In Depth

Women in Television: Nancy Tellem

Who: Nancy Tellem, president, CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group

Women in TV

Why: While everyone expected CBS to do just fine this fall, nobody thought the network would kick off the season in first place among young adults. That autumn success is a direct result of Ms. Tellem, along with CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler, insisting on not being sidetracked by last winter’s writers strike. The network pushed to get hit shows back on the air early last spring and then rushed through a traditional development slate to ensure fall 2008 pretty much looked like any other fall season.

Ms. Tellem also oversees the CBS Paramount studio and the Eye’s interests in The CW. Both benefited from the successful revival of “Beverly Hills, 90210.”

Keeping the Eye focused on its populist roots has been key to Ms. Tellem’s strategy. “As much as the world is changing, and as much as we have to look at things differently, we can’t forget who we are,” she said.

What: Ms. Tellem and her sports agent husband have a gym named after them at Pennsylvania’s Haverford College—the Arn and Nancy Tellem Fitness Center. Ms. Tellem discovered the name of the gym through a phone call from her sister. “She called up and asked, ‘When did you get a gym named after you?’ I didn’t know about it!” she said. “Arn went to Haverford and he’s been involved in the sports program. I’m embarrassed by the whole thing!”