It used to be that a person’s power was measured by the location of their table at the Four Seasons or the black car that idled outside their office. No more. A new group of movers and shakers is animating Manhattan, and their influence is gauged more by their Twitter follows than by the size of their expense accounts.
That’s where Variety’s New Power of New York List comes in. We’ve looked all over the city for the most important voices defining the pulse of NYC. They’re authors and agitators like Janet Mock or Michael Moore; journalists and commentators like Rachel Maddow and Ana Navarro; digital entrepreneurs like Andrew Morse or Ingrid Michaelson; even recovering heartthrobs such as Ansel Elgort. Unlike previous generations, they’re embracing the internet and unafraid to get political.
And they’re not just waiting around for a studio or a media conglomerate to write them big checks.
By Ted Sarandos:
No comedian wants to be called the voice of his or her generation, but it is undeniable that Aziz Anzari is the voice of his. His is perhaps the first generation to think the internet is more important than television and for whom the internet is at the center of everything they do; dating, eating, transportation, self-expression, friendship. Aziz is not concerned with New York versus L.A. or airline food, but don’t get him started on texting protocols and online dating profiles. He talks the language of a generation who lives online.
Aziz has no time for the conventions of television because TV is not his God, and in a world that revolves around being online, the conventions of television are not so sacred. In the latest season of “Master of None,” he and Alan Yang delivered an episode with nearly 9 minutes of silence, one in black and white, one almost entirely in Italian and one that had none of the main cast members on-screen. How is this kind of disregard for the very form of television comedy repaid? With back-to-back writing Emmys, of course.
“Master of None” is almost nothing like the show that he pitched to us. It is better. He is better. Confidence is not the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of the character traits of a comedian, but Aziz is confident in every aspect of his work, and at least on the surface, it would seem in life too. He knows his material, he knows his audience and he knows how to connect his material and his audience with a remarkable hit rate. With his track record, there are no ideas from Aziz that I can dismiss without long consideration. Being right and being funny are sometimes in conflict, but not for Aziz. He is right about when to go for the laugh and when to go for heartstrings and does both like a “master.”
By Seth Meyers:
Billy makes it look easy. Just take a microphone and a camera crew and run around New York talking to people. How hard can it be? Well, I did it with him once, and I can tell you it’s incredibly hard. We spent hours running around the city while I watched his brain make split-second decisions as to who would be a good mark and who wouldn’t. (Something I learned: He never talks to anyone who looks like they want to be talked to.) He was armed with both hundreds of prewritten, perfectly worded questions and an incredibly quick improv mind that could come up with them on the spot (a personal favorite from our day together: “Miss, you’re a lesbian — are you watching ‘Orange Is the New Black’?”) Two things remain ingrained in me from that afternoon: severe foot pain and an undying respect for Billy Eichner and his craft.
I’ve been aware of Billy for a long time. And ever since Amy Poehler showed me the first video of him sticking a mic in the faces of the unwitting, he’s just been getting better and better, honing his skill set. And when the day came for him to have his own show he churned out piece after piece of unforgettable comedy, from the silly (“Do Gay People Care About John Oliver?”) to the silly and profound (“Immigrant or Real American?”) to the joyous (“Christmas Carol Ambush With Amy Poehler!”).
And much like Julia Roberts’ character in “Pretty Woman,” he’s not just great on the street! He’s an (expected) delight in “Difficult People” and an (unexpected) terror in “American Horror Story.”
And so I love Billy as an actor, a writer and a host, but most of all I love him for showing us that New York is still full of the most interesting people in the world if you’re just willing to take a day walking around and yelling at them.
By Rachel Maddow:
Have you read Nicolle Wallace’s fiction? Nicolle is self-deprecating to within an inch of her life, so when she first told me she was writing a novel, she said I should think of it as no big thing, a “beach read.”
I found that “Eighteen Acres” and its sequel were, in fact, that much fun to read. But I realized quickly — and I see it now even more — that there was something else big going on. Those books were Nicolle’s goodbye to being a political practitioner, but it turns out she was sounding an alarm on the way out the door.
