When the pandemic forced us all to begin sheltering in place in March, we leaned on TV, publishing and digital brands more than ever before to connect us with the outside world. So it’s no surprise that Adweek’s annual Hot List, which always honors the best in those three categories, is full of people and brands who were at their best when so many things seemed at their worst.
Take Adweek’s Media Visionary Reese Witherspoon, who has turned Hollywood on its head by creating a successful media company, Hello Sunshine, focused on female-centric stories—for a variety of platforms.
Our TV Creator of the Year, Jon Favreau, helped get Disney+ off to a hot start with The Mandalorian, while TV Executive of the Year, TLC president Howard Lee, showed that linear networks still have plenty of fight in them.
Digital Creator of the Year Sarah Cooper turned her popular President Trump lip-syncs on TikTok and Twitter into a Netflix comedy special, and Digital Executive of the Year, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, is helping lead the charge against lies and hate speech on social media.
Our Publishing Executives of the Year—Substack co-founders Hamish McKenzie, Chris Best and Jairaj Sethi—are reinvigorating a flagging industry, while Editor of the Year Jeffrey Goldberg deftly grew The Atlantic’s subscriber base during the pandemic while breaking national news of his own.
We’ve also added new categories to spotlight during this unprecedented year, including Hottest Pandemic Pivot, and have expanded the Hot List to include a fourth section: brands.
Here are all of this year’s Hot List honorees:
Adweek Media Visionary: How Reese Witherspoon Turned Hollywood on Its Head // Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Is on a Hot Streak
TV Creator of the Year: Jon Favreau’s First-Ever TV Series Made Disney+ an Instant Streaming Powerhouse
TV Executive of the Year: As TLC’s Cable Rivals Struggle, Chief Howard Lee Brings in Record Ratings
Game Changer of the Year: The Only Thing That Scares Lovecraft Country Creator Misha Green Is Playing It Safe
Publishing Hot List: The Print and Media Brands Rising to Covid-19’s Challenges
Publishing Executives of the Year: Media Newsletters Are Booming, and Substack’s Co-Founders Lit the Fuse
Publishing Editor of the Year: The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg Deftly Captains His Team While Breaking Explosive News
Digital Hot List: Platforms and Innovators That Kept Us Connected During Covid
Digital Executive of the Year: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Leads the Charge Against Lies and Hate Speech on Social Media
Digital Creator of the Year: Sarah Cooper’s Trump Lip-Syncs Turned Pandemic Boredom Into a Career Catapult
Brands Hot List: The Companies and People That Boldly Stood Out in a Trying Year