11 | OFF THE CHART(ER)

Neil Smit

Title: President, Comcast Cable

Years in Cable: 5

Education: BS Duke University; MA, Tufts University

I Watch TV Mostly: Live

Why Him? Smit, who has long been a cable power player as CEO of Charter Communications, ascended to an even higher level this year when he took the reigns at Comcast Cable so Steve Burke could go all Hollywood at NBCU. Burke has an eye for talent. Smit has spent the last few months assessing operations and quietly moving Comcast’s key authentication effort from beta to reality. With basic subs under pressure, his challenge will be subscriber retention and boosting ARPU as over-the-top options increase.

Well Done: Smit deftly navigated Charter through perilous waters that included a bad economy, cranky lenders and a billionaire chairman. All the more reason Comcast grabbed him.

Year Ahead: With Burke focused on integration of NBCU, Smit will be able to key on operations and improving metrics across the board. But basic subs are hard to keep these days and competition is fierce.

12 | SNOOKI’S SWEETHEART

Judy McGrath

Title: Chairman/CEO, MTV Networks

Years in Cable: A whole lot.

Education: BA, Cedar Crest College

I Watch TV Mostly: TiVo/Recorded

Why Her? What a difference 12 months can make sometimes. Last year at this time, we said the powerful McGrath needed to kick things up a bit at her MTVN empire, which appeared a stodgy. She did what we suggested and more. Just look at the hit series: MTVN’s controversial (read pop culture-piercing, hence ratings grabbing) Jersey Shore (MTV), iCarly (Nickelodeon), Hot in Cleveland (TV Land) and Tosh.O (Comedy Central). Each amassed record numbers. But no resting for Judy. With great results come great expectations for ’11.

Let George and Judy Do It: The horrendous disaster that hit Haiti struck a note with McGrath. She dove into the relief effort with her standard enthusiasm, working with George Clooney to organize the Hope for Haiti telethon that raised $66mln and was viewed in 100 countries.

Year Ahead: MTVN is on a definite roll and McGrath’s major challenge in ’11 will revolve around sustaining that momentum. She’s up to the task.

On Your iPad: Colbert Nation, the Word app, Jersey Shore City Guide, Scrabble, Kindle/Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, The NY Times

The Most Creative Part of My Job: Collaborating with our brilliant programmers and researchers on the constant reinvention of our brands.

Favorite Non-MTV Show: Mad Men

Best Business Advice: Know your audience

Favorite City for Business: Call me a homer, but it’s gotta be NY

13 | AILES WELL

Roger Ailes

Title: Chairman/CEO, Fox News; Chairman, Fox TV Stations Group

Education: BA, Ohio U

Why Him? It wasn’t just Republicans who won in the midterm elections. It was Fox News, which beat out not only cable news rivals but also the broadcast networks’ primetime election specials. But Ailes grabbed plenty of other headlines in ’10. Seizing on the backlash over Juan Williams’ firing from NPR, Ailes expanded Williams’ role with the network, inking him to a multi-year deal. He’s also been able to keep big talent, re-signing Shepard Smith for 3 years. And Ailes has been working on building new kid Fox Business, notably with the hiring of Lou Dobbs and poaching CNBC’s Charlie Gasparino.

Spin Secured: More good news for Ailes is that Fox’s primetime powerhouses — Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Greta Van Susteren — are all under contract with the net through the next presidential election.

Year Ahead: With a new Congress, a deficit to dissect and the ’12 presidential race a little closer, ratings should continue to be strong.

14 | BIG ARTILLERY

Richard Plepler

Title: Co-Pres, HBO

Education: BA, Franklin & Marshall

Michael Lombardo (center)

Title: Pres, HBO Programming

Education: AB, Cornell; JD, U of CA, Berkeley

Sue Naegle

Title: Pres, HBO Entertainment

Education: BA, Indiana U

Why Them? Recession? What recession? The Home Box trio seemingly had no idea about the home market collapse as it spent money like it was the go-go years of the ’90s. First, there was the long-awaited and pricey Hanks-Spielberg mini-series The Pacific, an island-based follow-on to the same duo’s extremely successful Band of Brothers. Several months later, HBO re-created Atlantic City’s beachfront (it trucked in the sand) for the prohibitively expensive Prohibition-era Boardwalk Empire. Most said the Scorsese-directed pilot cost a reported $18mln-$20mln, although several estimated the cost at more than twice that. Was this the most expensive pilot ever from HBO? The trio of Plepler, Lombardo and Naegle never said so explicitly, but they greeted the controversy with the mischievous grin of those who know that any publicity is good publicity.

