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MOVE OVER, OPRAH; PARAMOUNT BOSS, OTHER EXECUTIVES LEAD LIST OF MOST POWERFUL WOMEN IN SHOW BUSINESS.

Byline: Dave McNary Staff Writer

Sherry Lansing, chairwoman of Paramount's motion picture group since 1992, has replaced Oprah Winfrey as the most powerful woman in the entertainment business, according to an annual trade publication due out today.

Under Lansing's reign, Paramount has popularized the concept of co-financing many of its big-budget films. The studio finished a close second to Disney last year in market share and ranks fourth in 1999 share after Disney, Warner Bros. and Universal, with hits like ``Runaway Bride,'' ``Double Jeopardy'' and ``The General's Daughter.''

Lansing finished second in The Hollywood Reporter's ranking last year, compiled annually as part of a ``Women in Entertainment: Power 50'' issue.

``Sherry has more green-light power than any other woman in film and her studio has had a pretty good year,'' said Randy Tierney, special issues editorial director at The Reporter. ``She's in great control there. The fact that she's been there for so long definitely factors into it.''

The Reporter named Universal Pictures Chairwoman Stacey Snider as No. 2 on its list, noting that Lansing and Snider are the only two women single-handedly running motion picture studios. ``There's a lot of instant power in being the head of a studio,'' Tierney noted.

Snider, a three-year veteran of Universal who was ranked 19th last year, became co-chairwoman in June as the studio was ending its long box office slump with ``The Mummy,'' ``Notting Hill'' and ``American Pie.'' She assumed sole chairwomanship last month when Brian Mulligan departed.

Tierney pointed out that the list - based on position, how much money they control and success in the marketplace of their products - reflected a generally strong upward shift among women executives in Hollywood.

``It's not just Sherry Lansing anymore,'' he said. ``There has been a huge upward movement within the past year-and-a-half to two years. It looks as if the business has been opting for the best person (instead of the best man) because there's definitely been a lot of movement that has broken the inertia.''

The increased power among female executives is the key reason why Winfrey's ranking slid from first to 19th, according to Tierney. ``It's not as if Oprah isn't hugely successful, but the dynamics have changed,'' he explained.

Winfrey, chairwoman of Chicago-based Harpo Entertainment Group, also saw her ranking fall due to a below-expectations performance by ``Beloved,'' in which she starred, and a slight decline in the overall clout of the talk-show business.

Finishing in a tie for third place were Lucy Fisher, vice chairwoman of Columbia Tri-Star Motion Picture Group, and Amy Pascal, president of Columbia Pictures. Sony ranks sixth in domestic box office with ``Big Daddy'' as the only hit but it has high hopes for the soon-to-be-released ``Stuart Little.''

Sony Music executive Michele Anthony finished fourth, followed by ABC Television Network President Patricia Fili-Krushel, CBS Entertainment President Nancy Tellem and Universal Pictures distribution Chairwoman Nikki Rocco.

Tierney said he expects more upward movement among female executives, which should lead to more opportunities for women in acting, writing and directing. ``The numbers are still very low in some areas so I think you're going to see more openings,'' he added.

AT THE TOP

Rank Name Title Company

1. Sherry LansingChairwoman of Motion Paramount Pictures

Picture Group

2. Stacey Snider Chairwoman Universal Pictures

3. Lucy Fisher Vice Chairwoman Columbia TriStar Motion

Picture Group

3. Amy Pascal President Columbia Pictures

4. Michelle Anthony Executive VP Sony Music Entertainment

5. Patricia Fili-Krushel President ABC Television Network

6. Nancy Tellem President CBS Entertainment

7. Nikki Rocco President Universal Pictures Distribution

8. Susanne Daniels Entertainment President WB Network

9. Polly Anthony President Epic Records Group

10. Michelle Manning President of Production Paramount Pictures

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

CAPTION(S):

3 photos, chart

PHOTO (1 -- color) no caption (Oprah Winfrey)

(2 -- color) Sherry Lansing

(3 -- color) Stacey Snider

CHART: At the top (see text)
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 7, 1999
Words:640
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