Women rise, shine at THR power fete
Power 100 list criteria
DIALOGUE: Sherry Lansing honoree Jodie Foster
QUOTE WORTHY: Survey of top actress salaries
The fact that women have made great strides in the entertainment industry but still face many challenges was a common theme addressed by various speakers Tuesday at The Hollywood Reporter's 16th annual Women in Entertainment Power 100 breakfast.
Speakers ranging from Jodie Foster and "Hairspray" co-stars John Travolta and Queen Latifah to Sherry Lansing, Lifetime execs Andrea Wong and Susanne Daniels and The Reporter's John Kilcullen and Elizabeth Guider noted that women have made significant progress from the early -- and even more recent -- days of the industry, evidenced by the fact that they are filling a greater number of positions in corporate offices and top creative roles.
But most seemed to agree that they still have a long way to go.
Foster, recipient of the fourth annual Sherry Lansing Leadership Award, said there were few women working in the industry when she started out more than four decades ago, and those who were weren't working in top-level positions.
"Growing up, there were hardly any women in my professional sphere -- there was maybe a script supervisor, the makeup artist and the lady who played my mother," Foster told the 640 attendees in the overflowing ballroom at the Beverly Hills Hotel. "I became the prodigal daughter after I proved myself in a family of men."
Lansing, who presented Foster with her award, said that times have changed even since The Reporter began holding its annual breakfast 16 years ago in conjunction with the publication of its Women in Entertainment: Power 100 issue.
"I remember when we couldn't get 50 people to be part of this, and today it's oversold by 200 people," she said.
Lansing also told a story about the first time she met Foster, when she and fellow producer Stanley Jaffe were considering casting the actress in their 1988 film "The Accused." Lansing said she was "extremely nervous" about casting Foster, who had been nominated for an Oscar in 1977 for her role in "Taxi Driver" and would go on to win the first of her two Oscars for "Accused." But Jaffe and Lansing had just seen their previous two films flop and needed a hit.
"This movie had to work, and when I met Jodie, I'm embarrassed to say that I wasn't sure whether she was right for the part," Lansing said. "Jodie was educated and intelligent, and the character was someone who was uneducated."
So Lansing said she asked Foster if she would read for the part.
"She said, 'Of course, I'm an actress, that's what we do, we read,' " Lansing recalled. "She showed self-confidence, a lack of pretension and a work ethic."
Lansing recalled telling that story to other actresses who weren't as accommodating: "If a great actress like Jodie Foster is willing to read, why aren't you?"
For her part, Foster was modest about receiving the leadership award. "I'm not sure why I'm here today," she said. "I'm not powerful. I'm fragile, unsure, and I struggle to get there -- wherever there is. I've been in this business for 42 years; there's no way to do that and not be as nutty as a fruitcake," Foster quipped.
Kilcullen, The Reporter's publisher, kicked off the event by welcoming the attendees and congratulating the women who made The Reporter's Power 100 list as well as others working in the industry.
"You're a shining example for the next generation of female executives who will keep raising the bar," he said.
Latifah, who delivered one of the keynote addresses, thanked a list of women who have had a positive impact on her, including Nina Jacobson, Stacy Sher, Emma Watts, Diahann Carroll, Renee Zellweger, "Living Single" creator/executive producer Yvette Lee Bowser and Latifah's agent, Randi Michel at WMA.
"We rarely discuss the positive roles we can play in everyone else's careers," she said. "They say that behind every successful man is a woman, but there is also a woman behind every successful woman. I want to inspire self-esteem and a positive attitude and give my support to other women because no one else can drag us down like we do ourselves."
Travolta praised his female "Hairspray" co-stars and joked that he's one of the few men who can really understand a woman's perspective after having played Edna Turnblad in the film.
"Everyone asked me why it took me 30 years to do another musical -- but the best parts of a musical (are the female roles), so I held out until I was offered one of them," quipped Travolta, co-star of 1978's "Grease." "This is the first time a man has spoken (at the breakfast) truly knowing what it's like to be a woman."
In fact, Travolta holds a special place in the history of the Women in Entertainment breakfast as he is the first male to ever give a keynote address at the event.
Wong, Lifetime's president and CEO, said she wants her network to do its part to get more women in creative roles. Saying she's "committed to making Lifetime the home for female talent," Wong put a call out for more women to work with Lifetime Networks, which presented the breakfast in association with St. John Knits.
"We want the Lifetime brand to exemplify the amazing spirit in this room -- the optimism, the energy, the hopefulness," she said. "When one woman succeeds, more women succeed. I want every woman to look at the Power 100 list and begin to believe in their own potential."
Guider, editor of The Reporter, also noted the strides women have made since the heyday of Mary Pickford and Ida Lupino. She gave credit to Lansing and Geraldine Laybourne, among others, for helping pave the way during the 1980s for women in the business today.
