For TV Guide Magazine's first-ever Power Issue, the staff looked at the juggernauts dominating TV, from events to franchises to actors, producers, and other multihyphenates in show business. Here, we take a look at TV's latest Power Task Masters.
Through the decades, vintage TV stars like Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz (with their company, Desilu) and Mary Tyler Moore (MTM Enterprises) parlayed their success in front of the camera into even bigger successes behind it. But today, multihyphenate stars who act, write, direct, produce and run thriving companies are no longer the rare exception. With so many broadcast, cable, online and streaming outlets hungry for content, talents such as Mark Duplass (HBO’s Togetherness) are all over the place. “We’re ruthlessly efficient with our time,” Duplass said earlier this year at a TV Guide Magazine–sponsored panel. Here’s who else is pushing maximum efficiency. —Michael Schneider
(Reporting by Aubry D’Arminio, Damian Holbrook, Emily Maas, Gregory E. Miller, Rob Moynihan and Ileane Rudolph)
Jimmy Fallon, 41 On-camera credits: Host of NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon; acting stints include TV (Louie, The Spoils Before Dying) and film (Jurassic World, Fever Pitch); Saturday Night Live from 1998–2004 (NBC).
Producing credits: The Tonight Show (NBC), Lip Sync Battle (Spike). After NBC passed on Battle, inspired by a wildly popular Tonight Show game, Fallon sold it to basic-cabler Spike; it premiered as the most-watched debut for an unscripted series in the network’s history.
Other credits: “You’ve got to put the work in,” says Fallon, who just released his fourth book, Your Baby’s First Word Will Be Dada. “Nothing comes for free, so you put your head down and work and then you play after the show.”
Alberto E. Rodriguez
Tyler Perry, 46 On-camera credits: Perry occasionally appears on his own shows as famous harridan Madea; host of chatfest The Tyler Perry Show (OWN); recently served as guest celebrity announcer on Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris (NBC).
Producing credits: If Loving You Is Wrong (OWN); For Better or Worse (OWN); The Haves and the Have Nots (OWN); Love Thy Neighbor (OWN); House of Payne (TBS) and Meet the Browns (TBS).
Other credits: Perry’s prolific success—particularly through the Madea brand—has resulted in 17 films, 14 stage plays, his own studio and major roles in big-budget flicks like Alex Cross and Gone Girl.
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images
Ellen DeGeneres, 57 On-camera credits: The TV host has fronted her syndicated, eponymous talk show for 13 seasons; 2014’s Twitter-busting Oscar host.
Producing credits: DeGeneres’s company, A Very Good Production, shepherded the talk show Bethenny, NBC’s One Big Happy, the digital series Going There With Ana Gasteyer and Ellen’s Design Challenge, returning to HGTV in January.
Other credits: DeGeneres made history when her character in the ABC sitcom Ellen (1994–98) came out, prompting the actress’s own public admission. She stepped back into the voice studio to re-create her beloved, scatterbrained fish for Pixar’s 2016 sequel, Finding Dory.
Tina Fey, 45 On-camera credits: 30 Rock (for which she won an Emmy); big-screen roles, including Mean Girls (which she also wrote); Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; Golden Globes cohost, with Amy Poehler (2013–15); reunites with Poehler in the December comedy Sisters.
Producing credits: 30 Rock (NBC), Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix).
Other credits: Working on screens big, small and streaming, SNL’s first female head writer insists on using her powers for good: “I don’t have to play some gross guy’s wife who he wishes was hotter, doesn’t have jokes but rolls her eyes a lot, then slips on poop and falls down in white pants.”
Dwayne Johnson, 43 On-camera credits: Spencer Strasmore, the ex–football star turned financial adviser on HBO’s Ballers; the summer blockbuster San Andreas.
Producing credits: The WWE legend also known as “The Rock” is cooking up a growing number of film and TV projects, including Ballers (HBO), The Hero (TNT), Wake Up Call (TNT) and Rock the Troops (Spike), through the company he cofounded, Seven Bucks Productions. “I’ve got a great team of people around me who buy into the culture I’ve created, which is: There are no rules; let’s just look for quality.”
Other credits: International action star! Look out for new flick Central Intelligence in 2016.
David Lingston/Getty Images
Ryan Seacrest, 40 On-camera credits: Host of American Idol (Fox), Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve (ABC), Knock Knock Live (Fox), The Million Second Quiz (NBC) and an E! News red-carpet staple.
Producing credits: Shahs of Sunset (Bravo), Keeping Up With the Kardashians (E!), I Wanna Marry “Harry” (Fox), Shades of Blue (NBC).
Other credits: A bona fide mogul, with a daily syndicated radio show, On Air With Ryan Seacrest, to boot. But he’ll have time for new projects when Idol signs off for good in May 2016. “It’s hard to imagine a year without new auditions or signing on live each night,” Seacrest says. “I’m not quite sure it’s sunk in yet, but it will have to in a few months.”
