In her year and half at the helm, Marissa Mayer has put Yahoo through huge shifts.
While the jury is still out on long-term prospects, the firm’s market value has risen $14 billion during Mayer’s tenure, and she’s demonstrated that the high-tech sector isn’t an all-boys’ game. But she’s also crushed plenty of toes with her awesomely hard-driving ways. She abolished Yahoo’s popular telecommuting policy—while taking care of her own work/life-balance conflicts by installing a nursery in her office and returning to work two weeks after giving birth to her first kid. And she sleeps just four hours a night.
Expert advice for 2014: Loosen up a bit, Marissa! As play expert Dr. Stewart Brown says, “The opposite of play isn’t work, it’s depression… The average adult in our culture separates work and play. But when we link them, our lives are better. When we don’t, our lives are less fulfilled, less joyful, less competitive.” Yahoo team dodgeball, anyone?
After more than 60 years in as iconic TV personality, producer and confessor to the stars, Walters is calling it quits.
In 2014, she’ll have to figure out a way to run her coffee klatches off camera. The rest of us will have to figure out how to determine the year’s most fascinating people on our own time.
Her plan for the future: “I want to sit in a sunny field and admire the very gifted women—and okay, some men, too—who will be taking my place.”
As of January 1, the diminutive billionaire ends his imperious, party-pooping 12-year tenure as mayor of New York City.
What does the future hold? “Who knows?” he said on a recent Saturday Night Live.“President? Pope? Naked cowboy?”
Post-mayoral heaven: “I’ll be fulfilling a lifelong dream of enjoying a small soda on a nonsmoking beach,” he says. His Bermuda-love is well documented, so we don’t think he’s entirely joking. But don’t count out that president thing either.
Remember when 2012 seemed like a uniquely crappy year for America’s one-time fave Southern chef, with revelations of Type II diabetes and a rich advertising contract with Big Pharma setting off widespread criticism for her advocacy of a lard-laden, heart-calcifying diet?
Turns out it was just a deep-fried amuse-bouche to 2013, when it became known that Deen had an uncomfortable affinity for the “n-word” and planning “southern plantation style” weddings complete with faux slaves and a chef dressed as Aunt Jemima. Oops! Food Network dropped her like a scalding Ooey Gooey Butter cake, and she lost endorsement deals from Walmart, Target and even diabetes drug maker Novo Nordisk.
Form a line, folks: “If there’s anyone out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back, if you’re out there, please pick up that stone and throw it so hard at my head that it kills me,” she told The Today Show.
Our 2014 advice: Work your way back; start by volunteering at a few inner-city soup kitchens. But leave your notorious Peanut Butter Cup Brownie S’mores recipe (one full cup of butter per serving!) home, please.
It’s been your typical hairballs to heaven success story for everyone’s favorite sourpussed puss, aka “Tardar Sauce.” (Fun fact: Her owner didn’t know how to spell “Tartar.”)
2013 transformed her from an Internet meme into a full-fledged star, with magazine covers, TV talk-show gigs, a book, plush toys and an upcoming movie; she even has her own management team.
Letting the fur fly in 2014: We predict a rough road ahead as GC deals with the inevitable downsides of celebrity: paparazzi stalking the litter box, a harrowing catnip addiction, catcalls from the haters. But her support network will save the day: “We’ve got a saying over here in team meme: ‘Respect the cat,’” says Ben Lashes, Grumpy’s manager.
The Today Show host may want to forget that the past year ever happened. The 2012 firing of cohost Ann Curry blew up his Mr.-Nice-Guy image; in the year since, Today has been trounced by Good Morning America, ending a 16-year ratings winning streak. NBC put out feelers to Anderson Cooper as a replacement.
Damage control, 2014: Lauer will try to reverse Today’s ratings collapse by exerting more hands-on control of the show’s content and by sweetening and toughening up his on-screen image–nice guy with an edge! (In an attempt to show he isn’t such an SOB after all, the $25 million a year anchorman picked up the tab for the show’s cast and crew for the first time at the annual Christmas party.) “Matt is telling executives every day—he knowshow to fix things,” says one NBC coworker. One way or the other, it’s going to be a year of reinvention for Mr. Lauer. Oh, and did we mention his contract is up?
As stepdad on Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Bruce Jenner has lived for six awkward years in the media spotlight. But he may very well at this juncture be seeking some privacy. He and Kris Kardashian announced their separation in October; soon afterward, the cosmetic-surgery-obsessed Jenner scheduled (then cancelled) an appointment for a laryngeal shaving.
The procedure is often the first step toward gender reassignment surgery, prompting speculation: Is the mop-topped former Olympian considering the biggest reinvention of all?
Department of explication: “Nothing has changed. We’re still family. The relationship has changed and this and that,” Jenner helpfully explained onThe Kardashians’ Very Merry Christmas Special.
