The 2011 CableFAX Top 100 will soon be revealed… Who do you think will be named cable’s most powerful? Here’s a refresher on last year’s Top 5. 

1 | SLY FOX

Tony Vinciquerra

Title: Chairman/CEO, Fox Networks Group

Number of Years in Cable: 9

Education: State University of New York at Albany

I Watch TV Mostly: Live, online, On Demand and TiVo/Recorded

Why Him? Love it or hate it, Vinciquerra’s Fox got its deals done this year with Time Warner Cable, DISH and yes, eventually Cablevision. And while the humble Vinciquerra wasn’t as visible as Chase Carey and Mike Hopkins during the wrangling, he played an intimate role and kept a steady hand on the wheel of a ship that includes 38 domestic broadcast and cable outlets and 170 international channels. His acumen hasn’t gone unnoticed, with rumblings that Comcast may have expressed an interest in him for a post-NBCU gig.

International Player: Fox’s international channels, which reach more than 350mln subs in 32 languages, posted a 25% increase in ad revenue last year under Vinciquerra’s steady leadership. In fiscal 1Q (July-Sept), the international networks posted a 27% increase in ad revenue. Domestic and international channels now account for 25% of News Corp’s revenue.

The Year Ahead: Next up will be mending fences after this year’s raucous negotiations and closing more of those agreements.

3DTV is: A potential way to position Big Events for group viewing. The system holds exciting possibilities.

When It Comes to Media Issues, The New Congress Should: Allow businesses to negotiate directly without Big Brother looking over their shoulder.

Most Creative Part of My Job: Helping young executives grow professionally.

Favorite Non-Fox Show: Chasing Classic Cars

2 | PEACOCK PURCHASERS

Steve Burke

Title: EVP/COO, Comcast Corp ( left)

Number of Years in Cable: 12

Education: BA, Colgate (Phi Beta Kappa); MBA, Harvard

Michael Angelakis

Title: CFO, Comcast Corp

Number of Years in Cable: 20

Education: BA, Babson; OPM, Harvard

I Watch TV Mostly: On Demand

Why Them? With Comcast set to acquire NBCU in one of the most significant media deals in years, Burke is poised to become one of the most powerful operational players in media. Pairing him here with Angelakis was an easy call, considering the whip-smart CFO has been integrally involved in the transaction from the start. In fact, Angelakis has become a sort of travel buddy for Burke as the two tour NBCU facilities, strategize about potential synergies and kick the tires at NBCU’s large NYC and L.A. operations.

Tofu Cheese Steak: Comcast couldn’t be more different culturally from the Peacock. It’s Hollywood glitz versus Philadelphia prudence. Early word is Burke will move cautiously as he brings more discipline to the NBC broadcast net while preserving the success of NBCU’s cable properties like USA and Bravo.

Step Aside: Not one to beat around the bush, Burke bluntly told NBCU chief Jeff Zucker in late Sept to hit the road after the deal closes. The Conan debacle probably didn’t help matters for Zucker, who we’re guessing will be just fine nonetheless.

The Year Ahead: Burke and Angelakis have never wielded more power, with Burke set to steer strategy and Angelakis angling to find fat, synergies and savings.

3 | BRITT WIT

Glenn Britt

Title: Chairman/President/CEO, Time Warner Cable ( left)

Number of Years in Cable: 38

Education: AB, Economics, Dartmouth; MBA, Dartmouth

I Watch TV Mostly: Live

Why Him? Never flashy, but this ex-cable techie is among cable’s smartest and operationally savvy CEOs. Britt’s focus on his company and shareholders instead of his ego has spelled success for Time Warner Cable, which recently reported stellar results and plans to buy back a whopping $4bln worth of shares.

Stemming the Tide: Britt was one of only five execs tapped by President Obama to join the Science, Tech, Engineering and Math (STEM) task force. Britt took it further by launching Connect a Million Minds, a 5-year effort to address STEM deficiencies.

Broadway Britt: Among Britt’s board memberships is the Manhattan Theatre Club. After his acting debut with Matt Blank in that Nurse Jackie spoof at the ’09 Cable Show, we’d like to see him on stage. Break a leg, Glenn!

Year Ahead: Britt faces tough competition everywhere, but Time Warner Cable’s financial strength (bolstered by the planned share buyback), as well as its focus on innovation, bodes well for ’11.