Emmy Power: When the Emmys arrived in late August, HBO’s strength was apparent. The Box was one of the night’s big winners, with little-known films about Jack Kevorkian and an autistic animal husbandry professor taking home a slew of gold. And the investment paid, as The Pacific won best mini series. HBO also led with 17 Creative Arts Emmys, The Pacific being the top nominee (24) and winner (7).

Tip of the Hat: Almost not mentioned here and largely ignored by the media are outstanding HBO properties like post-Katrina New Orleans drama series Treme, hailed by citizens of that battered city as extremely realistic. And don’t forget HBO’s leading sports documentaries led by Ross Greenberg and its general documentary department with the incomparable Sheila Nevins at the helm. A deep bench indeed.

Year Ahead: More Emmys, more big-name talent and more competition.

15 | BLANK OR LEBLANC?

Matthew C. Blank

Title: Chairman/CEO, Showtime Networks

Years in Cable: 34

Education: BA, U of PA; MBA, Baruch

I Watch TV Mostly: On Demand

Why Him? Last year, we said Showtime originals were white hot. Arguably, they’re even hotter now. Witness the buzz around the feel-good series about murder, Dexter, and the Emmy win for Edie Falco in Nurse Jackie. Blank and departed entertainment chief Robert Greenblatt have helped Showtime become a leader in premium originals, and viewers rewarded the net with a 5.1mln subscriber increase. More than that, Showtime contributed a significant portion of the 12% increase in Cable Networks’ revenue for parent CBS. And we’ll even boast a bit and mention that Blank was inducted into our Programming Hall of Fame this year and introduced at that event by a surprise guest, Californication star and Golden Globe winner David Duchovny (right, with Blank).

Matt Squared: Among new originals for ’11 is Episodes, starring that other Matt…LeBlanc. Also on the slate is Shameless, starring William H. Macy, Joan Cusack and Emmy Rossum; The Borgias, featuring Jeremy Irons; and Web Therapy with Lisa Kudrow.

Year Ahead: Even sans Bob Greenblatt, with so many hot originals it’s hard to imagine Blank and company won’t churn out a few more hits.

On Your iPad: iTunes, lots of video, Bloomberg, Kindle, WSJ, Huffington Post, FAA delay site, Zinio, desktop, You Tube.

Biggest Threat to Cable is: Price

A Non-Cable Company That Knows How to Run/Market Its Business: Netflix

Favorite Non-Showtime Show: Mad Men

16 | KOONIN THE BARBARIAN

Steve Koonin

Title: President, Turner Entertainment Networks

Years in Cable: 10

Education: U of GA

Why Him? Start with Conan O’Brien, lured by Koonin to Turner after his split with NBC. Koonin has long wanted to blur the distinction between cable and broadcast. With Conan he has. More? TNT became the first cable net with two shows – The Closer and Rizzoli & Isles – claiming 8mln+ viewers. Overseeing programming assets at TNT, TBS, truTV and Turner Classic Movies, the cheerful Koonin had much to smile about in ’10, including bringing in big projects with people like Steven Spielberg, George Clooney, Jerry Bruckheimer and Ashton Kutcher. A pretty good year, and a pretty strong head start on 2011.

Hollywood Again? While Koonin is an industry leader in developing original programming, he understands the value of classics. In ’10, he supported the inaugural TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood to honor the history and home of classic programming. The ’11 festival is set for April and looks to be another big event.

Year Ahead: Big ratings. Broadcast-level ad rates. Conan. What’s not to love?

