the maverick entrepreneur who founded BET and became the first black owner of an NBA franchise. I
n 2006, he made history again by completing a deal with Miramax founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein to develop Our Stories Films, a company that will create comedies for African American audiences. Backed by a $175 million pledge from JP Morgan Chase, the new studio gives Johnson control over developing a range of content and provides an outlet for black talent. In September, he recruited producer Tracey Edmonds to run the operation and, in her words, “build Our Stories into a brand … as recognizable as Disney.”
6 Tyler Perry President & CEO, The Tyler Perry Co. Age: 37 With a hand in film, books, television, and plays, Perry is a one-man media conglomerate. Perry has become a powerful force in the industry with the release of Diary of a Mad Black Woman in 2005, which grossed more than $50 million. His 2006 follow-up, Madea’s Family Reunion, produced domestic box-office receipts of more than $60 million. Both films opened at the No. 1 spot on the weekend of their release. This June, he will launch a new first-run syndicated sitcom, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, through an unprecedented $200 million, 100-episode distribution deal with TBS, Fox, and Lions Gate.
7 Douglas V. Holloway President, Cable Investments, NBC Universal Cable Age: 52 The 27-year veteran manages NBC Universal’s joint cable ventures, which include A&E Networks, NBC Weather Plus, and the Sundance Channel. Having held a variety of positions in sales and strategic planning, he is responsible for seeking new investments and identifying strategic initiatives. Holloway currently serves on several industry boards, including Cable and Telecommunications Association for Marketing and the National Association of Multi-Ethnicity in Communications.
8 Denzel Washington Actor-Director-Producer Age: 52 Washington has the power to develop any project he wants. His involvement with a project not only ensures a quality performance but huge ticket sales. The 25-year veteran’s 34 films have collectively grossed $1.4 billion. Since 1995, he has also played the role of producer, guiding projects that add diversity to the motion picture pipeline through Mundy Lane Entertainment. His production company has participated in the development of Devil In A Blue Dress, The Preacher’s Wife, and Antwone Fisher, his directorial debut. His upcoming productions include The Great Debaters and In Black and White, a biopic of the late entertainer Sammy Davis Jr.
9 Eddie Murphy Actor-Producer Age: 45 Murphy remains one of the industry’s reigning box-office kings. His 31 films have grossed roughly $3 billion, with an average gross per film of about $97 million and average opening gross of more than $20 million. That’s why he can command as much as $20 million per film and develop his own star vehicles. Murphy’s clout will grow as a result of the Golden Globe Award he received for his performance as James “Thunder” Early in Dreamgirls. In addition to voicing Donkey in the third installment of the highly successful Shrek series, Murphy will be featured this