Disney’s Sweeney is most powerful woman


MUMBAI: The Walt Disney Co., Co-chairman of media networks and Disney-ABC Television Group, president, Anne Sweeney was named the most powerful woman in entertainment on The Hollywood Reporter’s 16th annual Women in Entertainment: Power 100 special issue, honoring the top 100 women in the motion picture, television, music and other entertainment industries.
The decision was based on Sweeney’s formidable achievements in 2007, having not only led the charge in implementing the company’s digital initiative, but in seeing that initiative translate into revenue, up 7% over last year.
This year in particular, the Power 100 list – to be officially unveiled at The Hollywood Reporter’s invitation only Women in Entertainment: Power 100 breakfast on 4 Deecmber at the Beverly Hills Hotel – reflects the immense business success of these women. When The Hollywood Reporter began publishing its annual Women in Entertainment issue 16 years ago, few were in positions of power in Hollywood. Paramount’s Sherry Lansing, who has appeared on the list many times herself, was the only female chairman at any studio.
“Hollywood is all about franchises, and Women in Entertainment is one of The Hollywood Reporter’s most resonant, recurring features, one that allows us each year to reflect upon the achievements and the challenges facing women in this business. This year’s package of stories both celebrates the successes of the top tier of female players in town and highlights areas where inroads still need to be built upon,” said The Hollywood Reporter, editor, Elizabeth Guider.
The Women in Entertainment Breakfast, presented by Lifetime Networks and in association with St. John Knits, will feature keynote speeches by Hairspray co-stars John Travolta and Queen Latifah. Academy Award-winning actress Jodie Foster will receive the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award, presented to a woman who has been a pioneer or leader in her field in the entertainment industry. Also being honored are the first-ever winners of the Lifetime Movie Network Student Filmmaker Competition, designed to encourage and discover the next generation of female filmmakers. The winning film, Anna, will air on the Lifetime Movie Network on 11 December.
Sweeney is the most notable shift on the Power 100 list this year, moving up from 2006’s number two spot. Of last year’s top ten, nine are making their second consecutive appearance in the group, with Shari Redstone the only newcomer, moving up from 13th in 2006. The group is rounded out by: Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group, Chairman, Amy Pascal; Sony Pictures Entertainment (No 2), Co-chairman, Nancy Tellem, CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group (No 3), President, Stacey Snider, DreamWorks SKG (No 4), Co-chairman and CEO, Judy McGrath, MTV Networks (No 5), Chairman and CEO, Oprah Winfrey, Harpo Inc.(No 6), Chairman, Dana Walden, 20th Century Fox Television (No 7), Chairman, Nina Tassler, CBS Entertainment (No 8), President, Bonnie Hammer, USA Network and Sci Fi Channel (No 9), President, Shari Redstone, National Amusements, Inc.; President, vice chairman, CBS Corp., Viacom Inc. and Midway Games (No 10).
“In putting together this year’s Power 100 list, we had an embarrassment of riches to choose from. More women than ever before are reaching the highest positions of power in the industry, which makes narrowing down the list to just 100 very difficult,” stated features editor Christy Grosz, who has worked on the annual issue for the last 10 years.
The Hollywood Reporter’s Power 100 list draws from a diverse group of creative and executive talent. A team of editors and reporters perform field research and cull through hundreds of submissions to determine who makes the final list. While ability to greenlight content (or access to that person) remains the most important criterion, the team also examines each woman’s position in her company, how many people report to her and how much money she controls when determining the rankings.
“Each of these women have overcome monumental market and internal mountains to achieve their ranking on our list. We salute their resolve. We are impressed with their tenacity, passion and relentless focus on results,” said publisher John Kilcullen.