Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Favorite Movie Stars -2009

The top 10 in this year's "America's Favorite Movie Star" Harris Poll (with last year's rank in parenthesis) is as follows:

1. Clint Eastwood (2)
2. Johnny Depp (8)
3. Denzel Washington (1)
4. Sandra Bullock (not ranked)
5. Tom Hanks (7)
6. George Clooney (not ranked)
7. John Wayne (3)
8. Meryl Streep (not ranked)
9. Morgan Freeman (9)
10. Julia Roberts (6)

John Wayne, who died in 1979 and hasn't been featured in a film since 1976, is the only actor to be ranked in the countdown every year since its inception in 1994. Wayne finished first in 1995, when he barely edged out this year's winner, Clint Eastwood.

Denzel Washington, who has finished in the top spot on the poll for the last three consecutive years, fell to No. 3 this year.

Meryl Streep, who has been nominated for 15 Academy Awards, made her first-ever appearance on the poll, finishing eighth. "The Blind Side" star Sandra Bullock was the highest ranking woman, finishing fourth.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Entertainment's Top Earning Couples

Beyonce AND Jay-Z

If you'd select Angelina and Brad as Entertainment's top earning couple of 2009, you'd be wrong.

Forbes ranked Beyonce and Jay-Z in the number one spot. The couple earned $162 million in 2008 followed by $122 million in 2009 to garner the number one spot.
Beyonce earned #87 million and Jay-Z earned $35 million.

The survey includes record sales, movie salries, touring, merchandising and endorse deals to determine earnings.

Oddly enough, Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart came in #2 ith $69 million in earnings. Ford's deal for Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull yielded $65 million.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie ranked #3 with earnings of $55 million mostly from movie role, particulsrly Brad's role in the Currious Life of Benjamin Bottom.

In the #4 spot is Will Smith and Jada Pinkett at $48 million. The soccer/fashion duo David and Victoria Beckham were ranked #5 with earnings of $46 million, followed by Ellen DeGeneres snd Portia di Rossi at $36 million.

The remaining couples on the top ten list follows:

#7 Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson at $35.5 million

#8 Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy at $34 million

#9 Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes at $33.5 million

#10 Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow at $33 million

There were a few surprises on the top ten list this year. And just in case you're interested, here are the next 5 top earning couples:

#11 Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick at $29 million

#12 Tim mc Graw and Faith Hill at $25 million

#13 Eva Longria Parker and Tony Parker at $22 million

#14 Katherine Heigel and Jack Kelley at $20 million

#15 Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban at $17 million

Source: Forbes

Popular Chefs

Rachael Ray

Say what you will about Rachael Ray, but the jaunty chef-next-door knows how to build a brand.

She began winning audiences with catch phrases like "EVOO" (for extra-virgin olive oil) on her first Food Network show, 30 Minute Meals, in 2001. Today, she has four Food Network programs, including Tasty Travels and $40 a Day. Her nationally syndicated, Oprah-backed talk show, Rachael Ray, is averaging 2.6 million viewers this season, and her Every Day With Rachael Ray magazine has 1.5 million readers. She endorses Dunkin' Donuts too--all to the tune of $18 million a year.

More established chefs also know how to play her game. Wolfgang Puck pulls in $16 million a year. The Austrian-born patriarch of celebrity chefdom got his start with the ritzy Los Angeles restaurant Spago in 1982. That hot spot, once frequented by Orson Welles and Sidney Poitier, now counts Brad Pitt and Jamie Foxx among its regulars. Today Puck owns 15 other fine-dining brands, including Chinois, Cut and the Source, and he also sells sandwiches to weary airport travelers at Wolfgang Puck Express. He's got Wolfgang Puck Bistros in suburbia and sells soups in the grocery aisle and cutlery on the Home Shopping Network.

Others of their sort include Paula Deen ($4.5 million), Alain Ducasse ($5 million) and Mario Batali ($3 million).

Ducasse's empire includes 22 restaurants from Tokyo to Paris. The French chef's first New York spot shuttered in 2006 after critics said the food was too fussy; he opened two humbler joints there this year.

Deen, the queen of Southern cuisine, serves up butter-drenched casseroles and motherly charm on two Food Network shows. Her loyal audience laps it up, and her cookbooks, memoir and magazine are all bestsellers.

Batali, a culinary school dropout, is now a master of Italian cuisine who owns 13 restaurants in New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Reservations at his New York spots Babbo and Del Posto are especially hard to get.

Branded television shows play a big role in the success of many of the chefs on this list.

Anthony Bourdain's Travel Channel show, No Reservations, where he explores delights like roasted warthog rectum, has become the network's top hit. The Food Network's female fans swoon over Bobby Flay's Southwestern cooking. He hosts Throwdown!, Boy Meets Grill and The Next Food Network Star. And Tom Colicchio is a judge on Bravo's Top Chef cooking competition.

But none can beat Ray's network gig. Her 2.6 million viewers undoubtedly think it's Yum-O.

100 Most Powerful Women

Angela Merkel

Forbes posted their list of the 100 Most Powerful Women in June of last year. The full report is available at Forbes.com, but here are some of the things I found interesting.

Number one on the list is German Chancellor Angela Merkel followed by Sheila Bair, Chairman, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation at #2 and Indra Nooyi, Chief Executive at Pepsi at #3.

Cristina Fernandez, President, Argentina ranked #11 followed by Carol Bates, Chief Executive, Yahoo at #12, and #13 Sonia Gandhi President, Indian national Congress Party.

