more than $183 million at the box office, has proven to be a force on television as well. As part of Wayans Bros. Entertainment, he produced the successful sitcom My Wife and Kids. He’s come full circle by creating the Showtime sketch comedy The Underground — which he calls In Living Color on steroids. — Hyacinth B. Carbon
The Top 10
1 Oprah Winfrey CEO, Harpo Productions Inc. Age: 53 Over the past 20 years, this billionaire has grown into one of the most powerful media titans in the world. Her Harpo Inc. empire produces The Oprah Winfrey Show, the No. 1 talk show that reaches 48 million viewers a week and is broadcast in 123 countries; popular talk shows Dr. Phil and The Rachael Ray Show; and TV movies such as Their Eyes Were Watching God. Winfrey also develops content for women as co-founder of Oxygen Media, which operates a cable television network that currently reaches 69 million U.S. households.
2 Richard D. Parsons Chairman & CEO, Time Warner Inc. Age: 58 Parsons operates a media leviathan that provides billions worldwide with content that they watch in movie theaters, on television, and on the Internet. His $43 billion empire includes movie studios (Warner Bros., New Line Cinema); television networks (The CW); cable television networks (HBO, TBS, Cartoon Network); interactive services (AOL); cable systems (Time Warner Cable); and publishing (People, Sports Illustrated). His decisions run the gamut, from the development of the latest in digital distribution to the airing of the Black Movie Awards on TNT.
3 Will Smith Actor-Producer Age: 38 He’s become known as Mr. July because the release of his movies during that month can be counted to kick-start the all-important summer season. But Smith’s movies make millions regardless of when they hit theaters. His 16 films have grossed $1.9 billion domestically, making him one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood and giving him the clout to develop whatever project he wants. Along with his partner, James Lassiter, he runs the fertile production company, Overbrook Entertainment, which developed such hits as the biopic Ali (2001), which earned Smith Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations; sci-fi thriller I, Robot (2004); romantic comedy Hitch (2005); and the recent box-office smash, The Pursuit of Happyness.
4 Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr. Chairman & CEO, Johnson Development Corp. and Magic Johnson Enterprises Age: 47 This basketball legend controls screens in major urban markets such as New York, Los Angeles, Cleveland, and Atlanta through AMC Magic Johnson Theaters. Since it was formed in 1994 through a partnership between his development company and Sony Entertainment, Johnson’s company has remained the nation’s only major black exhibitor. In fact, Johnson has used his theaters to give independent African American filmmakers exposure as well as provide a host site for black film festivals. Johnson is also a successful film producer. Since 1998, Magic Johnson Entertainment has developed television movies and theatrical releases such as Hair Show and Brown Sugar.
5 Robert L. Johnson Founder, Our Stories Films Age: 61 Johnson is a pioneer: he’s