The country is still bewildered today by the transformation of the swaggering but stalwart conservative GOP of the Bush-Cheney era in less than a decade into the braying, cursing, handsy, brazenly corrupt know-nothingism we’re living through now.
But it wasn’t really out of nowhere: There are a few Republicans who operated at the highest level of Republican presidential politics who saw that transformation coming. Nicolle is one of those few, and she was sly and smart and funny enough to cloak the confession — all the why and how of it — in the form of a crackerjack novel.
Nicolle is a deep-red Republican, and a loyal conservative, but she’s a patriot first, second and third. She’s also a hell of a lot of fun to spend time with. I love Nicolle as an analyst and as one of the sharpest, best-prepared cable hosts I’ve ever seen (watch her — her show is taking off for a reason). But as a friend, I love her fearlessness. And her mischief.
We’ll never agree on tax policy or the Iran deal, but I trust her, I respect her and I know for a fact that she is thinking circles around most of the rest of us, most of the time.
By Gayle King:
Trevor who? That was the question in September of 2015, when a 31-year-old comic from Soweto who had made only a handful of appearances as a “Daily Show” correspondent suddenly became its host.
Like that new guy who buys the house two doors down after a beloved neighbor moves away, Noah took some getting used to; our feelings ran the gamut from resistance to resentment. But having to prove himself to gain acceptance, that’s the stuff he’s dealt with all his life.
The title of Noah’s remarkable autobiography is “Born a Crime.” He writes of being a boy whose mixed-race heritage literally violated the law of apartheid in South Africa: “Where most children are proof of their parents’ love, I was the proof of their criminality.”
But what didn’t kill Trevor Noah seems to have made him funnier. He has become a sworn enemy of the hypocritical, the phony and the power-hungry. His particular brand of fake news comes from somewhere very real, and his stinging satire is must-see TV for millions of viewers in search of a little sanity or maybe just a few laughs before calling it a night. He may have been “born a crime,” but he’s living a life of defiant achievement. And nobody is asking, “Trevor who?” anymore!
By Lena Dunham
It’s easy to forget someone’s magic when you’ve lived with them for half a decade. Their refusal to pick up their towels or get more seltzer or clean the hedgehog cage becomes a narrative louder than “They’re changing the world with their passion and skill.” Which is why, when I need a romance reset, I Google “Jack Antonoff David Letterman.”
It’s a video of Jack (my partner of five and a half years) performing with Steel Train, an earlier iteration of his band Bleachers. While he was still fairly unknown outside New Jersey, his joy was infectious, and even the hard-to-crack Letterman looked pleased when they shook hands. Only I know that, without his glasses, Jack missed most of the sights.
It’s safe to say that before Jack my life was full of far fewer sights. He showed me the importance of making political statements using your public platform. He showed me the joy of collaboration. He showed me the magic of his home state of New Jersey and turned the butt of my snotty New Yorker jokes into a glimmering fantasyland. I know he does the same for all the artists he produces for, the fans who come to his shows and the recipients of his love. I try and share nicely.
By Tracy Letts:
If “Lady Bird” is a good film, and I think it is, it’s because Greta wrote an excellent screenplay. She communicated expertly with her actors, she handled the technical aspects with aplomb, she fostered a healthy creative environment on the set and none of that matters a jot without her very fine and funny and personal piece of writing.
I hope she gets credit for it. I’ve already seen the inclination of some, even when they like the film, to dismiss her writing because it is “autobiography.” First of all, it’s simply not autobiography. Lady Bird’s story is very different from Greta’s in many particulars. And second, why would anyone believe writing a script with autobiographical elements is easier than spinning a fiction from whole cloth? (Because Greta’s a woman? Therefore there must be some other explanation why the writing is good?) Greta created a world on the page. There is nothing easy about that. Writers, take note of Greta Gerwig. She is good at her craft. I learned a lot working with her.
