Why Hollywood CEOs Could Face a Payday Reckoning Next Year

Rebuking exorbitant chief executive pay is destined to be on the table at next year’s shareholder meetings amid lackluster earnings and a looming recession

Hollywood quietly achieved a record this year when it comes to the lucrative compensation packages awarded to CEOs running all the nation’s major television, movie, and streaming businesses — but it’s becoming clear that come next year, shareholders will take CEOs to task where it really hurts: their paychecks.

Hardly an eyebrow was raised when Warner Bros. Discovery Chief Executive David Zaslav took home $246 million in compensation for 2021, more than six times his 2020 pay (and well above his all-time high of $156.1 million in 2014). It was the most money paid to a studio CEO for one year’s work — and higher than the combined paychecks for the CEOs of Disney, Netflix, Paramount, Comcast, Lionsgate and Fox.

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Joe Bel Bruno

Joe Bel Bruno

Joe Bel Bruno is TheWrap's Editor at Large, Business. He most recently served as the Founding Editor of the business news site dot.LA. He was previously the Managing Editor of Variety, and served as Deputy Business Editor and later Deputy Entertainment Editor at the Los Angeles Times. Bel Bruno also ran markets coverage for The Wall Street Journal. Before that, he was an award-winning reporter at the Associated Press in New York, and held senior posts in London and New York for Knight Ridder Financial.