "That I had a surprise wedding."

    THE ACTOR I'D CAST TO PLAY ME IN MY BIOPIC "Emma Thompson and then Adele in the musical adaptation."

    I'M STILL STARSTRUCK BY "Inspiring, successful women like Diane von Furstenberg."

    AS A WOMAN IN THIS BUSINESS, I'M STILL SURPRISED WHEN … "People assume I'm a dude from my name."

  • Paula Kerger

    With Downton Abbey ending after its upcoming sixth season — it’s the most watched series in the 45-year history of Masterpiece, averaging nearly 13 million viewers last season — PBS has been stocking the shelves with potential breakouts including Civil War drama Mercy Street. "Downton propelled us into the cultural landscape in a different way," says Kerger. "We haven't been sitting back hoping for something else to happen." PBS also has emerged from a scandal over Ben Affleck's request to scrub his slave-owning ancestor from genealogy series Finding Your Roots with the third season featuring Shonda Rhimes, Neil Patrick Harris and Julianna Margulies.

    SUPERPOWER I WISH I HAD "Mind reading — it certainly would save a lot of time if I understood what people were actually thinking."


    AS A WOMAN IN THIS BUSINESS, I'M STILL SURPRISED WHEN … "People assume my husband is the CEO of PBS."

  • Debra Lee

    Amid big changes at MTV and VH1, Viacom's third music channel has been its most stable. Series like Real Husbands of Hollywood and Being Mary Jane continue to pull solid ratings as Lee, a married mother of two, explores new territories. BET entered the sports arena via collaborations with Roc Nation Sports and the NBA. The network also joined the Emmy conversation thanks to miniseries The Book of Negroes.


    GO-TO LUNCH SPOT Soho House


    SUPERPOWER I WISH I HAD "The ability to be in two places at once."



  • Amy Miles

    The only woman to run a mega-theater circuit (the U.S.' largest), Miles is presiding over one of the best years to date for the Knoxville, Tenn.-based company, which operates more than 7,300 screens in 44 states. The boom, in part, is attributed to upgraded locations with luxury seating, high-end concessions and alcohol. Miles, a proponent of keeping theatrical windows as they are, refuses to carry a title going out early on VOD, Netflix or Amazon.

    WHAT PEOPLE DON'T KNOW ABOUT ME "I met my husband, Dan, when I was 13."

    GO-TO LUNCH SPOT "I live in Tennessee, so most THR readers probably wouldn't recognize the restaurant."

    THE ACTOR I'D CAST TO PLAY ME IN MY BIOPIC "Tina Fey — she's cool, funny and talented."

    FAVORITE TV SHOW (THAT I'M NOT INVOLVED WITH) "All series by Shonda Rhimes."

  • Courteney Monroe

    In the four years since the marketing exec left HBO for National Geographic, she's swiftly risen from chief marketing officer to global chief of its TV operation. Working with Fox Networks Group's Peter Rice, Monroe is leading a push to elevate content on the flagship, courting the likes of Darren Aronofsky and Alex Gibney — and hitting ratings pay dirt with adaptations of Bill O'Reilly's Killing books. 

    MOST HOLLYWOOD THING ABOUT MY LIFE "The people at Drybar in Beverly Hills know me by name (and I don't even live in L.A.!)."

    MY FIRST JOB IN HOLLYWOOD "Marketing Manager, HBO"

    WHAT I WISH I KNEW WHEN I FIRST STARTED IN HOLLYWOOD "Maintain every relationship you build."

    WHAT PEOPLE DON'T KNOW ABOUT ME "My original career aspiration was to anchor the Today show."

    GO-TO LUNCH SPOT "My desk."

  • Diane Nelson

    With DC's iconic properties at the center, Nelson holds the many threads that tie Warners' film, TV, video games and consumer products together. DC's banner TV year, with seven shows on the air (including Supergirl) and an eighth (Legends of Tomorrow) due in January, will be followed by a big 2016 for the film side with Batman v. Superman, which launches the DC Cinematic Universe, and Suicide Squad. DC and WB Consumer Products, which Nelson took over in August, also launched a superhero girls brand in partnership with Lego, Random House and Mattel. "DC is the best example of our company working together and goes to Kevin Tsujihara's strategy of 'one company,'" she says.

    MY QUIRKIEST HABIT "I tend to eat food on my plate in alphabetical order."

    WHAT I WISH I KNEW WHEN I FIRST STARTED IN HOLLYWOOD "Ignorance was bliss, in my case."

