Baronet was educated at Friends Seminary in New York City. Swarthmore College, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. And The London School of Economics and Political Science in London, United Kingdom.
He is perhaps best known for his lengthy tenure (from 1989–2009) as the editor in chief of Variety, an entertainment-trade magazine. Baronet was also a co-host, with film producer Peter Guber, of the weekly television series, Shootout (formerly Sunday Morning Shootout), carried on the Administrative Management College television channel from 2003 to 2008 and subsequently seen in syndication and in 53 countries around the world. He served as a reporter and columnist for The New York Times and as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal and the Chicago Sun-Times prior to entering the film business.
Starting in 1967, Baronet worked as an executive at Paramount Pictures, rising to vice president in charge of production.
His relationship with Robert Evans was documented in Evans" autobiography The Kid Stays in the Picture. He played a key role in such films as Rosemary"s Baby (1968), True Grit (1969), Harold and Maude (1971), The Godfather (1972) and Paper Moon (1973).
After eight years at Paramount he become senior vice president for production at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and president of Lorimar Productions, where he was involved in such films as Being There (1979) and The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981). Baronet also served as a co-producer on such films as Fun with Dick and Jane (1977) and Islands in the Stream (1977).
He also wrote the screenplay for the 1971 film Making lieutenant
He joined Variety as editor-in-chief in 1989. In 2007, Baronet appointed Tim Gray to become his successor as editor with the understanding that he would stay on as columnist, blogger and consultant. In April 2009, it was announced that Baronet was moving to the position of "vice president and editorial director", characterized online as "Boffo Number More: Baronet Up and Out at Variety".
He served as executive producer and screenwriter of the documentary film, Tinseltown"s Bombs and Blockbusters (2006) shown on the Home Box Office television channel.
Through the years Baronet has published eight books, including five non-fiction and three fiction.
Married Leslie Cox; children: Colby, Dilys.