"You made inroads, and we as a result move easier down that road," Guider said. "I was gratified at how many candidates we had for the Power 100 list who met the rigorous criteria."
But there still are many challenges women must overcome, Guider added.
"Progress for women does not move upward in a straight line but in fits and starts," she said.
Daniels, Lifetime's president of entertainment, agreed. "Seeing how far we've come reminds us that we've got a way to go," she said, noting that there's "a celluloid ceiling," not a glass ceiling. "The description is apt because it's not easy to see a dent."
Daniels also recognized Liliana Greenfield-Sanders of New York and Jessica Marie Sutherland of Berea, Ohio, the winners of the inaugural Lifetime Movie Network Student Filmmaker Competition, sponsored by Lifetime Movie Network, The Reporter, New York Women in Film & Television, WMA and Women in Film Los Angeles.
The complete 2007 Hollywood Reporter Women in Entertainment Power 100 list follows:
1. Anne Sweeney, co-chairman, Disney Media Networks; president, Disney-ABC Television Group
2. Amy Pascal, chairman, Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group; co-chairman, Sony Pictures Entertainment
3. Nancy Tellem, president, CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group
4. Stacey Snider, co-chairman and CEO, DreamWorks SKG
5. Judy McGrath, chairman and CEO, MTV Networks
6. Oprah Winfrey, chairman, Harpo Inc.
7. Dana Walden, chairman, 20th Century Fox Television
8. Nina Tassler, president, CBS Entertainment
9. Bonnie Hammer, president, USA Network and Sci Fi Channel
10. Shari Redstone, president, National Amusements; vice chairman, CBS Corp., Viacom and Midway Games
11. Beth Comstock, president, NBC Universal Integrated Media
12. Donna Langley, president of production, Universal Pictures
13. Katherine Pope, president, Universal Media Studios
14. Nikki Rocco, president of distribution, Universal Pictures
15. Dawn Ostroff, president of entertainment, the CW
16. Sue Kroll, president of international marketing, Warner Bros. Pictures
Veronika Kwan-Rubinek, president of international distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures
17. Ann Daly, COO, DreamWorks Animation
18. Paula Wagner, CEO, United Artists
19. Valerie Van Galder, president of domestic marketing, Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group
20. Elizabeth Gabler, president, Fox 2000 Pictures
21. Carolyn Strauss, president, HBO Entertainment
22. Dawn Taubin, president of domestic marketing, Warner Bros. Pictures
23. Nancy Utley, co-coo, Fox Searchlight Pictures
24. Pam Levine, co-president, domestic theatrical marketing, 20th Century Fox Films
25. Bridget Baker, president, NBC Universal Television Network Distribution
26. Andrea Wong, president and CEO, Lifetime Entertainment Services
Susanne Daniels, president of entertainment, Lifetime Entertainment Services
27. Anne Globe, head of worldwide marketing and consumer products, DreamWorks Animation
28. Sheila Nevins, president, HBO Documentary and Family
29. Claudia Lewis, president of production, Fox Searchlight Pictures
30. Lauren Zalaznick, president, Bravo and Oxygen
31. Debbie Liebling, president of production, Fox Atomic
32. Janice Marinelli, president, Disney-ABC Domestic Television
33. Emma Watts, o-president of production, 20th Century Fox
34. Amy Baer, president and CEO, CBS Films
35. Belinda Menendez, president, NBC Universal International Television Distribution
36. Polly Cohen, president, Warner Independent Pictures
37. Julie Greenwald, president, Atlantic Music Group
38. Karen Kehela Sherwood, co-chairman, Imagine Films
39. Keri Putnam, president of production, Miramax Films
40. Sylvia Rhone, president, Universal Motown Records
41. Sarah Greenberg, co-president theatrical marketing, Lionsgate Films
42. Jane Rosenthal, producer/partner, Tribeca Prods.
43. Cyma Zarghami, president, Nickelodeon and MTVN Kids & Family Group
44. Christina Norman, president, MTV
45. Abbe Raven, president and CEO, A&E Television Networks
Nancy Dubuc, executive vp and general manager, The History Channel
46. Kathy Nelson, president of film music, Universal Pictures
47. Marjorie Kaplan, president and general manager, Animal Planet Media and Discovery Kids Media
Angela Shapiro-Mathes, president and general manager, TLC
Jane Root, president and general manager, Discovery Channel and the Science Channel
