Cover image for Women television producers : transformation of the male medium
Women television producers : transformation of the male medium
Alley, Robert S., 1932-
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Publication Information:
Rochester, NY : University of Rochester Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xvii, 264 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
History and contexts. Distinguished women in the early days of television -- The business of television after 1970 : a brief survey. The interviews. Betty Friedan -- Bonny Dore -- Marian Rees -- Marcy Carsey -- Virginia Carter -- Nancy Malone -- Suzanne De Passe -- On the line. Gayle Maffeo ; Deborah Smith ; Anne Hopkins ; Daphne Maxwell Reid -- The writer/producer. Lynn Roth ; Susan Harris -- Barbara Corday -- Dorothea Petrie -- Diane English -- Beth Sullivan -- Freyda Rothstein.
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PN1992.4.A2 B77 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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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.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Univ. of Richmond professors Alley (humanities) and Brown (English) provide a backstage picture of more than 15 women producers of film and television. Their names are not well known to the viewing public, but television programs on which they worked include Murphy Brown, The Cosby Show, All in the Family, Golden Girls, Cagney and Lacey, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, Maude, and many others. By 1974 the Equal Employment Opportunity Act was starting to be applied to women in the workplace. In spite of that many women producers mention frequent gender obstacles. One woman writer on a comedy program found a typical sexist attitude to be, "How can you be funny if you're pretty?" Several women relate many additional examples of gender barriers in specific detail. There are, however, a few women who mention individual men who were mentors or were generally fair-minded. Producer Virginia Carter said, "The pressure from the feminist movement set the tone of the seventies that has diminished greatly in the eighties and nineties." Many women in the profession would likely agree. This book is informative but should have included younger women producers as well. The absence of an index is inexcusable. All collections. S. H. Hildahl Wells College