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While we impatiently await the day sometime in the next five or so millennia that Hollywood's most powerful executives finally make the inevitable evolutionary leap to a new, single-gendered superspecies capable of both pre-menstrual rage and the intimidating swinging around of external genitalia, we suppose that sex-specific lists like THR's Women in Entertainment Power 100 will continue to exist. Until then, we must discuss them: For the 2006 iteration of their annual ranking of female potency, released today, The Reporter was faced with a potentially paralyzing dilemma: their entrenched two-time champion was coming off another impressive year, but a studio survivor who weathered a disastrous 2005 rebounded to release 12 number one films, a feat nearly as impressive as her escaping dismissal for thinking anyone would want to see a movie about a sentient plane made cranky by a lightning bolt.

The difficult matter of choosing this year's winner from two equally worhty candidates would necessitate THR's arcane tie-breaking ritual; both candidates were quietly summoned to the trade paper's headquarters, handed goose-down pillows, and locked in an empty conference room while the publication's staff chanted the only rule of engagement: "Two women enter, one woman leaves!" A mere three minutes later, Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal, the Most Powerful Lady In Hollywood 2006, emerged relatively unscathed, the only visible hint of the intense struggle a pair of stray, blood-flecked feathers clinging to her neck. When Disney-ABC TV Group president Anne Sweeney was revived with smelling salts, she was delicately informed that her two-year reign had finally come to an end. In a reversal of long-standing policy, she would, however, be allowed to live.

[Photo: Getty Images]