17 | IRON MIKE

Mike Hopkins *

Title: Pres, Affiliate Sales & Marketing, Fox Networks

Years in Cable: 15

Education: BS, Bus Admin, Long Beach State; MBA, UCLA

I Watch TV Mostly: TiVo/Recorded

Why Him? Most people dread negotiating one messy programming contract in public. Hopkins had the pleasure of two simultaneously this year, with DISH and Cablevision pacts expiring in October. But even-tempered Hopkins came out a winner on both fronts thanks to his pulling off Fox’s landmark retrans/channel carriage deal with Time Warner Cable in Jan.

Launch Pad: Hopkins also deserves credit for getting distributors on board with Fox Reality’s transformation to Nat Geo Wild. The net launched in March to 40mln homes. By Sept, it had surpassed 50mln with holdout DirecTV coming aboard. At a time when launches are the exception and not the rule, Hopkins also spearheaded the debut of Fox Soccer Plus in March.

Year Ahead: With three big deals done, it should only get easier. Right?

On Your iPad: WSJ, Kindle, DirecTV Sunday Ticket and a bunch of iCarly eps (my daughter steals my iPad quite often).
3DTV Is: An unknown, we have a lot of work to do, but there’s tremendous promise for sports and events.
How Should Cable Improve Its Image? Talk more about the incredible value that cable provides. Where else can such an amazing array of sports, entertainment and news be purchased at such a low price?

Favorite Show Not On Fox: Modern Family

18 | PRIVATE FIRST CLASS

Rocco Commisso

Title: Chmn/CEO, Mediacom

Years in Cable: 32

Education: BS, MBA, Columbia U

I Watch TV Mostly: TiVo/Recorded (so I can watch Rai Italia)

Why Him? Anyone who knows Commisso’s tenacity could guess that his failed bid to take Mediacom private earlier this year wasn’t the end of the story. So, as we write this it’s with little surprise that it looks like Commisso has prevailed and likely will get his wish. He also was in his element in ’10, with operators petitioning the FCC and Congress for retrans reform. "All my worst fears have come true," he said of the current state of the industry. At press time, Mediacom was once again engaged in tough negotiations with Sinclair. Even if Mediacom goes private, don’t expect Commisso to be silent on retrans reform. He’ll always be an important part of the mix.

Reform Party: Long before the larger MSOs began sincerely pushing for retrans reform, Commisso was leading the charge. It may be that those larger operators now are just feeling the sting that Mediacom did a few years ago.

The Year Ahead: Not having to deal daily with Wall Street is sure to make Commisso happier.

Biggest Threat to Cable’s Survival: Politics in DC

19 | JV CAPTAIN

Peter Liguori

Title: COO, Discovery Comm

Years in Cable: 22

Education: BA, Yale

I Watch TV Mostly: Definitely live

Why Him? As the #2 at the cable programmer, one of Liguori’s tasks is serving as the lead executive on Discovery’s joint ventures, and there are many — from the Hub and OWN, to the 3D network with Sony. The former Fox Broadcasting and FX executive also chairs the company’s Content Committee, comprised of the US networks’ GMs.

The Big Picture: Ad dollars are up, ratings on the flagship networks are robust and affiliate revenue is rising.

Timpano Triumph: We can thank the trim Liguori for one of the all-time great food films, The Big Night. He produced the indie classic.

The Year Ahead: With Oprah starting and 3D getting more traction, ’11 should be big.

Non-Cable Cos That Know How to Run/Market: Pepsi and Geico, because they are driving sponsored entertainment.

Favorite non-Discovery Show: Glee

Motto: Indifference is a sin

20 | DEAL’S DIRECTOR

David Cohen

Title: EVP, Comcast Corp

Years in Cable: 6.5

Education: BA, Swarthmore College; JD, U of PA

I Watch TV Mostly: TiVo/Recorded

Why Him? Cohen tends to stand more behind the curtain than at center stage — and that’s the way he likes it. Yet his hands are on the levers of just about all of Comcast’s stagecraft, including corporate communications, legal and lobbying, which has become vitally important with the NBCU deal. Cohen’s managed to keep the approval process on track despite a torrent of opposition from public interest groups and other cable operators as ACA has fought to attach restrictions to the deal. Meanwhile, he’s also championed diversity and community programs within Comcast and throughout the industry.

