A long, long time ago at a cheap Italian restaurant near CableFAX’s headquarters… Paul Maxwell and I were talking about the resurgence of John Malone and the irony that his "Darth Vader" moniker might now be applied to the very cable industry with which he plans to compete using DirecTV as a Death Star. It just seemed right to make Malone the number one 100 pick this year. Of course, I ended up taking the Star Wars analogy a bit too far by adopting it as a theme for the entire top 5 players on the list. But cut me some slack: I was seven years old when the first Star Wars came out and still have all my action figures. Also remember that it’s the 30th anniversary of the culture-changing phenomenon that George Lucas created (let’s just all try to forget about that 1978 holiday TV special and move on). But Kyle McSlarrow as Obi-Wan? Anne Sweeney as Princess Leia? Isn’t that a bit of a stretch? Sure, but this stuff is supposed to be fun, right?

Other than the Star Wars-ification of the Top Five, the list is pretty traditional this year. No sections. No crazy themes. We just wanted to make our best attempt to rank the most influential people in cable—whether their competencies covered distribution, programming, technology or something else entirely. As always, there’s no real science to this. There’s no right or wrong way to rank such a multi-talented group of Type-A overachievers. And we simply can’t get everyone we would like on the list. We just do our best. But in the end, I make the final decisions and therefore deserve any ire you want to throw my way. But if you get too angry, I will accuse you of succumbing to the Dark Side. Be a Jedi, not a Sith… ok?

Meanwhile, I was heartened by the participation we received this year from our heavy hitters. They answered our occasionally goofy questionnaires (with occasionally goofy answers). Many sent in candid shots of themselves. And of course, they continued to impress us all with their continued ability to prosper despite massive competition. Whether it’s MSOs facing off with the telcos and DBS guys, or programmers thriving despite a glut of content choices for consumers, cable continues to grow. And even as Wall Street’s nasty mood of the last few months beats down cable shares on every front, the industry keeps moving forward.

On a final note, I want to thank the PR folks who were so helpful in rounding up questionnaires and photos, and generally making sure that nothing fell through the cracks. If we had to track down these busy Masters of the Universe on our own, we would be in serious trouble. With that, I bid you all farewell. And until next year… (I’ve always wanted to sign off a column this way)… May the Force be with you.

Also, check out pictures from our CableFAX 100 luncheon, held at New York’s Grand Hyatt on Dec. 12.

