Hollywood's Top Six Power Women

  • So you think the females who wield the power in Hollywood are the actresses? Think again. There's a whole cadre of women who are truly running the show in Tinseltown, and most are gals who were born in the boomer era. Sure, there are big actresses who are power players, including Sandra Bullock, whose entertainment empire goes far and beyond earning a $20-million-a-movie paycheck as a thespian (she's been producing films and television shows for more than ten years), but the real power is behind the scenes. Here’s a look at the players:

    Oprah Winfrey

    Oprah is the most obvious formidable female in Hollywood, with an estimated fortune (by “Forbes” magazine, in 2011) of $2.7 billion. She's given up her famed talk show and is now personally helming OWN, her cable television network that launched in January 2011. But all is not well in her new endeavor, as she was recently quoted in the Hollywood Reporter as admitting, "It's a lot harder than I ever imagined. If anybody asks you if you want a network, think about that."
  • Anne Sweeney As president of Disney/ABC Television Group and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks, 53-year-old Anne Sweeney not only controls what kids all over the world watch (by running the Disney Channel, Toon Disney and ABC Family television networks) but what you do, too, as the boss of ABC-TV, Lifetime and A&E. She's considered the most powerful woman in Hollywood by everyone from the "Hollywood Reporter" to "Fortune" magazine; in fact, "Fortune" ranks her as the 14th most powerful woman in business, period.
  • Stacey Snider As the Co-Chairman, CEO and principal partner to Steven Spielberg at DreamWorks, Stacey Snider (at right in photo) runs the film studio's business strategy, as well as all the creative and financial aspects of the company. And the 50-year-old has been a major player in Hollywood for decades, previously climbing to the top spot at Universal Pictures, where she was chairman, and responsible for making much-loved movies like "Erin Brockovich" and "Meet the Parents."
  • Donna Langley The current co-chairman of Universal Pictures Studio is Donna Langley, who just had her contract renewed until 2014. The fortysomething power broker who was the force behind getting "Mamma Mia" made told "Variety" in 2010 that she owed her position to the women who went before her and broke through the "boys' club" that existed at the studios until the 1980s. "My generation has definitely been helped by our predecessors, whether it was Dawn Steel or Sherry Lansing. I think those ladies, they’ve really helped forge a path." Steel, who died at 51 in 1996, ran Columbia Pictures, while Lansing, now 67 and retired, helmed both Paramount and Twentieth-Century Fox, and were the original female power players in Hollywood.
  • Amy Pascal At 53, Amy Pascal is in the enviable position of knowing exactly where her next paycheck is coming from. She's got a contract with Sony Pictures Entertainment that extends to 2015 as that mega-company's co-chairman, most likely because she has steered that ship to billions of dollars in revenue since she took the joint reins of the studio with Michael Lynton. It's a business she knows, having worked for Sony/Columbia Pictures for decades, bringing the world films like "Men in Black," "Spider-Man" and "Julie & Julia."
  • Nina Tassler As president of CBS Entertainment, Nina Tassler has had quite a career ride. She started out wanting to be an actress, but that dream never materialized. Instead, she started as a talent agent, then graduated to studio executive, snagging a job with Leslie Moonves back in 1990. Cut to today, and Moonves runs CBS Corporation, with Tassler at his right hand. They are the most successful television network going, and have even weathered the Charlie Sheen/"Two and a Half Men" storm with aplomb, as that popular sitcom leads the ratings again as the 2011 season gets underway. "I'm just happy to be where we are today," the exec told reporters at the Television Critics Association interviews held for the new season back in August 2011. And happy to be where she is, too, in one of the most powerful seats in Hollywood.