If events seemed to be moving swiftly at Paramount last week, where producer Stanley Jaffe was installed in a job above chairman and chief executive officer Frank Mancuso and Mancuso promptly quit and sued, consider the pace at New York-based Premiere magazine.
The May issue of the magazine, with its annual ranking of the 100 most powerful people in Hollywood, was at the printers when word of Jaffe’s appointment came down. Editors scrambled to upgrade Jaffe, who was ranked somewhere in the 50s, to 9th, and to downgrade Mancuso, who had been 10th, to 28th.
They also had to rewrite copy to reflect the changes. In the “What to watch for” section for Jaffe, they wrote “Run-ins with Mancuso . . .”; in the “Weaknesses” section for Mancuso, they wrote “Said to have antagonized Jaffe earlier. Uh-oh.” Of course, Premiere was facing its own uh-oh. No sooner did they make those changes and get the issue on the press when Mancuso quit his job and announced a $45-million lawsuit against Paramount.
“It was pretty crazy around here,” said Deborah Pines, a Premiere executive editor. “We covered ourselves pretty well (with the Jaffe change), but when Mancuso quit, we were on the press.”
The magazine purred through the presses in New Jersey on Wednesday, but by the time the issue hit the newstands five days later, the unemployed Mancuso’s true ranking was somewhere south of No. 100. That the magazine freeze-framed a major executive in free fall may not seem all that odd in Hollywood, where the bottom always seems to be falling out below somebody, but its timing caught Premiere by surprise.
“The irony is that there were no major upheavals all year,” Pines said. “It had been pretty quiet for executives.”