Jennifer Lopez, 46 On-camera credits: As if sitting at the judges’ table for the final season of American Idol wasn’t enough pressure, Lopez is pulling double duty with her new midseason drama, Shades of Blue (NBC). She leads the cast—which includes Ray Liotta and Drea de Matteo—and her company, Nuyorican Productions, is producing. But the juggling act is nothing new for the multi-hyphenate, who earlier this year starred in and produced the successful thriller The Boy Next Door.
Producing credits: Shades of Blue (NBC), The Fosters (ABC Family).
Other credits: Worldwide music sensation; produced South Beach Tow (TruTV, 2011–14); worked it as a Fly Girl on In Living Color (Fox, 1991–93).
Earl Gibson III/Getty Images
Queen Latifah, 45 On-camera credits: TV movies Bessie and Steel Magnolias; a lead role on Fox’s Living Single; on December 3, the title role in NBC’s The Wiz Live! Also hosted two daytime talk shows titled The Queen Latifah Show.
Producing credits: The Queen Latifah Show, Bessie, Steel Magnolias, Let’s Stay Together, Single Ladies, Life Support.
Other credits: She’ll return to her rap roots on January 1 with Lifetime’s The Rap Game, an eight-part reality challenge for aspiring hip-hop stars. The former high school basketball player, born Dana Owens, broke out as a politically conscious hip-hop star at the age of 19 with help from Yo! MTV Raps cohost Fab 5 Freddy.
Donna Ward/Getty Images
Seth MacFarlane, 42 On-camera credits: Voiced multiple roles on Family Guy, American Dad!, The Cleveland Show and Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken; 2013 Oscar host; the Ted films and A Million Ways to Die in the West.
Producing credits: His films; the long-running cartoon hits Family Guy (Fox) and American Dad! (TBS); Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (Fox); and Starz’s dark comedy Blunt Talk, starring Patrick Stewart.
Other credits: His rare live-action guest roles have included Gilmore Girls and Star Trek: Enterprise. The protean artist also sings, plays the piano and has released three albums. Next up: Bordertown, the newest addition to his animated Fox empire.
Morgan Freeman, 78 On-camera credits: The 1970s PBS kids show The Electric Company; countless acclaimed movies (Million Dollar Baby, The Shawshank Redemption). He’s turned up on Madam Secretary (CBS) and hosts Through the Wormhole With Morgan Freeman (Science Channel).
Producing credits: Madam, Wormhole, Man vs. The Universe and Stem Cell Universe With Stephen Hawking (both Science Channel); Food: Fact or Fiction? (Cooking Channel); The Story of God (Nat Geo); and 30 for 30: The 16th Man (ESPN).
Other credits: The Oscar winner’s Revelations Entertainment, which he runs with Lori McCreary, is behind many of the star’s recent indie pics.
Amy Poehler, 44 On-camera credits: Seven seasons as Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation (NBC); SNL cast member, 2001–08 (NBC); Golden Globes cohost (2013–15); counselor Susie on Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp (Netflix); voices Jaclyn Stone on The Awesomes (Hulu); December’s Sisters, with pal and frequent costar Tina Fey.
Producing credits: Broad City (Comedy Central), Difficult People (Hulu), Welcome to Sweden (NBC).
Other credits: Poehler is also a founding member of Upright Citizens Brigade, which has given us Adam Pally (Happy Endings), Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair (Playing House) and Parks costar Aziz Ansari.
Charlie Steffens/Press Line Photos/Corbis
Conan O’Brien, 52 On-camera credits: Host of TBS’s late-night show Conan, which was recently renewed through 2018; Late Night With Conan O’Brien host (NBC, 1993–2009); The Tonight Show host (NBC, 2009–10).
Producing credits: Conan, The Simpsons (Fox, 1991–93); The Jack and Triumph Show (Adult Swim); Super Fun Night (ABC); and The Pete Holmes Show (TBS).
Other credits: Will be exec producing the upcoming comedy pilot The Group (TBS) starring Wyatt Cenac. Since David Letterman’s retirement from the spotlight earlier this year, Coco has usurped the title of longest-running current late-night host, clocking 22 years.
Brent M. Clark/Filmmagic
Bill O’Reilly, 66 On-camera credits: Host of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor and Bill O’Reilly’s Legends & Lies: The Real West; host of syndicated news program Inside Edition (1989–1995); Fox News Talk’s The Radio Factor (2002–09).
Producing credits: The O’Reilly Factor, Bill O’Reilly’s Legends & Lies: The Real West, and National Geographic’s miniseries Killing Jesus, Killing Kennedy and Killing Lincoln.
Other credits: The conservative commentator has also penned 20 books, including the nonfiction bestsellers (with Martin Dugard) that inspired the highly successful National Geographic adaptations. Next up: a television version of his tome Killing Reagan.
