The 50 most influential people

The Oxford dictionary defines ''influence'' as the capacity to have an affect on the character, development or behaviour of someone or something. In television, that translates into only one thing: having a hand in the most successful programs.

Yet influence is more complex than mere power. Chief executives have power by virtue of their office. Programmers have it by virtue of their control over the schedule.

The Guide canvassed a panel of experts - critics, executives and industry insiders - to compile the list of the 50 Most Influential People in Television.

This draws together the power partnerships, the deal-makers behind the deals and the new generation of rising stars.

The bosses

Richard Freudenstein, chief executive, Foxtel

The head of Australian television's most innovative multichannel business, Freudenstein has worked at News Digital Media and BSkyB, where he launched Sky+ (the UK's iQ-equivalent service) and BSkyB's HD service.

David Gyngell, chief executive, Channel Nine

The son of television pioneer Bruce Gyngell and the boss of Australia's oldest, and once top-rating, commercial TV network, who took it to the financial brink in 2012 and - extraordinarily - brought about its rebirth.

Mark Scott, managing director, ABC

The boss of the national broadcaster has steered it into the digital age, launching new channels and the market-leading online TV catchup service iview.

Lachlan Murdoch, chairman, Channel Ten

The scion of one of Australia's foremost media dynasties has emerged as the man with his hand on the tiller.

Bruce Gordon, chairman, WIN Television

One of Australian TV's old school, a former heavyweight in the global TV market, now a regional TV mogul and a major shareholder in Ten.

The artisans

Peter Andrikidis, director

Considered one of Australia's best television directors, Andrikidis' credits include the critically acclaimed East West 101, G.P., the police drama Wildside and Ten's Bikie Wars: Brothers in Arms.

Kevin Carlin, director

One of Australia's most respected television directors, Carlin's resume is broad, and includes Newstopia, The Wedge, All Saints, Stingers and Packed to the Rafters.

Bevan Lee, network script executive, Seven

Lee is one of Australian screenwriting's true artisans. He worked on Sons and Daughters and Home and Away, and created Always Greener, Packed to the Rafters and Winners & Losers for Seven.

The players

Julie Ward, executive producer, The Voice

The woman behind the biggest show on TV since MasterChef, the ratings-topping Channel Nine flagship The Voice. Ward's credits include So You Think You Can Dance and Australian Idol.

Brian Walsh, director of television, Foxtel

Australia's one and only ''Mr Television'', whose peerless resume includes launching Neighbours, major campaigns for the NRL and the Olympics, BSkyB and now a suite of Foxtel's leading channels.

John Edwards … and Imogen Banks, Jacquelin Perske and Mimi Butler, Southern Star

The master of brilliant collaborations and the women - just three of many - with whom he has created the best TV in years, including Tangle, Offspring, Rush, Paper Giants, Puberty Blues and Howzat!

Mark and Carl Fennessy, Shine Australia

Mark and Carl have an impeccable record for delivering TV hits: Australian Idol, Australia's Got Talent and So You Think You Can Dance, MasterChef, The Biggest Loser and now The Voice.

Rikkie Proost, executive producer, My Kitchen Rules

Proost is the puppet master of Seven mega-hit My Kitchen Rules, which has shored up the network's commanding lead in the ratings and is ready to take on Nine's The Voice.

Adrian Swift, director of development, Nine Network

Swift worked in the multichannel and multi-platform space in Britain before returning to Australia and Nine. With Shine's Fennessy brothers and Julie Ward, he oversees TV's reigning ratings titan, The Voice.

Bob Campbell and Des Monaghan, Screentime Australia

One of television's most respected and enduring partnerships set the agenda in the talent genre with the trailblazing Popstars and set a new benchmark for Australian drama with Nine franchise Underbelly.

Ian Hogg, Jason Stephens and Jo Porter, FremantleMedia

Hogg runs the production company that wrote the rule book on shiny-floor shows, has expanded its drama slate with Stephens (The King) and Porter (the Prisoner remake, Wentworth) at the helm, and launched a branded content business, Spring.

Leonie Lowe, CEO, ITV Studios

A rising star in the executive ranks who has overseen a range of unscripted formats, from Dancing with the Stars to Mad As Hell and Ten's Talkin' 'bout My Generation.

Janeen Faithfull, CEO, Southern Star

A television industry veteran of almost 30 years, 15 of them at the Seven Network, Faithfull joined Southern Star in 2012.

Angelos Frangopoulos, CEO, Sky News

Master of pay TV's smart and sharp 24-hour news channel is one of television's most connected players. His resume includes stints at BSkyB, Nine and Prime.

Nick Murray, Andrew Denton and Michael Cordell, Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder

The first of Australia's proper super-indies; that is, small production companies with clout. CJZ's titles include Go Back to Where You Came From, Bondi Rescue and Gruen Planet.

Chris Oliver-Taylor, Debbie Lee, Penny Chapman and Tony Ayres, Matchbox Pictures

An emerging force in the super-indie sector, Matchbox has the backing of NBC Universal and immense talent in its executive team. Its credits include The Slap.

Tony Iffland, director of content, SBS

One of television's rare gentlemen, a shrewd channel manager and content commissioner, who is steering SBS into a smart, sexy digital era.

The triple threats

Brendan Cowell, Claudia Karvan, Chris Lilley and Shaun Micallef, actor-writer-producer-directors

Australian TV has delivered a diverse class of talent in recent years, but the gold standard is a new generation of actor-deal makers who conceive and produce their own projects, including Summer Heights High, Love My Way and The Outlaw Michael Howe.

The innovators

Tracey Robertson and Nathan Mayfield, Hoodlum

Hoodlum specialises in multi-platform projects and has produced digital content for the BBC series Spooks, the US series Lost, films including The Bourne Legacy and, most recently, the ABC2 comedy The Strange Calls.

The master programmers

Michael Healy, director of television, Nine Network

A master of fine-tuning the schedule to squeeze the smallest fractions of audience gain, Healy has overseen Nine's recapture of much lost ground, notably in the key demographic of viewers aged 25 to 54.

Tim Worner, chief executive, Seven Network

Taught by the industry's best - former chief executive David Leckie and former Nine programming genius John Stephens - Worner controls the most successful commercial program schedule in Australia, and has a commanding lead over his rivals.

The rising stars

Adam Zwar, High Wire Films

Zwar, with his real-life partner Amanda Brotchie, has created a suite of edgy, engaging shows, including Lowdown, Agony Uncles, Agony Aunts and The Agony of Life.

Asher Keddie and Lachy Hulme, actors

You can count on one hand the number of Australian actors who have the clout to walk into a room and get a project the green light. They're smart and bankable and they balance critical praise with commercial appeal.

Rick Kalowski, creative director, Quail Television

One of Australia's most prolific comedy writers, with credits including Comedy Inc. and Double Take. Kalowski co-created At Home with Julia for ABC1.

Hamish Macdonald, senior foreign correspondent, Ten

Began his career at Britain's Channel Four and Al Jazeera. In 2012, he became host of the revived Ten Late News; now he gets his own show, The Truth Is.

Robyn Butler and Wayne Hope, Gristmill

A partnership in every sense of the word - Butler and Hope are married - this duo specialises in darker comedies, notably The Librarians, Very Small Business and the as-yet-unseen Upper Middle Bogan for ABC1.

The money man

Harold Mitchell, executive chairman, Aegis Media

In television, nothing is truer than the golden rule: he who controls the gold rules the roost. And Harold Mitchell is in charge of more gold than anyone else in the business. He controls the biggest media-buying agency in Australia and wields enormous personal influence through a vast array of connections.

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