| Haim Saban (with Cheryl) |
March 5, 2001
Haim Saban is half-owner of Fox Family Worldwide, a company that produces and broadcasts programming via the Fox Family Channel and Fox Kids' Network. His own company, Saban Entertainment, is best known for producing the children's show "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers." Saban is a long-time financial supporter of the Democratic Party, as is his wife Cheryl, who is a writer and producer for Fox Family Worldwide.
Children's programming drew political fire during the last election, sparked by the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado. Last Setember, the Federal Trade Commission issued a report concluding that broadcasters were targeting violent content to kids, and Al Gore pledged to regulate children's programming unless the industry policed itself. Fox Broadcasting, which has been negotiating to buy out Saban's share of Fox Family Worldwide, joined several companies in agreeing to stop marketing adult-rated movies during TV shows aimed at young viewers.
The month the report was released, Saban co-hosted a $3.5 million fundraiser for the Democrats with producer-director Rob Reiner (No. 371, $161,300), Warner Brothers President Alan Horn (No. 139, $290,750), and grocery magnate Ron Burkle (No. 102, $330,000). George W. Bush blasted his opponent for accepting contributions from an industry he had criticized; Gore insisted he was willing to take a stand against his financial supporters.
Saban's generosity did not go unrewarded. During the Clinton administration, the entertainment executive served on the President's Export Council, advising the White House on trade issues. He also took an unusual pride in being a top contributor. When Saban learned that another donor had topped his contributions to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee by a quarter-million dollars, he immediately sent the DCCC a check for $250,000, with a $1 bill attached to it.
"I hope this guy doesn't find out," Saban told The Washington Post. "He may send another two dollars."
-- Amy Paris
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