By Ben Smith:
I learned to report from Maggie Haberman in 2002, when she was the fourth-string New York Post reporter in City Hall and we sat facing one another in the squalid basement press annex. I listened to her berate, cajole, plead, demand, laugh, sympathize and swear constantly. Above all I heard in her voice something I’ve never forgotten: That a reporter’s relationships with her sources are authentic human relationships; that her ethics are the real ethics of trust and honesty, not some transactional professional subset; and that if the fourth-string New York Post reporter was that good, I couldn’t even imagine how dazzling the guys upstairs in the real press room, Room 9, must be.
It is now obvious to most Americans, as it was to me then, that Maggie, who has worked for The New York Times since 2015, is the best reporter in the room. She dominates the national political story to an infuriating degree. This is partly the convergence of the stars over a president whose trajectory matches hers. But it’s mostly earned every day by intensely competitive hard work. And everyone talks to her not because they think she’ll take it easy on them but because they simply have no choice. Read the transcript of her conversations with Donald Trump for a combination of adversarial combativeness and true understanding of a person. Her voice on Twitter, in the Times and on CNN is untainted by the ass-kissing you often see among access journalists.
The leather-jacketed, chain-smoking Maggie I met in 2002 connected authentically to more people every day than most reporters talk to in a week. To give Maggie a tip was to, genuinely, make her day; to give the Daily News a tip was to betray her and earn her genuine rage. Everyone in New York City soon knew that, which made her a terrifying competitor. Now everyone in American politics knows it. Last year, the top guy on a Republican presidential campaign told me that he’d love to give me a certain exclusive but that if he did, Maggie would kill him. I’m confident the president of the United States feels pretty much the same way.
By Kris Jenner:
Ryan Seacrest and I met 10 years ago when I pitched him our show and he happened to be searching for a family for a new reality series. I remember he sent someone over to our home to capture what goes on in a typical day at our family barbecue. I’m pretty sure after 5 minutes of stepping inside the house that he knew our family dynamic would keep people hooked for an entire season. And here we are, 10 years later, celebrating 14 seasons of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”
Over the course of the last decade, Ryan has become my producing partner, business partner, trusted confidant, adviser and one of my best friends. I now have a lifelong friendship that I will cherish always. Ryan is an inspirational, magnetic, motivating person who has the most positive energy. He continues to inspire me to be the best I can be, and I’m pretty certain he has this effect on everyone else.
Ryan Seacrest is not only the hardest-working man I know, but just when I think I can’t do something, go to one more meeting, take on one more project or film one more show, I think about how Ryan would push through, and I instantly snap out of any doubt and carry on.
Ryan is one of the most influential people in my life and has inspired me to be the best I can be, do the best I can and when I don’t know the answer, to figure it out. He’s one of the few people I can text at 4 a.m., and I know he’ll respond immediately. Ryan is also my go-to when it comes to picking out a great bottle of red wine, or learning about art, and every time I go to his house, he amazes me with his spectacular interior style and design.
No matter how many projects he’s worked on that day, or how crazy his day has been, he always has that big fabulous smile on his face and still manages to be there to lend advice or even an ear. He’s passionate about his family, his friends, his work and his incredible organization, Ryan Seacrest Foundation. It’s this insatiable work ethic, genuine kind heart, honest concern for others and positive outlook that makes Ryan truly one-of-a-kind. NYC is going to have a hard time keeping up with you, Ryan!
By Lin-Manuel Miranda:
Oskar Eustis sees the good in you.
You will play him what you’ve written. He will listen. In the most generous and expansive terms possible, he will describe what he is getting from the work. He will explain the moments that knock him out (you will be quite chuffed that he got it — indeed, that he gets it), and he will zero in on the moments that were not clear, or where he feels you are idling. Even in describing these less-than-thrilling moments in your work, he is passionate, garrulous, articulate. Even if he is seeing something different than you intended, his interrogation of the moment forces you to sharpen the edges of your work, until it is indisputable.
It’s that simple, and it’s that complex. It’s that interrogation of the moment and the truth that makes The Public Theater, the house that Joe Papp built, with Oskar Eustis at the helm since 2005, the most exciting place to make new works of theater. You can imagine Oskar hectoring Tony Kushner back in the ’90s, before “Angels in America” made history “crack wide open.” You can picture him challenging Stew to get specific as he and Heidi Rodewald unlocked the brilliant journey of “Passing Strange.” And he is just as patient and relentless with you, asking you just before previews begin, “If you don’t change a word of this show, it will be one of the greatest things The Public has ever produced.” A pause. “But … what if Hamilton still hasn’t made up his mind what he’s going to do at the top of his soliloquy in the duel? What if it isn’t ’til the last second?”
