Hollywood’s Most Powerful Women Talk Megadeals, Bullying and Perseverance at THR’s Executive Roundtable

Netflix’s Bela Bajaria, Amazon’s Jennifer Salke, Disney’s Dana Walden and uber-creators Shonda Rhimes and Ava DuVernay get candid about their responsibilities and realities: “I like to say I don’t feel grateful or fortunate to be here. I earned my right to be here.”

In a year when much of the industry was flatlined by the pandemic, Netflix’s Bela Bajaria saw her purview balloon, as she assumed responsibility for the TV viewing habits of 208 million global members. Amazon’s Jennifer Salke muscled her way into both the Oscar conversation (thanks to Sound of Metal and One Night in Miami) and the blockbuster one (Coming 2 America); and Disney’s Dana Walden installed new and largely female leadership across a vast portfolio that includes broadcast, cable and streaming. Meanwhile, Shonda Rhimes released the buzziest show of the year with romance drama Bridgerton; and Ava DuVernay not only sold a slew of new projects but also fundamentally changed how Hollywood productions will be staffed going forward with her Array Crew database. On a Friday afternoon in late April, these five women — among the most powerful in Hollywood — gathered via Zoom to discuss everything from deal-making to Scott Rudin.

Related Articles