Women in Television: 2008

Women in TV

TelevisionWeek surveyed the industry to identify the women who have made a difference in the last year. In front of the camera, behind the camera and in the executive suites, the 30 women recognized in this inaugural special report established themselves as powers to be reckoned with.

Women in TV

Tyra Banks

Tyra Banks

This year, in the third year of her daily talk show, Ms. Banks won a Daytime Emmy Award, “America’s Next Top Model” was the No. 1 show on The CW, and she began work on “Stylista,” another unscripted program for The CW, this one about fashion magazines... More »


Linda Bell Blue

Linda Bell Blue

There is no more enduring daily show-business news source than “Entertainment Tonight,” and day in and day out it’s Ms. Bell Blue who puts it all together. This year, she guided the show in its leap to high-definition broadcasting. The Emmy Award-winning executive producer of “ET” and “The Insider,” Ms. Bell Blue has been acknowledged as one of TV’s most powerful women... More »


Amy Carney

Amy Carney

Since stepping into the top sales spot at SPT nearly a year ago, Ms. Carney is in charge of selling commercial inventory for all first-run and off-network SPT programs, including “Seinfeld” and “The King of Queens,” along with other Sony properties such as the Tennis Channel and online video site Crackle... More »


Nancy Dubuc

Nancy Dubuc

Life is good for Ms. Dubuc: History expects to finish with its best year ever, having already recorded four best quarters in a row and 10 of 12 best months. Ratings are higher, particularly among younger viewers, than the network has enjoyed before... More »


Hilary Estey McLoughlin

Hilary Estey McLoughlin

In her tenure as Telepictures’ president, Ms. Estey McLoughlin has ushered in a group of talk shows that have helped to redefine syndicated talk shows, from “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” to “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” to “The Tyra Banks Show.” Most recently, she was the executive behind “The Bonnie Hunt Show”... More »


Tina Fey

Tina Fey

In the history of TV, brilliant women like Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett and Mary Tyler Moore have defined their eras. In this first decade of the 21st century, the woman who has emerged in that role is Tina Fey. After nine years as head writer and performer on “Saturday Night Live,” she created a show for herself, “30 Rock.” The NBC half-hour has won back-to-back comedy series Emmys in its first two seasons... More »


Bonnie Hammer

Bonnie Hammer

USA Network is sitting pretty as cable’s most-watched network and Sci Fi Channel is thriving. Ms. Hammer, who oversees them both, modestly chalks it up to luck... More »


Katie Jacobs

Katie Jacobs

It might not get the media love generated by “American Idol,” but in many ways “House” has been nearly as important as the reality hit to Fox’s success this year. After the writers strike ended, Ms. Jacobs helped push “House” back on the air as soon as possible, giving the network a much-needed scripted tentpole... More »


Kate Juergens

Kate Juergens

Like the shows she develops for ABC Family, Ms. Juergens has an optimistic point of view. And with good reason. Since she joined the network, a string of hits aimed at teens and young adults has emerged. There’s “Wildfire,” “Kyle XY,” “Greek” and the summer’s blockbuster, “Secret Life of the American Teenager,” which often had more viewers than The CW’s much more hyped “Gossip Girl”... More »


Debra Lee

Debra Lee

Debra Lee can add planning BET’s first inaugural gala for the nation’s first African American president to her busy agenda. She joined BET in 1986 as a VP and corporate counsel, and in successive executive positions helped grow the network’s reach and revenue before landing the CEO spot in 2005... More »


Jill Leiderman

Jill Leiderman

Since Ms. Leiderman became “Jimmy Kimmel’s” showrunner in April 2006, the ABC show has defined itself as a late-night home for such eye-opening comedy as Sarah Silverman’s “I’m F***ing Matt Damon” video and her once-again boyfriend Jimmy Kimmel’s “I’m F***ing Ben Affleck” video reply. Mr. Kimmel also has become ABC’s programming weapon of choice... More »


Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow

She is the biggest, brightest overnight star ever created in the cable news universe. After proving she had the right stuff as a substitute host on “Countdown With Keith Olbermann,” she won the post-“Countdown” spot on MSNBC in September. Right out of the gate, she doubled the ratings performance of the time slot’s previous occupant, Dan Abrams... More »


Janice Marinelli

Janice Marinelli

Overseeing the domestic TV distribution arm of the Walt Disney Co., Ms. Marinelli has a large and profitable library from which to cull material. Her catalog includes “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost,” which were sold this year for the syndication market, and feature films such as “Pirates of the Caribbean,” which are sold for runs on broadcast and cable networks... More »


Elisabeth Murdoch

Elisabeth Murdoch

As the worldwide ping-ponging of programs and formats accelerates, Ms. Murdoch, who founded Britain’s Shine Group in 2001, looks well-positioned to compete with the major studios. Just how deeply does Shine have its tentacles into the U.S. TV marketplace? On Thursdays alone this fall, viewers could watch ABC’s “Ugly Betty,” switch to NBC for “Kath & Kim” and “The Office,” and then return to ABC for “Life on Mars”... More »