Oh crap. That’s a good idea.
You go back to your desk or back to your piano, endeavoring to make your work live up to the potential Oskar Eustis sees within it.
By Leslie Odom Jr.:
“That little girl has such a kind face.” That was my first thought when I laid eyes on Cyn for the very first time.
OK, so … I had misjudged this tiny “book” completely by its adorable cover. There was a lion and there was a wildfire just behind those kind eyes and warm smile. It knocked me flat when I heard the voice for the first time a few hours later. It still does.
We were in Long Island City at a rehearsal for a dear friend’s wedding, maybe four years ago. I was first up since I was to sing while the bride made her procession. I finished my part, and on my way out the door, a young girl had entered the space whom I hadn’t noticed 5 minutes earlier.
She was a light — in huge Steve Urkel glasses, jean shorts, the simplest black T with the sleeves cut off, colorful calf-length socks, high tops and the megawatt smile.
Later, midway through the wedding, the piano player starts playing again, but the voice is coming from behind us this time: the balcony. Same “girl,” entirely different swag. She’s a stunner. In that moment, literally seeing her grow from a child to a woman in a matter of hours, it was enough to take your breath away. Cynthia Erivo will take your breath away.
She brought the lion and the wildfire to center stage each night during her triumphant run in the revival of “The Color Purple” on Broadway. The role won her a Tony and a Grammy as the business seemed to try its best to invent new ways to say “Thank you” for what she conjured onstage each night.
Next year, she’ll make her big-screen debut in Steve McQueen’s “Widows” alongside the supernova Viola Davis. More film work looks likely and within reach.
When our daughter was born earlier this year, we asked Cyn to be one of two godmothers. We were so happy for Lucile when Cynthia agreed! She’ll have a front-row seat as “Auntie Cyn” continues to slay dragons.
By Jann Wenner:
I always knew that Gus was capable of excelling at whatever he set out to do.
Immediately after college when he started working at Wenner Media, his goal was to learn and be immersed in the business he has grown up around. Gus kept taking on additional responsibilities, and it became apparent that he was the perfect fit to bring the company into the future. Everyone in the office was amazed by how quickly he learned and understood the business, and he swiftly earned the respect of his colleagues. Over lunch one day, I asked if he would be interested in running the digital operations of the company, and he happily accepted. What immediately became clear to me as I watched my son take on this larger role is that he is a natural leader with outstanding instincts.
As we begin to explore Rolling Stone’s next chapter — selling the iconic magazine that I founded in 1967 — Gus’ position is more important than ever. His commitment to maintaining our integrity and distinct point of view while taking risks has been critical to the company’s growth. He has transformed Wenner Media into the multi-platform company it is today. Not only did he come up with the idea to launch Rolling Stone Country and open up its editorial office in Nashville, but he has also made numerous important business deals to set the company up for a healthy future, while building a digital and video team from the ground up. Rolling Stone now publishes over 100 pieces of original content per day and reaches over 60 million people per month.
Gus and I share a deep passion for producing quality content that shines a light on important cultural issues, in addition to a profound love of music. Working with my son has been such a reward and one of the great gifts of my life.
By Kelly Ripa
My husband, Mark, and I first met Andy Cohen at a Christmas party at Bryant Gumbel’s apartment in NYC many years ago. At the time, Andy was an executive at Bravo who had this new idea for a show about a bunch of women from Orange County who “lived in a gated community and had lots of hair and necklaces” (or at least that’s how I remember him describing it).
Andy was concerned that Mark and I didn’t have any friends our own age. He was certain all of our friends were much older and volunteered to “sacrifice” himself and become our friend. We assured him that not only were most of our friends our age, but we had many mutual friends, and the fact that we hadn’t met before was just actually plain weird to us.