-Michael Grebb, Executive Editor

View CableFAX 100 Magazine

View Video from the Event

View Photos from the Event

1. Darth Vader: John Malone
2. The Jedi Masters: Glenn Britt, Stephen Burke & Brian Roberts
3. Emperor Palpatine: Kevin Martin
4. Obi-Wan: Kyle McSlarrow
5. Princess Leia (and Her Minions): Gary Marsh, Rich Ross & Anne Sweeney
6. Powering Forward: Pat Esser, Mike Lovett & Neil Smit
7. Public Guys: Chuck Dolan, Jim Dolan, Hank Ratner & Tom Rutledge
8. Fe, Fi, FiOS: Ivan Seidenberg
9. The CFOs: Mike Angelakis & John Martin
10. D.C. Warriors: David Cohen, David Krone, Carol Melton & Sandy Wilson
11. The Network: John Chambers
12. The Home: Dan Moloney
13. Sports Man: George Bodenheimer
14. The Rupert and Roger Show: Rupert Murdoch
15. The Gatekeepers: Matt Bond, Cathy Fogler, Greg Rigdon, Bob Wilson & Melinda Witmer
16. Turner Titans: Andrew T. Heller, Philip Kent, Steve Koonin & Mark Lazarus
17. NBCU Duo: Bridget Baker & Jeff Gaspin
18. Recapturing Glory: Bill Goodwyn & David Zaslav
19. Honing the Vision: David Juliano & David Watson
20. Infrastructure Junkies: Chris Bowick, Mike LaJoie, John Schanz & Tony Werner
21. Fox Hop: Mike Hopkins, Bob Thompson & Tony Vinciquerra
22. Rocking the MTVN Boat: Doug Herzog & Judy McGrath
23. Rise of the CIOs: Andrew Baer & Frank Boncimino
24. Hype Definition: Chase Carey
25. Still Slinging: Charlie Ergen
26. The Soldier: Rocco Commisso
27. Heads Down: Jerry Kent & Robert Miron
28. Gaining Insight: Michael Willner
29. The Bratchmeister: Sean R. H. Bratches
30. Going Off Scripps: John Lansing
31. Switch Hit: Amir Bassan-Eskenazi
32. Rainbow Guys: Ed Carroll & Joshua Sapan
33. The MSO Marketers: Marvin Davis, Sam Howe & Joe Rooney
34. The Jeff and Ted Show: Ted Harbert & Jeff Shell
35. A Hammer and Howe!: Bonnie Hammer & David Howe
36. Soaring Raven: Abbe Raven
37. New Era at NatGeo: David Haslingden & Steve Schiffman
38. Hill Power: Ed Markey
39. Smooth Operators: Landel C. Hobbs & Robert Marcus
40. Still Scrapping: Jeff Abbas & Matt Polka
41. Starting Over: Bob Benya & Peter Stern
42. New Telco Blood: Randall Stephenson
43. New Wireless Blood: Keith Cowan & Jim Patterson
44. Ad Hoc: Joseph Abruzzese, Dave Cassaro & Ed Erhardt
45. Down to Business: Mark F. Bowser
46. Industry Support: Eric Cooney, Andy Paff & Dave Woodle
47. Viacom’s Brand Warriors: Christina Norman & Cyma Zarghami
48. Showtime’s Rise: Matt Blank & Robert Greenblatt
49. Proving Grounds: Bill Nelson & Andrea Wong
50. Pop Art: Robert DeBitetto & Nancy Dubuc
51. The Gatekeepers, Part 2: Mac Budill, Italia Commisso Weinand & Melani Griffith
52. Special FX: John Landgraf
53. Top Chief: Lauren Zalaznick
54. Iron Chief: Brooke Johnson
55. Calm of the Storm: Decker Anstrom, Wonya Lucas & Debora Wilson
56. Power Squared: Marjorie Kaplan & Jane Root
57. Oh, the Humanity: Mae Douglas, Ed Durso & Charisse Lillie
58. Stealing the Crown: Henry Schleiff
59. Deep Breath: Geraldine Laybourne
60. Cable’s Gifts: Rob Kennedy, Brian Lamb & Susan Swain
61. The Big WOW: Colleen Abdoulah
62. StarzDust: Robert Clasen
63. Family Man: Paul Lee
64. Cable’s Treasure: Bill Bresnan
65. DVR Nation: Tom Rogers
66. Sports Mavericks: Steve Bornstein & Gavin Harvey
67. Digital Content Standouts: Albert Cheng, Jason Klarman, John Kosner & Dan Suratt
68. YouTube Killer?: Jason Kilar
69. The McMahon Clan: Linda McMahon, Shane McMahon & Stephanie McMahon-Levesque
70. Whitty Rapport: Richard S. Whitt
71. Comcast’s Web Heads: Amy Banse & Sam Schwartz
72. East and (mid)West: Bill Connors & Michael A. Doyle
73. Regional Sportsmen: Randy Freer & Jon Litner
74. BET on Lee: Debra Lee
75. YES Sir: Tracy Dolgin & Ray Hopkins
76. British Invasion: Garth Ancier
77. The Dealmakers: Brian Deevy, Rick Michaels & John Waller
78. Couple of Gems: Rich Battista & Ryan O’Hara
79. Getting Noticed: Charlie Collier & Kim Martin
80. Little Nets, Big Growth: Salaam Coleman Smith & Neal Tiles
81. No Contact: David Manougian & Ken Solomon
82. Big Controversy: Mark Silverman
83. Indie Power: Lawrence A. Aidem & Evan Shapiro
84. Great Content Marketers: Katie Lacey & Geof Rochester
85. The RabbleRouser: Mark Cuban
86. Fast MOJO: Robert D. Jacobson & Greg Moyer
87. Right Ahn: Henry Ahn
88. The Headhunters: Susan Bishop, Ann Carlsen & Michele James
89. Kids and Families: Steve Friedman & Sandy Wax
90. Vyyoble Candidates: Jim Chiddix & Wayne Davis
91. Diversity’s Advocate: Kathy A. Johnson
92. Flacks We Like: Joanne Dant, Sena Fitzmaurice, & Stuart Zakim
93. Great Hacks: Aaron Barnhart, Adam Buckman, & Ted Hearn
94. Cable’s OnScreen Standouts: Jon Hamm & Sally Pressman
95. Latino Growth: Ray Rodriguez, Mike Roggero, Michael Schwimmer, Joe Uva & Antoinette Zel
96. Singing the Gospel: Charlie Humbard & Brad Siegel
97. The One Thing: Rose Catherine Pinkney, Johnathan Rodgers & Brad Samuels
98. The Big Os: The Ovation TV Team & Roger L. Werner
99. Growing Retired: Brad Knight
100. Gone (or Going) But Not Forgotten: David Abraham, John Alchin, Tim Brooks, Rich Cronin, Judy Girard, Alex Netchvolodoff, Laureen Ong, Larry Smith, Maureen Smith, Pandit Wright & Lynn Yaeger

Also Influential

Farewell

Thank You

PLEASE NOTE: Keep in mind that we asked our programming execs to list their favorite shows that are NOT on their networks. That’s why it appears that so many programmers covet shows on other networks.

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