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Women Television Producers


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In their 1983 book The Producer's Medium authors Robert Alley and Horace Newcomb made the point that "There are, to our regret, no women and no minority members in this book because the structure of the television industry, like the structure of American society, has been dominated by white males." But in that year producer Marcy Carsey was working on selling the new "Cosby Show," which premiered in 1984, to NBC and its president, Grant Tinker.

The focus of Women Television Producers is upon a new cadre of woman producers, who, as a result of rulings by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission in the early seventies, found employment in the three major networks beginning in 1971-72. In the following decade many of them emerged as television producers and writers.

The authors first selected a representative group of female producers who had, by 1998, become successful in the business of television. The book contains extended comments by more than twenty such women, beginning with pioneers like Marian Rees and Esther Shapiro, and continuing with contemporary producers like Beth Sullivan, Diane English, and Lynn Roth. The authors examine how each of them entered the business, how they advanced, and what obstacles they encountered and overcame. The book concludes with a discussion by fifteen of the producers who were assembled together, and who speak cogently about their futures in a business with radical new rules of competition resulting from federal guidelines created in the mid-nineties.

Robert Alley is Professor of Humanities at the University of Richmond.
Irby Brown is Professor of English at the University of Richmond.


First Published: 15 Apr 2001
13 Digit ISBN: 9781580460453
Pages: 288
Size: 9 x 6
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: University of Rochester Press

Details updated on 05 Oct 2015


  • 1  Distinguished Women in the Early Days of Television
  • 2  The Business of Television after 1970: A Brief Survey
  • 3  Betty Friedan: The Feminine Mystique Revisited
  • 4  Bonny Dore
  • 5  Marian Rees
  • 6  Marcy Carsey
  • 7  Virginia Carter
  • 8  Nancy Malone
  • 9  Suzanne de Passe
  • 10  On the Line: Gayle Maffeo, Deborah Smith, Anne Hopkins, Daphne Maxwell Reid
  • 11  The Writer/Producer: Lynn Roth, Susan Harris
  • 12  Barbara Corday
  • 13  Dorothea Petrie
  • 14  Diane English
  • 15  Beth Sullivan
  • 16  Freyda Rothstein
  • 17  The Symposium