Blogcastic: Cohen became a blogger in ’10 at blog.comcast.com. As he notes in his blog bio, "I’m responsible for all the things no one else wanted." Love it.

Year Ahead: Will the NBCU deal go through or not — and under what conditions? Guru Cohen is smack in the middle of it.

A Non-Cable Co that Knows How to Run/Market Its Business: Apple

When It Comes to Media Issues, the New Congress Should: Be very careful, the law of unintended consequences is the worst possible legislation.

Motto: No good deed goes unpunished

Most Underrated Drink: Diet Sunkist

21 | HONEST-LEE

Debra Lee

Title: Chmn/CEO, BET Networks

Number of Years in Cable: 25

Education: BA, Brown U; JD, Harvard; MPP, Harvard (School of Govt.)

I Watch TV Mostly: Live

Why Her? Lee’s wonderfully balancing her role as a business executive and social leader, speaking out frequently on important issues and integrating them into BET’s platforms. Still she neatly balances financial results while giving much attention to BET’s creative direction.

Diversity Directness: In a world of scripted executives, Lee stands out. We generally receive polite answers when we ask executives to assess diversity and cable. Lee was blunt: "One of my interests is making sure we have women and minorities in the C suites," she said. "Unless we’re in decision-making positions, you can’t really say diversity has worked in the cable industry."

Year Ahead: BET’s brand has never been stronger, and there’s little evidence that will change soon.

On Your iPad: News – ABC, BET & CNN – and Scrabble.

In a Fight between Kevin Martin and Julius Genachowski, Who Wins? Julius, because he’s smarter.

The Most Creative Part of My Job: Picking honorees for BET specials.

Fave Non-BET Show: Mad Men

Motto: Do unto others.

Most Underrated Drink: Cosmopolitan

Favorite City for Business: Chicago

22 | 4-STAR GENERAL

Sean Bratches

Title: EVP, Sales & Marketing, ESPN

Years in Cable: All of them.

Education: Rochester Institute of Technology

I Watch TV Mostly: Live

Why Him? That Bratches was lead negotiator in distribution talks between Disney/ESPN Media Nets and Time Warner Cable underscores the power of sports and the acumen with which he wields that clout. The wide-ranging deal includes carriage of new services ESPN Goal Line and ESPN Buzzer Beater and an agreement forged later with Verizon FiOS includes those services too. Importantly, ESPN jumped into authentication via Time Warner Cable, whose subs now can stream ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU, including the gem, Monday Night Football.

Game of Risk: As if playing the classic board game, Bratches and ESPN continue to march across the sports landscape, planting the brand’s flag seemingly everywhere. ESPN has established a firm foothold in soccer with successful World Cup coverage, and its local Web beachheads dot several US cities. ESPN3 is expanding. Next? Possibly an RSN jv with the U of TX and the return of NHL games to Bristol after a multi-year hiatus.

The Year Ahead: With advertising decidedly back (at least for now), it seems little will be able to slow Bratches and ESPN.

On His iPad: ESPN The Magazine

3DTV Is: A game changer, when done well.

My Goal On Foursquare Is To Be Mayor of: Peter Luger’s

23 | ONCE IN A LIFETIME

Bob DeBitetto *

Title: Pres/GM, A&E, Bio Channel, Crime & Investigation Network

Number of Years in Cable: 13

Education: BA, Stony Brook; JD, UCLA

I Watch TV Mostly: TiVo/Recorded

Nancy Dubuc *

Title: Pres/GM, History Channel, Lifetime

Number of Years in Cable: 16

Education: BA, Boston U

I Watch TV Mostly: Live

Why Them? Oh, the speculation. What will Dubuc do with Lifetime? And when? No doubt she has ideas and talent to spare. She turned History into a top 10 net in just three years with reality hits like Ice Road Truckers and Pawn Stars. Much lower profile DeBitetto quietly led A&E to it best Q ever (Q1’ 10) thanks to network-defining series like Intervention, Hoarders and Billy the Exterminator. New drama series The Glades premiered in July to a record 3.6mln viewers.

Youth Movement: A&E has enjoyed six consecutive years of growth and a 15-year decrease in the network’s median age.