On Your iPad: Mad Men and MI5 episodes, email, photos, Amazon books, WSJ, NYT

3DTV is: Not ready for the living room yet, but might be once we can ditch the glasses.

Favorite City for Business: NY

4 | COCO COHORTS

Phil Kent

Title: Chairman/CEO, Turner Broadcasting System

Age: 60

Education: BA, Lehigh

Andy Heller

Title: Vice Chairman, Turner Broadcasting System

Number of Years in Cable: 25

Education: BS, Cornell University, School of Industrial Relations; JD, Fordham Law School

I Watch TV Mostly: Live

Why Them? Funny how things go in cable. Last year we pinned Kent and Heller’s year ahead on TV Everywhere, noting Heller’s role as Turner’s point man on the issue. A year later, all anyone can talk about re Turner is that tall, red-headed late-night talk-show host and how the division between broadcast and cable really is fading. That’s fine for the soft-spoken Heller, whose strength has always been working behind the scenes to make things happen. This time his job is to make TV Everywhere more of a reality than a concept.

Global Co Co: Of course there’s much more to Turner than Conan O’Brien. Kent leads a global media company that, in its 40th year, operates 100 channels in 27 languages in 200 countries and generates more than half of parent Time Warner’s earnings. And don’t forget the global ubiquity of CNN, the animation properties, a slew of sports or Kyra Sedgewick’s best actress Emmy for The Closer.

Year Ahead: Early ratings for Conan bode well for a good year.

Andy Heller

What Should Cable do to Improve its Image with the Public? Tout the fact that it is the best entertainment value in America.

Favorite Non-Turner Shows: NCIS

Best Business Advice: "It’s hard to learn anything if you are the only one in the room talking." – Jimmy Doolittle

5 | MIGHTY MICE

George Bodenheimer

Title: Co-Chair, Disney Media Nets; Co-Chair/Pres, ESPN and ABC Sports

Number of Years in Cable: 29

Education: Denison U

I Watch TV Mostly: Live

Anne Sweeney

Title: Co-Chair, Disney Media Nets; Pres, Disney-ABC Television Group

Number of Years in Cable: 29

Education: BA, The College of New Rochelle; Ed. M., Harvard

I Watch TV Mostly: On TV, with a healthy dose of online (via computer and iPad).

Why Them? Besides helping forge high-profile distribution deals with Cablevision and Time Warner Cable in ’10, Sweeney’s vision for increasing exposure of content through multiplatform initiatives has borne fruit. Apple TV now carries some ABC content, while Time Warner Cable, Cablevision and Insight launched fresh on demand ABC content this year; TWC even added a special transactional VOD service for select ABC programming. Overseeing a dominant global sports empire with 5K+ employees, the humble Bodenheimer must be credited for a raft of successes and innovations. ESPN launched cable’s 1st 3D channel in June, smartly tied to the rollout of its World Cup coverage for a heavy marketing, er… kick. Soccer viewing exploded, just weeks after ESPN scored TV rights to ACC football and men’s and women’s basketball to augment a long-term rights slate that includes the SEC, Big Ten and Big East. He was ranked 32 in Vanity Fair’s 100 Most Influential People of the Information Age.

The Year Ahead: You never bet against ESPN and broadcast’s ad recovery, and ABC’s deft delivery of content across platforms bode well for Sweeney’s future.

Bodenheimer

3DTV Is: An exciting new business opportunity for our company and the industry.

What Should Cable Do To Improve Its Image With the Public? Continue to communicate the true value proposition cable offers. It’s hard to find a better deal in entertainment.

In ’11, Cable Will: Continue to improve its multi-platform presence and with it enhance the value of our products for consumers.

Sweeney

On Your iPad: My most used apps: ABC Player app, London Tube, Kindle, Talking Tom, ABC News and Flipboard

In ’11, Cable Will: Be even stronger.

Best Business Advice: Find the best people, give them a mission and resources to achieve it and then stay out of their way and let them do what you hired them to do. Also, pay attention to your customers, every minute, every day.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Register HERE for the Dec. 8 CableFAX 100 luncheon at the Grand Hyatt NYC! Special guest Q&A: Time Warner Cable’s Glenn Britt! We will also celebrate our Top 10 places in cable to work.

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