By John P. Ourand Arguments with flacks (or at least loud conversations) have become an annual rite of Western for CableFAX editorial director Seth Arenstein. The food chain begins with execs complaining to their PR people about slights in the CableFAX 100 rankings; the flacks then direct their ire toward Arenstein, who Paul Maxwell portrays (accurately?) in his opening letter as “the keeper of the 100 list.” This year should be no different, as Cox’s management team of Jim Robbins, Pat Esser and Mae Douglas takes the top spot ahead of Comcast’s Brian Roberts and Steve Burke. And the cable community might get upset that the satellite guys (Rupert Murdoch, Charlie Ergen, Eddy Hartenstein and, yes, Chuck Dolan) break into the top 10. Other notables: two execs who represent smaller operators, Matt Polka and Frank Hughes, are up the list at No. 14, a few slots higher than NCTA’s Robert Sachs, at No. 18. Some of the biggest names in media (Wright, Eisner, Iger, Redstone, Karmazin) are left off this year’s list, with Maxwell’s letter explaining why. Since it’s a CableFAX product, there’s also some fun included, such as the 100’s favorite films, music, books and cable shows.

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