So Barry Diller returns to the showbiz ballgame in a major way last week, and what does it get him?
For one, it doesn’t land Diller on Entertainment Weekly’s 8th Annual “Power 101” list of the heaviest hitters in entertainment. That’s right; Microsoft chairman-CEO Bill Gates is on it (No. 32), as is Clint Eastwood (No. 37) and the Spice Girls (No. 101.5) — but no Diller.
And it’s not as if Diller’s $4 billion megadeal with Seagram/Universal on Oct. 20 closed after the EW deadline. It’s detailed in a box on Page 50 of the Oct. 31 issue (now on sale) that’s tagged “Power Comeback,” complete with a pic of a triumphant Diller.
So what gives? An EW spokesman explained Friday that the magazine — which “doesn’t comment on why someone is on the list, or why someone isn’t” — simply felt that the “Comeback” box was sufficient to recognize Diller’s power quotient.
But Diller should be heartened that he has some high-powered company on the snub list. Michael Ovitz (last year’s No. 14) likewise didn’t make the cut in the wake of his solid gold departure from Disney.
Incidentally, Steven Spielberg tops the list after finishing 11th last year, with the Time Warner-Turner team of Gerald Levin and Ted Turner taking second (up from 34th a year ago) and News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch dipping to third after emerging No. 1 last time. Disney chairman-CEO Michael Eisner was fourth and Oprah Winfrey fifth.