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Show Business Eclipses Wall Street

New earnings report shows good news for film and TV companies

By Mark Jarvis
Les Moonves

Move over, hedge-fund billionaires. Show business CEOs are now making more money than Wall Street executives, according to a new earnings estimate published by The New York Post. 

The highest-paid Wall Street chief executive officer last year was Jamie Dimon at JPMorgan Chase, with $23 million in total compensation. Wells Fargo’s John Stumpf was paid $17.9 million, and Goldman Sachs’s Lloyd Blankfein, $16.2 million. Vikram Pandit at Citigroup was forced to scrape by on a scant $14.9 million.

Those salaries are still One Percent territory by any definition, but they are far lower than the compensation commanded by moguls of traditional media outlets like film and television. Les Moonves, the CEO of CBS, was paid $69.9 million in 2011. David Zaslav of Discovery Communications received $52.4 million, and Philippe Dauman at Viacom was paid $43 million. Walt Disney’s Robert Iger took home $31 million, and Time Warner’s Jeff Bewkes was paid $26 million.

In all, six media professionals — and no bankers — made it to the top 15 of the Associated Press’s highest-paid-execs list last year. According to The Post, 2011 was the first time in recent memory that top pay at media companies outstripped that of Wall Street.