Sue Naegle

Sue Naegle

After running the TV department at United Talent Agency for nearly a decade—packaging shows including “Six Feet Under” and “True Blood”—Ms. Naegle made the leap from seller to buyer in April. She’s wasted no time putting a slew of projects into development as HBO attempts to launch a new generation of must-watch programs... More »


Eileen O'Neill.jpg

Eileen O’Neill

No sooner had Discovery Networks veteran Eileen O’Neill successfully launched Planet Green than she was given an even bigger assignment: righting TLC, one of the company’s biggest networks. TLC was listing, with audiences dropping by double digits because her predecessor’s programming wasn’t working... More »


Suzanne Patmore-Gibbs

Suzanne Patmore-Gibbs

As ABC’s head of drama for the past four years, Ms. Patmore-Gibbs has helped burnish the network’s reputation for launching successful, buzz-worthy hours that break through the pop-culture noise. Her gigs at ABC (and, before that, ABC Studios) have seen her playing key roles in the development of dramas such as “Desperate Housewives,” “Ugly Betty,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Lost”... More »


Abbe Raven

Abbe Raven

Investing in programming is paying dividends for Ms. Raven: The company has had a record-breaking year in 2008, with all of its key networks—A&E Network, History, Biography and History International—posting gains. Ms. Raven has been providing her network managers with more than $650 million to create quality shows, and they’ve been delivering... More »


Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes

The year started off on a picket line and not in a writing room for Ms. Rhimes, one of the more prominent showrunners who chose their writer roles over their producer duties during the Writers Guild of America strike. But Ms. Rhimes put her downtime to good use. The post-strike episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy” gave fans what they wanted... More »


Marcy Ross

Marcy Ross

Promoted to her current position in August 2007, Ms. Ross oversees the network’s slate of current scripted fare, including the breakout new drama “Fringe,” as well as “House,” “Prison Break,” “Bones,” “Lie to Me” and “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.” She also has responsibility for two cornerstones of the network, the long-running hit “The Simpsons” and “24”... More »


Stephanie Savage

Stephanie Savage

According to "Gossip Girl's" co-creator, Josh Schwartz, “Stephanie has grown from being one of the best producers out there, period, to a terrific writer. Her taste—in fashion, music and style—is unparalleled, but for me the greatest pleasure is watching how invested and inspired she has become as a writer, and how connected she has grown to these characters”... More »


Sarah Silverman

Sarah Silverman

Ms. Silverman’s star skyrocketed this past year thanks to the combination of sex and celebrity. Ms. Silverman’s Emmy-winning “I’m F***ing Matt Damon” video, which musically documented her faux affair with the “Ocean’s Eleven” star, aired first on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” Jan. 31 and spread quickly across the Internet... More »


Sandra Stern

Sandra Stern

Those “Mad Men” didn’t just didn’t end up on AMC by luck. While creator Matthew Weiner rightfully gets the bulk of the credit for the show, Ms. Stern—along with Lionsgate President of Programming and Production Kevin Beggs—made sure Mr. Weiner had the creative and financial support to produce one of the most lush-looking shows on TV on a basic-cable budget... More »


Nancy Tellem

Nancy Tellem

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... More »


The View

The Women of 'The View'

The women of “The View” have fearlessly, relentlessly and loudly redefined the “talk” in talk show. Day after day they prove that politics, religion, race, mores, fashion and frivolity are endlessly engaging subjects for conversation—even when the conversation verges on verbal blood sport followed by teary protestations that “no women were harmed in the making of this conversation”... More »


Andrea Wong

Andrea Wong

Ms. Wong took the helm at Lifetime in April 2007 after a successful programming stint at ABC. During her tenure, she has expanded Lifetime and Lifetime Movie Network programming, relaunched myLifetime.com, made its first digital acquisition (ParentsClick Network) and put into action a comprehensive rebranding campaign, all while bringing the company’s total revenues to new levels... More »


Terry Wood.jpg

Terry Wood

Ms. Wood oversees production on CBS Television Distribution’s top-performing players, including “Dr. Phil,” “Entertainment Tonight” and “Judge Judy,” all of which rank near the top of their respective genres in syndication. She’s also in charge of new program development for CTD, launching “Dr. Phil” spinoff “The Doctors” this fall. “The Doctors” debuted as the highest- rated new talk show in syndication, and the second-highest-rated new five-day-a-week strip... More »


Linda Yaccarino

Linda Yaccarino

Despite the rocky economy, Turner Broadcasting chalked up a 9% increase in ad revenue for the third quarter. Much of the credit for that performance goes to Ms. Yaccarino... More »


Lauren Zalaznick

Lauren Zalaznick

She spins cable niche properties and their related Web sites into gold by creating high-buzz, advertiser-involved programs and environments that attract viewers in such upscale, clued-in and engaged sweet spots that the New York Times Magazine recently profiled her as the “Affluencer”... More »


Cyma Zarhami

Cyma Zarghami

Nickelodeon has had a banner 2008. “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Naked Brothers Band” remained popular and the network found new hits in the interactive “iCarly” and Amy Poehler’s animated “Mighty B,” helping it re-establish a strong lead in kid demographics over Disney Channel. At Nick at Nite, the addition of “George Lopez” contributed to double-digit increases... More »