Variety columnist Brian Lowry took Entertainment Weekly to task yesterday for taking this year's "101 Most Power People" so seriously that, with ties, there are 123 names on the list. Not counting Murdoch, Eisner and the people who really have power in Hollywood.
It's understood that execs' minions lobby for placement like James Carville on steroids, but once 101 entries become a cast of thousands you've plunged into irrelevancy -- especially with omissions such as Fox TV Stations chief Mitch Stern, whose influence over syndication is the talk of the TV biz.
Lists are always fun, but in attempting to define power, EW has managed only to make itself look like a wimp.
Take the Los Angeles Times, whose sports pages were once highlighted by Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Jim Murray. Today, that section is home to the melodramatic preaching of Bill Plaschke and stand-up act of T.J. Simers, whose cut-rate Catskills column amuses almost nobody except, apparently, Times sports editor Bill Dwyre.
Blathering sportswriters, in fact, now amount to a popular form of cheap programming, such as ESPN's "Around the Horn," whose decibel level makes "The McLaughlin Group" sound like a lullaby.