48. Lia Vollack, president of worldwide music, Columbia Pictures
49. Mary McLaren, COO, 20th Century Fox International Theatrical and Home Entertainment
50. Kathleen Kennedy, producer/partner, Kennedy-Marshall Co.
51. Kelley Avery, president, Paramount Worldwide Home Entertainment
52. Jo Ann Ross, president of network sales, CBS
53. Teri Weinberg, executive vp, NBC Entertainment
54. Debra Lee, chairman and CEO, BET
55. Bernardine Brandis, executive vp business and legal affairs, Walt Disney Studios
56. Diane Nelson, president, Warner Premiere
57. Michele Ganeless, president, Comedy Central
Lauren Corrao, president of original programming and development, Comedy Central
58. Lisa Judson, president, Warner Bros. Animation
59. Risa Gertner, o-head of motion picture literary department, CAA
Tory Metzger, motion picture agent, CAA
Hylda Queally, motion picture talent agent, CAA
Sonya Rosenfeld, TV agent, CAA
Beth Swofford, motion picture literary agent, CAA
60. Vanessa Morrison, president, Fox Animation
61. Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, owner, founder and CEO, the Gotham Group
62. Chrissie England , president, Industrial Light + Magic
63. Carla Hacken, executive vp, Fox 2000
64. Julia Franz, executive vp, ABC Studios
65. Suzanne Gluck, co-head of worldwide literary department/board of directors member, WMA
Randi Michel, senior vp/head of East Coast talent division, WMA
Cara Stein, senior vp and co-COO, New York/head of television, East Coast/board of directors member, WMA
Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, executive vp/co-head of worldwide literary department/board of
directors member, WMA
66. Amy Israel, executive vp production and acquisitions, Paramount Vantage
67. Maria Crenna, executive vp, CBS Paramount Network Television
68. Robin Schwartz, president, Regency Television
69. Liza Chasin, president of U.S. production, Working Title Films
Debra Hayward, president of U.K. production, Working Title Films
70. Lisa Gregorian, executive vp worldwide marketing, Warner Bros. Television Group
71. Blair Belcher, Lisa Hallerman, Tracey Jacobs, Sue Naegle, Sharon Sheinwold, partners, UTA
72. Marla Provencio, executive vp marketing, ABC Entertainment
73. Nicole Clemens, co-head of motion picture literary department, ICM
Lori Sale, head of global branded entertainment, ICM
Risa Shapiro, senior vp, motion picture talent, ICM
74. Hilary Estey McLoughlin, president, Telepictures Prods.
75. Cynthia Pett-Dante, owner and managing partner, Brillstein Entertainment Partners
Aleen Keshishian, partner, Brillstein Entertainment Partners
76. Terry Wood, president, creative affairs and development, CBS
Television Distribution Group
77. Deborah Schindler, president, international Motion picture production group, Sony Pictures Entertainment
78. Paula Kerger, president and CEO, PBS
79. Esther Newberg, co-head of publications and co-chair of the New York office, ICM
Amanda Urban, executive vp/co-director of the literary department/co-chair of the New York office, ICM
Toni Howard, executive vp, motion picture talent, ICM
80. Gaby Morgerman, senior vp/head of talent department, WMA
Susan Brooks, worldwide head of TV business affairs, WMA
Cori Wellins, senior vp/head of TV literary department, WMA
81. Marion Edwards , president of international television, 20th Century Fox TV Distribution
82. Adriana Alberghetti, partner, motion picture literature department, Endeavor
Michelle Bohan, partner, talent department, Endeavor
Nancy Josephson, partner, Endeavor
Elyse Scherz, partner, talent department, Endeavor
83. Deborah Barak, executive vp, business affairs, CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group
84. Tracey Edmonds, president and COO, Our Stories Films
85. Sandra Rabins, senior executive vp, Sony Pictures Animation
86. Robin Russell, senior executive vp marketing and distribution, Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group
87. Jana Winograde, executive vp business affairs, ABC Entertainment, ABC Daytime and SOAPnet
88. Lexine Wong, senior executive vp worldwide marketing, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
89. Cathy Schulman, president, Mandalay Pictures and Mandalay Independent Pictures
90. Leslie Siebert, senior managing partner/co-head of talent department/management board member, the Gersh Agency
Lorrie Bartlett, partner, the Gersh Agency
91. Beth Roberts, executive vp business affairs, NBC Universal cable entertainment, digital and new business development
92. Lori McCreary, co-founder and CEO, Revelations Entertainment; co-founder and CEO, ClickStar
93. Sandra Stern, COO, Lionsgate television
94. Melanie Cook, partner, Ziffren Brittenham Branca Fischer Gilbert-Lurie Stiffelman Cook Johnson Lande & Wolf
95. Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO, FremantleMedia North America
96. Nina Shaw, founding partner, Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano
97. Christine Vachon, partner, Killer Films
98. Jeanne Newman, partner, Hansen Jacobson Teller Hoberman Newman Warren & Richman
99. Debbee Klein, co-head of TV literary department, Paradigm
Valarie Phillips, head of motion picture literary department, Paradigm
100. Jean Prewitt , president and CEO, Independent Film & Television Alliance