Jay Duplass, 42, and Mark Duplass, 38 On-camera credits: HBO’s Togetherness, FXX’s The League, Vimeo’s Wedlock (Mark); Amazon’s Transparent (Jay); Hulu’s The Mindy Project (both).
Producing credits: The Duplasses broke out as filmmakers in the mid-2000s as part of the naturalistic mumblecore movement that led to character dramedies like Togetherness and Wedlock. Their 2016 HBO animated series about NYC street creatures, Animals, has already been picked up for two seasons.
Other credits: The best is yet to come. Their company, Duplass Brothers Productions, just signed a four-movie deal to produce films for Netflix.
Courtesy of The Lonely Island
The Lonely Island (Jorma Taccone, 38; Andy Samberg, 37; Akiva Schaffer, 37) On-camera/producing credits: SNL digital shorts “D**k in a Box,” “I’m on a Boat,” “Lazy Sunday,” Comedy Bang! Bang! (IFC). The trio’s savvy spoofs and videos made them digital-content heroes. “[That] gave us a good leg up to work in comedy as a career,” Samberg says.
Other credits: A multiyear production deal at Fox that allows them to create serial comedies across digital platforms; also, Schaffer and Taccone have directed episodes of Samberg’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox); cocreated the catchy LEGO Movie jam “Everything Is Awesome.”
Eva Longoria, 40 On-camera credits: Fan favorite/gardening enthusiast Gaby Solis on Desperate Housewives (ABC, 2004–12); the midseason comedy Telenovela (NBC), about a Latino soap opera, which gets a special preview on December 7 after The Voice.
Producing credits: Telenovela (NBC), Devious Maids (Lifetime); Canada’s animated single-mother series Mother Up! (Hulu).
Other credits: Move over TGIT! Longoria is hoping to cultivate her own unique brand of programming. “I want to be the Shonda Rhimes of comedy,” she says. “I want to build up a block and a brand that you know is comedy. That’s a big goal, building an empire—but producing-wise, that’s the endgame.”
Chris Hardwick, 43 On-camera credits: Hosts improv game show @midnight With Chris Hardwick and AMC’s Walking Dead postmortem Talking Dead; voices Craig on Nickelodeon’s Sanjay and Craig; host of Web Soup (2009–2011) and Attack of the Show! correspondent (2008–2013).
Producing credits: @midnight
Other credits: In 2016, Hardwick will begin hosting a Fear the Walking Dead after-show and will emcee and executive produce the NBC game show The Wall. The sometime stand-up is the founder and creative head of Nerdist Industries. Says Hardwick, “Nerds lead incredibly internal lives and have vividly landscaped imaginations. They tend to be the best storytellers.”
Randy Shropshire/Getty Images
Lisa Kudrow, 52, and Dan Bucatinsky, 50 On-camera credits: The Emmy-winning Friends star voices Wanda Pierce on Hulu’s BoJack Horseman; they each did double duty on The Comeback (HBO, 2005 and 2014) and Web Therapy (Showtime, 2011–15); both have done time on Scandal (ABC), with Bucatinsky nabbing a 2013 guest-actor Emmy. How do these pals get things done? Prioritizing, says Kudrow. “Also, there is Dan, who does everything faster than I can do them.”
Producing credits: Who Do You Think You Are? (TLC) and the web series Sh***y Boyfriends.
Other credits: Kudrow will appear in TBS’s Angie Tribeca; Bucatinsky has a writing project in development at ABC.
Seth Meyers, 41 On-camera credits: Host of NBC’s Late Night With Seth Meyers; voices animated superhero Prock on Hulu’s The Awesomes; Saturday Night Live cast member, “Weekend Update” anchor and Emmy-winning staff writer from 2001–2014 (NBC).
Producing credits: Late Night With Seth Meyers, Documentary Now! (IFC), The Awesomes.
Other credits: As writer and exec producer of Documentary Now!—renewed for two more seasons—Meyers has reteamed with his SNL buds Fred Armisen and Bill Hader but opted for a behind-the-scenes role. “It was nice to go back to my writing days,” Meyers says. “I think I spend plenty of time in front of the camera!”
Sean Hayes, 45 On-camera credits: Broke barriers as Jack McFarland on Will & Grace (NBC, 1998–2006); Sean Saves the World; recurring role on CBS sitcom The Millers.
Producing credits: The Betty White vehicle Hot in Cleveland (TV Land, 2010–15); Grimm (NBC). Hayes tries not to let the industry’s ebbs and flows affect his output. “Our job is to create what we believe to be the most entertaining material out there, and we’ll do that for as long as allowed,” Hayes says. “Or at least the next couple of weeks—until the business changes again.”
Other credits: NBC’s 2016 midseason generational sitcom Crowded, starring Patrick Warburton and Carrie Preston.
Taylor Hill/Getty Images
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