    THE MOST HOLLYWOOD THING ABOUT MY LIFE "Participating in lists like this one."

    GO-TO LUNCH SPOT "My desk, if I'm lucky."

    HOW I SAVE TIME "Eating at my desk."

    THE ACTOR I'D CAST TO PLAY ME IN MY BIOPIC "Charlize Theron as Furiosa."

    HOLLYWOOD HAS BECOME … "An even bigger driver of popular culture, with all the responsibility that entails."

  • Stacey Snider

    One year into her post as Fox chairman and as CEO Jim Gianopulos' No. 2, Snider may not have been involved in greenlighting the studio's 2015 slate of films, but she had a hand in their marketing and release, including box-office hit and awards contender The Martian and Paul Feig's Melissa McCarthy comedy Spy. Fox releases two high-profile titles at Christmas, David O. Russell's Joy and Alejandro G. Inarritu's The Revenant. Also ahead: The Road Chip, the fourth installment in the billion-dollar Alvin and the Chipmunks franchise. Says the married mom of two daughters, "I love the resources of a big studio and the variety of films."

    SUPERPOWER I WISH I HAD "The ability to get out of bed for yoga or Physique 57 without bitching."

    MOST HOLLYWOOD THING ABOUT MY LIFE "If I need a restaurant reservation or a flight rescheduled or a gift picked, there's a network of assistants to help me navigate my life."

    ACTOR I'D CAST TO PLAY ME IN MY BIOPIC "Lucy from Peanuts."

    FAVORITE TV SHOW (THAT I'M NOT INVOLVED WITH)The Late Late Show With James Corden



  • Oprah Winfrey and Sheri Salata

    Starting the year with the cable network's most watched quarter (an average 581,000 primetime viewers), Winfrey and Salata finally have the breathing room to be more playful in their programming and build on their sprawlingly successful suite of Tyler Perry series. This year saw the Discovery co-owned network snap up a project from Winfrey collaborator Ava DuVernay and the high-profile CEO/actress sign on to recur in the megachurch drama Greenleaf — and to pen a memoir, out in 2017. 

    Salata: "Bella and Kissy (my beloved English bulldogs) get regular lavender oil massages."
    Winfrey: "My hand-carved marble bathtub. Bathing is an art form for me, a hobby, a passion."

    INDUSTRY PET PEEVE Winfrey: "I hate chewing gum. In my office buildings I've banned it, but on movie sets I have no control. People chew it constantly. Kinda makes me cray-cray." 

    THE HOLLYWOOD CAREER I COVET Winfrey: "My own. What could be better?"

    WHAT PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT ME Winfrey: "I'm great at stain removal (especially dog-related carpet stains). There is great satisfaction and immediate gratification when the stain disappears."

    HOW I SAVE TIME Salata: "Forgive. Forget. Move on."

  • Susan Wojcicki

    In her second year running the Google-owned platform, Wojcicki has pushed the ad-supported business into the subscription fray with the launch of YouTube Red, its $10-a-month app — now the flagship in a suite including a long-awaited music service. The Silicon Valley-based Wojcicki, 47 and a mother of five, is looking to make an even bigger impact through the launch of an original programming division led by former MTV programming boss Susanne Daniels that will make scripted projects starring top creators. Wojcicki, who worked at Intel before becoming an early Google employee, explains that the goal of every decision she makes is to "deliver great experiences for our users and help our creators be as successful as possible."  

    MY QUIRKIEST HABIT "I stretch a lot in meetings."

    AS A WOMAN IN THIS BUSINESS, I'M STILL SURPRISED WHEN … "People always ask me how I balance work and family — and they don't ask my male counterparts."

    SUPERPOWER I WISH I HAD "To go back in time and get a second chance at decisions." 

  • Cyma Zarghami

    In February, the longtime Nickelodeon chief saw her portfolio expand with the addition of CMT and TV Land. Zarghami has made a big push for younger-skewing originals at both, and TV Land's average age already has fallen three years with new additions like Darren Star's Younger. At flagship Nickelodeon, ratings finally have begun to rebound.

    I'M STILL STARSTRUCK BY Channing Tatum

    SUPERPOWER I WISH I HAD Teleportation

    GO-TO LUNCH SPOT "My desk."

    HOW I SAVE TIME "I have a terrific support system at work and through my family at home."

    THE HOLLYWOOD CAREER I COVET "I have my dream job."


    AS A WOMAN IN THIS BUSINESS, I'M STILL SURPRISED WHEN … "I don't see more women at the executive level, in any industry."