Former U.S. Sen. Bob Kerrey is poised to become the next head of the Motion Picture Assn. of America.
Kerrey, a Democratic former governor and U.S. senator from Nebraska, is the favored candidate to replace Dan Glickman as chairman and chief executive of Hollywood's chief lobbying group, people familiar with the matter said Friday.
The heads of the major studios have reached a consensus that Kerrey, who is currently president of the New School university in New York City but is expected to step down this summer, is the best person for the job, these people said.
Negotiations, however, are still underway and no contract has been finalized.
A spokeswoman for the MPAA declined to comment. Kerrey could not be reached.
The MPAA has been searching for a replacement for Glickman since January. Kerrey is among about two dozen candidates the MPAA had considered for the job, which carries a salary of about $1.2 million a year. Among them were New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a former Democratic presidential candidate; Harold Ford Jr., a former Democratic congressman from Tennessee; outgoing Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.); and Bob Pisano, who has been acting as interim MPAA chief executive since January after Glickman announced he was resigning.
A former Kansas congressman and U.S. secretary of Agriculture, Glickman struggled to break into Hollywood's insular culture and had been a disappointment to studio executives. They have been seeking a high-profile candidate who could wield more star power and clout in Washington and Hollywood, as the legendary Jack Valenti had done for nearly four decades before he retired and Glickman took the job.
Although he has been out of office for several years, Kerrey, 66, knows his way around Washington. A Vietnam War veteran who received the Medal of Honor, Kerrey was elected to the Senate in 1989 after serving a four-year term as governor of Nebraska. While he was governor he dated actress Debra Winger, whom he met while she was filming "Terms of Endearment" in the state.
Kerrey ran for president in 1992 and left the Senate in 2001 to become president of New School, where he has been credited for boosting enrollment but has also faced criticism from students and faculty members over some of his decisions and what critics described as an autocratic management style.
Kerrey announced last year he planned to step down when his contract expires in June.
The Wrap first reported that Kerrey was being tapped to head the MPAA.