WB Television Network, 33
What she's done: In December, Daniels took over the entertainment programming reins at the 5-year-old network, replacing Garth Ancier, who is expected to take the same post at NBC once his WB contract expires in June. Thanks to such teen-oriented hit shows as "Dawson's Creek" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," the WB demonstrated audience growth while the other broadcast networks saw their numbers continue to decline. Before coming to the WB, Daniels was an executive at Fox and ABC. Married with two children, her husband is Greg Daniels, creator of Fox's "King of the Hill."
Coming in 1999: One of her main objectives, Daniels says, is to create a hit comedy to match the success the WB has seen with such dramas as "Seventh Heaven" and "Buffy." "What is the comedy answer to 'Dawson's Creek'? I don't think we've nailed that yet," she said. She also will look to boost the teen appeal on the network's Kids WB Saturday morning lineup, "to work with our circulation in prime time."
Contributor, "60 Minutes II," 50
What she's done: Marin made national headlines in May 1997, when she resigned from her news-anchor position at NBC-owned WMAQ-TV in Chicago because the station hired Jerry Springer to do on-air commentaries. Marin, who had held the job since 1985, called the talk-show host "the poster child for the worst television has to offer." Springer quit almost immediately, and Marin joined CBS News a few months later, contributing stories to Bryant Gumbel's ill-fated newsmagazine "Public Eye." In 1998, she won the prestigious Peabody Award for her "commitment to ethics and integrity" in broadcast news.
Outlook for '99: Marin has a higher-profile platform than Gumbel's show as a contributor to the spinoff edition of "60 Minutes," which premieres Jan. 13, plus other CBS newscasts. Of course, "Public Eye" aired in the same Wednesday slot and drew mediocre ratings, so establishing "60 Minutes II" as anything close to its sire poses a formidable challenge. Dan Rather, Charlie Rose, Vicki Mabrey and Bob Simon will serve as correspondents. There may be a new commentator on the program, but, fortunately, Springer doesn't appear to be in CBS' or Marin's future. Then again, the next rating sweeps don't start until February.
Creator-executive producer of
the new Fox series "Family Guy," 25
What he's done: The youngest creator and executive producer in television, MacFarlane spent much of his very short professional life as an animator. While studying animation and design at the Rhode Island School of Design, he created the animated short "The Life of Larry," which brought him to the attention of honchos at legendary cartoon house Hanna-Barbera. He moved to L.A. in 1995, directed a short film for the company and worked on several other animated series, including "Ace Ventura," "Jungle Cubs" and "Johnny Bravo." "The Life of Larry" short was later discovered by producers of Fox's "Mad TV," and they asked MacFarlane if they could air it as four short segments. Although that deal fell through, Fox executives pressed him to create a series. In a partnership with Jim Keeshen Productions, MacFarlane produced, wrote, animated, directed and performed all the male voices for what would become "Family Guy."
Outlook for '99: MacFarlane's show has been awarded the coveted spot of premiering after Fox's broadcast of the Super Bowl on Jan. 31. The series about a "delightfully dysfunctional" middle-class New England family has already been hailed by critics as hilariously edgy, and it should stand out among the three other animated series (two on Fox) that are being unveiled early this year. "Family Guy" is based on people MacFarlane knew while growing up in New England. He said he is "excited and anxious" about the
series, but feels optimistic that the show will be unique: "I think audiences will find it unpredictable." Fox clearly thinks this is just the beginning for MacFarlane, and quickly signed him to a multimillion-dollar deal to create more series.
President, Fox Entertainment, 39
What he's done: A veteran of the MTV networks, Herzog is the first cable executive directly recruited to run a broadcast network's entertainment wing. As head of Comedy Central, he helped boost the channel's subscriber base from 35 million to 55 million homes during his tenure, introducing the breakthrough hit "South Park" and such franchises as "The Daily Show." The major networks took notice, with ABC raiding Comedy Central for "Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher" and CBS tapping "Daily" host Craig Kilborn to replace Tom Snyder. In November, Fox stole away Herzog himself--a move seen as another sign that cable has come of age.