To say Andy wears many hats is an obvious understatement. (Producer, creator, author, promoter, ringmaster — but my personal favorite is on-air talent.) What is astounding is how seamlessly he transitions from one to the other while never losing himself in the process. I can honestly say that the Andy Cohen people have become so familiar with is the very same Andy Cohen I met so many years ago at that party.
I think the reason TV and radio audiences connect with him is because he is his authentic self and has a blast at that. Andy is the ultimate good-time Charlie; having dinner or drinks with him is like winning the lottery.
There’s a reason why this young college intern from St. Louis took over the social scene of NYC. That’s no easy nut to crack. But he’s got a huge nutcracker. (So I’ve heard.)
Nobody has their finger on the pulse of everything the way Andy does. There’s simply nobody better.
“The Late Show” Host:
The longtime late-night comic defied expectations when he turned around a rockier-than-expected start at CBS’ “Late Show” and became the nation’s most-watched wee-hours host. Colbert’s laser focus on the news of the day, and Trump takedowns, lend his program an added relevance and watercooler factor.
The veteran MSNBC host has strived to help people make sense of a complex world. Her mission took on greater meaning after the 2016 presidential election, and on many nights, she is cable’s most-viewed news anchor. Rather than rely on talking heads and hot debate, Maddow works on long, detailed segments, digs hard for context and weaves in one-on-one interviews.
New York’s Hunkiest:
The lead in “The Fault in Our Stars” expanded his fan base beyond tweens with this summer’s “Baby Driver,” a poppy thriller that became an unlikely box office smash. Elgort will build on that success by starring opposite Taron Egerton in “Billionaire Boys Club,” a crime story about a get-rich-quick scam gone bad, as well as “Jonathan,” a twisty sci-fi drama.
Jake Gyllenhaal and Riva Marker
Nine Stories Producers:
When Gyllenhaal wanted to set up a production company, he found a kindred spirit in “Beasts of No Nation” producer Marker. Their Nine Stories shingle in SoHo is synonymous with edgy independent films such as “Stronger” and Luca Guadagnino’s upcoming “Rio.”
The indie filmmaker made her mark in 2011 with “Pariah.” She followed it up with “Bessie,” a biopic about legendary blues singer Bessie Smith, for HBO. This year’s “Mudbound,” an operatic drama set in the Mississippi Delta after World War II, sold to Netflix for $12.5 million out of Sundance, standing as the crowning achievement of Rees’ career so far. We can’t wait to see what’s next.
She’s been good in movies like “Inglourious Basterds” and the TV series “The Bridge.” But after winning the actress prize at the Cannes Film Festival for her searing portrait of a mom dealing with grief in “In the Fade,” Kruger proved that she has the guts (and the screen presence) to be the next Marion Cotillard.
Documentarian turned Broadway Star:
After calling a Trump victory way back when media pundits and political sages were saying it would be a Clinton landslide, Moore has been one of the entertainment industry’s most outspoken members of the resistance. He took his act to Broadway, headlining a show titled “The Terms of My Surrender.” Moore will dive deeper into Trumpland with “Fahrenheit 11/9,” a doc about the 45th president.
Author and Advocate:
As the rights of transgender Americans are being threatened by the Trump administration and the GOP Congress, Mock has stood her ground as an advocate and author. By telling her story in her book “Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me,” she’s emerged as one of the most vocal and clearheaded voices in the community.
Sony Music Entertainment CEO:
“A wonderful executive, person, and a passionate lover of music” is how industry legend Clive Davis describes Stringer, who took the chief executive reins in April after a nine-year run helming Sony label Columbia. Adele, Bruce Springsteen, Beyoncé and Daft Punk are just some of the Grammy-winning acts to have his ear.
She launched her career by getting discovered on MySpace a decade ago, which led the indie singer-songwriter to sell more than 1 million albums, with tunes on some of TV’s favorite soundtracks (“Grey’s Anatomy”). Now she’s expanding her portfolio. Over the summer, Michaelson debuted on Broadway in “The Great Comet,” which will be followed by a starring role in the autobiographical Hulu series “The Way I Am.”
