The 2009 Mediaweek 50 List


Editor's Note

There’s a recurring phrase in David Mamet’s 1988 obscure gangster comedy Things Change, something to the effect of: “You know, he’s the guy behind the guy…”

The Mediaweek 50 are exactly that—the executives who help the Rupert Murdochs and Martin Sorrells and Mark Zuckerbergs get on those “power lists” in more celebrity-focused titles. Our 50 most important movers in the media and media agency business are the ones who get their hands dirty, who wield the marketplace clout and who come up with the ideas that end up making bazillions for their companies.

Jeff Gaspin, No. 1 on our third annual Mediaweek 50 list, exemplifies these qualities. While
Gaspin’s boss Jeff Zucker got the corporate stripes at parent G.E. (and, to be fair, some of the blame for NBC’s problems), this Jeff quietly strengthened one of the most diverse portfolios of cable networks into a powerhouse powerful enough to help NBC’s sales chief Mike Pilot (No. 32) prevent massive CPM meltdown for NBC during the upfront. It’s that accomplishment that finds Gaspin in charge of the whole NBC Universal TV empire today.

Not all 50 have bosses. Bill Koenigsberg is the most notable exception; we include him because of his extraordinary ability to play at the level of the giants of the media agency business without anywhere near the size.

So let’s hear it for these programmers, sales chiefs, buyers, researchers, editors, publishers and innovators, for keeping their operations running better than the competition. It’s that much more of an accomplishment in these challenging times.

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