Television Personality and Producer
He was supposed to be a Ken-doll host who would fade into the backdrop of the American Idol circus and utter a final “Seacrest out!” when the show closed shop after a few seasons. Right. Instead, Ryan Seacrest has not only held the whole freak show together for six seasons but also managed to outdo all of the Kellys and Clays. In January 2006, Seacrest scored a $21 million deal with E! to develop programming through his own production outfit (he has four projects in the works: three reality shows and E!’s first live-action scripted program). He’s using his connections made as a host—with Fox (Idol), ABC (Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve), and Clear Channel (On Air and America’s Top 40 radio shows)—to push for more Seacrest productions. “We have a deal everywhere but NBC and CBS, and we’d be happy to have deals with them,” he says. “I don’t think I possess any sort of talent, per se. I believe that I possess the willingness to hustle, to work hard, to push, to take risks, to say yes.”

President, Brillstein-Grey Television
When Peter Traugott joined Brillstein-Grey Entertainment as vice president of television in 1996, it was a major production house run by a Hollywood heavyweight. Then Brad Grey, who’d promoted Traugott to president, left to run Paramount in 2005, and the firm’s future looked uncertain. But under Traugott’s leadership, the company’s TV-production arm didn’t just soldier on—it thrived. He began by remaking the division in his lean-and-mean, unpretentious image. He’s eschewed sprawling productions like The Sopranos (which was developed under Grey’s watch), focusing instead on nurturing talent and pitching projects that play to certain performers’ strengths. This strategy—which has yielded a number of solid (if unsexy) successes, including Real Time With Bill Maher, According to Jim (Belushi), and The Showbiz Show With David Spade—is part of being competitive, Traugott explains: “We said, ‘What’s the best way to platform David?’ He had a lot of opportunities to do other things. So we crafted this show around him.” Now Traugott is bringing the racially charged standup duo Frangela to Fox, and he has two other comedy pilots that’ve been picked up by ABC. He’s also developing a father-daughter drama produced by Natalie Portman and her father for FX. The company may still be called Brillstein-Grey, but when it comes to TV, it’s all Traugott’s.

Founder, Dacra Development
Without Craig Robins, Miami Beach would likely have continued to slide into shabby irrelevance—but the real-estate developer and art collector spearheaded its revival in the nineties, and then made it an international cultural powerhouse by persuading the founders of the renowned art fair Art Basel in Switzerland to establish an American outpost there. Five-year-old Art Basel Miami is now the largest contemporary-art fair in the world: Forty thousand people attended last year—many arriving by private jet—and some dealers say they do 30 percent of their annual business there. Robins set the stage for his coup in the early nineties, when he and his real-estate firm spurred the transformation of South Beach from a slum into an Art Deco–accented playground for the city’s richest residents. “Historic preservation made a lot of business sense,” he says, “and I think that’s what’s reinvented Miami.” That and vision. In 1998, Robins took an area filled with blighted warehouses and created the Design District, the first place in the country where innovative furniture was liberated from studios and put on display for the public at large. It was the perfect backdrop for Art Basel. And now the four-day Miami fair draws collectors such as hedge-fund chief Steven A. Cohen and architect David M. Schwartz, along with major galleries like New York’s Gagosian and Zurich’s Hauser & Wirth. “The impact that Miami Basel has had is astounding to me,” he says. “It’s defined Miami as a great cultural venue.”