The ex-Amazon VP of digital video leads the company that will power Disney’s forthcoming ESPN and movie streaming services. The Mouse House paid Major League Baseball $2.58 billion for a 75% stake in BAMTech, which started life as the internet-streaming engine for MLB games. Paull’s C.V. includes gigs at Sony Music Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Fox Entertainment Group and Time Warner.
MSNBC’s Rising Star:
Reid, who studied documentary filmmaking at Harvard, has forged an interesting alternative path: a steady weekend gig at MSNBC that is winning new viewers and making her a valued substitute for the cable-news network’s primetime anchors.
The Republican Resistance:
This Republican strategist made a name for herself in these chaotic times by calling out President Trump for various transgressions. Navarro is unafraid to cross party lines when she feels bigger issues are at stake.
Chris Kelly, Sarah Schneider, Kent Sublette, and Bryan Tucker
The Brains Behind “SNL”:
The head writers of “Saturday Night Live” worked overtime this past season to make the show more politically incisive and culturally relevant than ever. It paid off with the program’s highest ratings in 20-plus years. As “SNL” trouper Kate McKinnon said after winning her second consecutive Emmy, “It’s all about the writing, you guys.”
CNN’s Secret Digital Weapon:
The exec VP for editorial for CNN’s U.S. operations has his hands full these days, monitoring not only the network’s massive news-gathering apparatus but also media ventures like Great Big Story and a partnership with YouTube influencer Casey Neistat.
“World News Tonight” Anchor:
No one can deny that Muir’s time behind the desk at ABC’s “World News Tonight” has been a boon for the broadcast, which in recent months has been capturing more viewers overall than either of its two broadcast-network evening-news rivals.
David Fenkel and Daniel Katz
The independent film business has never been tougher, but A24 makes it look easy. The boutique label snagged a best picture Academy Award for low-budget coming-of-age drama “Moonlight.” It’s looking to end 2017 on a high note, rolling out festival favorites “Lady Bird,” “The Disaster Artist,” “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” and “The Florida Project.” Will another date to the Oscars follow?
NBC Broadcasting & Sports Chairman:
He’s orchestrating NBCUniversal’s efforts to lure viewers and advertisers to a rare sports triple play: broadcasts of the Super Bowl, the Winter Olympics and the World Cup.
“CBS This Morning” Executive Producer:
Kadro is riding herd on a program that has enjoyed a surge in ratings using an unorthodox formula focused on hard news while avoiding some of the competition’s frillier elements.
The veteran indie executive launched his label Neon by picking up buzzy projects such as “Colossal” and “Ingrid Goes West.” Big box office hasn’t always ensued, but the company looks to be in the Oscar race with Laura Poitras’ Julian Assange doc “Risk” and “I, Tonya,” a Tonya Harding biopic with a showy by Allison Janney.
Before Sundance, Chalamet, a young, New Yorker with an unpronounceable name, was best known for a single season turn on Showtime’s “Homeland.” After the festival, he was immediately dubbed Hollywood’s next big thing. “Call Me by Your Name,” the tender, romantic drama that premiered at the fest, features a stunning lead performance by the 21-year-old actor that has quickly catapulted him to the A-list.
The One to Watch:
At just 20, he’s already become one of the most exciting actors of his generation. After an Oscar nomination for “Manchester by the Sea,” he delivered an acclaimed turn in the Off Broadway play “Yen” and a touching supporting role in “Lady Bird.” Hedges takes center stage in next year’s drama “Boy Erased,” as a fundamentalist in Arkansas who is enrolled in gay conversion therapy.
Fox Business Network President:
Since Jones took over as president of Fox Business Network in May, the network has repeatedly challenged CNBC in the ratings. With the help of anchors like “Money Honey” Maria Bartiromo and Neil Cavuto, the channel has defined itself by being different from other TV aimed at Wall Street types. It’s more politically charged and sassier, and has sharper elbows.
Arguably no one has done more to shape the culinary life of the city than Meyer. From Shake Shack, his fast-food burger joint with the foot-numbing lines all over the city, to elegant eateries such as Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern and The Modern, Meyer nimbly navigates the worlds of high and low dining.
