“With great power,” said Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben in the comics, “comes great responsibility.” It also brings it fair share of ups and downs, and for some major corporate players some days were really up and some were really down this year.
1. HARVEY WEINSTEIN ROARS BACK
The loudest man in Hollywood didn’t get his hands back on Miramax, but he did come back from the brink of financial ruin with the restructuring of The Weinstein Company. He convinced the MPAA to give “Blue Valentine” an R rating and began award season with six Golden Globe nominations for “The King’s Speech.” In fact, Weinstein ended 2010 in a very good place. How good? Well, look forward to 2011 and say three words – “The King’s Speech." Then say one more — Oscar.
2. BOB IGER TAKES THE STAND
Disney is looking to pay $319M to Celador, the creators of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” for the financial shell game its TV subsidiaries ABC and Buena Vista Television played when the hit U.K. game show came to the States in 1999. And it could have been much worse if not for the show-stopping performance Disney CEO Bob Iger put on when he took the stand in the four-week trial in Riverside, CA on June 16. Iger could have shifted the blame to Michael Eisner, who was the boss back in ’99 and a big fan of “Millionaire” — and never even showed up. But he didn’t. Instead, in reasoned tones, he methodically laid out the way he likes to see business done and what he recalled. Celador’s lawyers couldn’t lay a punch on him – and they didn’t.
3. MARK ZUCKERBERG MELTS DOWN OVER PRIVACY
Being the youngest billionaire in America can have its downside and on June 2, Mark Zuckerberg had a very public bad moment at the AllThingsD conference in Palos Verdes. In front of a packed house of industry leaders and insiders, the tongue-tied Facebook CEO stammered his way through questions about the site’s privacy standards. Some called it a panic attack, others said it was a meltdown. Long story short, it was bad. At least it was a warm-up for the pounding Zuckerberg would take when his life got the Hollywood treatment from David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin in “The Social Network.”
4. PAUL LEE MEETS THE PRESS
It might be the most honest thing you’ll ever hear a TV exec say. “I’ve been on the job 36 hours,” ABC’s very newly appointed entertainment President told journalists at the TCA on Aug. 1, on the heels of Steve McPherson's very public departure. "I am super unprepared.” Short on details, yes, but honesty really was the best policy.
5. IT’S THEIR MUSIC SUMNER REDSTONE LIKES – REALLY
What are the true motivations behind the Viacom CEO's obvious love of the girl band the Electric Barbarellas? The octogenarian made MTV do a reality show about them, and he gave 29-year old band member and former MTV assistant Heather Naylor $100,000 in Viacom stock, which she promptly sold. Then, when tawdry details leaked out, Redstone left a voicemail trying to bully a reporter into revealing who told her the potentially sordid details. And when that all broke in July, Sumner made it very clear he doesn’t care what anyone thinks.