The Year Ahead: Considering Lifetime’s clout with women, History’s male appeal and A&E’s adult pull, AETN’s well-rounded portfolio appears strong.

DeBitetto
On Your iPad: Tons of TV, NY Times, NY Post, Netflix, Pulse, Flixter, FlightTrack and Pocket Pond for moments of Zen.
Biggest Threat to Cable’s Survival is: Inwardly, lack of imagination; outwardly, regulation.
What Should Cable Do to Improve Its Image With the Public? Not enough time to even scratch the surface here.
Non-Cable Cos That Know How to Run/Market Their Business: Apple, Four Seasons Resorts and Geico.
If I Could Have Dinner with Any Cable Star, it Would Be: Maybe I’ve become too jaded, but I’d rather sit in the dark and watch Top Gear.
My Goal on Foursquare is To Be the Mayor of: Foursquare is over
The Most Creative Part of My Job is: Trying to predict the future

Dubuc
On Your iPad: Angry Birds, Scrabble and too many scripts.
A Non-Cable Co that Knows How to Run/Market Its Business: Apple
Favorite Non-AETN Show: The Good Wife
Best Business Advice: Pick your boss, not your job description.
Most Underrated Drink: Fresca
Favorite City for Business: NY

24 | DIGITAL DIVA

Lauren Zalaznick

Title: Pres, NBCU’s Women and Lifestyle Entertainment Networks

Years in Cable: 15

Ed: BA, Brown (English Lit/Pre-Med)

I Watch TV Mostly: TiVo/DVR

Why Her? When it comes to digital media, Zalaznick is an exec who actually gets it (as opposed to having to be brought up to speed by others). Bravo’s Talk Bubble and OxygenLive have turned TV watching into a social viewing party, giving people the means to chat and interact in real time while watching series like Bravo’s Top Chef and Oxygen’s Bad Girls Club. Beyond increasing viewer engagement with the programs, the social media push has been a boon for digital ad sales.

The Year Ahead: A survivor of the Comcast merger, Zalaznick signed a contract with NBCU and will take additional networks, including Telemundo and Style.

On Your iPad: Having mastered Diner Dash, I am moving on to Cooking Dash. More Salad is really fun.

Motto: Low hopes, high expectations.

Most Underrated Drink: Good beer.

25 | DAILY DOUBLE

Landel Hobbs 

Title: COO, Time Warner Cable

Years in Cable: 18

Education: Angelo State U

I Watch TV Mostly: Live

Rob Marcus

Title: CFO, Time Warner Cable

Years in Cable: 5 at Time Warner Cable; 8 at Time Warner Inc.

Education: BA, Brown; JD, Columbia

Why Them? Time Warner Cable’s competitive roar is considerable, with Hobbs and Marcus largely responsible for day-to-day management and innovation. Hobbs oversees ops (14mln customers) and has coaxed solid results despite pressure on basic subs, a bad economy and cut-throat competition. Wholly focused on finance, Marcus’ mission lately is accelerating commercial and ad revenue while maintaining solid residential growth.

Year Ahead: With strong results and plans to buy back $4bln in stock, Time Warner Cable remains on good financial footing as it marches into ’11.

Landel Hobbs

On Your iPad: Books

The Biggest Threat to Cable’s Survival:
Ourselves

What Should Cable Do to Improve Its Image with the Public?
Improve customer care

A Non-Cable Co that Knows How to Run/Market Its Business:
Starbucks

When It Comes to Media Issues, the New Congress Should:
Fix retrans and be very careful with broadband.

Most Creative Part of My Job:
Creating products for our customers.

Motto:
Listen

Best Business Advice:
Follow the customer

Most Underrated Drink:
White burgundy

Favorite City for Business:
Anywhere Time Warner Cable is located

26 | BEND IT LIKE BICKHAM

John Bickham

Title: Pres, Cable & Communications, Cablevision

Number of Years in Cable: 25

Education: BA, Electrical Engineering, Texas A&I U

I Watch TV Mostly: Live

Why Him? Everyone from trade mags to analysts routinely applaud Cablevision for its operating results. The MSO earned top honors from this publication again in ’10. Bickham is the exec behind what some believe is the best-run cable company in the land. Handpicked by Tom Rutledge when Rutledge moved up into the COO post, Bickham is the cable guy, overseeing all consumer services as well as the company’s sales, marketing, field and customer service operations. He’s built some impressive metrics over his six years at Cablevision, including 96% digital penetration, the highest in the nation. He’s also made Cablevision a leader in advanced services.