Dayglo Ventures Founder:
Shapiro is one of the last independent concert promoters, and his Brooklyn Bowl — a combination venue, bowling alley, bar and eatery — has ventured beyond its original Williamsburg home to locations in Las Vegas and London, adding to a portfolio that includes equity in Port Chester’s historic Capitol Theatre. Farther south in Arrington, Va., the Dayglo-produced Lockn’ Festival just wrapped its fifth edition, drawing 30,000 revelers.
Peak TV Icon:
After six Emmy nominations for her fan-favorite role as Peggy Olson on “Mad Men,” Moss finally walked away with a golden statue for her chilling work in Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.” The icing on the cake: The show won for best TV drama, the first for a streaming series. Plus, Moss is receiving more critical raves for her turn in “Top of the Lake: China Girl.”
One year after exiting “The Daily Show,” Jessica Williams — who was rumored to be on the short list to replace Jon Stewart after he left in 2014 — proved she’s much more than a supporting comedian. Her film “The Incredible Jessica James” debuted to a standing ovation at Sundance before being nabbed by Netflix, and the 28-year-old just closed a deal to topline a comedy series at Showtime.
The New Feminist Voice:
The Teen Vogue writer captured headlines for talking about something other than Ariana Grande’s thigh-high boots when Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson took issue with her op-ed, titled “Donald Trump Is Gaslighting America,” criticizing her in a heated exchange on TV that, of course, went viral.
“The Daily Show” Correspondent:
The last of the “Daily Show” correspondents to be hired by Jon Stewart in 2014, Minhaj landed the coveted spot as the featured speaker at the 2017 White House Correspondents’ Dinner — which President Trump famously boycotted. He followed that up with his first Netflix stand-up special, showcasing his experiences as a Muslim Indian-American.
“The Americans” Star:
The California native has put down roots in New York with her “Americans” co-star on-screen and in life, Matthew Rhys. The pair are frequently spotted out and about in their Brooklyn Heights neighborhood, often with toddler son Sam in tow. Given Russell’s proximity to Broadway, it stands to reason that she might try her hand at stage work after her FX drama ends its run next year.
Her mettle is tested on a daily basis with breaking news in the early-afternoon hours, when she holds down the “CNN Newsroom” desk. A no-nonsense reporter, Baldwin earned respect from viewers recently when she forcefully shut down guests for making crude — or flat-out incorrect — conjectures. A “Saturday Night Live” spoof has solidified her place in pop culture.
Bakish hit the ground running last December when he was handed the reins of the troubled conglomerate. The turnaround effort at Viacom is still a work in progress, but Bakish has impressed insiders and outsiders with his decisiveness in plotting a new course for MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and other cablers and for Paramount Pictures.
Fox News Anchor:
The Fox News anchor came to the rescue in January after Megyn Kelly left for NBC News. MacCallum moved from mornings into a solo slot at 7 p.m. She was so adept at anchoring “The First 100 Days” that Fox gave her a permanent show, “The Story,” in the hour.
Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
King and Queen of the Great White Way:
“Let It Go” — straight to Broadway. The husband-and-wife songwriting duo are Oscar winners for their score to the smash “Frozen.” The stage version is expected to be a blockbuster of the current Broadway season.
The New York chef heads up a rapidly expanding empire. After planting a flag in Harlem with Red Rooster and Streetbird Rotisserie, he’s expanded to Chicago (Marc Burger), Helsinki (Kitchen & Table) and, recently, London (Red Rooster Shoreditch). On the way is a waterfront restaurant in Brooklyn.
“Dear Evan Hansen” Star:
Platt was that nerdy guy from “Pitch Perfect” — until he broke big in “Dear Evan Hansen,” wowing audiences with an emotional powerhouse of a performance. Having scored a Tony, he’ll depart the Broadway production in November — and the world is his oyster.
“New Day” Co-Host:
The former Fox News regular has found new life at CNN’s “New Day,” where she and co-host Chris Cuomo are helping to blaze trails by adding a shot of adrenaline and accountability- reporting to the venerable morning-news format.