The Magic Eight Ball says: Enough already! Bruce gleefully disappears for good from the reality show/tabloid glare.
When last seen, Pinkman, a known associate of notorious teacher-turned-drug-kingpin Walter “Heisenberg” White, had escaped imprisonment by a group of neo Nazis and was driving off into the wilds of Albuquerque. What’s next for the long-suffering Pinkman, who recently lost one girlfriend to an overdose and another to the murderous whims of a young psychotic thug?
Our prediction for 2014: Redemption! Jesse makes it to Alaska and opens up a successful childcare center, his true love. Under an assumed name, natch.
The. U.S. Congress
After failing to agree on a budget bill and causing the federal government to shut down for 17 days, the 535 members of Congress have become some of the least-liked people in the nation (in a recent poll, ranking below Lindsay Lohan, Ebola, colonoscopies, cockroaches, STDs and Donald Trump in popularity).
A fair question: Mused Dave
Letterman, “Are you beginning to miss the days when we were ruled by a mad English king?” But the real question comes on November 4th: will America’s voters “reimagine” their Congress? Buckle up your seatbelts incumbents, it’s going to be a bumpy night.
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield became an Internet sensation last spring, singing, playing guitar and floating through the International Space Station in a video of David Bowie’s Space Oddity, garnering millions of views. Hadfield and his son had hammered out rights issues with Bowie’s reps. Yep, copyright laws apply even in space.
It’s time to leave the capsule, if you dare: “There are no wishy-washy astronauts,” Hadfield told NPR’s Terry Gross. To prove his point, he’ll spend 2014 adjusting to a whole new universe: life on terra firma. This coming fall, he’ll start a teaching post in the aviation department of the University of Waterloo, Ontario.
His movies continue to make dough, especially overseas. But a string of box-office disappointments, including 2013’s Oblivion and Rock of Ages, has put his future leading-man status in question. Face it, we’ve all been a bit freaked out by Tom since 2005, when he leapt onto Oprah’s couch shouting his love for then-girlfriend Katie Holmes and just a couple of months later seemed ready to beat the hell out of Matt Lauer on live TV over the evils of antidepressants.
Cruise reimagined: With the glory days of Top Gun and Jerry Maguire far behind him, we suggest that the 52-year-old Scientologist reinvent himself as a character actor, putting his scary intensity to use in some juicy assignments that don’t require him to stay young forever. He’d make a fantastic Bond villain.
No question, the Toronto mayor’s life is due for some serious reimagining. For starters: substance-abuse rehab, an anger-management course and some training in impulse control. The downside, of course, is that this could deprive us of such entertaining spectacles as Ford body tackling women in city council meetings and ranting to the media about oral sex with his wife. Keep it real Rob!
An Exercise in contrition: “Which one do you want, Madam Speaker? Like, 'Super, super, super, super, super, super, super sorry? So sorry?’”— Ford apologizing for calling the Toronto City Council “corrupt.”
The next act: Sadly, Ford’s Canadian TV show, Ford Nation, was cancelled after a single wacky airing in November. We say give the big guy another chance—on satellite radio, media outpost of choice for such not-ready-for-prime-time rascals as Howard Stern! He’ll fit right in.
As founder and CEO of Amazon.com, Jeff Bezos has long held the crown of the ultimate new-media entrepreneur. But last summer, he took a giant step intoold media, buying the cash hemorrhaging Washington Post.
Playing it by ear: Bezos has the deep pockets to reimagine one of the great 20th-century newsorganizations as a thriving 21st-century media organization. Will he be able to do it? “I don’t want to imply that I have a worked-out plan,” he told his new paper. “This will be uncharted terrain, and it will require experimentation.” Meaning: more layoffs and upheaval as the 127-year-old paper gears up for the deepest dive yet into digital. Ok Jeff, time to stop playing with those Amazon drones and get to work.
When Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected to the papacy this past winter, he was expected to sustain the hardline conservatism of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XIV. After all, when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he had labeled gay marriage as “The Devil’s attack on God’s plan.” But as Pope Francis, he has steered the Church toward more compassionate views, concentrating on charity and forgiveness rather than condemnation. “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” he said over the summer. Time named him Man of the Year. Not to be outdone, Esquire dubbed him Best Dressed Man of the Year.
Attitude readjustment: In 2014, will the pope continue to reinvent his Church in kinder, gentler form? Stay the course Francis! Expect plenty of fireworks out of the Vatican.
Putin has worked hard to cultivate an image as the most macho world leader since Genghis Khan, arm wrestling, bending metal with his bare hands, racing Formula One, posing shirtless on horses — all while stomping on freedom of speech and personal rights and expediting a split from his wife Lyudmilla.
All work and no play make Vladimir a dull boy, circa 2014: As Putin heads toward the Sochi Winter Olympics, we’ve got just one piece of advice: chill out! We got it, Mr. Presumptive Russian President for Life—you’re a badass. Now relax.