WiFi Whiz: Bickham has been aggressive in moving Cablevision into the WiFi space, including a proposal to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to provide WiFi on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro North trains. With tens of thousands of WiFi access points (including at the Nassau Coliseum), Cablevision’s developing a reputation as "always available."

Year Ahead: While we expect another strong year from Cablevision, ’11 might be bumpy as it integrates the acquired Bresnan systems.

27 | PASSING THE TORCH

Robert Miron *

Title: Chairman, Bright House Networks

Years in Cable: Enough (45)

Education: Syracuse U

I Watch TV Mostly: Live

Steve Miron *

Title: CEO, Bright House Networks

Years in Cable: 21 full-time and since birth part-time.

Education: American U

I Watch TV Mostly: On my DVR

Nomi Bergman *

Title: President, Bright House Networks

Number of Years in Cable: 23

Education: U of Rochester

I Watch TV Mostly: With my husband — he’s got the remote, so I control nothing.

Why Them? Bob Miron "is everyone’s go-to guy to solve big, bad problems," says Insight CEO Michael Willner. "When the moguls are at each others’ throats, Bob quietly, calmly steps in and solves disputes. Trusted and respected by all, Bob will be leaving a huge hole in the fabric of the industry when he retires" Jan 1. Sounds like a lot of pressure for children Steve Miron and Nomi Bergman. But they were born with coax in their blood, have become top-flight execs and played a big role in VoIP, with Bright House ruling the South in the latest J.D. Power survey.

Year Ahead: Retrans battles and program negotiations for Bright House loom.

Robert Miron
In ’11, Cable Will: Be something I watch…
Biggest Threat To Cable’s Survival Is: Always ourselves together with government regulation.
Most Creative Part Of My Job: Is managing people.

Steve Miron
On Your iPad: Family photos, music, WSJ, Netflix
3DTV: Will be very cool for gaming.
Biggest Threat To Cable’s Survival: The retirement of Bob Miron.
What Should Cable Do To Improve Its Image With The Public? Take care of our customers.
A Non-Cable Company That Knows How To Run/Market Its Business: Wegmans—a great grocery store
Favorite TV Shows: CYE and Dual Survivor
Best Advice Book: Richest Man in Babylon
Best Business Advice: Surround yourself with people smarter than you
 
Nomi Bergman
What’s On Your iPad? The WSJ app is my favorite. And useful utility apps like Yelp.
Non-Cable Companies That Know How To Run/Market: Starbucks and McDonalds, they have done a superb job of adjusting to the market and reinventing themselves.

28 | PEACOCK’S SOUL

Bridget Baker

Title: President, TV Networks Distribution, NBC Universal

Years in Cable: 22

Education: BA, Pitzer College; Graduate studies, George Washington U and Exeter College

I Watch TV Mostly: TiVo/Recorded

Why Her? As usual, the veteran Baker delivered on all platforms in ’10, executing significant "all-in" content deals with top MVPDs and increasing HD penetration by 41mln subs. And lest we forget her multi-platform distribution work on the ’10 Winter Olympics, which included interactive apps for more than 40mln homes.

Kodiak Moment: Baker is a cable veteran, but the Alaska native’s first job was working as a legislative aide to Republican Senator Ted Stevens.

The Year Ahead:? In the changed NBC, Baker will be reporting to new content distribution chief Matt Bond. It would be folly to meddle with the popular Baker, whose unit has brought in $13.5bln during the past 3.5 years and increased Bravo’s distribution 36% (25mln homes) since it joined NBCU. Still, stranger things have happened.

On Your iPad: Pandora and my iPhoto library.

Favorite Non-NBC Show: Modern Family

Motto: Cowboy up.