Chief Executive Ursala Burns (#14) and Chairman Anne Mulcahy (#15) are both from Xerox Corporation.

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House rnaked #35, followed by Hilary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State at #36.

First Lady Michelle Obama ranked #40 followed by Oprah Winfrey at #41. Number 42 on the list was Queen Elizabeth of England.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg held the #48 spot; Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security ranked #51. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was #55.

Presidents of Liberia, Finland and Iceland ranked #67,#68, and #69 repectively. Prime Minister of Ireland ranked #75; the Queen of Jordan followed at #76 and the Prime Minister of Bangladesh ranked #79.

The President of Harvard University ranked #83.

The Minister of the Economy, United Arab Emirites ranked #95.

Mindy Grossman, CEO, Home Shopping Network ranked #97.

Many of the world's well known brands weaved their way on the list represented by their female leaders. I found the list interesting learning about those women I was familiar with and those I didn't know at all. The rankings spoke volumes about money, position, and power. Women have come a long way. Check the entire list out for yourself.`

Source: forbes.com

Forbes 400 Richest Americans

America's super rich are getting poorer. For only the fifth time since 1982, the collective net worth of The Forbes 400, our annual tally of the nation's richest people, has declined, falling $300 billion in the past 12 months from $1.57 trillion to $1.27 trillion.

Faltering capital markets and real estate prices, along with divorce and fraud, pushed the fortunes of 314 members down and drove 32 plutocrats off the rankings.

Hurt the most: Warren Buffett, America's second-richest citizen. The Oracle of Omaha dropped $10 billion from his personal balance sheet as shares of Berkshire Hathaway fell 20% in 12 months. He is now worth $40 billion.

Beating out Buffett for the 16th straight year as America's richest man is Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Sluggish Microsoft shares and declining outside investments pushed the software visionary's net worth down $7 billion in 12 months.

Rounding out the top 10 on The Forbes 400: Oracle founder Larry Ellison ($27 billion); Wal-Mart ( WMT - news - people ) heirs Christy Walton ($21.5 billion), Jim C. Walton ($19.6 billion), Alice Walton ($19.3 billion), and S. Robson Walton ($19 billion); media maven Michael Bloomberg ($17.5 billion) and energy titans Charles and David Koch ($16 billion each).

The 10 richest Americans lost a combined $39.2 billion in the past 12 months, a 14% decline.

Here are some rankings that you might find interesting:

#97 George Lucas/Steven Spielberg (tie) at $3,000 million each

#141 Oprah Winfrey/Steve Wynn (tie) at $2,300 million each

#183 Five Siblings of S. C. Johnson & Sons at $1,900 million each

Also on the Forbes 400 list is owner of New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins and Indianapolis Colts.

Unfortunately, I didn't see my name or yours for that matter, but maybe next year.

Most Impoverished Cities

In 2008, U.S. median income fell to $50,303 from $52,163 in 2007. That 3.6% decline is the largest one-year drop since records begin. The poverty rate increased to 13.2% from 12.5%, meaning the recession has brought 2.6 million more Americans into poverty. The Economic Policy Institute projects that in the next two years, incomes could decline by another $3,000 and poverty could increase by 1.9 percentage points.

To find out who is being hit worst, Forbes used new data from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2008 American Community Survey. Although the Census Bureau defines poverty simply as people earning below a certain income level, (which varies based on family size). They also looked at per capita incomes for a region, the percentage of food stamp recipients, the percentage of people under age 65 receiving public health care and the unemployment rate.

Poverty may once have been worst in the Deep South. And cities on the border with Mexico are plagued with poverty. But the recession--and the decline of American manufacturing--has left Rust Belt cities with comparable levels of poverty. The problem is concentrated in these three regions. All 10 cities on our list are southern cities, border cities or declining manufacturing centers.

Four southern cities make the list: Pine Bluff, Ark.; Albany and Macon, Ga.; and Rocky Mount, N.C. In these cities, per capita incomes are between $18,000 and $23,000, but the bottom 20% are bringing in between $7,500 and $8,500.
The most impoverished region is at the southern tip of Texas. The metropolitan statistical areas for McAllen and Brownsville, Texas, have the lowest incomes and most food stamp recipients of any in America.

"When looking at the entire [metro area] we have a lot of communities that do have large pockets of poverty," says Mike Perez, the city manager of McAllen, Texas. "A lot are recent immigrants--that's part of it. There's a language barrier. And because they're recent immigrants, they don't have the education. That's tied to having jobs that pay well. It's a bit of a vicious cycle."
Despite the discouraging statistics, McAllen has been adding jobs rapidly--Forbes rated McAllen the best medium-size city for job growth earlier this year.
Further west, in El Centro, Calif., and Yuma, Ariz., incomes are higher, but Yuma and El Centro have the highest unemployment rates of any cities in the country.
Cathy Kennerson, CEO of the El Centro Chamber of Commerce, says a host of alternative energy companies--in geothermal, wind, biomass and solar--are looking to invest in the region, but she says Uncle Sam is holding things up with a slow approvals process.

Finally, the industrial Midwest is creeping onto the list. The metropolitan areas around Saginaw, Mich., and Flint, Mich., have some of the worst poverty in the nation. Although per capita incomes are higher, the percentage of the population living below half of the poverty line is near 10% in both cities, and 15% of the populations are on food stamps. Other cities in the region are not far behind as manufacturing jobs continue to disappear.

Source: Forbes