Best Business Advice: "To hell with the politics. Do what’s right." — Sen Ted Stevens

Favorite City for Business: Philadelphia

29 | IN-DEMAND ITINERANT

Kyle McSlarrow

Title: Pres/CEO, NCTA

Years in Cable: 6

Education: BA, Cornell; JD, U VA

Why Him? Ending this spring after nearly 6 years, McSlarrow’s tenure in recent years featured involvement with notable issues, including the DTV transition, broadband funding and reclassification, and retransmission reform — all of which he addressed with a level-headedness and diplomacy that earned him respect from far-reaching corners. The reaction to McSlarrow’s leaving the NCTA throne reminded us of friendlier times, when cable’s enemies and friends alike saluted Decker Anstrom upon his departure from NCTA in the late ’90s, also after nearly 6 years. Of McSlarrow, NAB Pres/CEO Gordon Smith said he was "particularly gracious" when [Smith] transitioned from Capitol Hill to NAB. Smith continued that he’d "forever be grateful for [McSlarrow’s] wise counsel and friendship."

Free Agent: The burning question is where McSlarrow will turn up next, as he has been forthright in his desire to segue into the business and operations side of cable. An operator? A programmer? A tech play? We’ll wager that there’s no shortage of suitors already. In any event, the industry need not bid farewell, but rather wish him well in whatever his new endeavor becomes. He leaves behind some awfully big shoes.

Year Ahead: Up, up, up for McSlarrow; TBD for cable and NCTA.

30 | IT’S A SMALL WORLD AFTER ALL

Gary Marsh *

Title: Pres, Entertainment and Chief Creative Officer, Disney Channels Worldwide

Years in Cable: 22

Education: BA, UCLA; Harvard Business School Drop-out.

I Watch TV Mostly: TiVo/Recorded

Carolina Lightcap *

Title: President, Disney Channels Worldwide

Years in Cable: 18

Education: BA, Columbia U

I Watch TV Mostly: Live

Why Them? Marsh obviously didn’t need a Harvard education to succeed. Disney Channel and ABC Family still resonate. The former had 4 of 5 Emmy noms in the Outstanding Children’s Program category in’10. Lightcap’s load is anything but light — the relative of Che Guevara (honest) is overseeing expansion of 94 Disney channels globally. Her biggest success has been in Latin America.

You Dance Funny: Besides bolstering its original movie slate, in late ’11, Disney Channel debuts Shake It Up, the first dance sitcom.

Year Ahead: Disney Channel’s ratings could improve. Its ’11 slate may help.

Marsh
On your iPad: Phineas and Ferb, ABC Player, NY Times, Pixpop Dogs, Highlights Hidden Pictures
3DTV is: 1D too many!
In ’11, Cable Will: Blow broadcast TV away!
A Non-Cable Company That Knows How To Run/Market Its Business Is: Apple
The Most Creative Part of My Job is: Managing my staff
Favorite show NOT on Disney Nets: The Daily Show
Motto: Do not go where the path may lead. Go, instead, to where there is no path and leave a trail. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Best Business Advice: Never set a target you know how to hit  

Lightcap
On Your iPad: We have a 3 1/2 year-old daughter, and even though we have two IPads in the family, her "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse," "Handy Manny" and most of the Disney/Pixar movies monopolize the storage on one of them and a fair amount of the second one. I generally have to wipe her sweet little fingerprints from the screen when I want to catch up on Modern Family or Grey’s Anatomy.
A Non-Cable Company That Knows How To Run/Market Its Business is: Apple, witness the affinity multiple generations have to the iPad and iPod!
Dinner With A Cable Star: It’s Handy Manny hands down—my daughter would be thrilled.
Motto: First things first!  (As a working mom, it’s all about focus and prioritizing to maximize the use of my time.)
Most Underrated Drink: Cold Diet Coke, no ice!
Favorite City for Business: I love a city near the water for business and pleasure, especially LA, NY, Barcelona, Sydney, Rio and my native Buenos Aires

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Windstream Emerges From Bankruptcy

Windstream successfully completed its financial restructuring process and is a privately-held company as of Monday. While in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the company successfully reduced its debt by more than $4bln

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